Sunday, January 09, 2011

Director says BLM wouldn't supply horse abattoirs if reopened, says Pickens' idea has merit

The head of the Bureau of Land Management, who was criticized for attending a recent national meeting aimed at reopening horse slaughterhouses, says that if such abattoirs reopen in the U.S., the BLM won't be supplying them with horses from federal land.

"We are not entertaining the use of slaughterhouses or selling horses for slaughter at all," BLM Director Bob Abbey told Keith Rogers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We believe that there are better options available to us" for controlling horse populations and addressing the horse crisis. He said a proposal by Madeleine Pickens, wife of energy billionaire T. Boone Pickens, to create a wild horse sanctuary on public and private land in Northern Nevada, "deserves serious consideration."

A more immediate option involves "the effort to thin down wild horse and burro herds through helicopter roundups and adopt out as many as possible," Rogers reports. Abbey thinks "many of the mares released back to the ranges should be given a birth control drug . . . being tested in 11 gathers of wild horses in Nevada, Idaho and Utah." If the drug works, time between roundups can be reduced, "easing the burden on holding facilities where 38,000 are kept in Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota."

Abbey was interviewed after speaking to a Las Vegas "aimed at lifting a congressional ban that quashed U.S. processing plants that produced horse meat for human consumption," Rogers reports.

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