What is in this article?:
As the question of whether to make horse slaughter facilities legal in the United States works its way through the courts and the U.S. Congress, the issue reveals many layers of emotion and economic responses.
Problem more intense for wild horses
For wild horse herds out West, things were worse.
“As drought conditions continue, wild horses, livestock, and wildlife that rely on rangeland forage and water will face extremely challenging conditions that may leave them in very poor condition,” Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze said in a recent press release. “We are taking action to address these situations as quickly and as effectively as we can, but our options are increasingly limited by conditions on the land.”
Just last month, BLM began trucking 5,000 gallons of water per day, five days a week to four locations across Nevada at a cost of $1,000 per day in order to sustain wild horse herds stressed by prevailing drought conditions.
While the problem has escalated in recent years, efforts to thin wild herds were reduced this year. Because of off-range holding capacity limits and funding constraints, the BLM will attempt to gather and remove only 1,300 wild horses and burros this summer.
"Overall, the BLM anticipates removing about 4,800 animals from the range in Fiscal Year 2013, as compared to 8,255 in FY 2012,” the agency said earlier this year.
Many of those horses will be sold at auction, and many will be transported to Mexico for slaughter.
Just over 120,000 horses were being slaughtered in the U.S. at the time Congress withheld funding for horse meat inspections. Since the closure of domestic slaughter facilities, an estimated of more than 150,000 horses are being transported across the Mexican border each year to what many consider a far worse fate at facilities that are not regulated.