Each morning, dawn touches fewer wild horses on America's Western range lands. Roundups by the Bureau of Land Management clear the way for a tsunami of industrialization. Senate confirmation of Interior Secretary-designate, Rep. Ryan Zinke, advocates looser environmental regulations for extractive industries. He proposed legislation to open horse slaughter plants in the West.
Nevadans Velma "Wild Horse Annie" Johnston and Carrol Able spend their lives fighting for America's wild horses. It seemed like a good time to give them their say, again.
July 20, 2011
I sat down with Wild Horse Annie
today. We had quite the conversation. I complained of how convoluted her law
had become, how it was now a life sentence for the very animals it was intended
to protect. She listened quietly, never uttering a word. “We really need your
help.” I told her. She offered no reply.
The grass surrounding us was cool damp; refreshing, the day warm and clear. I closed my eyes and imagined a
band of wild horses grazing peacefully nearby. How fitting it would have been.
But alas! Imaginings are nothing more than imaginings. There were no wild
horses and Wild Horse Annie was not going to answer.
Beside me was a small and unassuming
grave marker. In that, it was much like the woman buried there. Beneath the
name Velma B. Johnston, Wild Horse Annie and the dates March 5, 1912 - June 27,
1977 are three mustangs, running wild and free. As I ran my fingers across the
relief and looked closer at the image, I realized there was something
unexpectedly ominous portrayed there.
The running mustang trio has reached
the edge of a dangerous precipice with no choice left but to jump. The last of
the three is rearing and looking over his shoulder as if deciding whether to
fight or flee. Tears started flowing when I put the scene in the context of the
battle we’re waging today.
I started sobbing like a crazy fool and blurted out,
“Help me! I don’t know what else to do.”
It was then that a voice came to me,
a gentle but strong whisper in my ear.
MustangMedia 101 by Terri Farley: Whose Home on the Range?
horses can't speak their own stories. Once, that didn't matter, but now wild horses suffer and die at human hands.
We take their food, water and homes. A few people want wild horses taken off public lands so corporations can earn
money from the land's minerals, oil and grazing. But most people love wildlife and wild places. They're learning to
stand up for wildlife because the Western public lands belong to all Americans! Our hearts lift at their rough power
mustangs inspires me to tell their stories as well as I can, before they're extinct.
MustangMedia 101 by Terri Farley is my attempt to explain modern challenges facing