LONGMONT CO. – Carol Walker treats her horses with a treat every afternoon on her 44-acre property at the foothills the Rocky Mountains.
Even though Micah, Hermoso and their sweet lives are blissful, Carola still feels terrible that they are kept behind a fence.
“I love them dearly,” she stated.
Wild horses are protected by a 1971 law. She is now caring for the Mustang brothers she adopted. The Bureau of Land Management, a government agency responsible for monitoring their numbers, rounded them up in separate raids.
If there are too many horses, the agency (or the BLM) will helicopter them to be made into beads, store them in a long term storage facility and examine them before placing them up for adoption.
Walker stated, “Whatever the BLM is doing right now is totally contrary to the spirit or letter of this Act, but nobody is stopping them.”
Walker also photographs wild horses. This refers to several recent roundups, one of which is currently taking place in the southwest corner Wyoming. It covers five different areas and is expected to take several weeks.
Brad Purdy, spokesperson for the BLM says that this roundup is necessary due to too many wild horses. There are however voices who argue that this is not the case.
Erik Molvar, an environmental biologist and director at the Western Watersheds Project is an organization that strives to improve public land management. He believes that the impact of domestic livestock and sheep on the land is more than the wild horse damage. He claims that Wyoming can support more wild horses than the BLM numbers.
“Right now, the wild horses are about four times as well managed and yet the land still meets the thriving natural ecological balance, raising the question of whether that appropriate level of management has anything to do with a thriving natural ecological balance. Molvar explained that the idea was to keep wild horses down in order to allow for more domestic livestock.
Raids have been a major concern for state governments. Late August, Jared Polis, the Governor of Colorado, wrote to the U.S. Department of the Interior expressing concern about raids and asking for a six month moratorium.
Walker is also concerned about the fate of horses that are rescued. There are currently 50,000 horses in long-term care and waiting for adoption. Anyone who adopts a wild horse untrained can receive up to $1,000 in an incentive program.
Walker is currently a plaintiff against this practice. He claims that people take the money, then they sell the horses at auctions where they can be killed.
“Which I ultimately would like for an inquiry to be done to the BLM, and they removed them as custodians these wild horses,” she stated.
Purdy stated that even though the Wyoming raid is occurring in an area near private grazing land the decision to remove horses was based on the fact there are too many. the private lands as required by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.”