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Unrelated but Important

A New Range War
A change in the law, and wild horses face slaughter

Amanda Marsalis for Newsweek

Icons of independence and a living reminder of the old West, mustangs have always excited fierce passions. But the passion turned to anger after Republican Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana quietly inserted a rider in the federal budget that lifted the ban on selling wild horses for slaughter. The revision forces the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell "without limitation" every captured horse that is 10 or older or has proved unadoptable. The new rule applies to 8,400 horses in captivity, and many more in the future. "This consigns thousands of horses to death," says Howard Crystal, a lawyer for the Humane Society. Last week Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia introduced a bill to restore the old protections. "When Americans picture the West, I doubt they envision wild horses' being rounded up and sent to slaughterhouses to be processed into cuisine for foreign gourmets," says Rahall.

Supporters of the bill claim that this is simply to control and manage the wild horse population. What's inherently wrong about this bill is that it neglects to ask "Why?" The root of the problem is neglected.

Wild horses compete for grazing land, land that is used by the beef industry. One would wonder why we aren't questioning the impact that millions of cattle have on the land, water, and air.

For more information on how you can stop the slaughter, visit IFWH.