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Pickens chimes in over horse summit

December 4, 2010

Wild horse advocate Madeleine Pickens, who is pushing plans to rehome more than 30,000 captive wild horses in a massive western reserve, has written to the director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over his plans to address a horse summit.

Pickens, the wife of Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, has expressed her concern over Bob Abbey attending the Summit of the Horse as a speaker.

"While I recognise that you are obligated to reach out to a wide variety of constituent groups to seek input on the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Programme, the cast of characters attending this event reads more like a who's who of the pro-slaughter and anti-wild horse community," Pickens wrote.

"It seems that whenever the pro-agriculture groups dangle a dollar in front of individuals or outside groups, they automatically become equine experts, and are first in line to reap the economic benefits of the latest pitch.

"As a matter of fact, it's the economics of grazing on public lands that has generated the issue with the overpopulation of wild horses in holding pens and the costs associated with that programme.

"Suggesting giving more money to the pro-agriculture crowd as a solution to the boondoggle is misleading and is sure to fail as it will only create more issues with the Wild Horse and Burro Programme.

"Since the BLM has openly stated that they will not engage in any attempt to euthanise or slaughter wild horses, it is even more interesting that you are participating in a discussion of exactly that issue with the pro-slaughter crowd.

"If the 'summit' participants were seriously concerned about what they refer to as the 'unwanted' horses driving the demand for slaughter in this country, they would have to look no further than the boutique breeding industry in this country.

"We are producing somewhere in the range of 250,000 registry horses in this country every year.

"It is very hard to make the argument that the few thousand new wild horses born each year can match the numbers of breed horses contributing to the overpopulation of horses in this country.

"The answer to the 'unwanted' horse population in this country is to ensure responsible breeding and responsible care, and not driving 10,000 wild horses each year by helicopter into a trap for removal."

She continued: "I fear the group gathering at the Summit of the Horse is recycling many of the ideas and actions that have perpetuated the controversial problems we now see in the strategy to gather and hold our wild horses.

"I hope you will continue to engage with people of good faith who want to see the Wild Horse and Burro Programme managed in a way that all the stakeholders, including the wild horses and their advocates, are content with and will have a say in the final outcome."



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