Changing Planet

Young Crusader Declan Gregg Advocates for America’s Horses on Behalf of Children 4 Horses

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Courtesy Children 4 Horses

Dr. Jordan Schaul interviews another young crusader. To date, Jordan has introduced our audiences to young wildlife crusaders determined to help Taiji’s dolphins and South Africa’s rhinos. Here at home, another young crusader with a compelling story is making a difference for our most majestic of companion animals—horses.

Bio (Submitted by mom, Stacie) Animals are an important part of eleven-year-old Declan Gregg’s life.  He loves them all, but has a special place in his heart for horses.  “They are amazing, beautiful, animals, who are not only our companions and friends, but also our healers,” says Declan.  “I feel a special connection and bond with them that keeps my soul alive.”

In 2011, after hearing about the inhumane and cruel practice of horse slaughter, then nine-year-old Declan, decided that he needed to raise his voice.  Declan created Children 4 Horses and started his own blog (www.children4horses.blogspot.com), and page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/children4horses), to spread the word as an advocate for horses.  Declan worked closely and diligently with the Million Horse March campaign.  He held a “Letter Writing Party” at his local shelter, the New Hampshire SPCA, to collect letters from children hoping to inspire lawmakers to end the slaughter of American horses.  Declan collected over 225 letters that day from local New Hampshire children.

Jordan: Please tell us about your lobbying efforts on behalf of humane horse care?

Declan: My dedication to horse advocacy took me to the nation’s capital twice in 2012, where I represented over 1,000 children from the United States and abroad. I presented letters and drawings to legislators in Congress and the Senate. I held a press conference alongside Congressman Jim Moran (VA) and representatives from other national horse advocacy organizations, where I spoke out against the slaughter of America’s horses, both domestic and wild. During that visit, I personally visited several legislators in the House and Senate, including Congressman Frank Guinta of New Hampshire, where I shared my opposition to the inhumane treatment of horses and subsequently garnered the Congressman’s co-sponsorship of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R.2966/S.1176).

I also met with HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) President, Wayne Pacelle, to discuss ways I could continue my advocacy work with the organization.

In 2012, I joined forces with the “Horses on the Hill” campaign, returning to Washington DC, and spoke before celebrities, Congressmen and Senators to lobby against horse slaughter and advocate for the protection of horses under H.R.2966/S.1176.  In addition to my two Washington visits that year, I testified at a hearing for a bill opposing horse slaughter at the New Hampshire State House in January, 2012.

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Courtesy Children 4 Horses

In 2013, I travelled to Washington DC for a third time, to attend the “Horses on the Hill” event and met with Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire as well as other legislators, and spoke about current legislation which protects horses from inhumane treatment.  I subsequently garnered the co-sponsorship of Congresswoman Shea-Porter of the SAFE Act (H.R.1094/S.541).

My efforts are not only focused at the federal level, but also back home in New Hampshire.  I have been on several radio shows and created videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/sgsquared1), to lend my voice on behalf of horses and raise awareness for horse advocacy issues.

I have spoken to children’s groups like 4-H Clubs, Girl Scouts and after school programs at the NH SPCA, and will be making a presentation at my school, about horses, their humane care and horse advocacy issues.  I love sharing my passion with other kids and educating them.  I want to show them that their voice is important too and that they can stand up for animals just like adults do.  I ran successful fundraising campaigns for both local and national charities that help horses, and far surpassed my goals with the help of people from all over the country.

I ran successful fundraising campaigns for both local and national charities that help horses, and far surpassed my goals with the help of people from all over the country.  Every year, my younger brother and I give the animals a Christmas present, by sponsoring them through the New Hampshire SPCA’s “Adoption Angel” program.  I am currently petitioning the Governor and NH State legislators in the House and Senate (http://tinyurl.com/m7luymd), in opposition of the state’s “Ag-gag” bill (HB110) and will be meeting Governor Hassan prior to the bill going to the floor.

Jordan: How do you feel about the attention you’ve drawn personally?

Declan: I am honored to have been awarded the 2012 ASPCA’s Humane Kid of the Year for his advocacy of horses and was excited to take my family to New York City with me to accept the award and deliver a speech to a packed room of over 500 people.

I was the first ever recipient of the ASPCA’s Junior Equine Angel Award and serves as the first ASPCA Junior Equine Ambassador.  As a coalition member of American Wild Horse Preservation (AWHP), I work with various equine/animal advocacy organizations to also raise awareness about the plight of wild horses and burros in the United States, and the inhumane roundups and removal from our public lands.

Jordan: Tell me about your blog.

Courtesy Children 4 Horses

Declan: My blog, which has been visited by individuals in more than 110 countries, provides commentary on horse advocacy issues and also includes horse news, photos, horse poetry, my artwork and stories about others, both young and old, whom have made a difference helping horses.  I hope my “Children 4 Horses” blog and Facebook page, will inspire and encourage others to stand up, including younger generations, and I hope to be a voice for horses and all animals. My message to others, especially children, is that their voice matters and is important, and that they can make a difference in this world.

Jordan: Anything else you wanted to share about yourself?

Declan: I really love school and learning new things and am an Honors student. Reading, music and art are other passions of mine.  I am a pretty good artist, and love to draw the most, spending hours on each piece.  I have used some of my drawings to help raise awareness and highlight horses by entering them in art contests.  I am also very involved in sports, including having earned my Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do at age 9 and playing for my school basketball team. You can often find me playing with one of our 2 dogs or 2 cats or rescuing small animals I find in need.  I love visiting our local animal shelter, the New Hampshire SPCA, where I volunteer and work with the horses, including grooming and giving them lots of love and attention.  I plan to continue being a voice for horses, including going back to Washington DC.  I will fight until we have won for the horses!

Links:

Children 4 Horses on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/children4horses

Children 4 Horses Blog: www.children4horses.blogspot.com

Children 4 Horses on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/sgsquared1

Declan’s current petition to NH Governor Hassan re: Ag-gag bill:  http://tinyurl.com/m7luymd

With training in wildlife ecology, conservation medicine and comparative psychology, Dr. Schaul's contributions to Nat Geo Voices have covered a range of environmental and social topics. He draws particular attention to the plight of imperiled species highlighting issues at the juncture or nexus of sorta situ wildlife conservation and applied animal welfare. Sorta situ conservation practices are comprised of scientific management and stewardship of animal populations ex situ (in captivity / 'in human care') and in situ (free-ranging / 'in nature'). He also has a background in behavior management and training of companion animals and captive wildlife, as well as conservation marketing and digital publicity. Jordan has shared interviews with colleagues and public figures, as well as editorial news content. In addition, he has posted narratives describing his own work, which include the following examples: • Restoration of wood bison to the Interior of Alaska while (While Animal Curator at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and courtesy professor at the University of Alaska) • Rehabilitation of orphaned sloth bears exploited for tourists in South Asia (While executive consultant 'in-residence' at the Agra Bear Rescue Center managed by Wildlife SOS) • Censusing small wild cat (e.g. ocelot and margay) populations in the montane cloud forests of Costa Rica for popular publications with 'The Cat Whisperer' Mieshelle Nagelschneider • Evaluating the impact of ecotourism on marine mammal population stability and welfare off the coast of Mexico's Sea of Cortez (With Boston University's marine science program) Jordan was a director on boards of non-profit wildlife conservation organizations serving nations in Africa, North and South America and Southeast Asia. He is also a consultant to a human-wildlife conflict mitigation organization in the Pacific Northwest. Following animal curatorships in Alaska and California, he served as a charter board member of a zoo advocacy and outreach organization and later as its executive director. Jordan was a member of the Communication and Education Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (CEC-IUCN) and the Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (BSG-SSC-IUCN). He has served on the advisory council of the National Wildlife Humane Society and in service to the Bear Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA Bear TAG). In addition he was an ex officio member of council of the International Association for Bear Research and Management. Contact Email: jordan@jordanschaul.com http://www.facebook.com/jordan.schaul https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordanschaul/ www.jordanschaul.com www.bicoastalreputationmanagement.com
  • theresa dauphinais

    Horses are not food. We should know what foods we are eating.

  • Karin Hauenstein

    Declan’s efforts to help with education and exposure of this issue are commendable and vital. When I completed my 200+ mile ride into Hollywood to help End Commercial Horse Slaughter, he contacted me, voiced his support for my efforts and we have communicated since. It is kids like him who understand just how important their voices and opinions are. We are now living in an era where less than 5 million people in the U.S. own horses. That is less than 2 tenths of 1% of our population who are likely to be aware of what is going on regarding the exploitation of the one animal that has supported the human race through the majority of our significant accomplishments and developments. Our history with the horse is not over and it is up to young people, like Declan, to remind us all of our ethical responsibilities. I believe he is doing an excellent job.

    This is the reason behind why I, Declan and so many of our fellow advocates work tirelessly and continuously for this cause:

    Horse slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia!

    With the captive-bolt, which was developed for use on cattle, stunning is ineffective over 40% of the time when applied to domestic, trained horses (the ones full of prohibited drugs and medications.) This is due to the fact that horses’ heads cannot be restrained as cattle are and accuracy is very difficult. Horses will routinely break their own necks if restrained. The captive-bolt is ineffective at stunning wild, untrained or under-trained horses nearly 100% of the time. Everyone who knows horses and has any experience at all with wild horses knows that it is near impossible to get anywhere near their poll which is a very vulnerable area to every horse. To get near a wild horse’s poll with a captive-bolt apparatus and have an accurate shot is technically, practically and virtually impossible. This is the reason why we find so much carcass evidence documentation of severe abuse to slaughtered horses. The captive-bolt process itself is so ineffective that many horses are shot multiple times or vivisected while conscious. This is a definite violation of the Humane Slaughter Act which mandates slaughtered animals to be rendered “senseless with one (1) shot.”

    Please call your Federal Representatives in Washington D.C. at (202)224-3121 or visit this website for more information and important action items YOU CAN DO TODAY to help U.S. horses avoid horrible abuse in the future: http://www.HorseActivist.com.

  • R.T. Fitch

    Declan, you are well on your way to making a big difference with your life; headed in the right direction to bring a little sunshine into this world of woe.

    Keep heading in the direction you are headed and stay between the white lines.

  • Michelle

    This young man is a national treasure! Thankyou for all you do, Declan.

  • Jade Hawks

    Well, this is what a CHILD has accomplished in his fight to save our wild horses….what have YOU done so far?

  • smokeysdad

    We are all so proud of Declan and his devotion to our nation’s horses. He is truly an inspiration not only for other children but people everywhere. He sets an example for us all to follow with his tireless efforts, his big heart and contagious smile.

    Our nation’s humanity has diminished when it comes to animals…not only domestic but wild as well. Declan is leading the charge to help us regain some compassion and to once again understand what ‘humane’ really means.

    Well Done Declan!

  • Maggie Frazier

    I’m so impressed with this young man – hope this causes many more young people (& older) to become involved in the horse slaughter issue. Caring for & being concerned for animals welfare is important – the whole idea of slaughtering horses is wrong. We need much more public input and Declan’s publicity certainly educates more people – young and old.

  • Denise

    Thank you NG and Declan.

    Keep the passion, continue the fight for right and stewardship of this world’s precious gifts.

    Beauty is not about bucks.

  • Barbara Leonard

    Thanks for shining a light on Declan. If we had more aware and more compassionate kids like Declan, this world would be a much better place. We can all do something, so let’s get off our butts and do it, not only for horses but for all animals, domestic and wild. This government is now being very successful at destroying our wild horses & burros, our wolves, our bison, our coyotes…..the list goes on! Only taxpayers can stop them, so let’s do it!!!

  • Paula Todd King

    Thank you for highlighting this brave young man and his efforts to save horses from terrible abuse and death. You might also want to feature Robin Warren a young lady in Nevada who has been actively campaigning to stop the brutal, taxpayer funded, government round up of America’s wild horses from our public lands. For more information on this issue please visit http://www.thecloudfoundation.org

  • Louie C

    Thank you to Declan and to National Geographic. Declan is an inspiration to all of us.
    There is no such thing as “humane horse slaughter”. It is ugly and brutal. No horse should ever have to endure such a fate.
    http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/white_paper.php
    Horse Slaughter –
    Its Ethical Impact and Subsequent Response of the Veterinary Profession
    A White Paper
    Prepared by
    Veterinarians for Equine Welfare
    http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org
    Conclusion
    Horse slaughter is not a form of humane euthanasia, nor is it a “necessary evil”. The horse slaughter industry is a predatory one that exists only because there is a profit to be made by fulfilling consumer demand in overseas markets for horse flesh. Rather than aiding horse welfare, as slaughter proponents contend, horse slaughter results in very tangible animal cruelty and suffering while engendering abuse and neglect. Currently, horse owners have a choice of what to do at the end of their horse’s life – pay to do the right thing or be paid to do the wrong thing. In promoting horse slaughter as a form of humane euthanasia, professional veterinary associations do a disservice to the animals they are meant to care for.

  • Rescue Horses World Magazine

    So proud for you Declan. You are doing a great job! Keep your focus and you will accomplish great things. Look what you have managed to do already.

  • Brenda Robinson

    Here is a remarkable child standing up to bullies! Thank you Declan. I feel the same way about horses as you do…
    “They are amazing, beautiful, animals, who are not only our companions and friends, but also our healers,”…. “I feel a special connection and bond with them that keeps my soul alive.”

  • Karen

    Good for him. Now he also needs to know that horses are severely overbred for racing, for breeders, everyday people “wanting ” a foal……too many horses is the problem. Premarin is going away but still remains for overbreeding as an issue as long as even one woman is on it. He is a beacon for kids everywhere and for those who think there is nothing they can do. Hope he knows too about the roundups of wild horses on federal property, your property and mine…….those horses are severely injured and are usually sent to slaughter.

  • marybeth jarubas

    Hi,

    This young man made my heart warm and brought tears to my eyes when I read what he is doing for horses. He has a gift from God. It has brought hope that humanity has not lost its mind.

    Follow your dreams!

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