On Friday, July 19, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell & Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as well as Senator Mark Udall hosted an event at Horsetooth Reservoir to announce the “Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership”, a program aiming to reduce the risks of wildfire to Colorado’s water supply. Representatives from Animals’ Angels attended the event to bring attention to the benefits of wild horses on public lands and their role in reducing the risk of fires. In a quiet moment they were able to meet with Vilsack and briefly discuss the inadequacy of USDA’s Horse Slaughter Transport Program and the issue of unpaid fines/lack of enforcement. The Secretary appeared very interested and requested specific information regarding these fines from AA. Animals’ Angels has provided this information to him, hopefully it will cause some concern.
According to public documents, the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Regulations have been violated more than 290 times by close to 500 different offenders. However, based on information received from APHIS Deputy Administrator John Clifford, only 66 of the civil penalties assessed have been paid in full and 5 more are currently on payment plans.