Thursday, December 31, 2009

Coloradoans Protest Against Wild Horse Roundups


CBS 4 Denver

Coloradoans Protest Against Wild Horse Roundups

Written by Paul Day

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) ― Here is a passionate cause that cuts across generations.

"Wild horses belong in the wild," says Colley Tobin, a young girl holding a protest sign.

She has joined a small group of adults and other children demonstrating Wednesday at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont.

But in San Francisco on the same day, the contingent is much larger and includes live animals.

All the protesters believe the government's policy of rounding up wild horses is wrong.

"There is no need to chase these wild horses from the range," asserts Monika Courtney, another protester. "This is land that was assigned to the mustangs by law, and BLM is breaking the law," she contends.

BLM is the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The agency organized the most recent round-up of wild horses in Colorado back in October 2008. The Sand Wash Basin Herd had gotten too big said the agency and threatened to eat itself out of house and home.

The feds claimed death by starvation was a real possibility unless the agency took action. But most wild horses are thriving and healthy on the open range say protesters.

They believe what's really the issue is wild horse round-ups make more grazing land available for cattle.

The focus of their criticism is Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

"Being a rancher, he understands the ranchers point of view and knows if 200 horses are removed then 200 head of cattle can be placed there," says Cathy Bryarly, the protest organizer in Longmont.

According to the BLM website, Salazar wants to sterilize horses that are rounded up and move them to preserves back east at a cost of nearly 100 million dollars.

But a better solution, claim protesters, would be to leave the horses in the wild west as the focus of eco-tourism.

"They could be natural habitats with natural borders, cliffs, mountains where these animals would be observed in their natural life patterns," says Courtney.

The protesters claim the Secretary's plan is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money and would potentially result in no horses left in the wild.

More protests are planned before Congress is expected to consider the Salazar plan.
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[Please note that this is OUR OWN MONIKA COURTNEY !]

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