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Horses with No Names: Steadfastly Defending New Mexico's Majestic Equines
New Mexicans are tackling a serious challenge by deciding that we must do better by the iconic equines who grace our lands and with whom we share our lives. The problem lies not with the animals themselves, but with us. From the ranch horse who contributes to someone’s farming livelihood, to the thoroughbred who brings in the money, to the dressage horse who enriches a competitor’s life, to the pony who answers a little girl’s prayers, these majestic figures deserve the best we can offer them.

New Mexico has been in the spotlight for many months because of an ill-conceived plan to open a horse slaughter plan in Roswell. Just recently, media outlets reported a variety of stories that in some cases implied the horse slaughter plant was on ice, and in other cases that it was being stubbornly pursued, despite an Albuquerque Journal report of the slaughterhouse being fined $86,000 by the state of New Mexico for failing to properly dispose of a huge pile of rotting carcasses.

What we do know is that opposition to horse slaughter in America is intense and it is growing.

Congressmen Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján have added their names to the growing list of New Mexican leaders who know we can do better by horses. Congressman Heinrich solidified his opposition to horse slaughter by writing to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack about the issue, as did Governor Susana Martinez. Governor Martinez maintained her strong position against horse slaughter, despite being pressured by a vocal minority of horsemen to choose that gruesome path.

As the opposition to horse slaughter grows, more promising signs of change are on the horizon.

New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte is leading meetings of local stakeholders who are putting their heads together, examining the challenges and figuring out pragmatic ways of helping homeless horses in our state. As it turns out, New Mexico and many other states are determined to help horses and refuse to follow the cynical path to horse slaughter. The staff of APNM is actively engaged in these meetings that promise to lead to a brighter future for New Mexico’s horses.

In mid August the New York Times ran an exceptional piece that highlighted the extreme drought across the West and Midwest and the effect it is having on free-roaming horses and the people of the Navajo Nation. Debbie Coburn, director of Four Corners Equine Rescue was interviewed and provided a glimpse into the challenges of caring for equines when trying to address a problem that has been brewing for decades and when the safety net for them is woefully inadequate and full of holes.

Coburn also penned this opinion piece for the Albuquerque Journal.

The many equine safety net programs already in place in the U.S. and New Mexico point to the fact that while the problems are substantial, they are not insurmountable. They just need significantly more support.

Adding to the challenge of helping our horses is a horse racing industry that has a lot of explaining to do lately, particularly in New Mexico. Since March of 2012, the New York Times has been exposing the ‘doping’ practices plaguing horse racing --practices which endanger jockeys and kill horses at a pace that is nothing short of alarming. The Albuquerque Journal followed it with its own coverage of horses drugged and left for dead, and reports of money laundering and drug cartels at racetracks continue to make headlines.

Nothing worth fighting for is easy.

APNM is engaged in this challenge for horses for the long haul, knowing that changing the systems and institutions that cause so much harm and suffering may take years to change. With your support, we’re hopeful we’re wrong about that timeline. This we also know: The horses themselves are our inspiration. While they are strong, they are also vulnerable to the terrible things we can do to them. We keep their faces and stories close to the surface.

Please help us make sure we can be as strong as we need to be to deliver the relief horses deserve. Your support of the Equine Protection Fund directly helps suffering horses on the ground, where it matters. Donations are used for emergency feed assistance, gelding assistance, and humane euthanasia for suffering horses who have no chance of being adopted or re-homed.

Please donate today, and thank you in advance for helping ease the suffering of equines and proving that all animals matter in our Land of Enchantment!

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Animal Protection of New Mexico, Inc. (APNM)

P.O. Box 11395, Albuquerque, NM 87192
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