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The wild mustang - free no more
Once federally protected animal may again be harvested

January 21, 2005
By JESSICA HAWLEY / Staff Writer, The Bandera Bulletin

"Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West," states a congressional declaration dated Dec. 15, 1971.

Yet, in a surprising and highly protested move, Congress recently passed a bill that allows for the slaughter of the American wild mustang reportedly effective Wednesday, Jan. 5.

Republican Senator Conrad Burns of Montana introduced the one-page Rider #142 into the 3,000-page Federal Appropriations Bill HR 4848.


A mustang foal basks in the sunlight at the Wild Horse Foundation in Franklin while his mother, a former wild mustang, grazes nearby. Photo by Jessica Hawley

The rider changes the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, splitting the once federally protected wild horses and burros into two categories, those over 10 years old and those that have been to a minimum of three unsuccessful adoptions. In accordance with the rider's language, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is authorized to sell these animals to the highest bidder without regard for the buyer's intentions.

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