December 10, 2001
Equine Placement Network, Inc.
December 7, 2001 is a day that will live in infamy in the effort to protect horses from slaughter & the abuse that they are forced to endure on their last ride to a slaughterhouse. The proposed regulations for the Commercial Transportation of Horses to Slaughter Act have been adopted by the USDA.
These regulations will legalize every inhumane practice identified in the transport of horses to slaughter, AND, put the very people identified as the abusers in charge of the horses. These same people have been convicted of the cruel transport of horses in NY & PA & have lied to law enforcement and prosecutors. This is the fox guarding the hen house.
The Proposed Regulations will Allow the Following; Double deck cattle trailers will continue to be legal for another 5 years. These trailers can have ceiling heights as low as 5'7". Commercial horse trailers are no lower than 6'6", with most being 7' to 8' tall. Using a conservative number of 200 horses in a double deck a week, that is 10,400 horses a year, or 52,000 horses over the next 5 years that will continue to be forced to ride in trailers designed for cattle and hogs that do not allow the horses to stand upright and cause head, back & neck injuries.
It will be legal to ship horses 28 hours with no water, no food, & no rest. Equine industry transport standards are water every 4-6 hours depending on the weather. Equine husbandry practices recommend water no_less_ than every 12 hours. Horses are transported in boarded up trailers during the summer when outside temperatures are exceeding 90 degrees. With 40 - 45 horses in a trailer it is impossible for these horses to receive enough ventilation. Horse industry standard for the same size trailer is 8 to 15 horses.
Full term pregnant mares can be shipped to slaughter, as long as the owner / shipper, the very person who stands to benefit by shipping the mare & the person who stands to lose money if the mare is not shipped, does not believe the mare will foal during the trip. Equine veterinarians have stated that they cannot predict when a mare is going to foal.
The owner / shipper, the very person identified as the person(s) inflicting the inhumane treatment to slaughter horses have been put in charge of determining whether or not a horse is fit to ship instead of a veterinarian. Considering that the owner/shipper stands to lose money if the horse does not ship, & stands to profit if the horse does ship, this is an apparent conflict of interest.
Penalties will be civil, not criminal. In other words law enforcement cannot enforce. Enforcement will be at the slaughterhouse, not at auctions or feedlots prior to loading. The USDA is in charge of enforcing the regulations. The USDA is currently not enforcing their regulations at horse auctions. How will the USDA enforce these guidelines?
Language is performance based instead of engineering based. Performance based language makes enforcement more difficult. The proposed regulations fly in the face of every accepted horse transportation industry practice, horse management practice & horse husbandry practice. Horses bound for slaughter are still horses, they have not shrunk in size, their behavior has not changed, their need for water has not changed. They are still alive & need to be transported in vehicles designed to transport horses & using methods designed for horses.
To better understand the EPN's & CA Equine Council's opposition read the related stories at the end of this page.
The EPN started working on legislation in PA in 1996 to ban the use of double deck trailers because we KNEW that the Commercial Transportation of Horses to Slaughter Act would never protect these horses. The PA Horse Transport Law, Act 64 went into effect on August 25, 2001. Double deck trailers are ILLEGAL in PA to transport any equine anywhere.
Senator Wyss, IN has introduced legislation modeled after PA's in the IN legislature. Senator Wyss became aware of the plight of these horses in May 2001 after watching a newscast by WISH-TV. Wyss contacted the reporter, Karen Hensel asking what he could do to help. The EPN, who had worked closely with WISH-TV providing background and video, urged Hensel to suggest to Wyss a bill banning the use of double deck trailers to transport horses.
The EPN pressed for stepped up enforcement of NY law, passed in 1980, banning the use of double deck trailers to transport horses. Numerous convictions on hundreds of charges and fines approaching $20,000 are the result. Arlow Kiehl has another case pending in Barker, NY on December 20, 2001. Kiehl was arrested in February 2001 on I-81 by the New York State Police after loading horses onto a double deck trailer that were purchased at PA horse auctions. Kiehl tried to elude law enforcement by having the horses transported to another livestock market for loading onto the double decker after purchasing the horses at a Lancaster County horse auction.
These groups, along with over 200 others, including the Assistant District Attorneys who prosecuted Kiehl and Nickerson in NY OPPOSE these regulations!
To see who supports & for more information on these regulations see Frormal Opposition at the end of this page.The memo from the meetings that were made private. The USDA did not host these meetings, if the meetings were hosted by the USDA, then the meetings would have been open to the public. The USDA did NOT want groups who the USDA KNEW would stand up for the horses & OPPOSE, being able to attend.
COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION OF EQUINES TO SLAUGHTER
December 7, 2001
Federal Register: (Volume 66, Number 236) [Page 63587-63617]
[DOCID:fr07de01-9] [Page 63587] 9 CFR Parts 70 and 88 [Page 63588] 9 CFR
Parts 70 and 88 [Docket No. 98-074-2] RIN 0579-AB06
AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We are establishing regulations pertaining to the commercial transportation of equines to slaughtering facilities. These regulations fulfill our responsibility under the 1996 Farm Bill to regulate the commercial transportation of equines for slaughter by persons regularly engaged in that activity within the United States. The purpose of the regulations is to establish minimum standards to ensure the humane movement of equines to slaughtering facilities via commercial transportation. As directed by Congress, the regulations cover, among other things, the food, water, and rest provided to such equines. The regulations also require the owner/shipper of the equines to take certain actions in loading and transporting the equines and require that the owner/shipper of the equines certify that the commercial transportation meets certain requirements. In addition, the regulations prohibit the commercial transportation to slaughtering facilities of equines considered to be unfit for travel, the use of electric prods on equines in commercial transportation to slaughter, and, after 5 years, the use of double-deck trailers for commercial transportation of equines to slaughtering facilities.
EFFECTIVE DATE: February 5, 2002.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Timothy Cordes, Senior Staff Veterinarian, National Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 43, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-3279.