The Plight of Our Wild Horses

This is something that seems to have been swept under the rug, and please note, this is an opinion piece, but as this gets so little attention, I wanted to give a little time to it. Yes, our thoroughbreds do end up in the kill pens. But, without most of the public knowing, our government has been rounding up our country’s wild horse population and sending them to slaughter. Mustangs, the very animals who helped build this country, are being rounded up by helicopter, stuffed into overcrowded pens, starved then killed so the land can be used by cattle and sheep farmers.

On the anniversary of September 11th, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) will round up the famed Onaqui herd in the state of Utah. Their round up will bring in mares and foals, and might include the aptly named Old Man, though the BLM has promised to leave him alone. This is done to clear the land for farmers, though research shows it isn’t the wild horses that cause crowding on the plains; it’s the cows and sheep. The horses are being used as a scapegoat, in order to appease those the BLM finds in favor. Instead of protecting our heritage, the BLM has chosen greed.

In following the deaths of thoroughbreds, both on the track and off, and being present at one of the worst breakdowns I have ever seen, I know there are things that need to be done to protect our horses, both wild and domesticated. One of these ways is to pass the SAFE Act (H.R. 961) to protect our horses from slaughter and prohibit our horses from being shipped abroad for slaughter. Horse slaughter is still popular in other countries, where horses are used for food, and kill buyers here in the states can buy BLM mustangs for as little as $10 a head, in places.

Helicopter round ups often cause deaths of the oldest and youngest, with broken legs being common as the horses flee in terror. There is no reason for this to be occurring. They do not have a voice, so we must be their voice.

I once wrote that horses do not scream in pain. They don’t. It doesn’t matter the breed. Horses, for the most part, endure their pain in silence. So, we have to be their voice. Take one look at Skye here. Her mom, Star was rescued from a kill pen, pregnant and alone.

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Skye – 2 months old

They were freed by Skydog, an organization that has made it their mission to rescue BLM branded mustangs and burros from slaughter. I was privileged to meet Star and Skye, among others, at their ranch in Malibu. Skye is a handful of a filly who wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for organizations like Skydog, that make it their mission to do what the BLM refuses to do – protect our wild horses. There are people who will send pregnant horses to their deaths, without a though or a care.

IMG_4798 - Joe

Joe

I urge you to call your representatives and ask them to support the SAFE Act. (You can find your representative’s information here.) If you can, I also urge you to support a local rescue organization with a donation, however small, or visit one and give just a bit of your time to the horses.

Wild deserves to stay wild.  Wild SHOULD stay wild.

IMG_4575 - Swayze

Swayze

 

 

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