Friday, January 22, 2016

Arizona Proposal to Protect Salt River Wild Horses Sparks Controversy

The U.S. Forest Service recently backed off plans to round up and auction off a popular herd of horses that runs free along the Salt River following months of fervent public protest. But the horses' future remains uncertain because the issue that prompted the removal order remains: The herd doesn't qualify for protection from the federal government. Hoping to remedy the problem, state Representative Kelly Townsend has proposed a bill that would transfer ownership of the herd to the state. If approved, House Bill 2340 would make it a class 1 misdemeanor to “actively manage, take, slaughter, or euthanize” any of the Salt River horses. “These horses are beloved by so many folks,” said Townsend, chair of the Federalism and States' Rights Committee. “This is the best we can do as a state to try to protect them.” Townsend's bill gives responsibility for managing the herd, which could include birth control and euthanization, to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, but it stipulates that the agency may collaborate with the Forest Service or delegate the work to a private contractor...more

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