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Historical documents indicate that the Spanish Missionary, Father Eusebio Kino brought horses and other animals to the area in the 17th century.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:
The Tonto National Forest Supervisor Reta Laford may be contacted at:
2324 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006
Calls should be made immediately followed by a letter faxed to the 2324 East McDowell office or emailed to that office.