A Public Call to Action for the removal & possible slaughter sale of Arizona wild horses

Cross-posted from The Conquistador Program

Press Release:  For immediate release

PUBLIC CALLED TO ACTION TO PREVENT THE REMOVAL & POSSIBLE SALE TO SLAUGHTER OF ARIZONA WILD HORSES WHOSE HISTORY TRACES TO 17TH CENTURY MISSIONARY

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) indicate that the US Forest Service may remove horses from the Tonto national Forest without period for public comment or environmental impact study

 (Phoenix, AZ May 31, 2012).  The Conquistador Equine Rescue and Advocacy Program (CERAP), a 501c3 equine rescue and advocacy charity, has received material under the Freedom of Information Act indicating that the United States Forest Service (USFS) may be considering the imminent removal of unbranded, free-roaming wild horses living along the Salt River on the Tonto National Forest (TNF) near metropolitan Phoenix in Arizona.

Documents received under FOIA indicate that the USFS does not acknowledge that the horses are wild and thus protected under the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act.  Asserting the horses are not unclaimed, unbranded free-roaming horses as defined under the Act, the TNF considers them “trespassing” on USFS land and may remove all of them.  It is possible that the horses would be taken to the Pacific Livestock Auction near Phoenix where they are at great risk of being purchased by killer buyers to sell for slaughter.  FOIA material demonstrates that officials of the TNF have had horses removed before without any public comment period or study under the National Environmental Protection Act, a requirement for removal of wild horses on USFS land.  In one case, forest officials admitted in emails that five horses gathered from the Cave Creek ranger district probably were not “trespass” or “feral.”  The horses were sent to the Pacific Livestock Auction.  CERAP was able to rescue the one foal with the herd of a stallion and his mares.

Historical documents indicate that the Spanish Missionary, Father Eusebio Kino brought horses and other animals to the area in the 17th century.  Oral histories by witnesses indicate that they have seen and photographed the horses for decades on the TNF and a  picture shows three of these magnificent animals in a 1957 Arizona Highways Magazine.   While the Tonto NF claims the horses are “trespass horses” from the bordering Salt River Pima Maricopa Nation and the Ft. McDowell Reservation, to the best of CERAP’s knowledge the tribes have NOT claimed the horses.

CERAP working together with community members is asking that people across the country immediately telephone their United States Representative, two United States Senators and the Forest Supervisor for the Tonto National Forest telling them they do not want the unbranded, free-roaming unclaimed wild horses living on the Tonto National Forest removed and that the horses, living symbols of the West, are a very important part of United States and Arizona history and a very important natural resource.

Fact sheet on who to contact:

To find contact information for US Congressmen and US Senators by State, by name, or by zip code, go to the link below:

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

The Tonto National Forest Supervisor Reta Laford may be contacted at:

Telephone:  602-225-5200

Fax:  602-225-5200

2324 E. McDowell Road

Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, AZ 85006

Email:  tonto_webmail@fs.fed.us

Calls should be made immediately followed by a letter faxed to the 2324 East McDowell office or emailed to that office.

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9 Responses to “A Public Call to Action for the removal & possible slaughter sale of Arizona wild horses”

  1. LuAnn Schulte Says:

    This is terrible, those horses were there first. Leave what history we have left, no reason any human needs to bother them. All mankind does is destroy things.

  2. Kathryn Baker Says:

    NO,NO,NO…LEAVE THEM ALONE.

  3. Barbara O'Leary Says:

    HOW MUCH WORSE CAN IT GET. KILLING WILD AMERICAN MUSTANGS AND FOR WHAT? MORE CATTLE? WE DON’T EAT THAT MUCH BEEF AS WE USE TO. I CAN GUESS THAT THE REST IS GOING OVERSEAS TO OTHER COUNTRIES AND THE TAX PAYER IS PAYING THE BILL FOR ROUNDING UP, FEEDING AND WATERING, AND TRANSPORTING OF THESE BEAUTIFUL HORSES. TELL ME YOU DON’T CARE. WHAT IS THE REAL REASON.

  4. Donna Buscemi Says:

    I called Tonto and was told that this roundup is a rumor and nothing more

  5. Kathryn Baker Says:

    I hope it is only a rumor. Thanks for calling Donna.

  6. Louie Cocroft Says:

    Wild horse rescues another horse from drowning in Arizona
    Stallion named ‘Champ’ grabbed filly by neck and dragged her to safety.

    http://www.azcentral.com/video/1549461481001

  7. Louie Cocroft Says:

    http://www.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/2012/04/05/20120405arizona-wild-horse-rescue.html

    Arizona woman’s hobby may hold key to saving wild horses
    They stood, majestically holding court at Pebble Beach Campground just inside Tonto National Forest in Mesa. People gathered to catch a glimpse of living western history and these wild horses didn’t run from the attention although the only person able to get very close was Becky Standridge.
    The horses seem to know the Mesa woman, but not half as well as she knows them. Now, her hobby of capturing pictures of these animals may be the key to saving their lives.
    An Arizona woman’s passion for pictures may surprisingly be the answer to saving Wild Horses right here in the Valley.
    A Mesa woman spends her time in the Tonto National Forest… And she had no idea her hobby would have an impact.
    The forest service and others have struggled for years to decide how to deal with wild horses.
    There is a real dilemma on how to manage the herd.
    Tonight they may have a better chance at survival thanks to a local woman who had no idea her pictures were so important.
    “I’d heard about these wild horses for several years but I’d never seen them,” Standrige said, “until a friend brought me for a walk here just over a year ago.”
    For the laid-off Intel worker, it was love at first sight.
    Becky began amassing a vast album of the herd. She snapped, and snapped, and snapped collecting more than just pony pictures. The images told stories and Becky’s observations revealed histories.
    “I identify their color, their blaze, their socks. All the characteristics. Who’s who. What’s going on”, she explained. “The horses are all very special. Their family bonds are very strong. Their freedom is extremely important to them.”
    Her near-constant presence put the horses at ease allowing her an intimate view most can only imagine.
    She compared it to a soap opera saying, “”Sometimes it’s really exciting and sometimes it’s really sad.”
    One of the most tragic situations revealed That becky may be the best hope to save these wild horses. About 3 months ago a driver hit and killed a horse on the road that snakes through the Mesa Range of Tonto N.F. Curious as to which horse had died, Becky went to the ranger station thinking, surely they had identified the horse.
    “I wanted to keep it on my log who was now missing because you can’t see every horse every day”, Standridge explained.
    But when the Range Wildlife Manger asked what Becky had been up to she learned that no one had ever catalogued the horses. In fact, there had been a long debate over how to manage the herd. Becky’s hobby was like an answer falling from the sky. An answer that may save many of these horses.
    The Tonto National Forest, Mesa Range Wildlife Manager says 6 area agencies have struggled for an answer to the wild horse dilemna. The answer they want to avoid is capturing the animals and selling them at auction. Most times that means a trip to the slaughter house.
    The hope is to manage the herd another way but they need a catalogue of wild horses. With money and manpower at a minimum, that has always been impossible.Until becky came along.
    She offered up her expertiese and research.
    Now, donning a new volunteers uniform and armed with her telephoto lense, Becky continues to track and identify the herd.
    The are still decisions to be made when it comes to herd management but Becky’s horse log has opened up options wildlife biologists feared would not be possible.

  8. Louie Cocroft Says:

    I see that the footage of the Stallion rescuing the Filly from drowning has been removed from the Arizona newspaper. It can be found here:
    Wild horse rescues another horse from drowning in Arizona
    Stallion named ‘Champ’ grabbed filly by neck and dragged her to safety.
    http://arizona1-aahsbloggingupdates.blogspot.com/2012/04/wild-horse-rescues-antoerh-horse-from.html

  9. Louie Cocroft Says:

    http://tucsoncitizen.com/arizona-news/2012/06/16/future-of-salt-river-wild-horse-herd-unclear/

    News from The Arizona Republic
    Future of Salt River wild-horse herd unclear
    by Kellie Mejdrich on Jun. 16, 2012, under Arizona Republic News

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