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Saving Our Wild Horses

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Message Suzana Megles

(Image by Steve Wilson - all the photo's)
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Even though I never see these beautiful majestic wild horses of the West because I live in Ohio, I believe I am correct in saying they belong to all of us.
In 1971 that beautiful, compassionate, and intrepid woman affectionately known as " Wild Horse Annie" brought their plight before the American school children and people of America in general. Her tireless efforts and work in their behalf bore fruit, and Congress in that year passed the 1971 WILD HORSE AND BURRO ACT  which gave them protection and public lands to roam and live on.
Sadly, as with all good and beautiful happenings, there are people who decided that these iconic horses should be captured and sold for slaughter.  
In 2004 -former Senator of Montana, Conrad Burns, had the dubious distinction of eroding the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act. He slipped  in an amendment in an appropriations bill  which took away the protection of horses that are over ten years old. 
So until 2007, it was open house for those people who felt that selling these wild horses for slaughter was a profitable business and US slaughterhouses sprang up
Finally, with the uproar of many people objecting to the killing and slaughtering of our horses in the US for the tables of Europe and Japan, another amendment was added to an appropriation bill. This one defunded USDA inspections of slaughterhouses.  This sounded the death knell of the horse slaughterhouses in the US.
So many of us were so  happy to see the US slaughterhouses shut down and closed, but our happiness would be short-lived.  Now thanx to the BLM round-ups which led to so many of these captured horses being sold at  auction and snapped up by "meat" men, thousands of them were sent to the cruel slaughter houses of Mexico and Canada.
Recently, there has been put in place a new BLM policy change which will not allow more than four horses to be purchased by an individual or group within six months without the approval of the Assistant Director of the BLM.  
In the meantime, thousands of wild horses under BLM's care continue to be unaccounted for.  However, ISPMB covered the sale of 1700 wild horses in Colorado to a livestock hauler, Tom Davis,  His family had ties to KEN SALAZAR'S family. Salazar had been SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR under Obama.  Imagine that Davis has said that he placed the horses in homes.  One problem - the horses cannot be found.
I am grateful to Karen Sussman, president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB).  This is the very same group which Thelma Johnston (Wild Horse Annie) headed until her passing on June 27, 1977.  I feel certain she would have been proud of Sussman's leadership and concern for the wild horses and burros of the west as she had been.
I have gotten reports from different horse rescues asking me to sign their petitions so that my legislators would sign the Safe Act - "Safeguard American Food Exports Act." This act, if passed, will end the inhumane slaughter of American horses in Canada and Mexico by prohibiting transport for purposes of slaughter and human consumption.
All the petitions I received I signed, BUT no one told me something that the Sussman newsletter did.  Only 13 of 100 Senators have signed onto the bill and 105 of 435 Representatives.  We need many more of them to come on board if there will be a chance of passage.
This is shocking in my estimation.  These compassionate and caring legislators: Senators Mary Landrieu D-LA and Lindsey Graham R-SC introduced S-541 (Safe Act); Representatives Patrickk Meehan R-PA and Jan Schakowskyu D-IL introduced HR-1094  (Safe Act).  They need support!
I immediately wondered if my Ohio representative and senators were on the list of legislators who backed either S-541 or HR-1094.  I had signed all the petitions sent me in this regard asking them to support these bills.
Sussman said we should check on it to see if our Congress people had signed onto the bill.  She said we could call their office number where asked. 
Another shock awaited me - my Ohio Representative Marcy Kaptur was not on the list.  Had Dennis Kucinich still been my representative, I would not have even had to check it.  Neither of my two Ohio Senators, Sherrod Brown or Rob Portman, were on the list either.
The easiest way for me to contact them is by e-mail.  I looked up E-mail contact information on the internet for all three of them and asked them AGAIN to support the SAFE Amendment Act. I hope they have the courtesy to reply and more, I hope they are compassionate and will sign onto the bill.
I also hope that all of you who say you care about horses, will do the same. I believe passage of this amendment will only stop our horses from being sent for slaughter to Mexico and Canada.  But it is an important start.  Then we will have to worry about the people who are on the verge of starting up slaughterhouses in the US again. Is there an amendment which authorizes USDA inspections?  If so, that's another problem we will have to address as well.




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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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