"WE NEED the tonic of wildness." -- 42 years ago this week, President Richard M. Nixon invoked these famous words of Henry David Thoreau when signing the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
Noting that he took "special pleasure" in "signing strong legislation to protect these noble animals," the President highlighted that wild horses and burros deserve protection as "an ecological right -- as anyone knows who has ever stood awed at the indomitable spirit and sheer energy of a mustang running free."
Four decades later, the promise of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act remains tragically unfulfilled. In 1971, President Nixon observed that "demands of the market for [horses'] processed products, competition for forage used by domestic livestock" and other commercial forces had pushed wild horses and burros to the brink of extinction.
Velma Johnston, AKA Wild Horse Annie, is largely credited with generating the grassroots advocacy that secured the Act's passage. At the time, she called out the "powerful forces" aligned against wild horses and burros, including the "domestic livestock industry... and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management -- custodian of the public lands -- which looked upon the commercial harvesting of the animals as an expedient means of range clearance to make more forage potential available to the vested interest groups...."
If this trajectory continues, few, if any, truly wild, free-roaming horses will exist in the coming decades. Half of all lands designated as wild horse and burro habitat have been eliminated over the past four decades, and administration after administration has allowed the systematic removal and elimination of wild horses and burros from our public lands in the West.
In signing the Act, President Nixon recognized the "outpouring of concern for the preservation of wild horses and burros on our Western ranges." He saluted the "determined young defenders of the wild horse who have helped give impetus to this effort."
Today, we must again reignite that outpouring of public concern as the only way to counter the forces that to continue to threaten the very existence of wild horses and burros in our nation. With 50,000 wild horses stockpiled in holding facilities, and the horse slaughter industry poised to resume in the U.S., the stakes could not be higher.
Take the first step in fighting back by visiting StopTheRoundups.com and adding your name to the growing grassroots movement to Keep Wild Horses Wild.
When people speak, change can happen.
Source: The Huffington Post
Order could delay tomorrow’s sale of nearly 500 horses at Fallon Livestock Exchange
A federal court judge in Reno, NV has granted a coalition of wild horse advocacy and conservation groups a Temporary Restraining Order to block the sale of unbranded horses at a slaughter auction tomorrow in Fallon, Nevada. The groups sued to stop the sale of unbranded horses who were captured last weekend on public and tribal lands in northern Nevada, alleging that unbranded horses were likely federally-protected wild horses originating from the nearby Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Little Owyhee Herd Management Area.
The order throws into question tomorrow’s auction at the Fallon Livestock Exchange, where nearly 500 horses are sitting in pens awaiting their fate. The horses in question were rounded up by the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone tribe with approval of the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM. In response to the lawsuit filed by the public interest firm Meyer, Gltizenstein & Crystal with local counsel Gordon B. Cowan on behalf of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, its founding organization Return to Freedom, The Cloud Foundation, the Western Watersheds Project and advocate Laura Leigh, U.S.
District Court Judge Miranda M. Du found:
“Plaintiffs have shown serious questions that wild horses were improperly rounded up during the gather from August 11-13, 2013. Plaintiffs have demonstrated an immediate threat of irreparable harm if the status quo is not maintained, that is the sale of wild horses and their possible slaughter. The public interest is served when the Court maintains the status quo to
ensure wild horses are not improperly removed and auctioned for sale to potentially be slaughtered because of an agency action.”
Du's TRO prohibits the sale of all unbranded horses at tomorrow's slaughter auction until the hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, August 21, 2013.
“Judge Du has stepped in to do what the federal government refused to do: act to prevent federally protected wild horses from being sold at a slaughter auction,” said Suzanne Roy, Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. “We are grateful for this federal court decision, but remain outraged by the federal government’s complicity in this dirty operation that has sentenced hundreds of horses to horrific deaths at slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico.”
“Like the nearly 170 horses that I rescued from this livestock auction three years ago, many of these horses are wild horses who were removed from federal lands. They were denied federal protection under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and the judge has taken a stand for all those mares, foals, yearlings and mature stallions who are a day away from being sold to kill buyers and sent to slaughter,” said Ellie Phipps Price, AWHPC supporter and owner of the renowned Durell Vineyard in Sonoma, California. “The tribes and the U.S. government need to choose birth control for wild horses over roundup and slaughter.”
"We want to get to the bottom of this and understand how wild horses may have been compromised through stealth negotiations between the federal government and the tribe,” said Neda DeMayo, President of Return to Freedom. “It is the legal
responsibility of the Forest Service and the BLM to preserve and protect wild horses on our public lands. When wild horses roam outside of their designated Herd Management Areas, it should be the concern of these agencies to return them to their rangelands- not support covert horse trading deals sending wild horses to auction and slaughter.”
"I wish we could save them all," states Ginger Kathrens, noted wildlife filmmaker and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. "I hope this ruling sends a message to the Forest Service --business as usual is a thing of the past. I'd like to thank my caring colleagues and our our attorneys for their tireless work to save our wild horses."
The Obama Administration has said repeatedly that it opposes horse slaughter. But actions speak louder than words. What’s happening now in Nevada suggests that the Administration — through its federal agencies — is actually complicit in sending horses to a slaughter auction.
This notice of a livestock auction — which is frequented by kill buyers
who purchase horses and transport them to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico — tipped us off that the Feds were up to something. 700 horses don’t just appear out of nowhere, so we did some digging.
And we discovered this back room deal between the U.S. Forest Service and
an Indian tribe to spend our tax dollars to capture wild horses and deliver them to the slaughter auction despite the stated opposition of the Administration to horse slaughter.
Under this arrangement, there is no way to distinguish between unbranded horses owned by the tribe from unbranded horses who are wild and protected under federal law.
The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have a legal responsibility under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act to ensure that protected wild horses on federal lands do not end up being slaughtered. In this case, the feds have admitted that horses were herded off public lands (green and light brown above) and due to the close proximity of the capture area to a BLM Herd Management Area, we believe that many of the captured horses are federally protected wild horses.
What they didn’t tell us was that the tribe executed the roundup anyways! Now there are 417 wild horses awaiting their fate at the slaughter auction. Kill buyers are already lining up to purchase these horses and truck them to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico.
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MONTH / yEAR