Message from Maryland Horse Council President, Steuart Pittman
What We Are
The Maryland Horse Council is a grassroots membership organization with one part time administrator and annual dues and sponsorship revenue of about $30,000. We have 40 association members that represent some 30,000 people between them plus farm members, business members, and individual members. Our Board of Directors includes a representative from each or our associations, plus elected representatives from each of the other three membership categories. Our executive committee and officers are elected by the Board. Lucky for me, we have term limits for officers.
What We Do
The primary mission of MHC is to represent the interests of Maryland's horse community to state government, but we do more than that. We have a Save The Horse Farms campaign operating in many counties to overcome unfair zoning and permitting laws. We have a new Farm Stewardship committee working to promote and expand the role that horse farms play in protecting the environment. We have an Unwanted Horse Project that has created a new Maryland Fund For Horses. We have a Political Action Committee to fund horse-friendly candidates for public office. We have a Committee to Support Racing. We have an MHC Business Network. And of course we have a Legislative Committee that coordinates our grass roots lobbying of our elected representatives and creates programs in state government such as the Maryland Horse Industry Board. MHC also participates in the Maryland Farm Bureau and the American Horse Council's Coalition of State Horse Councils.
How To Get Involved
Like all primarily volunteer membership organizations we constantly work to grow. Without dues paying members we would not exist. Without people willing to take on leadership roles we would be silent.
When I ask people to join I do not focus on our membership discount programs, our newsletters, or even the business benefits that come from networking. Instead I simply remind people how good it feels to be a part of something you believe in. Go to our web site at www.mdhorsecouncil.org and look over what we do. Join as a member and then you can tell us what to do!
Maryland Horse Council
Horse Slaughter? Most Americans don't know that an unfortunate part of the horse population is inhumanely shipped across U.S. borders and slaughtered for human consumption. The meat is then shipped abroad to be served as a delicacy in foreign restaurants.
Breaking News Headlines!
Undercover Investigation Underscores USDA - Documented Brutality
Visit Howling Ridge RadioPrograms are aired Wednesday nights @ 9:30p Eastern and are hosted by John Holland, Ellen-Cathryn Nash, Amanda Sorvino & Vicki Tobin
This unique radio program interviews people that are VERY close to the slaughter industry. This includes under cover investigators and previous plant workers.
Educate Yourself!Each of the links above has many more links on their pages so you can educate yourself about this very important topic!
133,000 horses went to slaughter last year. This is the highest total since 1995. Moving horse slaughter out of our Country did not protect American horses. They are still shipped to Canada and Mexico for processing.
As a rescue organization we realize that a ban on transporting horses for slaughter across American borders will increase the number of horses in the United States. We want to help re-educate current and potential horse owners and organizations about options that will reduce the horse population over time.
These options include:
Nurse Mare FoalsNurse Mare Foals are foals that are born from a mare that was bred simply to provide milk for a “more expensive” foal. The mare is bred and delivers the foal … two days later the foal can be taken from the mare so the mare can be leased to another farm to nurse another foal.
The mare is shipped to another farm and the original foal is left to fend for its self.
Historically the foals were killed or left to die with no hope for a happy future. Within the past 10 years or so, many foals have been given a new life by Rescues that take the foals and raise them on buckets of mares milk. These foals have to be purchased from the farmers that created them to die. The farmers do not just “give” them to the rescues as many believe.
Mares milk can be purchased in a powdered form. It is mixed with water and the foals drink every few hours from a bucket or nipple. Most of the foals have been kept with their mother just long enough to get the colostrum they need to survive. They do very well on the powdered mares milk and also do best if they are raised with several other foals and adult horses to teach them horse etiquette.
We have had excellent results in raising these foals on mares milk. It can be tricky when the temperature fluctuates as they are very sensitive to extreme cold or heat. They are prone to scours. A watery diarrhea that can quickly dehydrate a very young foal that is in shock due to its mothers disappearance. Pneumonia and ulcers can also easily arise if the babies are not monitored closely for any change in milk intake or physical / mental changes.
We love to raise these babies but we feel this industry adds to the already ever expanding horse population. They also promote haphazard breeding practices.
If you are considering breeding your mare please take into account all the young foals that need homes. There are many hundreds (nobody knows the real count) of foals that are born every year to Nurse Mares. Raising a foal can be very rewarding. You will have a partner for life that has been trained to your needs and that knows your hand and special touch as the one that gives them comfort.
Please don’t breed your mare simply to raise a foal. Contact your local horse rescue, Freedom Hill Horse Rescue or Last Chance Corral in Ohio (they provide safe haven for over one hundred NMF’s a year) to find out more about bringing home a baby to raise and train as your own.
Below are links with more information on this topic….
REMEMBER …. DON’T BREED …. RESCUE !
PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) IndustryIn 2004 the year Freedom Hill Horse Rescue was established, there were 400 contracted PMU farms located in Canada and North America. As of this date in the year 2010 there are 22.
What is a PMU farm?
Pharmaceutical companies pay farmers to breed thousands of mares each year to collect the pregnant mares urine and as per their contract with the Pharmaceutical company, the urine is purchased and used to make Hormone Replacement Therapies
(HRT’S)….most prescribed is Premarin.
With the introduction of synthetic HRT’s many people ask if Premarin is still being used. The answer is yes, doctors are still prescribing Premarin although it’s use has been dramatically reduced in recent years, as a result causing the number of barns producing PMU to be reduced.
1999 – 400 barns
A by product of the PMU industry, is the resulting foal born to the PMU mare. The foals are referred to as PMU foals. These foals are born by the thousands and as soon as possible shipped off to slaughter to begin another crop of foals for the sake of collecting a Pregnant Mares Urine.
In the early years FHHR did provide safe haven for PMU foals. As rescues got more involved with the PMU Farmers while trying to save foals from slaughter they (the farmers) learned they could put a large ransom on the foals heads and sell them to rescues before sending them to slaughter.
It became very expensive to export the foals from Canada. Several rescues took advantage of the situation and stepped in as middlemen negotiating deals with the farmers to allow them to purchase their foal crop at greatly reduced rates. The rescues would then make money selling them to the unskilled general public as a novelty.
Many other rescues stepped in and took on more than they could care for and lost their footing and crumbled trying to do no more than genuinely help the horses.
Gradually… the contracts to the farms dwindled as awareness was raised to the fact that Premarin has strong ties to cancer in the patients that use it. Due to health risks the demand for Premarin, Prempro and like drugs has continued into a downward spiral.
To the benefit of many of the resulting foals, the Canadian Farmers also learned over time that if they bred better than average foals, they had a market to sell their babies to the U.S. This has improved the foals chances to live and given the farmer a viable humane outlet for his commodity.
Animal advocates played a large role in the diminishing PMU farms and HRT’s processed from Pregnant Mares Urine. They also provided a platform for women to express their fears about using a drug that was considered by many to be a carcinogen AND encouraged animal endangerment (mares stand for months on end with catheters attached to their bladders. They acquire severe leg ailments and are not given space to lie down and rest as they need to).
If you are interested in learning more about this often called “Dirty little Secret”, Visit the links below…