Thinking About Wild Horses- Animal Blawg

A blog post by attorney Bruce Wagman on the Animal Blawg: Thinking About Wild Horses

photos courtesy The Cloud Foundation, mare and foal photo in Fallon by Elyse Gardner


2 Responses to “Thinking About Wild Horses- Animal Blawg”

  1. Sandra Miller Says:

    This is an excellent article, and a very hopeful one in its way. Here we have an attorney, who says he guesses he thinks about wild horses all the time, looking at the 1971 WFRHBA creatively and somewhat optimistically, without making a dogmatic statement that the law either will or will not protect the wild horses and burros it was written for. He is looking at it. He is studying it. And all through the eyes of one on the side of these wild horses. He knows what we all know – this will take a long time, but the prize, saving our wild horses and burros, makes it something we MUST do.

    Some things are different almost 40 years after the passage of WFRHBA. We have made visible progress in creating humane conditions for animals. Just a couple years ago our St. Joseph County Humane Society, a place I avoided all my life because, ultimately, they killed almost everything they rounded up in the name of “improving their lives”, became a no-kill adoption center. I immediately joined – and then cried over the almost 400 cats in holding (but they were alive, warm, clean, well fed and played with by volunteers). Dr. Carol Ecker, who graduated with the first class of vet students at Purdue University, a girl among all those boys, gave leadership for many years to our Humane Society as President of the Board. By the time I became involved, she had retired, sold her practice, and was working as a full time volunteer. There must have been something about actually moving in with the animals (you might say the shelter became her new vet office) that worked on her until she said, “I will not ever again put down another healthy animal!” Consternation in our community. Nasty letters to the editors of our local newspaper about this outrageous practice (and, yes, letters about how she should not be feeding all those dogs and cats for months on end with all the children we have starving in the world!) Her days at the Humane Society seemed overwhelmed by a black cloud. But then – transformation! When people understood the conversion at our Humane Society, thanks in great part to an informative series of articles run in our local newspaper, community members rushed in to support her efforts. And there were lots of them- the ugly- voiced naysayers, who were a small minority after all, slunk away!

    The new building planned for the last 30 years is finally going to go up in May. It will have its own surgery, and bright rooms where the animals can play and meet adoptive parents. Every animal that can be made adoptable, either by some medical help or obedience training, is kept until that “forever home” is found. Locally, as well as nationally, a huge push to encourage people to adopt shelter animals as a first choice has made it somewhat easier to find adoptive homes. I think this story is a good example of the changes that have occurred in people’s thinking about animals and humane matters. We have that change on our side in regard to the wild horses. Viewed from the outside looking in, the practices of the BLM in regard to the wild horses and burros are medieval and barbaric. I think in the end we will not only win – we will bring with that win a sea change of behavior on the part of this agency of our federal government that would not have occurred without the struggle which is occurring now.



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