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A hard-earned VICTORY for the Devil’s Garden Wild Horses

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Many of us have more time on our hands these days and we wanted to give you some important news and provide some interactive materials about wild horses that you and your family can utilize while staying at home.


A Hard-Earned Victory for California’s Devil’s Garden Wild Horses


Back in 2018, AWHC joined forces with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and California local advocate Carla Bowers to file a lawsuit to stop the U.S. Forest Service from selling California wild horses for slaughter. The horses in question were captured in fall 2018 from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in northeast California’s Modoc National Forest.

We’re pleased to report that this litigation blocked the Forest Service from selling the Devil’s Garden wild horses for slaughter, giving Congress time to act.

In December, after U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, 66 members of Congress, and 22 members of the California State Legislature joined the public in opposing the slaughter plan, Congress passed legislation to prohibit the Forest Service from destroying healthy horses and selling them without limitation on slaughter.

This is the same prohibition that Congress has long imposed on the Bureau of Land Management. We’re grateful to all the AWHC supporters who donated to support our litigation, which played a critical role in securing this prohibition on slaughter of wild horses and burros under U.S. Forest Service jurisdiction.


But, the Devil’s Garden Wild Horses Still Aren’t Safe Yet (Action Alert)


In fall of 2019, the Forest Service rounded up and removed 499 more wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory. The majority of the horses have been adopted or sold, some, disturbingly, for $1 a piece. Approximately 100 wild horses — including older horses, pregnant mares and foals — remain in corrals in the Modoc National Forest.

Unlike the BLM, which has halted sales and adoptions of horses and burros during the COVID-19 crisis, the Forest Service continues to dispose of these federally-protected animals for $1 a piece. Worse, a single buyer can purchase 24 horses at a time, and the government will transport them for free, including to states as far away as Arkansas and Florida!

The Forest Service has no adequate system for vetting potential buyers or following up after horses are purchased to ensure their welfare.

By selling horses in bulk for $1 a piece and shipping them for free across the country with no safeguards to protect them from abuse and slaughter, the Forest Service is creating an avenue to sidestep Congress’ slaughter ban.

Please help us demand accountability and oversight to protect the cherished Devil’s Garden wild horses … weigh in today!


Got Questions? We Want To Answer Them!


We’ll be the first to say it: It can be difficult to stay up to speed with the complex issues affecting our nation’s wild horses and burros. With so many federal agencies, acronyms and applicable laws, it’s easy to get confused.

That’s why we’re going to break it down for you on Thursday, April 16, with the launch of our ‘Wild Horses 101’ webinar series.

We want this to be an interactive experience! Which is why we’re encouraging you to submit questions so we can address them as we tackle some of the most important topics.

Our first segment will go over the history of wild horses and how we arrived at the place we are now. We hope you’ll tune in.


And Finally, A Fun Activity For The Kids At Home


We know that many of you are juggling a number of responsibilities at home, and for those with young kids, we’re offering a way to keep them entertained!

We took a bit of inspiration from Velma Johnston, aka “Wild Horse Annie,” who was the influential wild horse advocate responsible for some of the most important wild horse protections on the books. As part of her campaign to save America’s mustangs, she organized a wildly successful children’s writing brigade that generated national support for mustangs and led to the passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

AWHC hopes to harness that spirit again by getting kids involved in the fight to save our mustangs. A great place to start is with our official children’s activity book: it’s available completely for free and includes coloring pages, a word search, and writing prompts!

That’s our news for the week… our best wishes to you and your loved ones during this difficult time.

American Wild Horse Campaign

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Take Action: Join the members of Congress fighting to protect wild horses

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

We hope that this email finds you well and safe during these difficult times for our nation and our world.

We need to let you know that, despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19 on day-to-day life, our work to protect wild horses and burros continues.

In fact, Congress is working now on appropriations legislation to fund the government for the upcoming fiscal year (which begins on October 1). This presents both dangers that we must remain alert to, and the opportunity to make progress against the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) mass roundup and sterilization plan.

We’re pleased to report that several wild horse champions in Congress are stepping up to protect wild horses.

House Natural Resources Chair Raúl Grijalva (Arizona), Congresswomen Deb Haaland (New Mexico) and Dina Titus (Nevada), and Congressman Steve Cohen (Tennessee) are officially requesting that language be added to any appropriations measures that would:

  • Require more than 10% of the budget of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program to be utilized to implement a humane fertility control program utilizing the proven birth control vaccine PZP;
  • Encourage the BLM to form public/private partnerships with non-profits to expand these programs as alternatives to mass roundups; and
  • BAN federal funds from being used for dangerous surgical sterilization procedures.

If adopted, this would represent a HUGE step forward toward actual reform of the BLM’s broken wild horse and burro roundup program, as well as a HUGE victory in our fight to protect these iconic animals across the West.

From the safety of your homes, and utilizing but a minute of your time, you can make a difference in ensuring that Appropriations Committee members include this critical language to protect our treasured horses and burros in Fiscal Year 2021 spending legislation.

Take Action: Contact your members of Congress and your Senators this weekend.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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An incredible response

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

My name is Deb Walker and I’m AWHC’s Field Representative here in Nevada. I coordinate our amazing team of volunteers on the Virginia Range implementing the world’s largest humane management program for wild horses.

AWHC reached out on Monday asking for donations of $30 to cover the costs of the cornerstone of this program — the $30 fertility control vaccine known as PZP. We’ve had an incredible response and outpouring of support since then.

As a result, we can cover the costs of 321 (!) annual vaccines for wild mares. Our team of volunteers is working hard and I want to let them know we have the supplies we need to not only maintain this program but to expand it!

The one year anniversary of this program is next week. I understand if you are unable to, but if you can, I’d greatly appreciate if you could be one of the 179 generous supporters we need to chip in $30 to reach our 500 PZP vaccine goal before the end of the week.

Thank you so much,

Deb Walker


Nevada Field Representative
American Wild Horse Campaign

 

Read Our Previous Message Below: 

We know that this is a difficult time for the country and for many of you. If you are not in a position to financially support our work, we completely understand. But for those of you who can, give us a moment to explain why we’re asking for $30.

In Nevada’s Virginia Range, AWHC operates the world’s largest humane management program for wild horses. Next week marks the one year anniversary of the establishment of this historic initiative to prove to the world that there is a humane way to manage wild horse populations that doesn’t require mass roundups, crowded holding corrals, dangerous sterilization surgeries or slaughter.

The cornerstone of this highly successful program is the remote darting of wild mares with the scientifically proven fertility vaccine known as ‘PZP’. Our work on the Virginia Range continues uninterrupted despite the COVID-19 pandemic and our volunteers are working hard, day-in and day-out, to vaccinate these mares.

The price of a single mare’s annual PZP vaccine is just $30.

Compare that to the tens of thousands of dollars the Bureau of Land Management spends on the roundup and long-term holding involved in the removal of a single horse.

Let alone the $5 BILLION figure the Acting Director of the BLM is citing as the cost of a plan to round up over 100,000 horses from public lands over the next decade, with the goal of rounding up as many as 20,000 in 2020 alone.

For those of you who are able, we’re asking if you will spare $30 on the 30th to give our darters in Nevada the resources they need to prevent horses from being removed by using this safe and proven vaccine.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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Can we count on you to give $30 on the 30th to cover the cost of a mare’s vaccination?

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We know that this is a difficult time for the country and for many of you. If you are not in a position to financially support our work, we completely understand. But for those of you who can, give us a moment to explain why we’re asking for $30.

In Nevada’s Virginia Range, AWHC operates the world’s largest humane management program for wild horses. Next week marks the one year anniversary of the establishment of this historic initiative to prove to the world that there is a humane way to manage wild horse populations that doesn’t require mass roundups, crowded holding corrals, dangerous sterilization surgeries or slaughter.

The cornerstone of this highly successful program is the remote darting of wild mares with the scientifically proven fertility vaccine known as ‘PZP’. Our work on the Virginia Range continues uninterrupted despite the COVID-19 pandemic and our volunteers are working hard, day-in and day-out, to vaccinate these mares.

The price of a single mare’s annual PZP vaccine is just $30.

Compare that to the tens of thousands of dollars the Bureau of Land Management spends on the roundup and long-term holding involved in the removal of a single horse.

Let alone the $5 BILLION figure the Acting Director of the BLM is citing as the cost of a plan to round up over 100,000 horses from public lands over the next decade, with the goal of rounding up as many as 20,000 in 2020 alone.

For those of you who are able, we’re asking if you will spare $30 on the 30th to give our darters in Nevada the resources they need to prevent horses from being removed by using this safe and proven vaccine.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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The public comment period to save the Black Mountain burros is almost over [take action]

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

DEADLINE: Wednesday, April 1

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comments on a ten-year plan to round up and remove nearly 80% of the wild burros in the Black Mountain Herd Management Area in Arizona.

Your voice is needed today to speak up for one of the nation’s largest and significant remaining wild burro populations.

The wild burros of the Black Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) in Arizona live in a 1.1 million-acre habitat that runs along the Colorado River, from the Hoover Dam to the north to the Needles Bridge in California to the south.

These amazing animals are highly adapted to the Mojave desert environment where they are an important part of the ecosystem — digging wells that make water available to other important wildlife species.

But now they’re being targeted for mass roundup and removal by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under pressure from hunting and livestock interests that view wild burros as pests.

The BLM is now accepting public comments on a ten-year plan to remove 1,700 wild burros (nearly 80% of the herd in the HMA!) as well as skew the sex ratio of the wild population to achieve 6 males for every 4 females — a manipulation that could increase aggression and disrupt the natural behaviors and social organization of these highly intelligent animals.

Instead of mass roundups, the BLM needs to protect this unique burro population and humanely manage it by ending the eradication predators in the area and implementing fertility control if natural controls are not sufficient to regulate the burro population size.

Please weigh in NOW before the April 1 public comment period deadline: Join us in defending the incredible Black Mountain wild burros today →

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

P.S. — If you are not in a position to donate but would still like to support our work, please use AmazonSmile when you shop online and a portion of your purchase will go toward AWHC. Shop using AmazonSmile here.

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A hard-earned victory for Oregon’s Warm Springs wild horse herd

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Victory!

After years of fighting back in the courts and mounting public opposition, the Bureau of Land Management will not conduct cruel sterilization experiments on Oregon’s Warm Springs wild horses.

One of the most inhumane and cruel ways the Bureau of Land Management outlined as a way for “management” of wild horses is the ovariectomy via colpotomy procedure.

This procedure involves manually severing and removing a wild mare’s ovaries in an invasive and outdated surgical procedure that has been called “barbaric” by veterinarians and deemed by the National Academy of Sciences to be too dangerous for use in wild horses.

Not surprisingly, nearly 8 in 10 Americans oppose this procedure — and we’ve sued twice and successfully blocked the BLM from subjecting innocent wild mares to this cruel and risky surgery.

  • In 2016, our lawsuit prompted the BLM to cancel its plan to perform ovariectomy via colpotomy on 225 wild mares — many of them pregnant – rounded up from the Warm Springs Herd Management Area in Oregon.
  • In 2018, we sued again, when the BLM proposed to conduct the same experiments on the same group of mares, many of whom were now nursing dependent foals. This time, the court granted our motion for a federal injunction and the BLM again dropped the project.
  • In 2019, the BLM resurrected the plan incredibly for the third time! We immediately brought the new proposal to the court’s attention, and just last week, the BLM informed the court that it would not proceed with the third proposal.

In each case, we built a coalition, marshalled resources and did what it took to stop these horrific experiments, which veterinarians confirmed would cause extreme pain, bleeding, infection, miscarriage and would interfere with the mares’ ability to nurse and care for their dependent foals.

But that doesn’t mean the BLM will stop trying to surgically sterilize mares. In fact, the agency right now is preparing a management plan for the Swasey HMA in Utah that includes ovariectomy via colpotomy as a management tool.

We must stay vigilant and ready to jump to action to continue to defend wild mares from this brutality. Our victories in Oregon prove that when we work together and fight back hard, we win. 

Please help us build our resources that will be necessary in the fight against this cruelty as it turns to Utah. We can’t do it without your support.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

P.S. — If you are not in a position to donate but would still like to support our work, please use AmazonSmile when you shop online and a portion of your purchase will go toward AWHC. Shop using AmazonSmile here.

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One click can make all the difference

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Online shopping is increasing in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and we wanted to remind you that you can continue to support our work while ordering supplies from Amazon and staying safe in the comfort of your home.

With a single click, you can keep powering the fight to save wild horses and burros.

Instead of logging directly on to amazon.com, go to smile.amazon.com and place your order the next time you buy online using this link, it’s that simple (and if you can, share the link with a couple of friends or on Facebook so they can do the same)!

And speaking of smiles (which everyone can use more of right now), we wanted to share this cute video of a foal that brought a smile to our faces. We hope it brings you as much joy as it did to us.

Thank you and take care – we will overcome this national crisis by staying strong and standing together.

American Wild Horse Campaign

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Our work to defend America’s wild horses and burros continues

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and well during this difficult time.

Like you, we are doing our best to stay up to date on the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a number of developments about our continued work during this time as we take necessary precautions in advocating for our nation’s wild horses and burros.


A Victory For The Salt River Wild Horses In Arizona


This past weekend, we reached out to you about the legislation introduced by AZ Rep. Kelly Townsend. HR 2858 threatened to block lifesaving humane management of the famed Salt River wild horses and was widely opposed not just in Arizona, but also by tens of thousands of Americans all across the country.

Due to concerns over COVID-19, the public was discouraged from attending committee hearings or providing public testimony on legislation. Townsend had publicly stated that her legislation was on hold, only to schedule the unpopular and controversial bill at the last minute for a Monday hearing when the public couldn’t attend.

More than 8,000 of you messaged Townsend and members of the committee to cancel this hearing in a tremendous, last-minute show of force in defense of the Salt River wild horses.

And … good news! The state legislature will only be addressing essential legislation before adjourning at the end of the week, meaning that this dangerous and controversial bill is effectively dead (but we will be carefully monitoring this until the session is officially over to be certain).

Our Work In Congress and On Capitol Hill Continues


As the country faces both a financial and public health crisis, imaginably, this past week was one of the most consequential in Washington, DC in many years.

Most federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, have moved all but the most essential personnel to telework and Congress is doing the same.

This doesn’t, however, put a stop to the legislative work happening in Congress nor will it delay consideration for millions of dollars in additional funding to ramp up the roundup, removal, and potential sterilization of tens of thousands of wild horses in the West.

In fact, Congress’ biggest legislative vehicles, the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriation bills which fund federal agencies and their programs, are currently being drafted with the goal of concluding in the next four to five weeks. We’ve previously highlighted the President’s FY 2021 budget, which asks Congress to throw even more money at the BLM’s broken and inhumane wild horse and burro program (you can read more about it below).

Our fear is that the current appropriations bills will become “must-pass” legislation tied to addressing COVID-19 and the financial crisis, meaning that language and funding that threatens wild horses may slip through as the public focuses on other issues.

That’s why our team was on Capitol Hill last week meeting with Congressional staff in order to have early and influential input on this process in defense of wild horses and burros. Now that Congressional staff, as well as many of our own staff, are working remotely, we’re utilizing every technology available to stay in contact throughout the appropriations process.


The AWHC Legal Team Takes New Steps To Defend Wild Horses In Court


Just as our work in Congress continues, so too, does our work throughout the court system.

Last week, the government filed a motion in our lawsuit against the BLM to stop its proposed ovariectomy via colpotomy experiments on wild mares. Oral arguments are set for March 20th in Portland, Oregon, which has declared a state of emergency.

As a result we will be attending the hearing and providing oral arguments via telephone. This suit is critically important — We partnered with The Cloud Foundation and The Animal Welfare Institute on this suit which is responsible for the BLM decision to abandon its plans to conduct cruel sterilization experiments.

Five days later, on March 25th, our legal team was expected to appear in San Francisco for oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in our lawsuit challenging the BLM’s plan to castrate wild-free roaming stallions in Nevada’s Triple B Complex.

We recently got word that the Courts will be canceling oral arguments for that week meaning that we will either have our hearing rescheduled or the case will be decided on the written briefs submitted previously.

Late last week, AWHC Government Relations and Policy Counsel filed a lawsuit over the BLM’s failure to respond to multiple requests under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking information on various aspects of BLM wild horse and burro policy.

We are seeking records related to a number of secretive meetings between Interior secretaries and BLM officials with livestock special interest groups that may have influenced federal wild horse and burro policy. By failing to provide these records, the BLM and Interior Department have violated the law — So we’re taking action.

Hard At Work: Service Is Uninterrupted At The World’s Largest Wild Horse Fertility Control Program


The great outdoors is, fortunately, one of the safest places to be during this pandemic. That means that our team’s incredible work running the world’s largest wild horse fertility control program on the Virginia Range in Nevada continues on.

Last year, with far fewer resources and staff, our volunteer team of darters outperformed the BLM in providing the birth control vaccine PZP to wild mares — shattering expectations and proving the naysayers wrong.

Each day, we’re proving that there is a better, humane, and far more cost effective way to manage wild horse populations. And each vaccine costs just $30.

Our work continues and we’re so grateful to have your support along the way. Please stay healthy, stay strong, stay safe and stay tuned. We’re all in this together!

American Wild Horse Campaign

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URGENT: Hearing tomorrow on anti-Salt River wild horse bill despite COVID-19 limits on public testimony!

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

Time is not on our side. AZ State Rep. Kelly Townsend is moving forward with a bill, HR 2858, that WILL block lifesaving humane management, leading to harm, suffering, death and ultimately, could lead to the removal of Salt River wild horses that are beloved by Arizonans and people all over the world.

Last month, and each time the horses have been in danger, the public — this includes you — has stood up for these horses, by writing, packing hearing rooms, turning out by the hundreds to rallies, etc.

Tens of thousands of Arizonans signed petitions, contacted their representatives, and packed every single public hearing in a demonstration of overwhelming opposition to these dangerous bills.

But now that public gatherings are being restricted and the public is being discouraged from attending these hearings, Townsend is moving forward with her dangerous and incredibly unpopular bill with a legislative hearing scheduled for TOMORROW!

That means we cannot be there to oppose it and we need you to stand up for these beloved animals one more time. We don’t have much time to mobilize.

From the safety of your homes, please take action online TODAY to stop this attack on the beloved Salt River wild horses.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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Stand Up for Arizona Wild Horses!

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Two populations of iconic wild horses in Arizona need you to speak up for them today! 

The Salt River Wild Horses

In 2015, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced its intent to round up and remove all of the Salt River wild horses from the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix. The announcement was met with sustained public outcry and led to passage of a state law protecting these beloved wild horses in their historic habitat along the lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest.

Now the horses are threatened again by a planning process and proposed management plans that could result in the removal of 350 Salt River horses from the lands they have occupied since the late 1800’s — before the Tonto National Forest even existed!

Please Weigh in by March 12 for the Salt River Horses

The Heber Wild Horses

The Heber wild horses reside in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest near Heber-Overgaard, Arizona. These horses have been under siege over the past several years, with more than two dozen shot to death, including 15 — two entire families — who were gunned down this year alone. Pressure for the removal from the forest is coming from livestock operators who graze cattle on the public lands where the wild horses roam. Now the USFS is developing a Territory Management plan that could result in the removal of 300 or more wild horses from this National Forest.

Please Demand a Fair and Humane Management Plan for the Heber Wild Horses. 

Thank you for standing up for Arizona wild horses. Your voice makes a difference everyday for our cherished wild horses and burros of the American West.

– The AWHC Team

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Meet the woman who inspired a movement: Wild Horse Annie

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We are forever grateful for the historic contributions and lifetime of advocacy of Velma B. Johnston. But many of you probably know her better as “Wild Horse Annie.”

During the 1950’s in Nevada, Wild Horse Annie witnessed firsthand the ruthless and indiscriminate manner in which wild horses were being rounded up from public lands. America’s wild horse population was in rapid decline with ranchers, hunters, and “mustangers” capturing them for commercial slaughter.

From that moment onward, Annie began organizing a grassroots campaign to stop the mistreatment, abuse, and eradication of wild horses, driving national attention to this issue. Her efforts were successful and resulted in the passage of the Wild Horse Annie Act of 1959.

The Wild Horse Annie Act, which prohibited the use of motorized vehicles to hunt wild horses and burros on all public lands, did not include her recommendations for federal protection and management of the wild horse population (meaning that the vast majority of wild horses in the West were still vulnerable and lacked basic protections).

So Annie and the tens of thousands of Americans she inspired continued to push for legislation that would establish those protections. She mobilized so many citizens, especially school children, that wild horse protection was the second most popular issue that constituents wrote to Congress about in 1971.

As a result, Congress unanimously passed the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the most significant and influential piece of legislation affecting wild horses in the U.S..

On International Women’s Day, we wanted to express our deep gratitude to Wild Horse Annie and share with you the hard working and dedicated women who lead and work behind the scenes with the American Wild Horse Campaign.

And most importantly, we want to acknowledge all the women who make our work possible — the volunteers who brave all kinds of weather to dart and document horses in our fertility control program, the donors who fuel our efforts and the supporters who use their voices to speak up for wild horses and burros in their communities, states and on Capitol Hill. You are the backbone of our movement and the key to our success!

We wouldn’t be where we are without Annie and we couldn’t do what we do without the tireless contributions of the women who follow in her footsteps and spend each and every day working to keep America’s wild horses and burros free!

Through each and every one of us, the legacy of Wild Horse Annie lives on.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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What your 2020 AWHC Membership accomplishes →

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Yesterday was World Wildlife Day, a day for celebrating the diverse and incredible animals that inhabit our planet.

But unfortunately, World Wildlife Day also serves as a solemn reminder of the growing threats facing America’s wildlife: particularly our beloved wild horse and burro population.

In fact, they’re up against the greatest threat in generations as Congress considers funding the President’s budget that could result in the removal of as many as 20,000 wild horses and burros from public lands each year. Many of them will spend a lifetime of captivity in crowded holding corrals or sex-segregated pastures, while others could enter the sold-for-slaughter pipeline as bad faith buyers purchase these animals from the BLM and flip them for sale to kill buyers.

Generous supporters like you are the reason we can advocate on their behalf in the Courts (our legal team has a 90% record of success!), document roundups across the West, organize rescues for captured horses, implement the world’s largest humane fertility control management program for wild horses in the Virginia Range in Nevada, and SO much more!

Please,  make a donation in honor of World Wildlife Day to activate your official 2020 AWHC Membership so we can have the resources we need to protect and advocate on behalf of America’s wild horses and burros. Because here at AWHC, every single day is World Wildlife Day!

↓ Activate your membership by donating today! ↓

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

UPDATE: A month of wild horse advocacy and activism

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

While February may be the shortest month of the year, we made the most of each and every day, organizing a handful of national efforts to protect America’s wild horses and burros.

The numbers speak for themselves:

A Show Of Force In Support Of Arizona’s Famed Salt River Horses


Five years ago, AWHC joined up with our local coalition partner the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group to prevent the mass roundup, removal, and slaughter of the famed Salt River wild horses in Arizona.

The year after, our groups worked successfully for the passage of a state law to protect these horses in their historic habitat. But now, the future of the Salt River wild horses is in jeopardy once more.

A new state bill, HB 2858, seeks to amend the Salt River horse protection bill. As currently written, the bill would block lifesaving interventions that are necessary to save horses and safeguard the herd.

The legislation is currently in the House Rules Committee after passing in the Land & Agriculture Committee. State legislators, such as the Land & Agriculture Committee chair Rep. Timothy Dunn, have acknowledged that the bill’s language must be updated to address our concerns before bringing it for a full vote. This week, the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Jay Lawrence, withdrew his support for HB 2858 after sponsor Rep. Kelly Townsend refused to amend it to ensure that humane management will continue to be allowed.

At the same time, momentum is building behind the petition launched by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and AWHC to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in support of a wildlife overpass, which would help ensure the safety and well-being of the Salt River horses: It’s already exceeded our goal of gathering 20,000 signatures!


Joining Forces To Prevent A Dangerous New Precedent In Utah


Photo by Rob Hammer.

This month, the BLM outlined a ten-year plan that would dramatically reduce the wild horse population in the Swasey HMA in Utah, down to as few as 60 horses.

The scary part is, the BLM is hoping to use this plan to establish a new precedent for wild horse population management for years and Administrations to come: One that relies on cruel roundups as well as dangerous surgical sterilization procedures.

Some of these procedures have not even been developed yet, let alone safety tested. Others — such as the cruel ovariectomy via colpotomy procedure that the BLM has been pushing for years — have been criticized by the National Academy of Sciences and veterinarians as too dangerous to perform in wild horses.

The BLM is not considering reductions to the number of privately-owned livestock in the area, further demonstrating that the BLM is more invested in defending the interests of the livestock industry than those of our wild horses and burros.

AWHC joined forces with the Animal Welfare Institute and The Cloud Foundation to submit 33-pages of public comments opposing this plan, including 13,800 of your signatures in a major show of force.


Nearly 70% Of Wild Horses Removed From Nevada’s Eagle Complex


Beginning in mid-January, the BLM began a massive roundup in Nevada’s 743,000-acre Eagle Complex.

When the roundup concluded in late February, 1,716 of the Complex’s 2,484 wild horses were forcibly removed; including 24 reported fatalities. Of those, over 1,600, or roughly 70% of the wild horses in the Eagle Complex, were permanently removed.

The BLM has set the Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Eagle Complex at 139-265 wild horses, a number not supported by science, as the BLM continues its practice of imposing absurdly low population limits for wild horses in order to continue to allocate the vast majority of forage in wild horse habitat to subsidized livestock.


Roundup Slashes Size of Reveille Wild Horse Herd In Half


Another roundup in Nevada concluded this month — The Reveille Roundup resulted in the removal of 113 wild horses from public lands, equating to more than half of the wild horse population in the Reveille HMA.

Often times, our field representatives are the only members of the public onsite to view the roundup operation and ensure the BLM is in compliance with federal law and abiding by animal welfare guidelines. Without them present, it would be incredibly difficult, if not downright impossible, to hold the BLM accountable and report wrongdoing.

As in other areas, the BLM is continually rounding up wild horses in the Reveille HMA so that the public lands there can be primarily used for commercial livestock grazing. In fact, the annual equivalent of 2,000 cow/calf pairs graze a 650,000-acre livestock allotment that overlaps a portion of this HMA, while horse numbers are held at just 82-138.

There is good news out of this HMA, however. The BLM Battle Mountain District has been utilizing fertility control periodically in this herd, and it appears to have reduced the population’s growth rate, which will, in turn, reduce the number of wild horses removed in the future.


Start The Weekend On A Positive Note


Operation Fish Springs Rescue is complete! Over 140,000 of you signed a petition to the BLM to bring Samson and his family home, after the agency trapped and removed them over Thanksgiving weekend last year. Subsequent to launching the petition, advocates learned that the BLM had taken three other bands of beloved Fish Springs horses – those belonging to the stallions Rusty and Rocky and one recently acquired by the famous blue roan stallion Shadow.

Unfortunately, the BLM would not return these horses to their home on our public lands in Nevada, but thanks to a team effort, all of these horses have found a safe landing where they will stay together in their bands.

AWHC was pleased to play a key role in the rescue by taking responsibility for Rocky’s band (Rocky, Copper, Elisa, Luna and Luna’s son Jimmy) and Rusty’s band (Amber, Cinnamon, Belle and Belle’s son Luke) and Shadow, whom BLM would only adopt to a sanctuary after he was deemed “dangerous” following a fight with Rocky in the holding pen.

We are so grateful to AWHC board member Alicia Goetz whose Freedom Reigns Equine Sanctuary is providing a lifetime home for these horses, and to our Board President Ellie Price, whose team at Montgomery Creek Ranch, her mustang refuge, purchased Rocky’s band in the BLM online auction. Ensuring that 11 horses were secured in the BLM’s auction was no easy feat, but working together we got the job done!

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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A better way

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

This past December, Congress authorized a 25% budgetary increase for the Bureau of Land Management’s badly broken Wild Horse and Burro program. Now the Administration is asking Congress to approve an additional 15% budget increase for the program two months later, as the BLM prepares to massively accelerate the roundup and removal of tens of thousands of wild horses.

What’s At Stake

As many of you know, the Acting Director of the BLM referred to wild horses and burros as an “existential threat” to public lands and is planning to use the Bureau’s funds to round up wild horses and burros in unprecedented numbers, with as many as 20,000 at risk of being removed this year alone.

We cannot stress this enough: We are talking about the greatest threat to wild horses in decades.

It is critical to remember that the BLM is not considering reducing the number of privately owned livestock in these areas. This despite the fact that these animals vastly outnumber horses and burros on public land and cost taxpayers as much as $500 million in subsidies for the below market grazing fees that public lands ranchers pay.

For reference, there are anywhere from 700,000 to 1,000,000 cow/calf pairs on public lands compared to the 88,000 federally-protected wild horses and burros (who share this land with the livestock).

Make no mistake about it, this isn’t a coincidence either — It’s the result of intense lobbying on behalf of the livestock industry.

Bad Policy And A Broken Program

The BLM continues to impose extreme limits on wild horse population numbers on public lands throughout the West that have no basis in science and their method of calculating these limits is not transparent to the public nor wildlife researchers and experts.

Additionally, the BLM is also championing the use of inhumane and ineffective population growth suppression methods that focus on the castration of wild stallions and the risky, cruel, and invasive surgical practice known as ovariectomy, whereby a mare’s ovaries are manually severed and removed in an invasive and outdated surgical procedure.

The National Academy of Sciences warned against BLM’s use of ovariectomies on wild mares due to risk of hemorrhage and infection. Castrating stallions would cause loss of testosterone which drives the natural behaviors necessary to maintain social organization and survive in the wild.

BLM is not only charging ahead with surgical sterilization, but the budget indicates that the agency intends to use the appropriations process to amend the Wild Horse and Burro Act to explicitly authorize these surgeries.

It’s also critically important to remember that the vast majority of Americans, of all political backgrounds, are opposed to mass roundups and these surgical procedures.

Another Way to Dump Horses?

While the President’s budget does recognize that the slaughter of America’s wild horses and burros is unacceptable to Congress and the public, we have grave concerns about the request for legislative language to expand the transfer authority of wild horses and burros to tribal entities.

AWHC sees this as another way for the agency to take steps to reduce numbers of wild horses through policies that make it easier to move horses out of holding, strip them of their federal-protection and send them to destinations where their welfare will be impossible to ensure.

A Better Way

Here at AWHC, we’re proving that there is a humane and cost-effective way to keep wild horses and burros on public lands and end the roundup and warehousing of these wild animals in holding pens.

On the Virginia Range in Nevada, our team is operating the world’s largest humane management program of wild horses and burros.

By utilizing a very affordable vaccine, known as PZP, our team has treated more mares in 10 months than the BLM did last year. And each vaccine costs as little as $30 per year.

The President’s budget request is just that: a request. This means we have the chance to work with leaders in Congress to oversee the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, demand the BLM abandon the practices that are not supported by science or the American public, as well as promote effective and safe alternatives that our team has demonstrated work.

Over the last three years, working together, we’ve beat back multiple attempts to legalize the slaughter of wild horses and burros by convincing Congress that the American people will not stand for this lethal and brutally inhumane option. Together, we can meet this newest and most serious threat to the future of America’s wild herds.

Wild horses and burros don’t have a voice. When you donate to AWHC, you give these precious animals more than a voice — You give them a fighting chance. That’s why I’m asking if you will make your first donation of 2020.

Thank you,
Suzanne Roy
Executive Director
American Wild Horse Campaign

Donate

The war against Wyoming’s wild horses

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

For nearly an entire decade, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the livestock industry have worked in tandem in a non-stop offensive against Wyoming’s cherished wild horses.

Since 2011, AWHC, our coalition partner The Cloud Foundation, wildlife photographer Carol Walker, and tens of thousands of dedicated supporters such as yourself have stepped up to defend them.

But Wyoming’s famed wild horses now face their greatest threat yet. The new plan outlined by the BLM would remove nearly 40% of the state’s wild horses from public lands and convert more than 60% of the state’s federally-protected wild horse habitat into land for private grazing interests (roughly 2,500,000 acres).

Our legal team has been heavily involved in fighting back against the BLM’s war against these horses over the past nine years, establishing critical legal precedents, including one which prevents the BLM from removing wild horses from public lands solely because their populations exceed the agency’s imposed population limits (which are not grounded in science or data).

Another of our legal victories stopped the BLM from using a rancher request to remove federally protected wild horses from private lands as an excuse to eradicate them from the public lands as well. These are huge precedents that we’ll build upon as we continue to defend Wyoming wild horses in the fight for their lives this year!

That’s why we’re reaching out to you, as one of our most involved and engaged supporters, to humbly ask if we can count on your support to launch our 2020 AWHC Wyoming Legal Defense Fund.

We’ve set a goal of raising $25,000 toward our newly launched defense fund before the end of the month so we can give Wyoming’s horses a FIGHTING chance to stay wild and free.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

P.S. — The response to our petition drive calling on this Administration to reverse their assault on Wyoming’s wild horses has been incredible. As of today, more than 51,082 of you from all across the United States have stepped up and given a voice to Wyoming’s precious icons.

Help us keep the pressure on and fueling our fight by making your first donation of the year so we can launch our 2020 Wyoming Legal Defense Fund.

Donate

 

Thursday is the public comment deadline to help save the Swasey wild horse herd in Utah

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

Last week, we reached out to you about the alarming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decision to move forward with a ten-year plan that would dramatically reduce the wild horse population in the Swasey Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah, down to as few as 60 horses.

As part of our national effort to combat this cruel plan, nearly 10,000 of you have signed onto our petition which will be an incredible show of force on AWHC’s public comments on the Environmental Assessment of the plan.

The deadline to leave a public comment and join our national petition drive is this Thursday, February 20. After that, the public comment period will be closed.

We noticed you haven’t signed onto our petition yet and wanted to personally reach out before Thursday’s deadline: Can Utah’s wild horses count on you to take just one moment to add your signature to our petition drive?

Thank you! And if you happened to miss our previous message we’re attaching it below.

American Wild Horse Campaign


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing to move forward with a ten-year plan to reduce the wild horse population in the Swasey Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah to just 60 horses.

In order to achieve this, the BLM would authorize mass roundups in the area and greenlight dangerous chemical and surgical sterilization procedures on mares who call these public lands home. One of these methods has been deemed to be dangerous and “inadvisable” for use in wild horses by the National Academy of Sciences, and other methods haven’t even been developed yet…. let alone safety-tested.

The BLM wants to reduce the Swasey mustang population to 60 horses on this 190-square-mile HMA to make room for the more than 7,000 privately-owned, taxpayer-subsidized sheep that annually graze the public lands there.

The truth is: there is more than enough room for wild horses on public lands. But those facts don’t fit the narrative being promoted by the BLM and the livestock industry.

Please take one minute to take action against this dangerous plan. Stand with Utah’s wild horses today!

Thank you for getting involved,

American Wild Horse Campaign

Donate

This is a long read but it’s about the alarming budget the President just released

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

This past December, Congress authorized a 25% budgetary increase for the Bureau of Land Management’s badly broken Wild Horse and Burro program. Now the Administration is asking Congress to approve an additional 15% budget increase for the program two months later, as the BLM prepares to massively accelerate the roundup and removal of tens of thousands of wild horses.

What’s At Stake

As many of you know, the Acting Director of the BLM referred to wild horses and burros as an “existential threat” to public lands and is planning to use the Bureau’s funds to round up wild horses and burros in unprecedented numbers, with as many as 20,000 at risk of being removed this year alone.

We cannot stress this enough: We are talking about the greatest threat to wild horses in decades.

It is critical to remember that the BLM is not considering reducing the number of privately owned livestock in these areas. This despite the fact that these animals vastly outnumber horses and burros on public land and cost taxpayers as much as $500 million in subsidies for the below market grazing fees that public lands ranchers pay.

For reference, there are anywhere from 700,000 to 1,000,000 cow/calf pairs on public lands compared to the 88,000 federally-protected wild horses and burros (who share this land with the livestock).

Make no mistake about it, this isn’t a coincidence either — It’s the result of intense lobbying on behalf of the livestock industry.

Bad Policy And A Broken Program

The BLM continues to impose extreme limits on wild horse population numbers on public lands throughout the West that have no basis in science and their method of calculating these limits is not transparent to the public nor wildlife researchers and experts.

Additionally, the BLM is also championing the use of inhumane and ineffective population growth suppression methods that focus on the castration of wild stallions and the risky, cruel, and invasive surgical practice known as ovariectomy, whereby a mare’s ovaries are manually severed and removed in an invasive and outdated surgical procedure.

The National Academy of Sciences warned against BLM’s use of ovariectomies on wild mares due to risk of hemorrhage and infection. Castrating stallions would cause loss of testosterone which drives the natural behaviors necessary to maintain social organization and survive in the wild.

BLM is not only charging ahead with surgical sterilization, but the budget indicates that the agency intends to use the appropriations process to amend the Wild Horse and Burro Act to explicitly authorize these surgeries.

It’s also critically important to remember that the vast majority of Americans, of all political backgrounds, are opposed to mass roundups and these surgical procedures.

Another Way to Dump Horses?

While the President’s budget does recognize that the slaughter of America’s wild horses and burros is unacceptable to Congress and the public, we have grave concerns about the request for legislative language to expand the transfer authority of wild horses and burros to tribal entities.

AWHC sees this as another way for the agency to take steps to reduce numbers of wild horses through policies that make it easier to move horses out of holding, strip them of their federal-protection and send them to destinations where their welfare will be impossible to ensure.

A Better Way

Here at AWHC, we’re proving that there is a humane and cost-effective way to keep wild horses and burros on public lands and end the roundup and warehousing of these wild animals in holding pens.

On the Virginia Range in Nevada, our team is operating the world’s largest humane management program of wild horses and burros.

By utilizing a very affordable vaccine, known as PZP, our team has treated more mares in 10 months than the BLM did last year. And each vaccine costs as little as $30 per year.

The President’s budget request is just that: a request. This means we have the chance to work with leaders in Congress to oversee the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, demand the BLM abandon the practices that are not supported by science or the American public, as well as promote effective and safe alternatives that our team has demonstrated work.

Over the last three years, working together, we’ve beat back multiple attempts to legalize the slaughter of wild horses and burros by convincing Congress that the American people will not stand for this lethal and brutally inhumane option. Together, we can meet this newest and most serious threat to the future of America’s wild herds.

Wild horses and burros don’t have a voice. When you donate to AWHC, you give these precious animals more than a voice — You give them a fighting chance.

Photo by Nancy Florence.

Thank you,

Suzanne Roy
Executive Director
American Wild Horse Campaign

Donate

Take just one minute to help us stop the BLM from sterilizing Utah’s wild horses (urgent)

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing to move forward with a ten-year plan to reduce the wild horse population in the Swasey Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah to just 60 horses.

In order to achieve this, the BLM would authorize mass roundups in the area and greenlight dangerous chemical and surgical sterilization procedures on mares who call these public lands home. One of these methods has been deemed to be dangerous and “inadvisable” for use in wild horses by the National Academy of Sciences, and other methods haven’t even been developed yet…. let alone safety-tested.

The BLM wants to reduce the Swasey mustang population to 60 horses on this 190-square-mile HMA to make room for the more than 7,000 privately-owned, taxpayer-subsidized sheep that annually graze the public lands there.

The truth is: there is more than enough room for wild horses on public lands. But those facts don’t fit the narrative being promoted by the BLM and the livestock industry.

Please take one minute to take action against this dangerous plan. Stand with Utah’s wild horses today!

Thank you for getting involved,

American Wild Horse Campaign

Donate

A roundup in Nevada, a horse hero in California, and an update on our national effort to save Wyoming’s wild horses

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

It’s been a busy past couple of weeks here at AWHC. We’ve had some heartwarming developments and some developments that broke our hearts — Like the ongoing roundup occurring in Nevada’s Eagle Complex.

As we write this, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is conducting a huge roundup of wild horses in and around the Eagle Complex in Nevada.

This Complex, which spans the Nevada-Utah border, includes the Chokecherry, Eagle, and Mt. Elinor Herd Management Areas (HMAs). Just over 2,000 wild horses call this 750,000 acre — or 1200-square-mile public lands area — home, but the BLM wants to reduce their populations by 80%. When the helicopters leave, just over 400 horses, or one horse per 1,900 acres, will be left!

AWHC’s observer is in the field documenting the roundup in which 1,156 wild horses have so far lost their freedom, with 13 confirmed fatalities.

Last month, AWHC sent a legal letter to the BLM asking for them to postpone this roundup, citing a violation of the public’s First Amendment rights. The BLM failed to list this operation on their public schedule and only provided three days’ notice of its start date — A major shift in the agency’s own practices and one that makes it even more difficult to get observers onsite to document these capture operations. The BLM did not reply to our letter, but they did delay the start of the roundup by 3 days.

You can read our daily reports from the roundup here.

Earlier this week, AWHC began a petition drive to this Administration and the Department of the Interior to call on them to reverse the disastrous decision to round up over one-third of the wild horses in Wyoming.

To put things into perspective, the Wyoming Wild Horse Wipeout would eliminate federally protected wild horses from an expanse of land roughly the size of the State of Connecticut (the area in question is 2,000,000 acres!).

Nearly 4,000 wild horses could be round up, including the wild horses who live along the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Viewing Loop, a significant tourist attraction (and more importantly, historic home for these iconic horses).

Since launching our petition, more than 20,000 of you have signed on to our national call to action to reverse the Wyoming Wild Horse Wipeout. Help us get to 25,000 signatures before the weekend is over by signing here.

And if you would like to learn more about this plan, the private interests promoting it, and what’s at stake — You can read more here.

Something that’s important to keep in mind, however, is that there is hope — And there are generous people all throughout the country who are doing everything they can to save America’s beautiful wild horses and burros.

One of those individuals is Alicia Goetz, the founder of Freedom Reigns Equine Sanctuary and someone we are beyond proud to have as a member of AWHC’s Board of Directors.

Alicia currently runs and founded one of the largest horse sanctuaries in the entire United States. Over the past six years, Alicia has taken in unwanted horses and given them a home on a 4,000 acre property in San Benito County, California.

It wasn’t something she originally set out to do. Alicia got the idea after her daughter began horse riding and she learned about the unfortunate fate that befalls thousands of unwanted horses. So she decided to get involved and make a difference — And she has!

We wanted to thank Alicia for crossing a major milestone: She’s about to accept her 500th horse into Freedom Reigns!

Even better news: The horses coming to Alicia’s are Rocky and Rusty’s bands from the famed Fish Springs HMA in Nevada. Alicia is giving these horses a rare opportunity to stay together with their families and roam free on her beautiful 4,000-acre ranch.

Read more about Alicia and Freedom Reigns here.

Before you go, we also wanted to remind you that it’s not too late to snag one of our 2020 AWHC calendars! There are still eleven months in the year and these calendars make a great gift for the horse lover in your life.

And the best part? A portion of the proceeds go directly to supporting our work to keep America’s wild horses and burros wild as well as to power our efforts to rescue those who have lost their freedom.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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BREAKING: BLM moves to round up as many as 4,000 wild horses in Wyoming

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

The Bureau of Land Management just unveiled a plan that would decimate Wyoming’s wild horse population, reducing the population there by more than one-third.

The Wyoming Wild Horse Wipeout would ERADICATE wild horses from the Salt Wells, Great Divide and White Mountain Herd Management Areas (HMAs) along the famed Wild Horse Scenic Loop. Additionally, the population in the remaining Adobe Town HMA would be slashed significantly.

It’s hard to overstate the irreversible damage this plan will inflict. By the numbers:

3,000+ — The number of wild horses the BLM will permanently remove from the state,

38% — The percentage of the state’s entire wild horse and burro population that would be removed under this plan,

2,500,000 — The number of acres that will be eliminated as wild horse habitat, meaning wild horses will be eradicated from this wide expanse of public land,

0 — The number of wild horses that will remain in the Great Divide Basin, White Mountain and Salt Wells Creek HMAs.

The Checkerboard wild horse population has long been a target of the powerful Rock Springs Grazing Association, whose members profit from steep taxpayer subsidies to support their privately owned cattle and sheep herds on public lands, including in these HMAs.

We cannot allow the BLM to sell out the interests of the American people and our country’s federally protected wild horses and burros to elevate the private profits of the livestock industry.

We set a goal of reaching 10,000 signatures before the end of the day: Join AWHC in calling on the BLM and this Administration to reverse this plan that could result in the removal of more than one-third of Wyoming’s wild horses.

AWHC has been involved in litigation to defend Wyoming’s wild horses since 2011. We’ve achieved a number of victories in the courts, including at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

You can learn more about the Wyoming Wild Horse Wipeout and the areas affected here.

We will continue to do all we can to protect Wyoming’s cherished icons.

Thank you for getting involved,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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