Wild horse lovers are going to gather on the West Front Lawn of Capitol Hill today, September 29th, to urge Congress to once again protect our wild horses and burros.
Back in 1971, Congress passed the ‘Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act’ - which states that America’s wild horses are "an integral part of the natural system of the public lands" and this law was enacted to protect them from further "capture, branding, harassment, or death."
However, in 2004, Conrad Burns, a former Republican Senator from Montana, very stealthily inserted a rider into a spending bill which removed over 30 years of federal protection for our remaining wild horses and burros.
As a result, our wild horses and burros are now rounded up, and sold for slaughter.
And today, The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the Interior Department, also now spends about $27 million a year on the wild horses they currently have in captivity, which seems extremely odd considering that they now round up our wild horses and burros that had been living for free, on our public land.
Why do they round them up? To appease commercial cattlemen who also graze their cattle, on our public lands, at greatly reduced government rates, and these commercial cattlemen don't want to share it with our wild horses, burros, and remaining wild buffalo.
But this public land belongs to all American citizens, not only to these commercial business interests.
And our remaining wild horses and burros consume only about 5 percent of the total available forage on these public lands. And when forage consumed by other animals is taken into account, wild horses and burros are responsible for less than 2 percent of its consumption.
And yet, these animals are now being blamed for destroying the land (our public land, which is also supposed to be their public land under federal law); and they are now very callously rounded up and detained in massive government holding pens, and even worse, they are also now being sold and shipped off to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.
Many of us in America believe that they should still be protected, and that they should still be allowed to roam free – on our public lands, as the original legislation intended.
“This is where the 33,000 captured wild horses should be released, but this time under the protection of public servants who really care for them and who will defend their right to freedom, to fill their vacant ecological niche in the natural world. These wide-ranging herbivores are perfect for reducing dry flammable vegetation, re-seeding native plants, and building soils. They are also a wonderful aesthetic resource. And North America is their evolutionary cradle and rightful home,” says wildlife ecologist Craig Downer.">http://www.vickitobin.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/whfill.pdf">Craig Downer.
There is still a ray of hope left for our remaining wild horses. The Restore Our American Mustangs (ROAM) Act has recently passed the House of Representatives, and is now in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, S. 1579.
If you can’t make it to Washington to support America’s wild horses, you can still attempt to help them by contacting the Bureau of Land Management to protest their atrocious management practices. Their website is linked below. Once there, you can send them an e-mail entitled: Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Comments.
">http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm">contact your elected Senators, and urge them to support the ROAM Act, S, 1579.
Please help us to help these once revered national treasures, before it’s too late.