Editorials and Articles Nationwide Continue to Express Outrage...
...Wild horses and burros living free on public lands have been protected from slaughter by federal law since 1971 - but that was suddenly changed by a rider included in the massive appropriations bill signed into law last month by President George W. Bush.
The rider was introduced by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) and mandates the sale, without restrictions, of some categories of wild horses. Horses 10 years or older, and those not adopted after three tries, will be sold at public auction - and many, if not most, will be sold to slaughterhouses...
...They rationalize their position by speaking of a fate "worse than death" for horses if slaughter is removed as an option for owners. But can anyone look at these images on these websites and reach that same conclusion?
If there were no alternatives, the AAEP’s and AVMA’s position might be easier to understand. But there are at least 240 documented rescue groups operating in the U.S. that save thousands of horses annually. Hundreds of people have devoted their lives to saving and/or retraining horses and have been doing so for years.
...federal protection of these majestic wild animals quietly ended Dec. 8 through language tucked into the 4,000-page appropriations bill passed by Congress.
No one knew it until later - there was no public debate, no public hearings were called - but Section 142 of the appropriations bill (a budget bill!) removed measures in the 1971 law assuring that wild horses could not be sold for slaughter...
More than 49,000 horses were slaughtered in the U.S. last year at the two foreign-owned slaughterhouses in Texas. The horsemeat was then exported to Europe and Asia where it is considered a delicacy.
"The horses bound for slaughter often travel hundreds or thousands of miles in cramped quarters without adequate food or water, and the process used to kill these beautiful animals is neither humane nor acceptable," said Gail Vacca of the National Horse Protection Coalition.
Also at issue is that horses raised in the United States are not raised or regulated for food production. "These animals routinely receive medications that are clearly labeled by the Federal Drug Administration as 'not for use in horses intended for food,'" said Dr. Lydia Gray, executive director of the Hooved Animal Humane Society. "Slaughter-bound horses are also not tested for a host of equine diseases including EIA and West Nile."
The wild mustang - free no more
"Selling off our American heritage has now been given a price," said Field.
Prior to these actions, the wild mustang and burro were federally protected thanks to the efforts of Velma Johnston, otherwise known as Wild Horse Annie..."