Saving The Onaqui Pt. 9
It’s been absolutely astounding to see the level of international support pouring out to try to save America’s iconic wild mustangs. Here in the states, American’s have been trying everything possible to make our pleas heard and ask that this war against wildlife be stopped. Unfortunately our government has failed universally across party lines. Instead of ramping up efforts to preserve the environment and the wildlife which calls it home, it’s being taken away at a mind boggling pace. The war against wild horses has never been so prolific.
Horses have been proven to be in the America’s long before the settlers arrived and are part of our longstanding ecological history. A common argument for removing wild horses from public lands is always that they are simply “feral” animals that need to be controlled and/or eradicated. However paleontological evidence suggests otherwise.
The majority of American’s oppose roundups. That is true more today than ever. But our elected officials turn a blind eye their own people’s pleas.
THE WILD FREE-ROAMING HORSES AND BURROS ACT OF 1971 (PUBLIC LAW 92-195)
§1331. Congressional findings and declaration of policy Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.
Further the Act goes on to state:
For the purpose of furthering knowledge of wild horse and burro population dynamics and their interrelationship with wildlife, forage and water resources, and assisting him in making his determination as to what constitutes excess animals, the Secretary shall contract for a research study of such animals with such individuals independent of Federal and State government as may be recommended by the National Academy of Sciences for having scientific expertise and special knowledge of wild horse and burro protection….
To read the full act click here
If you’re so inclined, you can read the complete 2013 National Academy of Sciences Review here that systematically details the Bureau of Land Management’s failures to properly manage America’s Wild Horses and Burros and makes detailed recommendations on how to correct each area of mismanagement from a sound, scientific perspective. To date none of the suggestions have been implemented.
The National Academy of Sciences review is particularly important as it is an independent review based on scientific fact based evidence and takes into account each section of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act. It truly is the best tool out there to cite if we want to see a change in this dysfunctional, disorganized and destructive way of “managing” our nation’s treasures.
Now to some ideas of how we can work together with our international friends to draw attention to the decimation of our wild horses and burros before it’s too late. Approximately 60,000 are set for removal of the next 3.5 years. That’s in addition to the 50,000 currently housed in government facilities across the US. Astounding numbers I know.
The following are a list of representatives in the United States who are friends of our horses (and other wildlife) along with their contact information:
- Cory Booker – Senator – New Jersey (202) 224-3224 Washington DC office
2. Steve Cohen – Congressman – Tennessee (Committee of Natural Resources) (901) 544-4131
Mailing Address: The Clifford Davis/Odell Horton Federal Building
167 North Main Street, Ste 369, Memphis TN 38103
3. Bob Menendez – Senator – New Jersey (202) 224-4744
4. Dina Titus – Congresswoman – Nevada (202) 225-5965
Mailing Address: 495 South Main Street, 3rd Floor, Las Vegas, NV 89101
5. Raul Grijalva – Representative – Arizona (Committee of Natural Resources) (202) 225-2435
6. Brian Fitzpatrick – Congressman – Pennsylvania (202) 225-4276
7. Lindsey Graham – Senator – South Carolina (202) 224-5972
8. Dianne Feinstein – Senator – California (202) 224-3841
For International Friends
To those of you in other countries, the best suggestion is to contact your Minister of Environment & Prime Minister urging them to contact their American counterparts to reduce or eliminate livestock grazing on America’s public lands in order to protect America’s wild horses and burros in an effort to reduce methane emissions and reduce climate change.
You can expand on the premise in your own words to say that other countries look to the US to be a world leader in many facets – including animal welfare and environmental protection.
You can reach out to international media outlets and request coverage for this very important issue.
Remind them of the facts and the atrocities being committed against these wild horses. Helicopter roundups where helicopters actually strike horses with their landing gear, they force horses to run into barbed wire fences, they cause spontaneous miscarriage of foals, injuries and illnesses and America’s protected wild horses are being sent to slaughter in Mexico and Canada as we speak.
There are several videos and records of these events to be found on Wild Horse Education website.
You can also send the same message to the American Embassy in your country and ask to get a message to the Ambassador. Be sure to say that you expect a response and ask what the embassy is going to do with your comments.
This is an opportunity for the US to step up and prove that they are still committed to bettering the environment and protecting our national heritage. The US has the perfect opportunity to show that with a change of leadership we are renewing our commitment to be a leader in climate change and protecting the well-being of its citizens, its environment and its heritage.
To that point:
If America wants to be an environmental leader it needs to look at the facts:
- The UN has reported that methane emissions must be cut to avert global temperature rise and the acceleration of climate change
- Reducing methane emissions could provide one quick way to fight against climate change
- Livestock are a major contributor to methane emissions worldwide – estimated at 32% of the methane emissions
- Cows produce 5 times more methane than domestic horses (horses produce 45.5 pounds/year vs cows producing 220 pounds/year)
- The American government to allow cows and sheep to graze on hundreds of millions of acres of public lands
- Millions of international followers visit the US and spend their tourist dollars on these iconic wild horses. They also follow their health, wellbeing and plight on social media America’s iconic Wild Horses & Burros. They are America’s living history and must be protected before it’s too late.
- Currently they are being removed at accelerated levels. The stated goal is to remove 20,000 per year for the next 3.5 year. These are the highest removal numbers in decades.
- This is being done while allowing intensive grazing by commercial livestock to continue in Wild Horse & Burro habitat. Intensive grazing, also known as “seasonal” grazing, puts thousands of head of livestock on public lands where the Bureau of Land Management claims there isn’t even enough forage to sustain less than 20% that amount of horses.
- The western US is facing a mega-drought for the last 10 years and livestock production uses enormous amounts of water which is yet another reason to reduce or eliminate livestock from public lands. Livestock is free to graze on private lands rather than decimate lands belonging to the American public.
- The Dept. of the Interior BLM regulation 43 CFR 4710.5 “allows the agency to temporarily or permanently close public lands to livestock grazing, if necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros” which should be implemented immediately to preserve our wildlife and our environment.
For other details you can browse through previous blogs I’ve written starting with this one https://wildhorsephotosafaris.wordpress.com/2021/07/24/saving-the-onaqui-pt-8/
I’m not even sure there is a right answer on what to say, who to contact, or how to make our leaders listen and take a stand. All I do know is that if we don’t do something and do it in short order the likelihood of our nation’s treasure being around for our children and grandchildren to enjoy is slim to none. We are watching a mass extermination of species take place before our eyes.