Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wild for Life Foundation Welcomes Navajo Mustangs to Bonsall, CA



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bonsall, CA, Monday, Dec 30, 2013 - Wild For Life Foundation (WFLF) welcomes 17 Native Navajo Mustangs to Bonsall, CA. These sacred Navajo ponies were at risk of slaughter after being captured off the reservation “as strays”.  They were evacuated out of northern New Mexico by WFLF’s Navajo Horses Rescue and Recovery Mission to CA where they were received in love and compassion under WFLF’s Lifetime Equine Refuge. More than 2,000 of their four-legged brothers and sisters have lost their lives during the U.S. government funded roundups which the vast majority of Navajo people oppose. 

Navajo's sacred horses forever safe in CA
These lucky few Navajo Mustangs will be pastured and given the opportunity to fully heal in a sanctuary environment through Wild For Life Foundation. “We are extremely grateful for the kind and generous support of Best Friends Animal Society, Lynne Hayes of Horse Spirit Ranch, Linda Harris, director of Ambassadors For Compassion and the many compassionate individuals who helped to make the initial lifesaving phase of this rescue mission possible,” says Katia Louise, Founder, President and Executive Director of the WFLF. “This is just the beginning,” adds Ms Louise.  “WFLF is dedicated to assuring their forever safe harbor, which means providing for their housing and care for the lifetime of each horse.”  To accomplish this, the WFLF is seeking sponsorship for land acquisition for an educational sanctuary where it can implement a variety of community programs to benefit both people and the horses. In this manner, WFLF will serve America's most needy equines while at the same time, touch the lives of local disadvantaged youth and wounded warriors through natural partnerships and equine assisted learning programs.

"By helping to save these voiceless, sacred lives, we are also helping to build the awareness for the need to
Istas: baby mule foal
protect America’s wild horses from roundups and slaughter,” adds Ms Louise.  “America’s majestic horses heal our hearts and they can heal the lands.” Through WFLF’s educational outreach programs these Navajo Mustangs will also help to educate and show the world that the re-introduction of horses to rangelands, in truth can rejuvenate the environment.

U.S. Government Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) roundups are driven by a popular livestock grazing campaign which alleges an overpopulation of “feral” and “destructive” horses.  Horses are labeled as “invasive species” by the livestock industry as a means to justify their removal from the rangelands.  However, as brought to light in Ms Louise's report, "In Truth of Wild Horses on Native Land and Tongue," in other parts of the world such as the United Kingdom, where conservation grazing is practiced, wild horse herds are being successfully restored to the woodlands and pastures to restore the lands.   In the classic book, Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West,  J. Boone Kauffman, Ph.D., Professor of Ecosystem Sciences in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, gives testimony to the far-reaching and devastating ecological consequences of government-subsidized livestock grazing through his scientifically supported work, “Lifeblood of the West”; “… livestock grazing has been the most widespread cause of ecological degradation of riparian/stream ecosystems.  More riparian areas and stream miles are affected by livestock grazing than by any other type of land use.”

Craig Downer, BOD Wild for Life Foundation, wildlife ecologist, and author of “The Wild Horse Conspiracy” points out that wild horses are a big benefit to the ecosystem. They help to create that very important soil substance known as Humus...which makes the soils more nutrient-rich, adhesive and more retentive to water. This aids greatly in increasing the moisture of soils and elevating the water tables. The manure of wild horses builds the soils and disperses the intact seeds of many species to a much greater degree than cattle and sheep. Wild free-roaming horses also greatly reduce the possibility of catastrophic fires which can sterilize the soils and destroy its seed banks.

Navajo’s sacred horses and burros, like other countless wild equines across America, have fallen victim to the U.S. Government funded roundups and brutal slaughter, despite the overwhelming opposition by both the Navajo people and the public at large. Over 2,000 Navajo sacred horses have been violently swept up from their Native homelands and sent straight to slaughter in Mexico just since August 2013. The Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture (NNDA) claims there are anywhere from 15,000 – 75,000 wild horses on the Navajo reservation, though in truth the actual number of horses is uncertain, as there has been no census, and reports are considerably varied. 

As news spreads about what’s happening to these horses, people are asking why tribes would go against their indigenous cultural beliefs and values to label the horse, a species many tribes consider sacred and as family; to instead label them as “feral”and sell them for their meat. For one thing as revealed in the documentary film, “SAVING AMERICA’S HORSES: A NATION BETRAYED”, Agriculture and Forestry have threatened tribes with a loss of livestock grazing permits if they fail to implement certain management policies. "Formidable power is held by those with grazing rights, and when you consider the political power and influence of the western livestock industry it may come as no surprise to find government issued data revealing persuasive agency tactics , such as threats, or creative forms of bribery or misrepresentation," says Katia Louise. "Tribes that are involved in livestock grazing stand much to lose if they don’t go along with the BLM rangeland policies." 

In effort to bridge the gap and save the horses, the Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF) is working together with the Nohooka' Diné, the Navajo  Elders and Medicine People to create an environment that promotes the humane treatment of all animals. In recognition of the Navajo’s horses and burros as Di’ yin’ Nohooka’ Diné, Holy Earth Surface People’s Horses, the WFLF has proposed a Preserve Plan which utilizes the Diné way of life and the Diné spiritual foundation to create and promote peace and harmony within the Diné community and with the Diné Sacred relative – the horse."The horse is our medicine, and has helped us survive many hardships. They must be given respect and honored for their Sacred place within the creation, as they possess the same fundamental right to life as we five fingered ones do," says Leland Grass, Traditionalist, Nahooka' Diné. "We must create a working solution today so our children won't be fighting amongst themselves tomorrow."

Wild for Life Foundation, an all volunteer 501 c3 charity that relies 100% on donations is working around the clock to assure the forever safe harbor for these and other wild and domestic equines. Funds are currently being raised to pay for needed feed, hay and vet medical care. Donations can be made on line and by mail, and are 100% tax deductible to the full extent permitted by law.
Cochise: Navajo gelding runs to meet his
relatives as they arrive in the second trailer

About The Wild For Life Foundation: Lifetime Equine Refuge (LER) is the primary equine rescue and sanctuary program under the Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charity dedicated to saving, protecting and preserving equines through rescue, sanctuary and education. WFLF and its wild horse preservation initiative serves as an educational platform for the protection of wildlife through the provision of long term sanctuary of wild horses and burros removed from America's rangelands. WFLF and its Saving America’s Horses Initiative is an international consortium of scientists, equine welfare experts, researchers, and horse advocates collaborating efforts to promote wild horse conservation and preservation initiatives with a focus on the prevention of equine cruelty. To find out more about Wild for Life Foundation, go to:  www.wildforlifefoundation.org, www.LifetimeEquineRefuge.org, www.SavingAmericasHorses.org Federal ID No. 26-3052458.

Wild for Life Foundation
19510 Van Buren Blvd, # F3236
Riverside, CA 92508

Media Contact:
Kate Dudley PR
Phone: 310.439.9817
Photos: Courtesy of the Wild for Life Foundation