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Willie Nelson Adds Voice Before Vote to Ban Wild Horse Slaughter

Texan Willie Nelson is raising his voice in defense of a symbol of the West — wild horses.

Country singer Nelson is the latest to join an effort to ban the slaughter of horses in the U.S. for consumption of their meat abroad. The U.S. House is scheduled to vote Sept. 7 on a bill aimed at ending horse slaughter.

"If you've ever been around horses a lot, especially wild horses, you know they are part of the American heritage. I don't think its right that we kill them and eat them," Nelson said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

In a news release issued this week, Nelson touts a Sept. 5 Washington rally in support of the bill sponsored by Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y. Nelson said he won't be at the rally, but his daughter Amy will, along with other celebrities, including former "10" star Bo Derek and Jennifer Pryor, wife of the late comedian Richard Pryor.

Nelson said he learned about the issue through country music producer Eddie Kilroy's show on satellite radio, Hank's Place, which has become Willie's Place.

"When it was Hank's Place, Eddie Kilroy was talking about the issue. He was talking about horse slaughter one day and he called me and talked about what a horrible practice that is. One thing led to another," Nelson said.

Nelson said he has owned several horses and has several buried on his ranches. "I do have a lot of respect for my horses, a lot. I don't ride them as much as I used to and I think they appreciate it," he joked.

Nelson recorded the songs "On the Road Again" and "Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys."

The House bill is HR 503.