“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

Friday, October 16, 2009

Straight Talk With A Killer Buyer……Making Sense of It All….

This Article Was Originally Printed In Quarter Horse News …….
I found it on the Million Horse Links site. It is titled Straight Talk With A Killer Buyer……Making Sense of It All…..I assume since it available on a public website link I am not breaking any copyright rules……
This could be a story written from the personal perspective of any number of horse buyers I am familiar with in any given area of the country. This article rebuts the idea slaughter is still business as usual. So as John, Vicki and the crowd tell us, any spike in abuse only proves THEIR side. Mr. Smith explains this first hand from someone who has been there through the whole mess in person.

Editor’s Note: It’s the policy of Quarter Horse News to not use anonymous sources in articles. However, we are making an exception. “Bob Smith” is a businessman, a trader with over 20 years of hard-learned experience in buying and selling horses. He also has a ranch and he buys and sells cattle. He is afraid to allow his name to be published. This is because he often buys horses, some of which he transports to slaughter plants. Many times, he has received threats and even had guns pointed at him by people who believed he was violating the rights of horses and endangering their welfare. The organized views of slaughter ban proponents are heard loud and clear, on Web sites, in newspapers and magazines and on broadcast segments. This time, we’re going to hear a little about the situation from the other side of the issue. Be sure to visit http://www.quarterhorsenews.com/ to view an extended version of this Straight Talk with photos and additional quotes. It’s a fact that horses are still going to slaughter. From the period of January to May, comparing 2007 to 2008, exports of live horses to Canada are up 68 percent and to Mexico there has been an 84 percent increase. These increases are explained by the ban on horse slaughter in the United States (for the full story, please see the two-part horse slaughter update written by Rebecca Overton on http://www.quarterhorsenews.com/ or the June 1 and June 15, 2008, issues of Quarter Horse News).
Making Sense Of It All…..There are hundreds of people in the United States who make their livings buying and selling horses, some of which go to slaughter. Some call them “killer buyers.” It’s not a nice designation, but it’s the plain truth. “Bob Smith” is a killer buyer. Of course, most of the horses he buys and sells end up as riding horses, breeding stock, pasture ornaments and family pets. But there is a percentage – he figures about 30 percent – that end up going to slaughter.
Smith used to transport his slaughter horses to Illinois and Texas. Now, he regularly makes trips to Canada. Those hauls take anywhere from 30 to 40 hours and require at least two days to complete. The horse slaughter ban has made it tough on Smith’s business, especially in light of increased fuel costs. But Smith contends that the real victims of the ban are, ironically, the horses.
Market supply. There’s been a documented decrease in the value of the lower- and middle-level horses in the past year. Smith attributes this to the horse slaughter ban and the resulting oversupply of horses at the bottom end. “It’s crazy because the horses are poor,” he said, pointing out that he has seen a drop-off in the number of healthy, well-conditioned horses at the local sales. “People don’t care no more. It’s worse now than what it was when the plants were open, 10 to one. “Sometimes you’ll give the horses away after you pay the commission because they won’t bring $15, $20 apiece. By the time you pay the $20 Coggins test, the $10 yardage and 8 percent commission, you’re back in the hole.”
Smith acknowledges that prices are holding for the nicely bred, well-broke, useable horses sold at well established or well-publicized sales. It’s at the local or regional sales – the ones held on the same day every month, every week – that horses, even the broke ones, are bringing significantly lower prices.
“This is where it all starts from. If you look, 90 percent of them end up at the local auction. I bought 14 horses last night for $900. Most of those horses cost $35 - $40 each. “If they were worth anything, why are people turning horses out in the national forests and in the coal mines? They dump them at our place. We get two to four horses a week – just thrown out. We don’t know where they come from. We’d rather not have them. You lose money on them.
“We had a blind horse dumped at our place. I called the Humane Society to come and get it. It took them three weeks. The matter of fact was that they had to give it away before they could come and get it.”
For the draft-breed horses, Smith says the value has dropped significantly. “Those horses that go by the pound, there’s no outlet for them and you’re seeing a lot more of them in poor shape. A Belgian horse isn’t worth a dime when he gets where he’s going. You cannot buy him for $10 here and truck him up there [to Canada]; it won’t pay your gas. It’s not worth fooling with him.”
Irresponsible breeding, Smith sees a lot of sick, undernourished and unsound horses at the sales. But he believes that even more stay home. “People won’t sell them because it costs money. They’d rather starve them to death. Because when you take them to market, you’ll owe $30 to $75. Used to be that even if your horse was thin, you got something for him. They won’t sell them. They’ll just keep them out in the pasture. Would you sell him if you had to owe the sale barn when you got done?”
Sales have been cancelled this year and Smith has noticed a drop-off in the number of horses being auctioned. But he has not noticed a coinciding slowdown in the breeding. “I’ve sold more studs now to breed this year than I did when the slaughter plants were open. You’ve got old Molly out there in the pasture; you want to raise you a colt. Why go to the auction to buy you a horse when you raise one out of Molly there? They have 20 to 30 horses out there and they’re not worth nothing. They just keep them out there and let them keep breeding. “It’s got worse. I don’t know why, but it has.” The inhumanity Transporting a horse to a slaughter plant, where he used to meet his end with a captive bolt, is not nice.
Making Sense of It - The Straight Talk with a killer buyer about his impressions of how the horse slaughter ban has impacted domestic horses. Katie Tims Quarter Horse News • August 1, 2008
Question is, was it humane?
“The people against the slaughter plants have never been to the horse auction,” Smith said. “They’ve got the picture of Black Beauty. If they’d come here, they’d understand. They’d see the poor horses. They don’t see it, they don’t want to see it, they ain’t going to see it. If they’d see it, they’d tell you to open the plants tomorrow.”
When slaughter plants operated domestically, Smith had to meet humane treatment standards on the horses he delivered to the facilities. “We had to fill out a form on each horse that it had no cuts, no bruises. We had to have compartments for the studs, to keep them separate. No one inspects them at all now.”
Smith believes that it’s the slaughter ban proponents who are responsible for the horses’ diminished situation. “They condemn everybody else for being inhumane, but we’re not. There is an inhumane way to handle everything. You know, it’s about as inhumane to leave that horse out there in that pasture and not fool with him, not care for him, as it was to bring him here and sell him for slaughter.
“That horse was watched over to the end. The captive bolt was more humane than choking a horse down enough to stick a needle in his vein. Most people have never seen that, but they’ve seen all the videos of horses being stabbed. That’s not the way it was here in the United States. The USDA used to watch over the whole process.”
Smith is tired of being portrayed as an evil person who abuses horses. “The horse trader does care about horses. It’s the way he makes a living. The horse trader will come to a local sale and take better care of the horses than the public does. That’s my opinion. Sometimes, accidents do happen. It’s that way with anything – with your horses, with your cows, with your dogs.”
Horse traders, Smith insists, understand the reality of the situation while animal rights advocates catch only glimpses. He says they don’t see the horses before they get to sale, the ones kept at home for too long because they’re not worth selling. “People have no idea of what’s going on. They think they’re helping the horses, but they’re just killing them.
“If the Humane Society and PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] care so much, why don’t they come get those poor horses at the sale barns? Why don’t they pick them up? Those are the ones that need saving. If they want to help those horses, there are places to go get them. Go get those things. Instead of waiting for the horse to sell for less than the consignment fee and yardage, go give the man $20 for a Coggins test. They could have more horses than they ever dreamed of.”
An emotional issue, Smith’s words say it all. “You have no market value at all for a poor horse and you get in trouble with them. Any time you load a poor horse up and take him somewhere, you’ve got the PETA people all over you. Even the horse that comes from a bad home and you’re trying to get him to a good home, they still get on you.”
Sometimes, it gets a little more personal. “There are crazy folks. They’ll shoot guns. You pull up in your driveway at home and they’ll be sitting there at midnight or in the morning. That’s the truth of it.”
At the sales, people try to get recorded goods to support claims of mishandling and abuse. “When we’re loading horses at night, they’ll hide over there with video cameras,” Smith said, pointing to bushes about 50 yards from the loading chute at a sale yard. “I see them over there, I just ignore them. And that’s not even on the slaughter horses but it’s on the broke horses, as well. It’s horses in general.”
One time in Greenville, Miss., Smith had a woman driving a station wagon force him over to the side of the road. His truck was loaded with quarantined horses diagnosed with equine infectious anemia.
“She pulled a .38 on me, right in the middle of town,” Smith said. “She had a badge and said she was with the Humane Society, one of the boss ladies of it. “She took me to the agri-center and they had a Quarter Horse show going. I had to go, she had a .38 pointed at my head. She unloaded the quarantine horses off the truck into the agri-center with all the other horses. Then she turned around and went out there, bought shavings and bedded the floor of the trailer down with shavings. “She loaded the horses back on the trailer and she said she was going to check me back at the state line. There was another guy that was there and he took me to the back roads. I took a dirt road to the Greenville bridge and went right into Arkansas. It made no sense.

I didn’t change a word, but thought it might bear repeating.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The county Fair is the place to be!

RH2 wrote this piece and sent it to me the week that I was at our county fair. I must admit to "loosing" it in my emails at that time :( Being a 4-H leader in our horse program and being very active in working at all the different events I was a little busy and distracted at the time. I enjoyed reading this and very much related to it. I feel we owe our readers something positive and enjoyable once in a while :) While I find my time at the fair grounds to be exhausting by the end of the week I also find the whole experience with the kids and animals to be worth the exhaustion. I'm sure some of our readers can relate and I hope all of you enjoy this piece as much as I did.

The County Fair Is The Place To Be!

A few weeks ago, I attended our County Fair. We have some pretty active Equine groups in our area, so there are a lot of Horse related events to attend. And the bonus is they're all free! Whether you're a fan of English or Western Riding, Driving, Miniature Horses, Draft Horses, Halter Class, Eventing, Team Penning, the new Ultimate Ranch Race, or just want to see all the different breeds, the Fair's the place to be. It's been a few years since I've attended, so I was a little surprised at the Western Pleasure classes. I think there wasn't a saddle and bridle set valued under $3000 out there. And the outfits were those you'd normally see in sanctioned shows. There were two kids out there in Jeans, pressed shirts, with their everyday working saddles and bridles, and boy were they cute! That's why I really enjoy the classes. I also like to see them try new things. Whether it be the egg and spoon race, the key hole, or Team penning, the Fair gives riders and their horses the chance to expand their horizons a little. All ages are welcome, and everyone is cheered on. I'm a huge fan of good sportsmanship. I also enjoy just walking through the barns. The 4-H groups do a really great job of educating these children. Not only is horsemanship taught, but proper care. At our fair, you'll never see a horse with so much as a mud spot or a hair out of place. These kids take such an immense pride in their horses, and it shows. During the day, the wash racks are always in use, and everyone's always busy grooming, checking tack, cooling their horse out, or preparing for the next event. You can see the pride of ownership in the evening too. While you can walk through the barns and see the kids happily sitting around talking and laughing, you'll notice each and every horse groomed and stalled with plenty of hay and water. I'm proud to see these kids as our future horsemen and women!If you haven't had a chance to, you should attend an Ultimate Ranch Race demonstration. What a great time! The riders and their horses complete a timed obstacle course that tests the ability and trust of both horse and rider. The stands and arena were packed to see this, and the horses and riders competing did an awesome job! The youngest rider I saw was 14, the oldest horse 20, so this is truly an event for everyone. Your success depends on how well you've trained your horse, and you don't need any fancy training and riding equipment. Anyone can set up a course at home. We're getting ours together, and can't wait to get to work on it. As always, the weekend flew by, and the reminder that Winter is coming came at the end of it. I've got my list in hand of the "to-do's" to get the barn, pasture, and run ins ready before the snow flies. But I've also got my mind set on that race next year at the fair-something to look forward to!
Written by RH2

Sunday, October 11, 2009

HR 503 - Discuss Away…I Don’t Think the Issues Can Be Summed in Discussing One Bill……But…..

We recently had a request to discuss HR 503. I have no desire to do that. I have been discussing it and all its variables to death since this was current information.
H.R. 503, A bill to amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption.
This item is from the 109th Congress (2005-2006) and is no longer current. Comments, voting, and wiki editing have been disabled, and the cost/savings estimate has been frozen.

H.R. 503 would amend provisions of the Horse Protection Act of 1970 related to the slaughter of certain equines. The bill would establish a pilot program in Kentucky and New York to prohibit certain activities associated with the slaughter of horses or other equines for human consumption. Due to exceptions included in the bill, this prohibition would not directly affect current equine slaughter activity in those or other States. The bill also would require the Secretary of Agriculture, subject to availability of appropriated funds, to compensate equine owners for any economic loss due to such prohibitions. In addition, the Secretary would be required to assume responsibility for any equine-in any State-that is unwanted by an owner. [This summary and cost estimate refer to an early version of the bill. See comments below for more information.] Cost per average household: $1.75.
This was taken from the http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/109_HR_503.html . I only brought this up to show the estimated preliminary cost per household to pass this thing when we started down the road to where we are now. Again 41 Mustangs seems kind of relevant.
More recent information is available at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-503
1/14/2009--Introduced.Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009 - Amends the federal criminal code to impose a fine and/or prison term of up to three years for possessing, shipping, transporting, purchasing, selling, delivering, or receiving any horse, horse flesh, or carcass with the intent that it be used for human consumption. Reduces the prison term to one year if the offense involves less than five horses or less than 2,000 pounds of horse flesh or carcass and the offender has no prior conviction for this offense.
This website lists the last action on this bill as March 16, 2009 when it was referred to none other than the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
http://maplight.org/map/us/bill/79783 reports that the following organizations have taken a stance on this bill:
Oppose: American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Veterinary Medical Association
Support: Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, Animal Welfare Institute, National Horse Protection League, Habitat for Horses, American Horse Defense Fund, Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota People
I was kind of confused once again. It happens to me often when I start researching the horse slaughter issue. I could have sworn the list of those opposed to HR 503 and in support of the "Support the H.O.R.S.E. Act" - The Humane and Optimal Restoration and Sustainability of Equines per the website http://www.unitedorgsofthehorse.org/ included the above mentioned Native American Tribes. I didn’t find it there although that is an interesting website discussing many things which John Holland and Vicki Tobin are adamantly trying to tell us are not statistically happening. My personal favorite is the mare with her brand skinned off. I am sure she wasn’t abandoned on purpose someone is just making that up.
I did find a website http://www.ncai.org/ncai/resolutions/doc/DEN-07-100_with_sigs_amended_dc.pdf document seeking an amendment to HR 503 by the National Congress of American Indians to allow the tribes to slaughter horses on the reservations.
The National Indian Congress is in support of an AMENDMENT to HR 503 not HR 503 itself.
The word amendment must have gone unnoticed to those maintaining the Maplight website. This is an excellent example of the lack of comprehension skills, misinterpretations, or just plain it LOOKS better my way double speak which is so common. Have I mentioned how much that bothers me? Read it correctly, print it correctly, provide sources documenting your facts or don’t come to the party. Hmm, maybe I have mentioned how much those little “misconceptions” bother me.
The link to this and much more information is available at http://www.amillionhorses.com/links.htm .
This site also has a link to a sight outlining the AMVA requirements for operating rescues. There is a link to a website on how to use the body score system to determine a horse’s condition. These were mentioned as things we needed to educate people about….so educate away….It’s all there for anyone who would take the time to look, I assume the people needing “educating” can look as well as I can. Apparently not, judging by some of the photos and comments outlined in the previous blogs.
And back to the website http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-503 related bills are listed as:
Other Legislation with the Same Title
The list below shows legislation in this and previous sessions of Congress that had the same title as this bill. Often bills are incorporated into other omnibus bills, and you may be able to track the status of provisions of this bill by looking for an omnibus bill below. Note that bills may have multiple titles.
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-727 Introduced
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-6598 Dead
Crowd-Sourcing Users tracking this bill are also tracking...
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-305 (16 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-727 (15 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr111-191 (2 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1054 (3 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr111-355 (1 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/users/questions.xpd?topic=bill:h111-80 (1 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-529 (4 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1055 (3 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-1579 (3 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-1076 (3 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1018 (9 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2480 (2 users)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-556 (4 users)
Subject Terms
This bill is related to other bill and resolutions in these subject areas as identified by the Congressional Research Service:
I am at a loss as to how some of these are even remotely relevant to the horse industry. I think it may be an insight on the type of people driving the “popular” sentiment factor in this debate but……
discuss away….read away……..
If we believe all being passed around the anti-slaughter forums in regard to EU passport system to be implemented in April 2010 HR-503 or any other anti-slaughter legislation is a moot point. Any discussion of it here or in Washington is a waste of time. Wasting time here isn’t such a big deal but wasting time in Washington tends to waste taxpayer money. Therefore in the interest of the federal deficit and many other pressing issues I wish Vicki, Alex, John, and the like would clue these people in so they can stop lobbying legislation which will soon be meaningless.