DARIEN, CONN -- April 29 -- In the past two weeks, 41 wild horses have been slaughtered under a new law that makes it easier to round up older horses and kill them.
The recent killings began on the 18th of April, when Dustin Herbert of Oklahoma seized upon a statute signed by President Bush in December, and purchased six horses in Colorado. The former rodeo clown said the horses would be used for a church youth program. Those horses were later sent to the Cavel International slaughterhouse in DeKalb, Illinois. This week, 35 more horses were killed at the same plant.
Friends of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization supported by about 200,000 members, calls for a full moratorium on the government-sanctioned round-ups, sales and slaughter of free-living horses.
The group asks for a repeal of the Burns Amendment, which reversed a 34-year prohibition on the slaughter of wild horses. The Amendment, attached to the 3,000-page 2005 Appropriations Bill, enabled the Bureau of Land Management to sell off horses older than 10 who are not able to be adopted. Over 9,000 horses are currently at risk of being sold to slaughter.
The Bureau's officials are under pressure from the Department of the Interior to cut herds in half by the end of 2005. About 37,000 wild horses compete with almost 95,000 cows on public lands, according to the Department of Agriculture, and ranchers are lobbying for more expedient round-ups.
Said Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral:
"Increasingly, our society only accepts other animals if they can be made into commodities - even if that means their death. So free-living horses are deemed unacceptable, particularly where they compete with ranch lands
for water, space and sustenance. For those who respect free-living
animals, it's simply not enough to express outrage at their deaths: We must also stop supporting the profits of ranches. It's time we acknowledge the connection between horsemeat and hamburgers."
Recommendations for action from Friends of Animals:
1. Go to the root. The most important step any single member of the public can take in support of horses is to adopt a plant-based diet.
2. Demand public accountability: Demand a moratorium on the round-up and slaughter of free-living horses. Letters to your congress member should begin by clearly protesting the Burns Amendment to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Urge representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 297, introduced by Reps. Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY). Urge senators to co-sponsor S. 576, introduced by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV).
Senator Conrad Burns (fax: 202.224.8594) introduced the wild horse slaughter amendment, and found support from Nevada Senators Harry Reid (fax:
202.224.7327) and John Ensign (fax: 202.228.2193). Concerned people everywhere should protest their move to privatize animals on federal lands.
At this time, action by the Bureau of Land Management is stalled in the controversy. Keep the pressure on. Write to Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W. , Washington DC 20240 (fax: 202.208.5048); Robert Abbey, Nevada State Director, Bureau of Land Management, 1340 Financial Blvd., Reno, NV 89502-2055 (fax: 775.861.6606); and Kathleen Clarke, Director, Bureau of Land Management, 1849 C Street NW Rm. 406-LS, Washington, D.C. 20240 (fax: 202.452.5124).
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