Thursday, February 11, 2010
Range runners in captivity
I just returned from the Fallon facility and learned that a mass gelding of mustangs begins on Monday. I haven't transcribed my notes yet but when I asked why the "tours" will end (they will resume on selected Sundays), Susie Stokke, the BLM staffer leading us around said "we have work to do" and verified that they would be gelding about 900 stallions and colts old enough to be weaned.
It's going to be an awful, bloody business and it's made worse by the cage.
I've seen these used to contain horses for vaccinations and freeze branding, but missed the fact that the metal cage can be turned and rotated so the gelding can be performed through the bars.
Stokke verified that every male horse will be gelded. It's standard procedure, she said, like neutering cats, so that there won't be "indiscriminate breeding" by adopted horses.
I'll write more later, and share photos from Mark Terrell, an amazing wild horse photographer who accompanied me, but this issue has a time element, so I've contacted In Defense of Animals and the Cloud Foundation for help. I've also heard from Holly Hazard of the Humane Society of the United States.
If there's any chance that the Calico horses will be preserved as a heritage herd -- and I saw once more the unique characteristics of these horses which made them the model for the fictional Phantom's herd. One smoky dun with dread-locked mane just stole my heart, but then so did a fuzzy bay baby and a majestic Medicine Hat stallion who carried himself like royalty in exile.
If these male horses are all castrated, there's no do-over. The gene pool for the Calico Mountain horses will have been reduced to the few horses BLM left on the range, and though they may be hardy survivors, nothing will ever be the same.
Labels: BLM, Calico Comples, Calico mountains, castration, Fallon corrals, gelding, Holly Hazard, IDA, mustangs, the Cloud Foundation, wild horses
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Terri Farley @ 12:55 PM
I applaud your activism and work for the wild horses. Wish they could all be adopted, but that's unlikely.
Keep up the fight!
Peggy Hetlage, Clayton, CA
Thanks for the pat on the back.
Truly, I hope a huge group of these Calico Mountain horses are repatriated. They belong on the range, not in corrals.
Having been on that range in the last few weeks, I know the damage is almost exclusively man caused. The horses are just in the way of greed.
Can't wait to do another book event in Clayton :)
Thanks for reading,
This is absolutely terrible. Keep fighting for those who can't fight for themselves.
It makes me depressed to think of all that they are going through.
I also give you a pat on the back, Mrs. Farley. You do realize what you are doing could save our mustangs. We all really appreciate you!
Lots of Love