Update After the Wild Horse and Burro Meeting
The results of the BLM’s Advisory Board meeting in Phoenix
Dear Cloud Friends and Wild Horse and Burro Supporters;
Our press conference in Phoenix last Thursday was a rousing success! Advocates from coast-to-coast turned out to support our wild horses and burros.
The event, organized by the Cloud Foundation, Habitat for Horses Advisory Council, and Respect4Horses, was well covered by the media. Both Makendra Silverman with the Cloud Foundation and Simone Netherlands with Respect4Horses were instrumental in getting all the area television stations to show up. They taped the entire proceedings. Our speakers brilliantly articulated the current situation for wild horses and burros and urged BLM to stop the roundups.
It was my honor to moderate the event. RT Fitch artfully wove in his ‘private cattle on, wild horses off’ message about how he and his wife, Terry, got stuck in a “cattle jam” while attending the roundup in the Antelope Valley of Nevada a couple of weeks ago. As our wild horses were being trucked away from their legal home, a huge herd of cattle was being driven onto the range. Joining RT were Simone Netherlands, Madeleine Pickens, Laura Leigh, and Michael Blake. The Academy Award-winning writer of Dances with Wolves rocked the house as Michael reminded us how disconnected from the truth BLM really is and just what America will be losing if we no longer have wild horses and burros in the West.
Ginger at the press conference
Less than a half hour later the BLM Advisory Board Meeting began down the hall. It was quite a contrast from our lively press conference. But, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that, unless Congress grants BLM the $12 million they have requested, the roundups through September are canceled! I could feel the collective, silent cheer go up around the room of spectators, made up largely of wild horse and burro supporters. But we can’t count on Congress withholding this money. We have to let our congressional representative and Senators know that we do NOT want BLM to have this money. When teachers are being laid off, how could the government possibly extend funding for theses cruel and unnecessary roundups?! Click here for a sample message to your Senators, encouraging them to withhold this funding.
For me, the most chilling part of the whole BLM meeting was the “science” presentation by Al Kane, a USDA vet who works closely with the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program. Dr. Kane was a key member of the BLM 2008 Secret Meetings in which plans were discussed on how to euthanize the thousands of wild horses held in long term holding facilities. At the moment that idea is off the table—we think. So, here are the new, ongoing plans for “fertility control.” As calmly as if he were having a cup of coffee and talking about the weather, Dr. Kane began to dispassionately outline experiments (taxpayer funded, of course) being carried out on our wild horses. They include a combination of drugs designed to make mares permanently infertile or surgical procedures to remove their ovaries. Field gelding of stallions has been talked about before as has the creation of gelding herds. All these on-going plans are ironically under the umbrella of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s “sustainable herds” initiative! (Click here for about the BLM WHB Meeting’s proceedings.)
On a positive note, the public comments by speakers on behalf of wild horses and burros on Friday morning were, at times, nothing short of brilliant. BLM and the Advisory Board appeared to be paying attention. Let’s hope we have given them food for thought because they heard an earful.
At the candlelight vigil
One of the horse trailers rounding the block at the rally
Both the candlelight vigil on Thursday night and the protest at noon on Friday were well attended, and thank you to all who participated! Our vigil turned out to be more rousing than solemn, as candles floated amongst the many banners to the chants ofStop the Roundups and No More Taxes for Roundups! During the Friday protest we were accompanied by a pair of adorable burros from Luv Shack Horse Rescue. Horse trailers adorned in banners circled the block, honking their horns on both Thursday night and during our rally. Thanks to our Las Vegas rabble rousers, Garnet Pasquale and Arlene Gawne for being the primary organizers of these events.
Part of the rally crew with the adorable burros
Foundation Board members Susan Sutherland, Anni Williams, & intern Lauryn Wachs with the megaphone
Raising their voices for wild horse and burro preservation!
An incognito Cindy MacDonald
It’s not too late to comment on the BLM’s Proposed Strategy. The deadline is March 30. The Agency has already stated they don’t currently have a plan if they don’t get that extra $12 million, so now, more than ever, it’s for us to give them our input. How do you want OUR wild horses and burros managed? Here is a wish list from the Cloud Foundation. Feel free to use some or all of our suggestions we will make to BLM.
Please speak up for the wild horses and burros. They may not speak in words but they communicate the true meaning of beauty, innocence and unbridled freedom. They are our inspiration and they need our help now!
We are off to the Pryors next week and we will let you know what we see. I hope to tell Cloud “hello” from all of you.
P.S. Thanks to those who have already donated to the Cloud Foundation to help us recoup the sizable expenses of underwriting the press conference, dinner, and travel for those who could not afford to pay their way to Phoenix. If you are able, we would appreciate any size donation you can send to help us recoup more of these expenses. Thanks so much.