The wild horses and burros roaming American lands are few and far between, yet the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) still insists on callous roundups where they chase down these beautiful herds with helicopters and bring them to holding facilities for indefinite periods. Sadly, many eventually end up on the auction block to be taken across U.S. borders to be slaughtered and sold for their meat in countries around the world. What is fueling this disturbing practice? The interests of big cattle ranchers, of course, which are encroaching farther and farther onto wild territory, and ranchers and those that benefit from Big Meat supposedly fear a competition of resources between the cows and horses. However, horses and cows are both herbivores and in no way natural enemies, and on the chance they do cross paths, interactions are entirely peaceful and they share resources like watering holes with no problems.
Another one of these disturbing roundups occurred on August 6, 2018 in the Bible Springs Complex and Sulphur Herd Management Area (HMA) in Southern Utah. A wild horse advocate captured some shocking images of what this roundup entailed, and the photos are catching the attention of concerned citizens across the country and sparking outrage.
Images show BLM helicopters flying dangerously close to the terrified horses.
These horses were chased along barbed wire fences, which caused many to crash into the torturous fencing.
The horses were chased for such great distances and lengths of time that young foals had difficulty keeping up and ended up lost and scared without their mothers.
Blind and injured horses were also chased down for miles at high speeds, and one two-year-old stallion was roped to get him into the trap.
In a letter to BLM Utah State Director Ed Roberson, AWHC stated these aggressive tactics violate the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy for helicopter drives. AWHC Executive Director Suzanne Roy wrote the letter to Roberson, saying, “We call on the BLM to suspend the roundup underway currently in Utah by grounding the helicopters while an investigation is undertaken of the animal welfare violations documented by our observer … There is a way to manage wild horses, and this is not it … Nearly hitting wild horses with helicopters, repeatedly causing them to crash into barbed wire, and stampeding horses in a manner that leaves foals behind is unconscionable.”
Roy continued, “Polls show that 80 percent of Americans want wild horses and burros protected, not destroyed. The way these horses are being treated during this roundup is unnecessary and flat-out inhumane, as well as a serious violation of BLM’s own animal welfare policies.”
Do you love America’s horses and burros and hate seeing them attacked in such an aggressive and dangerous manner, and with the use of taxpayers’ money at that? Then there is a lot you can do to help them in their struggle to survive. For starters, begin with your plate! By ditching meat and opting for plant-based foods instead, you are lessening the demand for more cattle to be raised on wild horse territory. Secondly, you can donate to organizations like the American Wild Horse Campaign that are fighting tirelessly to protect and conserve these glorious equines.
And lastly, spread awareness of the serious issues at hand with your family, friends, and peers. Public pressure ignited by social media recently saved a herd of 78 wild horses from being culled by the Government, so we really do have the power to make a difference! You can do your part to spread awareness by SHARING this with your network so people can see what is really happening to our wild horses.
All Image Source: American Wild Horse Campaign