While we might think of horses as living exclusively on farms, the U.S. has a population of wild horses that roam public lands in the western states. But, these horses are in danger; as other entities (special interests, private livestock grazing) want to use the land, there’s pressure on government agencies—such a the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)—to take wild horses out of the wild. Often, they are placed in captivity where they are torn apart from their families and face an uncertain future.
Musician and activist Willie Nelson loves horses. More than 70 of them live on his 700-acre ranch outside of Austin, Texas, and most of them were rescued before they could be sent to slaughterhouses. “My horses are probably the luckiest horses in the world,” Nelson said in 2019. “They get hand-fed twice a day, and they were just ready to go to slaughter is probably the last thing they remembered, so they're happy horses.”
Nelson recognizes that not all horses are as lucky as his, so he’s using his celebrity status to help make a difference. Working with the wild horse conservation organization Return to Freedom, he wrote an open letter that calls for legislative action to help keep wild horses and burros safe from government round-up programs.
“Wild horses, like other wild animals, were meant to be wild and free,” Nelson writes. “Historic family bands are broken as the horses are separated forever. Some are adopted or sold, and many thousands more end up living in crowded corrals or leased pastures, exposed to the elements. Some end up slaughtered for human consumption overseas.”
Nelson ends his impassioned letter by calling on everyone to help “break the cycle of wild horse roundup and removal.” One way to do this is by contacting members of Congress and urging them to end the round-ups, increase the use of safe and human fertility control, and protect all horses from slaughter. “Our elected officials must know this is a priority for the American people,” he says.
If you’re looking for more ways to help wild horses, Return to Freedom has a list of eight action items you can do today.
Legendary musician Willie Nelson penned an open letter imploring people to help protect the wild horses that live in the U.S.
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h/t: [Southern Living]