A prominent equestrian author, R.T. Fitch, has exposed information reported in an Associated Press article as bogus. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon refuted claims made in the article quoting tribal sources saying there are no such plans to build a slaughter plant on any reservation. The story was reported in the online edition of Horseback Magazine.
On July 18th, 2009, an Associated Press story hit the internet quoting sources saying the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon, would attempt to reintroduce horse slaughter into the United States. The headline, “Groups Push to Slaughter Horses for Meat Possibly in Oregon” swept across the internet like wildfire.
”Native Americans and others are pushing for the renewed slaughter of horses in the U.S….and processing them into meat,” The AP story said. “...The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs are considering building a slaughter and processing facility…on their reservation north of Madras, as recommended last spring by a coalition of Northwest tribes.
The story by Dick Cockle is inaccurate. Several days of data mining and calls to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs revealed information that refutes virtually everything Cockle reported.
“No, we are not making any plans to build a horse slaughter plant on any reservation”, stated Tim Outman, field representative for the Warm Springs Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources.
Putting all cultural and moral conflicts aside, Outman said, “Who would invest $8-10 million into building a facility where there is absolutely no market? Shipping horse meat is against Federal Law. We have no idea what, where or who, is perpetuating this misinformation.”
“This sort of journalism does nothing to further the cause and public relations of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs”, stated Outman.
The AP also misquoted Chris Hyde of Washington’s Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) as well, says the DC lobbyist.
“Richard Cockle has again written another poorly researched and unsupported article on horses,” an outraged Hyde told an Oregon news organization. “I spent a great deal of time on the phone with him providing facts and evidence dismissing the misleading claims put forward by individuals more interested in abusing horses than advancing the truth.”
“However, what does he do? Prints rhetoric,” Hyde continued. “It is a shame that Mr. Cockle, Sue Wallis and others continue to exploit the truth and suffering of horses just to make a name for themselves nationally.”
Wallis is a Wyoming state representative active in an effort to return equine slaughter to the United States.
R.T. Fitch is Author of the acclaimed Straight From the Horse’s Heart.