Horse News

Wild Horses Kick the BLM in the “Burro” in DC

by Steven Long – Editor and Publisher of “Horseback Magazine

Advocates Deliver Letter to Salazar

Wild Horse advocates before White House - Photo by Terry Fitch

WASHINGTON – Protesters gathered in front of the White House as President Obama spoke in support of health care at a packed house at the University of Iowa today.

The protesters were met with armed guards when they reached the U.S. Department of Interior. One protester reported back to supporters of the end of federal Bureau of Land Management roundups.

“We congregated at Layfayette Park and there was a podium with microphone and speakers,” said a participant who declined to be identified. “Ginger Kathrens, R.T. Fitch, Nancy Perry from the Humane Society of the United States, John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance, Elyse Gardner, James the film producer, Rob, a BLM volunteer who is very much on our side, and Craig Downer, spoke to the crowd.

“There were about 100 people at the rally,” she reported. “After the speeches, we walked to the Department of Interior with our signs and we chanted slogans like ‘tell the truth’ wild and free let them be, no Salazoos.”

Ginger Kathrens at White House - Photo by R.T. Fitch

But the peaceful protesters were met with force when they reached the office of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

“We were met by several armed police officers standing at the top of the steps with their guns in their holsters. More police on foot came to the DOI, a policeman on a motorcycle and then 4 mounted police officers stood in a line across the street where there is a park. I couldn’t believe that they felt so threatened.”

Anger and frustration at American horse lovers being treated like foreign terrorists were voiced by those who marched.

“It was pretty amazing and shocking that Salazar and company called out essentially the National Guard,” a protester told Horseback Online. “All they needed were RPGs and Armed Personnel Carriers to complete the military style posse.”

A Washington area protester was nostalgic about the DC of old and tired Department of Interior structure..

Equine advocates meet Equine Police - Photo by Terry Fitch

“This imposing building hides all of the secrets, deception and the selling out of our public land to special mining interest. The figures were standing by the large windows on the upper floors looking down on us and we crossed the street to the park so we could stand in front of the horses of the mounted police. Their silence was deafening despite gestures to start a conversation with them.”

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37 replies »

  1. Great photos and thank you to everyone who stood up for the horses in Washington, D.C. You are selfless in the service to our wild ones.

    And baby, these ain’t the “good old days.”

    I was, by chance, “on the ground” in the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 — all night they broke out our first floor windows at my residence on the near north side of Chicago — Michigan Avenue was packed solidly with people for miles — it took us (some members of the Chicago Civic Orchestra at the time) 3 hours by car to get from the Orchestra Hall (across from the Art Institute) to where I lived 1100 North Dearborn! Normally I would have walked it with my ‘cello but we had to make other plans due to mob scene.

    If that had happened in today’s environment, I’m sure the protestors would probably have been swept away —

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  2. “It was the worst of times; it was the best of times.”

    Throughout this struggle, welfare advocates have been frustrated by the “process” that is Washington politics and living in the 21st Century.

    But I have got to tell you, this protest was exhilarating, productive AND scary.

    I was there…I watched James’ film, meet the supporters, stood in the park holding that banner listening to speeches and music, walked up the streets of DC to the Interior building, saw the guards and then came the heavy law enforcement approach. I didn’t understand the nastiness of the guards at the building. Were we a force? Yes. Were we vocal? yes. But hardly threatening because all we were trying to do was petition our government (you know, the one my money and yours pays for) for upholding the law and humane management of our national treasure…the mustangs and burros.

    The most impressive and moving moment for me was when Interior called in more police and the ultimate compliment…the mounted unit of the US Park Police. What a moment! BTW, the heavy law enforcement was super professional and reasonable. The weenies on the steps in front of the Interior building just looked plain goofy. They told us to get off the steps (we were just on the first bottom step[there were about 20], not charging the door). They looked lame.

    What an experience. All those people from so many diffeent backgrounds; livestock owners, horse owners, Republicans, Democrats, Independents saying that we have had enough and want this stopped now! The music, the day was beautiful. At the meeting more action, leadership and deciding on the next plan of attack.

    The people, oh, the people…Ginger, James, R.T./Terry, John, Craig, Elyse, FOA, AWI, Carl (or was that Cal?), Wendy, Hope, HSUS (can’t remember her name…sorry)…so many others I can’t remember.

    I want to send a special thanks out to a new friend…Lisa. She helped me hold that freakin’ banner (all the while she was holding another poster in her right hand) with the wind, through the speeches for about 2 hours. What a trooper!

    Makendra and company thanks for those banners and posters. They were awesome.

    More work to do, but what a memory…especially the US Park Police Mounted Unit. Salazar gave us the horses that we always wanted at this protest but were unable to arrange. This is the first and last time (I suspect) that I will ever say thank you to DOI until this mess is cleaned up and the horses and burros are put back on the range where they were orginally found when the 1971 Act was made law.

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  3. I would also like to add a special thank you to all the individuals and welfare groups/rescues that put aside their parochial mindsets, came together to help all the equines for this moment and movement. Mustangs and burros are deeply intertwined with slaughter and rehoming issues. We are getting there folks, because the force of the horse always unites.

    The force of the horse is with me; may it continue to spread.

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    • Thank YOU, too.

      BTW, gang…that’s Denise in the top photo, on the left and her new found friend on the other end with some strange dude from Texas in between.

      You can also see your photo on Steve Long’s website at http://www.horsebackmagazine.com

      We will have an update and photo/video together when we get home, tomorrow.

      Stay tuned!

      Sent from R.T.’s iPhone

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      • Thanks RT! Terry, I can’t wait to see more photos! SO great to see you both again. Wish we weren’t so far apart.
        Until next time…

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  4. R.T., Terry and others fighting for a voice for our equines in the halls of Congress today…..

    The souls of the deceased like Wild Horse Annie and the equines that have succumbed to the man made brutality of senseless death whisper in your ears, stand behind you blowing the gentle, warm breath and breeze of truth and justice.

    And yes, there are good guys that wear black hats (that’s R.T in the middle holding the banner so the harsh, blow hard winds of Congress and DOI don’t knock us down). Good guys do wear black.

    Good luck in the halls and safe trip home to do battle another day.

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  5. I want to add my thanks to and admiration for all those who protested in D.C. and at other rallies.

    The police action was totally unnecessary, but probably required by protocols. It’s good to hear they maintained a professional attitude. Wonder if anyone at the DOI appreciated the irony of the police horse/wild horse connection?

    I hope someone got images of the DOI folks on the steps. Was there interaction with government officials/aides at any of the venues?

    Thanks again to all who planned and participated in these rallies. May there be many more to come!

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  6. I cant add anything more than what has aready been said before me, thank you all for being there and standing up for our horses!!! You are all awesome. I look forward to seeing more pictures and video when you all return, good luck with all that is happening today!

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  7. Linda :I want to add my thanks to and admiration for all those who protested in D.C. and at other rallies.
    The police action was totally unnecessary, but probably required by protocols. It’s good to hear they maintained a professional attitude. Wonder if anyone at the DOI appreciated the irony of the police horse/wild horse connection?
    I hope someone got images of the DOI folks on the steps. Was there interaction with government officials/aides at any of the venues?
    Thanks again to all who planned and participated in these rallies. May there be many more to come!

    Yes, they (the called in force including US Park Police, Homeland Security) were totally professional; the initial guards for the building appeared to be alarmed and not very adept…but they were reasonable (although the orders were a bit stupid) and the equine supporters were very cooperative and not abusive. They wouldn’t let Wendy Malick deliver the letter to Salazar and after some time sent down a non-descript, very young lady (God bless her) to transfer the letter (we all assumed the letter was put in the waste can and it was fairly cowardly to send down some lower level staffer to accept the letter (no dis to the staffer)).

    But I will tell you the DOI photographed the crowd and a couple of the called in security (HS) asked for our names and organization affiliations. It was creepy.

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    • I also will add to that, that a BLM security guard walked by me while I was filming and told me ” You can’t take pictures of the building, if you do you will be shot”. It was clearly a statement to try and scare me. There were others around that were taking pictures.

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      • I can see the billboards and tourist brochures now:

        “Welcome to Washington, D.C. Don’t take pictures of government buildings or you will be shot. Enjoy your stay!”

        Somebody needs to contact the Chamber of Commerce!

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      • That is so not true. Those government building are ours. Gosh, they act like the DOI is the CIA or something.

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  8. I love the photo of RT with the White House right there. Great work all you wonderful, wild horse folk. You did something beautiful and the world watched and it makes another dent in the armor of DOI/BLM. Amazing they sent HS, but the horses were perfect… love it all. mar

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  9. I just phoned the BLM “comment line” (again) …..they told me they had received “thousand’s of phone calls today” …and I must say, they sounded a bit overwhelmed 🙂 Bravo advocates! Keep it up.
    Let’s make it thousands more. 202-208-3801

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  10. I don’t think they called in this much security for the Congress voting for healthcare. Have you ever seen any protester get violent or out of hand even as our horses are being abused in the gathers? Good grief. In an off-topic aside, I live in San Diego and yesterday some wild horses ran thru a ranch and with their siren song called the domestic horses out for a good ole run. Out came the cowboys to round them up and yep you guessed it–the helicopter. Tendon injuries to the foals. But it sure was fun to see those wild horses running thru the Olympic training center and down the street I stood up and cheered them on!!! Yippeee!!!!

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  11. I wanted to share this from Jim Weber;

    Goodmorning all!
    Well yesterday was a good day here on the place.
    I kept a mare from the horse rescue I was involved in almost a year ago…yesterday that pretty bay mare presented me with a beautiful bay stud colt…this colt shouldn’t be alive and the mare should have never concieved and stayed bred…but she did all that..even though her body condition and overall health was severely jeopardized, she had the colt unassisted….
    What are the chances?…pretty slim I would imagine…it does prove how resilent the Mustang is, and it does prove that a horse will give up a lot to have a colt…I know this mare gave everything she could in her power to make this fetus viable and strong enough to survive…how it made it, and made it without any problems is a miracle and a credit to the survivability of the American Mustang…I have 2 of these Mustangs now and I thank my maker for the privelege…
    As much as some of you disagree with my thinking at times…I know someone is watching what I do for the horses, he blesses me in really neat ways…so I know I have a purpose here for the horses….
    With that in mind, I have a really neat idea…Someone besides me ramrod it though…but here is an idea….
    There just happens to be a 16,500 acre ranch coming up for sale here in western nebraska, it was a Boys home and part of a really good plan to raise young boys in a rural seting and let them work through their troubles by working this ranch…the place has a huge gymnasium, corrals, 6 dwellings, dormitories and a kitchen facility…with a lot of luck and money…this thing could run about 250 head of Mustangs on the pastures and put up enough hay to winter that herd….It is well watered with numerous windmills and fresh water lakes and has been well maintained, the fences are in excellent shape….
    If you people could find the right investors, you could save a lot of horses with very little government intervention..it could be self supporting…with the right management tools you could produce some really saleable horses and create a learning center for the Mustangs…you would have ample room to put up 65 people a day to educate about the horses, you could charge for the privelege…it would be a working environment….could you imagine the publicity and benefit to all the horses out there….
    Anyway it’s just a neat thought, it could be accomplished and I think it bears looking into….I’d appreciate any comments…
    I am not interested in running it…I am just throwing this out there to see if there would be an interest among your group….
    Please fill free to comment here or to me via my cell number 308-760-1983.
    Jim

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    • Wish I had the $$, expertise, and youth to take on this kind of project. 250 wild ones sprung from “horse jail” would be 250 saved, trained and available to good homes. And continuing the cycle would save even more! This is prime fodder for grants. Unfortuntely, the fact there would be horses involved doesn’t make much impact on grantors, but the human rehabilitation component most certainly does. Somebody figure out how to make this happen!

      Congrats to both Jim and that tough little mare on their new arrival. The wild ones are truly amazing!

      Like

      • Pam nickoles wrote, this is near the 3 Strikes location and adds this;
        From: Pam Nickoles [Edit Address Book]
        To: Marilyn Wargo
        Subject: Re: Mar from the Cloud Blog
        Date: Mar 26, 2010 6:30 PM
        The Sand Hills of NE cannot keep Mustang feet healthy. It’s just too sandy. Whatever horses end up there (if this should come about) would have to be handled occasionally to get their feet trimmed. Hard on a wild animal… Just something to think about.
        end
        If the horses were worked with and trained and handled, they could have their feet done.. but that would still be tough on original herd. mar

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    • If I could sell my place here in Ohio and bring my dogs… I might be interested in working at such a ranch. I know a little bit about a lot of stuff and I’m good at most of it. Sign me up!

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    • Maybe Cesar Millan would be interested. His parents had a ranch with horses. . . and he has a great following.

      That thing about that sand being bad for the hooves is daunting, though, right?

      Maybe the Sand Hills should be left to the Sandhill Cranes?

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      • I just read about a mustang with an impaction of sand in its gut, (reading the 2008 book written by Proud Spirit Rescue in AK).

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  12. I was there in mind and heart and praying and praying. I could not get through to the Presidential line as it rang alway’s busy, however I did get through to the Congress line which inadventaly connected me to the Enviormentalist and the lady I spoke with was all ear’s. Took my name and gave me her personal email and she after I telling her as much as I could without making a book was so concerned and expressed it by letting me know she would make sure this info got into the right ears…She is doing research on her own and in the meanwhile I am sending any info that will help….The CNN report was so perfect and I sent that to her..People, horse’s are counting on US and let’s not forget who created them, The Good Lord is smiling upon us and let’s not forget where we can draw power from that no BLM or bad Gov’t official’s can, they are not on the side of the Horse’s, the Horse’s that God created…There is power in prayer..

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  13. “PEACEFUL” protestors is right! Reminds me of the time we were holding our Ron Paul signs in Iowa, when Bill Clinton ordered us all removed from the nearby entrance of a public school he was going to campaign at for Hillary. It was unbelievable. All 10 of us weren’t doing a thing. We weren’t blocking the doors to the school. We weren’t yelling. We were just holding our RP signs, yet this arrogant person called the Sheriff’s Dpt. on us and ordered us to move to the street—-of course, what they did to us was all COMPLETELY UNCONSTITUTIONAL. And, all of you protesting peacefully. It was absolutely uncalled for–the muscling of their arms. I think “government” is getting too paranoid, if you ask me. Either that, or they are just too arrogant and big for their britches!

    Like

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