Help Save Wild Horses and Burros - Take Action NowPublished August 24, 2010
The wild horses (Mustangs) and free-roaming burros that inhabit the mountains and plains in ten western states are our national treasure. They are described as "living emblems of the western American Experience". They can never be replaced.
To ensure the protection, safety, and health of these close-knit family groups of horses and burros, Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971.
Although the intention of the act was for their protection, over the years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has not only reduced the range upon which these horses and burros live - by close to 20 million acres - but the BLM has also rounded up and captured tens of thousands of them. BLM removed them from their home ranges and sent them off to holding facilities, where federal funds were used to feed and house them. This year, the BLM plans to further reduce the population by another 12,000.
In fact, housing and feeding the captive horses has become so expensive that BLM is now considering reducing the numbers of captive wild horses by euthanizing them or selling them for slaughter. Ranchers, who claim that these wild horses and burros are decimating the feeding ranges upon which their cattle roam, are putting pressure on the government to reduce the number of free-roaming horses and burros by capturing them and putting them up for "adoption". However, due to a lack of forever loving homes, the horses are cruelly kept in captivity, with the freedom to roam with their family herds inhumanely taken from them.
What is even more outrageous is that many of these so-called "adopters" have no intention of keeping them. Instead the adopters sell them by the pound to slaughterhouses where they are killed and butchered for human consumption.
While the United States recently passed legislation that closed all foreign-based horse slaughter plants producing meat for human consumption, it remains legal to ship horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada where their meat is then exported to foreign countries and consumed as a delicacy.
An article posted on the Humane Society of the United States' website, says, "The original Act never contemplated 40,000 captive wild horses and the use of funds to care for them. If you look at just spending priorities, it's become the Captive Horses and Burros Act, yet the original intent of the Act was to keep wild horses on the range and humanely manage their populations."
Since BLM is accepting public input on their Strategy Development Document until September 3, (to develop a long-term plan, intended for submission to Congress in the fall) our voices count. Take immediate action to demand BLM to stop these roundups and reconsider their policies and procedures to develop humane alternatives. HSUS has provided a convenient form which is available online at their site.
And watch the video uploaded to YouTube by ThoughtfulNow of the December 2009 BLM roundup at Calico Herd Area, Nevada, to learn more about the chilling ways these magnificent horses are affected. It is a truly eye-opening experience.
Are we acting as "stewards" to these animals, or just imposing our power over them? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Photo credit: Wikipedia