Our wild horses have been under siege for many years. Nearly 50,000 of them have been inhumanely captured, removed from their home ranges in the west and housed in stockyards , far from everything they hold dear: freedom, family and home. As I write this the siege continues all around the west with mares and their young foals being cruelly chased by helicopters in the hot western sun. This is our government's policy. There will be casualties.
There is a small band of wild horses who make their home in the Salt River area of the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. They are under the jurisdiction of the National Forest Service. In the last several months these horses have gotten some publicity due to a wonderful wildlife photographer who was a volunteer for the Forest Service. Her photos are breathtaking. The media became involved and the wild horses became famous, in a good way, with the public. The Tonto National Forest Service is currently reviewing the status of the herd. They are in the process of deciding their fate. This could include birth control, or removal of some or all of the herd. Because they are considered " strays" and not mustangs, even though documentation exits that their bloodline dates back to the original Spanish horses, they will not be afforded the meager protection of the BLM . Removal of the herd could spell disaster, with worst case senerio being that they are sent to slaughter in Canada or Mexico.
The Tonto National Forest Service will convene in the Fall on the issue of how best to manage the horses on public land. It is crucial to allow the public input on this issue so that the horses are allowed to remain on their home range and are managed in a humane manner.
These horses have lived here for many generations,lived quietly and peacefully, only bringing joy and serenity to those lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them.
They deserve to stay . I hope the Tonto National Forest Service will do right by these beautiful creatures and not follow the BLM's example.