HEBER, AZ — March 16 is the deadline for public comment on the fate of the Heber Wild Horses. Comment link and talking points at the end of this post.
Why it is so important
Last week, the Forest Service released its proposed management plan for the Heber Wild Horse Territory.
It includes plans to limit the horses’ range to 21 square miles. The surrounding Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest covers more than 43 thousand square miles of public land.
Horse advocates say existing fencing prevents many of the horses from even accessing the designated territory. The Forest Service also intends to remove most of the horses from the area. They estimate there are currently between 292 and 471 horses.
The goal of the Forest Service is to limit the number of horses to 50 to 104. Critics say that would not allow for enough genetic diversity in the bands, or families, ultimately leading to the loss of all wild horses in that area.
Public comment highly significant
The forest service has been fighting to have the horses removed since 2005, but has been under a court order prohibiting that until a management plan was completed.
This action is therefore highly significant because it is the long-awaited result of the 2007 litigation initiated by horse advocates to halt a proposed round-up of horses on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
The legal action included a stipulation that the Forest Service “collaboratively engage the public to complete a territory management plan for the Heber Wild Horse Territory,” according to an earlier press release from the US Forest Service.
At the end of the 30 day comment period, the Forest Service will review the comments and “usher the proposed action forward collaboratively” with stakeholders.
Stakeholders include wild horse advocates, ranchers, wildlife managers, equine recreation professionals, equine training professionals, range science and veterinary medicine experts, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Arizona Department of Agriculture.
Please take action right now, today, while you are thinking about it.
Leave your comments
Leave your comments online at the USFS website by March 16, 2020.
Fund for Horses’ leadership and staff have collectively put together the following:
The Heber wild horses are a national treasure and should be protected and preserved. Removals will jeopardize the long term viability of the Heber herd. These horses are harming no one. Their native habits are naturally good for the environment and help maintain the land and cause it to flourish. People who live in the area testify that Heber wild horses herd numbers are being exaggerated by officials. Removal is totally unnecessary. I urge you to please do all you can to preserve this valuable herd of wild horses instead of placing them in jeopardy by unwarranted removals. In the meantime, Heber wild horses are being shot and killed. Please work with law enforcement and local citizens to catch the culprits as a matter of urgency. Thank you for taking my comments in serious consideration.
Tempting as it may be to copy and paste the above, please write something up in your own words and submit it here. Include facts but also speak from the heart.
March 16 is just round the corner. Could you please take action this weekend? Thank you for speaking up for these precious wild ones.
If you still feel you would like some more input, please visit the Heber Wild Horses Facebook page.