“Anytime a self-actualized journalist turns an inquisitive eye to the plight of our nation’s wild horses and burros it is time to celebrate as they are the ones who cannot speak for themselves. But when editors, mostly unaware of the facts surrounding a story, cast a headline with skewed numbers/counts of said equine it instantly slants the story into the favor of the adversaries of the wild one before the first word of the article is ever read by John Q Public. So is the case with the story below, written by animal journalist and co-founder of the Daily Pitchfork, James McWilliams. James and Vickery Eckhoff have been champions for and of the truth regarding not only horse slaughter and the wild equines but animal agriculture in general. We highly recommend the Daily Pitchfork and likewise ask you to read and visit the article below which features quotes from our own Debbie Coffey and a photo of our Carol Walker in the field documenting the disaster of mismanagement that goes by the name of BLM. A very good read.” ~ R.T.
Twenty miles north of Reno, after casinos and strip malls yield to the high desert, the Bureau of Land Management holds 1,100 wild horses in a series of corrals. From the highway, the federal facility—the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley—looks like a dusty feedlot, the kind of place you might smell before you see passing through some forlorn corner of Texas or Oklahoma.
But walk down the hill from Route 445 and stand alone among the pens as the sun rises in late July, and you’ll find that the place smells fine, sort of earthy and clean. Instead, what concentrates the mind is something altogether unexpected: silence. Somehow, amid 1,100 wild animals held in confinement, the only sound I hear is the wind whistling across the plastic lid of my coffee cup.
These horses and burros are a mere fraction of the roughly 45,000 kept in BLM holding facilities across the country. The primary reason they’re confined is the nearly 18,000 ranchers grazing an estimated 747,963 “animal units”—a bureaucratic term that can represent either a horse, a cow/calf pair, or five sheep—on 155 million acres of land. The horses might be silent, but lately these cattlemen have been quite loud indeed...(CONTINUED)