The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the eighth edition of our weekly newsletter!
Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of July 9th, 2022
Wild Beauty Graces the Cover of the Telluride Daily Planet
We are so grateful that this Thursday, July 7th, 2022 wild horses took center stage in the Telluride Daily Planet! This article written by Eva Thomas officially announced, “Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West” as a submission to the Telluride Film Festival. Director and WBF founder Ashley Avis spoke about the many issues wild horses face and how the documentary will bring light to this cause. WBF is eager for audiences to see the film and hopes that it urges others to stand with wild horses.
Ashley explained to the Telluride Daily Planet, “They’re sticking brands on their necks and basically marking them. Some of these horses get spray painted. It’s disgusting. They don’t have shade, and a lot of them aren’t protected from the elements. They’re all overcrowded, and little babies are laying in piles of their own excrement.” This is something that in our experience and educated opinion, the BLM knows all too well is happening but does not take critical steps to change.
A premiere in Colorado would be fantastic to illuminate the cause, given the state’s overall more progressive mindset about wild horses and the vocal support of Governor Jared Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis. Ashley notes “we have to have a meaningful world premiere to kick off that energy for our entertainment world to pay attention.”
We thank Eva Thomas for writing such a beautiful article and for standing with wild horses! You can read the full article here!
BLM Comes to New Decision in North Lander Complex Management
This week the BLM issued a press release outlining its new management plans for the North Lander Complex. This wild horse complex consists of four herd management areas (HMAs), Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte, Muskrat Basin, and Rock Creek Mountain. Between these four HMAs, there are approximately 2,000 wild horses; however, the BLM wants to reduce this number to as little as 320 horses.
Having a population below 100 horses per HMA is uncalled for and could lead to the extermination of Wyoming’s wild horses altogether.
The BLM claims that while a roundup is not currently on their schedule, that could change, as an emergency roundup could be rescheduled to the end of this year. In addition to roundups, they plan to implement some of the most destructive forms of birth control in wild horses. These options can be irreversible, meaning if the population begins to decline rapidly there may be no way to increase it back to a genetically sustainable number.
These contraceptives include gelding stallions, adjusting sex ratios, implementing IUDs, and administering GonaCon-Equine.
As mentioned in previous newsletters, GonaCon can break down ovaries, leaving mares chemically sterilized after only 2 injections.
Further, the gelding of stallions is irreversible and causes a change in natural herd dynamics which can also be dangerous for the horses.
We must stop this planned eradication of Wyoming’s wild horses by the BLM.
The roundup of Arizona’s Alpine Horses Begins
The U.S. Forest Service announced that they would be conducting a roundup of wild horses in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests this week. According to the Forest Service, wild horses are considered “unauthorized livestock” and are not protected under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
WBF believes this is a false narrative given by the government agency in order to remove horses from the wild without the regulations of the Wild Horses and Burros Act. Despite historical evidence of wild horses being present and thriving in this forest for over a century, the U.S. Forest Service is yet again using the repetitive narrative that these horses are “feral” to push for a roundup and potentially replace the wild horses with privately owned livestock.
Back in March, WBF shared a PSA supporting the roundup reprieve for the Alpine wild horses during foaling season. This PSA included clips from our documentary during our time in Arizona. These horses ignited our imaginations as they moved magically through the deep forests with their families. Because of the outpouring of support these horses received, the 100-day reprieve was granted.
This is proof that our collective voices have power, and we must use them again to fight to keep them wild.
In a press release issued this week, the Forest Service claims these horses are “feral” and are asking members of the public that have “proof of ownership” to come forward and claim their horse. These animals are just as wild as BLM-managed wild horses, but considering they are inside the National Forest, they are treated by the Forest Service as feral horses. Not only are they requesting people to provide “proof of ownership”, they are also making those that come forward pay all expenses incurred in the roundup, feeding, and care of the horses.
The Forest Service says that horses cannot be adopted because “regulations require that feral horses be offered for public sale” meaning that they are easily accessible to kill buyers with intentions of shipping them to slaughter. A planned public sale will occur on July 14th. They claim that they will only be up for private “adoption” sale if there is no minimum bid placed.
However, their press release states that any horses that do not sell “will be taken to a long term safe and humane holding facility, and we will work with interested parties until all horses are sold or transferred.” It can be inferred that horses that are not sold may be transferred or sold to kill buyers.
WBF feels these are lies which are carefully worded, to encourage the public to support their decision in removing the horses from their home.
These horses need us to stand up for them now, more than ever.
This Week’s Call To Action
Stand with the Apache-Sitgreaves Wild Horses
The U.S. Forest Service is currently conducting bait and trap roundups in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. They plan to remove the wild horses who they deem “unauthorized livestock” and replace them with cattle, a type of “authorized” livestock.
These stunning horses are in our upcoming documentary, and have also been tragically targeted in intentional shootings by someone who has entered the forest each year, who has been killing them and seemingly targeting families. The killer has still not been identified, which we find shocking given the evidence WBF has uncovered with other advocates from the region. We hope this individual, and potentially his partner, are brought to justice soon.
Right now, these Arizona based wild horses need you to share your voice. The killings and the targeting of these horses for roundups needs to stop. Please call Arizona Governor Ducey this week at:
Mustang Diary: Erin & Alamo
As announced in a previous newsletter, WBF will be introducing “Mustang Diaries”, a collection of personal stories written by those who have adopted their own wild horse!
Next week, we will kick off Mustang Diaries with Erin and Alamo’s recent journey. Last year, Erin adopted an 11-year-old gelding that was rounded up from the Onaqui herd; a herd that we at WBF keep close to our hearts. We were touched to hear how Erin’s compassion for wild horses inspired her to choose an older gelding that was prone to a life of inhumane suffering if not for her caring heart.
Erin has said that Alamo has been doing great and she continues to learn more about his personality every day! We will be sharing more about Erin’s adoption of Alamo soon so keep an eye out on the blog for their full story!
Right now, eyes are on the Piceance-East Douglas and Buffalo Hills wild horse roundups that have been occurring for the past week. We at WBF stand with these wild horses and are disappointed to see these seemingly protected animals being managed this way by the BLM.
In the Piceance-East Douglas herd management area of northwest Colorado, we have learned that 18 horses have already been captured using bait and trap methods. In this area alone, there have been over 1,300 wild horses roaming these lands; wild, free and healthy.
This does not stop the BLM from reducing their numbers by nearly 83% and claiming that the appropriate management level is a mere 135-235 horses. We feel it is clear the BLM will stop at nothing to force wild horse populations down to “low AML”.
This week, photographers have captured the terrain that the BLM plans to chase the horses through with helicopters.
The area of the roundup is scattered with oil and gas structures which pose extremely dangerous risks to the wild horses as well as other wildlife.
The BLM plans to initiate the helicopter roundup next Friday, July 15th, 2022.
In Nevada’s Buffalo Hills HMA, the BLM reports that they have already rounded up 353 horses in the past eight days. They state that they have not administered any fertility control, and they have shipped 275 horses to the holding facility.
Tragically, there have been 10 deaths so far, two of which were from broken necks in the trap site. These horses fight for their freedom and families within the crowded pens that BLM chases them into and unfortunately some face life-threatening injuries.
This is a perfect example of why all helicopters for BLM herd management use should be grounded. We cannot stand by and let inhumane roundups like this continue.
Glimpse of Wild Beauty
Two wild horses share a nuzzle in this beautiful photo by Sandy Sharkey. Wild horses create tight-knit bonds with their family members, but this familiar and comforting social dynamic is absolutely destroyed when they are rounded up. This is why we are fighting with everything we have to bring wild horses to the world stage very soon with our documentary, WILD BEAUTY so the world knows what is happening.
Stand by for significant calls to action beginning in August. Watch for these calls on our social media.
A Quote to Graze On
“You occasionally see one, and it’s the thrill of a lifetime. But mostly all you ever see is a cloud of dust after they are gone. It’s their stubborn ability to survive that makes them so remarkable.
-Velma “Wild Horse Annie” Johnson
Passionate wild horse advocate, “Wild Horse Annie” was a pioneer for wild horse advocacy. Her letter-writing campaign urged Congress to enact the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. We at WBF want to continue her legacy by closing loopholes that the BLM has found in the act since its passing, and to protect our wild horses for future generations.
Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team
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