The Politics of Wild Horses

August 20 2009, 10:25 AM

wild-horseWhile Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has taken steps to get tough on the industries that pollute the environment, his policies aren't much better than the Bush administration's when it comes to the treatment of horses and burros that run wild on public lands, according to animal-rights advocates quoted by Westword. The groups are battling Bureau of Land Management policies that they say leave thousands of animals in holding pens or even dead. "We might as well be back in the Bush administration," says filmmaker Ginger Kathrens of the Colorado Springs-based Cloud Foundation. "Anyone who's studied BLM knows they've zeroed out over a hundred herds. They're managing wild horses to extinction." The BLM conducted a roundup in Idaho to reduce a herd last month, and Kathrens' group is attempting to prevent another planned for September 1 in Montana. Meanwhile, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the BLM violated federal law after removing wild horses from northwestern Colorado, writes Courthouse News.

Four horse-protection groups, including The Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, sued the Interior Department and Salazar for violations of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, making it criminal to kill or harass the animals, which are seen as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West." The best time to see a wild mustang herd in Colorado is winter, as Dougald MacDonald wrote for 5280 in December 2008.

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