The image of wild horses running free is so majestic and beautiful that it’s long been the subject of songs and the opening scene of movies. Yet, wild horses in America do not live a beautiful, majestic reality. Despite the fact that “Public lands are the birthright of wild horses and the American people,” as Ginger Fedak, wild horse campaigner at In Defense of Animals told One Green Planet, wild horses in America are mistreated and injured by the government.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has long been having “roundups” in which they use helicopters to frighten horses and round them up. The wild horses are absolutely terrified and confused as the video shows. Foals are separated from their mothers and many horses suffer injuries. These roundups take place so that corporations can exploit the public land that wild horses should have a right to. They’re rounded up for cattle ranchers to have more space for their “livestock” and for oil corporations to use the public land.
Describing just one roundup, Karin Brulliard of the Washington Post writes: “Over four hours, two helicopters pushed 117 horses into the trap. Foals, some weeks old, struggled to keep up. A lone black stallion stumbled under the chopper before relenting and heading into the pen, the gate clanging behind him. Three horses were later euthanized due to injuries, the BLM said.”
To expose the reality of the treatment of wild horses in America, Wild Horse Education and In Defense of Animals (IDA) united forces to put together the graphic video above. They displayed the video on a giant screen outside a key meeting in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, October 29th “where decision-makers prepared to sell out mustangs to animal agriculture and extractive industries for the next 10 years.”
Fedak told One Green Planet: “This is the last chance for wild horses, they are facing a killer blow. We came to the Capitol to expose the scapegoating and horrific suffering of horses on public lands which are being plundered by ranchers and big oil. Public lands are the birthright of wild horses and the American people, not the agriculture and oil industries. We need everyone to take action urgently against this betrayal at www.idausa.org/savehorses.”
Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education, who regularly documents the shocking mistreatment of wild horses and is the only person to have successfully sued the government for animal abuse during round-ups says: “Reality is a complete picture. Corporate interests and federal agencies select and manipulate reality to suit agendas that have nothing to do with science, the law and basic decency. Our wild places are under assault and so are our wild horses. It is our job to expose the things they choose to hide and fight for change, before it is too late.”
A coalition of over 100 organizations proposed humane and cost-effective plan for wild horses in 2018, but decision makers are not even considering it. To speak up for the wild horses, you can contact the Bureau of Land Management to tell them to find a humane way to deal with public lands that does not involve harming or killing wild horses. You can also contact your senators and representatives with the letter and template provided by IDA.
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