The Magnificent Mustangs Survive

July 30, 2015

The population of feral horses, or mustangs, greatly decreased in the United States during the 20th century. The modernization of the countryside, extreme weather conditions, indiscriminate hunting and human pressure have all led to the slow demise of wild horses. But in an area of southern Spain, the heritage and lines of the mustangs live on.

Heroic Sue Morrow Saves Horses from Death or Abandonment

July 23, 2015

In October 2010, photojournalist Sue Morrow volunteered to muck the stalls and stock hay at a rural barn in Athens, Ohio, called Last Chance Corral. Little did she know that this barn was one of the primary safe havens for non-pedigreed nurse mare foals and adult horses who were rescued from being killed or abandoned after breeding season.

Morrow soon began documenting the barn and its efforts to rescue non-pedigree foals who did not demonstrate “championship potential” in a film called “Born to Die.” The documentary was recently funded via Kickstarter in January with a mission to bring awareness to what Morrow calls the “cruel secret” within the breeding industries.

Read this Petition and Sign if you Agree with Brynn and Scott’s Plea

Stop the slaughter of horses for human consumption


My name is Brynn Taylor, and I am 12 years old. I started this petition with my dad because I love horses. They are sweet, kind animals with very big hearts. They help us in so many ways, from being a great form of physical therapy for people with disabilities to providing companionship to veterans. Horses are very heroic and have been a big part of our history. Now it is our turn to help them.

In 2014 alone, more than 140,000 U.S. horses were slaughtered for human consumption overseas. The process is cruel and inhumane — the long, cramped journey to Mexico and Canada causes these animals great stress and suffering. Once at the slaughterhouse, they are shoved into a “kill box” where there is an attempt to stun them before they are killed. It often doesn’t work, and the horse remains conscious. It is time for the cruel and unnecessary killing of horses to end.

The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2015 would prohibit the sale or transport of horses and other equines for the purpose of consumption. SAFE would establish Congressional recognition that equines are not domesticated for human consumption.

Even if you believe it should be okay to consume horses, US horses are treated with chemicals that make them unsafe for human consumption. The SAFE ACT recognizes these chemicals as hazardous to humans, and calls for a ban on the consumption of equine meat.

The bill has been introduced in both the House and Senate, but opponents are working hard to stop it. We need you to raise your voice to end the cruel slaughter of horses. Help me protect the animals I love and get the SAFE Act passed.

Letter to
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
President Barack Obama
Support U.S. H.R. 1942; S. 1214—The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2015 and Stop the Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption

Killer Nashville 2015: Agents and Editors Looking for Writing Talent

Killer Nashville always has a dizzying array of offerings for readers and writers. But a special part the exciting events in devoted to the appearance of agents and editors who are on the lookout for writing talent. If you have a manuscript you’d like read and critiqued by a professional, Killer Nashville is your place this year.

Nine leaders of the publishing industry will share their expertise – and search for new clients – at the 2015 Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference October 29-November 1 at the Nashville Omni Hotel.

From Los Angeles to New York City, the agents include Sheree Bykofsky of Sheree Bykofsky Associates; Mary Cummings of Diversion Books; Deni Dietz of Five Star Mysteries; Susan Finesman of Fine Literary Agency; Cate Hart of Corvisiero Agency; Jennifer Johnson-Blalock of Liza Dawson Literary Agency; Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary Agency; Elizabeth Poteet of St. Martin’s Press; and Alec Shane of Writers House.

The agents and editors are instrumental to the four-day writers’ conference. They will serve as a valuable resource to the more than 500 conference attendees, discovering new writing talent in social settings such as Thursday night’s Killer Nashville Wine Tasting Event, Friday night’s free Sisters in Crime Party, Saturday night’s free Mystery Writers of America Cocktail Party, and the Killer Nashville Guest of Honor Dinner. Registered attendees will also get individual attention as agents and editors review manuscripts in roundtable group settings with several writers and agents working together, and through one-on-one manuscript critiques and advising, as well as informal bar chats.

“Every year the conference attracts the best and brightest agents and editors,” said Clay Stafford, founder of the Killer Nashville conference. “This year is no exception. Having quality agents and editors who are actively seeking new clients is so important to our conference mission and we provide multiple ways for writers to meet with these people, either individually or in group settings. I think that is why our author placement with agents and publishers has been so successful. We want our attendees to receive the best and most relevant industry-related advice possible. And finding traditional representation and publication for these authors is icing on the cake.”

If you have a manuscript you’d like to have read and critiqued by a professional, Killer Nashville 2015 is your special place this year. Visit for more information.






Another Look at the Calgary Stampede as a Killer of Horses

Calgary Stampede: Why horses die on the ‘half-mile of hell’

Chuckwagon races

A fourth horse has died during races at the annual Calgary Stampede. While officials have implemented changes to make the race safer, animal rights activists argue the popular horse and wagon sprint is still cruel and dangerous.

A 10-year-old thoroughbred horse named Duke was competing in a chuckwagon race in this year’s Calgary Stampede when he collided with another team and broke his leg.

Shortly after, Duke was removed from the track and euthanised.

Two days later on the same track, nine-year-old Schuster’s Way was caught between two wagons and suffered the same fate. Over the weekend, two horses – aged 13 and 16 – sustained leg injuries and were put down.

A total of 65 horses have died at the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races since 1986, an event the World Professional Chuckwagon Association calls “a half-mile of hell”.

Chuckwagon races
The Calgary Stampede is one of the city’s biggest events

Teams of four horses pull covered wagons in figure-eight formations around barrels, then race down an oval track, followed by outriders who assist the wagon driver at the start of the race.

In 2011, the event’s safety commission implemented new measures after six horses were killed the year before. The number of outriders was reduced, microchips were added to all horses in order to track their racing record and health, and a team of veterinarians was put on standby at the races.

But opponents of the event say the entertainment value of the races isn’t worth the inevitable accidents on the track.

The chuckwagon races have been a part of the Calgary Stampede since 1923.

A chuck wagon race at the Calgary Stampede, Canada, 1938
A chuckwagon race in 1938

Around that time, cattle ranchers would bring covered cook wagons – or chuckwagons – to town to feed the crowds at pancake breakfasts. The wagon drivers often raced back to the barn and soon after a formal race spread to rodeo events across western Canada.

Originally, a winner was declared after the first chuckwagon built a fire in his stove at the finish line, but that ended when participants started using gasoline.

Instead of making camp, teams now break camp, with outriders throwing a “stove” into the back of the chuckwagon before the driver takes off.

“Chuckwagon racing was quite a bit more exciting in the ’50s and ’60s,” said Stan Church, the Chuckwagon Safety Commissioner of the Stampede.

“A lot of people were disappointed if at least one wagon didn’t roll over. So over the years, it’s been a progression. It’s much safer now – much safer for the drivers too.”

The commissioner admits horse fatalities are a cost of the races. Since the additional safety standards were set in 2011, 11 horses have died.

Chuckwagon races

“As long as you’re going to have horses running, whether it be on a racetrack or the chuckwagons, there’s going to be some fatalities,” said Church.

“Just like if you own horses, they’re running out in the field, horses will step in a hole and break their own leg.”

“Humans are involved [in the races] so we can’t make it accident free. It’s our job to make sure we do it the safest way possible.”

Church says the majority of deaths are a result of health breakdowns, which the new safety standards address, and says the two driver-error incidents this week were an anomaly.

“It’s a tragedy to lose any of our animals,” driver BJ Carey told the media after the crash that ended in the death of Schuster’s Way.

“We look after these horses like they’re our children. They eat before us every day, they get pampered, we look after them like nothing else.”

Chuckwagon races

Even so, animal rights advocates have long argued against the chuckwagon races and other rodeo events.

“The Calgary Humane Society opposes the use of animals for any form of entertainment in which they are placed at risk of suffering undue stress, pain, injury or death,” said Sage Pullen McIntosh, spokeswoman for the Calgary Humane Society.

Church argues fewer horses die as a result of the chuckwagon races than in thoroughbred racing.

A 2012 New York Times investigation found about three horses die every day on US race tracks, but the number of horses in chuckwagon races is far smaller than those in thoroughbred racing.

Chuckwagon races

And the majority of chuckwagon horses are retired thoroughbred racers.

“It’s a sport that provides another use for these thoroughbred horses after they’re finished with their career on the racetrack.” Church says.

“Race horses are born and bred to run, so if you didn’t race them, you wouldn’t raise them, they wouldn’t exist,”

Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) argues a second career isn’t beneficial for horses.

“Thoroughbreds do love to run, but they don’t necessarily love to race,” said Guillermo.

Chuckwagon races

“I don’t know how anyone knows what a horse’s dream is, but I can imagine that collapsing in a heap of tangled and broken bodies would not be it.”

Taking a horse from one risky sport to another “and then excuse it by saying it’s better than death, I think that’s reprehensible,” Guillermo says.

And there’s pressure from across the Atlantic as well.

In 2010, more than 50 members of the UK Parliament signed a motion calling “on the Canadian government to take steps to end the immense cruelty to animals” at rodeos including the Calgary Stampede.

And when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Calgary in 2011, Peta urged them to not attend the Stampede.

Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge smile at the start of the 2011 Calgary Stampede Parade in Calgary, Alberta on their nine-day tour in Canada July 8, 2011.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the Stampede during the 2011 tour of Canada

Guillermo says if people stay away from the events, it would send a message to the Calgary Stampede.

“There are limits to what people – even people who love rodeos – are willing to tolerate. And there’s not really any excuse for risking a horse’s life in this way.”