The head of the Humane Society of the United States has listed the organisation’s top achievements for equines in 2012.
Chief executive Wayne Pacelle, writing in his blog, “A Humane Nation”, said the society was one of the few national organizations in the US with an expert staff driving a major agenda to help horses.
The top 10 achievements were listed as follows:
- An undercover investigation that documented abuse of Tennessee walking horses that led to criminal indictments and public outrage. A federal judge fined trainer Jackie McConnell $US75,000 and gave him three years’ probation. The footage showed McConnell bashing horses in the face and applying caustic chemicals to their feet in order to achieve the unnatural “big lick” gait prized in the industry.
- The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) finalized a new rule requiring mandatory minimum penalties for violations of the Horse Protection Act, a federal law to prevent soring.
- The society worked with US Representatives Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., to introduce legislation to strengthen the Horse Protection Act
- The society joined local advocates to block horse slaughter plants from opening in Missouri and New Mexico, and worked with New Jersey advocates to pass a state law that bans horse slaughter for human consumption and the transport of horsemeat for human consumption.
- The society filed petitions with the Food and Drug Administration and USDA to declare horsemeat as adulterated, and unfit for human consumption, on account of the drugs and veterinary treatments commonly used in horses and the lack of a verifiable tracking system for these medications.
- After discussions with The HSUS, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department suspended a policy allowing burros in Big Bend Ranch State Park to be killed.
- The society, partnering with Dr Brady Bergin, continued its project to humanely gather and re-home an at-risk herd of wild donkeys (480 animals to date) in Hawaii. There are about 100 remaining donkeys in need of rescue and rehoming.
- When the Atlantic City Steel Pier announced plans to bring back an inhumane “horse diving” act, society staff contacted state officials, spoke out against the plan, and applauded the subsequent decision to cancel the event.
- In the international arena, Humane Society International (HSI) initiated collaboration with local equine animal rescue groups to establish a horse sanctuary in Nicaragua. HSI also launched a public education campaign in the European Union to educate consumers on health risks associated with North American horsemeat, in order to reduce the demand for horsemeat worldwide. In Haiti, the society continued to train Haitian veterinarians on equine health and treat working equines in its field clinics throughout the country.
Pacelle said the society’s top priorities in 2013 include securing passage of federal legislation to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and ending soring, and demanding that the federal Bureau of Land Management dramatically scale down its round-ups and removals of wild horses and scale up its use of fertility control.
Pacelle’s full blog can be read here.