Action Alert: Mustangs On The Hill.
September 28, 2009

Wild Mustangs

 

First, below is a history of the mustangs provided by (and all photos courtesy of):  National Wild Horse Adoption Day

America’s mustangs are the descendants of wild horses brought to the New World by Spanish explorers and missionaries in the 16th century. Others come from stock that were released or escaped from miners, ranchers, homesteaders and others who settled the West. Although horses evolved in North America there are many different opinions as to why no horses or burros existed on this continent at the time of European exploration. Spanish explorers reintroduced horses to North America beginning in the late fifteenth century and Native Americans helped spread horses throughout the Great Plains and the West. Until as recently as the mid-twentieth century, horses continued to be released onto public lands by the U.S. cavalry, farmers, ranchers, and miners.

The “Pencil War”

By the mid-20th century, domestic markets for pet and chicken feed and European markets for horse meat emerged, further reducing the number of wild horses and burros remaining in the West. Public concern escalated in response to the brutal methods used by mustangers to capture and transport wild horses for sale to rendering plants. Horrified by the gruesome practices, Velma Johnston spearheaded a “Pencil War”, a letter writing campaign that generated more letters to Congress than any single issue besides the Vietnam War! Thousands of letters were written by school children concerned for the horses’ welfare.

Congress passes “the Act”

As populations on western rangelands declined to fewer than 20,000 animals, the Congress of the United States deliberated over the animals’ future and passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act in 1971 (Act). The Act placed America’s mustangs and burros under federal jurisdiction, and charged the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS) with preserving and protecting wild horses and burros as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”

Poetry in Motion ...

 

Once again, here’s your chance to change the world and make it a more humane place for America’s wild mustangs and burros. Public outcry saved them in 1971 through The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act; I know, by joining together, we can do it again.

It’s a sad thought to imagine losing the wild mustangs and burros to extinction, let alone other outcomes such as slaughter, abuse and neglect, injury, and the terror inflicted during and after BLM round-ups. Just as sad is the thought of the world’s children and future children never having the chance to witness the grace and beauty of these animals — running free as they’re meant to be, on the land America promised them, across this great country born from their backs.

On so many levels, America wouldn’t be America without the horses and burros. The least we can do is protect instead of inflict, respect instead of betray, stand up for instead of turning away, and offer our outrage instead of our apathy. Their lives and well-being depend upon it.

Their continuing presence on this earth depends upon it. 

Peace Love and Understanding.

 

Below is an Action Alert from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. Please do your part, and thank you for helping save the horses.

Mustangs on the Hill

Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 29, is ‘Mustangs on the Hill’ Day: Wild horse advocates will be lobbying their Senators for the passage of S.1579, the Restore Our American Mustangs (ROAM) Act.

This critical bill, which passed before the House of Representatives last July, amends the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act by adding important new protections and provisions, such as the banning of helicopter roundups and the reclaiming of land lost by America’s wild horses over the past 30 years.

A press conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, DC. If you are unable to attend the day’s events, please call your two U.S. Senators, urging them to support the ROAM Act (S.1579). More generally, please urge your Senators to address the mismanagement of our wild horse herds on public lands:

1) Denounce the aggressive wild horse removal campaign currently under way at the behest of special interest groups and at the cost of millions of our tax-dollars.

2) Tell them that our tax-dollars would be better spent on an in-the-wild management program not based on removals.

3) Call for a moratorium on roundups until actual numbers of wild horses on public lands have been independently assessed.

To locate your Senators, please visit www.senate.gov. Please also call the Senate Committee on Natural Resources at 202.224.4971 to express your support for wild horses and the ROAM Act.

Last of the Mojave Burros

The last remaining wild burro heritage herds in California’s Mojave Desert are threatened with removal this week. Please take advantage of this lobbying day to also call Senator Feinstein’s office at 202.224.3841 and ask her to intercede with BLM officials and put a stop to these roundups.

On behalf of America’s wild horses and burros, thank you for your support!

The AWHPC Team
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
www.wildhorsepreservation.org

Life to the Fullest.

All photos courtesy of:  National Wild Horse Adoption Day

A Prayer For More Cloudy Days.
April 1, 2009

On Cloud Nine.

Riding Cloudy.

From last week:

I’m not just a writer, today, but a very worried Mommy. My twenty-something year old Arabian horse, White Cloud, has been colicky since yesterday afternoon.

Us horse owners shudder at the spectre of colic. Statistically known to kill one out of every four horses, this sneaky malady is infamous as the leading cause of death in equines.

It was colic that took my twenty-one year old Arabian horse, Takoda, in the summer of 2007.

Often, colic can strike out of nowhere; even something as innocuous as a change in the weather can cause the symptoms of colic — pawing, nipping at the stomach or sides, restlessness and sweating, constipation, diarrhea, refusal of food and drink, rolling, or rolling violently, in the worst cases — according to wise, leathery cowboys and scientific studies, even. Outside the window, I watch the new winds blow madly. (I’d rate them a ten on the obnoxious meter. If only there were a remote for that.)

Since Cloud is fed only the best hay and is floated and wormed like clockwork, I’m left even more concerned by his gastrointestinal distress.

I await a return call from our vet. As I wait, my mind and heart race. Forget the scary query in-box — I can’t help but remember Takoda’s last night on earth, my beautiful old Arab lying on the ground with his head in my lap, his usually fresh, green breath turned dark and forboding.

There was nothing the vet could do for him except end his misery.     

UPDATE:

I stayed up with Cloudy two nights straight. It was like a throwback to the night he arrived here at Morning Star Ranch, colicky then, too, and overloaded with worms from the feedlot, where he waited to be shipped to slaughter.

The morning I first saw colic symptoms in Cloud, I’d separated him from the herd and immediately called the vet. Settled in his own corral, I could more accurately monitor his water intake and manure, which happened to be explosive diarrhea. Like a horsier version of Nancy Drew, I gathered clues to clue in the vet, who made an emergency visit to the ranch after hearing the symptoms over the phone.

(This is why, if you own horses, it’s vital to have a medical emergency fund.)  

After the vet checked his vitals, Cloud was sedated; a long, clear tube was threaded down one nostril to his stomach, delivering water, psyllium and some red stuff straight into his gut. A few hours later, we administered two tubes of Biosponge (like a miracle for equine digestive issues). We also had blood drawn; it’s something I like to do yearly, especially with elderly horses.

Tonight, (or today, since it’s after 4 in the morning), Cloud is doing much better. The diarrhea is gone; the green mounds of manure he’s yielding are actually beautiful, indicative of the normal functioning of a healthy body. I hold myself back from getting my camera.

As a horse owner, I read manure like tea leaves. 

Last night, I even bargained with the Universe, Kubler-Ross style. I said, Universe, you can take away all the agent requests I’ve received, and if Destiny has scheduled me to win the lottery, you can have that, too — as long as you pull White Cloud through this ordeal. 

There’s nothing worse than when one of your babies is sick or hurting.

Today:

Beautiful Boy.

There’s an old saying. “If there’s trouble, a horse will find it.”

Cloud is doing GREAT. Since his colicky bout, our draft horse, Mr. Bean, came down with a more mild case of colic. Cloudy’s tests came back showing the presence of creosote, a compound found in our Mesquite trees.

I’ve had the poisonous plants handbook for this area ever since we put up the horse facilities, and we’re diligent about keeping the desert trimmed back from the fenceline. The only scenarios I can think of for the poisoning are:

A) Mesquite tree branches blown into the corral due to the crazy winds, which the two horses chewed.

B) Neighborhood kids feeding the horses clippings or twigs without us knowing it.    

Such are the times I wish I could shrink the horses into Breyer models and set my horsey gentlemen on the knick-knack shelf overnight, while I’m sleeping.  

When all is said and done, I do try to remain realistic. I have a soft spot for the older geldings headed to slaughter, and often, due to a history of neglect, or the neglect horses experience on the feedlot, (horses destined for human consumption can’t be wormed or treated, as the chemicals taint the meat), they’re also not the most likely candidates to live to be thirty years or older (a horse’s general lifespan).

I remind myself that when it’s Cloudy’s turn to gallop across the Rainbow Bridge, he’ll do so as a valued, cherished being. Many of his kind aren’t as fortunate.

Of course, the time is never right to say goodbye to the animals we love. Or at least, I haven’t come close to mastering this ability. It’s quite a dichotomy —  everything contains its opposite, and for life, that’s death. We can’t have the love and joy we receive from our four-legged family members without one day facing that dreaded goodbye.

As a writer and in a spiritual sense, you might say I’m fascinated with death. All writers, including the greats, have a handful of themes that run through their work. Mine is death. It’s another dichotomy when you consider the fact that:

A) I’m the opposite of dark.

B) Having fun with or exploring the death theme in my writing is night-and-day different from facing it in real life. 

Every evening, after I bleach-mop the sanctuary room before bringing the dogs in for the night, I put down layers of newspaper in the corner in case anyone can’t hold it. And in the Universe’s strange way, often I end up stopping in my tracks because the sheet in front of me happens to be the Obituaries. I’m jolted by the faces of children and teenagers, regularly present, but even more so, I’m jolted by the view of life’s great fragility. 

There’s some luck in it: those newspaper pages make it impossible to forget how lucky I am for another day, another sun, even another fake-out air-nip from a grumpy old horse. I’ve been thrilled this week to have Cloudy pin his ears at me and snake his neck per usual; good old Mr. Grumpy-Pants, back to his old, ornery self.

There’s also a gift: appreciate what you have right now — it’s all you have for certain, if even that.

But, enough lessons already.

Life’s a-waiting.

Arabian Cloud and Mustang Peanut. 

Cloud and Peanut, saved from slaughter.

(P.S.  Thank you, Universe! I did mean what I said last week, and Cloud is still doing great. But, if you could see it clear, can I keep the agents, too? I’d be much obliged.)

Wearing: NaNoWriMo 2008 WINNER t shirt

Listening to: Praise You, by Fatboy Slim

Mood: Happy, pure and simple.

Photos by Emily Murdoch (except for the one I’m in, of course).

The Conyers-Burton Prevention Of Equine Cruelty Act Of 2008.
July 29, 2008

October405123.jpg Shooting Star and Don Quixote -- upon arrival. picture by DogOnAHorse

Shooting Star, a wild Nevada Mustang foaled in a killbuyer’s feedlot, on arrival.

With much excitement for America’s horses, both domesticated and wild, there is a new bill being presented to Congress in the people’s ongoing attempts to end the slaughter of America’s horses for human consumption.

Called the Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008 (H.R. 6598), this legislation will prohibit the sale and transport of horses for the purpose of human consumption, effectively ending the agony of horses being transported/exported long distances to Mexico and Canada for slaughter, sometimes on double-decker trailers intended for cows, and without food or water.

This new legislation differs from the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503/S.311) because its focus is the inherent cruelty of horse slaughter. Because of this, it has been referred to the Judiciary Committee for consideration. The Committee Chairman, Representative John Conyers, is the lead sponsor of the bill. It is very possible that this bill has a greater chance of being enacted than the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which has been stalled (most likely deliberately) in Committee since April 2007.

The Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in regard to this bill on Thursday, July 31st, 2008, and the Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle will testify in support of the legislation. Testimony is presently being collected from Americans who do horse rescue, and who man the front lines of this awful, heartbreaking situation.

This is exactly what America’s horses need — protection and championing.

Let me shout it from the rooftops — Americans do not eat their pets! Pets are family, not food! Horses are considered pets and companion animals, not livestock or meat!

Why are we exporting our family members onto foreign dinner plates? Money, greed, and because the people who do so are counting on Americans to either not know, or not care.

We care! We care about the horses!

IMG_1026-2.jpg picture by DogOnAHorse

Shooting Star today.

All three horses in this photo were saved from slaughter.

(photos by Emily Murdoch)

Want to help? Please write, call or email your Representatives today, and urge them to support the Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008. Your voice is God’s, for these horses.

Want the low down on horse slaughter, and a timeline for anti-slaughter legislation? 

Click here: LEGISLATION:  American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503/S. 311)
And for this current legislation:
Click here: Congress Addressing Horse Slaughter Cruelty in New Federal Legislation | The H
Want to see the Humane Society’s undercover slaughter investigation?  
 (WARNING — This is not for the faint of heart. Contains graphic images, and it’s heartbreaking.)

 

Saving The Wild Mustang Herds.
July 14, 2008

Shooting Star, my own wild mustang saved from slaughter.

 Photo by Emily Murdoch

 The point of this post is a passionate attempt to bring awareness to the plight of America’s wild mustangs and burros. At the moment, 30,000 plus wild mustangs in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facilities are facing euthanasia. As if taking their freedom and stealing their lands isn’t enough, now their very lives hang in the balance.

Sadly, if you are reading this post, you have joined a new club — you, too, are bearing witness to the wild mustang extinction underway in the United States.

When you click on the link below,

http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/804214

it will take you to a wonderful article in support of a famous group of mustangs, Cloud and his herd, along with additional information on wild mustangs. I also added this link to the original post from a few days ago.

Even if you’ve never owned a horse, or don’t care to, these horses are your horses, too, and your children’s and grandchildren’s. A symbol of freedom and majesty in America, they are America’s horses, and they are counting on you.

You may not know it, but tourists from all over the world come to America to see our wild mustangs.

There’d be no America without the horse. The least we can do is protect our wild ones, and in thanks, let them run free.

Singer Sheryl Crow has also joined the fight:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080702/ap_on_en_tv/people_sheryl_crow

If you (like me) would be interested in watching the documentary hosted by Sheryl Crow, Viggo Mortensen and Peter Coyote, or to make a donation to help the cause, please follow this link:

http://www.theamericanwildhorse.com/

From theamericanwildhorse.com:

This critical documentary film explores BLM’s past management history within the Wild Horse and Burro Program. The film exposes the current massive Western land grab by oil, gas and mining corporations exploiting over 30 million acres of natural Western lands in the areas of New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and others.

The current excessive land exploitation is affecting all wild life species including the American Wild Horse. To the extent that there are now more wild horses housed in BLM holding facilities than remain on the open range.”

Two million or more wild mustangs used to roam the west. Now, less than approximately 25,000 wild horses remain. 30,000 have already been rounded up into BLM holding pens, where 26 million in tax dollars is spent on their care. These BLM horses face slaughter and euthanasia, and the BLM plans to round up another 4000 or more horses by the fall of 2008.

These horses deserve to run free on the millions of acres of public land designated for America’s wild horses under United States law, as spoken by the people. Those horses presently in holding pens should be set free. 

It seems so simple: stop rounding up our wild horses. Set the wild horses free. Stop using our tax dollars to strip away the freedom and dignity of OUR wild horses, some of which end up at slaughterhouses suffering a horrific end. 

Most importantly, reinstate full protection for OUR wild horses and burros under The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

How many times must we fight this same battle? 

And that’s where we come in, as individuals. Our voices count, and we are all the wild mustangs have to count upon. They need you to use your voice to do what’s right for the horses, when our own government can’t or won’t.

H.R. 249:  To restore the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros.

–Introduced on January 5th, 2007.

–Sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall [D-WV]

–Status: Passed the House — 89% Democrats supporting, 58% Republicans opposing.

–Last Action:  April 26th, 2007 — Received in the Senate, read twice, and referred to the Committee on Energy and National Resources.