First Lady Mother’s Day campaign for wild mares launched


Int’l Fund for Horses and The Cloud Foundation launch Mother’s Day effort on behalf of captured Mustang mares

Stop the roundups and respect our wild mothers

Calico Mare and Foal in Fallon NV Wild Horse Holding Pen. (c) Elyse Gardner
Manure-strewn pens at Fallon have become a makeshift nurseries for captured Calico mares now giving birth without cover or protection from the elements. Image (c) Elyse Gardner. Taken May 2, 2010.

WASHINGTON D.C. (May 4, 2010) ―The American wild horse crisis is filled with issues of animal cruelty and the world looks on and asks, “Why?” Currently the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is holding over 1800 captured Calico mustangs at a privately owned, feedlot-style facility in Fallon, Nevada. The manure-strewn pens have become makeshift nurseries for captured mares now giving birth without cover or protection from the elements.

In honor of America’s wild horse mares and their foals, International Fund for Horses and The Cloud Foundation launch a letter writing campaign First Lady Michelle Obama this Mother’s Day, requesting a moratorium on roundups in the American West.

“The American public is no longer buying the false claims by the BLM that wild horses are starving and must be removed from the range,” states Vivian Grant, President of the Int’l Fund for Horses. “Time after time we see healthy wild horses being rounded up by the BLM and tragically it is the mares and their newborn or unborn foals who pay the highest price.” More than 40 late term abortions and 87 adult horse deaths have occurred as a result of the stressful helicopter roundup in northwestern Nevada in the dead of winter.

Young castrated Mustang from Calico roundup in NV receives no pain medication or treatment for his obvious
Young Mustang from Calico roundup in NV receives no pain medication for the castration procedure or post-op complications. Image (c) Cat Kindsfather. Taken April 2010.

While the Calico mustang mothers and their newborns continue to be held in the dusty corrals, their sons are being castrated without proper pain medication or medical oversight. Complications that often arise with domestic horses such as hemorrhage, evisceration (protrusion on the intestine through the scrotum), inflammation, swelling in the cavity and lasting damage to the penis go untreated. “Prompt recognition of post-castration complications and expedited application of appropriate treatment is essential in all cases” according to Liberty M. Getman, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, from the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. Dr. Getman went on to explain that “approximately one-third of all castrations develop some form of post-surgical complication, and these complications constitute the number one reason of malpractice claims against North American veterinarians.” The 1800-plus mustangs in Fallon are under the watch of only one veterinarian and castrated males, in obvious pain with swollen scrotums, receive no pain medication or post-surgical care. Humane observers are denied access except for a two hour staged public tour once a week.

Celebrities such as Sheryl Crow and Viggo Mortensen as well as scientists and more than 160 international organizations, have signed a unified moratorium letter calling for a freeze of BLM roundups until a truly sustainable plan is in effect. Currently BLM spends roughly half their $64 million budget rounding up mustangs and the remainder feeding captured mustangs in government holding millions. This poor management policy is leading to the destruction of the last of our western wild herds.

The two foundations ask the First Lady for help to end the cruelty, stop the wild horse round ups, and call for an investigation of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program. “Tell our First Lady how you really feel about what is happening to our wild horses and burros,” urges Ginger Kathrens, Cloud filmmaker and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is a fiscal train wreck for the American taxpayers and an on-going nightmare for the Calico horses. Adding more wild horses and burros into holding facilities while the ranges are emptied of the last of our iconic mustangs makes absolutely no sense.”

Now the public of all ages is invited to write to: First Lady Michelle Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500, fax her at (202) 456-2461, call her office at (202) 456-1414 or email her online at

“What do we need to do to get a response from this Administration? Put holding pens on the White House lawn?” asks Hilary Wood, President and Founder of Front Range Equine Rescue in Larkspur, Colorado. In the meantime, the BLM is revving up the helicopters for the next invasion of wild horses and burro ranges slated to begin in June. “We’d like to keep mothers and their foals living free, in the wild, as Congress intended in the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act,” adds Wood.

# # #

Media Contacts:

Makendra Silverman
Tel: 719-351-8187

Vivian Grant
(713) 893 7813

Anne Novak
Tel: 415-531-8454

Links of interest:

Fallon Facility Daily Reports

Photos of Fallon mares, foals and castrated males


Roundup Schedule- updated February 2010

Wild Horses: Management or Stampede to Extinction? Reno Gazette Sunday Special by Frank X. Mullen

American Herds – “What’s Left?”

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Disappointment Valley… A Modern Day Western Trailer- excellent sample of interviews regarding the issues

About the Int’l Fund for Horses

The Int’l Fund for Horses is the most influential equine advocacy organization of its kind. Headquartered in the United States, the Int’l Fund for Horses works for the passage and enforcement of horse protection laws and act as industry watchdogs intervening on behalf of horses in health, safety and welfare matters. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter at

About The Cloud Foundation

The Cloud Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana. Learn more at Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

7 thoughts on “First Lady Mother’s Day campaign for wild mares launched”

  1. What more is it going to take to wake up Washington that this is WRONG. These horses are dying from liver disease. They cannot handle the hay they are being fed. They are being tortured behind walls they do not deserve. Castrated and not being given pain meds?? This country is so messed up when the people we put into office are not working for the people? The only change I have seen is deeper into hell. Return these horses to their land, our land. SET THEM FREE! American taxpayer.


  2. I just can’t comprehend why this is happening and why the US government allows it. Perhaps I am naive enough to think that I could make a difference.


  3. I think the BLM vet must get some kind of sadistic pleasure out of watching these horses suffer. Vets are supposed to help animals –not cause their suffering or stand by and let mares and foals die.


  4. We had a problem with a colt gelded this spring, and the vet treated him with both with antibiotics and pain meds. Our boy was physically okay after about a week, but depressed for a good month. These horses are paying the price of human ignorance … body, mind, and spirit.


  5. Thank you for the creative “thinking outside the box”! Yes-we will be the watch dogs for our wild horses. I love the built in educational component–there should be some great grants available for the innovative ways of teaching math and history and community action grant funding.
    I am ready to volunteer!


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