Sitting here listening to the rain, it is quiet inside. Honey Bandit is finishing his milk pellets and DaBubbles is standing under the heat lamp. Patches is waiting to come back in when Honey Bandit is through. I have to watch it, because Patches needs to lose weight and Honey Bandit needs to gain it. So I have to make sure that HB gets all the food he needs.
I am hoping that if we do get snow that sticks here, (we are in the sissy zone), I will get a chance to video tape Honey Bandit's first "snow fall". It will be interesting to see his reactions. He and Patches got to go outside for awhile today. I am not comfortable taking them in the back area to run around yet as we need to catch that cat. Even if we are armed, the cat could be upon the horses way before we got a shot off. I am praying that we will know when it is safe to let them back there again.
Also, we are so close to the elementary school, and the cat (according to comments on a local newspaper blog) was spotted down the road from the school. I would hate to hear about one of our young children being attacked.
It is interesting to read all the comments that people make regarding Honey Bandit and his experience. I have to say the one thing that gets me the most is when people say "the horses are not native". Well, I am sorry, but they are as native as you and I. The United States of America started with the Native Americans, the ONLY NATIVES, and the rest of our ancestors "CAME' to America, just like the horses. Do the people that say they are "not native" think that we should all be rounded up by helicopter and put in jail? Aren't we kind of like the mustangs? The weak and sick settlers did not survive. The strong and healthy survived the journey to America and the harsh winters as they foraged in a wild America. As time went on sickness ravaged the weak and only the strong prevailed, surviving the rough conditions. It was the same with the horses. Only the strong and healthiest survived over time. The weak ones died. They foraged for food and to survive in harsh conditions. For years they have survived in the wild, cohabitating with other wild animals.
I have never said that there is not a need for "management of the wild horses". It is possible that in some cases we need to step in and do something to "manage" the wild horses. Giving more land and higher percentages of the grazing to ranchers is not one of the reasons though. Neither is making it easier for new pipe lines to be added or new minerals to be mined. However, until there is a safe and humane plan that actually works and makes sense, ALL of the roundups should be stopped.
Until that time, if someone in the public observes a sick, or injured, foal or horse, if they can provide medical attention of contact someone who can come and take that animal, it should be automatic. I would think that anyone with any common sense would see the benefits to this. It would save the government time and money, save the lives of numerous animals, and would increase the working relationship between the public and the BLM. But we as the public would have to concentrate on the fact that the people working at that facility actually let us take the sick/injured animal. If we worked together there wouldn't have to be secret, closed to the public, facilities. I think that BLM needs to know that if the corrals were open to the public like they legally should be, that we, the public, would concentrate on working with them to solve any problems that exist. They don't like it when there is a big public outcry about the condition of an animal. Guess what? If we worked together we could stop "Honey Bandit" and other foals from ever getting in that condition in the first place. We could remove the sick/needy horses immediately. That alone would be a huge step to start fixing an intolerable situation.
I have let the Litchfield BLM office know that my husband and I will come no matter what time of the day or night if a foal is down or needs immediate attention. There are people who have been doing that for years in Nevada, and they work together with their BLM offices extremely well. That is why I cannot stress enough that this is not an "anti BLM" campaign, it is a "change the laws to protect our wild horses campaign".
I wrote a letter for BLM to publish. This is a tricky situation, as I need to make sure the world knows Honey Bandit's story in complete detail, no matter how ugly it is. We just continue, as we have from the beginning, to keep it simple and tell the truth. Honey Bandit was not branded at that time and I was told that they did not want to 'brand a dead horse, as then it became a facility death". I know I would not want to be responsible for the welfare of 900 horses. Anyone who has horses knows how hard it would be to really be able to know if each one was okay. So when there are already more in the holding facilities that can properly be cared for; why on earth would you keep bringing more in?
Honey Bandit's story is not about blame. It is the clear and undeniable fact of what happens when the round ups are done the way they are now. His story is only unique in the fact that he is still alive and here fighting to have a healthy life, and to to tell the world about his fallen family. He carries the torch for all the babies that didn't get to stay alive to tell their stories of horror. He carries the torch for all the mares that lost their babies as they were chased by the flying "mountain lions" we call helicopters. Can you imagine how scary that would be? In the wild if a cat was in a tree, the horses could run away and escape. But this cat simply flies through the air after them. Chasing them until their hearts are bursting in their chests, their muscles screaming in agony as they run down the rocky terrain in the extreme temperatures. The mares are frantic as they are forced to race ahead of their foals. Knowing they should be waiting for them to keep up, but forced ahead by the big steel monster. How much higher does that raise their level of stress? HB carries the torch for the stallions who die trying to save their mares and foals. He is their living, breathing symbol and God saved him for a purpose, and that is to tell his story and help change the way that we treat our wild horses. We need to respect all life, not just that which is convenient for us.
Thank you for allowing us to share in this fight to save the wild horses.