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American horse slaughtering–Part Two December 15, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Horse Slaughter.
4 comments

Holy crap! This is so fun, anyone could leave some comments now and again, I want to know what you think, even if you disagree. Anyway onto part two of the American horse slaughtering blog entry.

You can read part one here.

The United States is home to only three horse slaughterhouses. One, Cavel International, is here in DeKalb, Illinois. The other two are located in the great state of Texas, where everything is bigger, even horse slaughtering, albeit only twice as big as in Illinois. There used to be another one in Oregon but, as I said before, the Animal Liberation Front claimed to burn it down, regardless of who did it, the plant burnt down. (more…)

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American horse slaughtering–Part One December 15, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Horse Slaughter.
1 comment so far

Around DeKalb people are wondering what pending and recently passed federal legislation might mean for the Cavel International horse slaughtering plant and its 50 or so employees.

First let’s look at what’s going on as far as bills on the floor of the House and Senate. There are some provisions being looked at that may make horse slaughter for human consumption out and out illegal in the United States. (more…)

Cavel, Distriva, Velda December 14, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Horse Slaughter.
2 comments

Is Distriva owned by Velda? I sent Velda an email, asking them that question, among others, unfortunately I cannot afford a call to France or Belgium, but who can. The email, at least, didn’t kick back to my inbox, so it went somewhere. Otherwise, I have been doing some good, new-fashioned, Internet research. I got the email here. Which, is also where I first found the link for Distriva. (more…)

Good song December 13, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Pop Culture.
2 comments

The Strokes have a new album due out in January. I think these lyrics for “On the Other Side” are correct, if you see any mistakes let me know.
UPDATE: posted lyrics to Ask Me Anything below these, if you found them congrats, again they may or may not be correct. These are only as good as my source, which isn’t the best journalistically but damn it I want to post some Strokes lyrics. (more…)

Idaho is hilarious December 12, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Politics, Pop Culture.
2 comments

A friend of mine tipped me to this hilarious piece of legislation in the Idaho state house which thanks the writers and producers of Napoleon Dynamite. Pretty funny stuff. Make sure you scroll down far enough to read the text of the resolution, especially the parts that have “whereas” flying fast and furious. (more…)

Poetic Musings December 12, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
2 comments

UPDATE: This was the first of my poetry posts. It will now be my “Poetic Musings” page which you will see linked on the left of the front page. I have pasted the recently posted poems here too but I will leave those two on the seperate post too because they have comments. Enjoy. New stuff on top, older stuff below.

Of course, any feedback would be more than appreciated. Good, not good, I don’t care, it just seems to pour out of me. Take a chance on it, on me.

March 3, 2006

It’s To Her

and so and now
theyll be time
to just
….
wonder why

cry
….
but there’ll be time
for this sky
and words by
yours
truly
someone standing next to me
is up to no good
i don’t know why
i trust
i thought i should
and oh so cold and lame and fine
but i throw another party
in the hollow of my fineness
a place where you can go
when you get mad
isn’t life funny
when it stings
like that beekeepers hive
but every time
i can’t find you
i know i’m too late
so i duck out
go down to find . . .
and what i find
don’t make me wish
don’t make me wish that i was dead
just makes me wish
another way through
was there instead
but either way you look at it
we have no chance
i have no chance
i have no chance


Feb. 4, 2006 (2 Poems)

Untitled

and so
i am
so sorry again
i am
i am
the way i am
and so
i am
if i could
take it all back
i would
so sorry again
i am
and so
i am
perhaps i am
so sorry again
i feel alone
but sometimes
i don’t
i am

take me away
take me over
take me away
to anywhere

and so
i am
so sorry again
i apologize
sincerely
for
the way i am
and so
there are times
when i’m not so alone
but i won’t
i am
this time i won’t
i am
so sorry again
and so
perhaps i’m not
sorry at all
i am
deeply and utterly,
entirely alone
i am
so sorry again

Untitled

what if i told you i loved you
what if i said i wanted now to be forever
what if i scared you away
and never got to capture that forever
instead just sparkled and fizzled then faded away
what if i told you i want only your eyes
what if i told you i’d hold you ‘til death
what if you ran frightened and screaming
pushing and kicking and denying my feelings
until finally i just slipped and faded away
what if i told you each kiss was sacred
what if i said each touch made me smile
what if you took my heart out to bleed it
and then i would smile
and fade darkly away, grasping and screaming, just trying to stay
what if i told you i loved you
from now until dust
what if i said i wanted you always and only
until the mountains are dunes and the seas are all dry
what if i told you what i see in your eyes
most peaceful and calming, soothing night skies
over a meadow in green mountains so lush
i cannot see you just running away
but maybe if i say nothing
it will compel you to stay
here where i am with my fragile, dark heart
falling to pieces, late at night
where i cant sleep, until its light
what if i told you i loved you
would that change things then?
would you ever want to even see me again?
what if i said i could not live without you
would you call it a lie
would you say i just want to make you give it a try
what if i said i wanted you always
would you raise up one eye
would you question it and always continue wondering why
what if i told you i loved you

Jan. 31, 2006 (2 Poems)

Thoughts (Endlessly)

endless clouds
covered my endless nights
speeding around town in ‘black cabs’
with tinted windows
the world breezing by
in a constant hum of artificial and endless light
penetrating the dark,
the clouds and the night
endless thoughts
all out of place
entirely mixed up
and walks in the rain
entirely jumbled
mixed up and out of place

oh no
oh damn
i killed my friends again
endless seduction
through my endless corruption
oh no
oh damn

endless lies
cover my
endless life
and i wanted to stay
to not shut off
to not go away
but these endless thoughts
that beg me to stay
caused too much hurt and
too much pain
for a life stained thirty different shades of gray
endless days of
endless pain

endless clouds
cover the endless sky
on endlessly cold, long, dark nights
for reasons unknown we could never ask why
just stood and stared
in the dim green light
and watching as you walked away
for one last time
killing something off
hidden inside
but once exposed it would never leave
the yen and the burning
offered no reprieve
offered the nothing
i was sent to retrieve
and scraped it up grumbling
shocked and deceived

oh no
oh damn
my mouth is wide open
and i can only stand and stare
oh no
i killed them all again
through endless seduction
and endless corruption
oh no
oh damn

endless roads
that are endlessly paved
leaving in all directions
i’ve just to pick the way
nothing stays constant
except for the blame
and if nobody wants it
i guess i can’t stay
the endless thoughts
of endless nights
are with me each and every day
endlessly lousy
this is the way
endlessly fooled
endlessly leaving
and forever the tool.

Killing Birds

i killed a million birds
with a thousand stones
and when my killing spree was over
i was entirely alone
afraid and unfree
terrified of these thoughts
building in me
to scared to stay
to afraid to go
a finely honed coward
and a pain that you’ll never know
and when the darkness arrives
as i know that it will
i’ll be alone
standing completely still
alone while the cold and arctic wind blows
alone in the drifting and piling snows
the birds overhead
it seems like they know
that i am going to kill them
because i am alone
my fire is slow
and burns me inside
from feelings and hurt
i wished i could hide
but it won’t go away
but i wanted it to
the feelings that have made
me so royally blue
and in the shadow of horses
riding away
thunder is rolling
trying to say
something is dying
deep down in me
something i wanted to just set me free
caged as i am
with walls all around
blocking out those noises
those awful, damned sounds

and its killing me
like i killed those birds
and its stinging me
like it stung at first
and its killing me
and its killing me
oh my love
i could never win

and i’ll be here tomorrow
i’ll still be alone
sitting and watching
from my thorn covered throne

Jan. 18, 2006

Untitled

just so you know
i miss you everyday
and my yen spills over
into my endless, lonely nights
and thoughts of you
hang in the crisp night air
only to be blown away
by loneliness, sorrow and despair
just so you know
you haunt my every minute
of every night and infinite day
for every second
since you walked away
and never turned back
for the longest time i thought
just so you know
a life unfulfilled
every second spiraling down
far beneath
the frost covered ground
is what i carry
a burden too heavy
a pain all to real
just so you know
i have shed a thousand tears
for your thousand lies
after feeling the feelings
it would have been better off to hide
just so you know
i don’t owe you a thing
you walked away
leaving me nothing
only this sting
thoughts of you consume me
capture my being
just so you know
i have been left with no feelings
and here in this place
where it’s cold, dark and wet
i can stay here forever
forever and yet
every single time
that i try to steal away
thoughts of you come crashing
making me stay
just so you know
i only hang on
hoping and waiting
for something far gone
hoping and wishing
and waiting all day
for a bittersweet moment
when it’s finally okay
just so you know
i never wanted it this way
i would have loved you forever
just so you know
i’ll never love again
just stay here and wallow
in my darkness and sin
just so you know
just so you know

Dec. 29, 2005

Attempted

how many nights ago was it?
that my lungs filled
with that sickly, sweet fluid
drowning me inside
grasping, pulling and reaching for air
could never reach the surface
could never leave there
struggled to swim
to get away
could never reach the surface
could never break the waves
and i feel its tension
snapping inside my brain
feel it tightening
writhing with pain
and if i am snuffed out
or i can’t remain
don’t think about me
don’t let it rain
because it’s in the rain that i feel truly free
bathing my soul and letting me see
in the water caressing, all around me
could never reach the surface
could never break free
just leave this place
for another that will never be
that cannot erase
the grasping, pulling, drowning sounds
that just keep coming from so far down
does not matter anyway
could never reach the surface
could never get away.

you can’t hide
like i can’t get away
nothing i ever tried
nothing i ever say
had any meaning
tattered, torn and frayed.

Dec. 19, 2005

Untitled

i’m almost back now
from the edge of the blade
from the hollows of darkness
the pain of the knife
cuts turn to scars a
nd i cower back inside
where my sadness comes from
where my darkness never ends
wish i knew a way that i could mend
so broken and desolate deserted my feelings
and i didn’t know you noticed me
standing over here in the corner
alone
i didn’t know anything
so much noise

Blinding Light

all i can tell you
are the few the things i know
blinding light, letting go
stuck in here
years and years
and pain
letting go
am i dark?
blinding maybe
deafening noises
screeching from down below
forever jealous of you
forever stuck in here
a cage of my own inescapable design
and the pouring of the cool water over my skin
seeping in, dripping down
and hear it again
that awful, pounding, grinding sound
just because i cant sleep with it grinding slowly away at my sanity
i can’t afford to know
i can’t afford to go
journey back out and around
i didn’t stop at the door
it was that terrible sound
that pushed me out
that walked me away
i never knew
i never
tried
to slide out of here
just staying stuck inside
indecent
and frayed
here on the ground
here in the corner
where i guess i should have always stayed

Dec. 12, 2005

Untitled

something only something
hiding in the wilted shadows
amongst the rocks
where the water laps the shore
and the footprints are smoothed away
and the cold water leaves a cold nothing
in the wilted shadows
amongst the rocks
with wisps of moss
and the hint of dying fish
and only the shadows remain
waved across the sand like fingers
ripping into the world
tearing into the searing flesh
that’s left behind
amongst the rocks and wilted shadows
the night has consumed
and the darkness claims its victims
daylight into night and all hope is lost
only the cold water remains
lapping against the shore
sweeping away the sand
and mopping up the moss
the cool air eats the scents hanging in the night
and only the dew remains
and the fog on the water rolling in across the waves
licking at the rocks amongst the shore
in the shadows from the moon
condensing and drying up into the cool night
like wilted shadows dying off
in a cloud of nothingness
and haze of everything

Some of this is incredibly hard to share but I found a second one I don’t mind letting you read. I thought this one might make a decent song if set to the right music. :) And this one has a title

Don’t Let Go

in the clearing, off in the distance
i can see something, so blurry i can barely make it out
the closer i get the more obscure it becomes
down the lonely, deserted path
someone in the distance
out beyond the pain
up to no good
pulling on the strings, making things be
on the coldest route, on the bleakest night
if i can just reach there
i might be able to save myself
instead of falling down the drain
lost inside an awesome tidal force
swirling away, to never be seen
i thought i knew what you wanted
i thought i knew
nothing . . .
now ive got to hide out, for just a minute
and never turn back around
and leave it all behind
the feelings
you’ve got yours and i’ve got mine
let my feet beat the ground
(don’t let me go)
let my voice be heard
(don’t let me go)
from here to there and far away
where i will go forever
(don’t let me go)
and stay

Notes on Cavel and Munson December 10, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Horse Slaughter, Politics.
4 comments

First, I haven’t posted the last couple days, I have been busy writing and pondering this mixed up crazy game called life.

On to the update. (more…)

Disclaimers galore December 7, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Politics, Technology.
add a comment

Perusing ilga.gov I found the following disclaimers so I figured I better post it so everyone knows. Although, perhaps if they aren’t sure about accuracy of what they are publishing for public view maybe that should be taken into consideration prior to publishing it on an “official” governement Web site. (more…)

Horse updates December 7, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Horse Slaughter.
1 comment so far

March 1, 2006

Saw this column in the Northern Star, here in DeKalb, yesterday and had to respond. Interesting, the author claims ethnocentrism in horse slaughter protests, never heard that argument but its the most absurd thing I think I have ever heard.

How can one justify ignoring our own culture in favor of the cultural sensitivites of others. This is PCism to the max folks. This is where people forget that Americans have things that mean something to them too.

No one is suggesting Europeans can’t eat horse but Colin Leicht’s column asserts to not allow Europeans to come to America and slaughter horses for profit, trust me, Velda makes a big profit, is somehow ethnocentric. Thats’s ridiculous. Should we go to India and set up cow slaughtering facilities? The Indians would go ballistic, as they should, its a direct affront to their culture. Hmm. Kinda like horse slaughtering.

If people have opnions, that’s fine, you don’t even have to agree with me, but for God’s sake back your argument with something besides big words. I’m not impressed.

I highly doubt the reason that more than 85% of Americans find horse slaughter objectionable has anything to do Pope Gregory III decreeing in 732 A.D. “that Christians should not follow the ‘execrable practice’ of horse consumption. ” Come on Colin, you can do better than that.

Feb. 7, 2005

I guess the Dallas Morning News beat me to this, but the USDA has established a fee-for-service inspection program for facilities that slaughter horses, such as Cavel International, here in DeKalb.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service’s press release can be found here.

The gist of it is the FSIS knows that Congress cut federal funding for inspection of horses for slaughter. However, FSIS says that this prohibition of funding does not relieve FSIS of the responsiblity to inspect these animals.

I knew that was coming, If you scroll down to my Jan. 9 entry on this post you will see what I thought of this so-called “Congressional intent” to stop horse slaughter. They stopped funding, they didn’t stop slaughter and any idiot can see that if you read the text of this summer’s agricultural appropriations bill which started this whole furor.

If Congress plans on stopping horse slaughter they will have to do it outright, through bills pending in both houses of Congress.

This all takes effect on March 10, until then it looks like the FSIS wants some input on this whole thing, from the above linked press release:

“Comments on the interim final rule must be received on or before March 9, 2006 and must be sent to Docket Clerk, #05-036IF, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 300 12th Street, S.W., Room 102 Cotton Annex, Washington, D.C., 20250. Comments can also be sent to: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/contact_us/Email_Form/index.asp?rcpt=FSIS.RegulationsComments@fsis.usda.gov.”

Jan. 27, 2006

A steady decline over the last decade is the first thing you notice when you look at the numbers relating to horses slaughtered in the United States. This , although, 2004 saw more horses slaughtered than any year since 1998. And I know this is kind of boring but if you read on this post gets more entertaining, I think anyway.

Click on the graph to the left and you’ll see what I mean. (Graph compiled from USDA Annual Livestock Reports 1994-2004).

Clearly there are less plants in operation today than there were in 1994. The Cavel West Plant in Redmond, Oregon suffered a toasty fate at the hands of animal rights activists during the last decade.

Interestingly enough, the DeKalb Cavel International horse slaughtering plant suffered a similar fate, though it was later rebuilt after having its relocation elsewhere in Northern Illinois rejected a couple of times.

2005 slaughter numbers (Adventures in blogging)

The USDA was quick to respond to my inquiry concerning horse slaughtering numbers.

First, I was quickly thanked for my inquiry to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which they told me is the NASS in case I was an idiot or a moron or both . . .

(*DISCLAIMER* What follows is a fictional account of a federal employee responding to an email inquiry I sent in, though just how fictional remains a point of “heated debate”).

“But, alas, young, stupid, padawan!” The NASS email-responding team gasped. “The information is easily found if you reference our website, which is, in case you were wondering, www.nass.usda.gov.”

The team reeled back at the utter stupidity of such an inane request.

“How dare these stupid, taxpaying fools waste our precious time with such trite nonsense?” One of the team wondered aloud.

“How dare they indeed. We’ll show them,” a glimmer of hope and anger sparkled in one of the email-responding team, team member’s eyes. She looked around, laughed a bit, and then returned her gaze to the dim, blue shine of her monitor. The others laughed and returned to their own email responding.

She began a frenzy of typing, lips pursed. She had stayed up late many nights, pouring over page after endless page of electronic agricultural statistics, dreaming of this moment. The moment when she could make a complete stranger feel stupid. The joy that would befall her then, oh the joy.

She knew just how to get to the information, about, what was it again? Oh, horse slaughtering, that’s right, she thought. Stupid animal rights activists. She kept typing. This was too perfect.

NASS has information on horse . . ., she typed. On our website . . . at the top of the page click on Publications on the right, the letters were flying off her fingertips now. Click on “Title” click on “L” click on Livestock . . ., her thoughts were almost too fast for her fingers. Slaughter scroll . . ., forget commas now, this was war. To the bottom and click on Related Reports click on Livestock Slaughter — Annual Summary click on the PDF . . ., no commas and random capitalization, she thought, this is gonna be great. She smiled slightly. For Livestock Slaughter Annual Summary 03.04.05 go to page 90.

Whew. She almost said it aloud, she glanced up briefly, her co-workers hadn’t noticed the sweat that had begun to bead on her brow. She read over her response to make sure she hadn’t missed one intricate step. This idiot will never even realize I was being so smug, she chuckled a little at the thought.

As an afterthought she added a few helpful resources and even answered the question about the report for the 2005 horse slaughter numbers directly.

The 2005 statistics will not be published until 03.03.06, she typed feverishly. She added in the references she thought would make the email seem especially earnest and concerned but thought better of the gesture right before clicking send.

She started typing again.

Click on Livestock and seed. Click on Livestock and Grain Market News Portal . . ., I should add LGMNP in parenthesis, she thought smiling. Type horse slaughter in the search box. Good luck with your search.

She added a contact us again line and her signature and clicked send defiantly, happy in the moment.

The actual text of the email response follows in case you were curious:

Thank you for your inquiry to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS has information on horse slaughter on our web site www.nass.usda.gov.

at the top of the page
click on Publications on the right,
click on “Title” click on “L”
click on Livestock slaughter
scroll to the bottom and click on Related Reports
click on Livestock Slaughter — Annual Summary
click on the PDF for Livestock Slaughter Annual Summary 03.04.05
go to page 90

The 2005 statistics will not be published until 03.03.06.

You may also want to review the Agricultural Marketing Services web site http://www.ams.usda.gov. Click on Livestock and seed. Click on Livestock and Grain Market News Portal. Type horse slaughter in the search box. Good luck with your search. Please contact us if we may be of any further assistance.

Marlene Diehl
USDA/NASS/MISO
Marketing & Information Services OfficeCustomer Service

Next update
I
know I said I was going to post about the Federal Meat Inspection Act but I got that email and couldn’t resist. I will post about it in my next update, promise.

Jan. 26, 2006

A couple things I was thinking about concerning this not-so-large controversey (there are only 3 horse slaughtering plants in the entire country).

This is probably why no one seems to know how many horses are slaughtered in the United States each year. I have seen numbers from 50,000 to 100,000 quoted in news stories, Web sites, and other sources. The high end estimates usually come from the anti-slaughter advocates and lower ones from slaughter supporters.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture had a 2004 Livestock Report available here. (Ctrl+F “equine,” its a 103-page PDF). It states 66,183 horses were inspected for slaughter in 2004. Right in the middle of the extremes. And to be expected certainly.

The Fund4Horses actually reported these statistics accurately. The USDA livestock reports going back to 1994 can be seen here. And reports going all the way back to 1964 are available as well.

2005 is not yet available online, I asked them for it, they said they’d get back to me in 5 days.

Common horse sense

It appears that commonhorsesense.com is still owned by one John Linebarger, a Fort Worth attorney known to represent Bel Tex Corp., the Fort Worth horse slaughterhouse.

Both Whois.net and InterNIC state that the domain expires on April 30. So in case you didn’t already realize it, facts are hard to discern in this debate because each side is so vehement in their arguments.

Next update

I read that by allowing commerical inspections (i.e. slaughterhouses paying for the inspections themselves) that they would be violating the Federal Meat Inspections Act. I wonder if that’s true. The opinion pieece linked above on the number ‘100,000’ is where I read it. The writer says that the law allows inspections performed and funded by the USDA only. I aim to find out.

Jan. 25, 2006

There is another side to this horse slaughter debate, even here in DeKalb. There are a number of prominent horse-related organizations and verternairy associations which endorse horse slaughtering as a humane alternative for owners of unwanted horses.

One such organization is the American Quarter Horse Association. They have a pamphlet meant to help horse owners who have to deal with an unwanted horse. Click here to see the whole 8 page PDF. There is a brief
mention of horse slaughter which endorses horse slaughter: (most relevant parts highlighted).

“An option unthinkable by many horse owners (and we respect these owners’ beliefs) is slaughter. There are three horse processing plants in the United States where approximately 50,000 horses are processed annually. Horses that are processed are traditionally unserviceable, vicious or otherwise unacceptable in today’s equestrian community.

The plants are federally regulated with on-site U.S.D.A. Veterinarians, and the processing conditions are acceptable to both the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Equine Practitioners. Certainly, many horse owners would not consider this as an option for their unwanted horse, but for certain horses it provides a humane alternative to additional suffering or possibly dangerous situations. We respect the right ofthe responsible horse owner to choose this option when applicable.

The American Quarter Horse Association is a 353,000 member (2004) whose mission is, among other items, “To record and preserve the pedigrees of the American Quarter Horse while maintaining the integrity of the breed.” Membership in AQHA has increased from about 166,000 in 1985 to the 2004 353,000+. Over 65,000 of the group’s members reside in Texas or California. 7,324 Illinoisians were members of the AQHA in 2004.

Find out what an American Quarter Horse is here, (from AQHA).

Other equine organizations have also opined on the horse slaughter debate. The American Association of Equine Practioners is self described as:

“. . . the world’s largest professional association of equine veterinarians. The AAEP’s mission is to improve the health and welfare of the horse, to further the professional development of its members, and to provide resources and leadership for the benefit of the equine industry.”

They are a veterinary organization established in 1954 by 11 veterinarians, “equine practioners.” Today, they are over 8,000 “equine practioners” in the AAEP. Their online history is available here. The AAEP has a position statement on the transportation and processing of unwanted horses available here.

The gist of it is they condone the horse slaughter industry, if they didn’t I probably wouldn’t bother mentioning them. Everyone in the world has their own little anti-slaughter group, this post is for pro-slaughter crowd. A snippet from the AAEP position statement:

“The AAEP recognizes that the processing of unwanted horsesis currently a necessary aspect of the equine industry, and provides a humane alternative to allowing the horse to continue a life of discomfort and pain, and possibly inadequate care or abandonment.”

This is provided that the horses are:

“–Treated humanely and with dignity;

–Transported to the production facility according to
the guidelines approved by the United States
Department of Agriculture in 2002;

–Euthanized in a humane manner in accordance with the
guidelines established by the American Veterinary
Medical Association.”

I’ll get back to the AVMA and what “humane manner” means after I talk about their stance on the horse processing industry in the United States. But first a bit more on the AAEP.

The organization has a postion statement on H.R. 503 as well (S. 1915) which I blogged about here, here and here, as well as if you scroll down to the Jan. 9 update on this page.

Read the entire H.R. 503 position statement PDF here.

Here’s part of what the AAEP says about H.R. 503″

“The AAEP believes that slaughter is not the ideal solution for addressing the large number of unwanted horses in the U.S. However, if a horse owner is unable or unwilling to provide humane care and no one is able to assume the responsibility, humane euthanasia by captive bolt at a U.S.D.A.-regulated facility is an acceptable alternative to a life of suffering, inadequate care or abandonment.”

They also have a number of “concerns” listed which include a one paragraph explanation after each one of the following headings: Long term placement of affected horses, funding of care for unwanted horses, ambiguous language of the bill itself. They suggest to “address the root cause, not the symptom.”

Now, back to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The AVMA is a non-profit association which was established in 1863. The group represents more than 73,000 veterinarians working in all range of occupations from government to academia.

They have a statement on what is meant by humane. The AVMA has, as well, a position statement on “transportation and processing of horses.”

An excerpt:

“The AVMA endorses the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ policy on transportation and processing of horses.”

So the AVMA agrees with AAEP, whose statement on transportation and processing is linked above.

Then there is always commonhorsesense.com, a site notorious amongst the anti-slaughter crowd. Looks like it was recently updated too. The commmonhorsesense folks have a linked a letter from the CEO, Philip M. Seng, of the U.S. Meat Export Federation

In addition to those organizations and links there are others, with varying positions, or questionable positions as some might claim. Some are listed below.

The American Horse Council says:

“The AHC is neutral on the legislation because it has organizations and individual members both supporting and opposing a federal legislative ban.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says:

Horse slaughter is a humane management option for animals that are generally older or in poor health.”

The Horsemen’s Council of Illinois (affiliated with the American Horse Council) has a number of pro slaughter resources as well as links to the position statement of the AQHA, AVMA, AAEP and the Illinois Farm Bureau.

As for the Illinois Farm Bureau, they have an outline of all of their 2006 policies here (released Jan. 13). Included is a policy on Equine Agriculture. It states, among other things:

“We support . . . options for end-of-life alternatives for equine including humane processing for human consumption, or other uses, provided all state and federal guidelines are observed.”

Overall, it seems alot of large organizations support horse slaughter for human consumption.

Jan. 19, 2006

This story appeared in the Dallas Observer today. It appears someone’s horses ended up at an auction attended by several “killer-buyers,” a term applied to folks who purchase horses specifically to sell them to slaughter houses. This was all unbeknowst to them.

Stories like this is one of the arguments often found on anti-horse slaughter advocates Web sites against horse slaughtering.

Just FYI my next update will center around those in support of horse slaughter in the United States and their various positions.

Jan. 10, 2006

Federal legislation aside the state of Illinois has its own pending legislation which would explicitly outlaw the slaughter of horses for human consumption within the state.

This is nothing new, bills have been proposed in the Illinois House and Senate over the last several years, many of them died off in committees or because of the ending of the legislative session.

The horse slaughtering lobby must have far reaching power because these bills always seem to vaporize in Illinois and, to an extent, on the federal level as well. This is striking because there are only three operating horse slaughtering plants in the entire nation. If it is truly a powerful lobby that keeps horse slaughter legal that is a scary statement for democracy regardless of what your opinion on the horse slaughter debate is.

Think about it like this, if an industry that operates three plants in the United States can wield heavy legislative influence what can a company with an even larger stake in the economic vitality of the country accomplish. Like, say, Ford, or Phillip Morris.

The fall of civilization aside the only current bill concerning horse slaughter in the Illinois General Assembly is HB 1171. The exact same bill died last January because of Session Sine Die, fancy latin nonsense for the end of the legislative session. That bill, SB 1921, passed the Senate in March 2003, only about a month after it was introduced. Then it went to the House and lingered in and out of commitee until Jan. 2005 when the Session Sine Die ended the bill’s existence apparantly. Two months later Rep. Robert Malaro, the chief House sponsor of SB 1921 reintroduced the bill as HB 1171 and thus the saga continues.

Jan. 9, 2006

Beltex Corporation, owner of the Fort Worth slaughterhouse is better known, it would appear, as Frontier Meats.

Interestingly, Frontier Meats does not mention, on their Web site, the fact that as well as beef and ostrich they also have horse meat for sale. I suppose it’s no wonder considering the widely held belief that public opinion is decidely against horse slaughter in the United States. But the fact that both Frontier Meats and Dallas Crown (as well as its parent company) maintain a web presence is a step beyond what Cavel International and its parent company Velda have put out there. (link in Italian, right click and translate).

Driving by the Cavel plant here in DeKalb is highly reflective of the lack of information readily available about the plant and its Belgian owner. The place is on virtual lockdown. Surrounded by wrought iron fences with gated entry ways, its looks like a Cold War nuclear research station from the outside. I half expected to look up at the roof and see a sniper perched, waiting for a trespasser or hapless journalist.

It’s almost as if Velda and Cavel have given up the lost PR war and chosen to hunker down and wait out the storm.

Remember the email I told you I sent to Velda over in Belgium? (If not scroll down to the Dec. 22 post on this page). They never responded to it, not surprisingly. I guess having your plant(s) “burned down” causes you to coil up a bit.

Jan. 8, 2006

As always, the debate on horse slaughtering in the United States is on going and weird. It seems appropriate to write about it despite my near complacent attitude on the whole thing (other than the fact that eating horses just weirds me out). Considering my vicinity to Cavel why not?

The latest on this debate stems from a move by the USDA to circumvent this summer’s agriculture appropriations bill which cut off federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughtering facilities in the United States. The first I heard of it was last week but it appears that four legislators appealed via letter to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, as early as Dec. 13, that they thought the USDA was trying “to ignore Congressional intent to stop horse slaughter.” Here is what the Humane Society of the United States had to say about it.

This wouldn’t be a problem at all if lawmakers would just say what they mean instead of using nonsensical clauses buried in gigantic appropriation bills. Such as in this summer’s agricultural appropriations bill.

If Congress’ intent was to ban horse slaughter for human consumption then they should have just said that, instead they cut off funding for inspections, which doesn’t really outlaw anything save inspections.

This is what Congressional intent to stop horse slaughter looks like in print:

“Sec. 794. > Effective 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, none of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603) or under the guidelines issued under section 903 the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law 104-127).”

If I am not mistaken Sec. 794 looks more like Congressional intent to stop inspections of horse meat than Congressional intent to stop horse slaughter.

There is, of course, real slaughter ban legislation being looked at, it is largely bi partisan work too. Earlier posts talked about the legislation here, here and here.

Current legislation includes Virgie S. Arden American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act or S.1915, in the Senate. The House version is H.R. 503.

Another two bills in Congress deal specifically with the prohibition of wild horse slaughter. These are H.R. 297 and S. 576.

Current status of pending federal legislation:

S. 1915-Referred to Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Oct. 25, 2005. Bill Introduced: Oct. 25, 2005.

H.R. 503-Referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection on Feb. 25, 2005.
Bill Introduced: Feb. 1, 2005.

H.R. 297-Referred to Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health on Feb. 7, 2005.
Bill Introduced: Jan. 25, 2005.

S. 576-Referred to Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on March 9, 2005.
Bill Introduced: March 9, 2005. (This bill was introduced and sponsored by powerful West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd).

From: thomas.loc.gov

These bills look dead, sorry to say it horse crowd, they have all been stuck in committee or subcommittee for nearly a year. Committees are places where unwanted legislation goes to die. Even the bill sponsored by Byrd hasn’t moved since its introduction on the Senate floor.

The Agriculture funding bill is law and was signed in September 2005; it was finally approved in November, Nov. 10 to be exact. The clause about horse meat inspections, as the text above says, takes effect 120 days after the bill becomes law. Today was day 60. Half way there. It should be interesting to see, during the next 60 days, if the USDA intends on ending horse slaughter or finding a way to buck Congress’ not-so-obvious intent.

Dec. 27, 2005

Found an interesting piece (reg. req’d–avoid that) in the NY Times dated Dec. 20.

It’s about horses and how they fit into the culture of Kazakhstan. Though I am not sure how well researched this is, maybe the reporter did the story from a bungalow in Maine (hardy har har).

This statement caught my eye:

“After deducting the costs of horse feed and paying his butchers, he said, he would clear at least $40 in profit, a significant amount in a country where many families live on several hundred dollars a month.”

The GDP per capita in Kazakhstan was about $7,800 in 2004. $650 per month. Many college students survive on less than that. “Several hundred dollars” is pretty vague regardless.

Dec. 23, 2005

Chevideco, the company that owns Dallas Crown, Inc. (a Fort Worth horse slaughter facility), is not solely invested in Texas. As was the same with Velda N.V. in Belgium the Chevideco company has facilities throughout the world. In existence since 1946, Chevideco has largely been a three generation family company.

The Chevideco Web site is a nifty flash site that functions works well. There are a lot of pictures of horses both in sausage and sirloin form and the home on the range form. Strange.

Anyway, what do they own?

Besides Dallas Crown:

Frigorifica Equino Entre Rios (FEER SA)–FEER SA and Chevideco have collaborated to bring the world a new label of horse meat, “CORONA.” Through FEER SA, Chevideco offers horse meat “cut to the express wish of the customer.”

Rekkem–Situated in Belgium this slaughterhouse provides Chevideco with: horse purchase, slaughtering, processing and distribution. They also cut and package horse meat for delivery. Rekkem also imports foreign horse meat for Chevideco, it is the company headquarters.

Chevalex Srl–This Romainian company is a slaughterhouse that eliminates the extra step of having wholesalers package the meat when it arrives. Since the summer of 2004 Chevalex has been packaging the meat at the slaughterhouse, which Chevideco really seems to like. They specialize in meat for human consumption.

Alpine Export–This facility in New Zealand processes horse meat exclusively for Chevideco. They don’t say much about Alpine other than the meat meets stringent requirements and is mostly delievered via air freight.

Interestingly enough, the Chevideco corporate web page doesn’t say anything about the Dallas Crown plant only providing horse meat for carnivore diets in zoos and wildlife parks.

Here is what the Chevideco description of Dallas Crown says:

“With a view to better going along with the widely divergent wishes of the customers, and to be able to guarantee regularity both in terms of quality and supplies, Chevideco decided to start a new company, Dallas Crown Inc.

Dallas Crown Inc. is located in Kaufman, Texas, USA and produces horsemeat of a superior quality. This horsemeat is available in various forms and packagings, from freshly slaughtered carcass to fresh, chilled or frozen, boned packed horsemeat. If so desired, importers can receive deliveries directly from the slaughterhouse in the United States. Deliveries are made by air freight or by ship freight, in compliance with the wishes of the customer. Dallas Crown Inc. takes all necessary measures to guarantee that the required food safety standards are met.”

Of course, Dallas Crown’s own Web site is pretty specific.

“Dallas Crown provides Carnivore Diet for zoos and wildlife centers across the United States. Carnivore Diet products under USDA and EU regulations and supervision.”

If you read my opinion on what the pending legislation could mean for Dallas Crown you will see the problem this presents.

Their entire fate, if HR 503 passes (S. 1915), hinges upon whether or not they slaughter horses for human consumption or not.

2nd Entry-Dec. 22, 2005 (I am really bored).

I said in an old post, “American horse slaughtering–Part Three” that the Dallas Crown, Inc. horse slaughtering plant is owned by a company called Chevideco France, that was incorrect. Here is what I said:

“Dallas Crown is apparently a French-0wned company, although this has also proven difficult to track down. Thanks again to the aforementioned paper by Goydon and Kindel I think I may have figured it out (the previously linked site with a slew of info on Multimeat also assisted in this search).

It appears the Dallas Crown plant is owned by Chevideco France, which is based in Roncq, near the Belgium-France border.”

The plant is owned by Chevideco but not Chevideco France. Perusing the Internet I found out about this conference for food and beverage producers, packagers and the like. And I found this document which provided the names of the companies involved in the show/conference and their booth number as well as their Website (if they had one) and nation of origin. The only reason I stumbled on this is because Velda was in attendance and thus this came back as a result in one of the various searches I attempted.

So, I thought, why not look for the companies that own Bel-Tex and Dallas Crown. Multimeat, N.V. didn’t show to that conference but Chevideco did. Here is the line from the above document on Chevideco:

“Chevideco Groothandel paardenvlees Belgium 09.1 C050 http://www.chevideco.be

I was like, hmmm that’s not France so I copied the link and went to the site and low and behold these folks own Dallas Crown! So the writers of the paper I and other information relied on were incorrect. It’s amazing what you can find out without really doing anything, like say, calling France or Belgium, forget that noise.

Anyway look for another update soon because reading their site and Dallas Crown’s gives me a few thoughts to opine.

Dec. 22, 2005

Better contact info for Velda Group here, I think anyway. I never heard back on my email to the address provided by the Belgian business guide. I found a different email address, velda@velda.be and it has yet to kick back to me, the business day should be well underway in Belgium and the site linked above says they only employee 43 people so I doubt it’s so clogged with red tape as to stop them from seeing my email.

I also wanted to link this site for the what NPR identified as a “Web site for Texas horse slaughter facilities.”

So there is the other side but some interesting debates were raised in November in the Niagara Falls Reporter. The first one is about carcinogenic horse meat, the second one (which actually ran first) is about a Congressional snow job and horse slaughter. Interesting reads they are.

Other interesting notes, from December: Kaufman moves to shut down Dallas Crown, Inc.
Also the Belgian Embassy in Washington D.C. has a corporate directory which has listing for Cavel under the auspices of the Van Damme Holding Company, if you click on the little flag to the right of the entry you get correct contact info for Velda N.V., the parent company of Cavel Int’l or Van Damme Holding Company.

Velda N.V.
Lokerenbaan1319240 Zele
Phone: (32) 52-449211
Fax: (32) 52-450008

No web page though, that’s it for now. Adieu.

Original “A quick note” post

–I have obviously inserted some of my opinion in my blog posts, good practice editorial writing it is, but if this ever reached any print publication it would, of course be presented in an entirely unbiased manner. Something I have become increasingly skilled at is the ability to remove myself from stories enough to suppress any bias. If nothing else, I am generally fair.

Which is why I hope Rep. Ruth Munson really does call back. I want to give her side of the story, if I am completely off target I will point that out, if I am right I will also point that out.

If this type of thing isn’t a waste of time I want to know why, don’t you? That’s not too much to ask, I don’t think anyway.–

An early morning phone call December 7, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Politics.
2 comments

I called Ruth Munson this morning about 8 a.m. This, of course was in reference to my previous posts on “technical changes” amendments in the General Assembly, which can be found here, here and here. I talked to the secretary in her Elgin office (no name given). After explaining who I was and that I would like to speak with Munson about a number of the bills she is sponsoring she proceeded with few questions. (more…)

Cavel, Velda and blog updates December 7, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in BlogNotes, Horse Slaughter.
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This post is completely off topic from the previous three posts, but I have conveniently archived them on the sidebar beneath the tag ‘investigative series,’ this despite the fact that I don’t really know how investigative it is. Don’t worry I won’t let this one go. You may have noticed other changes, a handy Google search bar to peruse the internet and a Technorati blog search as well as a few ads, click on them if you want, it helps me. You can also link directly to a download of Mozilla Firefox, which kicks Windows Internet Explorer’s butt. Searching the net from here helps me as well so feel free, anyway onto the meat, (no pun intended). (more…)

More on the ILGA December 7, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Politics.
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A few thoughts to investigate, if you care to endure the genesis of this story.

First, 70th District State Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley) is not the chief sponsor of a single current bill labeled with the infamous “TECH” after its description on the Web site for the General Assembly (see the sidebar for the link). (more…)

A surreal, journalist’s dream December 6, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Politics.
3 comments

Okay, so I said I was going to update if I heard from 43rd District State Rep. Ruth Munson (R-Elgin), but this was just too good to resist and since I have free time now I couldn’t help but continue this investigation into lunacy in the Illinois General Assembly. However, I have not yet heard from Munson.

It appears that Munson is on the fast track to getting Munsoned in the middle of nowhere, if anyone picks this up. This is so bad it is making my brain hurt right now. I thought it was ridiculous that Munson had sponsored HB1346, which made a ‘technical’ change to the Toll Highway Act which in reality wasn’t a change at all, (see here). But the Munson sponsorship of benign and pointless legislation doesn’t end there.

I cannot figure out if Munson is just the token ‘technical’ changes representative or if she actually thinks this stuff is a good idea. I cannot wait for her to call me back because now there are many more questions to ask.

Munson is the chief sponsor of no less than 42 bills and resolutions in the 94th Illinois General Assembly. Of those 42 legislative items 19 of them are ‘technical’ changes in a similar vein to those changes, if you want to call them that, in HB1346. This may be a ploy to look busy, or pad her resume, so to speak, or maybe she doesn’t read any of this and just lets clerks and secretaries deal with it, hard to say until I hear from her. The list that follows links to the text of those bills involving pointless technical changes and the Illinois Compiled Statutes that these bills are supposedly changing. Compare them yourself, I have to warn you though, it may make your eyes and/or brain bleed.
Munson Sponsored Technically changed Bills, the changes and the laws they supposedly change for comparison
HB0620 ‘and’ changed to ‘and’ –Amends the Vital Records Act (Sec. 25) (410 ILCS 535/)
HB0621 ‘that changed to ‘that’ –Amends the State Treasurer Act (Sec. 1) (15 ILCS 505/)
HB0622 ‘the’ changed to ‘the –Amends the Governor Transition Act (Sec. 1) (15 ILCS 10/1)
HB0623 ‘and changed to ‘and’ –Amends the Open Meetings Act (Sec. 1.01) (5 ILCS 120/1.01)
HB0624 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Freedom of Information Act (Sec. 1.1) (5 ILCS 140/1.1)
HB0625 ‘the changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Election Code (Sec. 1-1) (10 ILCS 5/1-1)
HB0626 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Election Code (Sec. 1-2) (10ILCS 5/1-2)
HB0627 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Election Code (Sec. 1-4) (10 ILCS 5/1-4)
HB0628 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act (Sec. 1-1) (5 ILCS 100/1-1)
HB0629 ‘and’ changed to ‘and’ –Amends the Illinois Pension Code (Sec. 2-101) (40 ILCS 5/2-101)
HB0630 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Illinois Pension Code (Sec.1-101.1) (40 ILCS 5/1-101.1)
HB0631 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Illinois Pension Code (Sec. 1A-103) (40 ILCS 5/1A-103)
HB0632 ‘an’ changed to ‘an’ –Amends the Vital Records Act (Sec. 2) (410 ILCS 535/2)
HB0633 ‘is’ changed to ‘is’ –Amends the Vital Records Act (Sec. 3) (410 ILCS 535/3)
HB1346 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Toll Highway Act (Sec. 2) (605 ILCS 10/2)
HB1347 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ (same bill as HB1346) –Amends the Toll Highway Act (Sec. 2) (605 ILCS 10/2)
HB2395 ‘and’ changed to ‘and’ –Amends the Illinois Insurance Code (Sec. 1) (215 ILCS 5/1)
HB2397 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Illinois Procurement Code (Sec. 1-5) (30 ILCS 500/1-5)
HB2702 ‘the’ changed to ‘the’ –Amends the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois (Sec. 1-1) (20 ILCS 5/1-1)

The parenthetical sections are the sections of each law that are being amended and thus the sections that can be compared to the text of the bills sponsored by Munson. If looked at it becomes obvious that all of the above listed bills are completely pointless. The Illinois Compiled Statutes can also be perused at will at ilga.gov.
What a waste of time, space and money this crap is, at least all of these “amendments” are currently stuck in the Rules Committee.

The ILGA, the last bastion of idiocy? December 6, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Politics.
1 comment so far

Griping about politicians is common place and cliché. But this one is astounding, things like this make me feel stupid to be, not only an Illinoisan, but also an American. Thanks to the treasure trove of information available on ilga.gov legislation and laws are at the fingertips.
So when I stumbled on this I thought it was newsworthy, as well as opinion worthy. First the links though. Read these both and then think for a minute.

Amendment to the Illinois Toll Highway Act

The Toll Highway Act (605 ILCS 10/), Focus on Section Two (the amended section above)

Notice anything? I sure as heck did. (more…)