Sometimes things hit me and more often than not, it is because they break my heart. I go to DC alot and meet with powerful people. Most are elected to office and what prompted them to run? They really and truly want to do something good, they want to make the world a better place. However, a few years down the road somehow they lose their way. They start out by making a few deals to do what they think is the "good" thing. Then it becomes easier and then they start making deals for money, donations to their campaigns, whatever. Some sell themselves so cheaply that you have to wonder about their self-esteem. It breaks my heart.
Now I want to make it clear that I am not opposed to our system of government. I am probably the most patriotic person anyone could meet. My father retired from the military, my father-in-law retired from the military, my sons have served, heck I even enlisted but I got pregnant and couldn't report. I vote, my whole family votes. I believe that we have the best form of government in the world, but it isn't perfect. That is why it evolves and changes and it could use some tweeking on special interest and term limits.
Why am I off on a rant on the government? Because of the horse issues. There has been a horse slaughter ban bill pending in Congress for 8 YEARS. Every session there has been a great deal of support for the bill, but a handful of people have prevented its vote, changed their vote beacuse of deals or just flat out lied to block it. It is insane!! A simple bill with huge bi-partisan support cannot pass. If you trace it back it is because of special interest because otherwise nobody would do what has been done if they didn't get money for it, it isn't worth what those people have gone through. Bob Godlatte isn't opposed to the bill because he honestly thinks that horses really do enjoy slaughter. Senator Larry Craig didn't block the bill because he thinks that all horses should die. Both have close ties to the cattle industry. I can guarantee that Larry Craig will be working alongside Charles Stenholm for a lobby firm when he leaves office. It is money.
Then we have the wild horse issue. The BLM is opening the doors to "euthanizing" tens of thousands of healthy horses. It isn't euthanasia, it is murder. The range supposedly can't support them. It can support 4.6 million cattle, it can support 700,000 elk, it can support 60,000 big horn sheep, but it can't handle 60,000 horses (those on the range and those in holding). That is bulls**t. Normally I am not so blunt, but I am in tears right now and I refuse to pull punches when someone is seriously breaking my heart. Those horses have been sold out and for so very little.
When Newsweek published an article (http://www.newsweek.com/id/42723) a few weeks ago I read it as I do as many articles about the horses as I can. However, tonight someone sent me the link again. I went to make sure I had read it and this time I read the comments. People were talking about how we (the people who want the horses on the range) seriously didn't care about the horses. That the range was so bad that these "large" herds were destroying the land. That there are no predetors so the BLM should kill them. Others asked where the environmentalists were and why they weren't speaking out to help the horses. Why? Because the BLM and OUR GOVERNMENT has done such a great job of hiding scientific proof that the horse originated in North America and the great PR on how these aren't really wild animals, but are feral. Track it all back and it goes to money and a VERY long history of it. Horses were here when the first white settlers crossed the plains.
Other comments said the wild horses and burros were "worthless". Others asked whey they weren't protected like the bald eagle. Well, let's look at that. The bald eagle is no longer as protected as it once was. We pushed them to the brink of extinction and they were our nations' symbol from the beginning. We did a great job there. Some other comments said the horses have no predators. That is a lie, they do. But our government has erradicated most of these predators because these poor animals can't tell the difference between worthless horses and priceless cattle. (Ok after I get upset I tend to get REALLY ticked off, but I am trying to keep some of the really bad words from spilling out.)
The grazing program on federal lands is one that costs the tax payer ALOT. It is really hard to know the exact cost because so much of it is hidden by the BLM. We do know that in the past it lost over $41 million dollars a year (darn that is where the money went to maintain the horses in holding facilities!!) and that was years ago. Grazing fees haven't increased, as a matter of fact they are as low as the law allows. Under Reagan the program was losing so much money that he passed laws to set a minimum fee and allowed the BLM to increase the fees up to 25% a year. Instead of raising the fees, the BLM REDUCED them. So, we can expect that we, the tax payer, is paying more. I am not going to go into too much more of the policies that are absolutely riddiculous things we pay for, but let's just say we should all move west and get grazing permits so we don't have to pay our own bills. If we did that then maybe we would have the money to fight/match those working to destroy our horses.
I am also sick to death of being told that because I care about horses and being humane to animals I don't care about children. I am not sure how anyone can make that leap, but that is the most stupid thing I have ever heard. I have worked for years as a kid to raise money for March of Dimes and Muscular Distrophy. I have volunteered hundreds of hours at schools, sat on PTA committees, donated to Habitat for Humanity and thousands of other things. I care about people too. There are literally thousands of organizations that work on those issue, there are only a handful of humane organizations and fewer still that work for the horses. Things that hurt children break my heart too. I cry over them as well, probably more.
In the end when mustangs are extinct and no longer are available to be viewed by our children and grandchildren who should we cry for? Those that will never see those stunningly beautiful animals or the animals that are gone? How can we explain to them that money was more important? Or is it already too late, that we have become a souless society that cares more about the bottom line? We are facing their extinction. What about horse slaughter? Is the almighty dollar more important than doing the right thing, the humane thing?
Ok, I am done with my rant. I am going to say here that these are MY personal opinions. They may not reflect those of AHDF, its board or members. Names of political figures are not to be meant as an endorsement or oppostion of them as candidates of whatever they may or may not be running for.