As I sit here, my heart is heavy and filled with despair, and I know that I am not alone. We spent Wednesday(?) - seriously can't even remember what day it was, all day moving and separating wild horses that were saved from slaughter in Nevada. Now I only get to help every so often, but the folks in Nevada spend more days like this than they care to count, and I am talking long, long, exhausting days. They spend their funds on fuel and take time off of work to move these horses from temporary holding places to get to the vet to get their Coggins tests, bloodwork etc. and travel papers so the lucky ones can be moved to sanctuaries. In the past month or so, close to 100 horses (Virginia Range mainly) have been rounded up by the Nevada Department of Ag. These horses are being rounded up as fast as possible and as quickly as possible to make it impossible for the advocates to save them. This is an extremely huge part of history and one of the main tourist draws to Nevada. I am privileged to be able to help in a small way, once in awhile, but the folks over in Nevada don't have a minute to even breathe. It takes a huge toll on lives, marriages and health when people are in the middle of this fight.
Virginia City is famous not only for it's own history and mines and crimes, but their wild horses. There is another group (the 3rd) of about 29 Virginia Range horses that are headed to Auction on this coming Wednesday, 10/24/12. There is not enough money or temporary homes for them, and that is not counting all of the other domestic horses that are sent to auction. As hay prices rise, more and more animals are being abandoned, sent to auction (which in essence is being sent to slaughter) and in some cases left to starve. I wish I had an easy answer for the economy and the effect on people and their critters, but I REALLY DON'T!!! EXCEPT FOR ONE BIG ONE - STOP BREEDING HORSES!!!! I do understand that there are cases that are special, where rare breeds and bloodlines are being preserved. But we seriously need to tell the sanctuaries that are randomly breeding more unwanted and unneeded horses to STOP!! IF THEY ARE TRULY A SANCTUARY, AND WANT TO "SAVE THE HORSES", they should think about the fact that every new baby born basically sends another one to slaughter. I am not talking about someone breeding their own mare to keep the baby, but people are getting donations for being sanctuaries to "save the horses". Well, that is not "saving the horses" when you are flooding the market with more babies. EVEN IF YOU HAVE ROOM FOR MORE HORSES - WHY NOT SAVE SOME OF THEM BEING SENT DOWN THE SLAUGHTER PIPELINE????
There are so many sanctuaries that are not breeding, and they are being over run with animals that have no where else to go. They are using every penny they have to try and do what they can. They need the donations to keep doing their work, so I truly hope that when people donate they think about what their money is being used for. Is it being used in a place where the horses are being managed responsibly and where the sanctuary is not adding to the number of horses already flooding the market, or is it being used where it is a benefit to the sanctuary to breed so people will pay to come and see all the pretty little babies? If people want to see wild horse babies, all they have to do is drive to the holding pens. Unfortunately, that is fast becoming the true "American Wild Horse". We NEED ALL OF OUR SANCTUARIES - BUT WE NEED RESPONSIBLE MANAGEMENT and we need to make sure that we are supporting the ones that are part of the solution, not part of the problem. I know this might sound harsh, but if you think it does, take five minutes and watch one of the many videos of how the horses are transported to slaughter and how many of them are "processed" before they are even dead. We have so little power in this fight right now. But we can take those baby steps to make sure we are not helping to cause more issues.
We just got a call about two more starving horses. Wouldn't it be nice if there was room at a sanctuary? Every new baby at the sanctuaries that was deliberately bred in captivity by not responsibly managing the horses is a "NO" - WE HAVE NO MORE ROOM AVAILABLE FOR MORE HORSES" when that phone call for help comes in. Most all of the sanctuaries are full to the brim, and we are facing a crisis much larger than we have ever seen. People's budgets are stretched tight and I haven't heard of any rescues that are not feeling the pinch as people just don't have the funds to keep donating. The range conditions in many places are horrible, although there are many wild horses in different areas that are doing well. Nevada Dept. of Ag is gathering up the wild ones as fast as they can. So why on earth would anyone be breeding more mustangs? We are in desperate times and we only have a limited number of things that we can do to change the situation. Surely not adding more unwanted mustangs would be the first step. We can preserve the bloodlines by using PZP and waiting for some of the older horses to pass. (For those of you not familiar with PZP, it is a birth control for the mares and I believe there are one and two year strains available). I have participated in several studies, the latest being at the Carson Prison Program and it is not difficult to administer and the horses do not seem to have many side effects.
So please, think about who you support, and what they are doing to actually help the horses. We need prayers and miracles, and while I do not care to ever eat a horse, my main concern is how they live and how they leave this earth. God made it clear that we are to care for the animals here on earth, and although sometimes what we do is heartbreaking, I am grateful that this is the path He chose for me. So thank you all for your support, and I hope that we will always be able to do what we do. We are truly blessed by the support from our community, which allows us to do this, and I can only say thank you and God bless you for all you do!