|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MARCH 11, 2005
|CONTACT: American Horse Defense Fund
Trina Bellak, 866-983-3456
American Horse Defense Fund: Senate Says, Horses - What's Not For Dinner
WASHINGTON -- March 11 -- The American Horse Defense Fund (AHDF), the nation's premier horse protection, education and advocacy organization today declared the National Capitol Hill Week For Horses a success. The highlight of the week during which people from across the country came to weigh in with their representatives in the House and Senate, was the introduction of a bill to the Senate by Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.). The bill, S. 576, is a companion bill to one introduced recently by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Ed Whitfileld (R-Ky.), H. R. 297. Both bills would reinstate the 34-year-old protection from slaughter for wild horses that was destroyed by a rider Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) had attached to a must pass appropriations bill late last year. Under the Burns rider, all captured wild horses over the age of 10 or those offered but not adopted after three attempts must be sold without limitation, auctions and slaughter included.
The two bills people were advocating for initially also included H.R. 503, (now tallying 64 co-spononsors), by Congressmen Sweeney (R-N.Y.) and Spratt (D-N.C.) that would effectively end all horse slaughter. Trina Bellak, Esq., president of AHDF, pointed out "in our many meetings we kept hearing about the volume of mail." H.R. 503 has been assigned to the Energy and Commerce Committee rather than the Agriculture Committee where it stalled last year. "This will be the year of the horse," predicted Bellak who agreed that the two bills (on slaughter of all horses and reinstating protections for wild horses specifically), will gain support and be passed this year. A companion bill is expected shortly by Sen. John Ensign, D.V.M. (R-Nev.).
Sen. Byrd reminded us all that the Senate passed a resolution designating December 13, 2004, as "National Day of the Horse" which stated in part that "horses are a vital part of our collective experience of the United States and deserve protection and compassion". In addition, Sen. Byrd commented "surely there are actions that can be taken by the BLM to ensure the proper operation of the wild horse and burro program without resorting to the slaughter of these animals."
Rep. Rahall, sponsor of H.R. 297, added, "I am thrilled that Senator Robert C. Byrd has joined me in this effort to save part of America's legacy from senseless slaughter. These animals are part of the history of our nation and Senator Byrd recognizes the need to treat these beauties in a humane manner. I look forward to working with him and concerned citizens to pass this legislation before it's too late for these animals." The BLM is underway capturing another 9,800 more wild horses this year.
The AHDF and many organizations commend Sen. Byrd's leadership. Supporters of these bills also include US PIRG, The HSUS, ASPCA, American Humane Association, AWI, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Return To Freedom, Life Savers, the Wild Horse & Burro Freedom Alliance others, whose combined membership and supporters exceeds 10 million.
"Swift passage is what is needed here," said Bellak. Referring to the callous and thoughtless sale authority created by the Burns rider that will allow 8,400 wild horses to be sold at auctions, Bellak said, It is a crime and a crisis. We need real reasonable long-term on-the-range management and not Mustangs served up for dinner. We offer our collective help so new and humane solutions may be used.