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:
By Kerry Drake, Wyoming News Guest Editorial
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..
Santa Fe Reporter, Gwyneth Doland
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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