The Theft of an American Icon

by Monica Courtney

In this land of wide open spaces, lush forests and mystic canyon lands… war has begun.

From freedom to this... exhausted, confused, trapped, lost, separated. This filly was forced down the mountains for 12 miles at 92.F, running under a hovering helicopter, to keep up with his terrified mother, only to collapse and go lame the next day. - Photo by Terry Fitch

Where once peace and serenity were our inspiration to appreciate the sacred gifts who live in these lands… a battle of destruction has intruded, a merciless aircraft has caused a panic mode and havoc to set in, the peace is shattered, the strength of family bonds destroyed.

An operation has begun, under the false facade and guise of a propaganda called management. A merciless hunt that reflects the greed of a corrupt government is at work again. This calls any freedom-loving American to duty now. The very freedom of our legacy, the American Mustang, is stolen as I type this. The symbol of Freedom is hunted under aircraft, pushed off their homes, separated from their bands, forced down the mountain range for 12 miles to exhaustion…to the point of no return, where a Judas horse, symbolically called this for betrayal, is sent out by BLM to lead the confused, exhausted and terrified mustangs into their dead end corrals… the trap.

The sound of despair fills the air. The clouds of dust from panicked horses settles, yet the spirit does not. The mustangs desperately whinny for their band, their families, their security, their instinct to protect them from harm…. the aircraft is still hovering, the noisy darkness has overshadowed the victims of the hunt…. trapped by an agency who deceives not only the public with false statements, lies and misleading information… but the very ones they were ordered to protect many years ago. The wild mustangs.

The BLM is not the agency body to protect the West anymore. They have risen above their own law to destruct what is rightfully ours, what is rightfully the horses’…. our future generations might never see a wild horse again as the master plan of BLM is to wipe them out. The spirit of America is stolen, caged up and sold off at auction.

The viability of herds is seriously at risk and the BLM’s statements of their “management” plan untrue, full of lies hiding an ulterior motive. Despite all common sense and evidence presented, our government chooses to ignore the public’s outcry and more pressure is needed NOW.

Wild mustangs… dispatched into unknown futures, ripped away from their homes and families, stolen off the range that is legally theirs… forced into corrals,  getting marked with numbered collars, strained by devastation and fear…. degraded to objects in pens, to be adopted out as stolen property of the American public.

Moncia Courtney and Susan Sutherland during Pryor Mt. Roundup - Photo by Terry Fitch

The prospect of losing freedom is unimaginable to Americans. Yet this dark movement conducted by an agency with a plan of destruction is guaranteed the future of the wild mustangs to be lost, and to become an exhibit in the wax museum for your grandchildren to see, an only reminder of what once was and should have been preserved.

America, Land of lost Freedom. We defend our freedom. At any cost. We must rise above tolerating such heinous acts inflicted by our very own government agency, BLM. We must fight the battle right here in our own backyard…. to protect the very ones whose lives, spirits, families, and existence has been stolen.

This is a call to anyone with a sense of duty and responsibility to preserve this American Icon. I am reaching out to your conscience to speak up and represent what America is supposed to be, for all: A Land of the Free, where the mustangs roam – let’s prevent the BLM from gathering more trophies for their morally depraved and sick plan – This is much deeper than a love affair for horses….. It is about defending Freedom.

With my own eyes I saw the theft of freedom, inflicted on innocents on the Pryor Range. The dead spirit, confused and hurt minds, the betrayed look in their eyes…the panicked cries…  is something I will never forget.

Stories always end. May those be cut down that inflict this unforgiving harm to our legacy and heritage of Cloud’s herd and other wild horses doomed by BLM in this land.

Exploit me not. I was once a horse on the Pryor Mt. Range in Montana.

This is my tale. What can be worse than freedom lost ?

You decide!

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Mariana Tosca, Viggo Mortensen and Kevin Nealon join the unified call for an immediate moratorium on wild horse and burro round-ups

Without a single dissenting vote, the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed by Congress guaranteeing these animals protection from “capture, branding, harassment and death.” – Mariana Tosca

Viggo Mortensen - famous for roles in Lord of the Rings, Hidalgo and Appaloosa

CHICAGO, (EWA) – Acclaimed Actors Mariana Tosca, Christmas in the Clouds, Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings, Appaloosa and Hidalgo and Kevin Nealon, Weeds have added their voice to a growing 150 organizations and dignitaries from America, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa asking President Obama and Secretary Salazar to halt the round-ups of America’s wild horses and burros.

The assault on America’s wild horses and burros must be halted until range studies can be performed and a solid plan is established for the management of these magnificent animals that represent our American heritage.

Actor and Social Activist, Mariana Tosca, joined the unified call with the following statement issued to John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance.

“With virtually no oversight, the BLM’s maneuvers are methodically cleansing the land of these animals who have become an inconvenience and impediment to the goals of the ranching, gas and oil industries.

Mariana Tosca - Actress and equine welfare advocate

It is the action of arrogance and the lowest instincts of man to place greed above the rights of others and to shape policy to fit private agendas. Millions of head of cattle are grazing on public ranges – public ranges that were designated for these wild horses and burros on land that belongs to American taxpayers, not to private entities.

These horses are connected to this land; their ancestors roamed unfettered on it over a million years ago. They represent the basic principal that our nation was founded on: FREEDOM. These animals are the physical embodiment of all that we as people and as a nation aspire to… liberty and self-determination. And at some level that resonates with each and every one of us. With every BLM round up that is allowed to happen, our heritage is under siege.”

Viggo Mortensen adds, “Thanks to all who have contacted their government representatives on behalf of mustangs, those unique animals that are living symbols of the nation’s heritage and character. Your efforts have paid off, prompting Congress to strengthen the protections afforded to wild horses and burros in the United States of America [with the passage of HR 1018].

Mariana Tosca continues, “We have to stop eroding the law that ensures their protection, simply to cater to and placate private entities. America faces a very real risk that the wild horse will go the way of the buffalo, wiped out by a zealous hunt to make room for commercial interests.

Kevin Nealon - Star of Weeds

Since the BLM is a government agency, with perceived mismanagement and conflict of interest issues, the public has a right to call for an independent audit of the horses in BLM managed short and long term holding facilities, as well as an independent count of the horses remaining on the ranges. The management of our remaining wild horses should be moved to another agency.”

A lawsuit was filed by IDA (In Defense of Animals) on November 23 aimed at halting the removal of over 2,700 horses in the Nevada Calico Complex which is scheduled to start on December 1.

Additional information on the unified call for a moratorium is available on the Equine Welfare Alliance and The Cloud Foundation websites.


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