Sixty-thousand American horses are slaughtered every year. Bo Derek shows us how to make it stop.
via Horses in Our Hands

More than 60,000 American wild and domestic horses were needlessly slaughtered for human consumption in 2019. Although they aren't killed in the U.S. due to a ban passed in 2006, horses are often purchased or rounded up by middlemen and taken to Canada or Mexico where they are slaughtered for their meat.

While the idea of eating horse meat sounds disturbing to most Americans, it's considered a delicacy in Mexico, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Japan, Germany, Indonesia, Poland, and China.

The horses are killed or rendered unconscious with gun bolts to the brain before they are bled out and then processed to be shipped out for food.


The most grievous aspect of the problem is that we could make it go away overnight. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2019, H.R. 961/S. 2006 which permanently bans horse slaughter in the U.S. and prevents the export of horses for the same purpose, has bipartisan support in Congress and 80% of the American people.

Upworthy had the pleasure of speaking with actress Bo Derek ("10," "Tarzan, the Ape Man," "Tommy Boy") to tell our readers how they can help her and Horses in Our Hands make the final push to end this awful and unnecessary practice.

Horses in Our Hands is the only equine welfare-specific organization lobbying Congress for the permanent ban on horse slaughter during the current legislative session.

Derek fell in love with Andalusian horses while scouting locations for "Bolero" in 1983. When she returned home, she became a horse breeder and a trick rider. She has had up to 22 horses on her California ranch, but these days she's down to five.

via Horses in Our Hands

Derek has a deep relationship with horses that's been developed from spending countless hours in the saddle and stable.

"I've developed a sense of their body language that's tuned to very high sensitivity," she told Upworthy. "But you have to spend a lot of time with animals to be able to develop that understanding. But once you do you find they'll never lie to you."

The relationships she forged with horses have helped her evolve as a person as well. "If you spend a lot of time around animals your instincts become a bigger part of your life," she said.

Derek has been an active part of the movement to end the slaughter of American horses for food for over 18 years and she's was also a racing commissioner in the state of California. She says one of the biggest roadblocks to getting legislation passed is the Cattlemen's Association lobby that fears any regulation of four-hooved animals could eventually be applied to cattle.

"They believe it's a tipping point that will have cascading consequences for their industry." Derek said. "Which, I don't believe, but they seem to take a hard line on that."

Derek says that if legislation is passed protecting horses from slaughter there should be no problem finding proper care for the extra animals.

"About a million horses die naturally or are euthanized every year in this country," she said. "So yes, the country can definitely absorb 60,000 more."

But she laments the spectacular amount of money and time that has been put into solving the issue.

"Our politics is out of control. I found it obscene and vulgar the money that was spent on both sides of this issue for 60,000 horse carcasses. Why fight so hard to keep this practice going?" she wondered.

"The biggest lobbying firms have been spending billions of dollars on this issue," Derek said. "It's so crazy."

Even though she has dealt with the rigors of Washington and Sacramento for over two decades, Derek still remains positive for the future of America's horses because she's seen what happens when people take action.

"The one thing I did find while I was working in Washington is that when people write their congressman it really does make a difference," she said.

"I've had congressman call me and say, 'Bo, please tell them to stop with the phone calls. Ok, you have our vote,'" she adds.

Derek believes that the best way to end the slaughter of American horses for food is to bombard their congressmen's office with phone calls and emails. "Seen it happen many times and it works," Derek said.

Horses in our Hands has been ramping up its efforts to get the SAFE Act passed by asking people like you call and write your representatives in Washington to get them to pass the bill.

Since this past May, they have managed to have 112,000 supporter letters submitted to members of the U.S. House and Senate via the organization's website.

Click here to send a letter to Congress asking them to pass the SAFE Act to end horse slaughter.












True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.