One of the most fun things we did last year was attend a friend’s wedding in Wyoming and making a long weekend of it turned to an outing to Yellowstone National Park where we saw herds of Bison, antelope, bald eagles in flight and a sleeping Grizzly Bear. It made me appreciate the fact we still live in a nation where wild animals still roam free.Â The New Year’s Day edition of the New York Times carried this story about the federal government’s round-up of wild horses, and a friend passed along an announcement about a local protest to this action.
From the story:
Suzanne Roy, a spokeswoman for In Defense of Animals, which has fought to keep the wild horses on the ranges, said federal officials had tried to cloak the roundup in secrecy by beginning it on inaccessible private land and conducting it during the lull between Christmas and New Yearâ€™s Day.
The group also says the helicopters, which federal officials call the most efficient means to guide the herds to the corrals, traumatize the animals. But more than anything, Ms. Roy said, the horses should be allowed to stay put.
â€œWild horses have tightly knit bands,â€ Ms. Roy said. â€œThis shatters the social structure; foals are separated from their mothers; the horses are put in a very unnatural situation. The whole thing is just a major trauma and terror for these really beautiful horses that have lived peacefully on these lands for hundreds of years.â€
But the land management bureau said the â€œgather,â€ as it calls it, would ultimately save the lives of horses.
Unlike other animals, wild horses cannot legally be hunted or slaughtered, and they have no natural predator. When the area gets overpopulated, food becomes scarce and the horses suffer, said Mr. Abbey, the agency director, who expressed exasperation with some animal rights advocates.
â€œIf it were up to them, we would be allowing wild horses to starve to death, which is no way to honor an American icon,â€ he said in a telephone interview.
Here’s the press release on the protest about this in Los Angeles next week:
Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary (www.returntofreedom.org) is partnering with other coalition members to organize a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday, January 6, in front of Senator Diane Feinsteinâ€™s office in Los Angeles to pressure the Obama administration to impose a moratorium on roundups by the BLM.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Coalition members supporting the mission and objectives of The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) join forces In Los Angeles on January 6 2010. The campaign was conceived as a uniting and grassroots tool to help protect Americaâ€™s wild horses on their rightful ranges on our public lands. The campaign is represented by a coalition of 50 diverse organizations collectively representing over 9 million people nationwide.
Â Joining the Coalition will be Wendie Malick, Tatjana Patitz and award winning author Deanne Stillman, surprise guests and other friends of the horses!
Â WHO:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Return To Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary (RTF)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In Defense of Animals (IDA)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Lifesavers, Wild Horse Rescue
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Cloud Foundation
Â WHAT:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Regional Protest of the Calico Wild Horse Roundup
Â WHERE:Â Â Â Â In front of Senator Diane Feinsteinâ€™s Office
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 11111 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 915, Los Angeles, 90025
WHEN:Â Â Â Â Â Â Wednesday, January 6, 2010 from 11AM to 1PMÂ Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œWhile this may be the new administration, it is clearly the old BLMâ€™s intent on callously slaughtering the wild horsesâ€”our national treasure,â€ states Betsy Dribben from the ASPCA.Â â€œThat is now why we have taken to the streets to raise our voices that this is a public debate that most be negotiated upon at the political table and not by roundups.â€
Â The New York Times story clearly states the federal government round up is not a slaughter, but a relocation.Â I have to wonder if a round up of wild horses for sale to private individuals, as is doen with wild horses on coastla islands in Virginia and Maryland, is a better way to go.Â
Call To Action
Return to Freedom is asking the public to:
- Attend Wednesdayâ€™s rally if they live near Los Angeles
- Write to their representatives in Congress and ask them to protect Americaâ€™s wild horses by supporting The ROAM Act (HR 1018/S 1579). Find your Reps at www.congress.org or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected.
Write to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and ask him to:
- Call for a moratorium on all roundups until viable alternatives for minimally intrusive ” In The Wild “Management policies are in place to preserve and protect our remaining wild horse herds on the public rangelands where they currently exist.
- Restore the original spirit and intent of the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act to protect our herds on America’s public Lands.
The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
Return To Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary
P. 805-735-3246Â Â M. 805-588-5105Â Â Â F. 805-800-0868