This is What Americans Pays For?

Posted: November 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

I wanted to speak to an activity backed by our government that seems disturbingly unacceptable to me. The issue of the day is the wild horses in America that are being largely targeted for removal by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the Department of Interior. The removal of the wild horses is becoming a crisis for the long-term well being of the genetic viability and behavior of the herds. While horses are being rounded up and stored in private farms by the thousands, the general public continues to be unaware that their iconic symbol of the western frontier is vanishing. I’ll say truthfully that if it weren’t for the American wild horse, the west would not have the same history as it does now. The wild horses carried settlers across plains, mountains, streams and valleys to create their new home at what we now call the west coat. The west was settled on the backs of these wild horses and now the wild horses are being removed from the land they’ve inhabited for roughly 500 years. Unfortunately, we have no one to blame besides our government and the lobbyists who push to remove each and every one of them. With the idea that land can only hold several hundred horses per hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of acres, the wild horse has no choice but to wait and hope they escape the fate of their forefathers.

Roughly 41,000 and counting wild horses are in long-term holding facilities nationwide. Roughly 25,000 wild horses currently reside on public lands in the wild. The numbers are continuously shifting and by the end of this year more than 43,000 wild horses will be in some sort of holding facility, while 23,000 will be in the wild. The numbers of horses currently in the wild, which have no scientific evidence to support to begin with, are continuously diminishing because of the BLM’s ruthless roundup schedule. The general consensus is that the BLM feels a need to rush the roundups due to ongoing budget crises’ in the government. Unfortunately, while our children’s education, our veterans mental health care and our neighbors jobs are disappearing, our government continues to be able to fund a multi-million (possibly billion with everything included) dollar program in the name of “pest control”. Apparently, 500 years of survival, adaptation and cohabitation doesn’t allow you native rights.

The major flaw of this program is that it removes horses from the wild and then stores them in holding facilities for the rest of their lives. While the idea is that they adopt them to responsible homes, the reality is quite a different story. Barely 3,000 horses are adopted each year through the BLM’s adoption program. The removal rate from the wild is easily double that on an average year. This year alone the BLM has removed more than 4,000 horses from Nevada and they’re not even done yet. This doesn’t include Oregon, Wyoming or Colorado where they’ve been removing horses relentlessly all year long. In Oregon, for example, they decided that 30 horses were a genetically viable population and the appropriate amount for tens of thousands of acres of land. In some areas, each horse could have their own thousand acre parcel. Apparently, this is all the land can support.

Unfortunately, the abuse doesn’t stop at the removal of the horses. In fact, it’s only just beginning. From there, they will be shipped to short-term holding for processing and adoption. Most of which will not be adopted and then will later be shipped to private long-term holding facilities. These facilities are nothing more than large dry lots where they are grouped by sex (unlike in the wild where they consist of one stallion, several mares and one to several foals). They are fed alfalfa which is not part of their natural diet, and they will remain there until the end of their lives. Some unfortunate souls may be sold to slaughter in Mexico or Canada depending on the situation. Since the horses are moved to private facilities, the public cannot view or keep track of how many horses are sent to slaughter. We have to take their word.

And since we know that the government’s word is the word of honor, dignity and righteousness (note the sarcasm), we know that just like our under-privileged population they will receive the worst of care. In fact, on the rare occasions that cameras have been allowed into holding facilities (Most of the time they are banned even on the public viewing days) there has been documented evidence of moldy hay, chronic and life threatening injuries and illnesses and complete neglect of the wild horse. This is a disgrace to the name of humane treatment.

So, the casual reader must ask how this treatment is allowed to continue over the years (30 years to be exact) and the answer is same for all issues with the government – they do not care, nor are they listening. They merely continue with their zero-tolerance, zeroing-out policies of destruction and greed. Someone is profiting from this destruction. My guess is it’s the BLM officials who are skimping on care and treatment for the sake of saving a few pennies. It could be the contractors who have been documented striking horses with helicopters, breaking horse’s legs and separating families in the process of removing horses from our public lands. Of course, the contractors get paid per horse head that enters the trap. They’re not paid by the hour, by the job or by the overall quality of their performance. They’re paid for the amount of horses who are captured – condition not important. This is typical of our government and any large business (they’re one of the same entities at this point). Still, do you hear about this scandal on the news? Has your daily paper covered this torture and corruption? And even if they did, chances are it’s skewed to represent the government program due to cheap journalism that hopes only to share what’s uploaded onto the BLM website rather than witnessed reality.

The biggest laugh in this whole story is that the American tax payer (You and me) are paying for this destruction. Each dollar you make, a small portion goes to the removal and long-term holding of these symbols of American freedom and liberty. I had hoped that someday I could show my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews the wild horse herds I witnessed the summer of 2011. Unfortunately, all but one small herd has been removed forever from their home. Even today, I cannot go back to see them. I cannot say I’m sorry, or call upon their strength for guidance. I can merely wave as I drive by the private facility they’ll reside in for the next 15-20 years.

For more information about the upcoming removal and controversy of wild horses from the Calico HMA please visit the blog of the foremost wild horse advocate and witness of the BLM brutality Laura Leigh at http://artandhorseslauraleigh.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/calico-then-and-now/. For more general facts and numbers about the wild horses, please visit http://www.wildmustangcoalition.org/id43.html. If you’d just like more information, visit http://www.saveourwildhorse.com/index.htm. The information is out there.

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