by John Holland and Vicki Tobin, Founders, Equine Welfare Alliance, reprinted with permissionÂ
CHICAGO, (EWA) – The Cloud Foundation reports documents obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) via the Freedom of Information Act by a Phoenix-based non-profit, The Conquistador Program, reveal shocking and detailed plans to destroy healthy wild horses in government holding and in the wild on public lands.
BLM employees and a USDA veterinarian held weekly "Implementation Team" meetings beginning in July 2008 in which they discussed and developed strategies to rid BLM of thousands of mustangs. In October, they completed a 68-page document titled "Alternative Management Options." Tactics included in this document are reminiscent of those used to wipe out Native Americans in the 1800s.
The BLM team created scenarios for killing mustangs using barbiturates, gunshots or captive bolts. Bodies would be disposed of through rendering, burial or incineration. They discussed killing 1200-2000 wild horses per year. Minutes from the Implementation Meeting state "increased support from public relations and management staff would also be needed to insulate those doing the actual work from the public, media and Congressional scrutiny/criticism."
"These meetings and the Draft Plan reveal what amounts to ‘the final solution’ for the American mustang," states Ginger Kathrens, filmmaker and Director of The Cloud Foundation.
Division Chief, Wild Horse and Burro Program, Don Glenn told The Cloud Foundation "no decision has been made to move forward on a large scale with this plan, yet."
Meeting minutes speak for themselves: "Security at facilities and at gathers would need to be increased to combat eco-terrorism. Having the people that are willing to put down healthy horses at gather sites could be a problem."
During meetings, Team Members formulated ways to circumvent laws, asking, "how many could be euthanized during a gather without having NEPA?" and discussing ways to avoid the federal carcass disposal law. Conversations included how many wild horses could be rendered at a Reno plant or "disposed of in pits".
Kathrens has spent 15 years documenting wild mustangs, chronicling the life of the wild stallion, Cloud, for PBS. "Even Cloud and his little herd in Montana are in serious danger if BLM implements these options," she continues. "A massive round up is planned for this herd beginning August 30, 2009."
The BLM will not guarantee that Cloud will remain free.
More information, BLM documents and photos available from: