UPDATE SUMMARY, 1/7/10: Since the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its
2010 plan to capture 12,000 wild horses and burros, Kinship Circle followers
have persistently urged the Obama Administration and U.S. Congress to
intervene. Once free to roam in family herds, horses are corralled into pens
to await adoptions. Too many horses with nowhere to go means some are sold
to foreign kill floors -- a grisly end for these magnificent creatures.
A RAY OF HOPE? In Defense of Animals (IDA) reports that Washington DC
officials have ordered BLM to suspend a January roundup of 200 horses (until
July 2010) in Utah's Confusion Mountains. BLM says it will gather public
comments during this time.
THEY'RE LISTENING! "Clearly, BLM's complete about-face...is directly related
to massive public outcry," said Eric Kleiman, IDA's director of research.
YOU are that public, and now more than ever, you must lobby for horses with
vigilance. Rest assured that anti-horse interests such as ranching, big game
hunting, mining, oil drilling and development are invested in horse removal.
I understand BLM's roundup of 200 horses in Utah's Confusion Mountains has, in fact, been suspended while an Environmental Assessment measures the impact of seizing all but 60-100 horses from this 225,000-acre public area. I thank any officials behind this postponement, which lasts until July.
Still, in Nevada's Calico Mountains, BLM helicopters have charged 424 horses into holding pens as of 1/6/10. Though the rush took place in subzero temperatures, horses fled till bathed in sweat. This moisture can freeze on their hide and lead to respiratory illness. Two horses have already died.
Please initiate a moratorium on all wild horse and burro removals. These assaults must be suspended until the U.S. Department of Justice fully investigates BLM and humane management tactics are employed.
Taxpayer-funded harassment is not "management." Chasing terrified horses over miles of jagged landscape is neither fiscally nor ethically responsible. Yet the Calico Complex roundup continues for 30 more days, with BLM in pursuit of 2,000 horses left on the range.
If the Obama Administration's BLM fulfills what the Bush Admin began, 12,000 wild horses and burros will be stampeded into compounds, along with 35,000 already confined. BLM's stockpiled horses would actually outnumber those left on Western ranges. The agency cannot adopt out this many horses, so some will go to "killer-buyers" for transport to foreign kill floors.
I urge the White House and Congress to advocate passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act (ROAM) that renews protections originally granted in 1971. Passage of this bill would keep these magnificent creatures on public, Western rangelands.
In the short term, please immediately suspend the reckless seizure of America's last wild horse and burro herds.