Horse News

Nevada Governor Sandoval signs landmark bill to work with wild horse advocates

Governor Sandoval signs AB 264, partnering with animal advocates to save Nevada mustangs

Governor Sandoval signs AB 264, partnering with animal advocates to save Nevada mustangs
      Credits:          American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign Facebook page

examiner.com

Carson City, Nev. – Yesterday, Governor Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 264 into law, officially authorizing the Nevada Dept. of Agriculture (NDA) to form cooperative agreements with non-profit organizations and local government agencies for the management of wild horses, or mustangs.  The bill also increases criminal penalties for unauthorized capturing, retaining, or feeding of wild horses.  While the law mainly affects mustangs, it also extends to any livestock running at large on public or private lands, unowned or with unknown owners, including cattle, equines, swine, goats, sheep, poultry, and alternative livestock (such as llamas or elk).

This law is a major milestone for animal advocacy groups like the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), who describe themselves as a “coalition of more than 50 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come.”  Since 2011, the AWHPC and other animal advocates have resorted to buying mustangs from NDA to prevent them from being sold at public auctions, where they are usually sold to businesses for slaughter, according to Equine Policy Examiner Carrol Abel.
In September of 2012, NDA director Jim Barbee canceled this arrangement, forcing wild horse advocates to compete with other buyers at public auctions to save the animals from slaughter.  This policy change “resulted in an overwhelming number of calls” to Governor Sandoval from concerned citizens, Abel reported.  The protests finally came to a head last December, after shocking photographs were published on the Internet, of NDA security staff dragging a foal by her neck with a piece of twine.
In December alone, the governor “received more than 18,000 faxes, letters and emails urging him to work with wild horse advocacy groups to protect the … mustangs,” according to the AWHPC.  Bo Rodriguez, the photographer who exposed the cruel abuse, responded to Internet comments on his pictures, “I did not enjoy taking these photos of the three week old foal being drug around by a piece of bailing twine, it was a long and traumatic [ordeal] for both protesters and horses. There has to be a better solution.”
That solution began a month later, in January 2013, when Governor Sandoval finally yielded to the immense public pressure, and state officials met with AWHPC and the ASPCA to discuss a cooperative, humane approach to controlling the mustangs.  According to AWHPC’s website, this meeting ultimately led to a signed agreement in March 2013 between NDA and Return to Freedom (the parent organization of AWHPC), allowing them to once again buy the wild horses before they are publicly auctioned, and work to place them in permanent homes.“We are pleased to enter into this agreement … as a first step in implementing a humane program for the historic and locally-cherished wild horses of the Virginia Range. We look forward to the next step … , … implementation of cooperative agreements for the range control of the … horses. A host of solutions – including birth control, fencing, and diversionary feeding and watering – are available to mitigate public safety concerns,” said Neda DeMayo, Founder and President of Return To Freedom, as reported on their website.  Now that AB 264 has become law, the next step can begin, and the mustangs can finally run free.

13 replies »

  1. Congratulations…excellent work to all. This is a God send…I hope that we can now breath a
    little easier knowing that Advocates will now be a part of the process.

    Like

  2. I don’t know how many of you have noticed, but the state trades on the iconic imagery of the mustang with its metal sculptures of wild horses in various poses on the freeway medians in Las Vegas. It is more than a little ironic (and sad) that the state has to be pushed by these events to do the right thing regarding a image and “tourism boosterism” use of these magnificent horses, at the same time as, far from prying eyes, they are trying to get rid of them.

    Like

    • ALSO IRONIC AND ICONIC ARE THE WILD HORSES ON THE NEVADA STATE 25 CENT PIECE SUSAN. IF THIS LAW FALTERS AT ALL IN ITS IMPLEMENTATION AND PRACTICE, THESE ARE THE KIND HYPOCRITICAL IMAGES LAWMAKERS AND THE GOVERNOR NEED TO SEE FACE TO FACE. CONSIDER THE BISON ENDED UP ON ONE SIDE OF THE 5 CENT PIECE, WITH THE HEAD OF AN INDIAN ON THE OTHER. WE NEED TO KEEP THE CHANGE FOR THE BETTER GOING….FOREVER.

      Like

  3. I’m sure that plenty of the faxes and phone calls that threatened to boycott the state helped to change the govs mind too. That’s what I said in my Email, as did many others. I think that’s what really changed the governors tune about this. Because I was sent a email response to my email and was told that the governor had turned the wild horse issue over to the county or state Livestock agency or some state agency. In other words he didn’t want anything to do with it. Its going to be interesting to see just how this turns out in the end.

    Like

  4. Thank you. Good luck on all your endeavors with protecting the wild horses. They are a treasure and need to be cared for with kindness not abuse.

    Like

  5. This is a HUGE step, finally even though it took such suffering for so many horses this is a long time coming, thanks so very much for all that are going to help these beautiful animals….. In my eyes there is no greater beauty than horses, especially watching them RUN FREE with NO HUMAN PREDATOR chasing them….. SUCH GREAT NEWS……………. 🙂

    Like

  6. “there is no greater beauty than horses, especially watching them RUN FREE with NO HUMAN PREDATOR chasing them….. SUCH GREAT NEWS…………….”

    Great news indeed!

    Like

  7. From the chaos comes change. Those WH&Bs who suffered to bring this about are healed and safe in their perfect place. Blessings to all who brought this about from the emailer to the negotiator to the Gov.

    Like

  8. I have changed to my facebook account as the word press Diogenes11 no longer seems to be able to comment. Sorry as I tried to comment on a previous blog to help those confused as I was as to where and what to do to make calls to the Congress today. It appears there is some bad news and some good news.
    Apparently the New Mexico Grisham amendment to ban horse slaughter was eliminated, but so far it seems that the defunding amendments in both the House and the Senate Appropriations committees have hung in there.

    Anyhow, as to the above wonderful news, I just wanted to say, out of chaos comes change. All those WH&Bs who suffered to bring this about are healed and safe in their perfect place. Thank you to them and to the emailers and to the negotiators and to the Guv.

    Like

    • Sorry for any difficulty you were having with commenting, Elaine. I am filling in for R.T. and doing the best I can. I’m not sure what the problem was that you were not able to comment, so please hang in there and RT returns and I’m sure he’ll fix the problem.

      Like

  9. This is wonderful news for Nevada, our country, and for science. Nevada is one of the areas in the Great Basic where the modern horse evolved during the Pleistocene, so it only seems right and natural that it should be protected in the state which is its ancestral home. It would be wonderful if states could find a way to work together to protect the herds in their states, and get the corrupt federal government out of it. Not that local government is always pure, but citizens are more apt to care about what is closest to them. This is wonderful news Nevadans. Way to go!

    Like

Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.