Today at HumaneWatch.org, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) released an undercover video shot at the Duchess Horse Sanctuary in Douglas County, Oregon—a facility owned and managed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Though HSUS claims its Oregon facility offers “1120 acres of rolling pasture,” the HumaneWatch.org video shows horses in overcrowded conditions wading through a field of mud, manure, and hazardous fallen tree branches.
HSUS has gained significant public attention by releasing carefully edited hidden-camera videos that supposedly represent typical conditions on livestock farms. Many observers disapprove of this tactic, as it sensationalizes a very limited view of the conditions in which animals are kept. But unlike HSUS, CCF will release its unedited video of the Duchess Horse Sanctuary later in the week. (HSUS has repeatedly refused to share unedited “undercover” footage with the media or the public.)
Equine Veterinarian Dr. John Radosevich offered the following expert opinion after viewing the video in its entirety, “The broken limbs and fallen down trees should have been removed from this facility before any horses were turned into it because of the possibility of puncture wounds, with the possible onset of tetanus and sure death of the wounded horse.”
National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame Inductee Tim McQuay commented: “I would be embarrassed to have my horses running in a pasture with dead trees and mud where injury could easily occur.”
Dave Duquette, Executive Director of the United Horsemen's Front, said: “This is not a model situation for the care of horses.” Duquette added that “HSUS's whole byline on the Duchess Sanctuary is that it will be a model for livestock management. As a life-long horseman, I can say that they need a new manager.”
David Martosko, Director of Research at the Center for Consumer Freedom and the editor of HumaneWatch.org, said: “It’s time that HSUS lives up to the standards it demands from others. The conditions at Duchess Horse Sanctuary are apparently nowhere near as idyllic as HSUS suggests. If these animal rights activists want to be taken seriously by horse trainers, horse owners, and horse lovers, they need to take better care of their own animals.”