LAS VEGAS -- Nevada's wild horses have been at the center of controversy for years, but the debate is now getting more attention because of a meeting going on in Las Vegas this week with people who want to round up the horses and slaughter them for food.
Protestors have been on the Las Vegas Strip educating the public about what's being discussed at the horse summit. Some ranchers want to open a slaughter house in Wyoming and then use the horses for human consumption.
They say it is a humane way to ease the horse over-population problem, but wild horse advocates disagree saying the move is all about making a quick buck.
"They are claiming that we have so many wild horses that this is the humane way to dispose of them and basically what they are is a group horse breeders and livestock industry people who want to promote the slaughter of horses and continue the irresponsible breeding of horses," said Suzanne Roy with American Wild Horse Preservation.
Roy says slaughtering horses is not a humane way to ease the over-population issue. She says the problem is the breeders themselves who breed nearly 250,000 horses every year and dispose of those they don't want.
After an outcry against slaughterhouses, the federal government cut off funding for inspections for American run slaughterhouses, but now some in the horse and livestock community want to open one in Wyoming.
"Having taken the position that slaughter is not a viable management position for America's wild horses, then we must be willing to entertain other ideas to identify other alternatives and then be willing to purse those," said Bureau of Land Management National Director Bob Abbey.
Many horses in the U.S. are currently transported to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada, but horse advocates do not want to see one open here. They say Americans culturally do not consume horse meat and therefore the meat will be shipped overseas for consumption and will line the pocketbooks of horse breeders and the livestock industry.
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