We take care of a cherished resource for Arizona under contract with the AZDA and cooperation with the USFS and we are so grateful for the overwhelming support we receive from a huge majority of Americans everywhere.
However, it is sad that sometimes we have to deal with negativity and ill-will against our organization too. There are some outrageous claims circulating that are 100% false, but on the internet, it is so easy to make assumptions and stories.
So we want to assure everyone of some important things. First, no, we did not save the Salt River wild horses just to let them starve or lure them someplace bad, or treat them inhumanely. (Do we even have to say?) People should understand however, that no matter how humanely we manage them, nature is not always as kind as we are.
For example, right now we are accused of starving this horse. As if that is not cruel enough, we also get accused of the deaths of horses whom we are grieving over, who died this colic season, of mesquite bean colic.
The truth is that some of our updates are not always easy to hear, because these are the realities of a wild herd. Of course nature happens in other wild herds also, but nowhere is a herd so closely monitored as here, so you don’t hear about it as much. Imagine how hard it is for us, in real time. Watching over this many wild horses, there is always some issue somewhere, and we know and love each and every horse.
So here’s what we want people to understand about this particular skinny stallion named Batman.
- Batman is old, our documentation proves he is 18 at least, but he could very well be 30.
- We have been “extra” feeding Batman for months to try and help him, but we cannot control when other horses steal his portion, because he is still with his very large band and they are still wild horses.
- Because his teeth seem to be working fine, we believe he must be having some internal issues from old age.
- We have only two options for Batman available to us, remove and rescue, or euthanize him humanely.
- He is still with his band and all he wants to do is protect his family, that is the role of a lieutenant stallion and skinny or not, he is still doing it.
- We believe that the worst injustice we could do to him is take him away from his band that he loves so much.
- Each situation we come across in the wild is different, and making humane decisions can be hard. We let these decisions be guided by veterinarian advice, but also by what the horse is telling us. They do not tell us with words, but they tell us with their behavior.
- Good old Batman is not going to live forever, but so far this is what his behavior is telling us: “I’m still with my band, I’m still eating, I’m still hanging in there. I may look weak, but I am strong and I may just prove you wrong.”
The newly growing grasses might just be Batman’s saving grace. Batman has lived a glorious long life on his terms, and it will be his time one day, but we are going to let Batman decide when that is.
We hope that everyone can respect Batman’s needs enough to stop posting horrible pictures of him.