No relief for wild horses

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1997:

Fighting allegations that
wild horses removed from Bureau of
Land Management property are
clandestinely sold to slaughter, Salt
Lake District BLM state wildforce
manager Glade Anderson on July 28
told Deseret News staff writer
Steven R. Mickelson that Utah
Hunter Association volunteers
would henceforth screen prospective
adoptors and inspect their facilities.

The BLM/UHA alliance
scarcely reassured wild horse
defenders, whose confidence was
further rattled on August 7 when
Associated Press reporter Martha
Mendoza disclosed that of 125 “convictions”
the BLM in January
claimed to have won between 1985
and 1995 for alleged violations of
the 1971 Wild and Free-Roaming
Horse and Burro Act, only 26 could
be verified. Just three convictions
were won under the act. Twentythree
persons were convicted under
other laws for related crimes.
“I would suspect that the
Justice Department defines convictions
differently than we do,” BLM
spokesperson Bob Johns reportedly
told Mendoza. “I don’t think there
was intent to mislead the public.”
According to Mendoza,
“Johns said the BLM defines convictions
to include indictments, citations,
fines, and even cases that
U.S. attorneys decline to prosecute,”
presumably because of insufficient
evidence. Apparently about 785
cases were in that category.
The BLM claim of 125
successful prosecutions was issued
after Mendoza found through a
record search that the paperwork had
never been completed to finalize
thousands of mustang adoptions,
and that significant numbers of BLM
horses apparently are going to
slaughter. The data apparently did
not substantiate, however, activist
claims that BLM staff are adopting
large numbers of horses just to resell
them for slaughter. Neither did the
data distinguish between horses sold
to slaughter as soon as the adoptor
either received title or figured out a
way around the titling procedure,
and horses sold after some years as
breeding stock, or saddle horses.
Much of Mendoza’s data
came from records kept by the Cavel
West horse slaughterhouse in Redmond,
Oregon. The ability of
investigators to follow up her allegations
and prosecute any criminal
wrongdoing was compromised when
a July 23 arson razed the plant, the
only horse slaughtering facility west
of the Rockies. The arson was
anonymously claimed about 24
hours later by the Animal Liberation
Front. Slaughterbound horses were
diverted to plants in Texas,
Missouri, and Canada.
Decades of perversion of
legislation intended to save wild
horses into the instruments of their
removal from the range––whether
corruptly or otherwise––took yet
another cynical twist on July 2,
when the Nevada state Senate passed
a bill requiring the state Commission
for the Preservation of Wild Horses
to “provide financial assistance for
the removal and disposal of wild
horses.” The funding would be
taken from a trust fund left to
Nevada by the late Leo Heil for the
purpose of protecting wild horses.
The Nevada Senate also approved
transferring the Commission for the
Preservation of Wild Horses from
the governor’s office to the
Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources, and creating a
wild horse policymaking office
within the Division of Agriculture.
Skepticism also surrounded
official efforts to save the
Kaimanawa wild horses from midsummer
slaughter in New Zealand.
Introduced to the wild in the middle
of the 19th century, the storied herd
had dwindled to 200 when legally
protected in 1981, but hit 1,700
early this year, when the New
Zealand government finalized plans
to cut it to 500 and keep it there, to
reduce alleged harm to wildlife habitat.
The 500 horses are to be kept on
about half their old range.
New Zealand media
played up an Agence-France Presse
report on August 1 that the Swissbased
Franz Weber Foundation
wanted to buy 193 stallions from the
Kaimanawa wild horse herd, which
perhaps depressed public concern,
since only half the 240 persons who
registered to bid on 204 yearlings
and foals actually turned out for the
auction two days later.
The yearlings and foals
were first of about 1,000 horses to
go on the block. Of the 204, 194
were sold, for a total of $32,720.
One colt fetched $620, but many
others brought only the $100 reserve
price. Prime minister Jim Bolger
reportedly bid successfully on a
filly. Mares were to be auctioned a
week later, and the stallions the
Franz Weber Foundation wanted
were to go the week after that.
Any not sold at auction to
qualified prospective adoptors are to
be slaughtered, as was originally
proposed, before public outcry
brought about the adoption auctions.
Other Kaimanawa horses
were reportedly shot on the range in
late May.
Even without wild horses,
the global horsemeat supply is
expected to be plentiful for years to
come, due to rising demand for
Premarin, the Wyeth-Ayerst estrogen
supplement made from pregnant
mares’ urine. Mares on PMU production
lines birth as many as
75,000 foals per year, the majority
of whom are sold for slaughter. The
Food and Drug Administration
recently rejected Duramed
Pharmaceuticals’ bid to market a
synthetic rival to Premarin as a
generic alternative, but on August 4
Duramed announced that it would
pursue approval for the product as a
new drug, as well as appealing the
FDA verdict. Chemicals of animal
origin are not included in either the
Duramed product or another estrogen
supplement advanced as an
alternative, from Barr Laboratories,
of Pomona, New York.
Many other estrogen supplements
are available as alternatives
to Premarin for treating specific
conditions. Premarin remains the
most-prescribed drug in the world,
however, because it is believed to
address the most separate hormonal
symptoms, especially in women of
menopausal age and up.
A recent European Union
ruling that horses are food-producing
animals meanwhile brought a
directive that horses may no longer
be given Phenylbutazone for pain
relief, since residues of the drug
may affect humans who eat horseflesh.
Sue Dyson, president of the
equine division of the British
Veterinary Medical association,
pointed out that the directive is in
effect a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“Bute is the most common, reliable,
effective and safe drug that we have
for treating pain in horses. Older
horses may now be destroyed rather
than be treated with less effective
and more expensive medicine.”
Dyson said the next best
equine pain reliever costs about 10
times as much as bute.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.