Monday, October 26, 2009

Wild Horses and Washington

For Immediate Release
(Washington, DC)Save Our Wild Horses Coalition members Ms. Shelley Sawhook, president of the American Horse Defense Fund, and Ms. Cindy MacDonald, author of American Herds Blog, attended a week of meetings with various representatives, senators and their aides last week in Washington, DC. Their main goal was to present a Resolution calling for a moratorium on wild horse and burro gathers (i.e., wholesale removal from their federal lands); ask for an independent census of the horses and burros, both in the wild and within holding facilities, and; call for an investigation into the highly questionable policies, processes and practices of the Bureau of Land Management’s administration of the wild horse and burro program.  In addition, they presented materials and information in support of the Resolution.

All materials presented by Sawhook and MacDonald will be made available on the Save Our Wild Horses (SOWH) website as well as their own various sites and blogs.

While in Washington, Sawhook and MacDonald met with senatorial aides to the various Energy and Natural Resources Committee and related sub-committee members. MacDonald also had the opportunity to meet with her own Senators, Reid and Ensign. Many issues relating to the issue of wild horses and burros were discussed and the SOWH Resolution was presented and discussed. During the meetings, Senate questions were addressed and a policy point paper and a paper detailing the pros and cons of the Salazar Plan (i.e., Secy. Of the Interior’s plan to remove wild horses from their traditional range and place them in non-breeding sanctuaries in the East) were provided as additional resource information to support the resolution and SOWH’s positions and to answer other questions.

In several meetings, SOWH representatives were told that the Obama Administration has asked for the implementation of the “Salazar Plan” to see if it might solve the wild horse and burro issues and give the new Secretary an opportunity to administer the program without intervention so early on in his administration. This presents a problem as SOWH is opposed to the implementation of the Salazar Plan as it is not in the best interest of wild horses and burros and would pervert the existing Act protecting the nation’s wild horses and burros, specifically, the plan remove horses from their recognized herd areas.

Notable among most aides were that they were unfamiliar with wild equine issues. Once informed, they sought the input of SOWH and of those who are most familiar with wild horses and burros on what is best for them. SOWH asks that everyone with such expertise contact the committee members and their staff (links and resources are on to provide much needed insight and guidance to assist the senators with bolstering the protections. An example of a common perception among many talked to on the Hill and among Americans was exemplified in a meeting with Senator Blanche Lincoln (D, AR). It was apparent that her office had not heard much from their constituents on the issue, stating she would likely defer to those from the western states where the mustangs and burros reside. That position fails to acknowledge that these symbols of America and our history and values belong to the American public, not just western states. SOWH calls for all Arkansans to contact Senator Lincoln’s office to voice their position on the wild horse and burro issue so that she can hear loud and clear that protection of these majestic animals are an important issue to them.  Other offices that could benefit from hearing from their constituents are Senator Bob Corker (R, TN), Senator Robert Menendez (D, NJ), Senator Diane Feinstein (D, CA), Senator John Ensign (R, NV), Senator Jeff Bingaman (D, NM) and Senator Michael Bennett (D, CO).

For more information contact Shelley Sawhook email, phone 866-956-2433 address 1718 M St NW Unit 191 Washington, DC 20036.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Going to DC

The trip to DC is getting closer.  It is getting crazy around my house.  I have to get all the materials ready, get to the cleaners to get my suits pressed and get ready to go.  I always get stressed when I go to DC because I know how important those trips can be and this time it is doubly important.  Otherwise we might not have any more wild horse within a few years.

So far I have heard from a couple of folks that they too want to go and help protect the wild horses.  This is pretty exciting since lobbying is seen as hard.  Too many folks are afraid of Congress, they keep forgetting that it is our JOB to visit them.  We are their employers and we should check on our employees to see how they are doing and to tell them what kind of job we want done. 

George Knapp did an awesome job on his hour long special about the wild horses called "Stampede to Oblivion".  In it Dina Titus said that our politicians seem to be focused on special interest and not on the hearing the people.  Is it possible that the reason they listen to special interest is because they see them every day and they ply them with food, gifts and funds and not to the people because we DON'T visit and talk to them?  Just a thought. 

BTW if you haven't seen the special you should take the time.  It is probably one of the best pieces ever done on the issue.  You can find it by going here, the videos are on the right hand side.  It is in 5 parts, so watch them all.  Also, the station says that they have an agreement with ALL CBS affiliates to provide content, so your local station could show it.  Contact them to see if they will show it.

WE have got to have success in getting the ROAM Act passed.  If we don't we are probably going to see the end of truly wild horses and burros in another year or two.  The FY 2010 gather schedule shows that they are planning to remove 12,000 horses and burros from the range.  And FY 2010 has already started and the horses are being taken off the range as we speak.  12,000 horses is about 1/3 of the animals left on the range if you believe the BLM's numbers.  If you are sure they are over estimating then you can see that this could be the end. 

So gear up folks, our wild horses and burros are in for the fight of their lives and we have to help them.  It isn't the time to get mad, but it is the time to get active.  Anger, while probably a VERY understandable emotion, causes us to make mistakes.  The horses can't afford those, so let's move at this with a clear head and a firm determined attitude, the way the horses would want us to.