Friday, October 2, 2009
THE WILD HORSES OF AMERICA THAT CONGRESS FORGOT ABOUT
National Parkland Horses Slipped Through Congressional Cracks;
Back in 1971 when the 92nd Congress passed the Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act, it was declared that,
“wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands..”
Under sec. (c) of the Act, the Secretary of the Interior is in charge of the administration of the protection of our wild horses and burros......
“when used in connection with public lands administered by him through the Bureau of Land Management and the Secretary of Agriculture in connection with public lands administered by him through the Forest Service.”
Because the Act does not specifically state lands under the management of the National Parks System, those wild horses and burros roaming within the confines of our National Parks DO NOT enjoy the protections afforded every other wild horse or burro in the Nation, this, despite the provisions of sec.(d) of the Act that gives the legal description specifically defining just what particular wild horses and burros are entitled to protection under the Act;
"wild free-roaming horses and burros" means all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States; There is no specific exception in the act that would intentionally exclude any wild horse or burros on any public lands. The wording here clearly indicates that the intention of the Act was to protect all wild horses and burros ON ALL PUBLIC LANDS, of course!
So how did it come to be that the wild horses and burros that roam upon our National Park Lands were not afforded the protections of the Act? The problem is one of omission as you can see by secion (e) of the Act that describes what is the meaning of “public land”;
(e) "public lands" means any lands administered by the Secretary of the Interior through the Bureau of Land Management or by the Secretary of Agriculture through the Forest Service.
As you can see, the description of “public lands” does not include lands managed by the National Park Service,....EVENTHOUGH the management of our National Park Lands falls under the same direct jurisdiction and supervision of the Department of the Interior. Persuant to section (d) of the Act, the Secretary of the Interior is charged with the protection of “all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States,......not just some.
Why is it important to correct the omission? Because here is what happens to our American wild horses and burros who roam our National Parklands;
On October 23, 2009. there will be a gather of wild horses conducted at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota where 90 of our Nations wild horses and burros will be rounded up and bought directly to a Stockmans Livestock Auction in Dickerson, ND, where they will be auctioned off to the highest bidder WITHOUT RESTRICTION. These horses usually go cheap (not much more than $100 each, sometimes even less) and can you guess where most of them will wind up? Thats right, in equine slaughter houses in Canada or Mexico. There are absolutely no protections for these wild horses and burros that roam our National Park Lands. Dont you think its time to right this terrible wrong? A simple amendment to sec. (c) and (e) of the Act to include “those lands administed by the Sceretary of the Interior through the National Parks System” would do.
Contact your local representatives and ask them to support such an amendment to the Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act. Remind them that is was the intent of the Act to protect all of our Nations wild horses and burros on all of our public lands, not just some.
Also, if you can help the endangered wild horses of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park find safe homes, contact Marylou Webber who will be happy to help you to do that. Below is her contact info and a link to her wonderful blog where you can read more and see pics of some of the beautiful wild horses in TR National Park;
(701) 527 - 3243
Click on title above to go to Marylou's blog;
Thanks for caring. Together, we can make a BIG difference!