Guest OpEd by Robert C. Bauer – Biologist
“It is always a pleasure to have Robert Bauer contribute, from his heart, to Straight from the Horse’s Heart. Terry and I first met Robert in the Pryor Mountains during the much publicized roundup of Cloud and his herd on Labor Day weekend, 2009. It was a sad and emotional time for all of us, particularly Robert. I remember Terry holding him in her arms while he wept upon the overlooking bluff as the helicopter rudely chased Cloud’s family into the awaiting pens. An image forever burned upon my heart.
Many thanks to Robert and his insightful view of our much beleaguered, last remaining wild equine.” ~ R.T.
Humans have always been responsible in a stewardship of the creatures of this planet, but not out of motives of greed and monetary gain, arrogance, and self-righteousness, nor out of vengeance, anger or prejudice.
Rather it was always intended to be out of compassion and kindness, and a respect for other lives and what they are, realizing also that there is a connection and as it were a solidarity that can be experienced if this stewardship is understood in that manner, indeed, a respect for life. To experience them in the wild, on their turf so to speak, is something that cannot be expressed in words, although we try.
This has been my experience and that of many others, in the case of wolves, marine mammals, and so many other creatures, and yes with the wild horses and burros. You see what they are, and how full of life they are, in what they are, and the niche they are filling.
In the case of wild equine, it is enough to say that they are wild, and in this state, they must be allowed to exist, as is the case with all wild creatures. Wild does not mean having artificial alterations placed upon them, nor being an object of experimentation. It means having the man-made restrictions removed from their lives, so that they can be what they were intended to be. This includes fencing that would restrict free movement in and out of areas, migratory routes and paths to water sites, winter and summer grazing areas. It includes those restrictions that would hinder free movement in and out of areas, that would allow genetic viability to be maintained. It includes sex ratio alterations, man-made population alterations and any mechanism that would tamper with natural reproduction, all based upon wrong motives and hearts, and dare I say, finite or static thinking. So many of us have seen the beauty of what wild equine are in the wild. They are indeed free roaming, as the 1971 act has designated. We have seen the vitality, the playfulness, the energy, and the love, not to mention courage and the will to watch over each other. We have understood in them an amazing intelligence, as is found in real living creatures. They are not feeling-less cyborgs. They experience sadness and joy, they remember the family bonds, and closeness of their little ones. They shed tears in having their hearts broken.
Yes, many of us have seen this last one also. In the wild they are alive, yet when placed in a holding facility with barred restrictions, they have been forced to cease being what they were intended to be, that is free roaming, and in that state of free roaming fulfilling everything they were intended to be. Much more when one looks into their eyes after the roundups, while they stand in a state of shock in holding facilities, after losing everything that they are, they are no longer alive inside. They do feel, and they do remember!!
After the Calico Mt Complex roundup in 2009 and 2010, this, I could see in those at Broken Arrow, in Fallon, Nevada. Those that had been rescued, and temporarily in a safe place, could still be seen staring out into the mountains from where they came, like Calico Ruby, from Black Rock East, who was thought perhaps to be Freedom’s lead mare.
Although at these rescues and sanctuaries, they are safe, still, their place is in the wild. What is happening now with wild horses and wild burros, is a throwback to the years when the native American tribes were stripped of their lives and lands, and much more who, and what they were.
It is a throwback to the days of slavery, or the days when Nazi Germany, attempted to strip the Jew of everything they were and are.
Yes, in reference, to the wild horses, it’s as though we are living in the days of the German Gestapo, while these wild equine, are under the touch of the Wild Horse and Burro Program of the Bureau of Land Management. And this is called progress?!
Wild equine fulfill an amazing, and rejuvenating role in nature if allowed to be what they are, unmanaged and untouched.
Many don’t like that terminology,” unmanaged and untouched” but it is how it must be if they are to fulfill what they are. When we experience them, as all wild creatures, in the wild, unmanaged and untouched, we are reminded of why we have believed in the freedom from tyranny, in these United States.
Isn’t that what wild equine desire also, and what they express in their wild lives? There has been such a spiritual blackness that has arisen up against wild horses and burros, yet It has also extended to all equine in many areas including horse slaughter.
For the mustangs, if we give them that breathing room they need, to be what they are, protected yes, but restrictions removed, and yes, unmanaged and untouched, I dare say we will see an amazing rejuvenation in ourselves, and transformation, remembering that freedom from tyranny, any kind if tyranny, is what life is about.