*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.”