Straight from the Horse's Heart
(The News as We See It) by R.T. Fitch, Author and Director of the HfH Advisory Council
NYC Equine Advocates Join Forces to Stop “Massacre of the Mustangs”
On November 14th, 2010 New York City advocates protested the Obama administration‘s continued assault on our national icons, the American Wild Horse. The purpose of their protest was two-fold; one to raise public awareness of the plight of America’s wild horses and two, to ask President Obama to issue an executive order mandating an immediate moratorium on all roundups by the BLM.
One of the protest’s organizers, Jo DeGeorge reported:
“The day was beautiful, we had fabulous banners, great posters and wonderful people with tremendous energy. CNN covered and Robert (CNN) said parts of it will be aired along with a larger project they are doing. It should air in about a wk or two.”
Their statement is inserted, below:
“New York is joining the rest of the nation and members of Congress to demand a moratorium on the Bureau of Land Management‘s brutal Wild Horse and Burro roundups that are decimating and slaughtering thousands of our indigenous icons. Stop the BLM from “managing” our Wild Horses and Burros right into extinction.
Roundups increased significantly in 2000 in the Bush years and they haven’t let up under the Obama administration. 12,000 wild horses and burros are scheduled for removal from our public lands this fiscal year alone.
The helicopter roundups come at enormous expense to our wild herds and to the American taxpayer. Over 30 million dollars is budgeted for the BLM for 2011. Hundreds of horses have died this year alone due to these roundups and the death toll continues to climb daily. This does not include the mares that have aborted their late-term foals. Aside from the heinous spontaneous abortions of overly stressed mares there are reported deaths of beautiful stallions during castration. In what the veterinarian community is calling “barbaric” protocol, a neuromuscular blocking agent is used which paralyzes the stallion but does not block any pain. These horses are forced into a recumbent position, hog tied, rolled over and castrated inflicting tremendous pain and fear. Several of these stallion have died due to complications. As a result a horse will go into hypertension-induced pulmonary hemorrhage resulting in death by asphyxiation.
Several foals have also died in round-ups; their hooves literally being torn off in a chase over extremely rough terrain in searing heat for 10-15 miles at very high speeds. The remaining “lucky ones” who do make it to a holding facility are exposed to the elements without the opportunity to find cover as they would in the wild. In addition, these horses are feed a diet intended for already domesticated horses. This diet invariably leads the horses to colic.
Many are hauled away in the dead of night by kill buyers who sell them for profit to slaughter houses in Mexico. It is estimated that over 30,000 wild horses are presently languishing in obscurity in BLM feedlot corrals, though the truth of the matter is thousands of these horses have already been sent to slaughter. Presently, there are more horses in captivity than in the wild. These wild, beautiful horses remain terrified, broken and hopeless, their fate uncertain and bleak.
Thousands of these horses are being shipped to Mexico for slaughter. Their meat is then being shipped to countries such as Japan, Belgium, France and China for human consumption. Horse meat is a delicacy in these countries. Aside from supplying these countries with our precious horses for human consumption, the horses are being removed for SPECIAL INTEREST groups.
Annually we lose $23 million running a taxpayer subsidized grazing program. It is often referred to as “welfare ranching” due to the small fees charged for livestock permits. The rate is currently $1.35 per cow/calf pair per month – the lowest allowed by law. The program is in the red and fees need to be raised to at least $9.00 in order to break even. If the wild horses would be left to these land, which are rightfully theirs it would not cost anyone anything. Presently, the horses that should be roaming free on these lands are being kept in BLM holding facilities and are being paid for by your tax dollars. The cost – a staggering $10,000 per day.
An interesting and salient point, Ken Salazar is a fifth generation cattleman. There are sustainable plans for our wild herds on our Western public lands and these need to be implemented by the governing body put into office to do just that.
This winter BLM plans to roundup 9107 wild horses and burros and remove 6,244 of them. After that they plan to roundup 5,548 wild horses in the summer and remove 4,502 of them- total of 14,655 rounded up and 10,746 removed for fiscal year 2010. On top of the $75 million BLM is asking Congress for (basically half to roundup these horses and half to feed what will be over 45,000 in government holding, BLM is requesting $42.5 million to purchase private land in the East to house captured, sterilized and separate wild horses. This is part of the absurd “Salazar Plan” that has been met with close to zero public approval and is likely not within the legal abilities of BLM. Over 24 million acres have been taken away from wild horses and burros over the past 40 years and those lands must be returned to the horses and the horses released back onto these “zeroed out” herd areas.
In 1971, Congress recognized that wild horses and burros “are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” by enacting the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. This law seeks to protect “from capture, branding, harassment, or death” wild horses and burros found on public lands in the United States.
THEY ARE NOT PROTECTED.
Call: President Obama 202-456-1111
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