New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson has proposed spending $2.8 million to create a wild horse sanctuary and ranch.Â Â
Gov. Richardson explained, "It’s going to create jobs. It’s preserving our legacy. It’s going to make New Mexico the first to have a wild horse park. But most importantly, it’s going to increase tourism and jobs, and that’s what the stimulus is for. …There’s a tourism side to this, but my main interest is protecting the wild horses."
A non-profit organization would likely be paid to manage the preserve and horse adoption facility which would be located in an expanded Cerrillos Hills State Park near Santa Fe.
The state Senate Finance Committee Chairperson John Smith has announced opposition to the plan. So has the Lt. GovernorÂ Diane Denish. She is running for governor.Â A vote on the appropriation has been postponed.
The proposal for a wild horse sanctuary and ranch has been in the works for sometime in New Mexico as advocates such asÂ Patience O’Dowd, co-founder of Wild Horse Observers Association,Â and Alicia Nation, of the New Mexico Wild Horse and Burro Association, have worked to save wild horses once estimated to number more than 6,000 in the state in 1973 to less than 100 today that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and less than 400 under the control of the U.S. Forest Service.Â Â Â
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Find fax and phone numbers for the state Board of Finance here. Find Senate Finance Committee members here.Â Find your New Mexico legislators here.Â Contact these Board members and legislators and urge them to support the appropriations for the wild horse sanctuary and park. Â Â