By Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
It's a pretty cruel April Fool's story from an equine point of view.
Over the weekend, among horse aficionados in Northern California, rumors got started that a horse slaughter facility would be built in Carson City. Those rumors led to calls to the Carson City manager's office, the economic development and planning offices, U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-NV, and the Appeal.
Carson City Planning Director Lee Plemel said he didn't know anything about it, though his staff did handle inquiries on Monday about the rumor, including calls from Sen. John Ensign's office.
"The official word is that we have not received any inquiries from anybody asking to open such a facility," he said, adding that under federal law he wasn't sure a horse slaughterhouse would be legal. "It's all speculation based on rumors."
The state has had wild horses kept at the Nevada State Prison they couldn't afford, which were sent to Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, but state Department of Agriculture estray manager Mike Workman said they wouldn't get involved in this sort of activity.
"Silver State Industries wouldn't do anything like that," he said, adding that the sharp instruments needed for a slaughterhouse would not be made available for inmates to use.
The rumors apparently began, or were passed on by a forum at www.arabianbreeders.net, and an e-mail from Joe Shelton at www.tbfriends.com, a site for a horse rescue group in Woodland, Calif.
The Arabian Breeders Forum was not accessible, and Shelton did not return a call seeking comment.
The rumor spread as far away as Illinois, when Carrie Gobernatz, the national news editor for Horse Talk, got wind of it. Though the magazine is based in Houston, she is in Illinois, and has worked to shut down two slaughterhouses in Texas and one in her home state.
"It's upsetting when you are working so hard to shut the three places down," she said. "There's been a couple of different rumors."
Gobernatz said in some states horse slaughterhouses are illegal, but other states it is not.
"I don't just think that anyone would waste their time because so many Americans don't want it," she said.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-7351.