Growing up on the east coast I knew we had horses, lots and lots of horses. None of these were wild free roaming but they were everywhere. We had race horses, carriage horses, barn horses, show horses and the kind I and others learned to ride on. It wasn’t until the 1990’s when I traveled out west did I learn that we also had wild horses running free in the meadows and mountains. I spent several years traveling extensively through all the western wild horse states but never saw 1 wild horse, not 1 and only 2 wild burros. I knew back then the lies the government was telling about over population and over grazing were far from the truth.
For those not living in one of the few western states that still has a wild horse population they don’t know we have wild horses. Millions of people live on the east coast but have no idea our wild horses exist and how they need urgent help to survive. That message has never been clear outside of the Wyoming – California – Arizona triad. Whatever message the wild horse advocacy groups thought they were sending rarely made it past the Kansas state line. That failure meant a loss of millions of potential allies the wild horses and burros should have had. Outside the western states the public just heard ‘horse’ not ‘wild horse’ and therefore did not hear the message they were endangered.
While traveling out west, on many occasions, I was stuck in a livestock jam. There were hundreds maybe thousands of sheep and cows walking all over the road bringing traffic to a standstill. I didn’t know at the time this was actually public land that taxpayers spent billions on to protect. Tens of millions of acres was suppose to be for these wild horses to live free on. Thirty years ago it was obvious there were too few wild horses, too many government lies and far too many livestock eating on the cheap on our public land.
Fossils unearthed have shown that equines originated in North America about 4,000,000 years ago. That predates homo sapiens, us humans, by several million years. Arguably it’s we humans that are non native, invasive and feral and not the equines. In 1971 a law was signed giving free roaming wild horses full legal protection. If a foal was born the day before he was legally protected regardless of where his parents came from. The law DID NOT specify as to how many years horses had to be here for legal protection.
Those who haven’t read the law or understand law argue as to when and where wild horses came to be part of modern day America. Only those looking to remove them use the false term ‘feral’ or ‘non-native’ conveniently forgetting those labels would be best suited for those making such arbitrary claims. In order for that argument to make any sense no equine of any species could ever have been in North America prior to their re-introduction several hundred years ago. Alas science, math and common sense are no longer common these days and many people get caught up in the drama and neglect the facts.
Over the past 50 years the law has never been enforced by the very government agency paid billions to do just that. The Bureau of Land Management is currently rounding up what could be the last of the wild horses. They will be forever lost to all Americans while their land is stolen. Countless law violations over decades yet not one firing no one held accountable. Most of the captured horses and burros are sent to slaughter many directly from being on the range just hours before capture.
Many of the holding facilities are privately owned yet paid for with taxpayer money. The government facilities aren’t any more transparent. What has always been an icon of the west is being slaughtered by the very same people claiming to be patriots and good land stewards. The wild horse and burro issue has some of the most blatant corruption from the government to private contractors and cowboys they hire to many non profits claiming to help but really just cashing in. It’s a travesty and tragedy that did not have to happen.
For years the BLM along with several universities performed heinous experiments on the horses, the kind of things nightmares are made of. The last few years there has been a domino effect of non profits falsely claiming the use of a birth control drug PZP will stop roundups but the roundups have increased. Their narrative shifted to a slowing of roundups but again another untruth. The BLM made clear over two years go they prefer Gonacon which is a sterilant so the entire PZP agenda seems just another way for people to exploit a tragic situation and cash in.
Time is not on the side of our wild horses and burros. Between the obvious lies and those cloaked with nice sounding words there is too much confusion for most to make their way to the truth. After all these years the wild horses of America might truly cease to exist. Only the few rescued might live out their lives in an actual sanctuary though most will continue to suffer in cramped fenced off areas not much better than the government feedlots they were subjected to.
Many will end up in abusive situations and having no legal protection no one will come to their aid. Even the few rescued ones will be the last of their breed as the BLM makes sure those captured and not sent to slaughter are sterilized. Many non profits use the PZP darting program as a money maker but after a few injections of the drug many horses will also be sterile or too sickly to breed anymore.
There are very few genuine advocates for these majestic animals.The well meaning of the many and the bad intentions of the few make this, like most animal causes, ripe for fraud. Ironically the horse, in all their different forms, have served man for thousands of years and we have failed them every time.We owe them everything but give them little in return.
How the BLM spends millions of tax dollars on what should be a protected species is anybody’s guess.
This post was previously published on emagazine.com.
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