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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Simone Netherlands, SRWHMG, 928-925-7212
Rally & Press Conference Thursday: Wild Horse Advocates Call For Humane Wild Horse and Burro Management at Regional AZ BLM Meeting
Salt River Wild Horse Management Group to Decry Recommendation for Mass Killing of 45,000 Captured Mustangs
Phoenix, AZ (September 13, 2016).… The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) will hold a rally and press conference on Thursday, September 15th at a meeting of a Bureau of Land Management regional advisory board for Arizona, to call for humane and sustainable wild horse and burro management. The group will decry a recommendation by a national BLM advisory board to kill up to 45,000 captured wild horses and call for reform of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, which they say is “spiraling” out of control.
What: Press Conference and rally ( right before the public comment period at BLM Arizona Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Meeting
Where: In front of the BLM office at One North Central, Phoenix, AZ
When: September 15th from 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Who: Simone Netherlands, President of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group
and Amanda Marsh, widow of Eric Marsh superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots
The RAC meeting will take place on Wednesday Sept 14th and Thursday Sept 15th, with a public comment period following the press conference and rally at 2:30 pm on Thursday. The SRWHMG will be attending the entire meeting, and representatives of the group and the national American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign will speak during the public comment period. They will also present a petition signed by over 6,000 citizens calling for humane burro management in Arizona.
The recommendation to kill up to 45,000 wild horses and burros confined to BLM holding facilities following their roundup and removal from the range was made on Friday September 9, 2016 at a meeting of the national Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board in Elko, Nevada.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG), which last year spearheaded the successful effort to stop the U.S. Forest Service from removing the cherished Salt River wild horses, will now be taking a stand for all wild horses and burros. The SRWHMG is teaming up with the national American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) to fight the latest threat to wild horses and burros.
“Even though at this point it is a recommendation, we want to send a strong message to the BLM that any consideration of this cowardly ‘solution’ to a problem the agency itself created, will not be tolerated by the public,” says Simone Netherlands who is the president of the large group of hard working volunteers. “Healthy horses do not need to be ‘euthanized’ and there is no humane way to kill 45,000 wild horses and burros. So what the BLM is, in fact, talking about is the mass killing of almost 45,000 cherished mustangs… the slaughter of our American icons and the murder of our American spirit!”
On the same day as the advisory board made the lethal recommendation, the BLM itself dropped its plan for the risky and barbaric ovariectomy trials that had also garnered much opposition from the public. The BLM said it was dropping the experiments in response to a lawsuit filed by AWHPC and The Cloud Foundation.
“While cancellation of the sterilization experiments is a major victory, Americans will not stand by and allow the killing of tens of thousands of wild horses holding facilities,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC Executive Director. “If the agency thought the public was opposed to sterilization, wait until it sees what happens in response to the proposed mass killing of these American icons.
According to both the local SRWHMG and the national AWHPC, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service have been managing wild horses and burros the wrong way, for a very long time. The lack of personnel for up close management on the range, the failure to use humane birth control (PZP), the favoring of cattle grazing combined with the cruel roundup and stockpiling of wild horses in holding facilities, has caused the very problems the agency claims it now cannot solve. The frequent roundups, according to an NAS study, actually fuel high reproductive rates on the range. In addition, the BLM keeps many herds at population levels to small to be genetically viable, causing inbreeding.
At the press conference and during public comments, the organizations will also have some praise for local Arizona BLM officials, including the Kingman field office, which will be implementing a field trial of humane birth control PZP for the Oatman wild burros, who hail from the Black Mountain Herd Management Area in western Arizona.
“There is only one way to manage wild horses and burros responsibly and that is through up close documentation and humane management on the range with the responsible use of PZP birth control where needed,” Netherlands said. “Arizona, the state with the smallest number of wild horses and largest number of wild burros in the nation, has an opportunity to take the lead in implementing humane, on the range management.”
“We hope to continue to work with both the BLM and the Forest Service towards humane and scientific solutions,” concluded Simone Netherlands. “The public demands humane management of our wild horses and burros, and the agencies are eventually going to have to deliver on that goal.”
Please arrive early as parking may be challenging, there is a parking garage at one north central, or meter parking on the street.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is an Arizona non-profit organization established to protect, monitor and scientifically study the Salt River Wild Horses. The SRWHMG has been spearheading the effort to secure lasting protections for this iconic and beloved wild horse herd in the Tonto National Forest.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to defending America’s wild horses and burros to protect their freedom, preserve their habitat, and promote humane standards of treatment. AWHPC’s mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations.
According to historic newspaper articles, once, more than 500,000 wild horses roamed in Arizona, today, fewer than 500 remain in our entire state — among them, the iconic and beloved Salt River wild horses. These majestic creatures are the pride of the community, a favorite subject of photographers and the icon of the wild, free spirit of Arizona and the American West.
Recently, these wild horses were brought into the limelight as our group, our volunteers and our supporters worked hard to prevent the roundup and destruction of this historic herd.
In response to the Forest Service’s notice to round up, impound and remove the Salt River wild horses in July of 2015, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) alerted the press and the public to the imminent anihalation of the herd. We held rallies and we filed a lawsuit, we lobbied our legislators and we negotiated with the Forest Service- it made the local news daily.
What happened next was nothing short of an unprecedented public outrage – the people of Arizona and its politicians gave these iconic wild horses their voice. Thousands calls, letters and emails streamed into the Forest Service office, not only from the public but from the Arizona delegation as well. More than 100 news pieces can be found when you search “Salt River Wild Horse Management Group” , including pieces on CNN, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Times and our very supportive local stations NBC, ABC, FOX and CBS.
During one of our negotiations the Forest Service committed to a 120-day temporary delay of the roundup. We then dropped our lawsuit without prejudice so that we could pick it up again should the wrong decisions be made. Under continued pressure, just before Christmas of 2015, the Forest Service agreed to a total rescindment of the impound notice. We are grateful for the fact that the Forest Service heard the public outcry and that they listened.
Then through continued work with legislators a bill was born and amended, HB2340, a bill that establishes that the horses are not stray livestock, makes harrassing them illegal and codifies their humane management between authorities and a private party. After 5 months of contacting every legislator in Arizona, the bill passed the house, then the senate almost unanimously and then the house again and was signed by Governor Doug Ducey, who had said from the beginning that if the Forest Service was not going to protect the horses,then the State would step in and do it.
We are not there yet and we need your continued support in order for the State or the Feds not to make the wrong decisions for our wild ones. We are working hard on the process to codify their humane management through MOU’s with the authorities.
It is our goal to work for the good of the Tonto National Forest, its inhabitants and its visitors every day and we will work with anyone who shares those same goals. Our volunteers pick up bags of garbage from the riverbanks, buckets of nails and many pounds of old down barbed wire daily. We work for improved public and horse safety and are fixing many miles of fencing on Bush Highway.
This is about keeping just a small piece of wild for future generations to come, but it is also about more than that. It is about who we are as Americans, and what we stand for – and what we don’t.
These lands belong to all of the public of America and we are incredibly grateful that the public joined us in making it very clear, that we would not stand for it. We had amazing turnouts for all of our events, protests and rallies and we want you to know that YOUR voice made a difference. But the horses are not completely out of the woods yet, we now need your help more than ever!
We are not funded by anyone but you, the public. Your donation helps the Salt River wild horses directly, no one in the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group gets paid; not even the president. By donating you will help us purchase fencing materials, fund our education campaigns, help us achieve these MOU’s for humane management, pay our legal bills, pay for an Environmental Assessment and pay for the vet bills for our rescued Salt River wild foals.
Gratefully, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.
A hiker called the SRWHMG emergency number. Our field team went out and found little Pacman allone and terribly injured. We rescued him and got him to the equine hospital. A donation of any size will help Pacman! Thank you!