Friday, April 22, 2005

First Wild Horses Killed

I was gone for a few days, and sadly I found this alert today when I checked my email:


Multiple sources have confirmed that on Monday, April 18th, 6 wild horses were slaughtered at the Cavel International facility in DeKalb, Il.
The horses, sold by the Bureau of Land Management pursuant to the Burns Amendment’s sale mandate on Friday, April 15th, had been purchased in Canon City, CO, for $50 each by Dustin Herbert of Oklahoma. Mr. Herbert, a former rodeo clown, had 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.

This is a sad day for wild horses and confirms our worst fears regarding last November’s amendment to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Please contact your local and national media expressing your outrage over this latest development.

It is also critical that we keep up our efforts to pass remedial legislation: please urge your legislators to co-sponsor H.R. 297 and S. 576. Please also keep the pressure on Senator Conrad Burns (MT) – fax: 202.224.8594, who introduced the wild horse slaughter amendment, and Senator Harry Reid (NV) - fax: 202.224.7327, primary supporter of the Burns Amendment. They need to hear from their constituents as well as from concerned citizens from all states protesting this latest development. Please also express your outrage to Gale
, Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior,1849 C Street, N.W. , Washington DC 20240 - fax: 202.208.5048.

For more information on how to help, please visit http://www.wildhorsepreservation.com/action.html.

The first 6 wild horses have been slaughtered. I do want to say that I love rodeo and I find it shocking that a former rodeo clown would be the first person to purchase slaughterbound horses. Contrary to some beliefs, I've found that rodeo people generally take good care of their animals.
You can read more about this issue at http://wildhorsepreservation.com, which is the source for photos/facts and also various studies and resources regarding wild equines.

Please, when you read this, take action! It's not enough to feel, you need to act! I see so many people that say they oppose this, yet they don't take the time to call, write, and email their legislators, which I think is hypocritical. It doesn't take long, and it will make a difference (it did back in 1971!). Did you know that congress counts each letter received as the opinion of 10 people?
Let them know that you, like the majority of Americans, oppose the poor management and slaughter of our wild herds. If you are a horse owner and/or member of the equine community (I am, and most people reading this are), let them know too. Send facts; they will help to show the reasoning behind your position.
I will be posting the letters that I wrote to my legislators soon too, along with sample letters that will help you write. Remember: When you write, be firm but courteous, and personalize the letter (don't just send samples, add your own words!).

Back in 1971, more people wrote about wild horses than any other issue in US History except the Vietnam war.
Americans were outraged when they found out that wild horses, the decendants of the horses and burros that built our great country, were being poisoned, run off cliffs, shot, chased until their hearts gave out, tied to tires which they dragged until they dropped, all of this because they were a source of cheap meat for pet food. Back in 1971, people took the time to express their outrage and it resulted in the passing of the Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act.
Today, it's not dog food that horses are killed for; It's foreign appetites. France, Japan, Belgium, Germany, and other countries consider horse meat a delicacy (around $15/pound), and all 3 north american slaughterplants are owned by foreigners.
I do find it ironic that mustangs, which are considered by many a symbol of America's freedom and the west, are being eaten overseas.
Let your legislators know how you feel about the will of the American people being totally disregarded, and the BLM (after 1971) removing horses and destroying herds that used to roam over 12 million acres.

I sent letters both via email, and snail mail, to my senators and representative. It's too late tonight, but tomorrow I'll be writing to various media sources.
You need to do the same!

Contact Conrad Burns and Harry Reid too and let them know how you feel about foreigners slaughtering and eating America's dwindling wild herds.

Here are some facts & info for you to help you with your letters:
  • Senators should be asked to support S. 576, and representatives H.R. 297. If you're against horse slaughter too, ask your representative to support H.R. 503. You can find out how to write to your legislators by going to http://congress.org
  • When I wrote, I also requested that they support: (below is a excerpt from my letter)
- A freeze on wild horse sales by the Bureau of Land Management to allow for
humane alternatives to be effectively considered
- Efforts to reinstate federal protection for our beloved wild herds;
- A moratorium on round-ups until actual numbers of wild horses on public lands have been independently
- A Congressional investigation into current wild horse management
practices and the undue influence of private cattle interests over public land
-A new plan that will allow for in-the-wild management instead of roundups that leave tens of thousands of horses in holding pens

  • Since 1900, wild herds have been reduced by over 98%.
  • Since 1971, when the Act was unanimously passed to protect dwindling numbers of wild equines, herds have decreased by 50% (A lot of good it's done...)
  • According to the act, wild horses can only be removed IF they are overpopulating the land or causing habitat destruction. BLM has never presented any such evidence.
  • Cattle and livestock are far more destructive to land than horses (see studies at WHP), yet cattle now outnumber wild horses AT LEAST 100 to 1 (yet account for less than 3% of the national beef supply)!
  • Unlike cattle, which chew the cud, horses pass seeds through their manure which helps to reseed the land. Horses and cattle, when grazed together, promote different types of vegitative growth, unlike cattle alone with are devestating to land (see WHP).
  • BLM estimates herds increase at a rate of 20% a year; Studies done by the National Academy of Sciences suggest that the real number is closer to 10%. The BLM uses their 20% figure to justify herd roundups.
  • On public lands, private cattle are grazed for as little as $1.79 per Animal Unit Month (I read that this is less than it costs to feed a hamster!). Private land, for contrast, can be grazed for $25-50 AUM. Private livestock grazing is costing us $130 million annually, yet contributes less than 3% of the national beef supply and less than 1% of income and employment in the West.
  • In 70% of herd management areas, the BLM has set population targets at numbers too low to ensure long-term survival and sustain genetic viability (minimum 200 head).
  • According to the National Academy of Sciences, livestock consume 70% of grazing resources on public land and cost over $130 million annually, while wild equines consume less than 5%!
  • BLM's current management are costing millions in tax dollars; money could be saved if herds were managed in the wild. Contraceptive measures alone could save $7.7 Million annually.The current removal policy is costing over 39 million tax dollars a year.
  • Six western states have lost their entire wild horse and burro populations.

In America, we ride horses, we don't eat them. Please take a few minutes to write, email, call, and fax your legislators to let them know how you feel.


  • I to recieved this sad news and immediately sent out letters. As a horse owner and avid lover of horses I am totally appalled! I have been working with various groups for years trying to shut down these slaughter houses.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:32 PM, April 27, 2005  

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