2020 has been a rough year in advocacy for wild things and wild places. It has been a very rough year as we face an international health crisis that has hit many American families with hardship and loss.
Many of us will face a holiday week unlike any other in recent memory. This week we will present stories of the inspiration our wild ones bring into our lives: beauty, nobility, honesty, fortitude, strength.
The Escape, Against All Odds
Look back at some of the escapes of 2020
Roundups are hard to watch for anyone that enjoys watching wild horses free on the range. For anyone that has spent time witnessing the complex social structures, the relationships between mothers and foals, stallions and their mares, gotten to know one wild horse and the connection to the landscape, watching them lose it all is an indescribable feeling.
Escape at Eagle 2020; observer over 1 mile away
For our interns the first roundup can be a challenge. Our teams go to a roundup to continue the work against abuse; to continue the fight represented in our ground breaking litigation to obtain and enforce a humane handling policy. Our volunteers join WHE out of love for wild horses. At a roundup it becomes a challenge to learn how to document and prepare the days observations, to utilize in the often dispassionate processes of bureaucracy, as they balance the internal emotional struggle.
Onsite you have vey long days, often driving hours just to get from the meet location to the trap. In recent years we have had to struggle (again) just to see what is happening to our public horses on public lands. Then you have to work fast to enlarge images to simply see that the day was like, thousands of images and many video clips, so you can log the day and prepare for the next. It is hard for the experienced observer to do this day in and day out. It is very challenging for those new to the experience. You work hard, it is not glamorous.
An escape can be poignant to witness. A wild horse, under extreme pressure, evaluates options and takes a chance to gain freedom. In that fragile moment in time, when they are so vulnerable, they take the chance anyway.
Intelligence, bravery and the inherent will to be free, are bought forward in a heart pounding moment. Against all odds, they try.
One wild horse hurls its body to freedom.
Against all odds they try. In advocacy we face that same reality each and every day, not just at the roundup. We know you feel that way in your daily life, particularly now.
Maybe that is one of the reasons we unite in the fight for our amazing wild horses? They once mirrored the way Americans felt about themselves, a resilient survivor. “The living symbol of the pioneer spirit” says the law.
The wild horse is a melting pot of natures breeding. Family and freedom mean everything to them. Rugged and resourceful, they exist on terrain we as a nation allowed them to live; the places no one wanted. They did not only survive, they thrived.
What cost freedom?
But there are those that want the land, water and the riches beneath the surface of the land our wild ones stand. The cost to the horse of this race to exploit the land is intense; family, freedom and often losing life itself.
Today, we must fight back to save their homes so we have wild horses to inspire future generations. Against all odds, we will keep fighting for them.
Some of our roundup trainees go on to be key members of our “CAWP team,” working onsite to prevent abuses from continuing and working on the backside for policy change. Some of our volunteers go on to be key members of WHE teams working in field documenting range conditions or working against slaughter.
We begin gratitude week with the spirit of the wild horse that guides us “against all odds.” May you find inspiration in our wild ones to face the challenges in your own lives and to keep speaking out against injustices.
What you can do
Please take action to demand Congress defund any roundups where the BLM has failed to create open and transparent management planning. Click HERE.
Call the Senate switchboard and ask for your rep. Demand that all actions against wild horses and burros halt until William Perry Pendley leaves the BLM. His tenure was ruled illegal and BLM is still moving an agenda forward for Pendley’s former law clients. Switchboard (202) 224-3121
Help us stay in the fight.