Patricia Fazio’s letter to the editor of the Cody Enterprise
“…some of the 41 horses involved are remnants of the Foster Gulch-Dry Creek Herd Area which was zeroed out by the BLM in 1987”
To the editor:
Concerning the recent article and editorial about the Big Horn Basin horses bound for slaughter in Canada, there seems to be a misconception that the 37 horses purchased by Bovary Exports have already been slaughtered.
Not so. They are in a holding facility in Shelby, Mont., for 30 days, but the clock is ticking. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has hired an environmental attorney to assess the situation and see if any laws were violated by the agencies involved, and to negotiate with the buyer about potential release to horse rescues.
The BLM had the legal right to seek removal of these horses as non-permitted, unbranded strays. That said, the Cody BLM and Wyoming Livestock Board knew full well (or should have) that horse rescue groups have been ready, willing and able to take horses in this situation. Advertising in two small Big Horn County newspapers that these horses would be gathered and could be claimed by their owners is certainly inadequate public notice.
An anonymous tipster called the Cloud Foundation after the horses had already been sold at Worland Livestock Auction. Nice gesture, but too late.
I find it hard to fathom that the Wyoming Livestock Board’s brand inspector did not realize the horses offered for sale at Worland Livestock Auction would be picked up by killer-buyers. Horse feathers.
We have no proof, but there is a possibility that some of the 41 horses involved are remnants of the Foster Gulch-Dry Creek Herd Area which was zeroed out by the BLM in 1987. That old herd area is only one mile from where this herd was captured.
Wild horses are native to North America – fact not myth. The American Museum of Natural History and ancient DNA academics have the data to confirm this. Believe your own prejudices that horses are non-native or “feral,” but this only shows that you are behind in the best available science.
Domestication and human selection gave us sub-species (breeds), but Equus caballusis is still Equus caballus – the species that became extinct during the late Pleistocene’s megafaunal extinction and the same species that returned with the Spanish following Columbus’ second voyage in 1493.
The BLM should be removed from the national Wild Horse and Burro Program. They are the worst agency for the delicate task of managing and protecting a species historically disdained and routinely killed by the old U.S. Grazing Service as pests. The BLM was formed in 1946 when the U.S. Grazing Service and General Land Office merged.
Traditional horse haters should not be in charge of wild horses. We need another plan and a new agency, but only Congress can make that change.
(s) Patricia Fazio, Ph.D.,
Wyoming Wild Horse Coalition