What would you pay for a living, breathing, irreplaceable part of America’s history and heritage in the form of an iconic Mustang?
The bidding starts at $125.00 for wild horses such as this 15-year-old Calico mare, Necktag #0832.
She, and many, many others, are for sale — not adoption — in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) online wild horse auction.
The BLM makes it clear why these horses are for sale to the highest bidder.
Under a December 2004 amendment to the 1971 wild horse and burro law, animals more than 10 years old – as well as younger ones that have been passed over for adoption at least three times – are eligible for sale, a transaction in which the title of ownership passes immediately from the Federal government to the buyer. The Purchaser agrees to provide the animal with good care and to not knowingly sell or transfer ownership of any listed wild horse or burro to any person or organization with an intention to resell, trade, or give away the animal for processing into commercial products.
“. . . processing into commercial products.” We know what that means. Horse meat. And the BLM are going to enforce this provision how exactly?
In case you have been wondering what is happening to the Calico Mustangs, here is another for sale. He is a 25-year old buckskin stallion, Necktag #1334.
The thought of this magnificent Mustang, at the age of 25, rounded up by helicopter, separated from his herd and family, bought online for $125 by a killer buyer, and going to slaughter for his meat, should send shivers down the spines of any red-blooded, freedom-loving American. Why won’t the BLM simply leave these older horses out on the range to live out their lives in peace?
Who do we have to thank for the “2004 amendment to the 1979 wild horse and burro law” aka the Burns Amendment? Well, that’s like asking who is buried in Grant’s Tomb. It’s Sen. Conrad Burns, right? Well, yes and no. According to Burns in an interview with Steve Long, he performed the dastardly deed at the behest of his good friend Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. Here’s an excerpt:
- HORSEBACK: I’m working on this story that’s going on up in Montana with the Pryor Mountain wild horses. In my research I obviously ran across the Burns Amendment. Can you tell me how that came about and what prompted it?
BURNS: Well, Harry Reid came to me and said, ‘I’ve got a problem in Nevada.’ And I said I said ‘What kind of a problem do you have?’ because we don’t have a problem up in Montana.
HORSEBACK: So what happened then?
BURNS: So he and I, up in his office, got together and we crafted that amendment because they’ve really got that problem of over grazing down there. That’s how that came about.
HORSEBACK: It was actually Reid’s idea, huh?
BURNS: Yeah, well it was his problem. I just helped him solve it, that’s all.
HORSEBACK: Well, you did a pretty good job of it.
BURNS: I don’t think they’ve sold any or anything like that. It wasn’t really designed for that. The premise of it was to take a strong look at how we manage our resources and how they affect the herd of the horses.
On the BLM auction website, you can scroll through pages of beautiful wild horses being sold to the highest bidder to get them out of long-term holding because of their failed adoption policy. For that you can blame many people. However, this particular episode of the wild horse and burro tragedy started with a couple of unscrupulous U.S. Senators named Burns and Reid.
The auction is schedule to last two weeks starting July 14, 2010.