Rally to Save Nevada's Wild Horses
by Atle Erlingsson, Reporter, KLAS, Las Vegas...
"A battle is underway to save the lives of thousands of wild horses who may be headed to slaughter houses instead of being adopted out.
The horses are rounded up because ranchers say the animals are eating the grass meant for their cattle. For decades, the horses have been slowly adopted out. But just weeks ago, a Montana senator slipped wording into a federal budget bill allowing for the horses to be sold to slaughter houses.
Now, horse lovers are fighting to get that secret bill overturned. Courageous mustangs are the symbols of Nevada's wild wild west.
The Bureau of Land Management captured 18-month old Wacko near Nellis Air Base. Wes Canaday adopted her and has slowly trained Wacko to be a loving horse.
"With a horse, you really have to put the time in. And the more time you put in, the more you get out of them," said Wes Canaday, who adopted Wacko. Without adoption, Wacko would be one of more than 8,000 horses currently in federal holding facilities.
Jerry Reynoldson with the National Wild Horse Association says his group and others have long helped the government round up these mustangs. Now they feel betrayed.
"The horses were gathered, many of them, most of them, in Nevada, and moved to those long-term holding facilities with the understanding they'd live their lives out there," Reynoldson said. Under new legislation, which overturns a 30-year-old law protecting the horses, they are now available for sale.
Likely they will end up in slaughter houses with their meat sent to foreign countries. More than 150 horse lovers attended an National Wild Horse Association rally demanding the law be overturned.
They say the mustangs should not be treated secondary to the cattle they share open land with. But the government says the horse population is booming out of control. Even though there are only 37,000 mustangs nationwide mixed in with millions and millions of cattle.
Canaday wants the horses saved and given a new lease on life. A new federal bill has been introduced to overturn the law. It will likely be an uphill battle so the National Wild Horse Association is working hard to rally support and sway legislators into supporting it."