Wise wild stallion (Photo © Cynthia Smalley, all rights reserved.)
Wild horse heroine, Velma Johnston aka Wild Horse Annie, fought for decades to protect mustangs and prevent them from being shipped off to slaughter. Johnston campaigned to prevent them from being killed on public land, harassed by airplanes rounding them up, branded, terrorized and sold to make dog food. Congress unanimously passed the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act in response to the public outcry led by Wild Horse Annie.
On December 15, 1971 the President of the United States of America signed The Act to forever protect our majestic wild horses and burros–symbols of American freedom and the pioneer spirit.
Sadly forty years later, protections for American wild horse and burros are being violated through stealth acts, such as the Burns Amendment which makes it legal for our living treasures to be be sold in “unlimited numbers” and therefore bought by kill buyers and sold to slaughter because the meat fetches a high price in Asian countries especially.
In 2011 wild horses and burros are again chased by aircrafts and terrorized in roundups to remove them from their rightful place on public land. Next they are torn from their families, processed and branded only to await an unknown fate . . .
The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) excuse for back-room removal deals is a random allotment system called the appropriate management level (AML) that has nothing to do with The Act and nothing to do with thriving natural ecological balance (TNEB) yet everything to do with the livestock grazing lobby as well as the extractive and energy industry’s public land grab.
Most herd management areas (HMAs) are overpopulated with livestock–trashing the land–while the wild horses are scapegoats for all range and riparian damage. Some HMAs have as many as 200 heads of livestock to one wild horse. Curiously, adult cows and calves are counted as one unit yet adult wild horses and their foals are counted as 2 units. The numbers are skewed and the spin is intense against wild horses and burros because there is no money behind them. They can’t be used for profit or for tax write-offs.
More than 75 million tax dollars are wasted annually on BLM’s broken program–dependent on expensive roundups and removals. It creates a surplus of formerly wild horses warehoused in long-term holding who are vulnerable to slipping out the back door to slaughter or being killed by the government because of being a financial drain.
Leaving indigenous wild horses on their legal range costs next to nothing in comparison. Protect Mustangs would like to see American wild horses freed from long-term holding and returned to their herd management areas of origin.
Tonight, vigils to re-protect American wild horses and burros are being held across the United States of America, the UK and Sweden. The public wants the roundups and inhumane treatment to stop now.