Horses as Native North American Part 2




Horses as Native North American Part 2 




of the rope still they could run them down and all of this many were outraged by the wanton abuse and slaughter of wild horses none more so than a Nevada citizen a woman of frail health but undaunted spirit whose concern for the animals would forever influence their fate on the western landscape in the 50s she Velma Johnson saw horses going to slaughter and at times they were fairly beat up when they were put in the truck they weren't very humanely treated and she saw blood coming down the highway and I'm sure that some of the gathering and some of the disposal that was going on was the cruel and inhumane act that caused Velma Johnson to become so interested and determined to do something about the way they were being treated the best strategy for protecting the horses advocates believed at the time was to stop the use of aircraft and mechanized vehicles on the ground to chase and capture the animals if Virginia City is a relic of the Old West and many many roundups occurred in the Virginia City area and at that time that is where Velma Johnston's battle began was in Story County she tracked roundups she tracked the trucking of animals and because of this because of the notoriety these people out of that area gave her what they thought was a derogatory name and that was wild horse Annie and actually she took it as her banner and um she was never ashamed of it Velma Johnston's legacy came in the form of sweeping legislation that dramatically altered national policy regarding the treatment and the management of the wild horse and burro populations first there were only small victories in 1959 she won passage of legislation that came to be known as the wild horse annie Act Velma Johnston had fought to create a comprehensive program to protect and manage wild horses and burros but the 1959 law fell short of that the law simply banned the use of aircraft and motorized vehicles with the intention of halting the crude and brutal methods that had often been used to gather the animals unfortunately it did not work either the removal the illegal removal of horses just for slaughter and even under the state laws it was still happening so I Annie felt that she had to go after something that would give federal federal jurisdiction at least on the public lands her determination eventually led to unanimous congressional approval of landmark legislation known as the wild free-roaming horses and burros Act of 1971 during her campaign to win passage of the law Velma Johnston enlisted the help of thousands of schoolchildren I remember lunch boxes of letters I mean Elmo would come into the office with a carton of just one day's man of children that had written her how they could help her save wild horses and it was children writing their congressmen dr. Michael Petrelli served as science advisor to wild horse Annie he recalls their joint appearance before Congress in 1971 and the throngs of schoolchildren who descended upon the US Capitol to support their cause not only in attending I'd testify together we testified at the same time so that all those people were there at once there are school children inside that the hearing room halls all around the sides filled all the seating kids and sitting on the safest steps of the plus they had light loud speakers outside oh talking about 12 horses and I was a big deal the one thing that happened with Annie that I've always been proud of and still AM but at the end of this she said I will remember that I used the word range when we're talking about horses we've got to protect the range once enacted the 1971 law directed the u.s. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to protect and manage the wild horses and burros in balance with other ecological resources including wildlife species the law authorized the agencies to inventory the animals to establish herd management areas to maintain the herd populations at appropriate management levels and to remove animals from the range when those levels were exceeded to carry out its responsibilities under the new law the BLM conducted inventories of the wild horses and burros the agency consulted wildlife officials and other private landowners and public land users the initial objective was to identify where herds existed on millions of acres across the broad checkerboard of public and private land the agency then identified areas of the public lands to be dedicated as herd management areas here the animals could still roam in freedom and yet be managed successfully as required by the 1971 law it was in declaration that these animals were important national symbol and they were to be managed and for the long term but wild horse Annie wasn't finished the use of aircraft and other motorized vehicles had been banned by the legislation enacted in 1959 a provision targeted at the inhumane practices of must angers but by the 1970s many began to see the potential of these tools to gather the animals more effectively more safely and more









 humanely among them was the most ardent champion of the wild horses and burros we took any out a number of times in a helicopter with us to show how that with experience and care you could use a helicopter to drive these animals much safer than you could just by horseback that you know if they got to running towards the rocks where it was going to cripple them an interim if you just drop over in front of them with the helicopter and slow them down and are turning showing her how you could use helicopters would be much safer than just running a my horse back about two when you had to do roundups in 1976 she helped win support for an important provision of the federal land policy and Management Act or flip m'a this provision expressly authorized the use of motorized vehicles including helicopters to gather wild horses and burros for management purposes it gave the Bureau authority for helicopter years and whoa wasn't directly involved but as Velma's agent I film they round ups and then we started showing that film to other organizations in order to show that how the they could be humane that just because it was a helicopter I didn't mean that the animals would be run to death that if it was done correctly it was more humane in the early years of the federal wild horse and burro program the only feasible method of gathering animals was to send Wranglers out on horseback to chase the animals and rope them it was an inefficient process that too often resulted in injuries extreme stress and exhaustion for the wild horses and also the saddle horse is used by the Wranglers saddle horses always suffer more than the horses they're running when you gather horses horseback you have number riders out which they're all in danger you hook her up saddle horses put stuff on the saddle horses because they're packing all that weight and you don't have the total controller as you have when you gather with a helicopter the helicopter can coast along and let horses go slow more efficient it's safer you don't having many people involved in danger and it's it's just for efficient way to do the job the Bureau of Land Management continues to refine gather methods to improve the health and safety of the wild horses and burros and ensure the humane and caring treatment that these living legends deserve however no matter how careful the BLM is there is a small mortality rate associated with gathering wild horses this rate is usually less than 1% of all horses gathered in a year it includes horses that come off the range in poor to very poor condition these animals may be euthanized if they are diagnosed as unlikely to improve or do not respond to treatment the time of year and even the time of day for gather operations are chosen to provide the most favourable climate conditions extreme care is taken to avoid the separation of foals and mares and to reunite them as quickly as possible if they do become separated the animals are herded at moderate speeds over moderate distances to avoid exhaustion or dehydration the helicopter has become an indispensable tool for conducting necessary gathers with the highest degree of efficiency and humane treatment of the animals but the agency continues to refine the use of this tool commissioning formal studies by others outside the agency such as the National Academy of Sciences every day for allowing us all to come here and speak you striving for full transparency and involvement of the public the agency conducts annual meetings to invite the public to air concerns and suggestions for improving the gathered policy and practices and I also feel that until we have an accurate count we need the round up stop and I understand that if the count is over we need to manage them I have no issue with that emotion must be set aside BLM needs show some leadership and agendas cannot be allowed to set the tone or the direction of the discussion but it's never too late to do the right thing in our opinion and we think now is the time we embrace true reform within the Bureau of Land Management a new transparent and accountable wild horse and burro program that takes its lead from the sincere wishes of the vast majority of American citizens and taxpayers next we travel to some of the range lands where wild horses and burros roam to learn more about how and why some of these animals are gathered from the range I love to see all wildlife I love all animals so I don't want to see horses over grazing and starving out deer I don't want to see the loss of rabbits and elk I want to see that all I want to see it managed nicely across the western United States BLM specialists monitor the range along with animal populations that inhabit them their goal is healthy horses and burros on healthy rangelands let's take a closer look at some of these areas in southwestern Wyoming inventories of wild horses in the Adobe town and Salt Wells herd management areas show a sharp increase in populations from 2009 to 2010 the overpopulation poses a significant threat to wildlife habitat and forage it's just a big chunk of country with a lot of horses and we only have so much habitat available and if we if we allow too many horses to be out there then we aren't going to have the habitat available for the elk and antelope and the deer and the other species that rely on that railroad land grants from the 1800s created a checkerboard pattern of land ownership the lands were divided with alternating sections of private land and federally managed public land the 1971 wild 



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