Salt Lake City, UT (April 16, 2015)…. Wild horse advocates today sent a petition signed by more than 24,000 signatures to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) calling for the return of a captured 25-year old wild stallion to the range. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) collected the signatures in just two weeks and said the response to the stallion’s plight demonstrates the strength of public opposition to the current BLM wild horse roundup and removal program.
The 25-year old stallion, who is the equivalent of 80 in human years, became the center of national controversy when the BLM posted his availability for sale at an April 21, 2015 Internet auction for a starting bid of just $25. Grulla Stallion 3907, as he is known to the BLM, was captured in February in a BLM roundup of wild horses from the Sulphur Springs Herd Management Area (HMA) and is now held in a pen at the BLM’s Delta Corrals, located southwest of Salt Lake City.
“This proud stallion spent over two decades in the wild, and it is height of inhumanity to capture and remove him from the only life he has ever known – a life of freedom,” the AWHPC petition states. “Today he languishes in a BLM holding pen, his spirit crushed, his life endangered by intensive confinement and possible castration (gelding).”
This stallion’s plight has captured the attention of so many Americans because it is emblematic of the BLM’s current inhumane approach to wild horse management. The government’s continued reliance on roundups and removals of horses from the range traumatizes and terrorizes wild horses, shatters their families and forever robs them of their freedom,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director in a letter accompanying the petition to the BLM. “Public opinion and scientific recommendations call for a shift in the BLM’s approach toward more humane, in-the-wild management using the proven PZP birth control vaccine to Keep Wild Horses wild and free on the range.”`
The two artists who brought the stallion to AWHPC’s attention echoed these concerns.
"We have got to find a way to let the wild stay wild. This amazing stallion and his comrades should be honored with the right to remain on their homeland, free from what a human decides is best," said well-known wild horse photographer Kimerlee Curyl. "How on earth can our decision to put him in a box or small pasture after all his years of instinct and survival have served him so well be the "right" thing to do?"
"Nothing in my experience says BLM will honor mustang elders, but if round-ups are honestly about overpopulation and range damage, they’ll allow horses like the Sulphur stallion to live out his days in his natural environment," added noted author Terri Farley, whose Phantom Stallion book series has sold over a million copies internationally. Farley noted that elder wild horses convey knowledge that is essential to the survival of the herd and prevent younger horses from breeding too early, decreasing population growth on the range.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. AWHPC is a campaign founded and sponsored by Return to Freedom.