Last week brought news of unbelievable betrayal.
Organisations I believed to be on the side of the wild horses, who were totally dedicated to saving and protecting these majestic beasts have shown their true colours. Organisations like HSUS (Humane Society of US), the ASPCA, the American Mustang Foundation and, for me, the most shocking – Return to Freedom.
The betrayal has been going on a long time behind closed doors, sugar-coated for public consumption, packaged and perfumed to hide the ‘bad smell’ of the real deal.
These organisations put together a proposal, titled, ‘10 Years to AML’ (AML stands for ‘appropriate management levels), which they delivered to the BLM last year.
The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) is responsible for managing public lands still in federal ownership, which makes them responsible for rounding up ‘excess’ wild horses and burros. I’ve seen enough footage and evidence to know their methods, which includes the use of helicopters to round up horses and burros, are cruel and inhumane – families split up, foals made to run until their fragile legs break, foals left alone in the wild because they can’t keep up with their herd, captured horses kept in filthy conditions, left to die in filthy conditions, with no protection from the elements, horses sent to slaughter… the list goes on.
The proposal asks for:
10,000-20,000 wild horses to be removed each year to reach “BLM stated AML”
“Safe Sterilisation” (gelding, chemical spaying, surgical spaying when approved)
More money to be made available for people who make ‘eco-sanctuaries’, or holding facilities.
On the face of it, many may say, that doesn’t sound too bad. After all, if the wild ones aren’t managed, their numbers will rise out of control.
But as stated in this open letter to the Appropriations Committee, dated June 2017, to be found on ‘Straight From the Horse’s Heart’, there is no ‘overpopulation’:
“The recent National Academy of Sciences study found NO evidence of overpopulation of Wild Horses and Wild Burros… The American people and members of Congress are being lied to by our government agencies that are mandated by Congressional Law to protect these animals. Our government agencies (BLM and USFS) are truly managing our wild horses and wild burros toward extinction.
… there is no ‘over-population’ of wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros but even after 22,200,000 were robbed from the American people and the wild horses and burros by government agencies, the remaining 31,600,000 acres could easily support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today. It is currently independently estimated that only about 20,000-30,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.”
The general rule of thumb for those who keep horses is about 1-2 acres per horse, depending on factors like how good the grazing is and if the horse will be stabled or kept out all year round. That’s for domestic horses who are kept in a field. Using that same equation for free-roaming equines, it’s obvious that 30,000 wild horses and burros roaming an area in excess of 31,000,000 acres is hardly ‘overpopulating’ it, and the land will not suffer.
Removing over 10,000 horses per year, in my not-expert opinion, can mean only one thing – the disappearance of wild horses and burros from public lands. The only large animals that will then be seen on public lands will be cattle and sheep. You’d probably still be able to see wild horses and burros but the ones who survive will be in enclosures, and you’d probably be charged a fee for viewing them. And, no doubt, it’ll be the tax-paying public who’ll have to fund the round-ups and pay for the upkeep of the ‘sanctuaries’.
There’s so much information that needs to be read and understood, too much to put in one blog post. Instead, I’m going to link to a couple of articles on ‘Wild Horse Education’, which cut to the chase:
‘HSUS, ASPCA and Return to Freedom go public with their betrayal to wild horses’
‘BLM Report to Congress + 10 Years to AML = a bigger mess than 1971’ – a 2-part article.
I don’t live in America, neither am I an American citizen. But I am an animal lover, and not just a dewy-eyed, Pollyanna-type animal lover. Just as I do for animals the world over who are badly treated, who face extinction, who are simply trying to live their lives, I will speak up and make a noise for the wild horses of America.
I will ask those who visit my blog, who are American, please do not let these iconic animals be wiped out by those whose only interest is making money. ‘Wild Horse Education’ has ways, at the end of this article, for you to let your Representatives know that you don’t support this plan.
Do not let the wild horses and burros of America be driven to extinction by those who would, literally, trample them to death for the sake of making a few more bucks. Please educate yourselves to the real story behind the plight of the wild horses and burros, please be their voices.
“For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” ~ Henry Beston (‘The Outermost House’)