Across the Western landscape, wild horses are in crisis and they need your voice immediately. In 1971 Congress unanimously passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act, a mandate to forever protect wild horses and burros on our public lands. Today, however, the survival of these majestic mustangs is imperiled by the very agency charged with protecting them.
Cloud’s offspring on the auction block – scroll to the bottom to send your Senators an e-mail!
This weekend, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will auction off some of the offspring of the near-mythical wild stallion Cloud, whose life has been chronicled in a popular PBS Nature series, “Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies.” Cloud’s herd of wild mustangs was rounded up earlier this month along with other horse bands off the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range on the border of Wyoming and Montana.
An IDA observer documented the roundup, in which horses, including young foals, were mercilessly chased by helicopter, causing injuries and lameness. Taken into captivity were 57 horses, including older horses like Conquistador, a 19-year-old stallion and his 21-year-old mare. These older horses are completely unsuitable for adoption and have no future unless returned to the open range.
Nevada horses targeted
In Nevada, the BLM is removing 350 horses southwest of Ely and plans to capture 270 more in October near Caliente. The roundups aim to remove all wild horses from the area known as the Caliente Wild Horse Complex and the Seaman and White River Herd Areas. The BLM claims that the 600 odd horses were overpopulating these 1.4 million acres (2,000 square miles!) but a wildlife ecologist who surveyed the area called this a “distortion.” Craig Downer says that the horses are being removed to appease ranchers, who view the horses as competition to the millions of cattle that are grazing our public lands
Wild Horses zeroed out
This “zeroing out” of wild horses flies in the face of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act and the BLM’s own regional office 2008 goal to “Maintain and manage health, self-sustaining wild horse herds inside herd management areas within appropriate management levels to ensure a thriving and natural ecological balance.” Since 1971, when the Wild Horse and Burro Act took effect, wild horses have been zeroed out from 111 herd areas representing over 19 million acres of public land.
IDA helping horses
Last November at a meeting of the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, IDA publicly lambasted the BLM for its decades-long pattern of bungling wild horse management, which has lead to the current crisis where nearly half of America’s wild horses, approximately 30,000, have been rounded up from their native range and put into holding areas with fates unknown. The BLM was (and may still be) considering killing these majestic wild horses – or worse – lifting restrictions on sales and thus opening the door for slaughter buyers, as a solution to the rising cost of maintaining them in a sluggish adoption market. IDA clearly stated – and maintains – that this move by our government would be an unacceptable breach of the public trust and a travesty heard round the world.
House of Representatives votes to protect wild horses
IDA is also supporting passage of the Restoring Our American Mustangs Act (ROAM), which would update existing laws that protect wild horses encouraging the reopening of certain public lands to the mustangs, thus potentially decreasing the number in captivity. It also restores a crucial protection to keep wild horses from going to slaughter, which was stripped away several years ago, and would facilitate the creation of sanctuaries to house the 33,000 wild horses currently languishing in government holding facilities. This summer, the ROAM Act was passed by the House of Representatives on a 239-185 vote. The Senate version (S 1579) was introduced by Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) and is currently in the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. What You Can Do
- If you have land or know someone who has land who could temporarily house Conquistador and some of the older Pryor Mountain horses until we can convince the government to return them to their native habitat, please contact IDA immediately. (Suzanne Roy, 919-697-9389, firstname.lastname@example.org) Thefates of these horses (see here) will be sealed on Saturday.
- Contact your Senators and ask them to support the ROAM Act (S 1579). Please fill in the form at the bottom of this page to contact your federal Senators as soon as possible and ask them to protect the wild horses, who are part of our national heritage and a symbol of the principle of freedom on which this country was founded.
- Tell the Obama Administration that it’s time for change in our government’s wild horse management policies. Ask the President to:
- Stop the BLM’s aggressive horse removal campaign, which is currently underway at the behest of special ranching interests and costs the taxpayer millions of dollars.
- Implement a moratorium on round-ups until actual numbers of wild horses on public lands have been independently assessed and a humane plan for the management of these horses on the range and for those currently in captivity is in place.
- Require humane, horse-advocate observers on any future roundups that do take place.
- Support the creation of wild horse sanctuaries for the 33,000 wild horses the government currently keeps in holding facilities costing taxpayers $100,000 per day and tens of millions annually.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500
email through http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/Cc your letter to the Bureau of Land Management, which on Monday September 28, will hold a public hearing on the wild horse management issue. Ask that it be included as official comments for the meeting of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting. Ramona_DeLorme@blm.gov
4. Attend the meetings in Washington for the wild horses!
Monday, September 28, 2009 – Public meeting of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, Arlington, 1325 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22209. (8 a.m. – 5 p.m. – public testimony begins at 3 p.m.; must sign up to speak by noon.)
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 – Mustangs on the Hill to support the ROAM Act and urge Congress to preserve and protect OUR wild horses. West Front Lawn of Capitol Hill, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. RSVP here. Recipients
Wild Horses Need Your Help Today!
Send an e-mail to your Senators!
I am writing to request that you support S 1579, the Restore Our American Mustangs Act (ROAM). This bill, which passed the House in July, restores the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act to its original language and
intent which ensures protection for our wild horses.
I am also requesting that you support a moratorium on round-ups of wild horses on federal lands until agencies and organizations a plan for better management of these animals is in place, and a humane solution for the 33,000 wild horses currently in government holding facilities is found.
* Please personalize your message
The recent round up of the herd of Cloud, the near mythic stallion featured in a popular PBS Nature series “Cloud: Stallion of the Rockies,” demonstrates the inhumanity of our government’s wild horse policy. In addition to Cloud’s family members, other bands were taken, including a 19-year old stallion named Conquistador and his 21 year old mare. These older horses are completely unsuitable for adoption and have no future unless returned to the open range.
The wild mustangs are part of our nation’s heritage and symbols of freedom on which this country was founded. The American people support protection of these horses, but inhumane government policy over the past decades has devastated them. Currently there are 33,000 of these magnificent animals in government holding facilities awaiting an uncertain fate.
Please support S 1579. I respectfully request a response from you stating your position on this issue. Thank you for your consideration.
[City, State ZIP]
In Defense of Animals Action Center