The latest heartbreaking injustice to wild horses and burros in Nevada has been stopped. The proposed legislation that would have denied the animals from getting their fair share of water did not pass the Nevada Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Chairperson, Mark Manenda told his committee members he was concerned about the “unintended consequences” of AB 329.
The bill would have amended the present appropriation, use and regulation of water in Nevada to specifically exclude wild horses and burros by re-defining the state’s definition of wildlife. Currently water must be available to all wildlife.
If AB 329 had passed, the new definition would have only included wild birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.
The bill would also have allowed ranchers to fence off land to keep wild mustangs and burros from having access to drinking water. AB 329 would have threatened the existence of these animals.
Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea introduced the bill at the request of cattlemen and hunters from northeastern Nevada. These groups see wild horses and burros as competition for land where livestock graze and big game hunting takes place.
AB 329 passed the Nevada Assembly on April 15 and was waiting for approval by the Senate Natural Resources Committee. It will now be sent to the Public Lands Counsel for further study, but Manendo said he would draft a letter explaining the questionable issues behind the proposal.
Killing the bill will buy time for the Bureau of Land Management to work out an agreement with the state regarding water rights for the animals. If no agreement is made, the bill can be re-introduced in September.
Related Story: Law Would Leave Nevada “Littered With Dead Wild Horses”
Photo from Creative Commons - David Reece