In my home state of Oregon, particularly the Central part of the state in which I live, there are regular news stories about the horses roaming on federal lands. Unfortunately, the news is not always positive for these magnificent animals. Just last year, we posted about America’s wild horses at risk. With the upcoming auction season about to start the end of this month, its time to consider how you can help save wild horses and burros.
“Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; (and) that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.”
(Public Law 92-195, December 15, 1971)
As you can see from this online gallery on the Bureau of Land Management’s official site, many wild horses and burros have already been rounded up…. taken off the lands on which they were born and have been grazing. They will be up for auction in less than one month. The reason cited for this annual event is to keep number of the animals down to prevent “overgrazing.” But that’s only part of the story. The approximately 10,000 wild horses that live in the western part of the United States compete with over 3 million cattle for grazing lands.
You can bid on the corralled horses and burros simply by registering online for a $125 fee. The opening bid amount is $125. That’s right – for a mere $250, you could have your own horse. Although the BLM requires that you submit sketches of corrals an shelters, there is no guarantee that the wild horses and burros will end up with a caring owner. Oftentimes, the highest bidder is a slaughterhouse.
Even so, not all animals are so “lucky” to be up for auction. Again, this is from the official BLM website:
“If an overpopulation of wild horses and burros exists on public lands, the BLM gathers excess animals and offers them to the general public for adoption. The BLM presents these animals at adoption events and at BLM facilities throughout the United States. In addition to placing wild horses and burros into good homes through the adoption program, the BLM has direct sale authority that allows the agency to directly sell animals that are more than 10 years old and those younger that have been passed over for adoption at least three times.”
Simply, not all animals will be adopted to homes. In fact, the Bureau of Land Management even declared that it may euthanize some wild horses simply due to the costs of penning and feeding them.
What can be done
If you want to help save wild horses and burros, you’re in the right place!
Among other things, you can sign a Care2 petition, demanding that BLM not kill America’s wild horses. If you want to take it a step further, then participate in legal proceedings which challenge the government’s actions with respect to the herds of horses and burros. Just last week, a judge ruled that BLM cannot remove all the wild horses from an area of Colorado. The lawsuit was initiated by the Colorado Wild Horses and Burros Coalition, the American Mustang and Burro Association, the Cloud Foundation and the Front Range Equine Rescue. A ruling was issued stating that the planned round-up of wild horses would violate the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
The judge rejected the BLM’s argument that the entire herd were “excess animals” within the meaning of federal law.
You can also write directly to the federal government about its round-up and sale/disposal of America’s wild horses:
Don’t stand by and allow this symbol of American freedom to suffer this injustice. You can help save wild horses and burros by making your voice heard!
Wild horses and burros are an enduring symbol of our country’s wild, free beginning (just think of the Mustang logo on Ford’s popular car). Take pride in your efforts to help save these magnificent creatures!