Wild horse advocates protesting Nevada roundup
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Wild horse advocates held placards and waved down motorists Sunday to protest a federal roundup of mustangs from private and public lands in Nevada.
The hastily scheduled event drew more than 30 protesters at an entrance to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, said Makendra Silverman of the Cloud Foundation, which takes the name of a wild horse featured on PBS documentaries.
Another group, California-based In Defense of Animals, scheduled a demonstration Wednesday outside the San Francisco office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Feinstein is seen as a powerful senator who would be in sympathy with protesters’ calls for a moratorium on wild horse roundups, Silverman said.
Yet another protest was being hastily planned for Wednesday in Chicago, where the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation has supporters, she said. The Cloud Foundation was named after a striking pale palomino that roams Pryor Mountain along the Montana-Wyoming border.
Sheryl Crow and other wild-horse advocates on Thursday called on President Barack Obama to block the major roundup of mustangs set to begin Monday in Nevada. They haven’t gotten a response from the White House, Silverman said late Sunday.
“We are standing up as Americans who value the wild horses and burros on our public lands,” Silverman said.
Critics don’t like that the roundup will be partly on private land, where they won’t be able to monitor it.
BLM officials have said they plan to place the 2,500 horses for adoption or send them to long-term holding facilities in the Midwest.
They say the population in the five Calico herd management areas is three times what the range can handle, and that the roundup is needed to protect the horses, native wildlife and the range itself.
Bob Depauli, whose family has been ranching in Nevada for four generations, said he’s happy to see some of the wild horses leave federal land where he runs cattle.
“Overpopulation of horses impacts everything: cows, wildlife, the horses themselves, everything. If this continues, we’ll all be in a mess,” he said.
Depauli said he moves his 300 head of cattle around so they don’t ruin the rangeland.
“Horses stay in the same areas 24, seven, 365 days a year. Right now, we’ve got four to five times the number of wild horses that the land can support,” he said.
Activist Terri Farley, author of the popular “Phantom Stallion” series of children’s books, said she would monitor the Calico horses brought to a temporary holding facility at Palomino Valley, north of Reno, to ensure their health.