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25 September 2009 @ 10:01 am
For the last week I've been working with the Cloud Foundation on t-shirt designs and putting up CafePress stores.  For those who don't know, the Cloud Foundation is a foundation dedicated to the preservation of the American Mustang, particularly those in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.  The head of the Foundation, Ginger Kathrens, is the woman who has made Cloud and his herd the most famous mustang herd in the world through her two, to be three in October, documentaries that were aired on the PBS program Nature.

On September 3rd, the roundup of Cloud's herd by the BLM began, and ended early 6 days later.  But not before most of the horses had been brought in via 10+ mile chase by helicopter, causing most of the horses to come in sorefooted, and foals to be severely lame.  This did include Cloud and his band, who actually did an amazing thing and FACED DOWN the chopper as they were coming to the pens.  57 horses and 3 foals were not re-released and are being put up for adoption and sale, including several of Cloud's immediate family members, 12 horses over 10, and at least two who have been featured in the documentaries - 19 year old Conquistador and 21 year old Grumpy Grulla.  The BLM's reasoning is that the older horses were caught off the management area, and therefor the BLM will not abide by their regulation that states that all horses over 20 will be released, even tho its just one mare.  I hope its needless to say but the over 10 year old horses, especially the several band stallions, are not good adoption candidates, and at risk of actually being sold 'without limitation' which means kill buyers who will transport them to Canada for slaughter could easily buy them.  This is something the Cloud Foundation has been working desperately to prevent, and best case scenario tomorrow they will be able to buy them and put them on a sanctuary which has already volunteered space and facilities, keeping their family bands intact as much as possible until such time as they can be re-released.   The adoption and sale event is tomorrow, Saturday the 26th, at the Britton Springs BKM facility in Lovell, WY.

How can you help?  Several ways!

1) Read all about it on the Cloud Foundation Blog.

2) You can buy product that will directly help the Cloud Foundation.  The two CafePress stores are CloudFoundation and CloudFound02  There is also their gift store at their website, and you can donate there as well.  All of these proceeds go to the Cloud Foundation directly.  The CafePress images can be seen more clearly here and here.  The photo is Conquistador in the trailer, right after capture.

3) Call your Senator and tell them to support the ROAM Act!  If they're on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, tell them to vote to release it to the Senate floor!

4) Attend the BLM meeting on wild horses and burros on the 28th of September if you are in or near the DC area.

5) Attend 'Mustangs on the Hill' the next morning on the 29th on the West side of the Capitol, in support of the ROAM Act.

6) Attend the adoption event in Lovell, WY tomorrow to show your support.  The Foundation also doesn't have a problem with anyone wanting to adopt the younger horses, such as Cloud's lookalike son.

I have my own protest image available here on CafePress items.  I haven't decided what charity to give the proceeds to yet, and I'm also going to make one for the wild burros, proceeds which will go to a burro foundation.

Just FYI if anyone is wondering why this was done so late with regards to the protests and adoption - its because I didn't find out they were looking for help until last Friday, and with the craziness going on at the Foundation right now its been difficult to coordinate.  Some shirts with the Conquistador photo but different text will be available in DC, but only in limited numbers (75, I was told).

Current Mood: busy
07 March 2006 @ 04:50 pm
This probably makes me look very stupid to admit this, but even being a fan of wild horses, I'm still occasionally surprised to learn about places where wild horses live. Take for instance New Zealand, better known for sheep and hobbits, which is home to a breed called the Kaimanawa. Unfortunately they're in much the same boat as pretty much every other wild horse population on the planet... they're gathered periodically and offered for adoption as a way to control numbers and, according to the Kaimanawa Horse Breed Society:

In 1981 the Kaimanawa wild horses were given a protected status under the "Wildlife Order (No.2)". From then numbers gradually increased. (since then the protected status has been lifted, KHBSI)

Now, it is unknown what the fate of the Kaimanawa wild horses will be. It is thought by some that after the round-up of 1200 horses that too few will be left in the wild to maintain the gene pool.

And a few online resources:
The Kaimanawa Horse Breed Society (they also have a great index of associated articles from newspapers and the like, if you want to do more research)
Kaimanawa horses
The New Zealand government's Kaimanawa Horse Plan
Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust

I'm clearly in the dark about a lot of wild horse issues outside of America; if anybody out there would like to share info about wild horse management in their area/country, please do. I'd be particularly interested to learn how other governments might be handling wild horse populations and if anybody's managed to strike a good balance of sustainability for wild herds.
07 March 2006 @ 04:25 pm
A couple of wild horse items lately from the news:

Theresa Fassett is riding her mustang across the United States to bring attention to the plight of America's wild horses.

Deanne Stillman has written several absolutely terrific stories about wild horse and burro issues for the LA Weekly; her latest article, Last roundup for wild horses appears in the Boston Globe, and talks about the impending sale to slaughter of 7200 wild horses. It also gives a really good sum-up of the situation with the Burns Amendment and this new Public Lands Council nightmare. Also well worth reading are her older LA Weekly pieces, Of Rocks, Creeks and Broom-tailed Horses (about mustangs in Southern California) and They Also Served (about wild burros in the Mojave).

Meanwhile, some of the sale authority horses have found a home in Canada, where they've been adopted out to locals.
07 March 2006 @ 11:51 am
From The Society for Animal Protective Legislation:

BLM Steps up Campaign to Eradicate Wild Horses

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues its campaign to eradicate America's wild horse by partnering with the very associations whose goals have been to rid this country of these national treasures. A recent press release by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) touts an agreement with the BLM and Public Lands Council (PLC) in which cattle ranchers currently holding federal grazing permits will be allowed to buy an unlimited number of wild horses for as little at $10 each. Aside from the obvious concerns, the NCBA and PLC have been leading opponents to the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. Now the BLM will be handing over thousands of wild horses to the individuals fighting to keep horse slaughter alive in the United States.

This latest scheme, added to what has been the worst period suffered by wild horses since the enactment of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971, may be the final blow to the future of the wild horses throughout our western public lands unless the American people stand up and demand change.

...read the rest at SAPL

What you can do

The only thing that saved wild horses from extinction back in 1971 was public outrage and demand for action. Thirty-four years later, we must again demand the protection of wild horses before it is too late. It is vital that everyone contact Secretary Norton and Director Clarke immediately, requesting that the BLM stop its plan to sell wild horses to livestock ranchers.

For more background and facts to include in your correspondence on the wild horse issue, please visit SAPL's wild horse and burro page: http://www.saplonline.org/w_horses.htm

1) The Honorable Gale A. Norton
Secretary of the Interior
US Department of the Interior
1849 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20240
E-Mail: webteam@ios.doi.gov

2) Director Kathleen Clarke
Bureau of Land Management
US Department of the Interior
1849 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20240
Fax: (202) 452-5124

3) Please write your Senators and Representative, urging them to swiftly enact the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503/S. 1915). By banning horse slaughter, the BLM won't be able to dump wild horses and the ranchers will not have an incentive to buy them if, after a short period of time, they are unable to send them to slaughter. To find your member of Congress click here.

...read the rest at SAPL
Congress passed a law recently which prevented the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the handful of horse slaughter plants still operating in the United States. Essentially, this law prevented USDA inspectors from inspecting horse meat rendered at the plants, which prevents the meat from being exported to other countries as food; this would basically halt horse slaughter in the US. The USDA, responding to pressure from the foreign companies which own these slaughter plants, is attempting to circumvent the Congressional order and allow horse slaughter plants to inspect their own meat.

You can help stop the USDA from making this end-run around Congress: the new USDA rule about inspection of slaughtered horses is currently open for public comment. Your comment can be filed entirely online and takes only a few moments of your time. For information on how to post your comment, read this SAPL eALERT. The Doris Day Animal League and other concerned organizations are filing lawsuits, but we need to let the USDA know that we're paying attention and this isn't going to work. You can also write your representative to let him know that his vote (assuming he voted FOR wild horses on this issue) and the will of his constituents are being ignored by the USDA.