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April 10, 2009

Budget “Mishap”: Thousands of Wild Horses to be Slaughtered

Posted by : admin
Filed under : General Green

UPDATE: The horses have been SAVED!  New Story coming soon.

Editor’s Note: This is a feature column by TL Daniel.

Recently the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) announced plans to kill tens of thousands of America’s wild horses.

The proposal “is killing pure and simple to balance the books for an agency whose reckless management has caused immeasurable harm to a national treasure at considerable cost to the American taxpayer,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute based in Washington, D.C.

BLM claims it can no longer afford to round up wild horses and confine them until it finds people to adopt them, and the agency wants to euthanize these majestic wild beauties or sell them to the highest bidder “without limitation” – meaning sell them to anyone, even if the bidder also plans to kill these horses. The BLM claims that the agency can’t “allow horses to multiply unchecked on the range without causing an environmental disaster.”

This has many people outraged. The fact that our own government recognizes these magnificent creatures as an important symbol of the American spirit, and that we need them, whether it be for labor or for presence, means that we must do all that we can to protect them.

The government issued a statement in 1971 stating: “Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; (and) that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people …”(Public Law 92-195, December 15, 1971). It isn’t surprising that once again, the government isn’t standing by the law they put in place for our wild horses.

Currently there is an online petition posted at care2 with almost 38k signatures. The goal is 50k, and it seems they may achieve their goal. However, petitioning isn’t enough. We must get the word out and make more people aware of what will take place if these animals are not adopted out. We can no longer trust the government to protect what they claimed was under their protection.

There is a land issue involving cattle ranchers and wild horses. More and more land is being bought for cows to graze, thereby giving wild horses diminishing land to roam on. So, who wins in this case? Is the government going to fight for the rights of the farmers to own whatever land they need for their cattle, or are they going to stand by a law, which they made, that allows wild horses to roam on open land freely? It seems like a no brainer to me. And because the land available to the wild horses is becoming more scarce, so will the population of this wonderful creature. We are the only ones that can save them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame this problem solely on cattle ranchers, however, it is a growing problem and one example of the reason for their demise.

When visiting the BLM website on this issue, it appears that they are doing all they can to get these animals adopted. It has posted the next internet auction to be held in January 2009. This is good news for those who are not able to catch the auctions held in different states. The big issue, however, is WHO is actually buying these wild horses and what are their intentions? Some will say it doesn’t really matter, as long as they are taken off the lands and have a chance to live.

Others who are more aware of the potential fate of these animals say that it’s the perfect opportunity for those who want buy these horses for slaughter or for fighting, and they can buy many at a time, for a relatively cheap price with no questions asked.

Horses have never been slaughtered for human consumption in America, however, foreign-owned slaughter houses recently operated in Texas and Illinois, where some 100k horses a year were killed for foreign interests. Horses are consumed in parts of Europe and Asia, and while Americans won’t consume horse meat, we are okay with killing them for that reason.

If you ask the average American how they felt about it, they wouldn’t be aware of such practice that takes place right here in our own country. There is a reason why most Americans don’t know.

The failure of Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act into law means that horses are still being slaughtered for human consumption abroad, right here at home. Tens of thousands are shipped to Mexico and Canada annually, where they are killed under barbaric conditions so their meat can continue to satisfy the palates of overseas diners in countries such as Italy, France, Belgium and Japan.  Additionally, without the federal law, there remains the threat that horse slaughter plants may set up shop in states that have no laws against the practice.

In 2007, the slaughter of horses on US soil came to an end when a court ruling upheld a Texas law banning horse slaughter, and similar legislation was passed in Illinois. However, in the beginning of 2008, unsuccessful attempts were made to open a horse slaughterhouse in South Dakota and overturn the Illinois ban. It is likely that pro-horse slaughter organizations will try again elsewhere in the United States, including Texas and Illinois.

While a handful of horses are purposely sold into slaughter by irresponsible owners, most arrive at the slaughterhouse via livestock auction, where unsuspecting owners sell the animals to slaughterhouse middlemen known as “killer buyers.” Despite the fact that the US plants are no longer in operation, killer buyers continue to purchase and haul as many horses as possible from livestock auctions around the country to the slaughterhouses that have now relocated to Mexico and Canada.

The suffering begins long before our horses even reach the slaughterhouse. Conditions of transport are appalling, with horses regularly hauled to our domestic borders on journeys lasting more than 24 hours. Deprived of food, water or rest, the horses are forced onto double-decked cattle trailers with ceilings so low that they injure their heads. Not only are these double-deckers inhumane, but they are also dangerous and have been involved in a number of tragic accidents.

Although awareness has grown exponentially in recent years, the horse meat trade is still relatively hidden from most Americans, and the industry wants to keep it that way. Until the US Congress passes the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act into law, show horses, racehorses, foals born as “byproducts” of the Premarin© (a female hormone replacement drug) industry, wild horses, burros and family horses will all continue to fall prey to this detestable foreign-driven industry.

(Research Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

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Read more about animal cruelty at We Heart World.

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