Las Vegas Protest!

*Breaking News: Protesters with wild horse and burro banners have already been visible and at the scene four or five times today with Obama in Las Vegas! Bravo Team Nevada!  Air Force One just flew over the Mustang Banners! (2:15pm)

With much hard work and determination, the wild horse advocates were able to get four up close encounters with President Obama in his motorcade. Each time, they were holding different versions of the awesome banners that Arlene has produced and they are certain that Obama and his aides saw them and registered the message.

Yesterday, Gina Griesen of Nevada Voters for Animals and her daughter held banners as the Obama motorcade entered a housing development where the president was attending a $39,000 a plate fundraising dinner. Gina and her daughter stayed late and also caught the motorcade on its way out.

Today Arlene, Craig Downer, Elyse Gardner and a few others tracked Obama around Las Vegas catching up with the motorcade twice. On at least one of these occasions, they were in close proximity to the president’s limo, which was traveling very slowly and they could see him look straight at them holding their mustang freedom banners. They have also done numerous media interviews over these past few days.   These folks have worked really hard this week to bring the plight of wild horses to the President’s attention!

The following is a report from Nevada from Elyse Garnder and Simone Netherlands  — Major thanks to Arlene Gawne and all who are working so hard in Las Vegas

People are very serious about saving the lives and freedom of America’s wild horses and stopping the gruesome practice of horse slaughter, where many of our wild mustangs still end their lives in terror.  Wildlife ecologist Craig Downer and humane observer Elyse Gardner certainly are, and they came to Las Vegas to join wildlife photographer Arlene Gawne and horse trainer Simone Netherlands and over 50 other horse welfare advocates carrying out  one of the largest protests on record in the crowded city of Las Vegas.  As President Obama arrived in Las Vegas for a historic visit, he was greeted by protestors on several legs of his missions here, running into banners as he traveled.

Ever the staunch advocate for the horses, Craig Downer’s day started with a visit to a horse rescue in Parumph, Nevada, followed by an interview by KLAS TV’s George Knapp, before proceeding on to join the protesters in Las Vegas.   Drivers honked and pedestrians signed petitions as protesters from several states as well as other countries made strong statements calling for the Obama administration to stop the roundups and give America’s horses their fair, rightful share of our vast resources presently dominated by cows and sheep raised for food.

Our profound thanks to the amazing Arlene Gawne for her incredible organization and execution of this successful day standing up for horses.

FIrst Stop:   From 1:30 to 4:00 p.m, wild horse defenders gathered in front of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas, home to Senator John Ensign and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  This protest was well attended by the public and media as Reno’s KLAS-8  filmed protesters as well as the opening talk given by Elyse Gardner.

After this people disbursed with all across the Las Vegas Strip, handing out information and gathering petition signatures.

Locations where from the New York New York Hotel, to the Fashion Show Mall, to overpasses, to Ceasars Palace.

Around the evening maham ensued as word was heard that president Obama was arriving. We all hurried to our cars.

©Photography by Elyse Gardner, Craig Downer, and friends

L to R:  Craig Downer, Simone Netherlands, Elyse Gardner

SECOND STOP:   The voices for the wild horses remaining free in the wild then fanned out to the famous Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas.  Many eagerly approached to see how they, too, could help the wild horses.

THIRD STOP:  McCarran Airport to greet President Obama.  Craig Downer, fluent in Spanish among his many talents,  was interviewed by Channel 8 Las Vegas, a Spanish-speaking station, and  Elyse Gardner was interviewed by CBS, who asked her why we were there.  The one-minute answer:

“We are here for the wild horses asking President Obama to step up and defend our nation’s wild horses.  We are calling for a moratorium of all roundups and an independent Congressional investigation of the Bureau of Land Management, which has become a rogue agency not listening to the American people and managing our wild horses to extinction.  Many of us campaigned and voted for President Obama.  He had a great record for animals while in the Senate and cosponsored the ban on horse slaughter bill.  But Secretary Salazar is continuing Bush administration practices.  Where is President Obama now?  President Obama, stop the roundups.  Help stop the slaughter.  Your daughters will love you for it.”

37 Responses to “Las Vegas Protest!”

  1. Marilyn Wargo Says:

    Awesome! What a beautiful group of wild horse advocates! You are the tops! My thanks to all of you for doing this so Conspicuously!!! mar

  2. true15 Says:

    Thank you

  3. LindaH Says:

    That’s an impressive demonstration. Congratulations Las Vegas!

  4. Nancy Babcock Says:

    GREAT statement to CBS by Elyse–she said it all!!! Banners are gorgeous–only wish they were to celebrate instead to to protest. Looks like a great job by Arlene, Simone, Craig, Elyse, and everyone who turned out. Good job!!

  5. Morgan Williams Says:

    What a beautiful sight! I have goosebumps on top of goosebumps! Woooohooo! Way to go EVERYONE!!!!!!

  6. jan eaker Says:

    way to go horse advocates!!!!!!!!!

  7. Margaret Says:

    Way to go for everyone there. Thank you Elyse and Craig and Simone. And to the rest of the unsung horse heroes who held signs.

  8. BoB C Says:

    Looks like a very well executed protest. I would like to personally thank each and every one that was responsible for this project. I thank you
    My friends thank you

  9. Angela Valianos Says:

    WOW !!!

    You ALL put the V back in Vegas and…

    WOW you ALL made Vegas twinkle like never before !!!

    BRAVO !!!


  10. Mary Says:

    Thank you for getting in front of Obama’s eyeballs with this urgent message! Great work, everyone involved in this tremendous effort!

  11. Sharon Jacobs-Salinas Says:

    What a beautiful sight to see. My utmost respect and admiration to all those who participated in the fantastic protest against the BLM and Ken Salazar to put a stop to these insane, unnecessary, cruel and inhumane wild horse and burro roundups! KUDOS to all the people who knew nothing about this protest that stepped up to the plate, signed petitions and helped the organizers! If this did not get the President’s attention then he must be wearing blinders.

    Thank you, one and all!!

  12. Kathleen Says:

    I’d like to thank all of you wonderful advocates! Thank you so much for the wonderful strong dramatic statement made in words, in signs, in action, all on behalf of these innocents. What a wonderful testament to advocacy, to the will to fight for what is right. I am so moved by so many dedicated to this cause – thank you for everything you do, from the littlest to the most grand. Those horses need every single bit of our help. Never, never give up!

  13. Simone Netherlands Says:

    Thank you so kindly everyone, but we do not need to be thanked.
    We do it for the horses and if we took one tiny step closer to victory for them today that is more than we could ask for.
    Thank you to all wonderful wonderful volunteers that came from wide and far. You know who you are.

    Herewith I would like to encourage anyone, anyone at all, to participate in future demonstrations like this, and in coming to Washington to stand up for horses. They are in need of your time and efforts desperately.

    This was a combined effort between two factions working together, it was not only for our precious wild ones but also for the unfortunate slaughered ones.
    You may visit my website for more info.

    “Justice is the sword we carry”


  14. Debra Whitmore Says:

    The banners are absolutely beautiful. I am so happy that you were able to educate a lot of people on the plight of our wild mustangs. I only became aware of what the BLM was doing two weeks ago. I was looking on line for mustang adoption in Wisconsin. I lost my 38 year old mustang in 2006. The vet gently euthanized my Romeo in his home surrounded by everyone. He was completely blind in both eyes and had stomach cancer. He had a long time goat friend and his goat died shortly before he did. It was still heartbreaking and terrible. The vet told me that he would be suffering and nothing but hell from here on in. He was on maximum pain medication. His teeth and hooves always remained nice as he roamed the Massachusetts mountains on 50 acres and he still preferred Mass. brush and grasses to hay. I bought the horse when I was 14 years old when the movie Romeo and Juliet was big at that time, so that’s why my pinto was named Romeo. We grew old together and he died when I was 52 years old. I really miss him and I thought I would adopt another mustang, that’s when I learned of the big mess the BLM is making “managing” our mustangs and burro’s. The mustang, at least the one I had was super smart. It did take Romeo a little while to bond with humans, but once he did, kids coud do almost anything with him. He loved swimming. He was so funny, if a kid was being too much of a cowboy, Romeo would gentle walk over to his manure pile next to the barn and toss them right in it. I was also tossed in that manure pile when I was 16 dressed up trying to show off and playing the “wild, wild west.” He also always had to rear one or two feet off the ground before riding. I was told I had inadvertently taught him that, but it certainly made new riders check their seat and balance.
    I will help in anyway I can! I believe the BLM has an office in Milwaukee, Wi. We could protest in front of the BLM office.

    • Morgan Williams Says:


      I am with you on the protest! I am in Wisconsin too. I am about 35 minutes north of Milwaukee. Please contact me at my email address of:

      There are other warm bodies I can bring along to protest. Let’s do it!


    • Barbara Warner Says:

      This protest wa absolutely awesome !! Congratulations to all that made it such a success.

      My condolences , Debra.
      I know of a 1 1/2 year old intact but well trained, gentle mustang in MD that needs a good home. The owner has MS and does not want him to go back to the BLM. He is from Utah and his genes really need to be preserved with the gene pool being so low. Can anyone here help?

  15. Suzanne Moore Says:

    Fantastic! Words can’t express how wonderful this was.

  16. Karen L. Says:

    What a strong, well orchestrated protest! It must have drawn a great deal of attention.

  17. Joette Snyder Says:

    This is so big, we hope Obama will listen and stop this maddness!

  18. jan Says:

    as usual did not see anything on the local news here in so cali – was anything on the fox news or cnn

    is there anything on youtube – will have to ck so i can forward to friends in other states

  19. Terri Farley Says:

    Wonderful work everyone!
    Horse hugs to all,

  20. lee chesterfield Says:

    If Obama doesn’t to something now , he will never do anything for the mustangs and burros. The problem he may think the “preserves ” are a good thing. Feb 24th Feinstein and Salazar are meeting about his request for money to buy the preserves. Thanks to all who went to Las Vegas protest. I sent info on protest to local paper . Nothing ….On another note: there are 3 stallions in N.D that need a new home or they are going to auction.

  21. Angela Valianos Says:

    Someone asked earlier why they are gelding the Stallions and this is my input:

    They are gelding so that transport to SLAUGHTER is cheaper and they will not have to section off the Stallions, for legal reasons. Not that they have followed any regulations thus far.

    They know that WE- I will be watching as I did for 8 years previous.
    They need these horses (stallions or not) transported in the most economical fashion and several small trucks verses a GIANT
    single deck that holds 30-36 head is much more economical.

    After all, they have spent their (BLM) budget on CAPTURE !

    I REALLY PRAY you all have read and POSTED EVERYWHERE the information about CAVELs’ possible (will happen, this time)
    reopening. I was there today and they booted out the Muslim Group that was renting month to month.

    The CAVEL INTERNATIONAL sign has been polished and the tarps by the BACK unloading docks have been repaired, to try to conceal the evil of unloading the downers and or pregnant, foals or late term horses. The torture is coming back…..

    The DeKalb, Illinois residents NEED to know this House of Horror is coming back. PLEASE, EVERYONE email the editor and DEMAND they run a story on welcoming back CAVEL.

    The last editor was Chris Rickertt, he is in the Pockets of ALL the Good Ole boys and is now MAYOR of DeKalb.

    The DeKalb Chronicle has been in the pocket since day 1
    (and 20 years previous that CAVEL was opened and Greg (the keg) Sparrow was in Office as Mayor) that I came on board and to get a true journalist is HARD if even possible.

    So, we all need to bombard them, PLEASE ! The People here have the right to know.

    As I have said so many times before:

    WILD MUSTANGS (dead) = Down payment on 1st year of MEDICAL !!!
    This is why OBAMA doesnt give a crap !

    Where is the HSUS now?


    The Midweek:

    The Valley Free Press

    Chicago Tribune:


    Angela Valianos

    PS If anyone is willing to volunteer to take part in letting DeKalb Residents know what is about to happen under the cover of Darkness once again, please let me know. They have a right to know.

  22. ARLENE GAWNE Says:

    Hi everyone, Arlene Gawne here. I got the vision for this protest after seeing pictures of the foals whose hooves came off from the long run by the Cattoor helicopters. I cried that night but tears will not move Int. Scty Salazar or the BLM. Nor will the suffering of the horses. This is OUR WILD HISTORY, and OUR TAX DOLLARS. For AS LONG AS IT TAKES we must all get on them, all across the country. Please organize a protest in your back yard. The banner company can print and ship cheaply anywhere in the country. I recommend 4’x4′ at $20 before tax as one person can hold them easily – the 3’x8′ banners were gorgeous but hard to hold. I can provide the images if you email me at IF YOU CAN’T PROTEST, then please go to and see the you-tube there…then send it on to ALL YOUR FRIENDS. Make it go viral and BLM/Salazar cannot ignore the issue any longer. If I can organize all these protests in less than 2 months, you can send the you-tube viral from the comfort of your home. And we are making more of these clips, the next one will be the amazing behaviors of horses in the wild! Their society is just as complex and fascinating as that of the elephants I studied in Africa. We have a unique creature to protect – so don’t cry tears for them, get mad and get vocal. YOU HAVE THE POWER WHEN YOU ACT.

  23. Kim Zamudio Says:

    Thank you, Thank you! to all you horse advocates that stood at the rally!
    You make us all proud!

  24. Kathy Valente Says:

    All horses and burrors deserve humane treatment in life and in death.
    They helped build this great Country, as our transportation and farm machinery; many were abandoned by the very people who used them to work so hard. Slaughter should NEVER be an option for any horse or burro: Greed for the profit from the inhumane sale of their meat is unthinkable and criminal in my opinion. To protest for the protection and humane treatment of our wild horses and burros was the least I could do on their behalf. I hope the entire Country joins in our efforts to stop the inhumane treatment and to insure that slaughter, in this Country or any other country, will NEVER be an option for any horse or burro.



  26. Kathleen Hayden Says:

    Congress unanimously passed the Wild Horse and Burro act to maintain healthy genetically viable herd inventories on the public lands where they were known to range in 1971. This mandate has been violated and circumvented in every possible way and deserves criminal investigation into the billions of dollars wasted on removal and destruction of our cultural history. Kudos to the demonstrators.

  27. Honor Hannon Says:

    Thank you for all those wonderful pictures. Craig and Elyse you continue to be guardian angels to the wild horses and burros of Nevada. All of you fellow advocates are creative inspirations to us all. And we need energy and inspiration because BLM is coming to California next and I hope the horses can hide themselves well because its more helicopters—hopefully we will be able to have Humane Observors present during these round-ups!
    Continue to walk in beauty and may peace and light surround you and all the wild horses in and out of captivity.

  28. Kathryn Baker Says:

    Wonderful work for the wild horses! You guys are awesome! Thank you for your efforts.

  29. jean civis Says:


  30. jean civis Says:


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