OPEN LETTER FROM GINGER KATHRENS: Our Wild Horses are Slaughter-Bound

The threat to our public lands in the West is real. The Secretary of the Interior sees little value in preservation. Rather he seeks to maximize revenues from ever-expanding oil and gas and mining operations, while propping up the money pit known as welfare ranching.

So where does this leave America’s wild horses and burros and other wildlife who rely on public lands managed by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), long jokingly referred to as the Bureau of Livestock and Mining? (The “joke” has become chillingly real.)

Interior has ordered BLM to empty out wild horse and holding corrals by selling 24 horses at a time with no questions asked to any buyer. These are wild horses who once roamed free at little cost to the public. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to diagnose the outcome for these helpless wild horses who have lost freedom and family and will now make the ultimate sacrifice. They will end up dying a horrific death in Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses.

Despite a prohibition on such cruelty by the Interior Appropriations Committee, the Interior Secretary has mandated that the horses must be sold. All BLM public holding facilities must comply, whether they like it or not.

Why is the Secretary in such a hurry to empty these facilities?  The answer is this: ignoring on the range management options, BLM is scheduled to begin massive roundups of America’s mustangs this fall, refilling holding facilities so they can offer them yet again to kill buyers. Ignoring humane management solutions, they will continue the annihilation of these family-loving, freedom-loving animals.

What is happening to America’s democracy when the Interior Department can make an end run around Congress, intentionally opening the door to the massive slaughter of America’s wild horses? And what is Congress’s response to this atrocity?

-Ginger Kathrens
Humane Advocate, BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board
Director, The Cloud Foundation

Kayah Swanson