The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the thirteenth edition of our weekly newsletter!
Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of August 13th, 2022
Mackenzie Foy and Ghost during “A Day with a Horse” Event for St. Jude
WBF’s Second Annual Short Story Competition Now Accepting Submissions
Do you want to raise your voice to help horses while being creative at the same time? Elementary students (ages 5-10), Middle-grade students (ages 10-14), and High School students (ages 14-18) are invited to submit a short story for WBF’s second annual Short Story competition!
The 2022 theme will be “Connection & Wild Horses”
Winning stories will be read aloud by equine-loving celebrities on our WBF social media, with one Grand Prize Winner and Four Finalists in each category receiving amazing prizes!
Start thinking about your stories now!
Entries Open: August 13th, 2022
Submissions Close: October 31st, 2022
Winners Announced: Late November!
A still of the Delta Holding Facility from our upcoming WILD BEAUTY documentary
Utah Off-Range Holding Facility Evaluations Released
This week, The Salt Lake Tribune released an article highlighting the recent evaluations to come out of holding facilities in their state. In late June, Utah’s three primary off-range holding facilities were inspected per the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program. The Delta, Axtell, and Sutherland holding facilities were noncompliant with biosecurity standards, with all three facilities scoring between 85 and 88 (out of a possible 100 percent compliance).
Axtell holding facility received an overall animal welfare score of 88% on their evaluation, with the key concern being horses left without vaccination boosters for up to 18 months.
Similarly at Sutherland, horses were left unvaccinated for rabies, tetanus, equine flu, and other contagious diseases. Another concern at this facility was healthy horses sharing pens with sick horses. Per the BLM guidelines, sick horses must be quarantined from the rest of the healthy population, leaving Sutherland holding facility with a score of 87.
The only BLM-owned and operated facility, Delta Wild Horse and Burro Facility, received the lowest overall animal welfare score of 85%. Delta was also non-compliant on biosecurity standards concerning testing and vaccination, as well as housed sick and healthy horses in pens together. In addition to the health concerns, Delta was cited for having unsafe fence panels and gates, putting horses at risk of serious injury, and the transfer of horses between facilities without proper documentation.
The high scores the BLM gave itself in spite of serious biosecurity deficiencies, failure to vaccinate, and dangerous conditions in the facilities is problematic and reminds us of the agency’s self-assessment score of 83 when it evaluated the holding facility at Cañon City, Colorado, where nearly 150 wild horses died from an outbreak of influenza. A more honest and transparent means of auditing these facilities would be for independent veterinarians and equine welfare experts to be allowed to inspect them and issue a report detailing their findings. We will continue to encourage the BLM to be open to greater honesty and transparency, and to welcoming outside experts to participate in the assessment process.
With these new reviews now under in the public eye, we can only hope that this encourages the BLM to take action in improving their facilities for the safety of the wild horses they are managing. We thank Anastasia Hufham for writing this article and standing with wild horses.
BLM Announces Potential Herd Management Partnerships with Private and Public Groups
This week, the BLM issued a press release announcing opportunities for local and state governments, tribes, federal agencies, and non-profit organizations to support the management of our country’s wild horses and burros. The Bureau of Land Management introduced new grants available to interested partners that would assist in protecting wild horses and burros on public lands.
The BLM Wild Horse and Burro Division Chief explained that these groups would help improve habitat quality, find homes for wild horses in holding, and/or apply birth control on the range. While we at WBF do not condone the inhumane actions of the BLM and their contractors during this year’s roundup season, it is encouraging to know that if the BLM honors this program, there is potential for more direct involvement by groups who aim to safely protect and stand with our wild horses and their rightful place on our public lands.
If executed appropriately, this plan could promote education and partnership between wild horse activists, the government officials that manage our wild horses, and the general public. We at WBF have seen the BLM’s failure to act on similar proposals in the past, and urge the public to hold them accountable for following through with these newly announced partnerships.
We hope that the BLM carries out these plans effectively and allows honorable wild horse organizations and knowledgeable groups to be involved in the management of the country’s wild horse population. We will bring you updates when partnerships are announced and the BLM’s plan is implemented. Until then, you can read the announcement here and learn how to submit an application to join the cause.
This Week’s Call To Action
Share a Photo with the Hashtag #WildHorseTeamwork
This is where you come in.
At WBF, we believe that we are stronger together. Wild horses need our collective voices, which is why we would like to encourage everyone to participate in #wildhorseteamwork
Join us! Share this banner on your social media pages if you believe in it, too!
Photographer Carol Walker Urges BLM to Better Protect Colorado’s Wild Horses
In a recent article in the Denver Post, wildlife photographer and friend of WBF, Carol Walker, voiced her opinions on the record roundups of Colorado’s wild horse herds. She told the Denver Post first-hand accounts of how she has witnessed the BLM mistreat wild horses within the state, voicing “While Colorado BLM agents continually assure us of their commitment to ‘humane handling and treatment of wild horses and burros’, the spectacle of these chaotic exercises in ‘management’ and documented results tell another story”
Carol is the author of the upcoming book, “Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert” in which she follows the Red Desert wild horse herd for several years, documenting their life in the wild until the helicopter descends and takes them away from their life of freedom. In this book, Carol continues to fight for the animals she spent so much time with; attending adoption events, tracking down family members, and making sure that the herd finds peace in a safe sanctuary.
We thank Carol for using her voice to stand with the rest of the state’s wild horses to keep another inhumane helicopter roundup from happening again. You can read her full article from this week’s issue of The Denver Post here!
A still of the title card of the upcoming WILD BEAUTY documentary
It’s Official! Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West to Debut at Breckenridge Film Festival
If you did not attend our Facebook Live with the lovely Kimerlee Curyl, you might have missed our very exciting announcement about our upcoming documentary, Wild Beauty! Kimerlee joined us live to discuss positivity, creativity and finding your own agency within the wild horse world, all important topics that we cannot forget as we stand with wild horses. You can watch the full recording of the Facebook Live here!
We are excited to announce that the world premiere of Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West will be September 18th at the Breckenridge Film Festival in Colorado!
With just a little over a month before the film’s world premiere, we cannot wait to be able to bring wild horses to the world stage! The premiere will be followed by Wild Beauty’s debut at the Boston Film Festival on September 24th where we hope to spread even more awareness about the beauty of our wild horses!
We at WBF thank everyone who was involved in bringing this documentary to life and look forward to sharing more about the film as it makes its film festival debut this fall! For those who wish to see the film, we encourage you to purchase tickets to the events and come and find us as we bring the beauty of wild horses to the screen!
Glimpse of Wild Beauty
Photographer Jim Brown captures a breathtaking scene as two wild horses run playfully across the open range.
A Quote to Graze On
“The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for”
There is no beauty quite like our wild world. We must continue to protect its natural artistry during our time so it can be inherited by the generations to follow.
Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team
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