(©Photography by Elyse Gardner, Craig Downer, Simone Netherlands and friends)
Wild Horse Advocates ask the President to say “NEIGH” to BLM Round-ups
LAS VEGAS (SFTHH) – It seems people are very serious about saving the lives and freedom of America’s wild horses and stopping the gruesome practice of horse slaughter, where many of our wild mustangs still end their lives in terror together with over one hundred thousand domestic horses yearly.
Wildlife ecologist Craig Downer and humane observer Elyse Gardner certainly are, and they came to Las Vegas to join wildlife photographer Arlene Gawne (for Cloud foundation) and horse trainer Simone Netherlands (for Respect4horses), plus over 50 other brave horse welfare advocates. In the crowded city of Las Vegas, their spirits were as one while standing up together for all horses, as they carried out one of the largest protests on record against the BLM and against horse slaughter.
As President Obama arrived in Las Vegas for a historic visit, he was greeted by protesters on several legs of his missions here, and on his way back to Air force one, he got a real good look at the banners going only 5 miles an hour around a corner, where protesters were strategically positioned. When Obama was still a Senator, he was a cosponsor of the ban on horse slaughter. Now that he could easily do something about the BLM and about the horse slaughter bill, he has not so much as said a word about it.
Drivers honked and pedestrians signed petitions as people from all over the country as well as other countries made strong statements calling for the Obama administration to support the ban on horse slaughter and to put an immediate halt to the roundups and give America’s horses their small, rightful share of our vast resources of public land. At several stops during the day, interviews were recorded by several news stations. KlaAS TV 8, ABC 13 and Channel 8.
First Stop: From 1:30 to 4:00 p.m, wild horse defenders gathered in front of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas, home to Senator John Ensign and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This protest was well attended by the public and media as Reno’s KLAS-8 filmed protesters as well as the opening talk given by Elyse Gardner, as well as the smallest and cutest protestor of all.
Second stop: After this people disbursed all across the Las Vegas Strip, handing out information and gathering petition signatures. Locations where from the New York New York Hotel, to the Fashion Show Mall, to overpasses, to Caesars Palace.
Around 6pm mayhem ensued as word was heard that president Obama was arriving. We all hurried in our cars and split up to each side of MCarran airport.
One set of Protesters, spear headed by Gina were able to be in front of Obama’s limo and display the banners. The other group was at a location where 2 news stations interviewed with Craig Downer, Elyse Gardner and Simone Netherlands.
An interesting little tit bit of information was disclosed by a Mr. Nick, former feedlot owner hired by the BLM, now BLM opponent. According to him the reason that the BLM has executed the Calico round up during the winter months instead of in September as was originally on their schedule, is that they hired a “buddy” to receive the Calico horses, (to fatten his pockets with our tax dollars) and this “buddy” did not have his feedlot even built or ready for the horses until December. They simply could not round them up until the feedlot was finally built. This information is from a first hand reliable source and it certainly explains a lot, doesn’t it?
After all the excitement and running around we ended the day with a wonderful home made dinner at Arlene’s house. She is the most gracious wonderful host, savvy business woman, and an incredible new asset to the horse welfare advocacy movement. Our profound thanks go out to her for her incredible enthusiasm and organization. Also many thanks and hugs to all wonderful volunteers, too many to name them all, but you know who you are.
The next day, on Feb 19th, President Obama was leaving Las Vegas. To top off the successful event, with a little luck and a little help from higher up, we were able to present the banners right in front of his face when he turned into the small back road to Air Force one. He must think by now that we are a very efficient and especially very large organized bunch, ha.
Needless to say, we all feel renewed hope and excitement with the outcome of this giant combined effort to spread awareness against horse cruelty, not only advertised to the American people and to many tourists of the world, but to Mr. President Obama himself.
P.S. Mr Harry Reid has asked one of our volunteers how many Nevadans exactly are against the roundups. She would like to ask for everyone’s help in letting him know exactly how many. So let’s place some (but hopefully many) phone calls and faxes to his office for a while especially with the pressure of election time.