Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: Appropriations bill defunds inspectors in plants, S.A.F.E. Act push, 20x rodeo | TSLN.com

Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: Appropriations bill defunds inspectors in plants, S.A.F.E. Act push, 20x rodeo

The ice is still persisting here. All the snow has transitioned into a acres wide skating rink at our place. The horses are afraid to move and I don't blame them. Just getting to water and hay is an ordeal. The cows walk very slowly and hang on the ridges that are bared off to get away from the ice. Thankfully, the chinook has melted the snow off of most of the grazing so they have lots of fresh pasture.

It won't be long and it will all be mud and I suppose we'll complain about that too. It sure beats dust though. A friend in northwestern Oklahoma sent me a photo she took with her phone of a dust cloud blowing toward her. It looks like a very dirty snowstorm in the picture. Most of the western states like Nevada and California are in severe drought with no moisture in the 90 day forecast. I sure feel for them. I guess I can live with the snow, ice and mud.

I might as well get the bad news out of the way. On Jan. 14 the ag committee in DC passed legislation that would kill horse processing once again. There was no money provided in the bill to fund USDA inspectors in the plants, therefore, no plants could open. There was no Continuing Resolution and the appropriations bill (FY2014) had riders to defund inspections. Keeps talking, writing, emailing your reps in DC. The South Dakota ones that are still working for our state are in favor of processing, but they need the backing of their constituents to show their colleagues that the people want processing.

The S.A.F.E Act (S.541) is also being pushed on hard. It would stop the transport of horses for slaughter, thereby killing any chance of horses going to Mexico or Canada. Of course, there is nothing in the bill to fund the further care of 350,000 horses a year if they can't go to slaughter here or elsewhere. Also, stopping the shipment of horses for slaughter could lead to other nonsense like not being able to ship horses for anything else either. Wake up folks! That's the goal of the animal "rights" people.

Two organizations in Nevada, the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation and the Nevada Association of Counties, have sued the federal government over mismanagement of feral horses, alleging that the horses have damaged rangelands and their own well being. The suit names Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the Interior Department, and the Bureau of Land Management as defendants in the lawsuit filed Dec. 30. Word has it that some Wyoming entities may also join the suit.

The tremendous drought in Nevada has led to worsening conditions for wildlife and feral horses on the federal land. Waterholes get absolutely destroyed by the horses and the feed is stripped. The horses have been observed by ranchers and knowledgeable others to be thin and in a weakened state due to starvation. The roundups to reduce numbers ran into funding shortfalls so weren't performed. Other roundups were stopped by lawsuits by AR groups. Also, when they do manage to gather some, most are not adopted due to the burgeoning cost of caring for a horse. The holding facilities are at or above capacity and there is no money for them either.

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There's a new agriplex being built at Wright, Wyo., with indoor and outdoor arenas. What a nice addition to the community and area. Construction is underway and will be done in three phases. They are currently looking for a manager for the facilities.

Don't forget the SD high school 20X Extreme Rodeo that will be Feb. 2, 1 pm, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center arena during the Black Hills Stock Show. The top high school hands in SD are invited to compete and it's an outstanding rodeo.

On March 7-8 will be the Spring Kickoff Kohr/Caldwell Barrel and Pole Clinic at Gillette, Wyo. Contact Lynn Kohr for more information at 307-680-5271.

A group of pro rodeo's most prominent cowboys have signed a statement saying that they want to be directly involved in the sport's future and are talking of leaving the PRCA to form their own organization. They are talking to rodeo committees and venues outside the PRCA about having rodeos. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. I hope they aren't getting too proud of themselves and forgetting all the people who have helped get them where they are today. I'm in favor of the PRCA fixing the problems within, so maybe this will be the catalyst to make them do so.

Well, keep the forked end pointed down and be careful out there. It's hard to get new parts for any that get broken you know.