Friday, August 20, 2010

Wild Horses: Delivering Public Comments to the BLM on Adobe Town

On Monday, I had the honor of delivering to the BLM in Rock Springs 3516 comments from people all over the country on the Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek roundup.
This is the herd, Adobe Town, that I have followed for 7 years and wrote about in my book, Wild Hoofbeats: America's Vanishing Wild Horses.

How did this come about? This is a good question. For the first time, the BLM refused to accept comments from the public on a proposed roundup EXCEPT by mail or hand delivery. No emailed or faxed comments were allowed - the thinking on the part of the BLM was to prevent being "bombarded" by "frivolous" comments. Comments by the way, that are from the public that pays their salaries. The letters were from supporters of the Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and its coalition partner, In Defense of Animals. Both organizations decided that they wanted to do something and allow the public to have their say about the upcoming roundup of 2000 wild horses and the removal of almost 1600 from their 1.5 million acres home in the Red Desert.
When they contacted me, I told them I would be glad to help, and deliver the letters to the Rock Springs BLM office on the last date comments were to be accepted, August 16.

On my way, I spent a couple of days with the wild horses of Adobe Town, perhaps my last opportunity to see most of them again in the wild before the roundup.

As I headed out to the horse range on Saturday afternoon, I saw a rainbow over the horses range. I took this as a sign that our efforts might meet with a favorable outcome for these wonderful horses.

The first group I saw was the grey stallion, mare, grey two year old and this year's palomino colt - and that new colt had grown! He had darkened up too, and the band was more skittish than on my last visit, but I was very happy to see them again.

Many horses in the area I visited 3 weeks before had moved out of the area, and I also enjoyed meeting some new horses. My favorite encounter was with a grey stallion with bitten off ears who actually drove his mare right toward me so he could get a good look at me!

Just after dawn, I found a large group with primarily greys on a hillside of sage - still enjoying their morning nap, but now awake once they spotted me, and moved off, with a mare with an amazing dreadlock in front.

One band had beautiful colors, and they kept edging closer and closer to check me out. Their stallion ran in front of one of the many thousands of oil pumping stations dotting the area.

Last, a young bachelor who had been kicked out of his band came between me and the band he did not want to give up. The separation of the young colts from their band is a natural one - how much harder and more traumatic will it be for thousands of these horses to be ripped from the only homes and families they have ever known?

I have to hope that we have made enough of a difference through our comments to stop this unnecessary and cruel roundup which is scheduled to begin October 1. Thank you to everyone who participated in commenting to stop this roundup.

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