Thursday, May 24, 2007

News from the HSUS

Mother and Daughter “Miracle Horses” Arrive at Black Beauty Ranch after Cheating Death at Slaughterhouse

MURCHISON, Texas – After narrowly escaping death at the DeKalb, Ill. horse slaughter plant earlier this month, two horses arrived safely today at their new and permanent home: the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, a 1,300-acre animal sanctuary operated by The Fund for Animals. Monitored by rescue workers from The Humane Society of the United States to the ranch, Mariah and Sahara – a mother and daughter pair believed to have been together since the younger one’s birth 17 years ago -- will find open pastures to roam, plenty of food, and proper medical care.

The rescue of these two horses and 28 others came after The HSUS and The Fund for Animals won a court ruling closing down Cavel International, the last operational horse slaughter plant in the country. The horses had been offloaded and were queued up to be slaughtered when news of the court decision reached Cavel managers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture pulled inspectors from the plant.

At that point, the horses were reloaded onto a truck and returned to the stockyard in Cheyenne, Wyo. where they came from. After the owner contacted The HSUS for financial and logistical help, he relinquished ownership and the process to find them new homes began. While these horses were transported to safety, the majority of the horses caught in the slaughter pipeline that day at Cavel were routed to feedlots en route to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.

“Fortunately for Mariah and Sahara, theirs was a happy ending after suffering days of misery on their way to the slaughterhouse for dinner plates overseas,” said Richard Farinato, director of the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch. “They richly deserve to live out their days as healthy and content as possible.”

“With the foreign-owned slaughter industry effectively shuttered, it’s time for Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to keep American horses from ever going to slaughter here or across the borders to Canada and Mexico,” said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS and president of The Fund for Animals.


The HSUS paid the owners’ expenses, and took possession of the horses in Cheyenne, where they partnered with the Denkai Animal Sanctuary in Carr, Colo. to rehabilitate the horses. Five horses out of an original group of 33 were euthanized because of injuries sustained during their transport to the slaughterhouse – three before The HSUS took custody of them and two after. The 28 remaining horses are expected to recover fully from their ordeal and will eventually be placed in new homes.

Because the Congressional defunding of USDA inspections for horse slaughter expires in September, The HSUS is calling on Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503 and S. 311) to settle the matter permanently. This legislation will also prohibit the export of live horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

Through the end of March, 5,524 American horses have been exported to Mexico for slaughter. This represents a 221.3 percent increase over the number of American horses who were shipped for slaughter in Mexico during the first three months of 2006. Current data on Canadian exports is not available.


March 29, 2007- A federal district court ordered the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop inspecting horsemeat at the Cavel International slaughter plant, effectively closing the last operating horse slaughtering operation in the United States.

March 21, 2007 – A committee of the Illinois legislature approves legislation to ban horse slaughter by a vote of 8-4.

March 20, 2007 – The HSUS files a notice of intent to sue the Cavel horse slaughter house in DeKalb, Ill. for dozens of violations of the Clean Water Act.

January 19, 2007 – U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds a 1949 Texas state law barring the sale of horsemeat for human consumption in that state. Appeals from the slaughter houses were rejected on March 5.

January 17, 2007 – Legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses nationwide, S. 311 and H.R. 503, is introduced by Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Reps. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), John Spratt (D-S.C.) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).

September 7, 2006 – U.S. House of Representatives passes H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, by a vote of 263-146. The 109th Congress adjourns before the Senate can consider the bill.

February 14, 2006 – The HSUS and other animal welfare groups and residents file suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging the USDA "fee-for-service" rule.

February 7, 2006 – USDA announces its intention to circumvent the Congressional funding limitation by implementing a “fee-for-service” rule to continue inspections of horsemeat.

November 10, 2005 – President Bush signs the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2006, including a funding limitation on horsemeat inspections. The horse slaughter provision is scheduled to take effect 120 days later.

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