In the most implausible spin yet, the BLM has produced a video about the long term holding facilities where most of the 40,000 wild horses removed from our public lands are housed. The video of healthy horses running through pastures of tall green grass certainly sets an idyllic scene, until you listen to what comes out of narrator Lili Thomas’s mouth. She describes what they are doing by holding these horses as “removing them from stress” – the “stress” they endure in the wild, living in their homes, living with their families, living free. Somehow, being scared to death, driven by helicopters, removed from the only homes they have ever known and being ripped from their families, losing them forever, foals losing their mothers, being injured or killed in the chutes, somehow THAT doesn’t seem to be stressful.
Here is the video, posted on TheHorse.com:
All horses over 10 and now even all horses over the age of 5 are sent to these long term holding facilities, as they are considered to be “unadoptable.” The stallions are castrated, the foals are weaned, and they are sent to facilities with only horses of the same sex, geldings together, and mares together. There is no more chance for a family life and for wild horses, there is nothing more important than family.
On a more sinister note, all of the horses over 10 are subject to the Burns Amendment, and are able to be sold “without limitation” and can be sold by the truckload for a dollar per horse to any applicant that applies. Many of these horses have and will continue to end up at slaughter.
In 2007 I visited the first long term holding facility, the Hughes Ranch in Oklahoma. There were huge pastures with very tall grass, and it was a beautiful place – but so different from the high desert lands that the Adobe Town horses had just come from. The horses were in very good condition, but there were panels stacked in the grass, a grim reminder of what could happen to them if someone buys some of these horses – they will no longer be “free from stress” but facing a very uncertain future.