Assemblyman sponsors A.B. 329 yet received money from Federal Wild Horse and Burro Control Services
RENO (February 19, 2012)—Controversy surrounds Nevada Assemblyman and longtime rancher Pete Goicoechea due to his sponsorship of A.B. 329. The bill would redefine wildlife for purposes of access to water to mean any free-living creature that walks, slithers, flies over, or crawls on Nevada soil—except for wild horses and burros. Advocates believe that the bill could zero out America’s wild horses and burros in Nevada, where most of them currently live.
Wild horse preservation group, Protect Mustangs, questions Assemblyman Goicoecha’s motives in sponsoring this bill, given that he has received $674,591 through Federal contract funds between 2000 and 2009 for “Wild Horse and Burro Control Services”. Is Mr. Coicoechea representing the Nevadans who elected him or special interests?
“We are concerned native wild horses would be wiped out if A.B. 329 is passed,” explains Kerry Becklund, director of outreach for Protect Mustangs. “Indigenous wild horses belong to all of America and must not be removed or killed because special interest groups lobby to prevent them from drinking water in Nevada.”
A.B. 329 reads:
Section 1. Chapter 532 of NRS is hereby amended by adding
thereto a new section to read as follows:
As used in this title, unless the context otherwise requires, “wildlife” means any wild mammal, wild bird, fish, reptile, amphibian, mollusk or crustacean found naturally in a wild state, whether indigenous to Nevada or not and whether raised in captivity or not. The term does not include any wild horse or burro.
According to scientific findings in 2010, Jay F. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. and Patricia M. Fazio, Ph.D updated their research Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife proving wild horses are indigenous.
Recently at the January 2012 Legislative Committee on Public Lands Hearing, wild horse photographer Cat Kindsfather represented Protect Mustangs, and testified that based on modern science, wild horses are an indigenous species that deserve access to water in Nevada, along with other wildlife.
The preservation group seeks transparency and answers. Why is a Nevada Assemblyman who was contracted and paid by the federal government for “Wild Horse and Burro Control Services” sponsoring A.B. 329 to deny the native species the right to drink water in the State, and essentially the right to exist in the State, and what services did Goicoechea provide to the Federal program?
“Attacking wild horses and burros in ‘water wars’ goes against the American public’s wishes,” states Anne Novak, executive director for Protect Mustangs. “Besides healing the land, they are living symbols of American freedom who must be protected and preserved.”
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LINKS OF INTEREST:
Draft letter to Nevada State Engineer from Wildlife Commission against wild horses and burros drinking water: http://bit.ly/yaCNg3
Science proves wild horses are native: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=562
Contracts for Wild Horse and Burro Control Services (FY 2000-2009) http://bit.ly/xVlVm5
Opposition to A.B. 329 (Video at 2011 hearing) http://bit.ly/zlCiU3
Protect Mustangs’ website: http://www.ProtectMustangs.org
Water Rights for Wild Horses and Livestock, Bureau of Land Management, BLM.gov – http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/prog/wh_b/nevada_water_rights.html