I received this e-mail today from United Horsemen, and the information is so important I felt the need to share it with all of you. Please read it and forward it to others who share our concern for legislation that has the potential to impact all horse owners.
Horse people working for a better future for the horse industry.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Friends and supporters:
Spring time is finally underway and as we enjoy the warmer temperatures and being outdoors with our beloved horses, even the most mundane of horse chores have taken on a new and special meaning for me.
Like our nation, the horse industry stands at a crossroads where we must choose freedom or accept the tyranny of government working to regulate the horse industry into extinction.
Our way of life with horses is under attack, and this attack not only poses a serious threat to our right to own horses, but also to our livelihood, and our American horse heritage.
The United Horsemen have been working tirelessly to protect horse owners' rights at the state and federal level by watching and pushing back against animal rights driven legislation.
I hope you will take the time to read the following information that outlines important issues we need to face together in the weeks and months ahead. We are in this fight together to save our cherished horse industry and hope you will sign up for an annual membership to United Horsemen today!
Until next time,
President, United Horsemen
Important Issues Affecting the U.S. Horse Industry
United Horsemen, an organization of experienced horsemen dedicated to education and a better future for horses and all people involved with horses, is compelled to enlighten every horse owner about critical issues facing the U.S. horse industry. Many potential threats are overlooked or just plain shoved under the rug by the major horse industry organizations and associations. We believe ignoring the pressing issues of our day will only cause us more harm in the future. So, just like cleaning the stalls, there are a few problems that, while not necessarily pleasant, need to be dealt with immediately. We sincerely hope that you take the time to read through the following summary of issues facing us and our horses. The issues presented are in no particular order as to importance.
The President's Budget
President Obama's 2014 budget proposes to defund USDA inspectors at horse processing facilities that produce meat for either domestic consumption or export. At United Horsemen, we are working with our friends from the Tribal Nations to educate the White House about the dire consequences of a processing ban, and the negative impact it would have on horse welfare and the industry as a whole. While the animal rights lobby is out dancing in the streets we believe that our due diligence, and you helping by contacting your federal legislators, the defunding language will be removed from the Budget. But again, we need your help to take care of business.
EHV-1 (Equine Herpesvirus):
News of fresh EHV-1 outbreaks at racetracks, boarding facilities, veterinary clinics and horse shows comes with terrifying frequency. The latest round of cases during March and April affects horses in California, Florida, New Jersey, Montana and Utah.
EHV-1, one of the most damaging equine herpesvirus strains, is a highly contagious disease that can be fatal in its neurologic form. Not only is it a serious threat to domestic horses; it also has a potentially devastating economic impact on the U.S. equine industry. According to the USDA/APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), the upward trend in EHV-1 cases in recent years may classify it as an "emerging disease," that is, a disease whose incidence has increased in a defined time period and location.
Despite the clear and present danger of EHV-1, USDA/APHIS has made a minimal effort to protect the industry and our horses from this looming threat. The disease's spread can be minimized with bio-security measures and horse owner education, but those measures have been left to state animal health officials, who have minimal resources at their disposal. The result: mixed messages and confusion throughout the industry, amplifying the risk of widespread EHV-1 infection. Join United Horsemen in urging Congress to direct USDA/APHIS, through the agriculture appropriations bill, to devote critical resources (both people and money) to the states' efforts to solve this problem. This disease has the potential to cause millions in economic harm and become a real humane care tragedy. We need USDA to focus its attention on its core mission and partner with the industry on solutions to this equine health threat.
Changes to the "Horse Protection Act"
Decription of bill, read carefully.
H.R.1518 - To amend the Horse Protection Act to designate additional unlawful acts under the Act, strengthen penalties for violations of the Act, improve Department of Agriculture enforcement of the Act, and for other purposes. Click here to see the bill Animal-rights organizations back this kind of policy by selling it as a safeguard against the cruel practice of soring Tennessee Walking Horses for shows, sales and competitions. In reality, it is simply another opportunity for animal-rights group to raise funds and make it harder for us to own and enjoy horses. This policy would hobble the entire horse industry and effectively shut down horse shows and public horse sales all across the country. Under the various proposals, the federal government and its partners would be allowed to inspect any horse at any show or any sale organized by any breed association or discipline. It would hold show management responsible for enforcement and allow the issuance of citations based on the humane care standards of animal-rights groups! This is a truly alarming trend which would rob horse owners of their rights and enjoyment of their horses and clear the way for government thugs to shut down the entire competitive segment of our industry.
We understand that the American Horse Council has been negotiating this issue with Rep. Ed Whitfield from Kentucky whose wife is head of White House initiatives for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). This proposal was originally produced by HSUS, and now the American Horse Council is negotiating with HSUS. They have even convinced a few other horse industry and veterinary organizations to go along with the legislation. There is simply no negotiating with these people. This is a huge red flag to us.
Okay, so why are we up in arms about this? Because just one portion of the language says that if there is a Horse Protection Act violation at a horse show, or sale, not only can show management be held responsible and possibly fined or sued but also all the show SPONSORS. Wow you say? So do we. We also say "not on our watch"! Think about this; if a horse stumbles or breaks its leg at the upcoming KentuckyDerby, ASPCA or HSUS could sue Churchill Downs, Twin Spires, Yum, Pepsi or even Rolex! How will that look for Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield from Kentucky? There are already enough laws on the books and no pressing need for this legislation. Enforce the laws we already have. We feel less government is beneficial to the entire horse industry.
HR 1094/S 541, the "Safeguard American Food Exports Act"
This is yet another ploy by the animal-rights camp to shut down the humane horse processing facilities on the verge of re-opening in the U.S. The various animal-rights groups are simply trying to leverage the recent headlines about horse meat in European products labeled as beef and pork to uphold their claim that horse meat is "toxic." The truth is, although horse meat was found in some products, extensive laboratory testing detected no human health hazards. This red meat scare is based purely on bunk science. More credible research should be conducted before we shut the doors to a potential export product in a time when U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace is at an all-time low.