Back in March, I wrote about the magical day I first crossed paths with these wild horses near the Salt River when was out birding.
And I've seen this particular group at least twice since, most recently yesterday.
But I might not be seeing them much longer.
Because the local US Forest Service may soon round them up -- possibly to be sold to slaughter -- no, it's not supposed to work like that, but it has happened before, and it should never happen again.
Another of Sarge's mares with their foal, 5/30/12.
The Forest Service refuses to acknowledge that these animals are wild horses, which would grant them protection under The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act -- an act intended to protect them:
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands." ~Public Law 92-195
Yet the Forest Service here insists these are "feral" horses.
Or, as a Forest Service employee told me via telephone in March: "there is no such thing as a wild horse, there are only feral horses."
No such thing as a wild horse? Then why did Congress even pass The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act? Nice try, Forest Service. But I think the majority of us remain decidedly unconvinced.
So much for the folks we entrust to care for our precious environment.
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You can add your voice to those who want to protect wild horses. Email or call your senators and congresspersons, contact info here. Email Supervisor Reta Laford at the Tonto National Forest division of the US Forest Service: tonto_webmail@ fs.fed.us.
You can also follow the news on this issue by "liking" the Salt River Wild Horses community Facebook page here.
Thanks for hearing me out.