By Gary Bogue
Monday, February 27th, 2012 at 7:39 am in Wild Horses.
Please take a moment to read Jan’s passionate comments about what’s happening to some of the last remaining wild horses in this country. And when you are finished, please add your own voice to the growing voices of others who want to do something about it. Jan suggests what you can do to help at the end of her letter. Thanks for caring. /Gary
America’s wild horses and burros need our help. They are being taken off the Western range by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in record numbers via terrifying, inhumane helicopter roundups.
All too often they are rounded up in extreme hot or cold temperatures with no compassion for the horses – and that includes old, young, or pregnant horses – it just does not matter. Beautiful, healthy horses are run for many, many miles, family bands are then split up and stockpiled in pens. Not only is this inhumane, but extremely expensive – hundreds and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars pay for these roundups.
The BLM is using our hard earned tax money to remove America’s wild horses and burros from Western public land – our land – and most Americans are not even aware that this is happening. This is certainly not the way to spend our tax dollars, nor the way America’s wild horses and burros should be treated. They are entitled to, and deserve, humane treatment and the right to remain free in the West.
Sadly, there is all too often, injuries and deaths as a result of these roundups. Younger horses have had their hooves worn off, heavily pregnant mares have spontaneously miscarried, and there have been broken legs, broken necks and serious cuts which have occurred both during the chase and in the pens. It has been determined that a majority of the deaths of the captured horses are related to the trauma and stress of the roundup and capture, the trauma associated with social loss sustained in the destruction of horse family bands, and the ongoing stress of captivity in an unnatural environment.
The BLM claims there is not enough food for them. If that’s the case, then why does the body weight of these horses look so good as they stand terrified and exhausted after a long, many miles run to the trap site? Many times, the number of horses returned to the range, if any, are minimal. Are they managing them to extinction? If the BLM claim of “there is not enough forage to sustain a herd of wild horses” on the vast number of acres they have successfully lived on for hundreds of years is true, then why are cattle then put on the same range that once contained healthy, viable herds of wild horses? They can all live together if managed differently.
The BLM wild horse and burro program is broken, or in the very least, biased towards cattle. It needs to be restructured – giving fairness to wild horses, burros and cattle equally. But first the massive, ongoing, relentless, inhumane roundups need to stop. Too many horses have been injured or died over the years in these roundups. The BLM program must change. Humane treatment is imperative.
There are currently more horses in government holding pens than on the Western public land they were promised in 1971. I spoke with Ginger Kathrens at the Cloud Foundation to obtain current wild horse numbers both on the range and in long term holding pens. Ginger is an Emmy winning filmmaker and has documented Cloud, a pale palomino wild horse stallion from his birth on May 29, 1995 in the Pryor Mountains of Montana throughout the years to the present. He will be 17 years old in 2012. To date she has 3 films documenting his life. Ginger is also actively involved with the current wild horse situation in the West and is a very knowledgeable and reliable resource. She said there are 45,000+ horses in long term holding pens and only half that number-or less- on the Western range. She asked that I quote her following statement: “The BLM can’t count”. She has traveled extensively to the various designated wild horse areas and has personally seen the greatly diminished numbers of horses still allowed to run free.
She also asked that I let you all know that the BLM is in the process of scheduling a roundup in the Pryor Mountains of Montana in 2012 specifically targeting 30 young wild horses ages 1 – 3 for permanent removal. In that group would be Cloud’s grandson, Echo (BLM name Killian) who looks and acts like Cloud did at his age. Echo will be 2 in April 2012. He is the only young palomino on the mountain and if allowed to live in the Pryor Mountain Range, would continue Cloud’s legacy once he is no longer with us. Those of you who know, and love Cloud, and want America’s wild horses and burros to remain free on the Western Range can help. Because you see, it is not just Montana’s wild horses who are at risk. Wild horses and burros are currently found in 10 Western states and they are in jeopardy of losing their freedom in roundups too. All are in need of your help.
Gary, I am asking your dedicated, animal loving readers to please take a moment to write a short note, letter, email, fax or call their members of Congress – both in the Senate and House of Representatives. It is easy for them to find their individual Representative’s contact information by clicking on the link below. Also call, email, or write President Obama and BLM Director, Bob Abbey. All Contact information is listed below.
Most importantly, please ask your readers to tell the folks in Washington, D.C. that they want the roundups to stop. Insist that no more tax dollars be spent rounding up America’s wild horses and burros. Be firm in their request to have the BLM restructure their management policies for the wild horse and burro program to allow them to remain free on their designated Western range with fair and equal consideration given to wild horses, burros and cattle. Strongly recommend having a humane care standard established in the BLM’s wild horse and burro program. Demand that the BLM, who claim to have transparency in their actions, allow Humane Observers the opportunity to be up close on land where these roundups are currently taking place and also in the holding pens where they are kept in captivity, whether on public or private land. This way they can personally see how the wild horses and burros are being treated without the use of binoculars. Nor can they be denied entrance for any reason including “they are on private land” – a choice that they, the BLM, made to keep Humane Observers from having access to them.
Our wild horses are unnecessarily getting hurt or dying during roundups and when under BLM care. Please have them state the significance of keeping all of those 30 young horses free on the Pryor Mountain Range – especially Cloud’s grandson Echo (BLM name Killian). Have them mention the importance of keeping Cloud’s legacy alive by giving Echo and his young friends the ability to live free in their Pryor Mountain home. All are scheduled to be rounded up in 2012.
Then please ask them to tell others, put it on Facebook – most Americans do not know what is happening to our wild horses and burros. The time to act is now, before there are no wild horses and burros left on Western Public Lands.
For more information, please visit the following websites:
*** Humane Observer Elyse Gardner: http://humaneobserver.blogspot.com
*** The Cloud Foundation: http://thecloudfoundation.org
*** American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC): http://wildhorsepreservation.org
*** Wild Horse Education: Information on the Management of Wild Herds in America: http://wildhorseeducation.org
Our wild horses and burros need us now more than ever. They are our heritage and deserve to run free on the Western range. It would be such a shame if America’s wild horses, our symbol of freedom, and their wild burro friends, disappear forever.
Jan Bindas, Walnut Creek, California
Please write, email, fax or call:
*** Senator Barbara Boxer, 112 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 … Email: http://boxer.senate.gov/en/contact … Phone: 202-224-3553
*** Senator Dianne Feinstein, 331 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 … Email: https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me
Phone: (202) 224-3841 … Fax: 202-228-3954
*** Contact President Obama at: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20500 … Email: firstname.lastname@example.org … Phone: 202-456-1111
*** Robert V. Abbey, Director, BLM, 1849 C Street N.W., Washington, DC 20240 … MS 5665 … E-mail: RVAbbey@blm.gov … Phone Number 202-208-3100
*** Find your Reps: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd