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Review: 'Saving America's Horses' is a disturbing documentary

November 22, 2012|By Gary Goldstein
  • A scene from the documentary "Saving America's Horses: A Nation Betrayed."
A scene from the documentary "Saving America's Horses: A Nation… (Humanion Films )

The documentary "Saving America's Horses: A Nation Betrayed" unpacks the complex and, what may be for many, under-the-radar issue of the inhumane slaughter of wild and domestic horses (and burros) chiefly for human consumption abroad.

Writer-director Katia Louise (the lifelong horsewoman also produced and narrated) has crafted a revealing, disturbing look at how political and corporate forces have seemingly undermined the freedom and safety of our nation's equine population. Tens of thousands of horses are said to be rounded up each year by the Bureau of Land Management, largely from public rangelands.

From agenda-driven congressmen and federal agencies to deep-pocketed special interest groups and sporting organizations, there's been, the filmmaker forcefully contends, a multi-layered conspiracy — fueled by a parade of misinformation — against the survival and proliferation of horses. The beneficiaries: the horse racing trade, the cattle industry and meat sellers, plus a cross-section of lawmakers and politicos.

Louise utilizes an eclectic blend of new, archival and undercover footage documenting the ill-treatment of our country's horses and other related controversies (beware: there are some grisly images).

The film also includes a wide mix of in-person and audio-only interviews with such equine advocates as actors Paul Sorvino, Linda Gray, Tippi Hedren and Ken Wahl, "Dances with Wolves" author Michael Blake and singer Willie Nelson, as well as a vital array of Native American voices.

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"Saving America's Horses: A Nation Betrayed." No MPAA Rating. Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes. At Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena.

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