The Plight of America’s Wild Horses and Burros

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Horses are a large part of our 380 corridor community, and still most of us do not know this is happening. Aggressive helicopter round ups of wild horses and burros on federally protected land have been executed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The horses are driven over rugged terrain hundreds of miles into pens, before they are inhumanly destroyed. All of this unnecessary and using our tax dollars. The New York Times published an article on July 21st, 2107, best viewed online at www.NYTimes.com, it is titled, They’ll Shoot Horses, Won’t They? It is important to draw attention to this article. Readers can see state by state the destruction and devastation. Horses are part of our American heritage and iconic symbols of our country. They pulled our wagons, plowed our fields, and even fought our wars. They offer a unique partnership that helped build our American Nation. The Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRHBA) of 1971, protects horses and burros on federal public land.

This protection was put into place almost 50 years ago because the horses were recognized symbols of our American nation. What is being proposed by the BLM and soon voted on in congress would be an act of ultimate betrayal. The BLM has been consistently presented with alternative scientific proven solutions that were ignored as they continued the helicopter round ups. Now there are over 46,000 horses in holding pens and what is being proposed is shooting the horses in the federal holding pens, which is nothing less than an equine holocaust. Also being proposed is an unrestricted sale of the horses leaving many exposed to being shipped to slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico. This unrestricted sale language would lift any sort of humane protection. A gross error in judgement is never solved with a horrific act! The NY Times article, written by the president of American Wild Horse Campaign, Ellie Phipps Rice, clarifies, “That the bureau argues that wild horses are damaging western grazing lands a questionable claim, and one that ignores the millions of head of private livestock that it allows to graze on those same public lands.

Even though compared with wild horses, livestock graze on eight times as much federally managed land and consume 55 times the amount of food, a blinkered bureau sees the wild horses as the problem despite explicit orders from congress to protect them.” There are more humane alternative solutions available for herd management that are scientifically proven. It is projected that the problem could be humanely controlled in as little as eight years with horses free on their protected range. These solutions are also much more affordable. An excellent resource is ReturntoFreedom.org. The website clarifies, educates and includes a Wild on the Range Petition that still needs signatures. We are urged to contact our representatives in the House and Senate. Lawmakers in congress must decide what to do with the horses and voting will take place in the next week. Please calmly represent our nation’s horses well. Two key requests to include are (1) oppose shooting the horses and (2) oppose unrestricted sale of our nation’s horses. Tell your senators and representatives to simply say NO to the mass killing of magnificent creatures who are living symbols of our nation’s heritage and upon which our country was built. They are fighting for their lives and need our voice quickly.

Our family has a visit scheduled to tour the Return to Freedom sanctuary in Lompoc, California this weekend. I’ll have more information to share soon. Cory Golden, Advocacy & Communication Coordinator, clarifies, “In terms of humane solutions he suggests taking a look at their Wild on The Range Petition that still needs signatures. As alarming as the helicopters are, the greatest threat to horses generally, and wild horses and burros specifically, is in Congress, The House Appropriations Committee has voted against protections against horse slaughter and for allowing BLM to kill healthy horses that are not adopted. The Senate Appropriations Committee went the right way on slaughter but hasn’t yet addressed wild horses. That vote could come next week. You can find some more explanation in our most recent press release and letter to supporters on their web site at www.returntofreedom.org.”



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