02 December 2004

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re "New Provision Would Allow Slaughtering of Wild Horses" (news article, Nov. 25):

Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, by attaching a rider to the appropriations bill allowing wild horses to be sent to slaughter, has gutted the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act and condemned so-called surplus and unadoptable wild horses to a ghoulish death.

The motive behind this unexpected maneuver is not hard to discern: greed. For every horse that is removed from our vast public lands, the livestock industry is allowed to graze an extra cow and calf at a pittance, $1.37 a month.

Apparently, some seven million head of privately owned cattle eating public grass at this bargain rate doesn't satisfy the beef industry. With new rules allowing the roundup and auction of unadoptable horses (unbreakable stallions and old mares important only to the functioning of bands), profiteers will bid at the wild-horse corrals, and stockmen will get a bonanza.

Thus, Senator Burns has delivered a plum to his Montana livestock constituency.

Hope Ryden
New York, Nov. 25, 2004
The writer is the author of books about wild horses.

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