Straight from the Horse's Heart

“…they are troubled by the department’s lack of response to “legitimate concerns”

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers is urging Interior SecretaryKen Salazar to disclose whether as many as 1,700 federally protected wild horses now unaccounted for were sold to a middleman who illegally transported them to Mexico for slaughter.

Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., in a letter to Salazar being circulated this week to other lawmakers to cosign, write they are troubled by the department’s lack of response to “legitimate concerns” that the government may have sold these captured mustangs to a “kill buyer,” who then shipped them to a slaughterhouse.

“It is our understanding that this investigation is ongoing,” the letter states, referring to an inquiry by Interior’s Office of Inspector General. But it also says that a number of animal-welfare organizations and worried citizens have…

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UK Burger Factory at a Standstill after MORE Horse Meat is Found in Food Chain

UK Burger Factory at a Standstill after MORE Horse Meat is Found in Food Chain.

While the outrage of finding horse meat in burgers in the UK crosses the sea… One has to ask ,”What is in Your burgers?” What or who is behind the choices made to use horse meat ?

Revealed: Dirty Larry, the multi-millionaire behind firm sneaking horsemeat into UK supermarkets.

New Year – new changes

As the New Year unfolds, reality hits. Ever year I, along with hundreds of hundreds of thousands of people work at making a change.. a rippling effect of some sort as we fight, scream, report, boycott, strike, make our phone calls and write our letters. We work the back scenes, reading reports, working the spay and neuter clinics; waving our flags of advocacy. We fight for non GMO foods, for the right to choose..We  fight to save the children,  the tigers, the bears, the wolves,oh no!… we fight to save the mustangs,  the dogs and cats; the elephants…. We fight for rights.. mine, yours, ours.. the elderly, the people lost in the crack , stuck in miles of red tape…… and yet, the simplest word can be twisted into a weapon, a sword… the highest of the highest office can effectively shut down … or start up…. another attack.. like hunting wolves and slaughtering horses…. the power manipulated often in the interest of the “big” companies.

There are days like now , I wonder how the world will survive…. in our revolution of technology I feel the downward spiral of humanity . What happened to our values? At one time Society’s values were based on like minded individuals with similar values and perhaps goals.

“A system based on limited government will lead to anarchy and exploitation of the weak by the strong, in the absence of values outside the legal system which are accepted by the community.”  Doctor Mark Cooray

Lord Devlin, in an essay “Morals and the Criminal Law” in The Philosophy of Law (ed R M Dworkin) Oxford (1977) at p 74 said:

… society means a community of ideas, without shared ideas on politics, morals, and ethics no society can exist. Each one of us has ideas about what is good and what is evil; they cannot be kept private from the society in which we live. If men and women try to create a society in which there is no fundamental agreement about good and evil they will fail; if having based it on common agreement, the agreement goes, the society will disintegrate. For society is not something that is kept together physically; it is held by the invisible bonds of common thought. If the bonds were too far relaxed the members would drift apart. A common morality is part of the bondage. The bondage is part of the price of society; and mankind, which needs society, must pay its price.”

We are.. …a transient Society on many levels. We’ve gone global.  reality though, our connections are lost despite our latest in technology; our roots are dying. Change has brought a different face to the power welding muscles in our country. A coldness has invaded and humanity is losing its grip as our government changes ….less Democratic , having more Dictatorship qualities. Unfortunately, this movement is causing not just small changes, but riptides through our personal rights… our own lives affected in many ways as yet unknown as well as those changes previously implemented and felt today.

Let your voices be heard in 2013…. Raise your voice…. stand for something….

Cochineal extract or Red dye 40 – what’s your poison?

With the recent article about cochineal extract being present in Starbuck’s strawberry frapprucino  mix one has to ask why. Why drink anything artificial first of all. Why drink anything with cochineal extract secondly.

Sure cochineal extract is natural… ; cochineal is a bug that is known for its red coloring.

” Cochineal is a dye made from dried and ground female bodies of the scale insect Dactylopius coccus costa (Coccus cacti L.). Powdered cochineal is dark purplish red. The chief coloring principle in cochineal is carminic acid, a hydroxyanthraquinone linked to a glucose unit. Cochineal contains approximately 10 percent carminic acid; the remainder consists of insect body fragments.” FDA

That’s right – a bug. While I understand that a lot of food contains traces of insects , why would one deliberately choose to drink a substance that admits to using a bug – simply for colour? These bugs are used in drinks and lipsticks. Yes, you heard me right. Lipsticks. See the word carmine?

Canthaxanthin is also used, also not always vegan – it’s an animal product found in shrimp, flamingos as well as created in the lab.

In 2010 the The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau proposed to revise its regulations to require the disclosure of the presence of cochineal extract and carmine on the labels of any alcohol beverage product containing one or both of these color additives – following in the FDA footsteps. This move was due to many severe allergic reactions from people unknowingly drinking these two additives. The makeup industry was also required to add this info to their labels.

There are 9 synthetically ( human made )  certified colours. A colour additive is any pigment , dye or substance that is added to food, cosmetics or drugs. Generally colours are added to make something look more pleasing.. fresh … desirable.

Certified colours are divided into two groups – dyes and lakes.

Dyes are water soluble and are found in powders, granular form. Dyes are often used in drinks, mixes,pet food, baking mixes and dairy products as well as other products.

Lakes are the water insoluble colours and they are found in your fats, oils, hard candy, gum, donuts, etc.

While the natural dyes ( animal , plant , mineral ) were exempt from certification ; this did not mean that they were necessarily safe ( as shown by reactions in workers in the cochineal production lines as well as others ). Hence the update. However, the natural additives are generally more expensive and added unwanted flavor to the product at times – so artificial colours and flavors are often used.

Many people have allergic reactions to Yellow #5.

http://www.fda.gov/forindustry/coloradditives/coloradditiveinventories/ucm115641.htm

This is the certified list from about.com

FD&C Blue No. 1
Brilliant Blue FCF
Bright blue Beverages, dairy products, dessert powders, jellies, confections, condiments, icings, syrups, extracts
FD&C Blue No. 2
Indigotine
Royal blue Baked goods, cereals, snack foods, ice cream, confections, cherries
FD&C Green No. 3
Fast Green FCF
Sea green Beverages, puddings, ice cream, sherbet, cherries, confections, baked goods, dairy products
FD&C Red No. 40
Allura Red AC
Orange-red Gelatins, puddings, dairy products, confections, beverages, condiments
FD&C Red No. 3
Erythrosine
Cherry red Cherries in fruit cocktail and in canned fruits for salads, confections, baked goods, dairy products, snack foods
FD&C Yellow No. 5
Tartrazine
Lemon yellow Custards, beverages, ice cream, confections, preserves, cereals
Cereals, baked goods, snack foods, ice cream, beverages, dessert powders, confections

FD&C Yellow No. 6
Sunset Yellow 
Orange 
Colors Exempt from Certification
Annatto extract Beta-carotene B-Apo-8′-carotenal*
Canthaxanthin Beet powder Carrot oil
Caramel color Cottonseed flour, toasted
partially defatted, cooked
Cochineal extract (carmine)
Fruit juice Ferrous gluconate* Grape skin extract* (enocianina)
Grape color extract* Paprika oleoresin Paprika
Saffron Riboflavin Turmeric
Titanium dioxide* Vegetable juice Turmeric oleoresin
*Restricted to specific uses

 

Luck is all about perception

Image

Luck – by chance or whimsey and not by one’s skills or knowledge
the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual.

The recent series “Lucky” has been pulled after their 3rd horse died within the past 2 years.

One of the reports stated “According to autopsy results, the first horse was a 5-year-old male who suffered from a “catastrophic humeral fracture” of its right front leg and was on multiple pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications. The second, an 8-year-old male, had an open fracture of its right radius and a history of arthritis.

The most recent case involved a horse that had just been inspected by Dr. Gary Beck of the California Horse Racing Board and was being walked back to the stable at Santa Anita Racetrack, in Arcadia, Calif., where much of the filming takes place.

“The horse was on her way back to the stall when she reared, flipped over backwards, and struck her head on the ground,” Beck said in a statement yesterday.”

The horses used were “retired”  racehorses.

PETA had this to say : the show used older race horses during filming and asked them to do more than a young thoroughbred would have to.

The horses don’t know it’s not a real race,” said Kathy Guillermo, PETA’s vice president of laboratory investigations. “Racing is an exhausting activity and most young horses have at least a week’s rest between races to recover. These horses were sometimes asked to race twice in a day.”

So many thoughts come to mind.

1st , horses are generally not considered old at 5 nor 8 for that matter. However, in the racing business horses are started at around 18 months  ( one can hope their knees are closed! ). So many of the horses in the racing industry are “done”  by an early age. To compete in the races with the largest purses — which are for 2 and 3 year old colts — horses must be trained and raced too young, before their bones’ growth plates have matured. Early training and racing causes a lot of leg injuries, including fractures, pulled ligaments, and strained tendons. These injuries are common in horse racing.

So let’s talk about horse racing.

Around 5000 horses leave the racing industry each year – about the same number that are entering – most before they are even mature. Why? Because the races with the largest purses are generally races for 2 and 3 year old horses. During training and/or racing, injuries are common. Injured horses are often euthanized or sold from one owner to another into increasingly worse conditions. Contemplate this : if approximately 5000 horses enter the racing industry in the US every year, how many foals are born that do not make the grade? Where do these excessive horses end up:? A Horse is injured every 22 races according to one report. Where do these horses go?

An article in The New York Times highlighted the failure of the largest Thoroughbred racehorse retirement program in the United States, generously endowed by some of the wealthiest breeders and most elite stables in the industry and managed by the Thoroughbred Racing Foundation. This well-funded project is responsible for over a thousand horses, a large proportion of them suffering neglect – many had to be euthanized. Reported by The New York Times, 2011

In January of 2009 at Santa Anita when the main track’s surface ( Poly track ) froze during an unexpected cold snap. Over the course of a two week period, there were 7 horses that DIED in racing accidents because they ran on the frozen track and broke their legs. Why wasn’t one enough? Although  I would have thought one horse dying was too many. Common Sense anyone?

On the average if you go to the track everyday for two weeks you will see a breakdown. Some tracks average 25 per season. An estimated 800 racehorses die every year from injuries.

A study reported in the Equine Veterinary Journal noted that after 2 year old horses trained for 9 months, a doubling of one type of heart murmur and a tripling of another is often found. During a race, a horses’ heartbeat can rise from a relaxed 25 beats per minute to an excessive 250 beats, leading to exhaustion, collapse, and even a fatal heart attack.

93% of horses in race training were found to have gastric ulcers. In horses that had actually raced, the percentage was 100.

A study in the Equine Veterinary Journal found hemorrhaging in the lungs in 95% of horses checked during two post-race examinations. An article in the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice Journal states that hemorrhaging in the lungs is “a condition affecting virtually all horses during intense exercise worldwide…. there is no treatment that is considered a panacea, and the currently allowed treatments have not proven to be effective.” Another study in the Equine Veterinary Journal noted that as long as a horse continues to undergo training and racing, the lungs cannot heal.

2nd if these horses were in condition, racing twice a day occasionally would be tough enough.. but then one reads where the 8 year old had arthritis… a history of arthritis to be exact.So why were they using him at all? How humane is that? And how many “takes” did it really take per race?

The 5 year old with “a catastrophic humeral fracture was on ” multiple pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications. Seriously? Most horses with fractures are put down immediately simply for the reason that breaks are not only difficult to heal because a horse generally has to be in a sling to keep the weight off the injured limb, as well as the time involved. Plus it is expensive – more expensive than most race owners want to pay. In the last few years of racing history only Barbaro comes to mind as an example of a horse who broke his leg and was saved ( but he was a Kentucky Derby winner ) only to have to endure over 2 dozen operations and other procedures over the next 8 months. Barabaro had pins in his leg and spent time in a sling. Barabaro suffered a series of ailments — including laminitis in the left rear hoof, an abscess in the right rear hoof, as well as new laminitis in both front feet before he was euthanized.

Magic Man and Eight Belles were both euthanized immediately. And yes, I think that was more humane, regardless of the differences in injuries ( Eight Belles broke both of her front ankles).

3rd “The horse was on her way back to the stall when she reared, flipped over backwards, and struck her head on the ground.”

I have to ask ” Why was the horse allowed to rear high enough to flip over ? Why didn’t her  “HANDLER/TRAINER have control?” This screams incompetence to me. While I do understand that many trainers believe that a horse will often learn from flipping over and landing hard, the fact that this horse was being used for films would suggest that it had at the very least “ground ” manners . Or perhaps they do not fully test their horses’ knowledge? Or temperament? Or their handlers? Or is the report incomplete ? I have worked with horses, including rearing horses – it’s all about paying attention and the timing ( and let’s mention the training!)

According to one source , WinningColorz, the horses used in the filming of Luck were trained by a couple of wranglers, (reportedly one was Matt Chew, who is a licensed CA racehorse trainer) who is considered a “good” trainer. Did he indeed have the horses in hand himself? Another source stated that the Stunt horses themselves were not raced as fast as “race horses”  and under controlled conditions. What training made these horses be classified as “Stunt horses” ? How long were they trained for? Perhaps the show and the horses were just… Unlucky?

The first two episodes of Lucky carried the“The American Humane Association Monitored the animal action.” label. After the two deaths, “No Animals Were Harmed”® certification was given back to the show, after HBO worked with the association to develop additional safeguards… which included more veterinarians and radiology.

The certification seemed misleading – unless they want to add “this episode” to the title.

In as recent as 2005 , a donkey was slaughtered in Manderlay for dramatic purposes – and two horses were killed in Flicka in 2006 ( according to one movie source , one death was caused by a horse getting kicked in the head by another horse during the wild round up scene. ) According to another source ,the association’s Web site; one horse fractured his tibia during a well-rehearsed ( seriously? I’ve never seen a herd run the same way every time – )  running scene in Simi Valley, Calif., and the other horse got loose from his “handler” and tripped on a 13 ‘ lead rope and broke its neck after a fall.

However,no horses were killed or injured during the making of Seabiscuit , Secretariat, or War Horse .

While I understand that incidences happen, horses get injured occasionally racing across their own pasture, taking a jump, etc. I find it ironic that the injured numbers at a TB  track are higher than injuries found in a wild horse band. Although the mustangs have their own plight – and that’s another post.

Perhaps it just isn’t lucky to be a horse.