Slaughter of American wild equines for foreign consumption soon to be legal
An Animal Rights Article from


Anai Rhoads Ford
December 2004


Veriana Media - Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFHBA) in 1971, which made it illegal to harm or displace burros and wild horses. The Act was passed after it was discovered that sheep and cattle ranchers drove herds of wild horses and burros over cliffs, poisoned their watering holes, and in some cases had their eyes shot out - in order to free up more land for their own livestock.

By the time the Act was passed into law, only 1 percent of burros and wild horses existed in the West. Currently there are roughly 32,000 living mainly in Nevada and peppered across 10 Western states. The numbers appear strong, but are too small to recover the two million population that was present at the start of the 20th century before the extermination and torture at the hands of ranchers.

Although the population has not reached a critical size to justify hunting, United States Senator Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) incorporated language into the Consolidated Appropriations bill that undermines the WFHBA, permitting companies and individuals to kill the equines and ship their meat to countries like Belgium, France, Italy, and Japan, where it is considered a delicacy. Sale for consumption within the United States remains illegal.

"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.

The Consolidated Appropriations bill, expected to be passed on 06 December, would allow horses and burros to be sold at auction "without limitation".

What you can do

Contact your U.S. Representative and both state Senators to express your opposition to the Burns amendment. Request that the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 857 and S. 2352) be passed. This Act ensures protection against the slaughter and sale of these animals.

"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."

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