Today I came across a post from 2011. It was after I had spent the day at the State House in MA fighting to Ban Slaughter. Back then, I was optimistic that the battle would be won swiftly; and with the committed efforts from Humane Society and the thousands of Equine Advocates we could prevent the 100,000+ horses a year from crossing the U.S. borders for slaughter. I took the day off from work (and life) to sit patiently for ten hours on Beacon Hill. I presented my well-prepared and well-rehearsed presentation to a number of State Representatives. The next day I posted my remarks:
Fast forward, now 2016 and this memory pops up in Facebook and my reaction was WTF! It’s been years now that the Humane Society has been convincing us that they will pass the SAFE Act and prevent horses from crossing the border to slaughter. Every year over 100,000 horses (and donkeys) make that fatal journey. Since I wrote that post in 2011, over 640,000 horses have shipped.
In one year, it will be the 10th anniversary of closing the U.S slaughter plants. Since then, over one million horses, donkeys and mules have shipped to Canada, Mexico and Japan to slaughter.
How long should I wait patiently for the SAFE Act to pass? Especially when I see SAFE Act waiting to get out of the Agricultural Committee, with only a 9% chance of enacting. While I have officially given up waiting for the Humane Society, I have not give up that collaboratively we can help protect our horses.
Here is the initiatives we are working on at the Equine Rescue Network:
- LANDFILLS. Hopefully someday we will see Landfills in the USA used as Equine Sanctuaries. There are over 10,000 old municipal landfill ready to be reclaimed for recreation or equine sanctuaries.
- OVERBREEDING. We are working with the AQHA to provide examples and an account of registered AQHA horses sent to slaughter. They have invited us to speak to their Welfare Committee. While most AQHA members are responsible owners, some are not and it is of interest to the AQHA to protect the welfare of their horses.
- MICROCHIPPING. This project is on hold, while at the same time still making great strides in the industry. The Jockey Club and USEF have adopted Microchipping as a means to identify horses. We expect by 2020, all horses will be microchipped. This will provide accountability through the entire horse industry. ERN’s plan is to rollout a phone app that allows us to search registries by microchip numbers.
- SAVE LIVES. ERN will continue to save lives as best we can by pulling horses from auctions and killpens. We have rescued over 500+ – we are good at it and will continue to get better!
- JAPAN and ATLAS AIR. ERN has reached out to the Chairman of the Board for Atlas Air. Plus, we have also reached out to Amazon, who is vying to purchase Atlas Air. This battle continues.
- EDUCATION. (this one is new)…Jennifer Hegg, founder of Team American Saddlebred Rescue, had a great idea: contact colleges and universities that offer Equine Studies. These programs teach students breeding and reproduction as part of their curriculum, why not teach them not to breed horses, but to save them?
It’s a slow process – and we need more help. People to commit to making things better for the horses we love. SO, If you want to be involved in any of the above tasks and you are committed to helping, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we would gladly accept your help! Tire kickers, need not apply. We need warriors to add to our army!