Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Madeline Comes to Her Senses / Straight-Talks the BLM!
Dear Friends and Supporters,
On Thursday, January 14th, I joined the crew of ABC's Good Morning America for a tour of the Calico Complex in northern Nevada and observed my first wild horse roundup. On a spectacular day in an area so picturesque it took our breath away. I watched as 51 wild horses were herded by helicopter into corrals and loaded on trucks taken away from the only life and land they have ever known. As I watched, I saw wild horses peering out the back of the trailers looking back at the peaceful and beautiful mountains they would never see again and the feeling was gut-wrenching.
The BLM briefing before the gather was full of stock lines we all have grown accustomed to: “the horses are starving up here in this wonderful country and we are doing them a favor to gather them and take them to holding areas where they will have better conditions.” Most of the wild horses we observed were in good condition and the sight of an undernourished horse was rare, and though the BLM admitted that many were in good condition now, they said they still had to gather them in case something changed later in the year.
The previous day I had a guided tour of the newly constructed wild horse holding facility in Fallon, NV. This is where all the wild horses being gathered in the Calico Complex will be held for an undetermined number of months or years. This facility stands by itself on the outskirts of Fallon with no windbreaks, overhead protection or other means for the wild horses to avoid the harshness of the winter months or the brutal heat of summer, and many of them will certainly be there during both the winter and summer.
While traveling out to the gather, we observed two trucks that passed us on the rough access road and witnessed one horse in the trailer down on its side. When we advised the BLM that we were pretty certain that a horse had fallen and could potentially be trampled, the response was, yes, it happens once in awhile. Perhaps by not loading the trucks with so many horses such incidents could be avoided. But, of course, these gathers are all about expediency.
While the BLM has all the canned answers down pat, there remains so many compelling questions about appropriate numbers of wild horses on the range, the lack of accounting of the acreage that has been taken away from the wild horses over the years, the issues of excess wild horses and where they will go and how we the taxpayers will pay to feed them. And none of the BLM answers speak to those questions in any meaningful way. The BLM presents the argument in such a way that it looks like it is just a matter of removing thousands of wild horses for the good of the horses.
Advocates across America must raise their voices in unison to let the BLM, Congress and the Obama Administration know that this is not simply a numbers game. The very survival of America's wild horses is at stake and putting it into any other context is clouding and distorting the facts. The history of our involvement in protecting certain species in this country tells us that we don't stop until they are totally gone. For those of you who have been on a wild horse gather, you can relate to the sense of loss and despair one feels when these wild horses are led unknowing into a trap and loaded on a trailer and taken away from their homes forever. And for those that have not seen it firsthand, we know that you share our sense of despair as this great American resource is taken off OUR public lands, never to return to the glory of life that has characterized their existence.
Help us stop this tragic approach to managing our wild horses. Write or call your Congressman and/or the Obama Administration and tell them enough is enough. There is still time to save and protect the magnificent wild horses of the West. Please get involved now for the sake of our wild horses.
BLOGGERS NOTE: What I like most about this publication is not so much as what she is saying as what she is not saying. I was scared to death as I read towards the end of the article that Madeleine was going to end it by asking everyone to support the ROAM Act, which I am thinking (and hoping) she really doesnt support anymore, now that the truth is out that it is nothing but a Judas Act that will NOT benefit the wild ones in any way but will rob them of their legal right to remain on their homelands forever.
By the sounds of this letter, it seems as if Medeleine Pickens has come to realize or is coming to realize that all wild horses should be free (with very few exceptions) to run forever upon their historic rangelands.
DITCH the ROAM Act and FIX the 1971 WFHBA