From the Desk of Anne St. Michael
Until ten days ago I’d never heard this term. Jumping into the thick of investigations conducted by Animals’ Angels, Inc., watching videos, seeing photographs, exploring their website, made me want to keep learning. I dug deeper to expand my consideration and to understand more by reading government documents, visiting USDA.gov and reading report after report. I learned about laws I didn’t even know existed and most disturbing of all is the fact that until 2009 I never dreamed horses were being mistreated … not like this and never for food! Since I have been visiting the social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, I have been learning a whole lot more from the new Facebook friends I have connected with. This whole new world of “Horses Bound For Slaughter” made me understand that it was time to put on my boxing gloves. Even though I could not look at the envelopes coming to my home (passing them off to be read by my husband), I did sign every petition, and mailed them off thinking (very naively I must add) that the law was passed and the bad stuff had just stopped. Gone away. When I’m wrong … I say I’m wrong.
Not only have I read and recently began writing about this subject, I have absorbed the depth of this struggle. It is overwhelming! Were it not for the dedication of the team of Animals’ Angels getting involved, taking risks, and standing up for the rights of these horses facing the unthinkable, I would have never been here lending my support. In early August, Animals Angels went to the Midwest and conducted a very important investigation into newly identified kill buyers. Their report details the largest horse sale at Kalona Horse Auction, giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the barnyards and the condition of the horses. They filmed disturbing footage of terrified horses passing through an electronic hydraulic gate that each horse must pass through to enter the loud auction ring. They tell about a worker striking the horses with a stick. Plus, earlier that morning, our investigators were almost killed or injured in the parking lot, but miraculously got out of harms way!
I read a good portion of USDA/APHIS report by the title of: “The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administration of the Slaughter Horse Transport Program”, and I found this information: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/hp/downloads/stakeholder/atteb23c.pdf
** I learned that just in the horse show world, it is indeed dangerous (investigators get bullied, threatened and even receive death threats) to the few APHIS investigators making rounds, at only 6% of the 462 shows. (they only have enough funding, less than $500,000.00 yearly, to enforce The Horse Protection Act) When they do attend shows, the environment is sometimes so hostile they take guards and sometimes police as escorts. (see pages 5 & 6)
The point I am making is this: If horse shows are sometimes hostile and dangerous, then how much more might they be at an auction where horses bound for slaughter are being sold at an astonishing rate to kill buyers?
Animals’ Angels conducts ongoing investigations on behalf of horses that have no voice. They observe the conditions, note the violations and track offenders, because frankly, there aren’t enough USDA/APHIS investigators to do the work. The budget for this effort is way too low, and what little rights the horses have are being abused and laws are being broken.
Read all about how these facts are brought to light in the Animals’ Angels September Newsletter. Consider clicking the Donate Button and returning here often for more updates. We appreciate your support because it is all about getting laws passed and Animals’ Angels being there with the horses. Animals’ Angels has no government funding, so it is up to you and me to support this work on behalf of our horses.