Legislation introduced to celebrate wild horses and burros
WASHINGTON (May 30, 2011) — Congressman Raul Grijalva, D-AZ, submitted a Resolution in the U. S. House of Representatives recognizing the birthday of the Pryor Mountain wild stallion, Cloud—for his role in enhancing the appreciation of all wild horses and burros in the American West.
“This majestic stallion has become the most famous wild horse in the world, and serves as the ambassador and emblem of wild horses and burros living free and protected on public lands,” remarked Representative Grijalva in his statement this week. “No other wild horse in United States history has had his life story known and shared throughout the world.”
Documented from the day of his birth, May 29, 1995, by EMMY award-wining filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, Cloud puts a face on wild horses living in the West. Kathrens’ films for PBS’ Nature series focus on the challenges of growing up wild with the complexity and occasional brutality of wild horse society. Through Cloud we learn about wild horse behavior, family dynamics, and the courage it takes for even a bold young stallion to be a leader.
“Cloud is a survivor,” states Kathrens, “He’s endured brutal winters, intense predation, three helicopter roundups, bait trapping, injuries, and the loss of many family members. To this day he remains one of the dominant stallions on the Pryor Mountains in southern Montana.”
Last Friday Grijalva submitted the Resolution honoring Cloud’s 16th birthday, saying that, “Cloud has taught us that what wild horses and burros cherish most is not so different than for all Americans, freedom and family.”
Even though Cloud is beloved around the world, the Bureau of Land Management Billings Field Office was quoted in an October 2010 Billings Gazette article, stating they could no longer protect Cloud and his family. This appears to be a thinly veiled threat to remove the wild stallion and his progeny from their wilderness home in the Pryor Mountains.
“Thousands of wild horses and burros are slated to lose their freedom in summer roundups,” states Kathrens who also serves as Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation, the non-profit organization dedicating to wild horse and burro preservation.
“Most will be warehoused for life at taxpayer expense,” explains Kathrens. “Some will go to slaughter. Meanwhile, millions of head of livestock continue to monopolize the same public lands also at taxpayer expense.”
Livestock permits on public lands loses an average of $123 million per year for administrative costs alone.
Other pressures are also on the rise, as well. Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, is fast-tracking permits for oil and gas drilling as well as other extractive uses of public lands. Many of these projects will destroy pristine wilderness lands which serves as vital habitat for wild horses and burros and other endangered wildlife species.
“Wanton destruction of wild horses and other beautiful wildlife species is something Americans will protest,” states Kathrens. “We ask Congress to stop the roundups now.”