Congress Has a Wild

Debate Over Horses

* Horses galloping wild across the plains is a classic image of the American West. But what should happen when there are too many wild horses and burros and they start eating grasses and other plants that ranchers need for cattle and other livestock?

That debate made its way from western states including Nevada and Montana to the nation's capital this month. Members of Congress are discussing changing laws to give the wild horses more protection.

The government estimates there are 31,000 wild horses in 10 western states, but there's enough food in the wild for only about 28,000 of them. So the government has been rounding up horses and burros and putting them up for adoption. The problem is that some people have adopted animals and then sold them to be killed at slaughterhouses.

A bill that passed the U.S. House and is going to the Senate would require anyone who adopted a horse to keep it for at least a year. Politicians in favor of this law say it would cut down on the killing of animals. But others say it would slow down adoptions and worsen the problem of too many horses in the wild.

During debate on the bill, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia described the animals as "a symbol of adventure, a friend of the cowboy and an important part of our history."

Walk This Way

* Would you like to go for a walk with Screech, the Nationals' mascot? Put on your walking shoes and show up today at noon at the D Street SE Park, behind Longworth House Office Building, for a 20-minute walk for fun and fitness. Kids, grown-ups and dogs are welcome. Each of the first 20 walkers to arrive gets a free ticket to a Nationals game.

Get Your Kicks

* If you're looking for something to do this weekend, you might want to check out the soccerfest in Howard County. Hundreds of teams of kids and adults will vie for the two-day community soccer championship.

The festival, sponsored by McDonald's, also will feature games, giveaways, soccer skills tests and music. All events are at Northrop Fields at Covenant Park in Columbia.

The fun starts each day at 8:30 a.m. and runs through 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Officials are discussing how to deal with wild horses in the West.Screech is ready to stroll.