San Francisco rally & worldwide protests planned to stop wild horse roundups (US)

Public demands that winter roundup in Nevada be halted

The Cloud Foundation Logo

Media Contacts:

Makendra Silverman ~ Makendra[at]TheCloudFoundation.org
Tel: 719-351-8187

Anne Novak ~ AnneNovak[at]yahoo.com
Tel: 415-531-8454

For Immediate Release

San Francisco, CA (December 28, 2009)—American wild horse and burro advocates, The Cloud Foundation (TCF) and In Defense of Animals (IDA) are organizing a protest Wednesday in San Francisco. The public will assemble at 11 A.M. with a Press Conference at noon in front of Senator Diane Feinstein’s office building (One Post Street at Montgomery) asking the Senator to help halt the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) massive roundup of thousands of mustangs living in the half million acre Calico Mountain Complex area in northwestern Nevada. The roundup is scheduled to begin today, despite a federal court ruling recommending that the action be postponed.

“We’re having the protest to stop the horrific Calico roundup now. We want Senator Feinstein’s help to pass a moratorium on all roundups, including Calico, until the American public and Congress can craft a sustainable future for our legendary wild horses and burros of the West.” —Anne Novak, SF Bay Area resident and Cloud Foundation volunteer

The Cloud Foundation and over 190 organizations, authors and celebrities (Sheryl Crow, Viggo Mortenson, Lily Tomlin, Bill Maher and others) are calling for an immediate moratorium on roundups until the American public works with Congress to craft a sustainable plan— one that protects and preserves wild herds on public lands in the West.

According to a BLM Reno public affaires specialist at least half of the Calico roundup will be held on private land where the public will be unable to view the roundup. The Cloud Foundation only discovered this two days before the roundup’s scheduled start, despite a public statement by the BLM wild horse and burro program chief Don Glenn on December 7th:

“All of our gathers are open to the public. The public is invited to come watch all the time.” (Video of complete statement here). Mr. Glenn spoke while an unannounced, secret roundup was underway in Northern Nevada. Two weeks later an IDA observer was denied access to the Palomino Buttes roundup in Eastern Oregon (in which at least two foals killed). BLM officials stating that “no observers would be allowed or welcome at this roundup.

“We are hopeful that Senator Feinstein will see through the BLM lies and deception and stop this unnecessary and cruel winter roundup. It insults the democratic process if BLM gets away with this. They have betrayed the trust of the American public.” —Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation and creator of the popular PBS Nature programs about the wild stallion “Cloud”

In his December 23, 2009 decision, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman suggested that BLM postpone the Calico roundup of 2,700 horses in the more than half million acre Calico Mountains Complex in northwestern Nevada. BLM plans to remove 80-90 percent of the estimated 3,000 horses living in the Calico Mountain wild horse complex. Low-flying helicopters will chase the horses over dangerous winter terrain into traps and temporary corrals. Respiratory illnesses, permanent injury and death are expected as horses are run, possibly over long distances, and foals are separated from their mothers.

“This is a devious ploy to displace the wild horses from their legal herd areas. It is very vicious and must be exposed and stopped.” —Craig Downer, Nevada Wildlife Ecologist

The government agency entrusted to manage our public land shows their disregard towards the U.S. District Court by going ahead with the roundup. In denying public access to the Calico roundup—one of the most controversial roundups—BLM also shows their disregard towards the public’s right to observe, stating the first half of the capture would be conducted on private land to which the landowner has barred public access. The public insists that BLM has gone too far.

“To start this immense roundup on private land where members of the pubic are forbidden to attend, allows the BLM to hide the suffering and death that they will inflict on our mustangs. The public outcry over this roundup is unparalleled. On December 7th, Don Glenn said the public was invited to attend any roundup, any time, stating “accommodations would be made” for public observers. By starting this huge roundup on private land this agency continues destroying our wild horses in secret while appearing to welcome public scrutiny.” —Elyse Gardner, Novato, CA resident and advocate.

Little trust is left in the agency that has been charged by Congress to manage what many call the living history of the American West. Protests are being organized around the globe with the San Francisco event expected to be the largest.

“The whole world is watching—people are outraged by the latest assault on America’s wild horses. Protests are springing up worldwide: London, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boulder Colorado and Sun Valley Idaho, so far.” —Makendra Silverman, Associate Director of The Cloud Foundation

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Photos of Calico Wild Horses- Oct. 2009- available to press (http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/index.php/news-events-a-media/photo-galleries/235-calicophotos)

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