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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Washington plans mass slaughter of America's mustangs

Man's Greed has again turned into speechless animals. For the sake of the ranches Wild Mustangs are killed. How much? Almost half of them alive! If any animal is to be killed for the sake of the Earth its, sadly, the humans. Not all hope is lost though. Madeleine Pickens has offered to adopt them.

Wild mustangs, those quintessential symbols of the American West for hundreds of years, are facing their most deadly predator yet: the pen-pushing civil servants of the US Bureau of Land Management.

Growing pressure on the horses' traditional habitat has left officials contemplating a programme of mass slaughter to reduce the number of mustangs held captive in government-run pens. More than 33,000 of the animals, almost as many as the number still in the wild, have been rounded up and taken off increasingly barren public land in recent years, to reduce pressure on grazing required by the cattle-ranching industry.

But the increasing cost of keeping them fed and watered has left the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contemplating a programme of what it calls "euthanasia" – sending healthy horses to slaughterhouses where they are likely to be turned into steak for export to France.

The proposal sparked outrage from conservationists when it was outlined in a recent Government Accountability Office report, with welfare groups accusing the BLM of holding an unnecessarily high number of mustangs in captivity in order to appease the politically powerful ranching lobby.

"They say there are too many horses left on the range, and that they need to gather them all the time," said Jerry Reynoldson of the Wild Horse Adoption Association. "But there are only 30,000 left in the wild, and they're spread over 10 states. In Nevada alone, the BLM controls 47 million acres. But the ranchers control economic forces and pay lobbyists in Washington, so they give the horses short shrift and convince the authorities that they need to be taken off the land."

The painting is by Nancy Merkle

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