Last Tuesday September 29th, wild horse supporters from all over the country converged on the Hill in Washington D.C. to support wild horses and the ROAM Act, now S.1579. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-1579
The ROAM Act has passed the House and is now in the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the Senate. We concentrated our efforts in getting meetings with Senators on that Committee.
The day started out with a Press Conference and Briefing at Longworth House. Ginger Kathrens introduced all the speakers.
We started with a slideshow of the disastrous Sand Wash roundup last fall,
then Ginger spoke about the Pryor Mountain Roundup two weeks ago.
The next speaker was Hope Ryden, who is the author of America’s Last Wild Horses and was instrumental in the passage of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act.
Next, Congressman Raul Grijalva spoke to us. He has been championing the wild horse cause and along with Congressman Rahall was successful in having it passed in the House. The last speaker of the morning was Howard Boggess, elder of the Crow Nation, who grew up alongside the horses of the Pryor Mountains and who speaks of his deep love for the horses and the land.
Then Chris Heyde of Animal Welfare Institute gave us some pointers and armed us with packets of information.
My first meeting was at Senator Mark Udall’s office since I am from Colorado. Ginger Kathrens and several other Coloradans attended, and we had a good meeting, and Hope Rydan joined us and talked about her work with Mark Udall’s uncle, Stuart Udall, at the time of the passage of the 1971 Act. My next meeting was at Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington’s office, and then the last meeting was when I went along with the California contingent to Senator Barbara Boxer’s office. All of the meetings I attended were with aides, not the Senators, but were very productive, and we had some spirited discussions. Many other people had meetings in other Committee members’ offices but the one we were all most excited to hear about was Ginger’s meeting with Senator Mary Landrieu of Lousiana, who has promised to make the wild horse issue her priority. She had just championed a tough new bill in the Senate that requires the BLM to come up with a new plan for managing wild horses and will not allow BLM funds to be used for the destruction of wild horses.
This was my first time on the Hill and a huge learning experience. I was inspired by all of my fellow wild horse supporters who all bring different strengths and knowledge to the table. The fight to get the ROAM Act passed in the Senate has just begun, but it is off to a great start!