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Wild-horse conference to protest slaughter sale

December 30, 2004
By ROBYN MOORMEISTER, rmoormeister@nevadaappeal.com

Wild-horse advocates will gather in Carson City next week to call for the reversal of a new law loosening federal limits on the sale of wild horses.

The new appropriations bill, signed by President George W. Bush earlier this month, allows the animals to be sold if they are more than 10 years old or, if younger, after they have been offered unsuccessfully for adoption three times.

The law requires any money from sales to go to the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management adoption program for wild horses and burros.

This is an amendment to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, which provides for the necessary management, protection and control of wild horses and burros in the United States.

Wild-horse advocate Willis Lamm, who operates horse adoption agency Least Resistance Training Concepts Inc. in Stagecoach, said the horses sold under the new provision can potentially be used for meat in foreign markets, a major cash crop for American cattlemen.

"We need to stop the immediate sale and potential slaughter of thousands of these horses," Lamm said.

Lamm is putting on the conference for wild-horse advocates around the country, to brainstorm political methods for reversing the legislation and develop more reasonable solutions.

"This is an emotional issue and we're going to try to keep everyone objective," Lamm said. "We'll assess the facts, break into groups, and hopefully come up with appropriate strategies to bring about change."

Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., who sponsored the amendment, said he believes most horses would wind up being adopted, not slaughtered, but his intent was to spur the BLM to get serious about its adoption program.

"These animals live in poor conditions that often lead to their deaths, and without proper management, this will continue to happen," Burns said Dec. 9, after President Bush had signed the bill.

Lamm said Burns had campaign contributions from the beef industry on his mind, not the well-being of wild horses.

The amendment was a last-minute provision in a $388 billion spending bill, a document several hundred pages long.

"The only way Burns could get his way was to sneak it in the back door," Lamm said. "We would hope that people would be incensed by the sneaky way he brought this about without public scrutiny or debate. It's not appropriate in our society for a single individual to change a long-standing federal law like this."

The conference, "Save America's Wild Horses," will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 2-3 at Casino Fandango, 3800 S. Carson St.

For information or to sign up for the conference, contact Lamm at wills@kbrhorse.net or call Shirley Allen at 246-7636.

Contact reporter Robyn Moormeister at rmoormeister@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

Save America's Wild Horses conference
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and Monday
Where: Casino Fandango, 3800 S. Carson St.
Sign up: Contact Willis Lamm at wills@kbrhorse.net

or

call Shirley Allen at 246-7636

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