We are positively flummoxed by how groups like American Wild Horse Campaign, the Wild Horses of America Foundation, and the Onaqui Catalogue are celebrating the Onaqui wild horses “return to freedom” on social media, as if these wild horses lives will ever be the same.
The three groups were all invited to observe the release of mares and foals Aug. 8. Apparently, you get invited to the release if you are an advocacy group the Bureau of Land Management can control.
These groups are oblivious that roundups are a terrifying crime against nature. They don’t consider the physical, social and behavioral impacts of roundups during which wild horses are chased by helicopter and separated from their families. Broken bonds with family and friends are excruciating. Experts say the trauma compromises them physically and mentally, putting them on a path of accelerated deterioration.”
Not to mention that the fertility pesticide PZP poses the risk of immediate physical damage to the dosed mares, can increase the mortality rate in foals born to treated mares after the PZP loses its effectiveness, can result in social disruptions among herds with treated mares that can damage long-term herd cohesion that is critical to the health of the animals, and places the wild horses at risk of a genetic bottleneck.
But then again, AWHC boasts about implementing the world’s largest fertility control program right in the U.S. on Nevada’s historic Virginia Range.
Jen Rogers, who guides people on photographic safaris of the Onaqui herd, described a much more gut-wrenching scene on Facebook following the release of some of the Onaqui horses back on the range and the overall lack of respect the BLM has for wild horses. And it’s nothing to celebrate. She writes:
They dumped nine horses including four foals (Moonbeam, Sunshine, Patches and an unnamed grey filly) behind the mountain all by themselves. At least 10 miles as the crow files from the 60 members of the north herd and three of the mother/baby pairs were from the south herd so they were 15 miles from their normal stomping grounds.
I highly doubt they have any clue how to return since they have never set foot in the part of the range which they were dumped out of the livestock trailer, but they also have no stallions to protect or guide them anyways. So there they sat all night. Sitting ducks for the packs of coyotes that pierce the night air and roam the sage strewn hillsides.
Before today was even over, a mare just released was already euthanized for extreme sickness. How exactly does she even manage to pass a vet check when within hours of her release she’s too sick to walk?
Another well-known north stallion released today is plagued with diarrhea. Thank goodness the heat levels are much lower than before, but still it’s absolutely stifling out there in the blazing sun and losing all that extra moisture from loose stool isn’t good.
That does not sound like freedom to us. That does not sound like wild horses flourishing in the their own way. Friends of Animals definition of wild and free means not managing wild horses by keeping them in small herd areas and forcibly drugging them with fertility control pesticides.
We will not celebrate until this rogue, deceitful, meat industry-loving agency is reformed by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and wild horses can truly be returned to freedom.