If there are any heroes in the abandoned/neglected/abused horse quagmire, it is the BLM Wild Horse Program. The “unintended consequences” of Wild Horse Annie’s dreams have taken the pendulum of reasonable “wild horse” management … to the extreme. No one who personally contributes their money or time toward the care of these animals doubts that, but many have been caught in a trap of their own making. One of the most obvious contributors to the demise and destruction of the status and value of The Horse, wild or tame (remember they are both domestic animals), are the animal rights groups.Their leader isthe Humane Society of the United States. They are stumbling through the nightmare of this continuing horse-abuse landscape of their own creation, lurching like a 35-ton money-sucking tick.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is routinely bashed and criticized by both those who favor horse slaughter and those who don’t. The BLM, by law, is allowed to run a limited number of horses on federal lands. The horse slaughter advocates have always accepted this premise.
Most of the animal rights, anti-slaughter advocates do not understand why overrunning the range with horses is bad for both man and beast. The animal rights groups and their supporters have declared it “illegal, immoral and abusive” to sell unadoptable wild horses to slaughter plants. But they are of no help when the BLM has to thin the range herd.
The HSUS, whose revenue in 2010 was $148 million, does not offer to feed, treat, care for or house the unwanted horses. The politicians who support HSUS (and I assume are supported by) take no responsibility either: like Rick Santorum (PA), Senator Landrieu (LA) and Governor Martinez of New Mexico. What’s worse is they offer no help and impede those who are trying.
So, the BLM pays ranchers to keep the unwanted horses in feedlots or pastures for the rest of their lives. Horsemen watching the BLM know that what has transpired was never Wild Horse Annie’s dream. To see the carnage that has happened to The Horse in our country due to HSUS and their allies would make her sorely grievous.
I have deliberately connected the wild horse problem with the privately owned horse abuse crisis because their plights are entwined and laid at the feet of the same people. But my admiration goes out to those who continue to try and hold back the tidal wave of “unintended consequences”: the horse rescues, local humane societies, ranchers, farmers, deputies, vets, knowledgeable politicians and the good horsemen and women workin’ for the BLM.
They are like the thousands and thousands of workers still bogged down in the aftermath of Katrina. They work while their foes continue to pour buckets of water over the levee, blind to the legacy they have created. PD