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On the 4th of July we were pleased to spread the news that the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) had categorically and unequivocally denied the Humane Society of the United State’s (HSUS) Petition for Rulemaking. That petition sought to impose draconian and extremely damaging regulations that would have effectively prevented the horse industry from providing humane horse processing once again. Today we are even more pleased to announce that the State of Iowa, confronted with an almost identical petition for rulemaking at the state level from HSUS has followed suit with a resounding denial. Below please find a press release in regards to this news.

For your convenience, please find attached information and answers to frequently asked questions that apply to the horse processing industry as a whole.

To initiate a call please contact me by email at sue.wallis@ieqbassn.org.

 

sue's sig

U.S. Chairman

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, July 15, 2013

Contact:              Sue Wallis, U.S. Chair

sue.wallis@ieqabassn.org

 

Iowa Joins USDA, Denies HSUS Petition to Stop Humane, Regulated Horse Processing

The Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals categorically denied July 12, a petition for rulemaking from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and several other animal rights groups, seeking to block the opening of a horse processing plant in Sigourney, Iowa.

The state’s denial, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) ruling against a related HSUS action announced by USDA July 3, cited state and federal regulation as protecting animals and consumers and new rules are not needed. The HSUS petition sought unreasonable regulation of the new Iowa horse processing facility.

“This brings us one step closer to restoring an industry where every horse has intrinsic value, incentivizing their best care,” said Sue Wallis, Wyoming State Representative and U.S. chairman of the International Equine Business Association (IEBA). “Three companies – in Iowa, Missouri and New Mexico – are targeted by HSUS, but are poised to provide a humane option for unwanted horse disposal. Several other firms are seeking USDA inspection, providing a humane end for horses at high risk of abandonment, starvation and abuse.” She said horse processing investment provides jobs and opportunity in hard hit rural and tribal communities.

Wallis stressed these companies use experienced and highly trained staff, under rigorous oversight by FSIS inspectors, to ensure food safety and humane handling. She also said these plants meet or exceed federal and state environmental requirements imposed on every meat processing plant in the country regardless of species. These small businesses also provide hope for devastated tribal lands impacted by roaming herds of excess feral horses. The number of feral horses has increased by 20% a year since the tribes lost the option of selling horses to processing plants legally operating prior to 2007, the last year horse processing was an option.

As noted in an opinion piece by Jason Smith, president, National Tribal Horse Coalition, Warm Springs, Oregon, citing his letter to Congress: “If you are really concerned about the welfare of horses, and have seen the devastation the overpopulation of horses has had on tribal land, and are respectful of the tribal perspective, please reevaluate your position on this matter. If you do, you can prevent the ‘unintended consequences’ of this failed policy resulting in widespread starvation, neglect, abandonment, and unnecessary suffering of horses and the devastating environmental damage this policy has had on tribal land by continued funding of USDA inspectors for horse meat.”

-END-

 If you would like more information, or have other questions please contact Sue Wallis, U.S. Chairman, IEBA, at sue.wallis@ieqbassn.org

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July 13, 2013

Mid-July Update for Members and Supporters

Here is a quick update for those of you who have been following our epic struggle to reopen humane and regulated processing of horses in the U.S.

Keaton Walker, one of the partners at Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa, who was the direct target of the HSUS petition in Iowa, sends this message:

“We are very pleased with the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals decision to deny the petition. We are extremely blessed to have the support of horse owners and our local community. Our team at
Responsible Transportation would like to thank everyone that has

supported us throughout the process.” 

  • Shot down over their bogus allegations of inhumane handling and nonexistent food safety issues, HSUS et al have now turned to even more desperate grasping at straws–but their favorite tool of litigation–and have filed court actions that seek to get a judge to impose an injunction preventing FSIS from actually sending inspectors, and to stop the plants, while they try to hold up horse processing over, again, nonexistent environmental issues.  Their obvious objective is to delay the plants opening until they can convince Congress to once again impose the slaughter ban–in spite of the GAO report that so clearly documented the decline in horse welfare and damage to the equine economy as a direct result of that ban. HSUS  originally filed this action in the 9th District Court in uber-liberal San Francisco. Thankfully, our attorneys were able to head that off, and the action has now been returned to New Mexico, and the 10th District Court, where we, of course have the ongoing lawsuits surrounding Valley Meats. As you know, IEBA has intervened in Valley Meat’s lawsuit in their support.

If you do nothing else, please take the time to read this memo from our attorney, Karen Budd Falen, on the current state of our legal situation and what we need to prepare for in the near future.  

  • So, all of these litigious actions will be consolidated under one case in New Mexico.  Presumably, a deadline of July 29th has been set for a hearing on the preliminary injunction although we are still awaiting the time schedule from the 10th District now that it has been transferred to them. Our attorneys are cautiously confident that we will be able to defeat that, and that the plants will be allowed to proceed while the rest of the action goes forward.
  • Meanwhile, back at the ranch…or maybe I should say, back on the reservation, the tribes are taking on a real leadership role in our effort to build a better future for horses and horse people.  Their voice is critical to this effort, and, in fact, their devastated lands and the inability to manage the overpopulation of feral horses, is one of the real tragedies that has occurred. A totally avoidable and unnecessary tragedy that lands squarely in the lap of the usual suspects in the radical animal rights world. Read here an opinion piece and article from Jason Smith, President, National Tribal Horse Coalition, and one of the recent letters from the Yakama Nation.
  • IEBA lives up to its international calling. You all know that we work very closely with our counterparts in Canada, and that we have, for instance, adopted the Humane Handling  and Assessment Tool developed by our neighbors to the North as our U.S. standard for IEBA member companies. What you may not be as aware of, is our efforts in the European Union and elsewhere. Olivier Kemseke based out of Belgium and with operations throughout the E.U. as well as in Mexico and Argentina, joins Bill des Barres and myself as the international leadership of our organization. Recently Olivier shared with me the work that they are doing in the E.U. Parliament, and a document that is now in front of the Belgian Parliament. Obviously, as has recently been illustrated by the problems in Australia, and the tribes here in the U.S., the humane, reasonable, responsible, and economically viable solutions we all offer stand in stark contrast to the horrible devastation resulting from animal rights activism which offers nothing but poverty and suffering.
  • Awhile back we did a marketing survey and about 350 of you from all walks of life and all across the country responded to say that you were interested in purchasing cheval (horse meat) for your own use and/or for your animal food. One of the allegations we constantly confront is that “Americans don’t eat horses” when, in fact, there are ethnic cultures from the Italians, to the Tongans, to the Mongolians, to Asians of all sorts, and lots of Hispanics who consider horse meat an important traditional cultural food…not to mention just good old ranch families that have traditionally butchered a filly or two a year for their own use, that flies in the face of this claim. If you would be willing to sign an affidavit that says you would like to buy and use cheval, please email me so that we can send you the paperwork or include your name on a joint statement. sue.wallis@ieqbassn.org.  
  • Don’t take your eyes off of Washington D.C! We are up against a gigantic, well funded machine that is used to running over the top of small, rural voices. Don’t let them! Make sure you are communicating with your Senators and Representatives and that they hear loud and clear that the Humane Society of the United States, or the ASPCA, or PETA, or any of their myriad offshoots and associates do not have the best interests of either horses or people, or the environment at heart, and that their actions will result in the most horrendous suffering and devastation imaginable, not to mention a total waste of perfectly good meat, and the economic destruction of an entire sector of animal agriculture just to cater to the elitist, culturally arrogant,  ethnically insensitive whims of big nonprofits clustered around the beltway. These snobs are insulated from reality by their six figure salaries that they deceptively bilk out of unsuspecting animal lovers.
  • One of the things we all need to do is make every effort to communicate with the American public. Write letters to the paper. Call in to radio shows as a couple of solid horse supporters took the opportunity to do during this radio show that Keaton Walker and I did with Iowa Public Radio that also included Wayne Pacelle from HSUS. Pass along press releases and articles to your local media and make sure they know who to call for straight answers when they get confronted with activist propaganda. Building relationships before you need them is so important. Remember you can always find talking points and facts on our website at http://IEqBAssn.org. (And don’t be afraid to contribute good fact sheets or other materials that ought to be shared with others…send them to me, I’ll get them posted where you all kind find them.)

The goal here is, of course, to generate as much positive press for the horse industry as we possibly can given our limited resources. Since the very beginning, this effort has been the grassiest of grassroots struggles. We are a totally volunteer association. Every dime we get goes straight to our mission. We take “bare bones” to a high art form. That is our strength. And the reason we have been able to come so far against outfits like ASPCA and HSUS that pay their executives and their stable of attorneys in the six figures with lots and lots of cushy benefits.

We all need to stand up and tell our own story and not let a bunch of elitist, culturally arrogant, and ethnically insensitive animal rights activists tell a false story about us. When it is our livelihood, our ability to make a living with horses, to raise our kids and grandkids with the joy of horses in their lives on the line, and just because, damn it, it is the right thing to do for horses and people…we are the kind of people who won’t back down, and won’t give up!

Finally, the need for your financial and moral support has never been greater.  Quite frankly our coffers are empty, and if it was not for the dedication and determination of those who continue to work on our behalf on just the hope that we can restore this much needed industry…we would already be defeated.  You know who you are, thank you for everything that you do.  

Please write checks to IEBA, and send them to our legal fund. You can send them to me at PO Box 71, Recluse, WY 82725.  Any amount will help.

sue's sig

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June 29, 2013

Happy 4th of July – FSIS Releases Official Response to HSUS Petition

Yesterday we couldn’t resist sharing the welcome news that the horse processing industry will once again be able to provide a humane option that provides value and a good use for horses. Today we are privileged to share with you evidence that common sense and sound science has finally prevailed over the vitriolic defamation campaigns of oganizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Hand in hand with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announcement that the horse processing facilities are being granted inspection, FSIS publicized their official response to the HSUS petition for rulemaking that sought to once again ban horse processing.

In their response FSIS categorically and unequivocally denied every single petition request of the radical animal rights group and backed it up with solid facts!

What a refreshing change from the overblown emotional propaganda we have all endured for far too long. FSIS Administrator Al Almanza and his agency are to be commended for their professionalism, their diligence, and their dedication to following the law. In so doing they have given the entire horse industry new hope. We just wish they could have done it two years ago, but we are glad to see it nonetheless.

Now, if we can only hold it…

We’ve made a huge step, and a good one, but I am sure our struggle to improve the welfare of horses, to protect the rights of horse people, and to provide a responsible solution for the long run is far from over. Emotional fundraising is the bread and butter of so-called nonprofits like HSUS. So long as they can foist dollars from generous, kind hearted Americans who love animals by convincing them that all animal based businesses are run by evil monsters who just want to abuse animals…they will continue to do so.

So how do we stop the “lobbying for profit” machine? One way we change it is by telling our own story. When we all stand up and tell the truth, it deprives them of their ability to tell a wrong story about us, and it exposes the hollow fraud that they perpetuate to support their fundraising industry.

Thanks to every one of you for doing your part. Keep it up.
Remember that Congress takes the month of August off to go home, and the campaign season begins. Go to their town hall meetings. Go to their district offices. Find them at ice cream socials, and county fairs, and anywhere else you can and make sure they know that their position for or against the horse industry will make a difference in the votes they receive. Take away the excuse we hear so often that “I understand where you are coming from, but the only people I hear from in my district are opposed to horse slaughter.” Make them hear from YOU.

Another thing you can do is support the organizations that are working the hardest for your best interests like United Horsemen, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to building a better future for horses and horse people, and the Cavalry Group,

a private member-based company dedicated to advancing the constitutional rights of law-abiding animal owners, animal-related businesses, and agricultural concerns. Of course, if you are directly involved in the horse processing industry you should consider becoming a member of the International Equine Business Association. Our mission is to to mutually protect the international horse industry, and to promote the use of horses and equine products in commercial enterprises.

The past month has been a roller coaster with action good and bad on Agriculture Appropriations and the Farm Bill in Washington, D.C. Although we were dismayed by a Congressional lack of courage in some quarters, we were greatly heartened by a coalition of tribes, agricultural organizations, horse industry groups, state and local government entities and some of the finest individuals in Washington D.C. today that stood shoulder to shoulder with us and never lost heart. At the same time our members struggled to slog their way through what seemed like unending hurdles. Now our companies are beefing up their security, hiring well vetted employees, and generally getting ready to go to work. They have customers lined up and waiting both here and abroad. It is a day we’ve long been waiting for.

We will do our best to keep you informed. Watch for alerts and announcements in coming weeks.

I’m guessing the ride is going to get wilder in coming days. As my old bronc riding Daddy would say, “Time to get your holds, set your spurs, and nod for the gate.” Happy Fourth of July!

It feels fine and fitting to have this gate kicked open for us in conjunction with our national celebration of freedom and independence.

Cheers!

sue's sig

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Return of Humane and Regulated Horse Processing is Welcome News  

The majority of the overall equine industry and the horse people of America are celebrating today the announcement that the option of humane and responsible horse processing under federal oversight has finally been granted.  Valley Meats of Roswell, New Mexico, announced today that they have received the necessary USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) grant of inspection.

“The U.S. horse industry owes a huge debt of gratitude to Valley Meats and the De Los Santos family,” says Sue Wallis, Wyoming State Representative and U.S. Chairman of the International Equine Business Association, “without their determination and courage to stand up to vicious abuse from animal activist groups led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) the entire horse world would be facing the continued devastation of the horse market, horrific environmental degradation of rangelands due to the absence of a humane option for excess horses,  the unacceptable decline in overall horse welfare as the result of radical action that deprives otherwise unwanted and unneeded horses of their intrinsic worth…not to mention depriving the rich, cultural and traditional use of horse meat in the cuisines of ethnic groups, and health and value conscious consumers both here and abroad.”

Wallis goes on to say that “for the majority of people who are in the horse business, who actually make some part of their living by raising, training, or otherwise using horses for the benefit of themselves, their families, and communities, this welcome news is long in coming. Finally, we can look forward to a positive outcome where every horse has value, is treated humanely from birth to death. When their highest, best use is to be turned into food for a very willing and eager market, horse people generally agree that is best accomplished in small state-of-the-art facilities, such as Valley Meats, that are designed for the purpose, manned by trained professionals, under the watchful and rigorous inspection of the USDA – Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for both food safety and humane handling. IEBA members have instituted systems that go far beyond FSIS requirements to ensure that no contaminated cheval (horse meat) ever enters the food system, and that all horses are treated right at every point. ”

 

-END-

 

If you would like more information, or have other questions please contact Sue Wallis, U.S. Chairman, IEBA, sue.wallis@ieqbassn.com, 307 680 8515.

Statement from Valley Meats
The Promise of Cheval

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April 17, 2013

The International Equine Business Association is deeply troubled by the recent inclusion of Section 725 in the President’s USDA budget seeking to eliminate the potential to reinvent a humane and federally regulated processing U.S. industry for the equine species.  His action was taken without any consultation or consideration of the equine industry, or the established policies of the states, the counties, or the Indian tribes with direct economic and political interest.

We are hopeful that members of Congress, and concerned citizens, will ask the following and similar questions of Secretary Vilsack and the Administration before making any policy decisions in regards to horses.  These questions are also important to any other action to arbitrarily segregate and treat differently one species of the livestock industry — the equine industry — and destroy a viable domestic and international market for U.S. agricultural products. These actions would eliminate jobs and opportunity in hard hit rural and tribal communities, and impose an ethnically and culturally insensitive prohibition on a traditionally important protein source.

The mission and purpose of the International Equine Business Association is to serve as a production agriculture association for the equine species, to work with other countries to mutually protect the international horse industry, and to promote the use of horses and equine products in commercial enterprises. The International Equine Business Association serves horse businesses and families by protecting their economic, legislative, regulatory, judicial, environmental, custom and cultural interests. The Association promotes the role of the horse industry in resource stewardship, animal care/wellbeing, and in the production of high-quality, safe, nutritious meat and other products.

The Association is structured, in part, to provide service and support to equine harvest businesses, and the use of horses for food, dairy, leather, and byproducts.  The Association provides technological systems, sets animal care and food safety standards, and conducts advocacy activities to support the industry.

Please contact either me and/or any of the experts listed with contact information after the questions below if we can clarify existing safeguards, provide additional information, or answer any questions you might have.

Sue Wallis, U.S. Chair

International Equine Business Association

 

 

Questions that should be asked…

In regards to Section 725 of USDA Budget defunding horse meat inspection:

  1. Why did the Administration, with full awareness of the political and social controversy surrounding the issue of horse processing, decide to abandon its traditional and appropriately neutral position and take sides on this issue?
  2. Was this decision to defund horse processing made by USDA with White House concurrence, or did the Department advise neutrality but was overridden?
  3. Was any current or potential litigation involved in this decision?
  4. It appears Sec. 725 was added at the last minute without any consultation whatsoever with the horse industry directly impacted by this action. We cannot find evidence of any consultation with Indian tribes, or  with any major agricultural or veterinary organization.  Almost all of these groups have strongly worded policy resolutions in support of horse processing.  It also does not appear USDA consulted with  state, local or tribal governments which,  through their national associations—the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Association of Counties (NaCO), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the National Tribal Horse Coalition (NTHC), National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), State Ag and Rural Leaders (SARL), the Council of State Governments (CSG), and others—have all well established and long standing policy supporting horse processing. There was no identifiable consultation with  horse industry organizations, from the breed registries, sport horse organizations, and the international association representing  companies  investing in local communities in hopes of creating jobs and contributing to rural economies by valuable use of an important livestock species.  Can the Department explain and justify  how the Administration came to the unprecedented action of inserting this policy changing language seeking to segregate and treat differently  an entire sector of animal agriculture?  Specifically with regards to the tribes, OMB’s Fact Sheets on Key Issues “Standing with Indian Country” is referenced. How can the Administration make such a statement when the USDA budget includes Sec. 725 without tribal consultation as required by Executive Order 13175, “Tribal Consultation on Federal Policy?”
  5. What is the environmental and cultural impact of uncontrolled populations of feral horses on tribal lands?
  6. Since the USDA mission statement directly addresses the use of “sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management” would you specifically address the lack of dialog with the horse industry in developing this particular policy. To what degree were the  conclusions of the GAO study  “Horse Welfare: Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences of Domestic Slaughter Cessation” taken into consideration in formulating this policy?  Why did you not consider the available science and the industry’s actions to specifically address prevention of drug residues in meat, ensure humane handling at every stage of processing, and guarantee the highest standards of food quality as independently verified by third party auditors? How did USDA’s 16-month delay in developing standards for slaughter certification be construed as “efficient management?” Clearly this policy goes against GAO findings and those of the scientific community.
  7. The companies which have waited more than 16 months for USDA to provide inspection certification have pending contracts with many of this country’s major trading partners.  With USDA’s grant of inspection these firms  could ship meat to China, to Japan, and likely to Russia; they could restart export to the European Union, and they could provide service and product to  domestic niche markets.  Cheval, the common market term for horse meat, is desired by a number of ethnic communities in the U.S., such as the Tongans, Mongolians, Italians, and Asian cultures, as well as certain health-conscious and value-conscious consumers looking for a high quality, affordable protein source.   How is denying one isolated segment of U.S. animal agriculture — the equine industry — furthering your mission of “providing leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues?”
  8. Considering USDA and Secretary Vilsack are rightfully proud of the impressive increase in the volume and value of agricultural exports, why  would the Department include this provision which, if accepted, eliminates the possibility of restoring a $100-million export industry? In other words, how can you single out one species of livestock, and exclude them from the success enjoyed by other livestock interests?
  9. Approximately 2,500 head of horses per week are exported for slaughter in E.U. inspected facilities in Mexico, and another roughly 1,500 head per week are exported to Canada for the same purpose. Has USDA considered the type and amount of financial assistance which may be necessary for U.S. horse owners deprived of a viable domestic market to feed the approximately 200,000 head of horses currently exported, plus the estimated 100,000 head of horses whose highest best use are as meat animals? These horses are owned by people who would like to sell them today, but who have no market other than to ship the animals for slaughter.
  10. Has USDA considered the international trade disruptions that will inevitably result if this trade is suddenly shut off over an internal social and political argument?  Has it considered the equally inevitable effect that may occur to  other livestock import and export with our closest international neighbors and largest trading partners?
  11. Has USDA considered whether this action sets a precedent for USDA to take similar action against other species which may currently enjoy or may receive USDA inspection certification?
  12. USDA has spent a lot of time and money validating the science underlying its equine drug residue testing and screening program for equine drugs.  How much did it cost the department to develop these tests, and is the department going to walk away from that investment?
  13. Has USDA calculated the economic impact of its decision on private companies, individual horse owners deprived of a market, Indian tribes and others who have invested in new processing facilities in good faith with the assumption  USDA would move forward as prescribed by law and grant inspection certifications to those companies that meet the requirements?
  14. Can USDA provide an estimate as to lost potential revenues—salaries, investments, taxes—to the rural communities in which processing facilities were scheduled to open?

 

 

 

Horse industry experts you can consult…

In regards to Section 725 of USDA Budget defunding horse meat inspection

Sue Wallis, U.S. Chair, International Equine Business Association, Recluse, Wyoming

Rancher, horsewoman, and Wyoming state representative Sue Wallis is deeply involved in restoring the humane and regulated horse processing industry to the U.S. Also serves as a co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislature’s Agricultural Task Force.

 

sue.wallis@ieqbassn.org

307-682-4808 ranch

307-680-8515 cell

Dave Duquette, President, United Horsemen, Hermiston, Oregon

Dave Duquette is an equine industry professional, a working cow horse trainer, who leads a nonprofit organization devoted to building a better future for the horse industry.

 

dduquettez1@charter.net

541-571-7588

Jason Smith, President, National Tribal Horse Coalition, Warm Springs, Oregon

Jason Smith leads a broad-based coalition of land based tribes in the West who face environmentally damaging and ecologically disastrous overpopulations of feral horses on tribal lands, exacerbated by the lack of a viable market and humane option for excess horses.  Jason is an accomplished horseman and rodeo champion who manages the Warm Springs Tribe’s agricultural operations.

 

jason.smith@wstribes.org

541-553-2011

Jennifer Woods, Livestock Handling, Blackie, Alberta

Internationally recognized animal welfare expert who studied with Dr. Temple Grandin at Colorado State University and who has developed the Humane Handling Guideline and Assessment for Horses at processing now used at the best run Canadian equine processing facilities, and which has been adopted by the IEBA as the standard for all U.S. plants.  Jennifer has agreed to oversee and advise the IEBA Equine Quality Assurance Program (EQAP) which ensures not only humane handling at every stage, but food safety, and quality throughout the industry. EQAP includes not only rigorous and enforceable adherence to high standards, but is backed up by third party independent auditing to assure stakeholders and customers of high quality, safe, and ethically produced products.

 

livestockhandling@mac.com

403-684-3008

Maggie Smith, Process Management Consultants, V.P. Audit Operations, Manchester, Tennessee

Maggie Smith is a professional safe food auditor with particular expertise in animal welfare who works closely with Jennifer Woods in coordinating and overseeing humane handling and food safety and quality auditing programs for the IEBA Equine Quality Assurance Program.

 

maggie.smith@foodsafeworld.com

931-607-4176

Mindy Patterson, President, The Cavalry Group, Grover, Missouri

Mindy Patterson serves on the board of Missouri Federation of Animal Owners (MOFED), as the Development Director for United Horsemen, on the board of directors of the Missouri Equine Council, and as the Chair of Horse Welfare for American Agri-Women.  Mindy is the president and co-founder of The Cavalry Group.  The Cavalry Group was born out of the fight against The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act when Mindy witnessed law abiding animal enterprises wrongfully threatened.

 

mindy@thecavalrygroup.com

855-748-4210

Click the link below to download the .pdf versions of this document to attach to emails or send to policy makers and stakeholders.

4.16.13 IEBA Questions We Hope Congress and Concerned Citizens Will Ask

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March 16, 2013

Humanely Produced and Scientifically Verified Safe Cheval (horse meat) Will Soon Be Available 

In spite of last minute attempts by animal rights extremists to slander an entire segment of animal agriculture by introducing Congressional action (S. 541 – a bill to prevent human health threats posed by the consumption of equines with others to follow…) that offers zero solution whatsoever to the dire circumstances facing the horse industry–the truth is that horse people are moving forward to provide a better future for horses and horse people. Radical groups, led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and their supporters on Capitol Hill and inside the White House seek to destroy what vestige is left of the U.S. horse industry. Nonetheless, the Law is the Law, and right now the Law is behind the horse industry allowing us to move forward with positive, humane systems, that ensure the highest standards of verified food safety, preserving the value,  and incentivizing the proper care of all horses in the United States.

Several horse processing plants in the United States are set to begin operations very soon. These plants have accomplished most or all of their required modifications to their facilities and will be requesting final walk through inspections, approval to begin operations, and the assignment of inspectors. USDA has indicated that under current law they will be providing the necessary regulation and inspection. These plants, and others that will be follow, have modified not only their physical plants to accommodate the unique characteristics of the equine species, but their Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans and their Standard Operating Procedures to include extremely rigorous, thorough, and scientifically validated testing of every carcass that will ensure that no drug residue can ever enter the human food chain, and that every plant has installed humane handling systems and procedures that go above and beyond the U.S. Humane Methods of Slaughter law.

There are eager markets awaiting the opening of these facilities both here in the United States and internationally. Cheval, which is the common term for meat from the equine species in the same way that beef is the term for meat from cattle, and pork is the term from hogs, is highly sought after by ethnic, gourmet, health and nutritionally interested, and value conscious consumers.

Strong support nationwide for the horse industry is perhaps most evident right now in Oklahoma where a pair of pro-horse industry bills that will allow processing to begin in that state are sailing through the State Legislature. Just this past Wednesday more than 400 articulate supporters of the legislation led by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and a host of other Ag organizations showed up for a rally at the Capitol, and not a single anti-slaughter activist! The week before a pathetic showing of anti-horse advocates at what was billed to be a “massive” rally against the bills achieved numbers barely above single digits, outnumbered by the media covering the event, illustrated the out of touch mentality of these extremist groups.

Attached to this press release is a report originally produced by IEBA last Fall, the  Promise of Cheval, and updated regularly as new science and information becomes available, as well as a Facts and FAQs document that answers common questions about the ethical and responsible production of cheval.

Below are documents testifying to the position of the States and the Tribes in regards to this issue–powerful entities that stand solidly behind the broader horse industry in this struggle to ensure that horses and horse owners have humane options that provide value, and therefor ensures the welfare of horses in the U.S.

 -END-

 

Letter from Warm Springs Chairman Smith in Regards to the Failure to Consult With the Tribes in Regards to the Dire Need for Horse Processing

Note from the National Tribal Horse Coalition in regards to this and similar letters being sent – “Just a note to you to say that we have sent the Chairman Smith’s letter on to voice the tribes position on horse issues we have been working on for years and the lack of tribal consultation! ”

National Conference of State Legislatures – Animal Agriculture Policy Including the Need for Equine Processing and USDA Inspection

This was accompanied by a message from NCSL staff to their contact at USDA – “Given the current debate concerning horse processing, I wanted to ensure that USDA was aware and took account of NCSL’s current policy (attached) on this issue. Please pass this on to the Secretary, his staff and officials at FSIS. The policy was approved by NCSL at our Legislative Summit in August 2012.”

 

 
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