December 30, 2009

Action Alert: Help Wild Horse Advocates Protest Nevada Roundup

Off topic but worth your attention.

The Organization for American Wild Horse Preservation announces peaceful protests in four major cities Wednesday, December 30 to call animal lovers and legislators to action for the effective management of America's wild horse herds by the US Bureau of Land Management —the federal agency charged with protecting America's wild horses and burros. People who cannot attend are urged to call your congressional representatives in the House and Senate.

Despite legal action by wild horse advocates to forestall it, the Bureau of Land Management began a massive, two-month long  roundup of over 2,500 wild horses from the Calico Mountains in Northwestern Nevada on December 28.

This unnecessary and inhumane roundup takes place in the dead of winter, using helicopters to drive the herds for miles out of the mountains over snowy and icy terrain. Young foals, older horses or pregnant mares bear the brunt of this brutal roundup. Aside from the immediate humane implications is the glaring fact that the US Bureau of Land Management has no viable plan for care or adoption of these horses.

Over the past 10 years, The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has conducted an aggressive wild horse roundup and removal program. As a result, some 30,000 wild horses are living out their lives in federal holding facilities. In fact, the agency now expends more than two-thirds of its budget to care for the once free roaming horses it has collected.

In 2008, the Bureau proposed killing wild horses rather than discontinuing the roundups and implementing proven *in the wild* management solutions.

Removing thousands upon thousands of horses from their legally allocated range to move them into government-run facilities violates the intent of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, which aimed at preserving the horses “where presently found.” This federal law was reaffirmed last August 2009 by the US District Court for the District of Columbia in its decision to prevent the capture of Colorado’s West Douglas herd. In its decision, the Court stated in part: “Congress did not authorize the Bureau of Land Management to “manage” the wild horses by corralling them for private maintenance or long-term care as non-wild free-roaming animals off the public lands.” The Court deemed removal for long-term care to be contrary to Congress’s intent to protect the horses from capture “as components of the public lands.”

The Bureau claims that the horses are being removed to protect the range from overgrazing, yet the wild horse herds represent less than 1 percent of all grazing stock permitted by federal laws in the 500,000-acre Calico Mountains Complex.

Concerned citizens for the preservation of America's wild horse herds are urged to join a peaceful protest today.

Who: AWHPC, In Defense of Animals, The Cloud Foundation and Author Terri Farley

What: Peaceful protest featuring Figaro the horse, Fluffy the donkey and colorful signs and banners.

When: Wed, December 30, 2009. Citizens gather at 11am, press conference at 12 noon.

Where: Outside Sen. Diane Feinstein's office, One Post Street, San Francisco

Why: Call attention to the ongoing, brutal winter roundup of over 2,500 horses off public lands in northwestern Nevada and issue plea for help to Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has always been a friend of  America's wild horses.

Similar rallies will be held Wednesday in Chicago, Denver and London.

If you cannot attend the rallies, you can still have your voices heard:

- Write your representatives in Congress and ask them to protect  America?s wild horses by supporting The ROAM Act (HR 1018/S 1579).

Write to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and ask him to support policy initiatives that protect America?s wild horses on the range where they currently exist, and to issue a moratorium on further round ups until the bureau's mismanagement can be addressed and reformed.

The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

On behalf of the horses, thank you for your support,

The AWHPC Team
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

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