Take time to study these issues, dig deeper, consider all sides (there is some truth in all sides), make your own decisions and keep your mind open to change.
horses belong to all the people of America and they exist on lands
that belong to all the people of America." - Velma "Wild Horse Annie" Johnson
It is not the purpose of this website to be political, yet to ignore the fact that important political questions are out there right now would be negligent. Study and learn, consider all sides, and make your own decisions. And your voice can count! Call, email & write your elected officials. Tell them you care!
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S.1579 - To Restore Federal Protection and Improve Management of America's Wild
Horses & Burros
|What do YOU think?|
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" (Thomas Jefferson)
"Democracy without honest information creates the illusion
of popular consent
First, The Bad News:
1. BURNS RIDER GUTS WHB PROTECTION:
Starting in late 2004, with the surreptitious insertion of the Burns Amendment into the Omnibus Spending Bill, which ended Federal protection for mustangs and burros 10 years old and older, and for younger ones who have failed to be adopted after three offerings (3 Strikes You're Out), through the fight to end horse slaughter plants in the US (which was passed by an overwhelming majority in the House but failed to make the Senate floor before it recessed for fall elections in 2006 ) - horses, especially wild ones, need our efforts to protect them more than ever.
2. BLM Proposes "SUNSET SOLUTION" (death) for 30,000 Wild Horses in Holding Facilities
It's a very tough situation at this point. And yet, the very thought of lining up 30,000 healthy horses and killing them seems unthinkably macabre. So the task at hand is to come up with workable solutions.
30,000 HORSES IN HOLDING?
How'd that happen? The way I understand it, and I may not be entirely correct, is that around the turn of the century, there was tremendous political pressure to get wild horse & burro numbers down to AML. Many HMA's did not even have an AML set yet, so pressure to do that also increased.
The plan, as presented to Congress and approved, was that there would be several years of large-scale round ups, until all herds were within AML. Then the round ups would reduce to just maintenance level. The large roundups needed to bring things down to AML would result in a temporary buildup of animals in holding, and these would be housed in long term sanctuaries, to either live out their lives or await adoption, whichever came first. Congress supported this plan.
Well, obviously, something went haywire with that plan. The reasons and possible reasons and accusations on one side or another are beyond anything I want to get into here. But some obvious factors that don't require finger-pointing are economic and demographic changes resulting in fewer adoptions, and widespread, long-lasting drought conditions which required emergency gathers to prevent widespread animal deaths.
So here we are: more animals in holding than on the range.
Many people feel that gathering should not be the major management tool - that re-aligning the budget away from gathering as the major focus, to favor a combination of birth control, range improvement, water source improvement, cooperation with other range users (rather than fostering competition) and improved and better-funded adoption efforts (A) could have prevented the current crisis in the first place, and (B) should still be enacted before declaring the situation hopeless and killing thousands of healthy horses. S.1579 is an important step toward making any of this happen.
An Assortment of Various Sides of the Euthanasia Discussion:
CLIMATE CHANGE: INCREASING FIRES & DROUGHT
An additional factor that is adding to the problems of wild horses is global climate change. The Great basin area of the US is being affected by global climate change in the form of more frequent and longer-lasting droughts, which make emergency gathers necessary, which adds to the overpopulation of wild horses in government holding facilities.
1. General Economic & Demographic Trends
Horse slaughter for human consumption is now illegal in the US. But now, due to rising feed costs and a poor general economy, there is a crisis in "unwanted horses." Additionally, kill buyers do still take truckloads to Canada and Mexico, where slaughter is even more cruel than it was when US slaughterhouses were open.
Many people believe that allowing regulated slaughterhouses
to re-open is necessary. What do YOU think? Read up and make up your mind.
Okay, mostly I keep this site non-political. But I do have a clear bias here: The NAIS system is "Big Brother" carried to ridiculous extremes. It provides little in real security, since it exempts the large factory farms that are the most likely to produce disease outbreaks. It puts a serious financial and reporting burden on small holders, with no real benefit to society. I don't like it. I am 100% against it.
The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is a proposed national program to identify and track livestock animals, including poultry, horses, cattle, goats and sheep. While NAISís purported goal of disease containment & national security appear to be beneficial, the requirement for ordinary Americans to register privately-owned property for tracking and monitoring purposes has very serious implications for our privacy, rights and freedoms - not to mention the financial burden of micro-chipping all privately owned animals (and note that big agribusiness - where disease is most likely to manifest - is exempt from this regulation! Also note that the micro-chip manufacturing and sales industries are some of the major sponsors of this bill...). Many small farmers and as well as hobby/recreational animal owners will be forced to give up their livestock if this bill becomes law.
"Disease containment" also means knowing where every animal of every species is at all times, so they can be rounded up and slaughtered in the event someone at a high level of government decides this is "in the best interest" of public health or "national security."
There are already perfectly good laws and regulations in place to manage these issues, without become a "Big Brother" society!
NAIS (National Animal Identification System) is not only an attack on personal liberty, it also threatens small holders of livestock with a huge economic burden of micro-chipping, registering & reporting all stock (including poultry, sheep, goats, ponies, horses, donkeys, mules, horses, cows, pigs, or any other livestock not defined as "pet"). NAIS, in the opinion of this writer, threatens our freedom as US Citizens with "Big Brother Is Watching You" surveillance of ordinary citizens. The stated purpose is to be able to quickly locate (and destroy) animals in the case of a disease outbreak (such as bird flu). I'm sorry - I'm just not with this one!
Horse-Unfriendly Zoning and Legislation; Lack of legal protections and increasing liability costs for horse owners.
California is one of only 5 states in the union that do not protect horse activities through Equine Activity Statutes
Currently, the most dire problems for horses (both wild and domestic) in the U.S. are because of widespread drought, which has driven hay prices out of reach for many horse owners, and created starvation crises for wild horses on the range. Emergency gathers are becoming commonplace.
Fires in Southern California in recent summers have left hundreds or perhaps thousands of horses homeless, along with their owners, and many people's hay supplies went up in smoke. This has stretched the horse community's ability to provide emergency housing and feed for the survivors, many of which are owned by people who lost everything and may take months or years to get back on their feet.
4. More about general horse issues:
Educate Yourself! Consider opposing points of view, and make up your own mind. These are not simplistic issues with simplistic, one-size-fits-all answers.
1. "Euthanasia" is OFF for Another Year!
Government delays decision on killing wild horses11/17/2008, 9:04 p.m. EST
By SANDRA CHEREBThe Associated Press
RENO, Nev. (AP) ó The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will round up fewer wild horses and try to shuffle funds within the agency to hold off for now on killing large numbers of the animals in an effort to control herds and spiraling costs, an official said Monday.
Deputy Director Henri Bisson said maintaining the wild horse and burro program for another year will give horse advocates, the BLM, Congress, ranchers and wildlife advocates time to explore possible solutions and let "cooler heads prevail."
"Let's focus on doing something positive before we have to look at last resort tools," Bisson said. "We're not making any decisions today. We're not making any decisions next week."
2. The Ford Foundation established a "Save the Mustang Fund" in the wake of the Burns Rider, after horses purchased under the Burns Rider's new sale authority, began showing up at slaughterhouses. You can donate to this fund now, to help save the thousands more who are still in peril, under the recently-proposed "Sunset Solution."
3. The Mustang Heritage Foundation: This organization, reorganized under the direction of Patty Colbert and Weslie Elliott, is a HUGE shot in the arm for the wild horse world! They have the vision, the commitment, and the know-how to get things done. Watch for the EMM on RFD-TV!
4. California BLM Volunteer Project & Related Volunteerism:
5. Private Enterprise:
Here's a wonderful story about a Reno-area "Green" commercial/industrial park
and Wild Horses;
Same Happening, another report: http://www.kbrhorse.net/news/tri0804.html
6. Private Enterprise/GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP: Cooperation between private horse advocates and the State of Nevada develop water sources to preserve Comstock horses on the range, reduce need for gathers.
American Mustang Foundation's Legacy Ranch Center for Education & Advocacy
The American Mustang Foundation (aka Legacy Ranch) is a California 501(c)3 non--profit corporation with the overall mission to educate the public about the history and plight of the American Mustang to improve the lives of mustangs both on the range and in captivity.
Getting your well-trained horse or burro out to shows and competitions is a great way to show the world that these are animals with merit and value.
Meet the Mustangs Day in Napa and Napa Mustang Days 2009 were the effort of the local Napa Valley Horsemen's Association and California BLM Volunteers to help educate the public about mustangs and burros, while providing a day of fun and camaraderie.
It's amazing how many people today have never even seen a horse at close range. Generally, people get very excited about being able to pet a real horse that is clean and well-behaved. Being an ambassador for Mustangs is usually fun and gratifying.
Ruby and Sparky participating in a public schools Farm Day
Sparky at a BLM adoption
Sparky in a parade
Benny, Sparky & Ruby at a BLM adoption
(photo courtesy of Jeff Fontana, California BLM)
|It's important for today's kids growing up to know and feel good about horses. Here's a meeting of the Napa Valley Horsemen's Association's Junior Club. Horse care and riding are taught to kids who don't have a horse of their own. Sparky, Ruby and & Max, and Lucca, another BLM Mustang, are shown here being perfect kid-friendly ambassadors for both wild horses and all horses.|
Other things you can do:
1. Educate Yourself!
2. Communicate your desires for America's wild horses and burros to your elected officials www.congress.org is a good place to start.
4. PARTICIPATE IN BLM PLANNING! Here's a link to how BLM makes decisions - YOU can participate!
5. More information & long articles on some of these subjects:
since March 7, 2006