January 22, 2018
Contact: Lynn Coakley
mail@equusfoundation.org | 203-259-1550

Victoria McCullough Honored as 2017 EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award Recipient

"It matters how you get in the door and deliver the message," words of wisdom of 2017 EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award Recipient Victoria McCullough who has spent the last ten years advocating for state and federal legislation to ban the slaughter and transport to slaughter of American horses.

McCullough received the Humanitarian Award at the Pegasus Awards Dinner on January 18th during the US Equestrian Annual Meeting in Lexington, Kentucky.

Left to right: Murray Kessler, President, US Equestrian, Victoria McCullough, and Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. Photo by Adam Brennan - www.picturesbyab.com.

A life-long animal lover, an avid equestrian, and patron of the equestrian sport, McCullough is the Chairman and Owner of Chesapeake Petroleum in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the country's largest privately held petroleum company. She assumed the position in 1989 following the unexpected death of her father and company founder. Having to prove herself in a very male-dominated industry, McCullough learned to handle adversity with finesse and political savvy.

In 2007, McCullough became aware that over 200,000 American horses were being slaughtered and their meat was being shipped overseas for human consumption. Determined to stop this practice, Victoria gathered the facts to prove that horse slaughter is not simply inhumane, but that consumption of the meat is a serious threat to human health.

Since then, she has invested significant time and resources to protecting America's at-risk horses. Not only has McCullough rescued over 11,000 horses and inspired many others to open their stall doors to horses in need, she has spent the last ten years advocating for state and federal legislation to ban the slaughter and transport to slaughter of American horses. McCullough has been more effective working with the Senate and Congress than any other individual or organization in the U.S. working to ban horse slaughter.

Former Florida State Senator Joe Abruzzo credits McCullough's work in the easy passage of the Horse Protection Bill in 2010, making it a felony to slaughter horses for personal or commercial use in Florida.

At the federal level, her meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and other members of the Executive Branch led to Biden adding language defunding horse slaughter in the United States to the 2014 Omnibus Bill which was signed into law by President Obama. This law keeps horse slaughterhouses shut down on US soil by defunding the inspections of the plants, making them illegal to operate.

McCullough has been instrumental in ensuring that the language is included in the Budget each year and in creating the Udall Amendment to protect the Wild Horses from slaughter. "The Udall-Murkowski Team in the Senate have been our greatest allies in protecting America's horses," said McCullough.

"Toxic ingredients are prolifically found in horse meat. We must create a failsafe policy to mandate the danger of toxic ingredients banned in agricultural animals for consumption to include horse meat," said McCullough. "Classifying horse meat as contraband make it illegal to transport horses over the borders for the purpose of slaughtering the horses for horse meat."

"She's extremely effective because she has the experience, respect and resources to get things done in Washington as well as work across party lines," said Abruzzo.

With her trademark soft voice, yet strategically powerful approach, McCullough has worked tirelessly, passionately, intelligently and expertly to save America's horses. Horses are very lucky to have her on their side!

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States dedicated solely to horse welfare and the horse-human bond. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

About US Equestrian: Established in 1917, the United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian), the governing body of equestrian sport in the United States, is dedicated bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible. Learn more about the US Equestrian at www.usequestrian.org/
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