Friday, July 16, 2010

The horses in the wild die

Twelve wild horses have died. At least three foals have died, too.
This weekend, there will be more deaths.

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management began rounding up wild horses, claiming it was to the animals' benefit because of extreme overpopulation and lack of available water, even though around 2,000 letters of protest from the public requested the roundup not occur, especially due to the summer heat and because it's still the foaling season. The roundup was halted on July 14, but a recent hearing gave the green light to continue this weekend, despite temperatures forecast to be in the 90s.

The roundup occurred in the desert in northeastern Nevada. The casualties from the roundup are now around a dozen. Causes of death are attributed to dehydration, brain swelling, colic and other related conditions. One horse was reported to have broken a leg in the melee and had to be put down.

It must be remembered, these are wild animals, not pasture ponies. And the wild horse is symbol of the Wild West, of the American heritage. So why are 33,000-36,000 of them—more than half of the wild-horse population—in government holding pens instead of remaining, well, in the wild? What's the point?

 It sounds like a complicated situation—because it involves people and money.

Some claim that it's because the horses (and wild burros) are competing for grazing land with commercial cattle. And there's also rumblings that the animals are being cleared out because there is a natural-gas pipeline planned on going through that land where they roam.

Allegedly, Department of the Interior Ken Salazar, who oversees the BLM, claims that "horses don't belong on public lands." That's like saying that bald eagles don't belong in the air or to nest in trees. It simply makes no sense. Nor does rounding up these horses in such extreme heat, especially when mares are still pregnant or have just foaled. The last thing they need is to be chased by a helicopter, frightened out of their minds, separated from their young, and if they don't become dehydrated or ill, be put into a crowded pen. And the BLM is not allowing the press to cover the roundup, either, to boot.

Read more about the situation, and then do something about it. Links and contact info are provided below. I'm going to make this as easy on you as possible, unlike the BLM is for the horses and burros. Spread it around.

Use your beautiful voices for those who cannot speak:
Call the White House to order a moratorium on wild-horse roundups (202) 456-1111.

Robert Abbe, BLM director
(202) 208-3801,

Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

(202) 208-3100,

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