Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BLM Sets Wild Horse Adoption Day

From Native American Times

Written by W. Lee Morrow

WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will hold the first ever National Wild Horse Adoption Day on September 26, 2009. The goal of the event is the placement of 1,000 mustangs with private owners. According to the BLM this will save taxpayers $1.5 million.

The sponsors of National Wild Horse Adoption Day are especially interested in Native American involvement.

“We see the creation of National Wild Horse Adoption Day as an opportunity to bring attention to the history of America’s native peoples with the wild horse,” said Julie Bryant (Cherokee), spokesperson for the project. “Native Americans helped spread horses throughout the Great Plains and the West. Until the mid-twentieth century, horses continued to be released onto public lands by the U.S. cavalry, farmers, ranchers, and miners. Those horses mingled with those of the Native American to form the wild herds we see today.”

There are currently nearly 33,000 wild horses on western federal lands. The Wild, Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act of 1971 requires that the BLM control animal populations on lands it manages, in order to maintain a “thriving natural ecological balance.” Previously existing efforts have not adequately addressed these requirements.

“The current system of relying on a flat adoption market to sustain BLM mustang removal programs is an increasing drain on federal resources,” said Jerry Reynoldson, Adoption Day spokesperson. “There is an immediate need for a comprehensive, sophisticated, well managed and successful marketing and adoption program.”

Reynoldson, however, is quick to point out that there is more involved here than just saving the government money.

“The day a horseman or woman brings a mustang into their lives, is one they will remember forever,” Reynoldson said. “These iconic symbols bring a dimension to any horse lover’s experience that will help them deepen their understanding, skill and commitment to the relationship we all have experienced with these magnificent animals.”

Across the nation more than 65 events at approximately 25 locations will be held in support of Adoption Day from mid-September through mid-October. More information is available at the event website adoptawildhorse.com.

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