Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breaking News: National Billboard and Text Message Campaign Launched to Protect America's Wild Horses

For Immediate Release
Media Contacts: 

Suzanne Roy, AWHPC Campaign Director

Makendra Silverman, Associate Director, The Cloud Foundation

Anne Novak, Media Relations Director, The Cloud Foundation

Wild Horses Jockey for Attention of Kentucky Horse Enthusiasts through First-of-a-Kind Billboard Campaign

Wild Horse Preservation Billboards Debut This Week in Lexington and Louisville in Time for Biggest Horse Events

Lexington/Louisville, KY – March 30, 2010 – As horse enthusiasts flock to Lexington and Louisville in April to attend the big three equine events -- Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, Keeneland Race and Sales, and the Kentucky Derby -- they will be greeted by billboards urging them to take action to save America's wild horses. 

"STOP WILD HORSE ROUNDUPS" - "Text MUSTANG to 44144" is the message of the billboards showcasing large ominous photos of helicopters chasing horses. The billboards debut this week and are sponsored on behalf of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) by coalition partners Return to Freedom's American Wild Horse SanctuaryMadeleine PickensThe Cloud Foundation and Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue. 

"Kentucky is an important international hub for equine enthusiasts and we're thrilled to launch this billboard and text advocacy campaign with the message that America's wild horses are facing their last stand on Western rangelands," said Return to Freedom founder and CEO Neda DeMayo. 

"The American public, as well as the Congress, has made it clear that wild horses on federal land are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the American West and must be protected," said Madeleine Pickens. "We must all work together to preserve these magnificent animals to create a legacy all Americans can be proud of."

"America's iconic mustangs are threatened by a destructive federal policy that rounds them up by the thousands off the Western range, stockpiles them in government holding facilities in the Midwest at taxpayer expense," The Cloud Foundation director and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Ginger Kathrens. 

"The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) wild horse policy is bad for taxpayers, bad for the horses and bad for our nation, which, year by year is losing an important part of our heritage. It's time for change," said Jill Starr founder and director of Lifesavers. 

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is using the same cell phone advocacy tool that recently gained notice after the filmmakers of the documentary The Cove held up a sign during their Academy Award acceptance speech asking viewers to “Text DOLPHIN” to help their cause. Respondents to the MUSTANG text outreach will be asked to join the effort to save wild horses by asking Congress to suspend BLM cruel wild horse roundups 

The brutal helicopter stampedes routinely run dozens of horses to their deaths. At least 79 horses have died so far as a result of the recent BLM roundup in Nevada's Calico Mountains. More than 40 heavily pregnant mares spontaneously aborted after being chased and terrorized. Two young foals were run so far and hard over treacherous terrain that their hooves literally separated from the bone, requiring euthanasia. Dozens more horse suffered illness and injury due to the roundup. 

The BLM continues to perpetuate the myth that wild horses are starving and must be rescued. The BLM's unwarranted removal of horses from the range in numbers that far exceed adoption demand has resulted in the stockpiling of over 36,000 horses in government holding pens and pastures. That number exceeds the estimated 33,000 wild horses left on the range. The program costs taxpayers over $44 million annually. Costs continue to rise as the BLM captures thousands more horses each year. (Nearly 12,000 are targeted for removal in Fiscal Year 2010 alone.) 

The AWHPC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Its grassroots efforts are supported by a coalition of over forty organizations representing 10 million citizens nationwide. For more information see  www.wildhorsepreservation.comThe billboards are located on major arteries into Louisville and near the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. High resolution images are available upon request.

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