Letter from our founder, LLeigh:
Wild horses and burros are part of the system of public lands in in United States. Congress found them fast-disappearing and declared them integral to that system in 1971.
Today, our public domain is rapidly disappearing. The number one issue faced by wild horses (and all beings that call the wild place home) is habitat loss and fragmentation. Climate change is not the number one issue, it is simply putting those words into bolded print. Population growth suppression (roundups/fertility control) of wild horses/burros is simply kicking the can down the road; it might address industries immediate need to reduce numbers to keep the status quo running (continuing to expand profits), but won’t solve any “problem.” We need to drag the conversation out of the “Path Forward” damage trail and back into where it needs to go: preservation.
Accelerated removals, mashups of multiple forms of fertility control without any analysis of what that mix will actually do (various vaccines, sex-skewing, I.U.D, gelding, burning oviducts closed, etc.), overstocking holding, record numbers slipping to slaughter… none of that solves anything and only magnifies every single break in the system and where big corporate money had led. Change is desperately needed and the status quo should not be enabled by anyone, particularly if we call ourselves “advocates.” In 2013-16 we hit the lowest removals in history and then big lobby money turned us to record numbers of removals by 2020. This is politics, not management. This is, frankly, sick.
Wild horses and burros have been given a mere 12% of public lands they can occupy. Inside that 12%, they are usually given less than 16% of available forage. Why are we not focused on preserving that pittance of public lands for them… instead of just getting them out of the way for every profiteer that wants a piece of public resources? Because of politics and big business public relations and their well-funded lobbyists.
Christopher Ketcham leads each chapter in This Land with a quotation. The lead to the third chapter in the first section of the book is from Aldo Leopold, who wrote, “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist . . . must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
As our teams are out at the roundups, on range, slamming out comments and legal appeals and protest today, we are reminded of the original Woody Guthrie song “This Land.”
The song debut was back in 1944 and Guthrie had revised the title to “This Land is Your Land.” He reworked the last line of each verse to a friendlier, “This land was made for you and me.” He also nixed the two most controversial verses, verses that accused the American system of business of greed and disregard for the needy.
As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?
Nobody living can ever stop me. As I go walking my freedom highway. Nobody living can make me turn back. This land was made for you and me
Today, the need to be politically correct, taking actions that those in power will find acceptable, has to end. We need to take action… but be careful what well-crafted public relations we follow. We need to remember to speak… and not edit out the deeper truths.
Public Lands Day can be about celebrating the beauty of the American experiment, public lands.
But let us never forget the danger our public lands, and all that call it home, face every single day.
Our wild horses are again fast disappearing…. as our public lands rapidly industrialize to line private pockets with personal profits.
Sing along with the original
You can also take a few active action items to help our wild ones.
We have several action items. Here are few of the ones active now:
You can learn more about a bill that could stop choppers and gain a real review of capture methods, CLICK HERE.
You can help us gain a science-based review of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program, CLICK HERE.
We need your help to take the fight against abuse to the next level. CLICK HERE.
A WHE report that can help you address the inflated numbers game presented to Congress/media as you advocate for wild horses, CLICK HERE.
Help keep us in the fight.
Categories: Wild Horse Education