Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Unified Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Wild Horse & Burro Roundups

November 18, 2009


For immediate release

A Unified Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Wild Horse & Burro Roundups

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (The Cloud Foundation and Equine Welfare Alliance) – November 18, 2009

120 Organizations, celebrities and scientists in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa signed onto the following letter sent to the President, Congress and the Department of the Interior to rein in the Bureau of Land Management today.

A Unified Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Wild Horse & Burro Roundups And a humane, fiscally responsible plan for preserving and protecting the iconic,free-roaming wild horses and burros of the American West

President Obama, Members of Congress and the Department of the Interior:

We, the undersigned, request major changes to the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program. This must begin with an immediate moratorium on all roundups. While we agree that the program is in dire need of reform, and we applaud your Administration's commitment to avoid BLM’s suggested mass-killing of horses, the plan outlined in October by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar raises numerous concerns. These include:

· Perpetuating the flawed assumption that wild horses and burros are overpopulating their Western ranges. In reality, the BLM has no accurate current inventory of the 37,000 wild horses and burros it claims remain on public lands. Independent analysis of BLM’s own numbers reveal there may be only 15,000 wild horses remaining on public lands.

· Continuing the mass removal of wild horses and burros from their rightful Western ranges: The BLM intends to spend over $30 million in Fiscal Year 2010 to capture more than 12,000 wild horses and burros. This stockpiling of horses continues even as an astounding 32,000 are already being held in government holding facilities at enormous taxpayer expense.

· Scapegoating wild horses and burros for range deterioration even though they comprise only a tiny fraction of animals and wildlife grazing our public lands. Far greater damage is caused by privately-owned livestock, which outnumber the horses more than 100 to 1.

· Moving wild horses and burros east off their Western homelands to “sanctuaries” in the east and Midwest at an initial cost of $96 million creates significant health concerns if animals adapted to western landscapes are managed on wet ground and rich grasses.

Removing tens of thousands of horses and burros from their legally-designated Western ranges and moving them into government-run facilities subverts the intent of the 1971 Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act, which mandated that horses be preserved “where presently found.” A 2009 DC district court case held that “Congress did not authorize BLM to “manage” the wild horses and burros by corralling them for private maintenance or long-term care as non-wild free-roaming animals off the public lands.”

We appreciate your Administration's recognition of the horses’ value as an ecotourism resource. However, the display of captive, non-reproducing herds in eastern pastures renders them little more than zoo exhibits, further discounting the contribution to our history and the future of the American West.

We believe that workable solutions to create a healthy “multiple use” of public rangelands, protect the ecological balance of all wildlife, and preserve America's wild horses and burros in their rightful, legally protected home can be achieved. We are calling on the Obama Administration to reform the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Management Program.

We ask that you reverse the current course and immediately take the following actions:

1) Place a moratorium on all roundups until accurate and independent assessments of population numbers and range conditions are made available and a final, long-term solution is formalized.

2) Restore protections included in the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Update existing laws that protect wild horses by reopening certain public lands to the mustangs and burros, thus decreasing the number in captivity. Return healthy wild horses and burros in holding to all available acres of public land designated primarily for their use in 1971. If these lands are not available, equivalent and appropriate western public lands should be added in their place.

3) Support federal grazing permit buybacks. Reduce livestock grazing and reanalyze appropriate management levels for herd management areas to allow for self-sustaining, genetically-viable herds to exist in the west.

4) Conduct Congressional hearings regarding the mismanagement of our wild herds and further investigate the inability of BLM to correct the shortcomings of the program as audited by the Government Accountability Office’s 1990, 1991 and 2008 reports.

Supported by the undersigned on November 16, 2009 (see list of supporters below)

Contact: Ginger Kathrens

The Cloud Foundation


John Holland

Equine Welfare Alliance


List of supporters:
The Undersigned Hereby Unite As One Voice Calling For An Immediate Moratorium On Wild Horse & Burro Round-Ups

Autonomous Makana Ndlambe Horse & Livestock Association, South Africa

Adapting Gaits, Inc.

Alex Brown Racing

American Horse Defense Fund

Americans Against Horse Slaughter

Americans Against Horse Slaughter in Arizona

Andean Tapir Fund

Angel's Gate Hospice & Rehabilitation Home for Animals

Animal Healing Connection

Animal Health and Safety Associates/Pixie Projects

Animal Iridology Center

Animal Law Coalition

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Animals' Angels

Beauty's Haven Farm & Equine Rescue, Inc.

Brad Woodard, Reporter

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

Castleton Ranch Horse Rescue, Inc.

Chantal Westermann, former ABC reporter

The Cloud Foundation

Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition

The Conquistador Equine Rescue and Advocacy Program

Cornwalls Voice for Animals

Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist and author

Senator Dave Wanzenried, Montana

Deanne Stillman, Author of Mustang

DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary

Ed Harris & Family


Equine Advocates

Equine Protection Network

Equine Rescue and Protection Humane Society of the US, Inc.

Equine Welfare Alliance

For the Love of Jenny Animal Rescue

For the Love of the Horse

Force of the Horse© LLC.

Friends of A Legacy

Front Range Equine Rescue

George Wuerthner, ecologist

Glen Glasscock (long distance rider, world record holder)

The Golden Carrot

Gray Dapple Thoroughbred Assistance Program

Greater Houston Horse Council

Gypsy Heart Horse Rescue

Habitat for Horses, Inc.

Hacienda de los Milagros, Inc.

The Healing Journey Rescue

Helping Hearts Equine Rescue, Inc.

Hidden Creek Friesians

Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund

Home At Last Equine Rescue and Sanctuary

Honeysuckle Farms

Hope Ryden, congressional advisor on 1971 Act, Author America's Last Wild Horses

Horse Play

Horse Rescue, Relief and Retirement Fund, Inc.

Horseback Magazine

Humanion Films

Illinois Equine Humane Center, NFP

In Defense of Animals

Joe Camp, filmmaker, author The Soul of A Horse

Jouney's End Ranch Animal Sanctuary

KBR World of Wild Horses and Burros

Lacy J. Dalton, singer/songwriter

Laura Leigh, Illustrator/writer

Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC)

Let 'em Run

Lifesavers, Inc.

Live and Let Live Farm Rescue

Madeleine's Mustangs – Madeleine Pickens

Manes and Tails Organization

Maria Daines, Singer/Songwriter

Mary Ann Kennedy, Singer/Songwriter

MidAtlantic Horse Rescue

Mustang Spirit

Mylestone Equine Rescue

Native American Church of Ghost Dancers

Natural Horse Magazine

Natural Horse Talk

Old Friends Equine, A Kentucky Thoroughbred Retirement Facility

Paul Sorvino, Actor

Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, TX

Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary

Quarter-Acre Rescue Ranch & Equine Advocacy Center

Rainbow Meadows Rescue and Retirement, Inc.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary

The Rescue Friends

Sacred Heart Equine Rescue

Santiburi Farm

Saving America's Mustangs

Saving Horses, Inc.

Saving Our American Wild Horse

Second Chance Ranch

Silent Voices Equine Rescue

South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Spirit Riders Foundation

Spoiled Acres Rescue Inc

Spring Farm CARES Animal Sanctuary

Star Lit Stables

Summer Haven Rescue

Sustainable Obtainable Solutions

Terri Farley, author of The Phantom Stallion Series

Tranquility Farm

Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue


Wayne McCrory, Wildlife Biologist and Conservationist

Wendie Malick, Actress

Valhalla Wilderness Society

WFL Endangered Stream Live

Whispering Winds Equine Rescue

Wild Burro Rescue and Preservation Project

Wild For Life Foundation

Wild Hoofbeats

Wild Horse Observers Association

Wild Horse Preservation League

Wild Horse Spirit

Wild Horse War Room

Wildhorses In Need

Win Animal Rights

WindDancer Foundation, Inc.

Winecup/Gamble Ranch

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