Lafayette Park – 25th March 2010
I want to welcome everyone to March for Mustangs!
It is so important that you could join us today. My name is Priscilla Feral. I am the President of Friends of Animals, an international advocacy group founded in 1957. Our goal is to free animals from cruelty and exploitation in the United States and internationally.
I’ve looked forward to speaking with everyone here from the day I saw a beautiful and riveting documentary about the horse Cloud — work produced by Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation.
We have come here today to change the way our government views and treats Cloud’s extended family: the free-roaming horses and burros of the West.
For decades cattle ranchers have wanted mustangs removed from public lands. And the Bureau of Land Management ““ currently led by Secretary Ken Salazar, has been more than willing to accommodate. Thirty-nine years after Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, we are still working to protect these animals.
As many of you know, Secretary Salazar has a plan to expand the roundups of wild horses and burros and confine them in the Midwestern and Eastern United States, and turn these once free-living animals into shadows of their former selves. Some may be adopted out.
To make matters worse, Secretary Salazar wants to aggressively sterilize horses and burros, including the ones who live free. No free-living animal should endure this kind of manipulation and control.
Wealthy cattle ranchers have grazed hundreds of thousands of animals on the lands Congress designated for wild horses and burros. It is obvious to those of us paying attention that the key reason Salazar’s agency is removing horses is to placate business interests. The fewer horses, the more cattle grazing.
The members, supporters, volunteers, and staff of Friends of Animals want to make it clear: our government has been entrusted to respect and protect the freedom of horses who grace the western states. We have come here to hold our government to this commitment. We hereby demand, now and for good, a moratorium on roundups and reproductive control of the free-roaming horses and burros of the West.
As a community of activists, we have all come together today to let Secretary Salazar and President Obama know that horses and burros do not belong in holding pens, or privatized or slaughtered.
It is their birthright to live as members of the biocommunity, free to run and explore the land that’s been theirs for hundreds of years. The wild horses and burros of the West should never be captured.
On behalf of all of us at Friends of Animals, we thank you again for joining us here today.
President, Friends of Animals