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Mass Removal of Wild Horses

May 30, 2005 | Horses / Take Action

Darien, Conn. -- Despite a brief, six-week moratorium on wild horse and burro roundups following the death of 41 wild horses at a slaughterhouse in Illinois, on 1 June 2005 the government resumed capturing and removing these animals from public land.

While the government continues to appease ranchers by confiscating horses and burros to make room for an ever-burgeoning cattle industry, Friends of Animals calls for the end of the roundups that strip horses and burros of their ability to live unmolested on public land.

Last December, a rider called the Burns Amendment was quietly passed, making it easier to slaughter older, unwanted horses. From then until the moratorium began in April, the government has removed 3,346 wild horses and burros. And starting next month, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and other government contractors will continue roundups as expediently as ever; another 5,000-6,000 horses and burros are scheduled to be removed before the end of September.

By proceeding only through September, the government can assure removals go smoothly without being inhibited in any way by a recent amendment introduced by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), passed in the House on 19 May. If enacted in September, that legislation will constitute a ban on the use of tax money for wild horse sales, effective in October - after the forced removal of more than 12,000 wild horses and burros will have taken place throughout the fiscal year.

Although some media reports and one national humane society have called Rahall's efforts "a victory for wild horses," and the Bureau of Land Management recently created a new bill of sale pledging harsher prosecution for those buyers with mal intent, the actions are too little, too late. Thus, Friends of Animals will propose legislation to halt all roundups.

State
Herd Management Area
Start Date
End Date
Planned Removal

New Mexico
Bordo Ataravesdo
01 June 2005
30 June 2005
44

Arizona
Alamo
June
June
30

Arizona
Big Sandy
June
June
20

Arizona
Black Mountain
July
July
50

Arizona
Cibola
July
July
30

Arizona
Havasu
July
July
30

Arizona
Lake Pleasant
July
July
20

Nevada
Fish Creek Complex
01 July 2005
20 July 2005
896

Utah
Outside Vernal
July
July
50

California
Devil’s Garden
01 July 2005
19 July 2005
400

California
Coppersmith
20 July 2005
27 July 2005
290

Nevada
Buck and Bald Complex
15 July 2005
14 Aug 2005
805

California
Fox Hog
22 July 2005
06 Aug 2005
525

Colorado
Spring Creek
21 Aug 2005
25 Aug 2005
50

Utah
Onaqui
15 Aug 2005
20 Aug 2005
165

Wyoming
Salt Wells Creek
15 Aug 2005
28 Aug 2005
325

Oregon
Cold Springs
28 Aug 2005
11 Sept 2005
215

Wyoming
Adobe Town
29 Aug 2005
25 Sept 2005
675

Oregon
Stinkingwater
12 Sept 2005
19 Sept 2005
165

Oregon
Palomino Blue
20 Sept 2005
25 Sept 2005
160

Colorado
Sand Wash
27 Sept 2005
30 Sept 2005
200

** Source: The Bureau of Land Management

Comments

I am an Equine Science major at one of the colleges in the West. True this bill will affect sales of mustangs to the public but there is already a great program in place where a person must own an animal for a year before receiving an actual title to the animal. In that time, BLM officers check up on the animal to see that it has not been sold or mistreated. The mass removal of these animals is to prevent overgrazing on this public land which is also shared by many ranchers who rely on it for their livlihood. Part of the problem is there are no real natural predators for these wild horses remaining in large numbers in the west. Yet if these predators were reintroduced, many would actually go after the cattle and would soon enter the towns creating problems and dangers to our children. The land on which these mustangs graze, if overgrazed, can take up to 100 years to recover from this. The BLM has done a lot of research on this topic and discovered how many animals can safely be supported on this land. I know I would rather just leave the animals be but in today's day and age that is not possible. The view expressed in both your articles is so narrow-minded that it disgusts me to even read your article. You even have many of your facts wrong. There are scientific and logical reasons for this removal although we may not like it. The mustangs after being caught are treated extrememly humanely and are sold to people whom are believed to be trustworthy. Not many people are in today's day and age as many horse owners can tell you. The government itself purchases some of these horses for use in the Border Patrol and military. Mistakes happen. [Blog editors'note follows.] Dear Equine Science major, It comes as no suprise that one of the colleges in the West is not teaching students to transcend a monetarized society and monetarized ethics to match. Would it be acceptable for us to own Equine science majors if we have owned them for a year before receiving an actual title to them? We could have officers check up on the Equine science major to see that it has not been sold or mistreated. The mass removal of the Equine science majors might prevent overgrazing on public lands. After all, it's a known fact -- and we've got it straight -- that the majority of Equine science majors eat hamburgers, causing ranchers to proliferate. Part of the problem is there are no real natural predators for these Equine science majors in the West. We would rather just leave the Equine science majors be, but in today's day and age that is not possible.There are scientific and logical reasons for this removal although we may not like it. The government itself does get a few of these Equine science majors for use in the Border Patrol and military. Mistakes happen.

This is just disgraceful how could anyone do such a thing to these poor horses don't they have any heart?......well obviously not!If that were me having to go get these horses I would be ashamed of myslef!That is just sad that people would do such a thing to the wild and unwanted horses. If you have a horse and give it to these people you should be ashamed of yourslef and NEVER forget yourself, and if you didn't want your horse SELL IT or you shouldnt have got it in the first place!

What can we do to stop this? This must stop. I just had an experience with wild burros, they were gentle and inquisitive, I loved that they were free.

I have 8 rescued PMU horses and 2 recently adopted yearling mustangs (one was on her last chance to be adopted). This is the 21st Century - there has to be someone smart enough to come up with a humane way to solve "unwanted" horse problems. Meanwhile we will just keep rescuing them the best we can. Dixie Neeley [Blog editors' note: Horses shouldn't be privatized and removed from public land. Then the rescues and other related problems of our own making don't formulate.

Does anyone know if it is still legal for rodeo associations to take wild horses and use them in their "wild horse" race events? Are there any laws about how they are transported?

The St. Paul Rodeo held on July 4th has held the Wild Horse Race for more than 70 years and as stated by the Rodeo Association, they have no intention of stopping the event. Horses died in this event - and following an investigation, the Oregon State Police found no acts of animal abuse. Personally, I have stopped attending the rodeo because of unecessary events like this one. In response to a previous commentor, I also studied equine science in grad school and majored in animal science. There was a lot of good scientific investigation being conducted and there was a lot of "junk science" supported by a few special interests. Don't just accept what is being fed to you - question it with the goal of working toward a more sustainable environment.

The Science major person that wrote earier is definitely wrong. By removing these creatures from their natural habitat affecting the environment in a negative way. It is known that horses don't live as long in the wild as they do in captivity. So, overgrazing isn't as big of a problem as mentioned earier. They don't graze in one place for too long and the grass never stops growing. God put these creatures where they are now for a reason. Do we realy want tho start messing around with these poor inocent horses? Imagine a world without wild horses. What would it be like? Explain what that would do to our ecosystem all you Equine Science Majors!!

I’m not saying that slaughtering horses is the answer here, but lets look at the options.... FoA comments: You started out right -- the slaughteering of horses is not the answer. Unfortunately none of the options you went on to list offered a solution beyond the slaughtering of horses. You'll know you have found a good solution to the problem when the solution is a respectful treatment of all horses as free-living beings. Keep in mind we are earnestly looking for a solution for a problem caused by humans, not horses.

in the animated movie watership down,one of the rabbits said that man wouldn't stop until everything was destroyed and another said that no it was because we(the rabbits)were in their way. we as man should do a better job of making sure that animals of all kinds are well cared for.

Its amazing to me that an "equine major" can be so ill informed, and so ignorant to what actually goes on right under his/her nose...just goes to show you all the class room education in the world cannot make up for first hand experience IN the world. That individual should go out on one of those roundups...see the "humane" methods used...give me a break!!! There is NOTHING humane about chasing wild animals with helicopters through a desert, separating by force a herd that is lie a family, penning these animals up, leaving them in the blazing sun with no food or water until they are so weak some of them just collapse...and the notion of using these animals for border patrol or law enforcement is a JOKE...where did THAT fantasy come from? Once these animals are traumatized by the round ups, NO ONE can get near them, much less train them....they are WILD animals, hence the name....and does anyone in their right mind actually think the federal government checks up on these horses??? HA HA HA HA ....and many of the people that DO take them, want to get rid of them soon after because they are so unmanageable...go to www.returntofreedom.org I am there (at the ranch) every summer, and have been for 10 years...you want the truth? A place like that (Return to Freedom) will supply you with it. Living proof...over 200 horses, most of which were rounded up by the BLM...go take a look, and then DO something. make a donation, call your senator, write your congressman...call the White House..SOMETHING...just try!

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