Wild-horse advocates round up support for full protection

Wild-horse advocates are saddling up to rebut what they say are inaccurate statements from several Nevada politicians regarding the condition of Nevada's wild horses.

The group will use former wild horses as carriers in the "Mustang Express" to deliver hundreds of letters from the public to U.S. Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and John Ensign, R-Nev., U.S. Reps. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., and Jon Porter, R-Nev., urging them to reinstate full federal protection against the sale and slaughter of wild horses.

The letters will be delivered to a demonstration at noon Wednesday in the common area between the Capitol and the Legislative Building.

"They keep saying they're (the horses) starving to death, yet at the same time, the BLM says they're reproducing 20 percent a year," said Bonnie Matton, member of the Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates. "If they're starving to death, how do they have these big numbers?"

The organization believes recent legislation proposed by Reid, Ensign, Porter, Gibbons and U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., is inadequate to protect the state's wild horses and wants full federal protection restored.

The proposed "Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Sale and Adoption Act of 2005" would reduce the minimum adoption fee from $125 to $25 per horse, eliminate the limit of four horses per adoptive household per year and make all excess horses available for sale.

The 34-year ban on slaughtering wild horses was repealed by Congress in December, and since then at least 32 horses have been sold to slaughterhouses.

Matton said the Carson City demonstration is intended to alert the public to what the group believes are inaccurate statements by the four politicians.

She declined to specify what those statements were, saying they would be part of a paper the group will pass out at the demonstration.

"The public needs to know, they (officials) are always saying the horses are starving to death, but on the whole these horses have adapted well, even in drought conditions," Matton said. "We're doing this to get information to the public."

If you go

What: Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates demonstration

When: Noon, Wednesday

Where: The common area between the Capitol and the Legislative Building


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