The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:
It’s been a wild first two weeks of 2021, but we’re standing strong at AWHC for our wild horses and burros. We’re a few days away from a new Administration and our team has been pushing forward with our plan of action to protect America’s wild free-roaming horses and burros from mass roundups and slaughter.
Just this week, AWHC submitted its First 100 Days Wild Horse Agenda to the Biden Administration with an urgent plea to reform the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) wild horse and burro management program, which is careening toward fiscal and animal welfare disaster.
Urgent action is necessary in light of the BLM’s plan to round up 90,000 wild horses and burros from public lands over the next five years, a move that would triple the number of horses maintained in off-range holding facilities while decimating wild herds at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $1 billion.
This agenda can set the stage for progress and reform of BLM’s inhumane practices.
We’re hopeful that the new administration will take significant steps to rein in the BLM and its mistreatment of our nation’s wild horses and burros. By following our First 100 Days Agenda, the Biden Administration can take necessary first steps to finally granting these iconic animals the protection and humane management they deserve.
The last four years have been marked by an all-out assault on our public lands by the Interior Department under Secretary David Bernhardt and the illegally-serving BLM Director William Perry Pendley. America’s wild horses and burros have not escaped the destruction. Scapegoated for massive environmental damage to public lands caused by the livestock industry, these iconic animals face virtual extinction under the Bernhardt/Pendley Plan to cull wild herds by 70 percent.
And now, in a parting shot, the outgoing Secretary has appointed a public lands rancher who views wild horses as a “protein source” to represent the public interest on the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Read more about this corrupt appointment and AWHC’s vow to fight it here.
Last month, the Sacramento Bee published a one-sided story on the Devil’s Garden wild horse herd, which gave a megaphone to ranchers who want the land where the horses roam for their cattle. The article dismissed wild horse advocates as having a romanticized view of wild horses, who the author believes are better off captured and fed in pens than living free in the wild. On Saturday, the newspaper published AWHC’s response in an OpEd entitled, “How to fix federal mismanagement of California’s wild horse population.” Read the article here.
AWHC continues to fight the mismanagement of the Devil’s Garden wild horses by the U.S. Forest Service, which recently announced that it was selling all wild horses captured in a fall 2020 roundup for $25 a piece. Previous sales of captured Devil’s Garden wild horses have resulted in many disasters, including the escape of two untamed mustangs who are still at large in Pennsylvania, the deaths of 9 horses from salmonella poisoning after being shipped to Florida, and 18 horses delivered to a remote Colorado property that can be inaccessible during the winter months.
Meanwhile, the Forest Service continues to charge ahead with roundups as its main management tool and declined AWHC’s previous offer to fund a pilot fertility control program for this herd, which is California’s largest and most significant wild horse population.
Another massive wild horse roundup is underway, this one in the BLM’s Eagle Complex in eastern Nevada. AWHC’s observer is on site to document this capture operation that aims to remove over 1,000 wild horses and reduce the population to just 139-265 in this 743,000-acre habitat area — that equates to as little as one horse per every 5,345 acres! The BLM is clearing the land of wild horses so that thousands of cattle and sheep can continue to graze this public lands area.
As with any roundup, the scenes we’re witnessing are truly heartbreaking. As of Jan. 15, 412 wild horses have lost their freedom in the Eagle Complex roundup and five have lost their lives.
Below Are Photos Our Observer Took During Eagle Complex Roundup:
Watch a clip from BLM’s first roundup of 2021:
We are working hard to change this — in Congress, in the courts and in the field by showing that humane management works. We need YOU more than ever to keep showing up, speaking up, and supporting our work. Together, we will do everything in our power to protect America’s wild horses.
Thank you for your support, Meredith. Our wild horses — and their continued freedom — depends on all of us.
— The whole team at AWHC