Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Future of America’s Wild Horses and Burros - Can we save them before they become extinct in the wild?

Never before has there been a need so great for people to ban together for the protection of one of our most precious and historic natural resources, the horse. – Katia Louise, President of the Wild for Life Foundation

Substantial evidence indicates that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) intends to eliminate
wild horses and burros from America’s public landscape.  Countless American wild horses and burros are systemically mistreated and removed from their legally protected homes in the wild by the BLM despite U.S. policies which mandate their protection and preservation on public lands.  Unless and until the BLM is stopped, the future for America’s majestic horses and burros will continue to be in jeopardy. The stakes could not be higher; their very survival is at stake and time is running out.

“Contrary to the BLM’s claims that wild horses are overpopulating, statistics show that vast numbers of wild equines are disappearing from the American West,” states Katia Louise, President of the Wild for Life Foundation, and Director, Saving America’s Horses.  “In the 19th century, more than 2 million wild horses roamed the West, but independent analysis of the Bureau of Land Management’s own data indicates that there may now be less than 15,000 wild horses roaming freely on public lands.”

There are over 200 million acres of range-lands in the U.S. where these horses could roam freely, but they are quickly being eliminated by the same governmental agencies that claim to protect them. Unless action is taken, America’s wild equids will continue to vanish – a potentially catastrophic scenario for generations to come.

Wild horses are labeled as “feral” by proponents of slaughter in denial of paleontological evidence showing that the horse evolved on the North American continent over 50,000,000 years ago.  

With human encroachment on natural habitats a constant feature of our modern world, America's wild and historic Mustangs are quickly losing their Native home lands. As the remaining number of Wild Horses in the U.S. nears extinction, the need for their legal protection becomes tantamount to their survival as a species. America’s Wild Horses cannot be reproduced once they are gone.

Congressional findings and declaration of policy state that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. Under public law and policy of Congress wild free-roaming horses and burros are to be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.

However, wild horses are also labeled as “destructive” or “invasive species” by the livestock industry as a means to justify their removal. However, the reintroduction of horses to range-lands can in truth rejuvenate the environment. As brought to the screen in the acclaimed documentary film, ‘Saving America’s Horses: A Nation Betrayed”, wild horses are being successfully returned to landscapes in both Britain and the Oostvaardersplassen of the Netherlands.  Studies of these conservation grazing is practices reveal that the re-introduction of wild equines to the woodlands and pastures has in fact successfully restored the natural environment and wildlife. 

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.”

When it comes to “livestock grazing” on public lands, permit holders are able to increase their stock by grazing farm animals such as cattle on America’s open range-lands. But in the U.S. horses are not produced for food, and cattle ranchers see them as competitors for the grazing of free forage on public land which they could otherwise use for their livestock.  However, recent findings through Princeton University have shown how combining wild equine grazing together with cattle can create beneficial effects; not only for the environment but for cattle as well. "Clearly, blanket statements that wild equids invariably compete with livestock can no longer be accepted” states Michael Coughenour, a senior research scientist at the Colorado State University Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. 

While USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, publicly claims to be against horse slaughter, the USDA has been rallying tribal leaders to support the reopening of horse slaughter in the U.S. However, Wild for Life Foundation President, Katia Louise brings to light a startling recent report which exposes the USDA’s distribution of misinformation provided to the American tribal leaders. This well-substantiated report entitled In Truth Wild Horses on Native Land and Tongue, reveals evidence of meetings held by the USDA with tribal leaders for the purpose of getting them to distribute ‘misinformation’ to their congressional delegations about horse slaughter and the removal of America’s wild horses.

As part of a larger pattern, just a few weeks ago a strikingly similar situation to the USDA’s activities in support of horse slaughter took place when the BLM denied having any knowledge or involvement related the sale of America’s wild horses and burros to slaughter. In a recent Federal Report which shocked the Nation it was reported that the BLM’s largest buyer of wild horses was in truth sending them to slaughter.  With a closer look at the management of wild horses by the BLM, and in stark contrast to the BLM’s claims of purportedly protecting America’s wild equines, the BLM’s proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 (Section 110) reveals BLM’s intentions to further strip America’s wild horses and burros of their protective legal titles. The Wild Horse Freedom Federation recently discovered the BLM’s proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2017, and says it leads to the slaughter and sterilization of America’s wild horses.  Critics view this latest move by the BLM as a wider campaign endorsed by the Obama Administration.

President Obama’s appointment of Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior, which oversees the BLM, together with the U.S. Forest Service, has continued to conduct scores of roundups across 12 Western U.S. states resulting in the capture and eradication of countless wild horses. After Salazar stepped down in a wave of controversy in February of 2013, President Obama appointed Sally Jewel to the position— a veteran of the oil industry. “While many had high hopes that Sally Jewell would direct a shift in policy, she has instead been silent on reversing agency roundup policies throughout the West,” observes Katia Louise. “And many believe she has in fact promoted and intensified such efforts.”

Can we preserve and protect one of America’s most iconic species before they become extinct in the wild and reverse the degradation to open range-lands caused by their removal? The Wild For Life Foundation (WFLF), a federally registered nonprofit says the answer is YES; a resounding YES!

"Never before has there been a need so great for people to ban together for the protection of one of our most precious and historic natural resources, the horse," said Ms. Louise.  "Regardless of why,
we as a culture, are so repulsed by the thought of consuming horse flesh, and the reasons are many; if we fail to uphold our fundamental moral and social responsibilities, we are in effect dooming the fate of our own humanity.

“Most people don’t have any idea that America’s wild horses are disappearing and going to slaughter,” added Ms. Louise.  “Unless and until the BLM is stopped, the future for America’s majestic horses and burros will continue to be in jeopardy. Armed with the true facts and uniting together to make our united voice heard for the horses and burros, we can educate and effect change.”

In an effort to save, protect and preserve wild and domestic equines, as opposed to the promotion of horse slaughter and widespread roundups throughout the American West, Wild for Life Foundation’s President, Katia Louise is calling on members of the public who care about the horses to join in a united stance for the horses with WFLF Saving America’s Horses by going to and clicking on the join button, which will continue to raise awareness and provide ongoing education on this critical issue. Ms. Louise says, “Making your voice heard will ultimately bring this unjust, cruel and barbaric practice to an end.”

Charity missions like WFLF’s “WILDAND FREE” campaign help to raise awareness and the essential funds to aid wild horses and burros that need rescue and sanctuary services after being rounded up, starved neglected, discarded or discovered in other life threatening danger.

Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF) is a volunteer based 501 c3 charity dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals with a focus on animal welfare and the protection of wildlife. Among WFLF’s greatest concerns are imperiled wild horses and burros, and abused, neglected and slaughter bound wild and domestic equines. WFLF is dedicated to saving, protecting and preserving wild and domestic equines through rescue, education, preservation and sanctuary. The WFLF also promotes the conservation of wild horses on their Native lands and the preservation of natural ecosystems and wildlife. WFLF saves the lives of homeless, starved and slaughter bound horses whose healing hearts enhance the lives of people. Federal ID No: 26-3052458