Monday, August 11, 2008

Killing Fields? Save America's Wild Horses

Apparently, wild horses are overrunning the West. To combat this problem, the government would like to trim the estimated 33,000 wild horses that freely roam public lands in 10 Western states to around 27,000. And how will they accomplish this little reduction? Well, euthanasia appears to be at the top of the list, according to articles that appeared in numerous newspapers on Sunday, August 10.

To say I was disgusted about this most recent proposal put out by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is putting it mildly. According to the article I read in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the BLM can no longer afford to care for the mustangs they have rounded up. Since adoption is a costly alternative, they've decided that killing several thousand horses may be a viable solution.

If you've never seen a wild horse up close and in person (i.e. not on Animal Planet), I urge you to put it on that list of things to do before you die. About 10 years ago when I lived in Wyoming, my dad came out for a visit and we decided to search for the wild horse herds who roam the White Mountain Management Area, just north of our Rock Springs home.We headed for the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop Tour, which winds through approximately 25 miles of primarily gravel roads. After an hour or so of bumping along, we saw cowboys rounding up cattle and a few pronghorn antelope, but no horses. With clouds of dust from the road billowing around our car, we'd just about given up spotting a horse when a beautiful white stallion appeared, no more than five feet away. It was incredible.

Sure, I'd seen horses on the side of the road before. But this was different. This horse—and the other eight or nine horses clustered behind him—didn't belong to anyone. They were free. And, for me, their freedom represented a tangible symbol of our natural heritage.

Luckily, there are many animal lovers out there who oppose this "reduction" of wild horses, including celebs like Sheryl Crowe and Willie Nelson. So stand up for our wild horses by sending a letter (it takes no more than two minutes) to the BLM now, before they make a final decision on the future of America's wild horses. Ellen BestFriendsStudios

Photo by Bureau of Land Management/Rock Springs WY Office

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