Friday, May 20, 2011

Wild Horses in Nevada Catch a Break

Straight from the Horse's Heart

(The News As We See It) by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council

“Welfare Ranchers” Shoot Selves in Foot

Update:  SFTHH has just received a phone call that Nevada Legislators did not pass the controversial bill AB329 which would have stripped wild horses and burros of their “wildlife” classification and left them without access to water in the one of the country’s most arid states.
Originally proposed by a group of special interest welfare ranchers the bill went to great lengths to identify wildlife from antelopes to mollusks and attempted to point out that, in their opinion, wild horses and burros did not fit into the wildlife criteria even though they have been documented as wildlife for centuries if not for ions.
Welfare ranchers are allowed, at taxpayers’ expense, to graze their private cattle upon federal public lands, designated by law to the wild horses and burros, for a mere $1.35 cents a month per animal.  Their collective feeling of “entitlement” has put them at odds with the voting public of the United States as the group strives to hoard public resources for personal gain, water being one of those resources.  The federally protected wild horses are seen by the ranchers as a threat to said resources and, to date, they have done everything from crawl into bed with the Bureau of Land Management to initiating bogus legislation in an effort to rid our public ranges of our national icon, the American wild horse.
Thanks to all of the individual advocates and groups who helped to present the facts to the law makers of the state of Nevada.  Special thanks to Simone Netherlands and Laura Leigh for their individual input to this report and for taking a stand, clear evidence that collective voices, speaking reason, can make a difference.  The horses have finally caught a break.

Update from Simone Netherlands:

Nevada State Senator Manendo
At the committee vote on AB329 today Senator Manendo said: “I see no reason why this legislation is necessary.”
Senator Manendo was not fooled by the proponents of AB329 and said that there was a contradiction in their testimony.
He said that there were not enough facts presented and that the bill was a point of contention. The proponents claim that the wild horses and burros could still get water, and the State engineer mentioned that there were other avenues in which the wild horses and burros could get water rights.
However if it excludes Wild horses and Burros from the designation Wild Life from which they gain water rights through beneficial use, than what is the point of this piece of legislation, he asked.
“Because they are federally protected, if we as a state deny the horses and burros water, we set ourselves up for cruelty without gaining anything for the state, that is not the image that we want to portray. I see no compelling reason why this bill is needed.”
However he advised that a longer look may be needed to take a look at the facts and details of this bill. He wrote a draft letter and in the interim (which is in September) the public lands committee may further discuss this bill.
In the draft letter however, he states that it was a contentious piece of legislation and that over 2 hours of contradicting testimony was heard.
He also stated that over 10,000 people contacted his office that is an incredible number! When the horse advocates had not heard about this bill, and no one was there to give testimony, this same bill actually passed the state senate by an overwhelming majority!
This was a great example of how we all can come together and really truly makes a difference in legislation.
Now on to the next task, let’s come together in the same big way and get this summers foaling seasons Round-ups to cease and desist!!

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