Thanksgiving is finally here. It’s always been my favorite holiday. I love spending time with my family thinking on how blessed I am.
But as a wild horse advocate, it feels like there is little to be thankful for this year.The Cloud Foundation lost their lawsuit to tear down that eyesore of a Forest Service fence. The Park Service removed over one hundred horses from Teddy Roosevelt National Park. We discovered that Secretary Jewel is proving to be entirely disinterested in protecting our wild horse herds. It’s just been one terrible thing after another lately.
And then there is the Salt Wells roundup.
The Salt Wells roundup has been a particularly painful blow. It always hurts to watch horses that I know and care about rounded up and taken away. Even so, this roundup is different. In most roundups, there is a shred of hope that at least some of the horses will be released and allowed to return to the range. This time around, every single horse who hit the trap was removed, regardless of age, sex, or color.
A roundup is a terrible thing to witness. Horses crest a hill and are driven by a helicopter down towards a trap. Experienced horses will sometimes recognize what is happening and try to turn back, but by then it is too late. Panicked wild horses crash into gate panels and each other, crying out frantically to one another in fear. Stallions suddenly forced into close proximity will fight, adding to the chaos of all the bodies crushed together in a small space. Within moments stallions are separated from mares, and mares from their foals. Within minutes the horses are pushed into a trailer with waving flags and hauled away from their home.
They will never see their families again.