Feral Mustangs | Their Modern Day Story

In 1971, the Congress of the U.S. designated mustangs as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and wild horse, running horse, buckskin, wild mustangenrich the lives of the American people."

Since that time, the fate, control, & population of the feral mustang and burros has been in the hands of the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, through the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Some of what they have accomplished has been great, seeing to the protection of the wild horses, things like making it a criminal felony to shoot or poison the animals.

In 1976 , the wild horses, horse herd, mustangs, Federal Land Policy and Management Act was written to ensure that the herds stayed healthy and could thrive on good range land.

They determined guidelines to ensure the techniques used to round-up the mustangs were humane. One method, using a Judas horse, peacefully led the frightened horses into a temporary corral.

Wild Horse Adoption Practices

Once captured, the horses were supposed to be adopted out for a small fee, to qualifying individuals who could provide them with homes and long-term care.

Sadly, some abused that provision.  They purchased the feral horses only to turn around and re-sell them to the slaughter houses. Because of that, an amendment to the bill was instituted preventing buyers from re-selling the horses within a year's time - except under certain conditions.

Unfortunately for the wild horses, too few were being adopted out, and the pool of captured horses began to increase. As a result, in January 2005, a very controversial amendment was made to an appropriation bill before Congress.

Former Senator Conrad Burns added to the adoption program, which allowed the sale of captured

Wild Horse Roundup with Helicopter

horses who were older than 10 years old and who had unsuccessfully been put up for adoption at least three times.

Some progress has been made to repeal this amendment. But the work goes on of saving the wild horse, including the closing of the slaughter houses.

30,000 45,000 Feral Horses Due for Extermination

When I first wrote this article several years ago, there were at that time 30k wild horses in captivity.  Current statistics as of July 2017 are closer to 45k in danger of being exterminated.

What has happened over time is that, since there are not enough adopters, the sheer number of captured wild horses continues to grow steadily, with new roundups being conducted regularly throughout many States.

The conditions they are forced to live in - stuffed into holding pens where they can barely move, no trees or shade, no room as typical active horses to run or roam - is deplorable.

Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, has proposed a excellent solution to the problem, one that would be good for every party involved - the horses, the government, and people who love the horses and cherish their freedom.

Mrs. Pickens' proposal is to loose the captured animals into a sanctuary where they could roam and run. She herself would provide the land, and turn it into what would amount to a protected national park, where anyone could visit and enjoy the horses.

In 2016, that proposal was stalled by the BLM.

YouTube - Madeleine Pickens' Plan for a Wild Horse Sanctuary

American Wild Horse PSA - Sheryl Crow & Viggo Mortensen from Moving Cloud on Vimeo.

Madeleine Pickens speaks about Her Dream of an Eco-Sanctuary,
A Living Museum- YouTube

The BLM's
Programs and Services

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American Wild Horse PSA - Sheryl Crow & Viggo Mortensen from Moving Cloud on Vimeo.

Amy and Raelyn Nelson have joined WFLF Humanion Films’ efforts as Special Guest Speakers and Cast for Saving America's Horses - A Nation Betrayed!

WFLF Humanion Films is pleased to announce that Amy and Raelyn Nelson have joined WFLF Humanion Films’ efforts as Special Guest Speakers and Cast for Saving America's Horses - A Nation Betrayed! The Nelson family has been raising awareness to end horse slaughter for almost ten years. Willie Nelson’s daughter, and grand-daughter, Amy and Raelyn (Aunt and Niece), have been working locally in their state of TN and federally on behalf of the horses. They have lobbied in Washington D.C. on multiple occasions to gain support for the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R 503/ SB. 727). The girls and Willie all speak at various venues in effort to teach others how to show support for the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act and also the Restore Our American Mustangs Act (ROAM) to amend the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act.