Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Horse Advocates Stage Carson City Protest

KTVN Reno, NV 2 News

John Potter
Channel 2 News
A fight that's been going on for decades, all the way back to 1971 when the feds began the horse roundup program, picked up again in front of an out-of-session legislature building in Carson City today. But as protest organizer Bonnie Matton told us, "It might be empty, but you know what? That parking lot's full. And it does get a lot of attention with all the traffic here."
Bonnie is the president of the Wild Horse Preservation League. She remembers seeing her first horse roundup. She's still emotional about it after 10 years. "You saw a stallion forcing his mare out of that pen, to keep her free."
What set off this latest protest was last Friday's roundup by the Nevada Department of Agriculture, because horses and burros were getting hit by cars on roads and highways in Lyon and Storey counties. It's a suspicious motive to equine enthusiasts like Willis Lamm, who's sign read "Shame on the Nevada Department of Agriculture." He doubts the claim from the agency that 30 horses have been hit around Silver Springs and Virginia City. As he told us, "We have not been able to come up with the statistical data to back that claim."
It's an atmosphere of distrust that fellow horse advocate Bob Retzer says began with a bureau decision to end co-op agreements with non-profits. "If the advocacy groups are authorized by the state, we can actually use our resources to control the horses to assure they stay off the roads."
A few feet down the street holding her own sign and a picture of horses, we found Fran Reid. For her, horses are a more recent passion. She says if someone told her 8 years ago that she'd be here holding a sign, she'd have thought you were crazy. What began it all for her was a chance meeting with a horse named Nemo, 8 years ago. "My first impression of Nemo is he ran towards me. He was as friendly as can be, a beautiful horse." Since then she's been speaking out for the horses in every way she can. Hearing about last Friday's roundup brought her to this, what she thinks is her seventh protest. "Every one that I can come to. When there's a protest in this area, I come."
She, and many others don't expect this time to be the last.

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