Protests Sweep California for Wild Horses

Rallies Saturday in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Del Mar

Los Angeles (October 22, 2010)—Three California cities join the second wave of national protests calling for a freeze on Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse and burro roundups. The removals of more than 11,000 symbols of freedom are slated for permanent removal from our Western public lands in fiscal year 2011 (beginning in October, 2010).

“The BLM is pushing forward with massive roundups using a budget not yet approved by Congress, against the will of the American people and the intent of the Wild Horse and Burro Act,” explains Cloud Foundation Director, Ginger Kathrens. “Congress needs to rein in the BLM who is managing our wild horses to extinction at taxpayer expense.”

Currently the huge Adobe Town/Salt Wells roundup in Southern Wyoming continues at an estimated cost of more than $3.5 million to remove more than 1,500 healthy Mustangs living free on public lands. BLM plans to start limiting public access by placing trap sites on private land.

Wild horses create biodiversity and a sustainable landscape. Countries such as England have reintroduced wild horses to heal the land and bring back ecological balance. The horse evolved to its present form in North America and in the 1500s returned with the Spanish Conquistadors to the Americas. This returned-native species flourished and in 1974 more than 50,000 roamed the United States/American West. Today far less than half that number remain in the wild.

California has lost 16 of the original 38 wild horse herds designated for protection in 1971. BLM recently devastated the Twin Peaks California herd, leaving only 450 mustangs and 72 burros on the 1,250 square mile Twin Peaks wild horse and burro herd management area.

Many roundups have been linked to energy development projects, other extractive industries and the fight for water rights–all competing for public land use. Corporate Geothermal projects in California alone are able to lease land from the BLM for as low as $7 per acre.

“Removing mustangs from public lands releases land use restrictions and creates ecological disaster. The West is being transformed into an industrial zone for extractive industries: oil, gas, gold mining, uranium mining and more,” states Terri Farley, author of the Phantom Stallion series who will speak at the Sacramento rally.

Protests are scheduled for the following locations:

Scheduled protests:

October 23: Los Angeles, CA – CNN Los Angeles, 6430 W. Sunset Blvd

October 23: Sacramento, CA – West Steps of Capitol Bldg (10th and Capitol Mall)

October 23: Del Mar, CA – Del Mar Fairgrounds

October 23: Phoenix, AZ – John McCain’s Phoenix office, 5353 North 16th St

October 29: Annapolis, MD – Lawyers Mall/Thurgood Marshall statue.

October 29: Brattleboro, VT – Co-op, 2 Main St

November 13: New York City – Columbus Circle, 59th St.

November 13: Fort Worth, TX – location to be announced