March 27, 2010
So many of us wished we could have attended this rally in DC. For those that couldn’t, here are some highlights from the event. My thanks to all of you that were there on behalf of our wild horses!
(Click on the individual links below)
Some of the best coverage of what is actually happening to our wild horses was in this segment by CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell. A must watch: http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2010/03/25/jvm.horse.round.up.cnn
DC Rally (from The Cloud Foundation): http://thecloudfoundation.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/dc-rally/
Wild Horses Kick the BLM in the “Burro” in DC by Steven Long as it appeared on R.T. Fitch’s blog: http://rtfitch.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/wild-horses-kick-the-blm-in-the-burro-in-dc/
Singer/songwriter Clay Canfield performs during the March for Mustangs rally in Lafayette Square, across from the White House, in Washington, Thursday, March 25, 2010. (The actual link to the photo: http://1click.indiatimes.com/photo/0fHD80FftNe1w?q=White%20House
Purchase/download the song, “Wild Horses” – part of the sale proceeds goes towards helping the wild horse preservation efforts: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/canfield3
Horses, People and a Meeting of Minds (by R.T. Fitch):
Wild Horse Documentary Wows Crowd in DC (by R.T. Fitch): http://rtfitch.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/wild-horse-documentary-wows-crowd-in-dc/
March for Mustangs… the Call to Stop the Roundups Goes Global (from The Cloud Foundation): http://thecloudfoundation.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/march-for-mustangs-the-call-to-stop-the-roundups-goes-global/
Video from R.T. Fitch:
By John Holland (President of Equine Welfare Alliance – as posted on Horseback Magazine)
WASHINGTON, (EWA) – The demonstration was great, but you really got the feeling of being in a dictatorship! Much of this might be because of the recent anti-health care bill demonstrations and threats, but I have not felt this atmosphere since the 60s.
A guy came around us, climbed the stairs and stood at the top with the armed guards and used a zoom lens to take photos of all of us individually. Funny thing was that one of the guards thought he was with us and tried to throw him off the steps because we were not allowed to touch a single step. Another of the other guards stopped the first guard. It just shows what a stupid bunch we are dealing with. I just couldn’t help thinking about the Keystone Cops.
I especially loved it when they called out the mounted patrol on us. Many of us immediately migrated toward them. One of the horses was a huge gray that did not have a body shape we could identify. I asked his mount what breed it was and he ignored me. Only their leader would talk and he was an asshole. I was so tempted to say “I have been around horses all my life and never seen one before who had two assholes” but discretion got the better of me.
I told him that if they were looking to intimidate us, they picked the wrong crowd! I said I face three times that many horses every morning for their feed. He said “We are not here to intimidate you.” So I figured that meant hey must be have been there to do something more physical.
I used to marvel that I was able to roam the halls of Congress as freely as I was, but that is changing. It is darker and more brooding every time I go. Reuters and AP were both there, so we should see more!
From Janet Carabello (Colorado Advocate):
It was wonderful to be a part of this protest/rally! We mingled and made new friends while we exhibited our cause with signs and chants. The march to the DOI took us past the White House, the Old Exec. Office Bldg., and along 17th Street, so we captured the attention of many tourists and vehicles. The reception at the DOI was cold and stonewalling, but we really dialed up the vocal protesting and caused the security guards to be on high alert. We finally got the petition handed out to a staffer who came out to collect it. Then the mounted police showed up and of course we all loved the horses!!! I saw some smiles on the cops faces. My personal highlight was getting to talk to Hope Ryden and sharing the cab ride to the Capitol to meet with Sen. Bennett’s staff. I think our cause was heard, but we have to keep up the fight and do more followup. And more protests!!! We missed you Pam!
From Linda Hanick (Colorado Advocate):
Thanks for posting this Pam! It was an exhilarating time in DC. I do feel that we were a voice in DC–on the street, in the Senators’ and Representatives’ offices, in the rally and protest, in the hotel and restaurant, and even at Kinkos. I had my poster printed there and the young man who helped me was awestruck by your photo and couldn’t believe that there were still wild horses. We talked about the horses for quite a while, and when I was ready to pay, he just smiled and said “You have a great day!” That made my day! I was at the very end of the march from the White House to the BLM offices, and it was an impressive sight seeing scores of people for blocks in front of me marching down Pennsylvania Avenue–all with banners and signs. I stopped to pass out flyers to people on sidewalks and as made my way to the BLM building.
The photo below is courtesy of Simone Netherlands:
Video, “We Sing For The Horse Nation” by Sandy Elmore (Montana Advocate)
Stay current with Wild Horse News: http://nickolesphotography.com/HTML/wildhorseinformation.htm
March 7, 2010
I was perusing a Wild Horse Yahoo group digest last week, when I came across the heading to a post entitled “Awaken Your Spirit.” I recognized the name of the author – she had recently purchased my DVD set and we had e-mailed back and forth a few times – so I went down the page to view her post. I wasn’t expecting what I read, but found it inspiring and thought others might too. I asked Jennifer if she would like to share her article as a “Guest.” She agreed – so in her own words…
“Awaken Your Spirit” by Jennifer Gage
In my dreams thundering across the plains, race immense herds of mustangs, running like the wind-free in every sense of the word in all their glory. “In riding a horse, we borrow freedom.” –Helen Thompson.
We will never see this magic again and like the buffalo, the mustang too will be gone before we know what happened if we don’t act now. Please vote now on Change.org to save the mustangs: http://www.change.org/ideas/view/stop_cruel_blm_round_up_of_wild_horses
Every single day mustangs (wild horses) are being rounded up and put in holding pens like discarded waste. Families are torn apart, mothers and babies put in separate pens. Their fate is uncertain; to be slaughtered for Europe’s elite diners (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gAX5snG7-4 **Warning – Contains Graphic Material**) or to live in some holding pen the rest of their lives is not what most Americans believe they deserve. These horses have been grazing these lands for over 200 years, and in fact, horses are an integral part of American heritage and culture as even Congress declared in 1971 with the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
What the opposition and people like Sue Cattoor, Bob Abbey, Ken Salazar can’t see or feel is the true beauty these precious, magnificent creatures exude-their spirit is one with Mother Earth and all that She has to offer the mustang. Those that cannot see the treasure that is the mustang with all its beautiful colors, spirit, freedom, joy, fierce loyalty and love of family have grown dull toward this world in which we live; they have forgotten that it is not normal or scientific in any sense of the word. “Every once in a while something will come along and shock us right out of our dullness and resignation.” That’s what the mustangs and watching “The Stallion and the Foal” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JKKWF0ZUGk)
have done for me.
Thanks to photographers like Pam Nickoles, Carol Walker, and cinematographer Ginger Kathrens, I got to experience the mustang like I never have before. I didn’t even know they existed wild on the plains of 10 states. There used to be 2 million mustangs in 1900 throughout 16 states. They are now extinct in 6 states. If YOU do not act and do not let the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), President Obama, senators and congressmen know of the value these animals have, they too will go the way of the buffalo and the wolf. We cannot let that happen to them – to the horses that took us to battle when our nation was young and brought the pioneers to the west. I cannot let that happen.
“Just as we have lost our wonder at the world around us, we have forgotten what a treasure the human heart is. All of the happiness we have ever known and all of the happiness we hope to find is unreachable without a heart.”—John Eldredge.
My human heart is telling me the mustang is capable of bringing me this happiness-this borrowed freedom. To know this happiness yourself, go to YouTube and watch the videos about Cloud and his herd by Ginger or “Stampede to Oblivion”
(http://rtfitch.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/news-update-the-stampede-to-oblivion-is-now-online/) or Calico, Nevada-Where the Wild Horses Roam (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-0OK3i1YFI) or countless other wild horse videos found on YouTube.
The wild horses are protected by The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195), which states that Congress finds and declares 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. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall 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.
“Less than one percent of humans who live in America have ever seen wild horses running free. I have spoken with many of the few who have and each has said the view they made will never be forgotten. As remarkable as a distant sight of wild horses can be it remains the tip of a glorious iceberg. The actual lives of wild horses reveal to humanity the privilege having a life on the planet earth and how vital it is to respect the privilege.” Twelve the King, -Michael Blake
“Before I purchased El Mariachi, that beautiful horse belonged to each and every one of you. All of the BLM managed Mustangs belong to you. Many people don’t even realize this, but the wild horses belong to the PUBLIC. You. Their futures are in your hands as well. If you ever have an opportunity to view a wild horse in its natural surroundings, I guarantee that you’ll be changed forever, and maybe you’ll begin to understand why many people work so hard to preserve them. Hopefully, you’ll become involved in the wild horse protection efforts yourself. There are so few wild herds remaining, it’s imperative that people act NOW. The wild horses are magical, spiritual creatures and they absolutely deserve their place on our Earth.” -Pam Nickoles
• The half-million acre Calico Complex herd management area is the last stronghold of the American mustang and was designated by Congress principally for the wild horses and burros. Millions of head of livestock graze at a cost of $1.35/cow-calf pair/month.
• Overall welfare livestock constitute a net loss of $123 million annually to the American tax payer.
• The scapegoating of wild horses and burros for range deterioration must stop—they comprise only a tiny fraction of animals and wildlife grazing on our public lands.
• Cows graze within a mile of water. In comparison wild horses are highly mobile, moving 5-10 miles from water and grazing on more rugged terrain.
• BLM does not adequately control cattle on the public’s land and has not sustainably balanced use of the “forage”, water and space.
• A 1000-lb cow not only eats 26 lbs. of forage daily, but they consume as much as 30 gallons of water a day and defecate in it as well.
• Private and corporate livestock outnumber wild horses at least 100 to 1 on public lands.
Search your deep heart and investigate what I have just told you if this has motivated or awakened you to the dullness of your life. Pass this on and awaken your family, friends, coworker, children and grandchildren. Let’s not leave a legacy of dust to our children and grandchildren where the mustang once roamed like the buffalo…YOUR HELP IS DESPERATELY NEEDED TO SAVE THE WILD HORSES OF THE WEST! YOU ALONE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR LIVES!
I leave you with this piece of beauty…All the Little Ponies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXl8GwrBkxM
May you be blessed,
Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jennifer has been involved in the wild horse protection efforts for only about 3 months. She is obviously passionate about the cause and she has done some research to back up her beliefs. I hope that others will be inspired by her words, follow her lead and decide they too can make a difference in the lives of our wild horses. Thanks Jennifer. I’m honored to have been a small part of your journey of discovery into the beauty of, and the issues facing our wild ones.
Stay updated with current Wild Horse news: http://nickolesphotography.com/HTML/wildhorseinformation.htm
More Wild Horse video clips: http://www.nickolesphotography.com/HTML/videoclips.html
(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction permitted. Feel free to share the link, not the images.)
February 27, 2010
(From The Cloud Foundation)
When: Thursday, March 25th, 2010
Time: 1:00-3:00 PM – Press conference and speakers at 1:30 PM (Filmmaker/Advocate Ginger Kathrens, Author R.T. Fitch and many more- including special guests to be announced)
Where: Lafayette Park (northside of White House, on H Street between 15th and 17th Streets, NW). At 3:00 PM. Protesters will march with signs to the BLM office at 1849 ‘C’ Street.
Plus Mustangs on the Hill II: On Friday morning we’ll meet and brief people on meeting with their Representatives in meetings to save the mustangs. Please schedule an appointment with your Representatives for Thursday morning or Friday.
Why: BLM’s cruel and poor mismanagement is destroying a vital piece of the American west. The American public is standing up for our horses and burros- please join us in a March for Mustangs rally and protest.
Roundups increased significantly in 2000 in the Bush years and they haven’t let up under the Obama administration. 12,000 wild horses and burros are scheduled for removal from our public lands this fiscal year alone. These helicopter roundups come at enormous expense to our wild herds and to the American taxpayer.
Recently, the roundup of 1900 mustangs took place in the Calico mountains of Northwestern Nevada during the dead of winter, ending early in February when BLM realized the herds were far smaller than estimated. To date, 60 horses have died due to this roundup and the death toll continues to climb daily. This does not include the 30 plus mares that have aborted their late-term foals in the feedlot style corrals in Fallon, Nevada where the horses are being held. Two foals had their hooves literally separate from the bone after the helicopters ran their families for miles over rocky and sharp volcanic ground.
Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversees the BLM, has decided there is no room left for our mustangs on their designated lands in the west. The Secretary and has proposed purchasing private land in the East for our Western wild horses. This only adds to the financial and humane train wreck that the Wild Horse and Burro Program has become.
So rather than spending over thirty million dollars this fiscal year to remove our wild horses and burros from the range, let’s protect them on their western lands. The intent of Congress’ 1971 Free-roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act was not to warehouse horses, but allowed them to live in freedom in self-sustaining numbers on western rangelands designated primarily for their survival. Drastic change is needed in the management of wild horses and burros if they are to survive, as wild animals, into the future. Wild horses benefit the land as they evolved in North America and they represent our living history in the west.
Annually we lose $123 million running a taxpayer subsidized grazing program is often referred to as “welfare ranching” due to the small fees charged to livestock permittees. The rate is currently the lowest allowed by law—$1.35 per cow/calf pair per month. This rate needs to be raised to over $9.00 in order for the program to break even. If cows were removed and horses allowed to stay, we’d save even more—including our valued mustangs. Holding the 1900 Calico horses alone in a feedlot style facility amounts to a staggering cost of over $10,000 per day!
But change is on the way for our wild horses and burros! Some 25 protests have been mounted from coast-to-coast including Chicago, LA, NYC, Denver, Las Vegas, Reno, and Sacramento since late December. Thousands of people have braved the cold and come out with their families to hold banners and signs demanding that President Obama react to the hideous mistreatment of our spectacular wild horses and respond to the incredible waste of taxpayer dollars on a broken program that only lines the pockets of powerbrokers and cattle barons. Now is the time to say enough is enough. Open the gates and return our wild horses to their rightful ranges.
Please take action for our wild herds. An immediate moratorium on all roundups is needed! This must be followed by hearings and investigations on BLM mismanagement; accurate and independent assessments of just how many wild horses we have left and the real range conditions. Then we need to develop a sustainable plan for our wild herds on our Western public lands and restore their protections set forth in the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Moving our wild horses in non-reproducing, broken families to the East is not the answer.
Join us on Thursday, March 25th for a Mustang March on Washington and take action today to save these incredible animals who are currently being managed to extinction.
- Call President Obama 202-456-1111
- Call your Senators 202-224-3121
For more information, go to The Cloud Foundation: http://www.thecloudfoundation.org
You can follow the Calico horses through the Humane Observer, Elyse Gardner’s Blog: http://humaneobserver.blogspot.com
Stay current with Wild Horse News: http://www.nickolesphotography.com/HTML/wildhorseinformation.htm
There are many other informative sites listed under my Links heading on the right.
December 2, 2009
From Filmmaker James Kleinert:
America’s wild horses are in jeopardy! Disappointment Valley exposes mismanagement and corruption within the Bureau of Land Management.
Here’s how you can help:
1) Call President Obama (202-456-1111) and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar (202-208-3100). Demand a Congressional investigation into the Bureau of Land Management. Ask for independent studies on statistics of the wild horses and do NOT rely on the BLM statistics. They are flawed and misrepresent the truth.
To contact your congressman, visit: www.house.gov
2) The R.O.A.M. Act is currently sitting in the Senate Committee of Energy & Natural Resources as S. 1579.
Please contact the Senators on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee and ask that they support the R.O.A.M Act (S. 1579).
3) Share this video and information with friends and family. Most people don’t know wild horses still roam the west, let alone that they are being rounded up and slaughtered. The public has fought to support these horses in the past. We can do it again! The more people who become aware of the issue, the better chance they have for survival.
A Unified Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Wild Horse and Burro Roundups
And a humane, fiscally responsible plan for preserving and protecting the iconic, free-roaming wild horses and burros of the American West
President Obama, Members of Congress and the Department of the Interior:
We, the undersigned, request major changes to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program. This must begin with an immediate moratorium on all roundups. While we agree that the program is in dire need of reform, and we applaud your Administration’s commitment to avoid BLM’s suggested mass-killing of horses, the plan outlined in October by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar raises numerous concerns. These include:
• Perpetuating the flawed assumption that wild horses and burros are overpopulating their Western ranges.
In reality, the BLM has no accurate current inventory of the 37,000 wild horses and burros it claims remain on public lands. Independent analysis of BLM’s own numbers reveal there may be only 15,000 wild horses remaining on public lands.
• Continuing the mass removal of wild horses and burros from their rightful Western ranges: The BLM intends to spend over $30 million in Fiscal Year 2010 to capture more than 12,000 wild horses and burros. This stockpiling of horses continues even as an astounding 32,000 are already being held in government holding facilities at enormous taxpayer expense.
• Scapegoating wild horses and burros for range deterioration even though they comprise only a tiny fraction of animals and wildlife grazing our public lands. Far greater damage is caused by privately-owned livestock, which outnumber the horses more than 100 to 1.
• Moving wild horses and burros east off their Western homelands to “sanctuaries” in the east and Midwest at an initial cost of $96 million creates significant health concerns if animals adapted to western landscapes are managed on wet ground and rich grasses.
Removing tens of thousands of horses and burros from their legally-designated Western ranges and moving them into government-run facilities subverts the intent of the 1971 Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act, which mandated that horses be preserved “where presently found.” A 2009 DC district court case held that “Congress did not authorize BLM to “manage” the wild horses and burros by corralling them for private maintenance or long-term care as non-wild free-roaming animals off the public lands.”
We appreciate your Administration’s recognition of the horses’ value as an ecotourism resource. However, the display of captive, non-reproducing herds in eastern pastures renders them little more than zoo exhibits, further discounting the contribution to our history and the future of the American West.
We believe that workable solutions to create a healthy “multiple use” of public rangelands, protect the ecological balance of all wildlife, and preserve America’s wild horses and burros in their rightful, legally protected home can be achieved. We are calling on the Obama Administration to reform the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Management Program.
We ask that you reverse the current course and immediately take the following actions:
1) Place a moratorium on all roundups until accurate and independent assessments of population numbers and range conditions are made available and a final, long-term solution is formalized.
2) Restore protections included in the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Update existing laws that protect wild horses by reopening certain public lands to the mustangs and burros, thus decreasing the number in captivity. Return healthy wild horses and burros in holding to all available acres of public land designated primarily for their use in 1971. If these lands are not available, equivalent and appropriate western public lands should be added in their place.
3) Support federal grazing permit buybacks. Reduce livestock grazing and reanalyze appropriate management levels for herd management areas to allow for self-sustaining, genetically-viable herds to exist in the west.
4) Conduct Congressional hearings regarding the mismanagement of our wild herds and further investigate the inability of BLM to correct the shortcomings of the program as audited by the Government Accountability Office’s 1990, 1991 and 2008 reports.
Supported by the undersigned on November 16, 2009 (click here for the list)
From The Cloud Foundation: “Organizations are still encouraged and welcome to sign, just E-MAIL US to be added. We’d like even more celebrity and scientific support too.”