Saturday, April 23, 2005

Sad News

(Reprinted with permission from viggo-works.com)

For Immediate Release April 21, 2005
Contact: Neda DeMayo or Jill Anderson at 805 737-9246



Multiple sources have confirmed that on Monday, April 18th, 2005, 6 wild horses were slaughtered at the Cavel International facility in DeKalb, Il. The horses, adopted from the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse Adoption program on Friday, April 15th, were purchased for $50 each from Dustin Herbert of Oklahoma. Mr. Herbert claimed that the horses would be used for a church youth program, and would not be sold for slaughter. But by Monday, less than 3 days after he purchased the animals, all 6 were slaughtered so that their meat could be shipped overseas to end up on foreign dinner tables where horsemeat is served as a delicacy.

Despite that massive public outcry that resulted in the passage of the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, in November of 2004 Senator Conrad Burns attached a rider to the 3300 page budget bill that eviscerated the federal protections that prohibited the slaughter of America’s wild horses. The Burns rider, introduced on the eve of Thanksgiving weekend, amended the line in the 1971 act that prohibited the commercial processing of our wild horses, and required the BLM to sell “excess” wild horses “without limitation”. This rider not only completely undermined the spirit of the 1971 act and the will of the American people, but it was literally slipped in at the 11th hour with absolutely no opportunity for public debate.

Neda DeMayo, founder of Return to Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary, states that “Burns Sale Authority was not only unethical in the way it was slipped through, but in the ongoing and devastating repercussions it will have on the American Wild Horse. The Burns sale authority opens the floodgates of slaughter for potentially thousands of America’s wild horses. As Burns and his allies grasp to put a positive face on this atrocious situation, we are distracted from the truth which is that these horses were unnecessarily removed from the public lands in the first place. Overpopulation is a myth.” An anonymous acquaintance of Mr. Herbert’s was not surprised. “It’s horrible that he did this to those horses, it’s a sad reflection on legitimate western horsemen. But I know he’ll do it again”. And the Burns amendment makes that possible.

Congressmen Nick Rahall and Ed Whitfield are trying to stop this before thousands of wild horses end up on the butcher block. H.R. 297, introduced by Rahall and Whitfield, and S. 576 introduced by Senator Robert Byrd, reinstate the federal protections that prohibit the slaughter of America’s wild horses. This legislation, which is only the first step on a long road to finding permanent solutions, is urgently needed as evidenced by the recent bloodshed.

When she learned of the incident, actress and avid horsewoman Nicollette Sheridan responded passionately, “I am disheartened with Senator Burns for undermining the will of the American people when he amended the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act. That was as good as giving these wild horses a death sentence. This recent bloodshed may only be a preview of what’s to come as a result of this irresponsible legislation if we don’t reverse it now”.

Just prior to the Burns legislation, in the fall of 2004, Return to Freedom spearheaded the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC). This coalition, which includes such national organizations as U.S. PIRG, Gene Autry Museum, HSUS, and others, represents over 9 million Americans nationwide. Put in place to address the management problems that persist in the BLM, and to address policy initiatives that threaten the wild horse, the AWHPC is supporting this legislation. For updates on the legislation visit the campaign website at www.wildhorsepreservation.org. For more information on the American Wild Horse Sanctuary and background on the American Wild Horse visit www.returntofreedom.org.

Carrie Kitley
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary
P.O. Box 926
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 737-9246

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