Book Review: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, Megan Shepherd (2016)

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

“But there must be more out there. There must be brighter things.”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

When the princess had this place built, did she imagine that one day children would die here, crying so loud you could hear it even over a screaming kettle? Did she think, while she threw open the doors and let music pour onto the back lawn, that one day a black winged horse would circle around and around the roof, tirelessly, always on the hunt?

I eye him sideways. He doesn’t look like the type to fatten children for witches, but who does?

Young Emmaline is one of twenty-odd patients at Briar Hill hospital in Shropshire, a sort of emergency quarantine hospital for children suffering from tuberculosis – or “stillwaters,” as Em calls it. Their only companions are Sisters Constance and Mary Grace, who run the show; Thomas, the one-armed caretaker; Dr. Turner, who visits once a week to dispense medication; and the many animals who live on the estate: Bog the dog, the sheep and chickens – and the magical winged horses who live in the mirrors.

Emmaline is the only one who can see those last, of course. Mostly the horses ignore her and go about their business on the other side of the mirror. That is, until one winter day when she finds a winged horse in the sundial garden, injured and stranded. The mystery deepens when Emmaline begins receiving letters from the Horse Lord imploring her to keep Foxfire safe. She is being pursued by the Black Horse, who hunts by moonlight and has but one weakness: color. Emmaline must surround Foxfire with all the colors of the rainbow. But where can she find color – vibrant, lively colors – in her dreary world, ravaged by sickness and war?

(More below the fold…)

Everyday Ironies: Equality for…Some

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Wyoming State Quarter

Here we have the Wyoming state quarter, which on the back features its state motto – “The Equality State” – and, to its left, is the silhouette of a “cowboy” riding a bucking horse.

The website TheUS50 explains:

The bucking horse and rider symbolize Wyoming’s Wild West heritage. “Buffalo Bill” Cody personified this in his traveling Wild West show. First settled by fur trappers, Fort Laramie, Wyoming, later became a popular destination for pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail.

Wyoming was nicknamed the “Equality State” because of its historical role in establishing equal voting rights for women. Wyoming was the first territory to grant “female suffrage” and became the first state in the Nation to allow women to vote, serve on juries and hold public office. In 1924, Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman elected Governor of Wyoming. In 1933, Ross became the first woman appointed as the Director of the United States Mint.

As per usual, “equality” by default applies only to human animals; the irony of choosing to feature an image of animal exploitation alongside the state’s nickname was apparently lost on the US Mint. This is hardly surprising, given the speciesist world in which we live. So ubiquitous is our oppression of animals that it’s rendered mostly invisible; like water to a fish. Try as we might, sometimes it can be difficult to recognize it all.

Although this particular quarter was released in 2007, I didn’t catch on to the irony until last winter.* The husband, having taken the dogs walking in a nearby park, accidentally left the car’s lights on, thus draining the batteries. Long story short, I ended up stuck behind the wheel for a half hour while we jumped the battery. Bored to tears, I started rummaging through the car’s various cubbies and compartments and found a few state quarters. Though I’d probably glanced at a Wyoming state quarter countless times by then, for some reason the contradiction struck me; equality for whom? Certainly not the horses imprisoned, enslaved, raped, abused, maimed and killed in rodeos (not to mention other horse-related industries). But nonhumans – much like women before them – simply aren’t deemed worthy of our consideration. I can only hope that history will once again prove us wrong.

* Yes, this is on average how long my posts languish in draft purgatory. Bad blogger, bad.

Oprah’s Favorite Things: Cracker Box Palace ("You get a rescue goat! And you get a rescue goat! EVERYBODY GETS A RESCUE GOAT!!!")*

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

2010-09-18 - Cracker Box Palace (Meesh's Cam) - 0260

So you’ve vicariously tasted the yummy vegan eats at The Owl House as part of veganmofo iv, and last week I introduced you to Ms. Chicktoria. Though it’s now four months after the fact, there’s still one set of vacation photos I’d like to share from my September visit to Rochester. Because they’re from an ANIMAL SANCTUARY and who doesn’t like pictures of SUPER-CUTE RESCUE ANIMALS, hmmmm? Besides, it’s like zero degrees outside and there’s a three-foot snow drift on my patio and I could use a vacation, even if only in my own head.

Initially, my sis and I had our hearts set on visiting Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen – but unfortunately the fall tour hours (weekends only!), coupled with the lengthy drive time and previous commitments, just didn’t fit into our schedule. My mom suggested that we instead visit Cracker Box Palace Farm Animal Haven, a new-ish farmed animal sanctuary located in Alton, NY. (Alton is a short drive from Sodus – which is where I spent the first five years of my life – and Sodus, in turn, is a 45-minute drive from Rochester. In comparison, Watkins Glen is twice as far.)

2010-09-18 - Cracker Box Palace (Meesh's Cam) - 0199

According to the group’s website, CBP opened in 2001 on a 50-acre former migrant farm. Originally dedicated to horse rescue and rehab, the sanctuary is now home to geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, and several breeds of pigs as well. Currently, it’s leasing and attempting to purchase Alasa Farms, a 500-acre historic Shaker farm.

2010-09-18 - Cracker Box Palace (Mom's Cam) - 0160

The weekend we visited, the group was holding a fair to help raise funds for the purchase.

2010-09-18 - Cracker Box Palace (Meesh's Cam) - 0416

Before we begin, a bit of a disclaimer: on its website, Cracker Box Palace isn’t particularly forthcoming about its positions on animal rights and veganism/vegetarianism. In some newsletters, for example, the founders allude to the cruelties of factory farming and ask for donations of vegetarian cookbooks for CBP’s gift shop. They also speak approvingly of Farm Sanctuary and credit its courses with teaching them the skills necessary to start and run an animal sanctuary. (While you may disagree with some of Farm Sanctuary’s positions – and I do – the group does include animal rights and veganism in its advocacy.)

(More below the fold…)

"Aussie club to race hotties like horses" *

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Bayer Rintal - Whore

In this completely unrelated advertisement for Bayer Rintal, a stereotypically “slutty” looking woman – a sex worker, perhaps? – clings to a horse’s back. Though she seems to be nibbling on his (her?) neck, the horse remains unperturbed; calmly, he continues to nom on a field of green grass. A logo for Bayer Rintal sits in the lower left-hand corner of the image; to the far right, a green star burst on which is superimposed the ad’s copy: “Eliminates all kind of Parasites.”

Hmmm. Not-so-curiously, I find myself wishing that I’d followed my initial impulse to decorate this post with a fuzzy cute goat photo instead…
——————————

Presented without commentary:

Aussie horse club to race women in bikinis

An Australian horse racing club will lock bikini-clad women in barrier stalls and run them down the racecourse as part of a controversial new novelty event, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported Tuesday.

The Gold Coast Turf Club in the state of Queensland launched the event, which is planned to become an annual fixture at the club’s first race meeting of the summer season.

Some believe this will take the popular tourist destination to a new tacky low. In a Gold Coast Bulletin poll, 39 percent of respondents said the gimmick was degrading — while 61 percent disagreed.

Up to 150 women, who must wear bikinis and running shoes, will compete through a knockout system for a first prize of AU$5,000 (US$4,800).

The event was copied from America’s famed Hollywood Park racecourse, which holds a similar event annually.

Turf Club chief executive Grant Sheather acknowledged some may see the event as degrading, but said it would be done in “good taste.”

”When people say ‘Gold Coast’ you think of beach, you think of girls and you think of bikinis; it’s a marketing ploy to build racing,” he said.

I wonder: if a participant trips and breaks a leg, will she be put down?

* A notice under the byline states that the article was updated on September 28, but no update is noted in the actual body of the article. Methinks it was the title of the article that was “updated” – changed, that is, from “Aussie club to race hotties like horses” (which is what appeared on FB when I shared the link) to the tamer (and arguably less accurate à la its misogyny) “Aussie horse club to race women in bikinis.” In either case, IBTK.

h/t, Katrina Fox

The Rodeo/Horse Slaughter Connection, Bullfighting & More: Recent Action Alerts from SHARK

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

In cleaning out my inbox, I found the following action alerts from SHARK; I’m including them all here for simplicity’s sake (and because I cannot find them to link to on SHARK’s website). These are all from the group’s most recent enewsletter, dated October 14, 2009.

Rodeos Send Their Horses to Slaughter

Love is a Slaughter Line???!!!

Rodeos claim to care about their animals, so why do many of their worn-out bucking horses suffer the horror of a slaughterhouse? SHARK’s 141st YouTube video is one of the most graphic we have released, making the connection between rodeo and horse slaughter. We didn’t do it to sicken people. We did it to let people know just how cruel rodeo is, and how much rodeo animal victims are suffering. It brings into focus even more sharply the role of corporate sponsors such as Coca-Cola.
 
I hope you will watch this video, and then call Coke (800-438-2653/800-Get-Coke) and let the company know just what you think. It is because of big money from corporate sponsors like Coke that rodeo stock contractors are breaking their horses down, as well as overbreeding, and then casting the foals who don’t make the cut into the clutches of the horrific slaughter industry.
 
Foreign companies are killing America’s horses — many of them rodeo horses — to be sent abroad for human consumption.

Call your legislators and ask them to vote Yes on HR503 and S727 – Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009. For more information on what you can do, go to: http://HorseKillers.com

(More below the fold…)

SHARK: Please Contact Cheyenne Mayor About Criminal Investigation

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Here’s the latest on SHARK’s ongoing campaign against Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. You can find out more on the group’s website (a search for “Cheyenne Frontier Days” turns up 190 results, so grab a cup of tea and some cruelty-free patries before digging in) and view SHARK’s investigative footage on its YouTube channel.

The Chief is Leaving, But Let’s Keep Investigation Going

As you will recall, earlier this month, I contacted Cheyenne Police Chief Robert Fecht and requested an investigation of Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo for criminal neglect. SHARK’s documentation shows dozens of animals injured, while CFD claims only seven received care. See the first two of four videos showing many of the animal injuries.

2009 Cheyenne Animal Injuries, Part 1:
 


 
2009 Cheyenne Animal Injuries, Part 2:
 

 
This is in stark contrast to what is stated on CFD’s website about their care for the animals in the rodeo:

We recognize that animals, as well as humans, may be injured in these events. Any injured animal is accorded immediate veterinary medical attention, and is isolated from further harm. Every attempt is made to make injured animals comfortable, and offer them opportunity to recover. Injured animals are not used again.

Read the entire “Animal Care” statement here.

While Chief Fecht has been investigating the matter, he is retiring and his last day is today. It is now up to the Mayor of Cheyenne, Mayor Rick Kaysen and the acting Chief of Police Jeff Schulz to continue this investigation.

(More below the fold…)

Breaking: Gymnast Shawn Johnson Put To Sleep After Breaking Leg

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

The Onion reports:
 


 
This video is chock full of snarky goodness, but my favorite part?

“Shawn was only 17 years old, so we never got to breed her.”

(More below the fold…)

SHARK is holding Coke responsible for animal cruelty; are you?

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

SHARK is still tugging at Coke’s pull-tab, as the megacorp continues to insist that it “will not sponsor events or attractions that feature animals unless the event organizers have policies and procedures in place to support the humane treatment of animals” – this, while sponsoring rodeos.

null

Here’s SHARK’s latest alert; you can read previous alerts here.

———————–

Dear Friends,

I want to make this real easy for you to find because I want you to call Coke again, Coke’s number is: 800-438-2653.

William McMullen, a dedicated activist in Michigan, has learned that rodeo sponsor Coca-Cola now has a special “Alert” on its “Frequently Asked Questions” section of its website. This means Coke is getting a lot of complaints about the rodeo issue.

Here’s the link that will allow you to see this for yourself: Coca-Cola’s Alert

Here is Coke’s latest statement:

‘Does The Coca-Cola Company sponsor rodeos?’

“Coca-Cola cares about the welfare of animals and supports their proper treatment. That is why the Company and our U.S. bottling partners will not sponsor events or attractions that feature animals unless the event organizers have policies and procedures in place to support the humane treatment of animals and provide ready access to quality veterinary care to protect the animals’ health and safety.”

This statement is a damnable lie, and the company knows it. It is both unbelievable and repulsive this corrupt company is going to such lengths to outright lie to its own customers. Coke sponsors numerous cruel rodeos across the country that maim and kill animals. SHARK has been proving for 16 years that rodeo humane rules are a farce, and that rodeo animals are regularly injured and killed. Even the rodeo industry admits this by refusing to release animal injury and death reports.

(More below the fold…)

SHARK: Bloodless Bullfighting Coming to America

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Excerpted from SHARK’s May 5, 2009 e-newsletter:

Bloodless Bullfighting Coming to America

More Bull and Horse Abuse in Las Vegas

SHARK has been notified that the company Don Bull Productions (in cooperation with Protamex) is going to organize bloodless bullfights in the South Point Arena in Las Vegas. These bullfights are going to take place on September 14th and 15th, as well as in December 2009, September and December 2010. For more information, click here.

We are told that the bulls are dressed with a Velcro “cape” designed to catch the harpoons (which have no points, but a tip also of Velcro). The concern is that these bullfights might be bloodless, but real toreros such as ‘El Cordobes’ (who kill bulls during other events) take part in them, and both bulls and horses are subjected to stress and injuries during such events. We also have a strong suspicion that the bulls used during these events are going to be killed in Mexico, during a regular bullfight or in the slaughterhouse.

We cannot let these events happen in Las Vegas, because the bullfighting industry is losing ground in the ‘real’ bullfighting countries Spain, France, Portugal, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and is now trying to export these events to other countries.

The last thing we need in this country is more animal abusing events.

What You Can Do:

Contact the South Point Arena, the mayor of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and ask others to do the same. Las Vegas has plenty to offer and doesn’t need to abuse animals for entertainment.

Mr. Oscar B. Goodman
Mayor of Las Vegas
City Hall, Tenth Floor
400 Stewart Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: (702) 229-6241
Fax: (702) 385-7960
email the Mayor, click here
Mayor’s website

Website Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (official tourism authority): www.visitlasvegas.com/vegas/index.jsp
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
Attn. Board of Directors
3150 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: 702-892-0711
Fax: 702-892-2824
LVCVA’s website

South Port Equestrian and Events Center: www.southpointeventscenter.com
South Point Arena
Attn. Steve Stallworth, director general
9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89189
Hotel Phone: 866-796-7111 toll free
Hotel Fax: 702-797-8001
Equestrian and Events Center Phone: 702-797-8005
South Port’s website

(More below the fold…)

On mares, wet nurses and shared exploitations.

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Photo via ImaginaryGirl

A few weeks ago, Jennie at That Vegan Girl wrote about a little-known practice of the horse racing industry in which genetically “undesirable” mares are made into “nurses” for the offspring of “thoroughbred” mares and stallions. When “prize” mares are prevented from nursing their foals themselves, they’re of more use to breeders, as they can be impregnated sooner. More babies = more product = more money. And it’s always about maximum profit, right?

In addition to severing the mother-child bond between the “prize” mare and her foal, this practice has even graver consequences for the “nurse” mare and her child. Remember – in order to produce milk, females must first produce a baby. So what happens to the “nurse” mare’s foal, the one for whom the “nurse” mare’s milk is actually intended?

Jennie explains:

The Jockey Club, which is the official governing body of Thoroughbred racing (the kind you see in the Kentucky Derby) does not allow embryo transfer or artificial insemination of horses. In order to have a baby every year, a mare must be re-bred directly after foaling, which means that she must be shipped to the stallion for breeding directly after having her own baby. It’s a process that usually takes three to four weeks in whole, and the foal is too delicate (and valuable!) to travel with his mother. Plus, if she nurses her own foal, she’s not going to come back into heat and thus cannot conceive. Since her whole purpose is to give the breeder potentially valuable offspring, she must be rebred, and since she cannot nurse her own foal and fulfill her “purpose”, a “nurse mare” is brought in.

In order to give milk, female animals generally need to be pregnant and have given birth (the oxytocin secreted during birth allows lactation to begin). In the “nurse mare” industry, like the dairy industry, the newborn foals become the byproducts of milk production. The nurse mares are generally horses of “lower quality” who are otherwise healthy and good milk producers. They are bred to inexpensive stallions for the sole purpose of being able to provide milk to the potential racehorse foals. But wait, you ask… what about their own foals? If you’re unfamiliar with horses, you might think she, like a human wetnurse, gets to nurse both her baby and the other mare’s baby. That doesn’t seem so bad, you might think. Not bad enough to provoke yet another horse “sport” related rant at least. However, if you are familiar with horses, you know that mares rarely produce enough milk to support two foals (one reason why twins are such a problem) and that you’d have to give the mare a substantial amount more feed and that the whole process would require extra attention, extra money. Since the point is to make the “valuable” foal grow up strong and healthy, and the extra foal has no “value”, there’s no chance that the mare’s real baby will get a share of her milk anyway, so what then?

Traditionally, these foals are killed.

That’s right. Like dairy calves, these sentient “byproducts” are killed because they’re not worth keeping alive. It’s not that you couldn’t. You could (and rescues do) keep them alive on formula. However, on large farms, there tend to be a large number and these farms are concerned not with life, but with their bottom line. It is time consuming and not cheap, per say, to do. So they kill them. Why? On the off chance that the foal that their mother nurses will fetch money at auction or win on the track or become a superstar stud (25% chance he will, 75% chance he’ll go to slaughter too). Because their mothers’ are more valuable pregnant than being able to properly bond with their children.

(By the by, this is but a small part of Jennie’s post; you should go read the entire piece, because it’s excellent. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you get back!)

(More below the fold…)

SHARK: Keep the pressure on Coca-Cola

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Update, 5/11/09:

In an email dated May 5, 2009, SHARK updates us on its campaign against Coke:

Coca-Cola’s Feeling the Heat

Keep Pressuring Coke About Sponsoring Animal Abuse

Thank you to everyone who has contacted Coke about its sponsorship of rodeo animal abuse. We appreciate all the responses you have been sending us from the Company.

Under intense pressure the Company is now issuing yet another form letter response. In bold is the relevant change.

Thank you for contacting The Coca-Cola Company, Mrs. Hunter. We appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Like you, The Coca-Cola Company cares about the welfare of animals and supports their proper treatment. That is why the Company and our U.S. bottling will not sponsor events or attractions that feature animals unless the event organizers have policies and procedures in place to support the humane treatment of animals and provide ready access to quality veterinary care to protect the animals’ health and safety. Additionally, the Company’s trademarks may not be used to promote an event or an attraction that violates local, state or national laws or is contrary to the Company’s policy and guidelines.

We hope we have addressed your concerns. If you have questions or comments in the future, feel free to contact us again.

Tom Barber
Industry and Consumer Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company

Coke has a policy in effect that says:

“The Coca-Cola Company does not endorse or condone any practice of cruelty to animals, and the Company does not sponsor or promote events where there is a risk of physical harm to animals.”

Clearly, rodeos violate that policy.

They should have no presence in rodeos.

No matter how many times you have already contacted Coke, please contact them again. We have to remind them of their policy, and we have to keep discrediting their claims and exposing them. It is your calls, letters and e-mails that has them dancing around this issue.

Please let them know that you will not buy their products until they stop supporting animal abuse and will encourage others to do the same.

What You Can Do:

You can help the animals by sharing your thoughts about Coke’s insensitivity with the company’s CEO and President:

Muhtar Kent
President and CEO
The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301
Phone: 770-989-3000
Toll Free: (800) 438-2653 (Get-Coke)

Please also send a separate letter to the same address to the Board of Directors at Coca-Cola.

Email Coke on their web form by clicking here.

Email Coca-Cola’s Corporate Responsibility Review directly at crreview [at] na.ko.com

Please forward any response you may receive from Coke to us at info [at] sharkonline.org, so we can keep track of what corporate lie(s) they are handing out at any given moment.

——————-

Excerpted from the latest edition of SHARK’s enewsletter:

SHARK wants to give a giant Thank You to everyone who took the time to contact Coca-Cola. We know that our letters and phone calls are having an effect. Coca-Cola is responding to our emails by sticking to their ridiculous story that they don’t support rodeo, but bizarrely, they then go into a lengthy defense of rodeo. We believe that this shows that Coca-Cola is feeling the pressure.

We are going to ask you to call Coke again and keep calling Coke this year until they withdraw their support of animal abuse and cruelty. A message needs to be sent to the corporate sponsors of animal cruelty that sponsoring animal cruelty will not be tolerated. PLEASE CONTACT Coca-Cola again or if you haven’t told them how you feel yet, please do so today! We need your support on this issue.

We also have one correction to make: E. Neville Isdell’s proper title is Chairman of the Board and Coca-Cola’s CEO is Muhtar Kent.

Please crosspost to everyone you know and to other organizations.

For more information visit: CokeCruelty.com

Contact Coke Today!

Call Toll Free (800) 438-2653 (GET-COKE)

Email Coke on their web form by clicking here: http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/contactus/cokefeedback/index.html

Email Coca-Cola’s Corporate Responsibility Review directly at crreview[at] na.ko.com

Snail Mail:
Muhtar Kent, President & CEO
The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301-1734

E. Neville Isdell, Chairman of the Board
The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301-1734

Please also send a separate letter to the same address to the Board of Directors at Coca-Cola.

Please forward any response you may receive from Coke to us at info [at] sharkonline.org, so we can keep track of what corporate lie(s) they are handing out at any given moment.

SHARK offers proof of Coke’s rodeo love on their website, including this banner from the 2007 CFD Rodeo.

null

If you’re going to endorse cruelty, the least you can do is have the backbone to stand behind your decision. If it’s such a PR nightmare that you’ve got to deny the sponsorship, then here’s an idea – withdraw your support!

(More below the fold…)

SHARK: Tucson Rodeo – Will They Shock Horses This Year?

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

The following is excerpted from the most recent edition of SHARK’s newsletter.

—————————

Tucson Rodeo – Will They Shock Horses This Year? Or Will They Join Other Rodeos and Ban Shocking?

In 2008, SHARK exposed the Tucson Rodeo for shocking horses with 5,000 – 6,000 volts of painful electricity to make them perform.

SHARK filed a complaint requesting a criminal investigation and charges against those responsible, that was filed with the Arizona Department of Agriculture – Animal Services Division.

SHARK received great media coverage of this issue helping to educate many in Arizona about rodeo animal abuse.

In advance of the upcoming rodeo this year, SHARK has sent out two press releases (see below) to the media, the City Council and the Mayor of Tucson requesting their attention and action on this issue.

What You Can Do:

Contact the Mayor and City Council Members and request a ban on shocking the animals in the rodeo like many other rodeos in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, etc.

(More below the fold…)

Delivering her from the "happiest place on earth."

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Over at Change .org, Stephanie looks at some of the rank sexism and speciesism – both of which are played for laughs, natch – found in last night’s Super Bowl ads. We’re talking chimps in suits, simulated animal abuse, “exotic” “pets” and nagging, insufferable potato-headed women – and that’s just for starters. (For more feminist analysis, see Feministe and geekdad at Wired.)

Instead of adding to the pile – which is too easy, really – I’d like to single out a commercial that actually made me blub-smile: Budweiser’s Clydesdales / Circus ad:
 


 
In the ad, a dilapidated, run-down traveling circus sets up camp next to a pristine, idyllic pasture. Over a white picket fence, the eyes of two horses meet – love at first sight. On one side of divide is Daisy, the circus’s “show” horse; on the other, our hero Romeo, a [Budweiser] Clydesdale. The two horses run to one other – in cinematic slow motion – and embrace. Daisy and Romeo’s loving gazes and sweet nuzzles are rudely interrupted by the circus owner, who hauls poor Daisy off into a creaky old trailer, promptly kidnapping her off into the sunset, away from the distraught Romeo.

Set to strains of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Romeo sets out in search of his love, traversing meadows, rivers, cliffs – even golf courses and city streets thick with traffic. Once Romeo catches up to the circus, he bursts into the tent in which Daisy is performing. The circus owner catches Romeo’s eye and knows what’s coming; Daisy bucks her rider, and she and Romeo escape together, ripping through the canvas of the tent for extra-dramatic effect.

(More below the fold…)

Liam Neeson is a Fooking Wanker

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Liam Neeson was on The Daily Show Thursday in order to promote his latest movie, Taken (which – and it pains me to admit this after sitting through his idiocy – doesn’t look half bad). In case you hadn’t heard, Neeson recently penned a letter to the New York City (City?) Council in opposition to recent legislation which would ban the horse carriage “biz” in NYC.*

Host Jon Stewart begins the interview by asking about Neeson’s efforts to “save” New York City’s carriage horses. By “save,” I mean continue to enslave and exploit. It’s tradition, dontchaknow!

Cue the stupid:
 

 
While I’ve enjoyed TDS off and on for years, I’ve always found Stewart’s interview skills to be, shall we say, somewhat lacking. And yet, with only a minimal grasp of the issues – and playing the most amiable Devil’s Advocate ever – Jon p0wns Liam. He offers up the rather commonsense observation that the horses would probably be happier in a more pastoral setting (as opposed to the stables next to his studio), where they’d be able to roam free without worrying about dodging NYC traffic. How about we build a home for the horses in Central Park, where citizens can “enjoy” them in a more natural environment, he suggests? A nice “compromise,” no?

In response, Neeson insists that the horses are treated well, blah blah blah, it would be irresponsible to lay off 400 workers while the economy’s in the toilet, yada yada yada, insert your standard appeals to tradition here, and – here’s the kicker – the horses actually prefer working a 9 to 5 job and spending all their off time confined to tiny little prison cells! They’ve been bred over thousands of years to love the city life! They get holidays off, yo! Hey, those stables are so clean and warm and comfy, I’d even live there, Neeson cries with glee.

Honestly, he comes off as borderline batshit.

Post-interview, Jon works in a nice little stab at Neeson’s expense. It’s not on the Moment of Zen video clip (damn you, Stewart!), but it involves a joke about Monday’s guest, Jimmy Carter, who’ll be coming out in favor of horse meat sandwiches.

* When it’s you vs. Alec Baldwin, and Alec Baldwin looks like the sane, kind, compassionate party in the dispute…well, that’s not a good sign, brother.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Update/Act: Doomed Wild Horses Have A Hero?

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Nov 18, 2008 3:23 PM
Subject: Update/Act: Doomed Wild Horses Have A Hero?

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY, PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

11/18/08: UPDATE + ACTION
Doomed Wild Horses Have A Hero?

FOR A FORMATTED LETTER (WORD DOC), EMAIL: kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.

Kinship Circle - 2008-11-18 - Doomed Wild Horses Have A Hero

Wild horses gathered from the Fox & Lake Herd Management Area in near Empire, Nev., wait in a pen. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27738672/

=========================

UPDATE: PICKENS TO THE RESCUE? NEW HOPE FOR BLM HORSES

=========================

EDITED FOR LENGTH, READ FULL STORY HERE:
A Dramatic Rescue for Doomed Wild Horses of the West
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/17/AR2008111703680.html?hpid=topnews

The unwanted horses seemed destined for death… The Bureau of Land Management knew that euthanasia was a legal alternative, but officials were proceeding slowly, afraid of an intense public outcry. The wild horses had become too expensive to maintain, and cattlemen argued that turning them loose would be a drain on the already scarce grazing lands of the West.

Then (11/17/08), at a public hearing in Reno, Nevada…Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, made known her intentions to adopt not just the doomed wild horses but most or all of the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal holding pens… Madeleine Pickens is looking for land in the West that would be an appropriate home for the horses.

She is working with the BLM staff to adopt the horses, said Henri Bisson, the bureau’s deputy director, while the agency persuades Congress to shift $20 million in funding to feed and protect the horses now in captivity for another year. As backup to Pickens’s offer, he said, two other groups, both animal rescue organizations, have expressed similar interest in adoption. “We are very hopeful that euthanasia won’t be necessary this year,” he said.

News that Pickens and others intend to adopt wild horses and burros was celebrated by animal rights groups; several were preparing legal challenges to prevent the government from putting the horses to death… MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/17/AR2008111703680.html?hpid=topnews

(More below the fold…)

National Horse Protection League: Five words to stop slaughter

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: National Horse Protection League
Date: Wed, Nov 5, 2008 at 9:55 AM
Subject: Five words to stop slaughter

Can you spare a few words?

We were so impressed with the response to our recent Horse Hero alert that we decided to ask for your help with another project. This one doesn’t require your personal knowledge of any heroes in your area. It just requires your creativity.

We need five (or fewer) simple words that convey your disgust with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) for its support of horse slaughter. You may not know this, but AQHA — in large part because of its own active encouragement of over-breeding — has lobbied against legislation banning horse slaughter in the United States as well as legislation prohibiting the export of horses for slaughter and eventual consumption.

It is time we show them that the community of horse lovers in this country finds this completely unacceptable. So here is what we are going to do…

From November 7-22, the AQHA will be holding its annual World Show in Oklahoma City. As this show is taking place, we will ask our supporters to send protest emails to AQHA’s leadership. The subject line of the email will be a short phrase that conveys our collective opposition to AQHA’s support of horse slaughter. We came up with one idea but want to know if you can come up with something better. Here is our contribution to the effort:

Horse: It’s NOT for Dinner!

If you have a short phrase you think might work, send it to info [at] horse-protection.org, with the phrase in the subject line, by midnight on Sunday (11/9). We will pick our favorite and incorporate it into our action in a couple of weeks.

So put your thinking cap on. We look forward to seeing your phrases and will keep you posted about the progress of this campaign.

Sincerely,

Team NHPL

The National Horse Protection League is an online community dedicated to making every horse a wanted horse. Our mission is simple: to protect horses and help owners who can no longer care for their animals find a humane and loving alternative to cruel death or abandonment. Visit www.horse-protection.org and find out how you can show your love of horses.

(C) 2007 National Horse Protection League | www.horse-protection.org | About Us | Contact Us | Unsubscribe

———-

Tagged:

Kinship Circle: Call/Write To End Horse Slaughter For Good

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 11:18 AM
Subject: Call/Write To End Horse Slaughter For Good

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

**H.R. 6598 passed the House Judiciary Committee and is now up for a vote by the full House…any day now. Please contact your U.S. Representative in Congress ASAP. See sample letter and phone call below.

10/2/08: Call/Write To End Horse Slaughter For Good
FOR A FORMATTED LETTER (WORD DOC), EMAIL: kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.

Kinship Circle - 2008-10-02 - End Horse Slaughter For Good

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Bill To (Finally?) End Horse Slaughter

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 4:32 PM
Subject: ACT/ Bill To (Finally?) End Horse Slaughter

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

7/29/08: New Bill To (Finally?) End Horse Slaughter

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

Kinship Circle - 2008-07-29 - New Bill To (Finally) End Horse Slaughter

Horses Spared in U.S. Face Death Across the Border
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/11/us/11horse.html

Every 5 Minutes An American Horse Is Slaughtered For Human Consumption
http://www.awionline.org/legislation/horse_slaughter/death_clock.htm

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ BLM Wants To Kill Wild Horses

Friday, July 11th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 1:49 PM
Subject: ACT/ BLM Wants To Kill Wild Horses

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

7/10/08: BLM Wants To Kill Wild Horses
EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

Photos via Utah~Dave AA7IZ

(More below the fold…)

The Animals Voice: Stop The U.S. Government From Shooting Thousands of Wild Horses

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Photo via teepoole

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: The Animals Voice
Date: Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 2:13 PM
Subject: Stop The U.S. Government From Shooting Thousands of Wild Horses

Equine Plight | Proposed Wild Horse Shoot

The U.S. Government is considering a plan to shoot thousands of wild horses

We’ve been battling the issue for years: saving wild horses from death in one form or another. We are asked to believe they are starving to death on the public range and need to be managed and controlled for their own good. We are asked to believe they are dying of thirst due to drought conditions in the West (despite that cattle have no trouble finding water sources). We are asked to believe wild horses are competing with “native” wildlife or endangered species and must be removed from public lands to protect the ecosystems.

And now we’re being asked to believe that the high cost of taking care of unadoptable wild horses is just more than the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) can bear (in 2008, less than 5% of BLM’s wild horse and burro program budget was allocated to herd management on the range, with the remaining 95% allocated to captures, holding and placement).

But these have never been the core root of the wild horse problem. Unfortunately, the above reasons HAVE been the truths even wild horse defenders have come to believe — but they are not. They aren’t even close to the truth.

Here’s the truth in a nutshell: Only so many hooved animal are allowed on public land per acre. Wildlife species like deer, antelope, elk, etc., are allowed to remain on public lands because preserving and killing them (they’re often preserved so they CAN be killed) makes somebody somewhere lots of money; in this case, the U.S. government (hunting license fees, wildlife management programs, etc.). Cattle, sheep and other domestic livestock are allowed to remain on public lands because raising them there is cheap for livestock growers and it makes the U.S. government money in the form of public lands grazing fees, not to mention that it makes livestock growers money on livestock sales.

But the wild horse doesn’t make anyone anywhere a single dime to remain on public lands — and since there’s only so much room on public land for so many hooved animals, the ones not making money are to be removed — under any excuse the government can find to justify the removals.

(More below the fold…)