Rally Protests Nevada Stray Horse Roundup

Equine welfare advocates demonstrated before the Nevada State Legislature building on Tuesday (Oct. 25) to protest the state Department of Agriculture's (DOA) plan to remove as many as 100 stray horses from a private northern Nevada range. The removal is intended to prevent the animals from being killed by motorists when they wander onto nearby highways.

Approximately 2,000 horses reside on the Virginia Range, a private rangeland surrounded by four major highways. The animals are so-called "strays" descended from domestic horses turned out onto the range by their owners.

Nevada DOA Spokesman Ed Foster said 34 horses have been involved in collisions with motorists in the past several weeks. Approximately two-thirds of those died at or close to impact, and the remainder were euthanized at the scene, Foster said.

Willis Lamm of the Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates, an equine welfare advocacy group, criticized the roundup plan on grounds that the need to remove the animals is directly connected to the Department's 2008 decision to cancel herd management contracts with nonprofit organizations.

On Oct. 25 more than 60 people joined in the "Rally for Solutions" to call attention to state policies that demonstrators believe put both horses and humans at risk, Lamm said.

"The demonstrators hope to put enough pressure to bear that the department returns to some sensible and workable management models that protect the herd, that protect the public, that protect horses that have to be removed, and that don't have to rely on dwindling tax support," Lamm said.

Foster said the demonstration will not affect the Department's plan to remove stray horses as necessary: "Citizens have the right to assemble and deliver whatever message they care to. That does not mean the Department has changed thought process or actions regarding the nuisance stray horses roaming near the highways. The collection of nuisance stray horses will continue until the number of horses being hit by vehicles declines."

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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