From the Cloud Foundation
While Americans on holiday, Labor Day weekend round up decimates herd as winter arrives
LOVELL, WY --September 26, 2009 – On Saturday at noon, 57 wild horses from the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Herd, made famous in part by the PBS Nature documentaries, will be auctioned off to the highest bidders. A large crowd is expected due, in part, to the publicity surrounding the controversial roundup earlier this month.
While the missing members of their herd wait, tagged and branded in BLM holding pens, the damages of this poorly planned roundup are highly visible on the range. Beyond leaving this unique wild horse herd seriously below genetic viability, the horses on the range are clearly damaged.
“We were up on the mountaintop yesterday and the cruelty of this massive roundup has not faded away,” explains Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation. “Cloud is lame on his right front and his filly-daughter is still extremely sore. It was painful just watching them walk to water.”
One of Cloud’s mares, also injured, appears to have a possible stifle injury. His four-year-old daughter, Firestorm, has significant difficulty walking at all. “I think they will recover but it is hard to know and winter is just around the corner,” Kathrens continues. In the past 15 years all roundups in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range have occurred later in the year when the horses were lower down on the range. This roundup took place in early September when nearly all the mountain horses were the furthest away possible from the trap site. Foals less than one month old were forced to run over 12 miles along with their families to the BLM corrals at the base of the mountain.
This roundup was scheduled early due to contractor availability, BLM desire to remove all horses from Commissary Ridge outside the designated range (a plan not revealed to the public until day one of the roundup) and National Adoption Day. The BLM is holding adoption events across the country and hopes to adopt out 1000 horses. “This is a significant event and will raise awareness for mustangs, but why they had to pillage this little herd for 57 more horses to adopt out when there are 31,750 wild horses in holding already is beyond me,” says Kathrens.
While at the turn of the century, there were approximately 2 million wild horses in America, there are only 33,100 mustangs left on the western ranges according to BLM. “I think the BLM knows that these horses will draw a considerable crowd and they put all the horses in danger with this early roundup. In what was planned to be a “model” roundup, even the most famous wild horse in the world was injured,” says Kathrens.
Citing “a disturbing round up a few weeks ago,” Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) was instrumental in legislation that passed the Senate on Sept. 24, 2009. The legislation directs the BLM “to develop a new comprehensive long-term plan for wild horse populations by September 30, 2010” according to a press release from the legislation’s sponsor, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
“The public outcry for preservation of our wild horses and burros is being heard” says Kathrens.
“People are not willing to sit by and watch an unchecked government destroy a Western American treasure: the wild Mustang.”
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