Reportedly the Forest Service will use helicopters to round-up the horses which can prove deadly to the newborn foals and the older horses. The river is treacherous in places and the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group fears for the safety of this historic herd.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group has submitted a 50 page proposal to the Forest Service setting forth a humane and sustainable management protocol for the iconic wild horses which includes humane birth control, but are shocked to find out that it has apparently been ignored and roundups will start immediately.
While we used to have over half a million wild horses in Arizona a hundred years ago, we now have less than 500 left and that includes the BLM Herd Management Area’s and the Heber Territory that the FS is also planning to zero out.
In 1971 the Forest Service was mandated by the Wild Free Horse and Burro Act to establish wild horse territories where wild horses and burros existed at that time. The Forest Service admits that the Salt River Wild Horses were present in and around the Salt River at that time and many eyewitnesses and articles prove that fact, yet they did not create a territory for the herd, the reason for this has never been answered by the Forest Service.
We believe that the Forest Service violated a federal law by refusing to assign a Wild Horse Territory where they themselves have records of wild horses roaming as far back as 1930, according to their Environmental Assessment of the Sunflower grazing allotment.
There is no reason why the Forest Service should want to rob Arizona of this historically, economically and ecologically significant herd. Why are they in such a hurry and why are they doing this without a fair public process. This is one of those points in time that mankind is really going to regret years from now, states Simone Netherlands, President of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. If the horses are rounded up, the Forest Service is making an historical mistake that cannot be reversed.
WHAT: Press Conference. Press and Public welcome.
WHEN: Tuesday, August 4th, 5 pm
WHERE: Butcher Jones Recreation Area, Fort McDowell, off of Bush Highway in Mesa, Arizona. (first exit after Saguaro lake)
WHO: Amanda Marsh, widow of Eric Marsh, Superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, will join Simone Netherlands, President of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group in calling upon the Forest Service to work with the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group on a humane management plan, instead of robbing future generations of Americans of our very last piece of living history.
Historic news articles published between 1890 and 1927 document a population of over 500,000 wild horses roaming the plains of Arizona at the turn of the century. It is believed that they were brought to the area by the Spanish missionary, Father Eusebio Kino in the 17th century. Today, there are fewer than 500 wild horses remaining on public land in the entire state.
For its part, the Forest Service admits in a recent Sunflower Allotment grazing permit renewal Environmental Assessment (EA) that the horses have been present on the Salt River since at least the 1930’s — – decades before the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed in 1971 to protect mustangs and burros on public lands. Yet the Forest Service intends to round up and impound the horses as “stray livestock.”
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is an AZ non-profit organization set up to monitor and scientifically study the Salt River Wild Horses. Each horse has their own records with birthdates and bloodlines, some of which date back 20 years. It is the goal of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group to preserve this iconic herd for future generations, but as a second option the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group will welcome the Salt River Wild Horses into their sanctuary in Prescott, Arizona in order to prevent them from ending up in cruel situations.
Brian Penny is a former business analyst and operations manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. He’s a frequent contributor to Hardcore Droid, Huffington Post, Lifehack, Fast Company, Main Street, and more.