Advocates Tell the BLM: Don’t Take My Balls
Written by ARLENE GAWNE
April 26, 2010
Every wild horse volunteer knows how hard it is to steal a bit of time from the demands of career and family and stand up for those wild herds that desperately need our protection. Yet 30 people showed up this fine spring morning, Sunday, April 25, 2010, in magnificent Red Rock Canyon outside Las Vegas, Nevada, in sympathy with the suffering of the approximately 1900 Calico Mountain wild horses held in the aptly named Broken Arrow facility near Fallon Nevada. Quadruple that number of people wished they could have come because last week the BLM painfully castrated all Calico stallions under 4 years of age, thereby stealing the next generation of horses – before a Federal judge could rule on a lawsuit demanding the horses be returned to their native range. So for a few hours, we became the Voices for Horses.
We volunteers know that Red Rock Canyon is the perfect place to protest the pillaging of our wild horse heritage by Washington bureaucracies. This National Conservation Area was recently home to some of the West’s most beautiful wild horses and gentle burros – a superb example of the heritage herds that have adapted amazingly to the poorest bits of American public land left to them by faceless bureaucrats, self-centered politicians, careless cowboys, energy and mining companies, and greedy bottom-line agribusiness. We have reason to be angry.
American taxpayers are paying over $10,000 a day just to hold these captured Calico horses at the Broken Arrow holding facility. Processing that includes freeze-branding, inoculating, tagging and castration adds thousands more to that cost. BLM has denied repeated requests for observers to be present during processing and only allow public visits by reservation for two hours once a week. They must not want us to see how they spend our tax dollars; they certainly don’t want us to fire them. But we will.
We stood this Sunday and heard passersby honk, cheer and stop to sign petitions. Over and over, locals said they used to hike or ride by magnificent horses and burros, but now they only see a few burros and never see a wild horse. “Why is that?” they ask. We tell them all the reasons and ask them to vote out of office the politicians who will not force these Federal agencies to give our wild heritage herds their fair share of public lands.
All images by Arlene Gawne
We have an anthem for those wild stallions whose bloodlines may be lost:
DON’T CASTRATE AT ALL.
IF YOU DO,
WE”LL BE WALKING
DOWN THE HALLS
OF THE SENATE, THE HOUSE
AND THE PRESIDENTIAL HOME
UNTIL WILD HORSES & BURROS
ARE FREE TO ROAM.