Mrs. T. Boone Pickens to the (horse) rescue


We've chronicled the sad story of the horse glut in the United States, brought on partly because of the slaughterhouse ban enacted two years ago, partly because of the rising cost of fuel and hay, and partly because of the failing economy. It all comes down to the unpleasant fact that there more horses than owners, and because the U.S. also protects wild horses -- letting them roam on BLM land around the West -- there is now a surplus of some 30,000 wild horses that the federal government really can't afford to keep. The wild horses were once rounded up and offered for adoption at auctions, but no one's bidding any more, so the horses are placed in federal holding facilities.

"The animal rights people put the BLM in a box," said Jeff Eisenberg of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "Congress doesn't want to put more funding into these holding facilities, especially when times are tight. It's a problem nobody likes."

But now comes Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, who "made known her intentions," according to an article in the Washington Post, to adopt not just the 2,000 mustangs who had been slated by the BLM for euthanasia but "most or all" of the 30,000 wild horses and burros currently in holding pens. The Pickens were advocates of closing the two remaining slaughterhouses in the U.S., and they obviously have resources, so there's some poetic justice in this solution.

Mrs. Pickens is "looking for land in the West that would be an appropriate home for the horses." Like at least 100,000 acres somewhere? Maybe Ted Turner has some extra land.

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