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STOP ANIMAL CRUELTY Fatally Betrayed Equines: Katia Louise's Saving America's Horses    
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The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it. Horses represent humanity. What we do to horses says a lot about what we do to our own kind.

This is the Stop Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television. This week we’ll hear from journalist, talk-show host, animal advocate and co-founder as well as executive director and president of the US-based non-profit Wild for Life Foundation, Katia Louise.

Also a talented filmmaker, Ms. Louise wrote, directed and produced the award-winning 2011 documentary, “Saving America’s Horses: A Nation Betrayed.” This revealing film examines the utterly inhumane horse slaughter industry, and calls for immediate measures to protect the lives of horses in the US. Many prominent American celebrities appear in the film including actor Sir Paul Sorvino, CNN news anchor Jane Velez-Mitchell, and actress Linda Gray, among others.

“Saving America’s Horses” is the short title for “Saving America’s Horses – A Nation Betrayed.” And, “A Nation Betrayed” is a part of the title because it’s a nation of people betrayed by the truth that horse slaughter is humane. It’s not. It’s also the horse nation itself being betrayed, horses who trust us, whom we’ve used for our own gain. And then we turn around and send them off this way after they learn to trust us.

Through her extensive research for the film, Ms. Louise uncovered the disturbing fact that many horses in the US, no matter how much they may have been loved as companions, racers or working animals, end up at slaughterhouses, sometimes without the knowledge of their caregivers.

It could be a situation where, and this happens quite frequently, we’ve got children in the home, and they’ve got their family pet ponies. And they grow up, and the kids are going off to college now, and maybe the parents are downsizing in property or whatever, to pay for college. But they decide that maybe the horse isn’t something that they can continue to care for now.

And they care deeply about these horses. And so they’ll give her a bath, fix her all up, maybe braid her hair and go the extra mile to make sure that she attracts a good home. And what they don’t realize, a lot of people even in the horse community with their own horses are naïve about this, at the auction houses the kill buyers are going to be there to purchase that horse. The dealers that buy horses for the purpose of sending them to slaughter are known as kill buyers. And they frequent the auction houses.

In the past, over 100,000 horses were slain annually in the US. In 2007, federal legislation forced the country’s last three horse abattoirs to close their doors. However this has not stopped the practice of horse slaughter.

Sadly, some horses in the US are now being trucked thousands of kilometers to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico to produce horse meat. Kill buyers and those who want to re-open horse abattoirs in the US try to perpetuate the myth that the horses that are being murdered are “unwanted” and this justifies their callous slaying.

So, there’s a term that is used a lot. Now I just want to talk about it real briefly. They want to say, “the unwanted horses,” and that there’s a problem, and that we need to do something with all these “unwanted horses.” The term “unwanted” was coined by those that are proponents of horse slaughter. And it suggests that, these, social, intelligent sentient beings, are, disposable.

And, our world has come to an age that we do find it easy to dispose of things, and, when our phone gets old, or copier stops working we toss it and we get a new one. There’s a difference, these are individual living beings, and, at least to my way of thinking and our belief at Wild for Life Foundation this is not what we do with creatures that we share our planet with. They’re not disposable.

Once purchased by the kill buyers, these innocent, once-cherished equines begin their terror-filled journey to a miserable death. Their first stop is the feedlot, where horses are gathered in preparation for transport.

There are what they call feedlots, although, that’s kind of a misleading name because people assume a feedlot is where a horse would get fed. Often times these feedlots don’t feed the horses adequately or sometimes they don’t even get any food, or water, or shelter. So the places where they’re sent before they go to slaughter, sale yards, sale barns, feedlots, and collecting stations, are pretty much all under the same umbrella.

Next the ruthlessly exploited equines are sent to either Canada or Mexico.

One of the big problems in the transport of horses is the fact that they use a double-deck trailer. It’s a trailer that’s built for shipping cattle. And horses are tall compared to cattle. They’re overcrowded. They’re forced into these trailers. They’re whipped. They’re beaten.

They’re very frightened. They can’t move. Sometimes it’s hard for them to breathe because it’s so crowded in there. It’s slippery. It’s metal floors. They have to go up and down these ramps, and they could fall. They could break legs in there, they get stomped to death. They could be on that trailer for two or three days. They should be, rested, fed and watered. We have evidence that that’s not happening.

Many arrive with serious injuries, head, back, neck injuries, broken legs, and no medical care is given to these horses. Once they’re designated as food animals, they don’t get the same kind of treatment that they got when they were horses loved by their family back at home or on that racetrack. It is a night and day difference. It’s pure hell.

When they finally reach their destination, the extremely distressed animals face a brutal, bloody death.

The horses are walking on metal floors. Oftentimes they still have their shoes on. They’re slipping and falling all over the place, many of them injured, terrified. There is a smell to death, and the horses have a keen sense of smell. The smell of death permeates this facility. Not only that but blood, and the blood you can smell over a mile away from these facilities as a person.

So just imagine what it would be like inside there. So we got a horse that is most likely injured, if not terrified, smelling death, smelling blood, watching what's happening to the horses in front of them, very resistant to go into that kill chute, beaten to get there, many times, bobbing up and down, falling, just anything to try and escape the inevitable. No way out.

You have someone standing there with a gun, a captive bolt gun or a spear. The humane guidelines say that the horse should only be struck once, one time. And there’s a small target area right in the forehead where that horse is to be struck, because that’s the one place where they could be stunned.

It's supposed to make them unconscious so they can’t feel the pain and know what else is going on. And this is not happening. They’re struck all over the place. Sure there’re a few that might have been struck properly, but that doesn’t kill them. They’re still alive. And they’re hung by one leg, all that weight. The average horse is a thousand pounds, hung by an ankle, upside down.

Their throat is cut so that while their heart is beating, the blood drains from their body, and the butchering process begins. These horses that are still conscious are suffering tremendously. They’re, shot on the back of the neck, on the side, in the eye, in the face, all over the place. And they don’t stop the (killing) line, because that costs too much money.

This happened in America. This happens currently in other countries where this goes on. We have an overwhelming amount of documentation, evidence to show this. It's on record. The horses are suffering tremendously.

“Saving America’s Horses” also addresses the outrageous abuse of wild horses.

The film is just as much about the domestic horses as it is about the wild horses. And in fact, it's the only feature film that really advocates for both wild and the domestic horses. Because both are subject to slaughter in this country.

By some estimates there were one million to three million wild horses in the US at the beginning of the 1900’s. Now the population in the wild is only around 33,000. Another 30,000 have been taken from the wild and put in government holding pens because of the unfounded fear of the horses overpopulating public lands. These captive horses may be adopted and possibly fall into the hands of kill buyers who send them to Mexico for butchering.

They’re rounded up by helicopter, they’re chased over long distances, sometimes over lava fields and extreme temperatures in the dead of winter, icy slippery conditions. In the heat summer it’s, 120 degrees (Fahrenheit) out there in the desert.

Run a horse for you know, a hundred miles, whatever it is, over lava fields, stampeded at helicopter speeds under these conditions is terrifying. And it’s very cruel. The little babies, they’re not ready to run. They try to keep up with their mothers, their hooves literally fall off, trying to keep up with their mothers. Many injuries are sustained.

Katia Louise also believes that horses have a message for us.

Their message is that they don’t want to be treated this way. They need us to help them. They can’t talk. We have to be their voice. We have to tell their stories for them, and stand up for them. “We’re here for you”, is what they’re saying. We’re here for you,” so let’s be here for them.

What personal action can we take to support horses? We can help our horse friends by never purchasing horse meat or any horse-derived products as well as letting our government officials know that horse abuse and slaughter are unacceptable and strong laws are needed to protect equines.

May Heaven bless you, Katia Louise, for your passionate, diligent efforts to safeguard the beloved, noble and beautiful horses in the US. May “Saving America’s Horses” be a huge success and enable many to hear your benevolent call for eternal kindness towards equines.

For more information about Katia Louise, please visit www.KatiaLouise.com
Visit the Wild For Life Foundation’s website to find out more about ending horse slaughter in the US: www.WildforLifeFoundation.org
The official website for “Saving America’s Horses: A Nation Betrayed” is at www.SavingAmericasHorses.org

Thank you for your presence today on Stop Animal Cruelty. May horses and humans forever enjoy long, happy lives together.
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