Yesterday, on theNational Day of the Horse,theAnimal Welfare Institute and theAmerican Wild Horse Campaign, along with more than70,000 supporters,petitioned the Secretary of the Interior Deb Haalandto stop the largest wild horse roundup inUnited States’history. The roundup is taking place in the Checkerboard region ofWyoming.
The ongoing roundup of 3,555 wild horses, nearly half of Wyoming’s wild horse population, is being organized and funded by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), even as the nation prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act on December 15th. The BLM’s operation will leave 3.4 million acres of land, the vast majority of which is public land owned by all Americans, virtually devoid of wild horses. This harms the local economy that counts on these cherished animals as an important tourist attraction.
“What is happening in Wyoming is a travesty in terms of how federally protected mustangs should be treated. The scope of the Checkerboard roundup is unprecedented, but it is indicative of an even larger and systemic problem, the federal government’s botched management of our nation’s wild horses,” Joanna Grossman, Ph.D., equine program manager and senior advisor at the Animal Welfare Institute, told WAN. “During these brutal helicopter roundups, horses are literally running for their lives while being chased by low-flying aircraft. Some horses have already lost their lives after breaking their necks or limbs. Thousands will lose their freedom and families forever as a result of this massive Wyoming operation.”
As noted by AWI, in the past two weeks, horses in the Wyoming Checkerboard roundup have died after crashing into panels and breaking their necks; one mare died of a ruptured uterus.
“The 50th anniversary of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act should be a time to celebrate these iconic animals that are inextricably linked to America’s history,” continued Grossman. “But, the Bureau of Land Management’s longstanding callous approach to wild horse management underscores the chasm between the harsh reality of what is happening on the ground and the statutory mandate to protect wild horses from harassment and death.”
Before delivering the petition, the organizations held a rally outside the Department of the Interior opposing the brutal roundups and calling for more humane management methods.
In 2004, Congress designated December 13th the National Day of the Horse to acknowledge the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States. Despite this proclamation, panicked wild horses continue to be stampeded by helicopters into temporary corrals and separated from their families. This is shockingly a part of the BLM’s flawed management philosophy that costs taxpayers more than $60 millionperyear.
“The current assault on Wyoming’s wild horses is emblematic of our government’s 50-year failure to live up to its legal obligation to protect these animals,” stated Holly Gann Bice, director of government relations for the American Wild Horse Campaign. “The BLM is pursuing a mass roundup plan that will cost taxpayers $5 billion, slash wild herds to near extinction levels, and could result in the mass slaughter of these cherished animals.”
Currently, the BLM, which manages most of America’s wild horses, spends less than 1% of its budget on fertility control. In a historic move earlier this year, House and Senate lawmakers set aside $11 million in the fiscal year 2022 for the agency to administer reversible fertility control vaccines. If implemented, humane fertility control will ultimately keep these animals in the wild where they belong.
Sign the petition to oppose the roundup of half of Wyoming’s wild horses, HERE!
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