Monday, January 25, 2010

A Nation Betrayed


This morning I awoke, spring in my step, smelling imaginary petunias and playing a little Snow White voice in my head (I'd have sung aloud, but that would wake the dead, so I kept it to myself.) It was still too early to be up, but what the heck? Couldn't sleep and there is always Face Book to occupy my early hours time. Face Book and the second half of a caramel filled candy bar... No wonder I'm humming like Snow White, eh?

I sat at my computer and began to read through the handful of posts submitted by a few of my 328 closest and most intimate friends. I've never met 287 of them, of course, but they fill a void this early in the morning, what can I say?

It didn't take me long to see a pattern forming, as a few of my friends were posting a particular video called A Nation Betrayed: Saving America's Horses. My little Snow White voice skipped a beat. These headings always make me nervous. Just what sort of story was having a Hollywood spin set on it this time? I really didn't need to ask myself that question...I knew.

Saving America's Horses

I take two issues with this film. First, they've got a Native American spokesperson who implies that he's speaking for all Native Americans when he said the horse was part of them. That would be like believing I spoke for all wild horse advocates. I don't. We all have different views and opinions, because there are a lot of us. There are Native American tribes that are pushing to have slaughter houses opened on their lands...hardly the anti-slaughter message the film is trying to convey.

Second, it would imply that the BLM is hauling horses directly to slaughter, or at the very least that they are selling to known kill buyers and loading horses into slaughter trucks (you'll see images of horses loading into trucks as they're speaking of the BLM.) Again...not true. Are there those within the system that would, given the opportunity? Yes, but it's not their policy, and in fact even the Sale Authority horses which, according to law, are to be sold 'without limitation' have contracts that state the buyer is not purchasing with the intent to sell to slaughter or known kill buyers. Don't believe me? I've filled one out, have you?

Horses off the track have a far greater risk of being hauled directly from their comfy stall after winning a race than a BLM mustang has of seeing the slaughter tuck. The family down on their luck and needing to find a new home for their horse is at greater risk of betrayal than the nation is when it comes to mustangs being hauled to slaughter.

And that, my friends, is the truth, whether you're pro or anti slaughter. No animal should have to be hauled thousands of miles to their end. But nothing gets me riled up faster than half truths and implications intended to lead the witness (that would be you) into believing they're being betrayed through actions that are simply not happening. I have yet to hear anyone able to say, "I witnessed the horses loaded directly from the BLM into a kill buyer truck, hauled across the border to (Mexico/Canada) and the the slaughter house." Give me proof that they are knowingly selling our horses for slaughter, and I'll take it all back.

Now...if we're talking mass euthanasia...well, that's a different story.



Joan said...

Tracey - I couldn't agree more, especially about half-truths and the like. Excellent post, one of the best I've seen from you... Funny how that Snow White voice mixed with some fired up emotions can dole out a great writing like this! You said it so well. :)

GunDiva said...

Did Michael Moore direct it? 'Cause he's the king of half-truths in "documentaries". Excellent post. To bad the uninformed will only have the film as their source of knowledge.

Tracey said...

Glad you liked it, Joan & GunDiva. Tis a fine line to tread when you're asking for help to save the mustangs. I always hate to bring up the slaughter issue...such a hot topic and nothing seems to rile horse people faster.

I certainly don't want to see our horses put onto trucks and hauled to slaughter...that's not at all my intent...I just can't abide by the lies that are being sold.

People will believe what they want to believe, however, and everyone needs an enemy. Right now, the BLM is popular to hate. Ironically, the ranchers hate it, too!

froglander said...

I have always counted on you Tracey to clear through all the muck in the media about wild horses and the BLM. So thank you for this blog post.

One thing I have been wondering about though, is why have been rounding up what seems to be such large numbers of horses in places like Nevada? You can find things said implying they are doing it to zero out herds to open up rangeland for ranchers that have someone's ear in the government. Do you know if there is any truth to things like that?

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Preach is Sistah, Amen. There was an article in our paper yesterday saying all those same things. Bob called me from work and has written a letter to the editor. He said he would bring it home for me to edit before he sends. It. He gets VERY riled up.

Jade said...

froglander, there isn't truth in that. Horses are gathered because they breed and increase their herd sizes by 20% a year. Horses are gathered, because if they aren't they will destroy the land they live on and will starve. It may seem like a lot more are being gathered than normal, because the public (activist) eye has turn on it more. Ranchers have to abide by a strict grazing pattern. They are not allowed to graze if the land can not sustain all life; wild and domestic. HMA's are not going to change. Horse will always be protected on the range land. These fantasict animals are in more danger of neglect by bad adopters and activist interaction than from the BLM. The people I know, in the Wild Horse Program, are dedicated to the horses heart and soul. They are adopters themselves. To say anything degrogitory about them is little and uneducated. I know the BLM field employees try to implement policy on a human level. People need to understand that it isn't the BLM that they are bashing it is the down-to-earth employees that get the grief.

S said...

Tracey, you have a great post here and it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I hear things like half-truths as well. It is unfortunate that most of this is media controlled as they are almost always in the heart of whatever is negative. When one has had personal experiences with the BLM and the people in the corrals, it is hard to know how the rest of the world thinks of them. My dealings have been nothing but pleasant with the staff in Burns and I know they adore those animals. My only consolation for those spreading the half-truths is what goes around comes around and in the end - they will get their come-uppance [if that is a word]. In the meantime, we keep on doing what we do, express our opinion when we are allowed and save one horse at a time.

Shirley said...

I did a post today on the killing of wildies near Sundre, Alberta. There is no doubt and half truths in this story; the men were caught.

Tracey said...

It's nice to have your support, folks. I'm very aware that we're blessed with the Oregon crew; they do a phenomenal job, and there are no doubt some crews who fail to live up to the standard set here. But that's the human element, eh?

Frog, I, too, have heard a lot about zeroing out HMAs and to be honest, I think some of the gathers look to be on the aggressive side. Taking a herd down to 30 from a few hundred cannot be good genetically. I've heard (but have not reseached and asked personally) that cattle grazing has been increased by 300%. This is a problem for me, because if there's not enough for the horses, then there's not enough for three times the cattle, either.'s stuff I don't know first hand. I DO know that the film in the link is attempting to sway the public into believing something that is not true.

photogchic said...

Hey Tracie...haven't heard a thing about this documentary. Is it out yet? Or just a trailer? We definately don't need mistruths out there, but it would be nice to bring more attention to the subject matter. People don't even know we have wild horses in Oregon, let alone the issues surrounding them.

If people want to see horses loaded for slaughter...hang around a racetrack two weeks before the end of will see Canadian Indians walking the rows looking for free, unwanted, or cheap horses. Now that is sad.

Jade said...

Tracey, I know that each herd is tested, after each gather, for genetic viability. The lengths the BLM goes through to make sure the horses are healthy and appealing, as well as making accomidations for "civilization" (cattle, activists, enthusiasts, etc...), is nearly heroic. Cattle only goes up, because the people population goes up and the economy goes down. Cattle people have been doing this for generations. This is their livelyhood, their tradition. They have abide by the rule of the government, economy and activists or they loose everythings. Generations of land, homes, and their meaning of life. I love these horses, but I also love the life of the "old west". The BLM (at least in Southern Oregon) strive hard to keep what has been, what is, and what will be intact and thriving.