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An Exclusive Interview with Former Sen. Conrad Burns

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Solitaire Donating Member (745 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:09 AM
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An Exclusive Interview with Former Sen. Conrad Burns


An Exclusive Interview

Former Sen. Conrad Burns

By Steven Long

In the world of equine welfare there may be no person subject to derision than former Montana Sen. Conrad Burns. An ardent supporter of horses as a commodity to be sold for whatever reason their owner deems profitable, the former auctioneer lost his seat in the U.S. Senate to a farmer, Jon Tester, after passage of the Burns Amendment. The law was passed in the dead of night after it was attached to an appropriations bill nobody had read. For the first time, in an exclusive interview with Horseback Magazine, Burns how revocation of the law came about.

HORSEBACK MAGAZINE: Youre a lobbyist now, right?

CONRAD BURNS: Well, Ive only got one client I lobby, but right now Im doing a lot more international consulting.

HORSEBACK: Well good for you. Who are you lobbying for?

BURNS: The Quarter Horse Association.



HORSEBACK: We support them in every way we can in our little magazine.

BURNS: Yep, thats right. Howre you doing?

HORSEBACK: Old and fat Sir, old and fat.

BURNS: I can relate to that.

HORSEBACK: Im working on this story thats going on up in Montana with the Pryor Mountain wild horses. In my research I obviously ran across the Burns Amendment. Can you tell me how that came about and what prompted it?

BURNS: Well, Harry Reid came to me and said, Ive got a problem in Nevada. And I said I said What kind of a problem do you have? because we dont have a problem up in Montana.

HORSEBACK: So what happened then?

BURNS: So he and I, up in his office, got together and we crafted that amendment because theyve really got that problem of over grazing down there. Thats how that came about.

HORSEBACK: It was actually Reids idea, huh?

BURNS: Yeah, well it was his problem. I just helped him solve it, thats all.

HORSEBACK: Well, you did a pretty good job of it.

BURNS: I dont think theyve sold any or anything like that. It wasnt really designed for that. The premise of it was to take a strong look at how we manage our resources and how they affect the herd of the horses.

HORSEBACK: One thing I cant figure out with this BLM stuff for the life of me is if you have millions of acres of vacant land and theres 100 miles between towns, why on earth cant they put all those wild horses out there and nobody would ever care.

BURNS: Well, you see, some of that country wont sustain them year round. Youve got spring growth, which is fine, but if you are a rancher, then youve got the dry season, and youve got to save some of your country for pasture and youve got to have supplemental feeding. And when you fly over that country and look down there, theres something down there, you just dont see it,, Theres sheep herds, and theres also a few cattle run on that same country. Theyre managed because you cant just graze the whole thing off in the summer and then expect those animals to go through a very tough winter.

HORSEBACK: One more question Senator. What do you think about this EU thing on the slaughter issue? That just kind of stopped everything dead in its tracks, didnt it/

BURNS: I dont know a lot about it but I know one thing. We dont have any slaughter plants here. That seems like thats a problem Canada and Mexico are going to have to solve. I think they are still accepting horsemeat for human consumption.

HORSEBACK: They are, until April when the EU says horses have to be in quarantine for six months.

BURNS: I think we will probably have some science that will disprove that it takes that long for residue to dispel. Im not sure, but Im going to let the veterinarians and the folks who handle horses to make the decision. As you know, weve got lots of people whove got lots of ideas, but six months is a long time.

HORSEBACK: Well thank you Senator. Im glad to hear youre doing well.

BURNS: Im still grazing the green side.
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