University of Nebraska Extension educator Monte Stauffer says he gets questions year-around from horse owners as to the type and quality of hay they should be feeding to their horses. Stauffer says there are several factors to consider.
A story out of Colorado that a horse in northeastern Colorado had tested positive for rabies prompted a call to the office of Dr. Tony Forshey, State Veterinarian in Ohio to learn more about rabies in horses. Dr. Forshey, says that while rabies in horses isn’t unusual, he would describe it as uncommon.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says that, unless Congress acts soon to reinstate a federal ban on horse slaughter, the USDA must allow a New Mexico plant to begin processing horses.
The USDA re-inspected the plant last week and Vilsack says the agency has no choice but to allow the plant to open. Vilsack says it will happen “relatively soon”.
Valley Meat Co. of Roswell sued the USDA last year, claiming that inaction on its application had cost it hundreds of thousands of dollars. If and when the plant opens, it would mark the first domestic processing of horses since Congress eliminated funding for inspections in 2006. Congress reinstated the funding for USDA inspections in 2011.
The Gypsy Vanner horse breed continues to grow. Eric Barton and his wife Mechelle own the LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Knoxville, Tennesee. They fell in love with the gentle breed and are helping others enjoy them. Many things make them special, says Eric Barton, including their looks and their temperament.
An Equine Pasture and Hay Management Workshop hosted by the Athens County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council is going to be held Saturday, April 20 at Hocking College in Nelsonville.
The day-long workshop will be led by grazing specialist Bob Hendershot and will cover everything from pasture management, to pasture soil fertility, to horse nutrition on pasture.
For more information or to register contact the Athens County SWCD, 740-797-9686 or email.
The deadline to register is April 15.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension horse specialist Kathy Anderson says mares need to have a good body condition score prior to being bred and prior to foaling.
And she says you’ll also want to make sure that the mare is truly cycling.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau strongly supports legislation recently signed by Oklahoma’s governor to allow horse processing in that state.
OFB President Mike Spradling says it’s about protecting the property rights of horse and other livestock owners amid the goal of the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights activists to take that away. Spradling tells Brownfield Ag News, “Today, that topic was equine. Our concern was tomorrow it could be poultry, beef, pork, any other species that we certainly have in production ag.”
Spradling says horse slaughter would be one option to the serious problem of neglected and abandoned horses caused by the previous federal ban on legal processing. He stresses that horse processing would be an option, not a mandate, and is supported by breeding groups throughout Oklahoma. He tells Brownfield, “Their policy is well understood. It’s not necessarily that they support or are in favor of horse processing. What most of the breed associations say is they are in favor of the owner of the horse having that option.”
Spradling says the lifting of the ban is a chance for the Humane Society of the United States to show some real concern. He says, “You know here’s their opportunity. If they don’t want to see processing come into the state of Oklahoma have them come in and spend their money on pasture, on feed and care for these individual horses.”
The Oklahoma law takes effect November 1st and horse processing could only take effect if federal law continues to allow it and there’s funding for USDA inspectors. The meat would only be allowed for sale in the export market.
Spradling says Oklahoma was one of four states that banned horse slaughter, so now there are only three.
Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Mary Fallin signed the horse slaughter bill Friday that was passed by that state’s Republican-led legislature earlier last week. Set to go into effect on November 1st, it ends the ban on slaughter of horses for human consumption which was made illegal in Oklahoma in 1963. It allows for the export of horse meat for sale, however, it strictly prohibits the sale of horse meat for human consumption in the U.S..
According to the Oklahoman’s News OK.com, more opponents to the measure contacted the governor’s office than supporters but the opposition was overwhelmingly from out of state.
The Oklahoma state director for the Humane Society of the United States, Cynthia Armstrong, urged the governor to veto the bill on Friday. She tells the paper that the HSUS “will continue to work toward banning the practice of horse slaughter nationwide through federal legislation” and will “look at every option” to prevent any horse slaughter plant from opening in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau is a strong supporter of the legislation from a property rights standpoint.
In Oklahoma, a state Senate committee has approved a bill that would legalize horse slaughter in the state. It now moves on to the full Senate in Oklahoma for consideration.
The bill would end the state’s 50-year ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The sale of horse meat still would be illegal in Oklahoma, but the export for sale in other countries would be allowed.
Meanwhile, a bill has been introduced in Congress that would reinstate the federal horse slaughter ban, which lapsed in 2011. It would also prohibit shipping horses outside the U.S. for food slaughter.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said that, given the concerns that have been expressed about horse meat globally, reinstating the ban is not a bad idea.
“But I would say this—if the Congress decides to reinstate the ban, then I then I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to figure out ways in which we can encourage better treatment of the horses that people feel compelled to abandon,” Vilsack said. “Part of the problem with not having the horse slaughter processing operation is that people are abandoning these horses and they are being treated inhumanely.”
A proposed horse slaughterhouse in Roswell, New Mexico is scheduled to begin operations in late April or early May.
Stan Weaver and his family ranch in north-central Montana near the town of Big Sandy. In addition to a 500-head cow-calf operation, the Weavers also raise and sell quarter horses. In fact, Stan is the current chair of the American Quarter Horse Association’s Ranching Council and he tells Brownfield that horses can be a good way for cattlemen to diversify their production portfolio.