Equine Rescue

Equine Advocacy Groups Join Effort to Spare N.D. Wild Horses from Slaughter

Source: By: Patrick Springer, Forum News Service

“We’re just trying to provide the safety net so none of these animals get bought by the kill buyers,”

FARGO – National organizations working to save mustangs are lending a hand to find caring homes for wild horses that will be rounded up at North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park and sold at auction.

The Cloud Foundation and Legacy Mustang Preservation are two groups that are joining forces in an effort called Operation Badlands Mustang Rescue, made up of volunteers who have been spreading the word of the Sept. 28 auction of more than 100 park horses in a campaign to spare them from slaughter.

“We’re just trying to provide the safety net so none of these animals get bought by the kill buyers,” Ginger Kathrens, executive director of The Cloud Foundation, said Friday.

In partnership with the affiliated Legacy Mustang Preservation organization, the groups have pledged to buy as many as 24 of the horses, if no other private owners step forward, to save them from being sent to a slaughterhouse.

The Cloud Foundation, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., works to save mustangs removed from public lands in Western states. It has raised money to transport horses it buys.

Legacy Mustang Preservation, based in Louisa, Va., will train the horses and find adoptive homes on the East Coast.

The involvement of the two organizations, each with a network of supporters, will add significantly to social media campaigns striving to find buyers who want to buy and train wild park horses, said Marylu Weber, who has tracked the horses in the park for almost 15 years.

“It is a huge deal,” she said. “Ginger Kathrens is probably the face and the voice of wild horses in the world because of what she’s doing for wild horses.”

Kathrens has made several documentary films about a pale palomino stallion named Cloud from the Pryor Mountains of Montana that aired on PBS Nature.

The Cloud Foundation is working to make removal of horses from public lands unnecessary, through better management practices including birth control, and rescue removed horses.

Western mustangs are popular among horse lovers on the East Coast because they are smart, sure-footed and hardy, Kathrens said.

The horses from the badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, descendants of Plains Indian ponies and pioneer stock, also have an appealing history, she said.

The National Park Service should be actively working with wild horse supporters to prevent surplus horses from ending up in the hands of “kill buyers” working for slaughterhouses, Kathrens said.

“Their responsibility doesn’t end with the rounding up of the horses,” she said, adding that the park should bar kill buyers from the auction.

“Our purpose is to get the horses that nobody wants to bid on except kill buyers,” Kathrens said, adding that her organization will not bid against private buyers who want the horses as companion animals.

The horses are slated for sale at the Wishek Livestock Sales in Wishek, N.D., starting at 11 a.m. Sept. 28. The community is hosting meals and events in connection with the sale.

11 replies »

  1. I am glad some of these horses will be safe but honestly I so wish true sanctuary would be sought for these horses instead of what is being planned. With the resources of those involved I am confident that could happen. I work with and organization that deals strictly with the aftermath of failed mustang adoptions, pulling formerly adopted mustangs from the kill pens. It is a side few see or maybe choose to see. I do hope there is a safety net for these mustangs post-adoption, in the event the adoptions do not pan out. JMHO

    Let’s support the good wild horse sanctuaries out there, so they can continue their great work.


  2. Thank you Maria for your work. Mustangs should definitely have a safety net as do domestic horses that are adopted out. In fact, rescues will take domestics back if the adoption doesn’t work out. These horses also have microchips so auction houses do not sell them to anyone including kill buyers. The same should go for mustangs that really do not number the estimates that BLM says. All advocates should demand that BLM, the Forest Service should take an updated, accurate count of mustangs on public lands including forests before any more roundups take place. I’m still having difficulty with the 200 “Tribal” horses sold at Fallon to kill buyers. Apparently, the Apache Nation has 65,000 more. Hard to believe that number, but if it’s true, something is grossly wrong.


  3. I do pray that these horses will find safe refuge, & that these groups will be able to rescue them. What I have finally figured out is that anyone, anywhere, regardless of any upbringing, cultural ideas or beliefs, or clout or lack of, or any other reason or excuse they can come up with, anyone who condones horse slaughter, again, for ANY reason, has NEVER, EVER had a real relationship with a horse, especially the kind depicted in the beautiful photo above. To have that special bond, love, respect & relationship is magical, & no one who ever has had it can honestly say they are pro-slaughter. To me, if you can no longer keep or afford your horse, you find another home, or a shelter or sanctuary, or even donate it to be used as a therapy horse, the same as you’d do with your dog or cat. You owe these animals that, you took on that responsibility when you bought them. They depend on your care. If your horse has extensive, expensive medical issues, or age related issues that can’t be resolved, then just like your dog or cat, you call the vet & have them humanely euthanized & taken care of. I just don’t understand people, or what makes their minds work, or, not work, or even the illogical drive of their greed. None of it really makes any sense. It’s like a battle of wants & wills, us against them, which at times almost out-weighs the whole issue of horse slaughter. If they are grown adults, they should know the risks & dangers, not just the blatant horrific cruelty itself. With all the time, energy & money being spent on both sides, America could have easily added many, many more TRUE horse sanctuaries, both for wild horses, with at least certain horses left intact to continue the breed’s bloodlines, places for them to live in freedom & peace, & for our domestic horses, to either live out their lives or to be given the chance to be re-trained & re-homed. May God help His special creations, the horse, a gift to man, from the evil of man!


  4. Does anyone know the name of the Apache tribe that is supposed to have 65,000 horses on their land? Because all of these tribes I just looked up are in either Arizona or New Mexico and none of them could possibly support 65,000 wild horses. Both of these states are having trouble with drought. There is grass if there has been enough rain during the winter and spring, but it would never be enough forage for such a large number of horses. I wonder if these particular Indians are actually raising horses for slaughter? I don’t see how that could pay for it’s self unless all the mares were having triplets. But you would still have to help feed them.


  5. Federal laws are supposed to protect these horses yet nobody obeys the law. Good thing that the advocates are there to try to protect what our government won’t enforce.


  6. Isnt this out of hand , first we pay for unneeded round ups , then we pay for their housing, and the rotten care they are getting only to send them to Slaughter?????/What the heck is going on here !!!! Put the darn mustangs where nature wants them to be !!!!!! all on Americas dime !!!!! Wild mustangs are here to help us , and what a wonderful job they do OUT ON The RANGE where they belong !!!!!!11


  7. It’s a damn shame they can’t be left alone, where they belong on the range! It”s so wrong what they’re doing to these beautiful and innocent animals. Thankfully, we have many wonderful and caring people who are stepping up to prevent them from going to slaughter. I will never understand this unnecessary madness, which is being put upon our treasured icons, when we have so many other serious issues facing our nation. What’s really sad and unfortunate is, those who could make a difference don’t seem to care. I’m very thankful for those who do and there are many. (-:


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