photo: Carol Walker
Activists: Government plan to kill wild horses is all a profit scheme
Trump’s Interior Secretary has some ugly plans for America’s wild animals
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has raised red flags for a number of reasons during his short tenure. He seems to care less about protecting America’s national monuments than allowing them to be exploited by special interest groups and has been caught up in one corruption scandal after another. You would think that it’d be difficult for a man like that to do anything else that could make people who don’t bleed money-green to despise him.
Unfortunately, the lives of 50,000 wild horses and burros are in Zinke’s hands, because Congress is preparing to negotiate appropriations for the Interior Department and whether to allow for the unlimited slaughter of wild horses and burros.
It all stems back to the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 a bill that offered protections to the horses and burros that roam the United States — and, of course, was immediately opposed by special interests in Big Agriculture who were determined to erode its protections. The interests’ first major success in doing so occurred in 2004 after Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., attached a provision to an omnibus bill that removed most of the legal protections established in 1971 and privatized the animals themselves.
That’s where Zinke comes into play. In 2009, the Montana State House introduce a bill to build a horse slaughterhouse in the state at a time the country had been two years without one.
“Zinke wanted to bring slaughter back so ranchers and others in the horse business could dispose of their unwanted, unhealthy or inconvenient horses quickly and for a profit,” Susan Wagner of Equine Advocates and Debbie Coffey of Wild Horse Freedom Federation told Salon by email. “The [Montana] bill did not pass but fast forward to today, and now all these animals are facing extinction. The Interior Department’s budget being slashed by more than $1 billion also doesn’t help.
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