On October 16, 2003
WHOA organized a protest rally outside the Regional Albuquerque Forest Service Building
To protest the Helicopter Roundups of Wild Horses within National Wild Horse Territories
Why are we protesting?
Ø The Forest Service is planning another rounding up our few Wild Horses and mismanaging our 9 National Horse Territories on Forests Lands here in NM. Over grazing is the issue (12,030 cattle vs. 341 wild horses.). However, the public can no longer give inputs on Environmental Assessments.
Ø The Forest Service is required to protect these Wild Horses under the 1971 Free Wild Horse and Burro Act. However, last year they used helicopters to round up wild horses in the spring, during foaling season, with a 25% death ratio including new-born foals. These horses are also known to have Spanish blood from horses brought by the conquistadors.
Ø Tourism? No publicity. Most New Mexicans don’t even know we have Wild Horses here or National Wild Horse territories. We could be using these wild horses of Spanish decent as a tourist attraction as do other states.
Ø With over 12,000 cattle and only 341 wild horses on Forest Service Lands in New Mexico, we feel the priorities of the Forest Service need to be carefully re-evaluated.
What are we asking for?
Ø Stop the use of helicopters for round-ups once and for all, there are humane alternatives IF and WHEN a round-up does become necessary.
Ø More balance on our multiple use forest service lands. They are all currently dominated by cattle for a mere $1.35/month per animal unit. This is an archaic system. Many Win-Win alternatives exist such as a Federal buyout program of those ranchers who want to retire. (See previous press release for more alternatives.)
Ø Use of proactive birth control on the wild horses administered by darts versus round-up and adoption which often ends at the slaughter houses. (The 1958 Humane Slaughter Act is not now and has never been enforced.)
This protest is supported by groups including:
Animal Protection of New Mexico
Holly Berry Farm (Horse Rescue)
Red Rock Animal Hospital
Placitas Animal Rescue
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