Activists from across the country descend on DC to join the March for Mustangs
Washington, DC - The international animal advocacy group Friends of Animals (FoA) and the Cloud Foundation's Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Ginger Kathrens are calling on President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to end the round up and confinement of wild horses and burros living on public lands in the western United States.
March for Mustangs, organized by FoA, will be joined by actor Wendie Malick (from the hit shows "Just Shoot Me" and "Frasier"), the Cloud Foundation and a host of other prominent horse advocates. The event will take place on Thursday, 25 March at 1 pm in Lafayette Square Park, across from the White House. It will be followed by a march to the Department of the Interior building (17th and C Streets, N.W.), where FoA President Priscilla Feral will deliver an open letter to Secretary Salazar.
"Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 in response to a public outcry against roundups. That year, our government assured its people that horses and burros will be safe and free to live on their terms on public lands," Writes FoA President Priscilla Feral in the letter. "Yet during the next 39 years, the Bureau of Land Management has misrepresented and ignored the purpose and spirit of the law to appease those who want the land for private profit. Under your watch, this ugly trend continues."
During the BLM roundups, wild horses and burros are chased down by BLM contractors in trucks and helicopters. Many die in the process. The vast majority of those who survive spend the rest of their lives trapped in government holding pens.
Secretary Salazar has proposed a new plan that would expand the capture and confinement of wild horses and burros. Under his plan, tens of thousands of additional mustangs (mares and neutered stallions) would be rounded up and sent to holding facilities in the Midwest and Eastern U.S. The plan would eliminate many of the wild herds that currently exist and mandate the aggressive sterilization of the remaining horses and burros.
An estimated 15,000 or fewer wild horses and burros remain on public lands, while more than 36,000 are already confined in holding pens. At the same time cattle ranchers are grazing hundreds of thousands of animals on these same rangelands. FoA charges that the government is confining and sterilizing horses and burros, at significant expense to taxpayers, simply to appease the cattle ranchers and other who profit from their removal.
"Public lands are not the domain of profiteers. They belong to everyone. Leasing them at below-market rates to grazing interests makes for a classic conflict-of-interest scenario," added Feral. "Are you truly concerned about the degradation of the rangelands? Stop handing out grazing leases, and we could let the mustangs be."
FoA is also urging Congress to pass legislation further protecting wild horses and burros, and ensure that these free-living animals remain a vital and thriving part of the American West.
Read a copy of FoA's letter to Secretary Salazar.
Please contact Secretary Ken Salazar directly, and demand an end to the wild horse round-ups. Write, e-mail or call:
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Phone: (202) 208-3100