Signs of hope and what to do


August 22, 2013

Coming up on the last week in August. Vacations are over, school is starting, Halloween costumes are on sale, politicians are talking about the 2016 elections – life goes on in America, yet the issues involving horses remains unanswered or ignored. The pro-slaughter folks spout their mantras, we come back with our side of the story, but the focus of most folks turn to the only subject that will be discussed around the water-coolers for the rest of the year – football. Somehow we need to get the 80% to start vocalizing. The silent majority has been silent too long.

Make your suggestions and let’s come up with ideas. Please do me one favor – don’t tell me what “I” have to do, tell us what “we” can do together and what part you can play.

A couple of news stories to perk your interest:

Signs of hope for the West’s wild horses?

By Kerry Drake, Wyoming News Guest Editorial

UnknownKen Salazar may not have totally destroyed the Wild Horse and Burro Management Program while he was head of the Interior Department, but he made an already terrible situation far worse.

Now advocates for the animals hope a change at the top leads to some positive changes in a program they believe has been a disaster since it was created by Congress in 1971.

Ginger Kathrens, a filmmaker who has spent the past 19 years documenting the activities of the Pryor Mountain wild horse herd in Wyoming and Montana, said Salazar was a rancher who viewed the animals as pests and implemented policies that treated them as such.

He left office dodging questions about the sale of 1,700 wild horses to one of his Colorado neighbors, who had them slaughtered. The matter is still under investigation.

Under Salazar, the program’s budget more than doubled while most of its efforts failed miserably. The agency now spends 60 percent of the program budget on expenses related to the more than 50,000 horses it rounded up.

The rest is spent “managing” the remaining 38,000 wild horses left roaming the West. But as a damning report issued in June by the National Academy of Sciences noted, that estimate is nothing but a guess.

Kathrens, who lives on a ranch in Westcliffe, Colo., said BLM has just wanted to see wild horses gone, literally managed to extinction. Jeannine Stallings, a long-time animal advocate in Cheyenne, agrees.

“The BLM has failed in its mission 100 percent, on purpose,” Stallings charged.

Stallings, 83, has watched the agency for years. When I interviewed her about the wild horse program in 1987, she said the agency had ignored its studies “because they didn’t get the results they wanted.”

Wearing a yellow T-shirt that proclaims, “Americans Don’t Eat Horses,” Stallings said while she voted for Barack Obama twice and considers him a good president, “He certainly hasn’t been a friend to wild horses.”

Why should anything be different now?  CONTINUED..


What To Do with All the Pretty Horses?

Santa Fe Reporter, Gwyneth Doland

Amid debate over a proposed horse slaughterhouse in Roswell, a question remains: What should New Mexico do with all the unwanted, injured or aging horses? - Alexa Schirtzinger

Amid debate over a proposed horse slaughterhouse in Roswell, a question remains: What should New Mexico do with all the unwanted, injured or aging horses? – Alexa Schirtzinger

The horse that tried to kill me was named Adonis, and he was a beautiful white thoroughbred who stood more than 17 hands (a complicated way of saying: a lot taller than I am). Having been on my college equestrian team, I was eager to ride a fine horse again and maybe show off a little for the gelding’s owner, a new friend. But if Adonis—as his name suggests—were a character in a Harlequin romance, he would have been the handsome rake who breaks the heroine’s heart. And maybe a few bones. 

After a nice walk and a fine trot, I was 30 seconds into what felt like a pretty smooth canter when handsome, gigantic Adonis stopped short and ejected me toward a fence. I landed hard in a mud puddle. Stunned and filthy, but also proud, I got back on, determined to do better, sit deeper, lower my hands, grip tighter. He threw me again.

The next day, I woke up feeling like I’d been beaten with a stick. I had three badly bruised ribs and two sprained ankles. Part of it was my fault. The 19-year-old buns of steel that won so many pretty ribbons had turned into 30-something saddlebags that jiggled like the star of a twerking video. And I’d been too cocky—Adonis was no mellow lesson horse. My ankles hurt for months.

A stable owner had given Adonis to my friend Nick after the horse had thrown a student, causing serious injuries. Nick, an expert rider, hoped that time and effort could bring the horse around. But a few months later, a terrifying incident at the stable convinced him it was time to give up.

“I went to grab the saddle out of the tack barn and came back, and he was just freaking out, like crazy-huge flipping out,” Nick recalls. “He broke the hitch, the big steel ring his halter was clipped to. And I just said, you know, I don’t think this horse is right in the head. Life’s too short to put me or you or anybody in peril for the sake of keeping this animal alive.”

He agonized over the options—Nick believed Adonis was “a genuine liability,” but he didn’t have the money or land to let him live out his days away from people and other animals. The thought of euthanizing him at a busy barn in town felt too practically and emotionally difficult. In the end, Nick found a solution that felt right: he loaded the horse onto a trailer bound for a wild cat sanctuary in Texas, where Adonis would be butchered. His life would end, yes, but he would help the rescued cats live.

It wasn’t a quick or easy decision for Nick, but neither is it quick or easy for other horse owners, government officials, pueblos and tribes to figure out how to manage thousands of wild, abandoned, abused, neglected, injured or dangerous animals. A persistent drought and painful doubling in the price of feed has caused a spike in the number of unwanted horses just as a loud, emotional debate rages over a proposed horse slaughter facility in Roswell.

CONTINUED… (There is a lot more to this story and well worth reading)


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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Louise Martin

    What about all of us drawing attention by starting a boycott of beef industry. Committ to not buying beef , not even fast food hamburgers for 3 weeks and give reason – destruction our nation’s wild horses . If a large enough segment of the population did this it would hit corporate cattle ranching in the pocketbook and draw nationwide media attention to how America feels-like Boston tea party. Also, I do believe a national media ad campaign is needed. The general public does not realize what is happening. Media waters it down. Social media keeps the advocates involved but the general public doesnt see the horror of it. Peta does ad campaigns and is very successful. The horse advocates including the non- profits could raise the funds by working together as a group to determine the cost then working together to get the donations to make it happen. I am willing to work on either of these, I just need yours and others thoughts and opinions as to whether either of these actions would help and if so if advocates would be willing to work together. I worked for 10 years for a health non- profit and I know how effective ad campaigns are to sway opinion.

    August 22, 2013
  • Geri

    Now I don’t think that any of my comments were ever deleted because of political content-but as long as polititians in Washington and judges(who are politicians by the way)(and are only interested in money and re-election)are making the decisions on our wild horses-politics is a part of this quandry we find ourselves in-and until as a group we finally admit that~~~all we are doing is raising dust in the pasture.

    August 22, 2013
  • Cornelia Spillman

    Louise, you are on to something…..the general public does not know what is going on. We do need nationwide media. Where do we start???

    August 22, 2013
    • Louise Martin

      Response To Cornelia. If we can get at least 20 committed people to work together to launch then we could move forward. The point is that public action such as a boycott(if big enough to be in the national mainstream news and if the boycott actually effects a segment of the economy would put a squeeze on special interests, lobbyists and the political arena. I would still like opinions of this from some of the leadership in the Wild Horse Advocacy arena to make an informed decision. Give the pros and cons on the ideas. I live in Reno, Nevada. Basically, it would be the people rising up to effect change. It would take a huge amount of work and dedication from advocates. The ad campaign is no doubt easier but implementing both would be even better.

      August 22, 2013
  • Geri

    If our abusers were not in Washington maybe we could get this response.

    August 22, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    This is one idea some young girl came up with, I think it is a good one really, although I just called my vet he was not in spoke to his helper and she disappointed me immensely, committee’s she made was a joke if its regulated and there is a withdrawal period for the bute and done humanly HA…. SO I had a few choice words, wonder how my actual VET THINKS,?? GOD, but anyway here is her idea…

    I also have called my Farm Bureau, Agriculture Office and Cattleman Office actually I wrote to them, and said IF horse slaughter is NOT Banned 80% of this country is going to boycott beef, and if you think I am joking wait and see sense you seem to endorse horse slaughter this is OUR WAY to FIGHT BACK…. SO if everyone called might stir the pot???? BUT really we NEED NATIONAL MEDIA for ALL TO SEE to make a BIG IMPACT….

    August 22, 2013
  • Louise Martin

    Debbie would you be willing to help work with a boycott if it comes to that anf?

    August 23, 2013
  • Louise Martin

    I agree on national media and still think an ad campaign is good because if ads are paid for you are not dependent on the media who usually water down the reality.

    August 23, 2013