Advocates for wild horses, black bears swarm Nevada capital
First, animal advocates staged a protest on Carson City’s main drag to assail the state’s treatment of stray horses. State officials have proposed rounding up and auctioning off up to 100 of the animals now wandering through the Virginia Range outside Reno, the Associated Press reported.
That's because 35 horses have been struck by cars on the rural area’s highways in recent months.
"We've become a dead horse removal agency," Ed Foster, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture, told the AP. No motorists have been injured, but officials fear that’s inevitable if they don't intervene.
The few dozen protesters, who brought along a colt named Mystic Diamond and a mustang named Shadow, weren’t opposed to removing the horses. What riled them was the auction that would follow, which they said might encourage “kill buyers” who would sell the animals for slaughter.
(Nevada is no stranger to wild horse controversy. How to handle mustangs on federal land has been debated for decades. Horses on federal land are mostly left to roam, but on state land they're treated as strays.)
The day after the horse protest, black bear advocates arrived at the Capitol and begged a panel of lawmakers to do away with the state’s new bear hunt, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Activists say that the state’s bear population can’t endure a hunting season and that hunters could endanger residents and tourists in the Lake Tahoe area.
The state Wildlife Commission approved the bear hunt earlier this year, after Tahoe neighborhoods were inundated with bears that rifled through garbage and broke into homes. The hunt began in August and will end Dec. 31, or when 20 bears have been killed. Ten have been killed so far, the paper said.
On Wednesday, bear advocates had as much luck with the legislative panel as they did with wildlife commissioners. Lawmakers voted to keep the bear hunt.
--Ashley Powers in Las Vegas
Photo: Shadow, a 12-year-old mustang, nibbles on grass during a protest in Carson City, Nev., over plans to remove stray horses from state lands and sell them at auction. Horse advocates say the animals could be sold for slaughter. Credit: Sandra Chereb/Associated Press