“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Guess The System Was Working....

Sugar Creek Auction Fined $162,800 for equine violations

Leroy Baker Jr., owner and operator of Sugarcreek Livestock Auction, has been fined more than $162,000 by the USDA for violating equine transport laws.
I don’t know Leroy Baker and have not been to Sugarcreek. I have heard about it many times over on horse forums of all types. Last winter I was involved in debate discussing an Animal Angels Rescue article about how officials “just looked the other way and did nothing” about the deplorable conditions at Sugarcreek. Guess the officials working on this case should have let her in on their investigation so she could have gotten those images out of her head. (Images of a horse she didn’t buy.....that is.)
Order of events
Baker has been in the business of buying and selling horses since 1985 and Sugarcreek Livestock Auction regularly shipped more than 1,000 horses per year to slaughter plants in Texas, according to USDA.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) filed a complaint against Baker in March 2008, alleging he violated the Commercial Transportation of Equines for Slaughter Act.
The allegations spanned 2003-2007 and included not completely and properly filling out required owner-shipper paperwork for horses shipped from the auction facility; not contacting USDA officials to report horses that died during shipment; incorrectly identifying stallions as geldings and not separating them from the rest of the shipment; and not handling blind or injured horses “expeditiously and as carefully as possible.”
USDA also claimed multiple loads of horses were missing a written statement that indicated the animals had been rested, watered and fed for at least six consecutive hours prior to being loaded and transported.
In total, the claims pertained to some 1,345 horses hauled in 35 loads to slaughter plants.
USDA said the allegations applied not only to Baker, but also to any truck drivers who hauled for him and failed to fill in the paperwork.
USDA documents indicate Baker never responded to the allegations, which waived his right to a hearing on the matter and, by fault, admitted guilt.
USDA subsequently filed cease and desist orders against Baker, which required him to stop violations of the equine act.
The agency also fined Baker $162,800, which was to be paid by mid-February. To date, that fine has not been paid, and Baker says he can’t afford to pay it.
USDA public affairs specialist Madelaine Fletcher said if the debt isn’t paid before it’s 180 days delinquent, Baker will be responsible for paying it, plus additional fees of up to 30 percent. There are a number of other penalties that can also apply, including seizing income tax refunds, economic stimulus payments or any federal payment, Fletcher said.
Fighting back
In December, Leroy Baker filed a petition with USDA asking them to reconsider their decision, which was denied because he didn’t respond within the allotted time.
Baker says 95 percent of the allegations are false and he questioned why infractions of the transport act weren’t brought to his attention sooner.
“I wanted to know why, if there was a problem, they waited five or six years to do anything,” Baker said. “If there’s something wrong, you fix it now.”
“They’ve got their paperwork all mixed up, and their investigator doesn’t even know what is going on. They’ve got me going to two different [slaughter plants] with the exact same load,” he said.
“They’re bogus charges.”
Photo proof?
Baker said he’s been shown photos that USDA is using to prove certain claims, but even those photos show inconsistencies.
For instance, a fat horse with a short tail shipped from Sugarcreek was claimed to be emaciated when it arrived in Texas 12 hours later. However, photos of that horse taken in Texas showed it with a long tail and with identification tags in different places than when the horse left Ohio.
“Now you tell me that’s the same animal,” Baker said. “If there’s a mix-up or if a horse is injured once it gets [to the plant], that’s not my responsibility.
“Everybody who gets stopped for bank robbery says they didn’t do it. But if I did wrong, I will admit it and pay for my troubles.”
Animal rights
Baker, whose auction facility is frequented by animal rights activists and animal rescuers, said he’s aware that horse slaughter isn’t popular with the American public. He defends it anyhow.
“What’s worse, slaughtering a horse someone can’t or won’t care for anymore, or letting it die painfully?
“I tell the animal rights people if you want to buy all the horses in the world, go ahead. But don’t prolong their agony.”
This article originally appeared on this website.
by Andrea Zippay Thursday, March 5, 2009

I’m not going to debate the yes or no of this article. We have all attended badly run auctions. We have all been to good auctions.
Some things I find curious……..
Countering claims of increased abandonment and abuse from those with a pro-slaughter agenda, anti-slaughter activists repeatedly state this will not happen because animal cruelty is against the law. There are laws to prevent this.
When pushing anti-slaughter legislation these laws are ignored so we must do away with all involved in the auction to slaughter system. The laws don’t work and are ignored.
So which is it?
I am also curious how long it will take before the APHIS photos used as evidence to prosecute this case surface on some rescue web site or anti slaughter forum or blog as “proof” nothing is being done. It’s a tactic that’s been working pretty well so far.

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