Judge moves to protect missing Nevada horse from slaughter


By Scott Sonner, Associated Press

via Mid-Atlantic Horse - Feb 5, 2019


PALOMINO VALLEY, Nev. (AP) A U.S. judge has extended a protective order preventing the slaughter of a horse named Lady that has been missing since a tribal roundup in Nevada, in a case reflecting a long fight over the capture of wild horses on federal land.


U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Reno also scheduled an evidentiary hearing next Monday when owner Colleen Westlake will have a chance to prove her contention that the horse she bought from the state last year was taken illegally from her private property by a neighboring Native American tribe.


She fears the mare may have been sent to a slaughterhouse in Canada or Mexico.


Tribal officials say they suspect Lady is still on the high-desert range.


Wild horse advocates have expressed concerns that the Trump administration is moving toward allowing some wild horses to be slaughtered, something the government hasn't done before and that Congress has prohibited since 2004.


Horse slaughterhouses are prohibited in the U.S. but legal elsewhere, including Canada, Mexico and parts of Europe where horse meat is considered a delicacy.


Lady and other horses in question don't enjoy U.S. protections because they aren't in established federal herd management areas. They're either feral horses under the jurisdiction of the state or tribal sovereign governments.


The judge refused to apply the protective order to more than 270 other horses rounded up in early January by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and a contractor trying to recover horses they say strayed from the reservation 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Reno.


Homeowners described a chaotic roundup with wranglers on horseback, ATVs, motorcycles and helicopters. Several said the low-flying helicopters scared horses off their land. One said she chased a contractor off her property with a shotgun...