At the end of November more than 1,000 wild horses were rounded up and removed from our federal lands in Oregon in an area called Beatys Butte to make room for private cattle interests.
Wild horses in the United States are federally protected from being hunted, trapped, killed or harassed, and yet the U.S. government, at the behest of a Whole Foods Market beef supplier and other cattle ranchers, removed over 1,000 horses from their congressionally-designated habitat to make room for 1,700 cows.
Ranchers are permitted to graze cattle in areas of our public land assigned that is also designated wild horse habitat. The cattle compete for already scarce resources with horses and lead to soil erosion, desertification and water pollution. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency charged with managing our public lands, systematically removes wild horses and burros to further make room for more commercial cattle and sheep.
Round-up contractors use low-flying helicopters to herd, chase and terrorize wild mustangs for up to 10 miles into fenced traps. Once corralled, the families of wild horses are broken apart. Mares are separated from their offspring, stallions are separated from their mares and the entire family structure is shattered.
The BLM makes “liberal” use of its euthanasia policy as horses with physical defects such as club-feet or blindness are euthanized -- including adults that had managed to thrive for years in the wild. In addition, horses trying desperately to reunite with their families have died from broken necks on fences in their attempts to be together. In the roundup that ended in Oregon on November 23rd, 16 horses died, many suffering broken legs and ribs.
Ranching cattle and sheep on public lands destroys these families and takes away their freedom. They are shipped to federal holding facilities which act as prisons for wild horses, whose only crime was to live in a country that values commercial livestock interests more than wildlife.
Whole Foods Market, a grocery store chain that prides itself on having higher standards of food sourcing, is buying beef raised on our public land at the detriment of wild horse and other wildlife.
The Beatys Butte horses have lived for generations on their federally allocated 400,000 acre range but only 100 of these originally native wild horses will remain now.
The ranching industry is destroying wild horse and the environment all so that it can turn a profit.
Footage from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) of the Beatys Butte roundup shows a foal desperately trying to stay with his band but was too slow. He is seen running as fast as he can - all alone, losing site of his family. Wranglers surround him and he is roped around his neck. The small foal struggles –terrified as you hear him scream. He is aggressively wrestled to the ground and tied so that he cannot move. After several minutes like this, the wranglers return and slide him under the bars into the crowded pen with his captured family members.
Whole Foods Market claims that is strives towards ethical food sourcing, but there is nothing ethical about the way wild horses and wildlife are wiped out to make room for more private livestock grazing.
The single most important thing you can do to help save wild horse, wildlife and the environment is to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Consider taking The 30 Day Vegan Challenge today!