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Attack on anti-slaughter celebrities condemned

January 11, 2010

Pat Parelli

Sheryl Crow

Willie Nelson

A group seeking a return to horse slaughter has called for a boycott of high profile horse advocates and organisations, suggesting it is time to hit them in the chequebook.

The release by the United Organizations of the Horse (UOH) has been condemned by Equine Welfare Alliance representatives John Holland and Vicki Tobin.

They say those targeted - Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood, Pat Parelli, Sheryl Crow, the Barbie Twins, the United States Equestrian Federation, the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) - have effectively been attacked for exercising their right of free speech over the management of wild horse herds and their opposition to horse slaughter.

The attack came in a release from Wyoming State Representative Sue Wallis in her role as executive director of the UOH.

The alliance described the release as a rambling diatribe.

The UOH release accused the celebrities of taking "dirty money" and selling out to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

The alliance said the UOH "offered no specifics or proof".

The attack comes amid growing press coverage of demonstrations against the Bureau of Land Management and its removal of wild horse from herds in the American West.

In an earlier release, Wallis praised the bureau's actions in removing the horses and she has suggested they be slaughtered and fed to the world's hungry.

Currently, horse meat sells for $US30 a pound in Europe, making such a humanitarian offering unlikely, the alliance suggested.

Curiously, they pointed out, neither the USEF, Peta, nor the HSUS, has taken part in the recent demonstrations or law suits against the removal of mustangs in the Calico complex of Nevada.

Notably missing from the list of organisations attacked in the release were those who actually did participate, including In Defense of Animals, The Cloud Foundation, the Equine Welfare Alliance and numerous other groups.

More than 200 organisations, dignitaries and celebrities as well as over six thousand individuals have signed-on to a unified call for a moratorium on round-ups.

The alliance's John Holland said the attack was using the "Peta/HSUS boogieman" and may be more about obtaining campaign contributions than anything else.

"Even so," continued Holland, "such an attack has the unmistakable aroma of desperation about it."

Disguised as a plea to come to the aide of animal agriculture, the demand for a boycott attacks what the alliance described as one of the farmers' and ranchers' most consistent humanitarians.

Singer Willie Nelson has raised millions for farmers and stockmen facing foreclosure during hard times.

It also attacked Parelli, a former champion rodeo cowboy who went from riding bucking horses to pioneering a more gentle and cerebral form of horsemanship. Parelli clinics fill venues from coast to coast and abroad with horse lovers intent on learning to think like a horse.

The alliance is a dues-free, umbrella organisation with more than 90 member organisations. The organisation focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

The UOH release said horse people from across the US have joined with the UOH in calling for "common sense and compassion".

"These groups will not stop for any reason and will continue to try to undermine what we know is true and right for the good of our natural resources, our sacred horses, and us included," said Arlen Washines, president of the Northwestern Tribal Horse Coalition.

"What hurts the worst," says Wallis, "are people like Willie Nelson, who has done so much good for agriculture with his Farm Aid concerts, turning against the folks who make their living from the land, and swallowing whole the ridiculous conclusions of radical groups making wild assertions about the extinction of wild horses ... nothing could be further from the truth."

"It is time to hit them where it hurts the worst, square in the checkbook," says Dave Duquette, a working cow horse trainer from Hermiston, Oregon, who is executive director of the United Horsemen's Front.

"we are asking every American who believes as we do that our rights, our culture, and our ability to enjoy animals in our lives is at stake to boycott anyone who promotes HSUS/PETA, any of their affiliates, and anyone who is opposing the responsible management of wild horses."

The release said: "Air-headed celebrities like Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow, and the Barbie twins cannot be left unanswered."



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