Wild Horse and Burro Preservation Groups Announce Phoenix Press Conference and Rally to Call for Immediate Halt to Roundups

Dances with Wolves Author, Michael Blake, to join author Deanne Stillman, and filmmaker Ginger Kathrens in a wild horse advocates’ press conference on Thursday, March 10 preceding BLM Advisory Board Meeting

Phoenix, AZ (March 6, 2011)— The Cloud Foundation, Respect4Horses, The Habitat for Horses Advisory Council, Grassroots Horse, and American Wild Horse Advocates will hold a special press conference on the current state of America’s mismanaged wild horses and burros. Groups are calling for an immediate halt to all Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundups that are destroying the last of America’s wild herds at enormous and escalating taxpayer expense. The media and the interested public are encouraged to attend this public press conference at the Phoenix Sheraton Downtown Hotel (340 N. 3rd street) from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10th.

Michael Blake, Academy Award-winning author of Dances with Wolves will join renowned author of Mustang, Deanne Stillman and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Ginger Kathrens along with other informative speakers who have been on the ground at recent fatal roundups across the West. The event will precede the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Public Advisory Board Meeting on Thursday afternoon and Friday at the same location. Advocates will protest to stop the roundups from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. following the public comment period of the meeting.

“Americans need to stand up to save what’s left of our wild horses and burros. We no longer have millions. The removal forever of the animals that played a key role in allowing America to be settled by humanity is not only wrong…it is done with criminality,” states Michael Blake. “The BLM and the Secretary of the Interior should be in court… defending themselves. Stop them now America.”

A few hundred wild burros and wild horses still remain in Arizona but more are slated for permanent removal in the coming year. Remnant herds of wild horses and burros live in only 10 western states, including Arizona, but their future is tenuous. The agency responsible for their protection and preservation, BLM, is managing them to extinction. While the cruel and costly roundups continue, the BLM has no idea how many wild horses remain in the wild. An independent statistical review, using BLM’s own numbers, reveals a population of less than 18,000 wild horses on Western ranges. Currently the BLM has stockpiled more than 40,000 wild horses and burros in costly government holding, leaving millions of acres of legally designated wild horse and burro ranges empty. Advocates are calling for the return of wild horses and burros to the 24 million acres of designated lands cleared since 1971. Only 180 of the originally identified 339 herds remain in the wild. The BLM continues to “zero out” herds each year without proper justification.

The groups, supported by advocates from coast to coast, will join together in Phoenix to demand that the BLM call off all scheduled roundups immediately while solutions are proposed and considered to sustainably and naturally preserve these legally protected wild herds. Currently the agency’s wild horse and burro program is under an investigative review by the National Academy of Sciences, as called for by 54 members of Congress and several Senators in 2010.

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