RTF News: A Stallion Fights for His Family; We Fight for Them All
Stallion Struggles to Rescue His Captured Family
These images haunt me, and this is why Return to Freedom works so hard to reunite and keep family and bonded social bands of wild horses together. Last Friday, RTF’s Humane Witness endured another heartbreaking scene as a stallion tried for hours to rescue his family during the helicopter roundup at the Great Divide Basin Herd Management Area in Wyoming.
A close-flying helicopter relentlessly chased them down (slideshow above). The stallion galloped away, then, as the helicopter pushed his band into the trap, he raced down the hill to save them. They called to each other as he continued to circle the trap site.
This sad scene continued as the captured horses were sorted and trailered, even as the trailered horses, at least one bleeding, were taken to a waiting semi tractor-trailer. The stallion actually ran to the trucks following the cries from his family.
As the truck pulled away, he pursued it before finally giving up and turning back to the trap site, where he lingered.
Later, when a helicopter pushed another group of horses into the trap, a mare escaped, tragically leaving her foal behind. The lone stallion chased after her.
RTF humane witness Steve Paige thought that he’d seen the last of him.
“I felt better knowing he had found a new mate,” Paige wrote later. “However, as I was leaving at the end of the day, I saw him heading back towards the empty trap site in search of his family.”
When are we as humans going to recognize and embrace that these horses are sentient beings with deep bonds. They play, they raise their young and they suffer. They are a nation unto themselves and have the right to be treated with fairness and compassion. As one 9-year-old visitor said to me once when asked how he felt about the roundups, “It’s like going to prison for something you didn’t do.”
Because we ride horses, because they let us ride them, it does not give us a pass to ignore what we know. We know they are suffering great loss. We know there is a better way. These strong, beautiful and intelligent horses are being managed like livestock. Heck, even livestock don’t deserve to be managed “like livestock,” without any concern for their suffering -- but that is a conversation for another day. Today, we talk about the horse, the wild free-roaming horse who is supposedly under federal protection. That protection has been compromised over the past 45 years since the Act was passed in 1971.
It is time to raise your voice to your members of Congress. Without delay, call on them to stand with America’s wild horses and burros and protect them on their rightful ranges. Humane solutions do exist, but they MUST BE USED CORRECTLY, USED CONSISTENTLY AND USED NOW.
Since our call last week, 74 donations have been made amounting to $4,699 raised for the Wild Horse Defense Fund. Will you contribute towards the remaining $1,601 by our Friday October 6th deadline for this roundup? Remember: We need to continue raising funds in order to maintain a presence at this and other roundups. All donations, large and small, are needed in this ongoing effort. If you can't make a donation but are interested in volunteering as a humane witness, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Freedom and fellow plaintiffs on Friday celebrated two more legal victories on behalf of wild horses:
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a plan by the U.S. Forest Service to shrink the size of the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory in Northern California by 23,000 acres. The agency must now immediately ensure that federal protected wild horses are allowed access to roam on the disputed acreage in the middle of the territory. Click here to read more.
The U.S. District Court in Idaho ruled that the Bureau of Land Management had violated federal laws in its plan convert the wild free-roaming horse population in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area in Idaho into a non-reproducing herd by surgically or chemically sterilizing every wild horse living there. The court found that that the BLM decision was arbitrary and capricious and violated the Wild Free Roaming Horses Act, the National Environmental Protection Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. Click here to read more.
At a recent conference sponsored by The Homes For Horses Coalition, RTF Founder Neda DeMayo was given strong appreciation by Fleet of Angels Founder, Elaine Nash. Nash expressed profound thanks to DeMayo and RTF as a driving force in getting this rescue, believed to be the largest in U.S. history, off the ground and galvanizing support from national organizations and a private foundation who, together with many generous donors like you, saved over 900 horses from auction and probable slaughter.
Watch Karen realize her dream with Adoe, a mare from the Hart Mountain herd.