As the Prophet Mohammed's army marched towards Mecca in 630 to conquer it they passed a female dog with puppies. The Prophet gave orders that they should not be disturbed and posted a man to see that this was done. He said, "Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal."
The Prophet forbade the practice of cutting tails and manes of horses, of branding animals at any soft spot, and of keeping horses saddled unnecessarily. (Sahih Muslim) If he saw any animal over-loaded or ill-fed he would pull up the owner and say, "Fear Allah in your treatment of animals." (Abu Dawud, Kitab Jihad)
Wild horses and burros are being systematically destroyed in the USA by the government agency, Bureau Land Management, (BLM) and the powers that be and the public at large are turning a blind eye. Despite the fervent and passionate work of thousands of committed animal rights activists, the mainstream media remains on the sidelines, mute.
The most deadly round-up to date in BLM history took place in January in the remote Calico Mountains of Nevada. In the dead of winter, over rocky terrain and rugged wilderness, the terrified animals were literally run to death trying to escape the roaring helicopters hired by the agency...the usual modus operandi in 'gathers.' To date, 150 horses and foals have died in the wake of this one -- many in the holding pens in the Fallon Facility.
The scores of videos posted on YouTube and other online sites showing the systemic BLM abuse are not for the feint of heart. The round-ups are now being called 'gathers' -- a more palatable term in print?
The Humane Society released a statement in July in response to a summer 'gather' and the deaths of seven wild horses in Elko County, Nevada: "The seven mustangs died as result of dehydration, water intoxication, and injuries sustained following the Tuscarora wild horse roundup. In this case, the BLM conducted this gather in July -- the hottest month of the year for Elko County -- when water is scarce and temperatures exceed 90 degrees. The probable effect of chasing stressed and dehydrated animals for miles and then offering water should have been known to BLM, and in fact, the BLM admitted it was aware of the danger of "water intoxication," but proceeded with the roundup under extremely adverse conditions anyway."
What many don't know is: "The public pays for those roundups, it pays BLM salaries, and it pays for the management of the public ranges. We have every right to be out there to watch what BLM is doing with our money and with the horses. Whether you care about wild horses or not, those are your dollars being spent." George Knapp is a Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter for KLAS-TV Channel 8; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BLM's footprint is enormous and covers large portions of Western states including Utah and Nevada, where the BLM manages 42 percent and 67 percent of the land, respectively.
BLM governs these areas with "multiple-use" management, making decisions on land usage and distribution for conservation, recreation, mining and designated grazing.
Bob Abbey, director of the BLM recently said: "The fact is right now we have three to five times the population of wild horses that the range can sustain."
Wild horses are unique in that they cannot legally be hunted or slaughtered and have no natural predator. The BLM says 'gathers' ultimately save the lives of horses.
Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a vocal opponent of the BLM, has cited that in 1971 when the National Wild Horse and Burro Programme was created, 54 million acres were available for wild horses and burros. As of today, half that acreage remains and more than 32,000 wild horses are being held in captivity.
"Not only is this not a safe or desirable solution for the animals, but also it is costing the American taxpayers more than $US30 million a year. There are an estimated 37,000 mustangs and burros that live in our Western states. We now have nearly that amount in custody, and the BLM plans to remove an additional 12,000 wild horses from the ranges at a cost of millions to the American taxpayer."
Landrieu continued: "The Obama Administration should be ashamed that this is happening under its watch. It is hard to fathom that hundreds of our wild horses have died at the hands of the federal agency entrusted to protect them."
What can you do?
The BLM is extending a public comment period on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's long-term wild horse and burro initiative from August 3 to September 3, ostensibly "to ensure the broadest public participation possible."
Salazar's plan is to gather/round-up thousands of mustangs now roaming freely in the West and move them to 'preserves' in the Midwest and East. He says this is for the protection of the wild horses and the rangelands that support them.
What will you do?
E-mail comment to:
email@example.com ("WHB Public Comment" in subject line)
Mail comment to:
BLM Washington Office, 1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665, Washington, DC 20240.
BLM is also soliciting feedback online using ePlanning:
Or do nothing, but remember, "Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal."