Horses Have a Right to be on Public Land (and Not in Your Freezer)

There is an excellent commentary on wild horses by Craig C. Downer, a wildlife ecologist who lives in Nevada, in the December 3 issue of  The Record-Courier online.  Downer, author of “Wild Horses: Living Symbols of Freedom,” discusses the plight of wild horses, the efforts of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and ranchers to eradicate or remove wild horses from public land and the offer of Madeleine Pickens to provide a sanctuary for horses.

Downer applauds the “generosity of Madeleine Pickens” and is “relieved” that through her efforts the lives of more than 30,000 horses seems to have been spared–at least for now–and points out that most of the “now largely empty, but still legal” herd areas totaling over 53 million acres of public land have been illegally leased to private ranchers in clear violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (P.L. 92-195) of 1971 that was unanimously passed by Congress.

The BLM is part of the Department of the Interior but the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for regulation of meat producers, including horse meat.  Contrary to what many people believe, although it is currently no longer legal to slaughter horses in the U.S., it is still legal to eat horse meat in the U.S..  In fact, back in 1997, the USDA undertook a campaign to promote the eating of horse meat in the U.S. as “similar” in taste to beef while “higher in protein” and “lower in fat.”  

One of the contenders for Secretary of Agriculture in the administration of President-elect Barack Obama is former Texas Congressman and horse-meat industry lobbyist Charles Stenholm.  While in Congress, Stenholm was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of mostly Southern, so-called “conservative Democrats,” many of whom are opposed to abortion and gun control.  Stenholm was at the center of the debate over horse slaughter plants in the United States (he was for them).

Stenholm is no friend of horses or humans and should not be part of Obama’s administration.  If Obama truly is a friend of non-human animals, there is no better way to demonstrate it than to send Stenholm packing.

One Response to “Horses Have a Right to be on Public Land (and Not in Your Freezer)”
  1. Sign Petition to Save Cloud’s Herd
    We need 5,000 signatures – please share this petition with friends!
    The round up of Cloud’s herd is scheduled for September 1st and 70 horses plus foals could lose their freedom and their families. Many of those removed would be horses in Cloud’s age group- even his 18 year old mother could be targeted for removal! This unnecessary removal must be stopped. Please sign this petition which will be sent to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey. Please click here to sign the petition- it only takes a moment!

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