Mustangs Under Pressure On Public Land
I drove out of Phoenix this week and stumbled across some small herds of wild horses. It’s been years since I last saw mustangs in Colorado. This treat really recharged my own spirit.
I’ve always loved horses. I rode competitively as a kid in small western events. I showed my horses in 4-H until I switched to sports. Then I grew older and grew away from my horses and I still regret it to this day. Like others, I just ignorantly assumed life was good for the horses of the world, while I spent my time defending abandoned kids and endangered species.
Fortunately, more of us have been called to action by the horse advocates. Like you and others, I’ve been actively advocating against horse slaughter and against the BLM stampedes by bounty hunters in helicopters–followed by horrifying conditions in holding pens (see photo below). But something about seeing these beautiful animals again through new eyes inspired me to push even harder for reforms that will end the abuse of the animals and the taxpayers. If everyone could see these magnificent creatures living unbridled lives in the wilds of the West–especially the policymakers in Washington, DC, who seem to be blind to the public will and the best use of public funds.
Unfortunately, the majority of mustangs are not roaming free like this mare and yearling above (but they must fight for their lives every day). Thousands of mustangs are locked up in stark corrals with no break from the wind or the subzero nights like those in the photo below. They don’t have a fighting chance. It’s totally up to their caretakers and mother nature.
It’s a complicated issue. But we’re talking about public lands and public property. We’re talking about taxpayer dollars being used to subsidize the private interests of a few oil and gas companies, agricultural interests and a few hunters. We have a wild horse and burro program that is misguided at best. Even the National Academy of Sciences has recommended ending the program and the Government Accounting Office has documented the waste. The time for reform is now.
It’s the age of austerity in America. Make the next cut at BLM. Save lives and taxpayers dollars by ending the wild horse and burro cleansing program. These horses were here before the white man stole the land the first time. Write to the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. Tell her what you think about animal abuse and taxpayer abuse for the enrichment of private interests. Reach her via Twitter @SecretaryJewell
I applaud the warriors who defend our mustangs, wolves and other wild creatures around the world. Hopefully, government policy will shift to represent the will of the people, while standing against abuses of animals and taxpayers.
Finally, my big adventure this week reminded me how important it is for us to see animals in their natural habitat to really connect. We need to understand the threats that our expanding human footprint is putting on our diminishing wild spaces. Thanks to all of those dedicated souls who risk life and limb to photograph and film the amazing creatures in our world in ways that inspire us. May we all stay connected with the wild places and the wild creatures that Mother Nature/Almighty have created. May we all be better defenders and neighbors in the future.