Friday, June 11, 2010

Equine Welfare Alliance news 6.11.10

Here is an article from 2006 through a link on a website. You would think it was written today. It is 7 pages so I have only posted a portion. You can read the full article here.

Galloping Scared
Before 1971, when Velma "Wild Horse Annie" Johnston won her crusade to save the country's wild horses, they were being trapped in brutal airplane roundups, slaughtered, and sold as steaks overseas. Now Republican Montana senator Conrad Burns, through a bill signed by President Bush, has gutted the 35-year-old law protecting these cherished symbols of the American West.
by Kurt Brungardt
November 2006

Exhausted and terrified, a herd of wild mustangs gallop around the side of the mountain, miraculously managing to skirt the treacherous prairie-dog holes and deep crevices as they try to escape the screaming, whirling predator on their tail. Their instincts tell them they can out-run most any animal, but this one is relentless.
You wish a director would yell "Cut," and the horses would be led to a plush Hollywood stable for rest, food, and water. But it's not a movie, and the pilot flying the helicopter is not an actor. He works for a government program to round up wild horses from public lands. The target horses this week are from the Sandwash Basin herd, in northwestern Colorado.

As the horses hit a straightaway at full stride, a camouflaged fence gradually funnels them into a trap. Close to the neck of the trap, the roundup crew releases a "Judas horse," which runs to the front of the pack and leads the mustangs directly into a tiny corral. Once inside, the horses screech to a stop, piling up on top of one another as dust flies, the gate slams, and the helicopter pulls away to go back for more horses. When the crew is finished, a few of the horses will be released back onto the range, some will be put up for adoption, but most will be relocated to government holding facilities, and a large number will be eligible to be sold to slaughterhouses, thanks to Senator Conrad Burns (Republican, Montana).

In 1971, Congress passed a law that banned the inhumane treatment of wild horses and put safeguards into place so they couldn't be sold for slaughter. That law was the result of a two-decades-long crusade by Velma Johnston, better known as "Wild Horse Annie." But in December 2004 that law was gutted. Just days before the Thanksgiving holiday recess, when most of Washington was getting ready to leave for the long weekend, Senator Burns put the final touches on his rider No. 142, which removed all protections for wild horses (and burros) that were over the age of 10 or had been offered unsuccessfully for adoption three times. Such animals could now be sold "without limitation, including through auction to the highest bidder, at local sale yards or other convenient livestock selling facilities." Burns inserted his one-page rider into a 3,300-page budget-appropriations bill on the eve of the bill's congressional deadline, and there would be no opportunity for either public or legislative debate.

The following week rider No. 142 was uncovered, thanks in part to a tip from the Government Printing Office. Animal advocates and politicians from both major parties were outraged. Representative Ed Whitfield, a Republican from western Kentucky, observed, "The thing that is so damaging about this Conrad Burns amendment is that he passed it on an appropriations bill that no one knew about.... It is precisely the way the legislative process should not work. I don't know his motivations, but more than likely he was protecting the ranchers who have leased those lands [for cattle and sheep grazing]."

Despite protests, President Bush, who likes to borrow the imagery and ethos of the American cowboy (and whom Burns once praised as having "earned his spurs"), signed the rider into law, capping a series of policy moves at the Bureau of Land Management (B.L.M.), the government agency in charge of managing the horses, that have sought to diminish the protected status of these "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West," as the 1971 law called them.

The rider caused such anger that in May 2005 the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill to restore the original intent of the 1971 law. A similar amendment in the Senate had to make one stop before its confirmation vote: the appropriations subcommittee for the Department of the Interior, which has jurisdiction over all federal lands and the National Park Service. Burns is chairman of that committee. Proving again that one man can make a difference, he blocked the amendment from going to vote.

Canadian Hose Defence Coalition Blog

Here is a blog that you should all add to your bookmarks. There is some excellent commentary!


The Great Horse Pilgrimage
A Call to Action to All Interested Parties

No horse is safe from horse slaughter until. Senate Bill, SB 727, ... These bills would prevent horse slaughter in the US and shipment of horses to ...

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies has serious concerns about horse slaughter practices in Canada and we are calling on the public to write to ...

CFHS | Action Alert: CFHS demands government address inhumane ...

Here are some great photos from Pam Nickoles of a newborn @ Piceance Creek

No comments:

Post a Comment