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National Horse Protection League Launched to Promote and Protect American Horses


Horse Protection Movement Gains Momentum

As horses begin lining up for the 133rd Kentucky Derby, a new national organization has come on the scene. The National Horse Protection League (NHPL), whose mission is to protect and promote the status of American horses, will serve as a clearinghouse for information on legislation affecting horse welfare, adoption opportunities, horse tales, veterinary care and other enthusiast content.


Also launching is the NHPL Action Fund, working to bring a permanent end to the barbaric slaughter of American horses for human consumption. The organization can be found at


“There are many good organizations out there advocating for animals, including horses,” said NHPL spokesman Alex Howe. “But there is no national voice that speaks for horses and horse lovers exclusively – to Congress, to the states, to the industry – not just on behalf of those who raise, sell and race them but for the family that owns a horse for the children, the volunteers who rescue them and keep them in retirement, and to those who simply love racing or admire horses on TV or in a pasture.  This is strictly for and about horses, and people who love them.”


The Internet-based organization is the creation of a leader in the horse industry, John Hettinger, chairman of the executive committee of the nation’s oldest Thoroughbred auction house, Fasig-Tipton, based in Lexington, KY. It will advocate vigorously for the end to horse slaughter for human consumption and promote responsible horse ownership. 


Joining Hettinger as Friends of NHPL are Gary Biszantz , owner, Cobra Farms (CA); Kerry Carlson , Exec. VP of Marketing, West Point Thoroughbreds (NY);  Sean Clancy , steeplechase champion, equestrian magazine publisher, author (DE); Bo Derek , actress and horse owner (CA); Nina DiSesa , chairman, McCann Erickson, equestrienne, horse owner (NY);  Lisa Ford , director, Backstretch Education Fund (NY); John K. Griggs , DVM, equine vet and steeplechase owner, breeder and trainer (KY);  Art hur Hancock , owner, Stone Farm (KY);  Leslie McCammish , Exec. Dir., Blue Horse Charities (KY); Jonathan Thorne , client and market development, Gainesway Farm, breeder (KY); K erry Zeigler , VMD, equine vet, breeder (KY) and Nick Zito , trainer and director, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, (NY).  


NHPL’s introduction was timed with the Derby and Barbaro in mind.

“Barbaro’s amazing story will be commemorated this weekend as racing fans and millions of Americans watch the 133rd Kentucky Derby races. They remember his glorious win last year and his tragic fall a few weeks later. Even though he lost his fight, he was one of the lucky ones. There are hundreds of thousands of horses abandoned by owners who can’t or won’t take care of them,” said Howe. “The National Horse Protection League will work to give back to these animals which have given so much to us.”


Recent federal appeal court rulings have all but shut down the three remaining horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. Last week, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee of the U.S. Senate voted 15 to 7 to send the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to the floor of the Senate.


The same week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 249, restoring the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros—another major victory for the anti-horse slaughter movement. A permanent ban on all horse slaughter for human consumption is expected to pass this term in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.


NHPL Action Fund provides opportunities for NHPL members to contact Congress and encourage lawmakers to put a permanent end to horse slaughter in the U.S., including the ban on transport of horses across Canadian and Mexican borders for slaughter. A series of other “actions” will take place in the coming weeks, including a Thank You card to Roy and Gretchen Jackson, owners of Barbaro, who recently drew national attention to the issue of horse slaughter.


Membership in NHPL is free.


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