Friday, December 03, 2004

Wild Horses to be Slaughtered

WASHINGTON -- December 1 -- During the end of year appropriations frenzy, U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) inserted language into the Consolidated Appropriations bill to permit wild horses and burros to be killed and their meat sent abroad where it is eaten by people in upscale restaurants.

The measure, tucked in the massive omnibus bill, would undermine the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act by permitting so-called "excess" horses and burros to be sold at auction "without limitation." Killer buyers frequent these auctions to purchase animals for slaughter at one of the three remaining plants in the U.S. The equines are transported and killed under appalling conditions and their flesh, which cannot be sold for human consumption in the States, is sent overseas.

"The Burns amendment will open the floodgates for wild horses to be sold for slaughter," noted Marie Wheatley, CEO and president of the American Humane Association.

In 1971, Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFHBA) to ensure that wild horses and burros would be protected. The law was the result of public outrage at the discovery that hundreds of thousands of wild horses and burros were the victims of cruel extermination by ranchers who wanted the animals removed from public lands to make way for livestock. By the time the legislation passed, the population had decreased to only one percent of the estimated two million animals who roamed the West at the turn of the 20th century.

According to the federal government, the current population of wild horses is approximately 32,000, still far less than two percent of what the population had been, and the animals range across ten Western states, principally Nevada.

"Passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA), currently pending in Congress, would undo this terrible injustice about to be inflicted on wild horses," said Chris Heyde, Policy Analyst, Society for Animal Protective Legislation. "A majority of Congress has cosponsored the measure, but has failed to enact it yet. The bill would stop the butchery of all horses, both wild and domestic, for sale abroad for human consumption."

The Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL) was founded in 1955 when only two federal laws to protect animals existed. Since then, SAPL has worked for the successful enactment of over 15 additional federal laws. To learn more visit http://www.saplonline.org/.
Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the nation's only organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Visit http://www.americanhumane.org/ to learn more.

Source: Common Dreams News Center

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I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After all, Republicans these days (or what passes for Republicans, anyway) are just plain unconscionable when it comes to the way they treat their fellow humans. It's hard to imagine their thorough, collective indifference and callousness not spilling into the non-human realm.

That's sad. That's really sad.

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