KBR Wild Horse and Burro News
Wild Horse Advocates Fight Back
Helena, MTWild horse advocacy groups are taking aim at America's beef industry in response to Montana Senator Conrad Burns' legislation mandating the wholesale disposal and likely slaughter of thousands of America's wild horses.
Please see the news story - Senate Appropriations Bill Directs BLM to Sell Wild Horses and Burros for Slaughter, KBR Wild Horse & Burro News, updated 12/12/04.
Please also see - The National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Position on Wild Horse and Range Issues, KBR Wild Horse & Burro News, updated 12/29/04.
In media appearances spokespeople for the beef industry have supported Senator Burns and it is widely believed that this legislation, surreptitiously slipped into the omnibus spending bill by the Senator, was done as a favor to beef cattle ranchers. Many ranchers enjoy very favorable lease rates to put grazing cattle on public rangelands, however some of those lands are also legally occupied by wild free-roaming horses under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Some ranchers would like to see all the horses removed.
Please see the news story - Nevada Cattlemen back measure to sell BLM's surplus wild horses, Nevada Appeal, 12/3/04.
Many wild horse advocates have endorsed putting economic pressure on the beef industry in order for the industry to pressure Senator Burns to repeal his measure and produce a more reasonable and humane approach to deal with the wild horse population situation. Others are also calling for a complete review of private grazing leases on public lands.
The effort has been dubbed, "Eat Something Else!!!" Wild horse advocates and their allies are planning to select products other than beef for their meal entrees so long as wild horses formally under the protection of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act are at risk of going to slaughter.
"Since 1971 wild horses have been protected by a law that was unanimously supported by Congress after an overwhelming show of support by the American public," observed Willis Lamm, President of LRTC, a national wild horse advocacy group and who himself endorses the effort. "Senator Burns' measure is extreme and the secret manner in which he dismembered a long standing public law is not the kind of conduct that we should accept from any elected official."
Lamm, a retired fire department emergency medical technician and accredited instructor for the American Heart Association further observed, "While it might not be such a bad idea for the American public to consider a diverse and healthy diet that includes 'mustang friendly' foods, we're not making the argument that there is anything wrong with beef. This movement is a matter of politics; who decides policy over our public lands, how those decisions are made and who makes those decisions."
Connie Evers of Florida added, "We're not a bunch of radical vegetarians. Most of us really like beef but time is short for these horses. Thousands of people have gone through the usual business of making calls and sending letters to legislators but the bill was signed into law anyway. Now we have to make a more serious stand. I hear wild horse supporters in Texas also talking about a tourist boycott of Nevada and Montana. Nobody knows how far this all might go."
Wild horse advocates are in fact considering expanding what they describe as their "economic sanctions" to other areas including the tourist industries of Montana and Nevada. Nevada Senator Harry Reid is believed to have been complicit in allowing Senator Burns' measure to be slipped unnoticed into the huge spending bill.
Please see the news story - Advocates worry new law will lead to slaughter of healthy wild horses, Nevada Appeal, 11/24/04.
Trina Belak, President of the American Horse Defense Fund asserted, "The producers of 3% of the beef consumed in America cannot be allowed to dictate federal public land policy that will lead to the brutal slaughter of our wild horses and burros."
Some private lands beef producers have started a similar campaign called "Quit Beefin'. Their complaints apparently extend beyond the wild horse issue and include a grudge concerning what they regard as corporate "welefare ranchers" who compete in the market with much lower production costs due to taxpayer subsidized grazing leases.
"We've had enough," said New Mexico cattleman Max Maverick. "These guys get to put their cows on the range for (next to) nothing and now they want to boot off the wild horses. If we have a beef boycott and I have to hold my cattle back from market for a while, so be it."
Most boycott supporters seem to agree that if the political issues involving wild horses and the range are resolved, the boycott will quietly go away.
This feature will be updated as additional news develops.
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Snoopy Stumps for Wild Horses
We use whatever means we have to inform the public! Getting the news media interested in the story is a key point.
When KTVU in Reno, NV showed interest in the wild horses, volunteers in Stagecoach, NV recruited "Snoopy," an unadopted BLM special needs horse to stump for the cause. (Actually he served as a living example of just the kind of horse that would likely be sold for slaughter under Senator Burns' language.)
Click here to see photos of the news story filming.
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