from Amy Hanchey
Kistachie National Forest, which spans 7 parishes in Louisiana and encompasses a whopping 604.000 acres of land, is home to Fort Polk Military Base, which resides on approx. 140,000 acres.
There are 2 theoretical groups of horses that roam the area.
First, the horses that are seemingly more domesticated. Most likely dumped horses. These horses congregate near the base itself.
Second, Wild Horses located in an area called Peason Ridge – These horses are a very tight knit herd and Do Not seem to be domesticated at all.
They are likely the progeny of the Cavalry Horses from WWII and potentially with lineage to the Colonial Spanish Mustangs. Self-sustaining for the last 75+ years.
Caring individuals made a simple request for the humane, ethical, conservative approach to addressing the equine presence at Fort Polk Military base and Kisatchie national forest as a whole. Although our focus is centered on the welfare of the horses, the safety of civilians and soldiers is paramount. However the gross disregard for the public’s opinion is extremely concerning, as is the attempt to paint caring individuals as activists which has a negative connotation. This is a classic tactic and frankly inappropriate and inflammatory. The horses need a voice focused on their welfare, this is not activism, rather advocacy.
Public demand for conservative, humane, ethical treatment of these animals is undeniable and support continues to grow as seen by the steady increase in support gained since sept 2nd.
The claim that their permits sufficiently safeguard horses from ending up on slaughter trucks is complete a farce. With no tracking or follow up procedures in place, the claim is a sham. There have been multiple instances of Fort Polk/ Kisatchie horses end up in kill pens, leaving their foals behind far too early. Whether this occurred under current permit or under their noses, the inability to safeguard these horses, by the current leadership is clear. There is strong historical evidence that the horses came into the area with the Hernando de Soto Expedition (1539-1543). Free-roaming horses came into the area from various sources including American Indians (1800’s), Heritage Families and the U.S. Calvary (1940’s). Their progeny still roam this area today.
When asked about his plans for the horses, General McGuire said many times, “That Elimination of the horses is necessary to maintain first class joint training facility”
The Commanders at Fort Polk come and go every couple of years. Previous Generals allowed the horses some even fought to preserve them, protecting the sanctity of the land, history and animals. It is grossly unfair that a temporary commander is making a permanent decision on the behalf of future generations.
We implore Officials to work with equine advocates and wild horse experts to devise and execute an ethical and humane solution to the equine presence in Kisatchie / Fort Polk / Peason Ridge. One that allows the military, the civilians and the Horses to peacefully and safely coexist as they have done for the past 75+ years.
We believe a first class operation should strive for that same mentality in everything they do.
Please contact officials and request that a hold be placed on removal pending comprehensive, ethical, humane, and conservative plan has been presented developed and presented to public.