I just received Animal People - the newspaper for all those who want
to read about animal issues. There are many different articles about
them from all parts of the world. One page is even devoted to human
and animal obituaries.
On the obit page I was profoundly saddened to read that Robert J.
Crossman, 29 of Syracuse, New York, was electrocuted in front of his
nine-year-old daughter in November of this year while holding a ladder
to help another man rescue a cat from a tree. The climber was uninjured
and the cat descended on her own. How wonderful if the electrical
companies would once again as a public service offer to "do" cat rescue
with their cherry pickers, but obviously they just don't have the time or
the inclination. This man would be still alive if they had more heart. But,
of course, it would also be great if we were more responsible re our cats.
They really don't need to be outside and too many of them are.
This headline made me chuckle: "Pending White House dog adoption
upstages Obama cabinet picks." If only all these people who care about
dogs would also care about animals in general. One person who fits
this bill is about to do something really great for the wild horses. And
that person is Madeleine Pickens. She is going to do what I believe the
the Bureau of Land Management could have done if they had had the
will and determination to "manage" them well.
Perhaps I am unkind and judgmental, but aside from adoption policies,
I only saw the BLM managing by killing the overflow, and they were about
ready to do this --killing 2,000 healthy horses--when as Washington Post
staff writer Lyndsey Layton put it --Madeleine Pickens "arrived on a white
horse...Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, made known her
intentions to adopt not just the doomed 2,000 wild horses but most or all
of the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal holding pens."
I have a new found respect for both of the Pickenses, lifelong animal lovers,
who just a few years ago led the fight to close the last slaughterhouse in the
United States. Sadly though, unscrupulous people have been finding ways
to send horses to Canada and Mexico where their slaughtering practices are
probably even worse then ours. I hope the new Congress will also outlaw this.
On her web site, Pickens noted that "Wild horses on federal lands are living
symbols of the history of the American West and must be protected. My view
is for a wild horse sanctuary that will be a tourist destination where Americans
and tourists from around the world can observe this great part of American
She further elaborated in The Independent: "We will take all the excess horses,
and put them somewhere where families can see them and live among them,
and camp out in teepees and have bonfires and look up at the stars and get to
know this incredible aspect of our heritage." Great Madeleine - why didn't the
BLM think of this during their management of these wild horses since 1971
when Congress passed the Wild and Free Ranging Horse and Burro Protection
Act? Wild horses and burros owe a debt of gratitude to "Wild Horse Annie"
(Velma Bronn Johnston) who campaigned hard and long for it.
Well, to their credit, the BLM is cooperating and is even asking Congress for
20 million dollars to hold the horses until Madeleine can puchase around a
million acres to be a refuge for the horses now in holding facilities.
And I breathed a big sigh of relief when I read that Pickens plans to sterilize the
horses on her land and says she will take any additional horses the federal
government wants to cull from the wild herd. It has always been my belief that
the BLM should have been sterilizing the horses they culled instead of shooting
them. Thank goodness for this new "Wild Horse Annie" who I doubt would mind
being dubbed "Wild Horse Madeleine."
Sadly, in 2004 a rider slipped though Congress re the Wild and Free Ranging
Horse and Burro Act which mandated the sale without limitation of any excess
horse or burro who was more than 10 years old and had not been adopted. I believe
this led to the wholesale buying by horse meat dealers to send their product
to Belgium, Japan, and other horse-meat eating venues in Europe. Who to blame
for this? Well, this happened during a Republican led-Congress and the tenure
of President Bush. I think Republicans generally don't care much for animals
unless there is a dollar sign in front of them. Only my opinion, but the HSUS
Humane Voting Records will probably back me up. Democrats voted more for
the humane treatment of animals than the Republicans. I took the time to
evaluate the Humane Scoreboard and posted it on oped for those who might
want to verify my "facts."
Thankfully, Madeleine Pickens is trying to fill Wild Horse Annie's shoes and if her
plan materializes, she will have done a job which all of us who appreciate the legacy
of the wild horses of the West will be grateful for. May God bless her work. May
the wild horses thrive and may many Americans find themselves heading to this
soon to be horse sanctuary to enjoy them up close and personal.