“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi
Wild horses. Why care? As a #parent, #grandparent #conservationist, #environmentalist, #naturalist, #backpacker, #hiker, animal lover or #climber, events taking place now affect your interests. What’s happening? Every day, national parks, public lands, dwindle driven by a political agenda to convert these areas to lands leased for private industry, namely, the oil, gas, mineral extraction, logging and ranching industries. Consequently, The Antiquities Act, The Endangered Species Act plus The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 have become targets for lobbyists and dirty bureaucrats. Perfect for oil, gas, mineral extraction, welfare ranching plus logging industries. Right?
Based on what I've read and my business background, the largest revenues to be reaped by the oil, gas and mineral extraction businesses. A New York Times article spells it out: “According to a 2016 study from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, more than 93% of respondents said that historical sites, public lands and national parks should be protected for current and future generations.” See the following link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/climate/antiquities-act-federal-lands-donald-trump.html What about the vast majority of Americans who prize parks, wildlife, and wild horses? Well, in spite of federal protective laws, self-serving politicians plot and succeed in sidestepping the laws. Unfortunately, efforts to undermine federal laws has vividly taken shape. All of it about as subtle as a shark feeding frenzy.
How? First, they attack The Antiquities Act. They shrink the size of public lands, most recently Bears Ears National Monument. See the following link:https://www.backpacker.com/news-and-events/national-monuments-house-bill-rob-bishop. Bears Ears has just become1 million acres smaller, 85% smaller, slot canyons, arches and archaeological sites now gone. Not available for recreation for nature lovers and families any more. According to Josh Ewing, Executive Director of Friends of Cedar Mesa, “Almost all of the critical archeological areas are being slashed, as well as significant recreation, like paddling on the San Juan River, climbing in the Valley of The Gods and world-class canyoneering in White Canyon. The most dense archeology (Cedar Mesa top) and most famous archeology/backpacking (Grand Gulch) are also on the chopping block…I could keep going and going.” Another tool used—HR 3990, called The National Monument Creation and Protection Act. Critics call it The No More Parks Act. Any guess as to how restrictive that legislation is? No guessing required.
What about the Endangered Species Act? How is it being challenged? Bills have recently been introduced to water down the language and make it more difficult to add animals. Yes, it’s dirty politics driven by greed and powerful lobbies.
To execute the grand plan, federally protected wild horses endure abuse by their supposed guardians, The Bureau of Land Management. BLM has the job of implementing the grand plan at the direction of current leadership. Mustang round-ups occur often using food or water traps or helicopters. The round-ups occur under false pretenses, lack of water, overpopulation, potential for starvation, etc. By nature, horses are very claustrophobic, very sensitive creatures. As prey animals, they fully comprehend danger/capture. The methods used now result in blood-curdling horror for them. Cruel? Absolutely. Life-threatening? Yes. The BLM harvest easily as terrifying and dangerous as a chase by cheetahs or wolf packs. Since equines are flight or fight animals, they try to escape entrapment pens by thrashing about, often resulting in injury to the herd, the old survivors and young foals especially at risk. They terrify and separate family units, mares and foals. Post entrapment, BLM tries to castrate old stallions resulting in their certain death. The older a horse the more risky the surgery becomes. Personally speaking, my horse veterinarian advised against surgery on either of my twenty-year old mares.Thirty-year old stallions don't survive castration. Mares lose babies and often don't survive spaying, when their ovaries are ripped from their bodies. Cattle ranchers build fences to cut-off water supplies on public lands, and shoot Mustangs if they breech fence lines to drink. Cattle ranchers get a pass with protected Mustangs? Full throttle dirty politics? Yes, Unmanaged and unnecessary collateral damage ensues. All of this illegal activity often just marks just the beginning for these horses. The next phase: a long journey for slaughter or a quick trip to local kill buyers. Does the cat watching the canary cage apply? An easy—yes.
In the recent Cold Creek Round-up in Vegas, one, of many angry residents, hired a naturalist to review BLM claims that local wild horse herds were in peril for potential starvation. The naturalist disagreed with the BLM assertions. Yet, BLM rounded-up the horses anyway. Local news stations have followed the story. The landscape, replete with wildlife and wild horses, continues to change because the cat watches the canary cage.
Personally, I oppose welfare ranching whereby the government offers public lands to ranchers for lease at a very low price. Like most people, I oppose the Mustang harvest. I have zero sympathy for welfare ranchers. If my husband’s chosen career won’t support the family, like most Americans, he has to re-invent himself. Even America’s veterans have to make career changes to adjust to the civilian world. Who gives welfare ranchers, mineral, oil and gas industries a pass? Why should they get a pass? Most of us have mortgages and bills to pay. Creditors don’t provide a hefty pass if the income stream becomes unreliable.
On another level that matters, Mustangs symbolize America’s can-do, in spite of all odds spirit. They’re iconic and historic. The forefathers of these Mustangs likely have carried an ancestor into battle. Federally protected, much-loved wild horses represent a proud part of our collective heritage.
What’s next on the chopping block? I can tell you—the Endangered Species Act. Bills have recently been introduced to water down the language and make it more difficult to add animals. Yes, it’s dirty politics driven by greed and powerful lobbies yet again.
As a parent, grandparent, conservationist, environmentalist, naturalist, backpacker, hiker or climber, it’s important to know that horses are nature’s firefighters. In fact, wild horses are a firefighter’s best ally in preventing wildfires.Mustangs eat scrub brush that fuels forest fires.Cows do not. It’s much more costly to fight wildfires than to prevent them. Layer on the fatal threat to homeowners, families and firefighters that can’t be measured in dollars. Very disturbing...Yes, our natural public resources remain under siege, and the bureaucrats in charge hope they can ignore federal law, public scrutiny and outcry. The cat watching the canary cage applies even when homes and lives stand in the way. The grand plan overrides all other considerations, mainly the will of most Americans.
Moreover, as a practical matter, Mustangs support industry—tourism, horse supplies, horse training, and nature photography. Guess these citizens need to find other sources of revenue to support/subsidize the oil, gas, mineral extraction and welfare ranchers' interests?
What can you do? Call your legislator or contact the BLM to complain. The Bureau of Land Management continues to carryout illegal round-ups. They hope you aren't paying attention as they ignore the wishes of most Americans and federal law. I refer to the BLM as the Butchers of Land Management. They’ve earned the title. Having BLM manage the Mustangs makes about as much sense as turning lions loose on the herds. The best interests of the horses aren’t being served at all.
What do I know? I'm a life-long horse owner. I've seen many Mustangs over the course of several years. Mustang trainers have worked at my horse property. Mustangs can be amazing performance horses with training. I've owned a Mustang. I've bid on trained Champion Mustangs at Extreme Mustang Makeover Events. Every starry-eyed Mustang trainer that I've met has wanted to keep their prized horses, not sell them. Mustangs add wonder and gratification to a day, even a professional's day. Yes, they're very awe-inspring creatures. In videos and pictures of wild horses on the range, do any look like they’re starving? No. They’re prospering on public lands. My stepfather was a horse breeder and cattle rancher who happily lived off the income from both businesses until he died. He leased from private landowners to expand his operation. No government handouts required.
In conclusion, America’s public lands, wildlife and wild horses shouldn’t be a feeding trough for special interest hogs and piranha politicians. Mustangs should be respected and protected as mandated by federal law. Public lands should remain the domain of the families, wildlife and wild horses. Private industry has no place in this sector. The “accepted practice” of buying a carte blanche pass for illegal entitlements makes a mockery of federal law. It also defies the wishes of most Americans. The Bureau of Land Management should stop round-ups and stop lying to American citizens. They should serve as Mustang guardians not wild horse assassins. Respect, protect and revere our heritage, public lands, wildlife and wild horses – an important mantra for this generation and the next.
Not by the will of the majority, we’re sinking to a new low. Please take action.
I also encourage you to read and follow William E. Simpson II posts about wild horses. William is a naturalist, rancher and wild horse advocate. See his latest post:http://www.myoutdoorbuddy.com/articles/136658/the-carnage-has-begun---*blm*---dirty-deeds-done-dirt-cheap-with-tax-dollars.php