This just makes me sick. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering slaughtering thousands of horses because of budget problems. Why should an animal that was designed to live without human interaction be killed because our economy has slowed? It’s hard to not react emotionally to this story. So we round up horses that run free and wild, hold them captive and then because there aren’t enough buyers for them, we kill them. For our own convenience, really. Disgusting. And I don’t buy the “overcrowding” argument. It’s estimated there are 25,000 wild mustangs in the U.S., some of which are on protected Indian land. Have any of you ever seen a wild horse in the wild? I’ve seen about four. For those of you who have traveled anywhere out west you’re sure to remember the immense distance from rest stop to rest stop, with nary a building in between. I’ve traveled the great American west and can tell you there is no shortage of uninhabited land. The map below illustrates this nicely. All of the areas in yellow are BLM land:
Source: Larry Swanson, O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West, U. of Montana
I understand how overcrowding is bad for the animals. But what about the millions of cattle grazing on the same land. Ah, that’s the point now isn’t it? It all comes down to money (Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not against ranching or cattle). And what about the wild west before civilization? What kept the herds from becoming overcrowded?
I’m sure I’m over-simplifying the issue but I just hate to see good animals being killed. It’s been said before but in a way these wild mustangs represent our own desire to be free and keep alive the romantic notion of adventure and the American wild west. Perhaps there’s a parallel between what appears to be the government’s desire to curtail both.
I’d like to hear your comments on the issue. I promise to try and be as objective as possible. And if anyone has any suggestions on how to get involved, feel free to suggest them.
U.S. may slaughter thousands of horses
Arizona Republic, 081508
The U.S. House of Representatives voted September 7, 2006 to approve the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. The bill, labelled H.R. 503 for the House and S. 1915 for the Senate, bans the slaughter and transport of horses in the United States for human consumption. It will likely come to vote during the next legislative session in 2007.
I’m a little late with this post but news about this vote wasn’t very widespread so it seems like a good idea to give an update here. A couple of interesting things I learned today:
- Apparently 92,000 horses were slaughtered last year. Wow, that’s a big number. If you read my Willie Nelson Against US Horse Slaughter post, you’ll remember I go back and forth on whether or not horse slaughter for food should be legal. I’m still not sure but after learning of this 92,000 number, I wonder what will happen to these 92,000 horses a year if this bill passes?
- The vote was 263 for approval and 146 against approval. That’s a pretty wide margin but closer inspection of who-voted-how raises questions in my mind. For example, in Kentucky, a “horse state”, all representatives voted for the bill. But in Tennessee, where I live and a place I’d also consider a “horse state”, almost all representatives voted against the bill. Political party-wise, there was strong support of the bill with both Democrats and Republicans and although several Democrats voted against the bill, a quick scan indicates it was mostly Republicans voting against the bill. I wonder why. I hear some so-called “poison pill” ammendments were added at the last minute so maybe that’s why. Things aren’t always as they seem.
Here’s a neat site that shows how the House voted by state and Representative.
http://capwiz.com/compassionindex… (opens in a new window)
“It’s time for the cowboys to stand up for the horses”, country music legend Willie Nelson is reported to have said. There is a bill in Congress right now to ban the practice of slaughtering horses here in the U.S. as well as selling horses for slaughter elsewhere. The bill is being called The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, HR 503 for the House of Representatives and S 1915 for the Senate. Willie Nelson is lending his star-support through the Society for Animal Protective Legislation to encourage US citizens to get involved by calling their representatives.
So here’s the question I have for you today. Even though it’s not part of American culture to slaughter horses for food, should we outlaw it? I’ve been doing some reading on the subject today and there seems to be two issues here. The first is using horses as food, for human consumption or otherwise. Second is how well horses are treated prior to slaughter. People seem to either detest the practice of slaughtering and eating horses or Continue reading