Following an unsuccessful vote to end the prohibition on the USDA’s inspection of horse meat, the House Appropriations Committee voted last week to pass an amendment that would authorize the culling of thousands of wild horses and burros. The amendment was introduced by Republican representative Chris Stewart and is strongly supported by cattle ranchers. Stewart’s version of the bill removed language that strictly forbids the killing of healthy horses. If passed, the amendment would allow the Bureau of Land Management to kill any horses or burros who are not adopted out. With an estimated 67,000 horses in the region and only about 2,500 horses adopted out each year, the number of culled horses could be staggering. Suzanne Roy, the executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign, told USA Today:
Let’s be clear: The House Appropriations Committee members just signed a death warrant for America’s mustangs and it will lead to the wholesale slaughter of these irreplaceable national treasures. The Stewart amendment is a mass slaughter amendment, and its proponents are trying to hide that fact from the American public.
The wild horses have already been relocated to make room for cattle ranchers, who claim that resources are too limited to support the horses. What they fail to mention, however, is that resources are being used to feed cows who are raised and killed for human consumption.
And this won’t be the first time wildlife has been culled to make room for the meat industry. Millions of wild animals are killed every year as the meat industry encroaches on wildlife habitats. In fact, more than half the land in the continental United States is used to raise animals for food.
In 2013 more than 2 million wild animals were killed because they were seen as a threat to animal agriculture industries. These included more than 75,000 wolves; 3,700 foxes; and 419 bears.
The fact is that by consuming animals, you indirectly support the destruction of wildlife populations. A significant way to protect wildlife is to withdraw support of the meat industry altogether by adopting a responsible, compassionate plant-based diet.
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