What Do Your Food Choices Have to Do With Saving Wild Horses & Burros?

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“What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

There is a federal program to end wild horses & burros, and your food choices may be supporting it. In the United States, the government has erased wild horses and burros from 40 percent of the public land that was supposed to be their sanctuary. In 1971, the Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act was passed to protect these wild animals on designated, federal land. But the meat and dairy industry, which our government subsidizes, had other ideas.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a branch called Wildlife Services, funded by our tax dollars, that is dedicated to “managing” wildlife when it gets in the way of the meat and dairy industry’s profits. Wildlife Services is known for gunning down and poisoning coyotes – even pumping gas into their dens – along with other animals it considers “pests,” which leaves The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to deal with one of America’s living symbols of freedom: the wild horse.

Competing With Livestock

In the western United States, the cattle/livestock to wild horse ratio is clear: 50 to 1. (the number is even more skewed for wild burros)  This is thanks to the Bureau of Land Management’s controlling of wild-roaming horse and burro populations, which it does so frighteningly well, there is currently eight  times more “public” land rented by the government to cattle ranchers than allotted for wild horses.

Private "Welfare Cattle" being herded onto BLM Antelope Complex in Nevada, while Wild Horse roundup was being conducted ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Private “Welfare Cattle” being herded onto BLM Antelope Complex in Nevada, while Wild Horse roundup was being conducted ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

How is this grotesque feat achieved? Government roundups. That’s right: wild horses & burros, once considered – by Congress no less – to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West,” are frightened and chased by helicopters into stockpiling facilities, and go from mane-rippling freedom to nightmarish scenes of cramped captivity, separation from their families, branding with burning hot irons, and worse. The Bureau of Land Management then auctions the horses off, allegedly for “adoption,” and tragically, slaughterhouses are their most common “adopters.” Horse meat has a huge market in Canada, Mexico, and overseas, and in 2011, 85 percent of the horses slaughtered in a Canadian processing plant originated in the U.S.

While the government’s guise of “adoption” is a lovely ruse, it did not stop the BLM from selling over 1,700 horses to a known horse slaughterer from 2009-2012. That man, Tom Davis, is outspoken about his yen for killing horses, despite having signed contracts upon adopting the hundreds of horses (sight unseen) that they would be protected. “What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?” he stated. The BLM investigated the matter halfheartedly after much resistance, and of course, found themselves not guilty. Tom Davis himself – who has been vocal about setting up a horse slaughterhouse in Colorado, unprosecuted by state authorities – claims they must have known, selling such a volume of horses to one person, what was going to happen to those horses.

How You Can Help 

As if we needed another reason to choose plant-based foods – to eschew animal cruelty; to lighten our environmental impact; for our health – if people choose to cut cow meat and dairy out of their lives, wild horses may benefit. The less we contribute to these industries, the less land cattle ranchers will need, and the less land our government will hand them. When making the switch to plant-based, sustainable foods, remember that any hesitation or frustration we may feel in the transition is nothing compared to the terror of wild horses as they’re shoved into hot (or freezing), cramped transport trucks and sent on their long, agonizing journey to slaughter. When we sit down for a meal, to paraphrase Kafka, may we be able to picture the few remaining wild horses & borros in peace; we do not condone their demise any more.

9 comments on “What Do Your Food Choices Have to Do With Saving Wild Horses & Burros?

  1. Whole Foods “ethically-sourced” beef supplier destroys over 1,000 wild horses
    http://www.cowspiracy.com/blog/2015/12/3/whole-foods-ethically-sourced-beef-supplier-destroys-over-1000-wild-horses

    WHOLE FOODS MARKET, a grocery store chain that prides itself on having higher standards of food sourcing, is buying beef raised on our public land at the detriment of wild horse and other wildlife.
    The Beatys Butte horses have lived for generations on their federally allocated 400,000 acre range but only 100 of these originally native wild horses will remain now.
    The ranching industry is destroying wild horse and the environment all so that it can turn a profit.

    BLM Round Up of 1,400 Wild Horses, Beaty’s Butte, southern Oregon, Nov. 7, 2015
    The roundup is being conducted at the request of the Beaty Butte Grazing Association – the local ranchers who run their PRIVATE livestock on our PUBLIC lands.

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  2. ‘Water Hog’ Project Highlights Water Waste’s Impacts on Wildlife

    Water hogA new Center education campaign, in partnership with Levi Strauss & Co., encourages people to save water for wildlife by identifying the nation’s top water-hogging counties and U.S. households’ most wasteful water-use activities. Our “Don’t Be a Drip” website is geared toward raising awareness about how water consumption affects endangered species.

    The campaign website includes an interactive map of high water-use counties — the majority of which are in California, though Arizona’s Maricopa County (Phoenix) is No. 1 — and an infographic showing the water footprint of common household activities.

    “It’s easy to forget that every time you turn on the tap, that water is coming from rivers, lakes and streams that wildlife depend on,” said Stephanie Feldstein, the Center’s population and sustainability director. “The reality is that water is a finite resource, and careless human water consumption is altering our ecosystems, destroying natural habitats and sapping water sources for birds, fish, mammals and other wildlife.”

    Check out the new Don’t Be a Drip website.

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  3. Hey, fellow horse folks—at the risk of being a harpy, I have harranged about this for years. Not only is eating all that excess protein not needed for the adult body, but the excess in calories is ruining our health and contributing to a 30% obesity rate in the US. Even formerly calorie deficient populations like India and China now have significant obesity problems and all the attendant healthcare costs.
    Start with cutting out the meat and dairy one day at a time. Get it off your plate, learn to love the massive diversity in the vegetable/grain/legume/fruit categories, and you will feel better—-not just physically, but psychologically. The industrial meat industry —and that means EGGS and POULTRY, too—-is rife with vicious treatment, confinement, and psychological pain for animals denied EVERY natural behavior and social interaction. Humans have for way too long avoided the acknowledgement that other animals suffer for our utility. Scientists call it “anthropomorphizing” to degrade those who insist animals other than us have unique needs and perspectives. Ironically, the label itself is a mark of our arrogant categorizing that would place us at the top of the heap—a benchmark against which all others are judged. Some scientists are actually starting to find (and admit) that the limitations of human observation and intellect have been what makes the rest of the animal kingdom’s behavior obscure to us—NOT that their lives are featureless and simplistic. Mark Twain said this of our denial—“it is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call a animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions”
    Carl Safina’s well researched book “Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel” is one of those pushing us to get over our prejudice in service to our stomachs and egos. From the review, below—
    —————————————————————————-
    I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?

    Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina’s landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack’s personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.

    Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity’s place in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stop killing these beautiful creatures. A perfect example of man”s inhumanity. Businesses and Congress are without conscience or compassion. If given the opportunity, they will drill or frack or commercially raise animals to slaughter or drill/frack in the ongoing throwing all in to increase the bottom line. How can we stop this? Are there no people with hearts with a modicum of compassion? Please stop!

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  5. Food safety inspectors ordered to publish horse meat customers’ names
    3rd December 2015
    DutchNews

    Food campaign group Foodwatch won a case against the food safety authority forcing it to reveal the companies that potentially bought meat contaminated with horse.
    http://www.expatica.com/nl/news/country-news/DN-Dutch-Food-safety-inspectors-ordered-to-publish-horse-meat-customers-names_560304.html

    The food safety board NVWA had refused to publish the names of all the products which might have been contaminated following the horse meat scandal of two years ago.
    In April, meat trader Willy Selten was found guilty of mixing over 300,000 kilos of horse into products which were labelled as pure beef over a two year period. He was sentenced to 30 months in jail.
    Food is eaten quickly and when fraud is involved, information should be made public as soon as possible,’ a spokesman said.

    Food campaign group Foodwatch won a case against the food safety authority forcing it to reveal the companies that potentially bought meat contaminated with horse.
    http://www.expatica.com/nl/news/country-news/DN-Dutch-Food-safety-inspectors-ordered-to-publish-horse-meat-customers-names_560304.html

    The food safety board NVWA had refused to publish the names of all the products which might have been contaminated following the horse meat scandal of two years ago.
    In April, meat trader Willy Selten was found guilty of mixing over 300,000 kilos of horse into products which were labelled as pure beef over a two year period. He was sentenced to 30 months in jail.
    Food is eaten quickly and when fraud is involved, information should be made public as soon as possible,’ a spokesman said.

    Like

  6. Omg how horrible horses is what helped win the USA wars etc they are so consurned about other countries etc they nd to focus on what’s right n wrong going on here in our home lands these baby’s shldnt have to pay the price they are beautiful why not let freedom ring especially for our baby’s running wild I also think they shloud make sure they get medical treatment if need be the ASPCA should step up on this and more Ppl like us who love these animals I’m sure trying to save as many as I can from the kp and KB so sad 😢

    Like

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