Illegal Wild Horse Roundups

(PUBLIC LAW 92-195)

“To require the protection, management, and control of wild free- roaming horses and burros on public lands. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands…….”(cont.)

Since 1971, the Bureau of Land Management has taken away 22 million acres from the wild horse’s original habitat. They have captured them in increasingly large numbers. As of summer, 2010, there are approximately 36,000 wild horses being held captive in BLM facilities, at an enormous cost to the taxpayer. The helicopter contractor most often used in these roundups was convicted of illegal roundups in 1992, which resulted in wild horses going to a Mexican slaughter house. This man’s family have been paid ~ 13 MILLION of your tax dollars since then.

Some HMA’s (herd management areas) have been completed zeroed out. In many remaining HMA’s, herd populations have been reduced to non-genetically viable numbers. Wildlife experts, such as Craig Downer, have asserted that 150 or more animals must exist in any herd area for the genetic diversity needed to ensure their survival. Nonetheless, BLM often reduces populations to well under 100 animals. BLM also disrupts the balance of mares to stallions, removes the “prettiest” horses to offer for adoption, and causes families to be broken up. Recent studies by ISPMB have shown that these “selective removal” practices have caused older, wiser stallions to lose their mares to younger, less experienced stallions. Thus, the natural “mentoring” by older stallions is lost. BLM is actually causing the “dumbing down” of wild horses.

These helicopter roundups run horses over 12-20 miles of rugged, rocky, mountainous terrain. Many horses sustain injuries and some are killed. After the Calico Roundup this past winter, several foals actually had their hooves slough off. This is excruciatingly painful and they were then put to sleep. More than 30 mares aborted their foals due to stress. Many contracted disease like pigeon fever and strangles, due to stress and being kept in close confinement. The Calico horses were then put on a private ranch, and observers were only allowed brief, weekly visits. One observer noticed an emaciated foal. BLM employees had not even seen that the mare had no milk. The baby literally starved to death. These horses belong to THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, not the BLM, not the government. After Calico, more than 100 horses ended up dead, out of ~ 1900 captured. The stress of roundups and subsequent “processing” can cause permanent physical and emotional damage.

BLM continues to remove horses, claiming they must, for the health of the range. However, they continue to increase the number of cattle allowed to graze. The taxpayer-subsidized, “welfare” grazing industry costs the taxpayer between 1/2 and ONE BILLION dollars a year and produces a mere 2% of American beef.

In addition, science says that horses, which evolved here over millions of years, are actually beneficial to the rangeland.

“The National Academy of Science field studies do not support the majority of claims that wild horses damage the environment. Responsible advocates understand that areas suffering from verified overpopulation are a different matter. Alberta’s wild horses endure a relatively low survival rate among foals. The climate is challenging and predators are abundant.

Cows have no upper front teeth, only a thick pad: they graze by wrapping their long tongues around grass and pulling on it. If the ground is wet, they will pull out the grass by the roots, preventing it from growing back. Horses have both upper and lower incisors and graze by “clipping the grass,” similar to a lawn mower, allowing the grass to easily grow back.

In addition, the horse’s digestive system does not thoroughly degrade the vegetation it eats. As a result, it tends to “replant” its own forage with the diverse seeds that pass through its system undegraded. This unique digestive system greatly aids in the building up of the absorptive, nutrient-rich humus component of soils. This, in turn, helps the soil absorb and retain water upon which many diverse plants and animals depend. In this way, the wild horse is also of great value in reducing dry inflammable vegetation in fire-prone areas. Back in the 1950s, it was primarily out of concern over brush fires that Storey County, Nevada, passed the first wild horse protection law in the United States.”

In 2010, several lawsuits have been filed against the BLM roundups.

2013.. the roundups continue. Please visit Craig Downer’s new website.

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