Mustangs freely living on the hills and plains in the south western United States may be rapidly galloping into extinction. According to the Wild Horse and Burro Freedom Alliance, there are less than 35,000 wild horses on our public land today, and if Congress has its way, they will be sold and slaughtered for profit starting this year.

The information on the Save Wild Horses website reads: “In 1971, a public outcry of an unprecedented magnitude for a non-war issue led to the adoption of the Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act, which recognized the intrinsic value of wild horses to our national heritage and ecosystem.” The Act was meant to protect our wild horses and offer them a permanent home on the American landscape. Now this law has now almost been overturned, without much of a hearing.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the government agency mandated to protect wild horses and burros. Their website states: “In the FY2005 Department of Interior Appropriations Bill, Congress included language amending the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to require the sale of certain wild, free-roaming horses and burros. The horses and burros covered by this amendment are defined as animals that are more than 10 years old or that have been offered unsuccessfully for adoption three times. The amendment became law when President Bush signed the appropriations bill on December 6, 2004.”

A new Bill in Congress gives the BLM the right to allow the sale of wild horses for “processing into commercial products.” What’s that mean, glue? Or dog food? In Nevada, wild horses that stray outside of their “boundaries” are sold at auction “usually going to meat dealers for human consumption.” These horses were unnecessarily removed from their rightful range due to pressure from special interest groups who run private commercial operations on our public lands such as oil companies and cattle ranchers.

We’ve got the oil companies to thank again for the endangerment of animals in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Congress is planning to open the refuge to oil companies to exploit, disturbing the ecosystem and risking inevitable spills. The Arctic Refuge is a 19 million-acre home to caribou, three species of bears (polar, black and grizzly), dall sheep, muskoxen, wolves, arctic and red foxes, wolverines, and millions of migratory birds. Marine mammals live nearby in costal waters, including the endangered bowhead whale.

The website states: “According to United Nations scientists, up to 80 percent of the Arctic will be affected by mining, oil and gas exploration, ports, roads and other developments by 2050 if the industrialization of one of the world’s last wilderness areas continues at current rates. They warn in a newly released report that the Arctic’s rich and abundant wildlife will suffer with birds and larger mammals such as reindeer, caribou, polar bears, wolves and brown bears at greatest risk. It concludes that 40 percent of the region’s wildlife and ecosystems will be critically disturbed by 2050 if growth occurs at half or 50 percent of levels seen since the period 1940 to 1990.”

Write your congressional representative with your concerns about the potential danger to animals caused by their thoughtless actions.

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