About the Horses
When Congress passed the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to protect wild horses and burros, they declared wild horses to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West”. The horses, previously often mistreated, rounded up, and sold for slaughter, were to be protected and managed where they were found on public lands at the time the Act was passed. Instead, they have often been mismanaged, maligned, threatened with mass euthanasia and dangerous and cruel forms of birth control (Ovariectomy), and removed from the wild at alarming rates. Many still end up at auctions where they are purchased for slaughter.
As our country becomes more populated and open land diminishes, the battle between various factions over public land use for profit becomes more intense. Due to prior mismanagement of the horses and pressure on Congress by private, special interest groups who benefit financially from the use of our public lands, tens of thousands of horses removed from the wild now live in both short and long-term government holding facilities where their natural family bands have been torn apart, the stallions castrated, their freedom lost.
The social dynamics of wild horses and their strong family bonds and attachments are magnificent to witness. To watch a herd of wild horses running across any landscape is the thrill of a lifetime. Getting to know the individuals within the herd is an affair of the heart. Each is a unique and special personality with their own role to play in the social and family dynamics. Once one begins to know the individuals, it is unfathomable to think of them losing their herd, family, friends, and freedom.
“But what leaves us most wistful – what we envy most – is their raw, unabashed freedom.”
– Among Wild Horses