At this point, you’re probably either surprised to find out that wild horses still exist, or in shock to discover that these horses are being rounded up. It’s okay, I was there once, too. That summer and fall, I became obsessed with wild horses. Google became by best friend, taking me to countless websites about the wild horses of the Red Desert. I just happened to stumble across an article about the round ups taking place in Wyoming--the very places where I’d seen wild horses for the first time in my entire life. I was sick. How could the government do such a thing to those innocent creatures? Along with my passion for learning and encouraging Natural Horse Care, I became consumed with learning more about why all these wild horses were being rounded up. And let me tell you, what I found out was truly disgusting.
Many times, the saying “finders keepers, losers weepers” is used to defend someone’s property if they were there first. The same should apply to wild horses. Horses evolved in America. DNA of horses from 12,000 to 28,000 years ago in America shows that they only differed 1.2% genetically from horses today. After this time, these horses migrated to other countries and became extinct in North America. They were reintroduced when the Spanish came to America. So, if we’re respecting the ”rule” of “finders keepers”, then all of that land that wild horses once lived on should still belong to them.
But that is not the case. The BLM is taking the land from the horses, and taking the horses from the land. So what happens to these horses when they are rounded up? Once the horses have been steered into a holding pen by a helicopter hovering close behind them, the bands of horses are split up. These herds of horses are like family, but once they are captured, those family bonds are ripped apart. The horses are then taken to short term holding facilities where they are packed in with many other horses. Some horses get lucky and are adopted into loving families. However, many of the horses end up spending many years in long term holding facilities. But these are the lucky horses. In 2004, the Burns Amendment was passed, allowing any horses older than 10 years and those who had been to three auctions and still not adopted to “be made available for sale without limitation, including through auction to the highest bidder, at local sales yards or other convenient livestock facilities.” The BLM was realizing that they had too many horses in captivity and too much money was being spent on keeping these horses alive, so something had to be done. The Burns Amendment allows these “Sales Authority Horses” to be sold to anyone, including slaughter or kill buyers. The BLM claims that they haven’t done this with any of their horses, but there is a lot of evidence that points otherwise. (http://www.propublica.org/article/missing-what-happened-to-wild-horses-tom-davis-bought-from-the-govt )
There is obviously something seriously askew with how these wild horses are being treated and “managed”. I’m not saying that the BLM should suddenly stop rounding up all horses, because the lack of land and predators to the horses would make their populations explode. However, there is no reason for so many horses to be rounded up so dramatically and then sent to kill buyers--there has to be a better way. The BLM has gotten way out of hand. The good news is that other people are concerned about this, too, and are working to stop this. The links below are to websites or videos where you can learn more about what’s happening to America’s wild horses and how you can help stop it.
The Anatomy of a Roundup
Read the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971: http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/92-195.htm
Read the Burns Amendement: http://wildhorsepreservation.org/2004-burns-amendment