Three cheers for my friends at Little Brook Farm in Old Chatham, NY!! ~Declan
Little Brook Farm joins advocates at rally for Safe Horse NY bill
Summer Brennan speaks about Little Brook Farm
In the “well” of the Legislative Office Building in Albany May 22, Summer Brennan presented a PowerPoint slideshow of some of the horses at Little Brook Farm in Old Chatham that had been saved from slaughter.
Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 11:00 am on the Chatham Courier
ALBANY — Horse lovers and advocates, including more than 50 people from Little Brook Farm in Old Chatham, showed their support for the proposed Safe Horse New York bill during a press conference held at the state Legislative Office Building in Albany May 22. The bill, originally proposed by Assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick (D-Manhattan), focuses on horse welfare and stopping the sale and shipping horses to out-of-state slaughter facilities. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Kathleen Marchione (R,C-Halfmoon) and David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange).
The event marked the first time horse advocates met with lawmakers to encourage the passage of the Senate bill. The bill would “amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to prohibiting the slaughtering of horses for consumption.”
Little Brook Farm owner Lynn Cross, with her daughter, Summer Brennan, said that at least 12 rescue groups from around the area had come out to the press conference. Cross and Brennan hoped to debunk the myths about old horses and ways of disposing of them by speaking at the event.
“The level of visibility displayed in today’s event crosses the barriers that we often deal with in a political environment,” said Glick. “The bipartisan support we have achieved, in both the Assembly and Senate, is indicative of the progress that has been made on the issue. We are not only addressing an issue of public safety by banning horse slaughter, we are reconciling issues of dignity and respect.”
Cross believes that the act of slaughter enables people to breed quantity versus quality and that it’s also bad business. As an avid horse advocate, she said that a person who is in favor of killing a horse believes that the animals are “their own personal property,” that they can do with them as they please.
She said that if an owner needs to put their horse down, it needs to be done in a humane and responsible way. Slaughter is an “inhumane option,” she stated.
In order to understand the sometimes harsh reality of horse breeding, Cross used an example of a paint horse. Paint horses are known for their patterns of white and dark colors throughout their coat. If a foul is born with a solid color coat, she said that paint horse has no value. With no value, the “vicious cycle” of slaughtering begins.
When a person chooses to buy a horse, they need to be aware of how much it costs to take care of and breed a horse. Cross said that people often don’t consider this. Some of the costs include feeding, veterinary care, training and boarding.
She said that people need to look at the issue from a different perspective and consider the bigger picture. A big disconnect occurs when people assume that owners cannot afford to put a horse down. She said that a majority of them have the money; only about 20 percent of the horses that come to Little Brook are hardship cases.
“It’s a people problem. Horses are labeled incorrectly. If something is not done correctly for the horse, people think that there is something wrong with the horse,” said Cross, for example a poor fitting saddle or shoe. At Little Brook, they work to figure out what the problem is with these mislabeled horses.
“Protecting horses from slaughter is the responsible, ethical thing to do. Besides ethical issues, the consumption of horse flesh raises serious health and safety concerns because many horses have received medications banned by the FDA for use at any time during the life of livestock animals,” said Marchione at the press conference. “The legislation I am sponsoring in the Senate, and Assemblywoman Glick and Assemblyman [Jim] Tedisco [R-Glenville] are championing in the Assembly, takes common sense steps to protect New York’s horses from needless slaughter and I am hopeful this measure will become law.”
Supporters and advocates were able to speak with legislators about the need for the bill. Cross and others from Little Brook spoke with a member of the Agriculture Committee and a staff person from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. Students from Columbia High School in East Greenbush were also able to lobby at Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan’s (D-Queens) office.
Cross said she wanted students to understand the legislation process and to find their own voice in an appropriate manner.
Additional co-sponsors of the bill include Assemblywomen Ellen Jaffee (D-Rockland) and Linda Rosenthal (D-New York). Additional speakers at the press conference included Dr. Kraig Kulikowski, DVM, who spoke about the health risks associated with horse meat toxicity, which is caused by giving horses prescription drugs prior to slaughter, as well as Operating Manager and Co-founder of Sackatoga Stable LLC Jack Knowlton, manager of the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner “Funny Cide.”
“Slaughter is a cause of the problem, not the solution. It is the epitome of cruelty toward horses. People need to be responsible. Horses are wanted and owners need to find the right situation for the horses to be used,” said Cross.
On Tuesday, Brennan headed back up to the Legislative Office Building with Little Brook’s miniature horse, Fritz, to champion the Safe Horse NY bill during the third annual Animal Advocacy Day.