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     Wild horses still roam free in some parts of the United States.  However, they are being pushed off the land they need to survive because cattle ranchers want the grass to fatten up their cattle and they have convinced the government to round up many of the horses and auction them off.  More than 90,000 wild horses have been rounded up since 1973!  Many of these end up being killed for dog food.

     On an island off the coast of Virginia, wild horses are chased across a river in the middle of summer every year and their babies are sold to anyone who will pay for them.  Many aren’t even old enough to be away from their mothers and the people who buy them don’t often know how to take care of them.

     You can write to your congressperson (United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20510) asking them that no more money be given to the Bureau of Land Management for wild horse roundups.  Tell your representative that you don’t want ranchers kicking wild horses and other animals out of their home ranges.  Explain that the land where the horses are being rounded up is public property belonging to all of us, and that the lives of horses are more important than lifeless hamburgers.

     You can also help by writing a letter of protest to the Refuge Manager, Chincoteague, NWR, P. O. Box 62, Chincoteague, VA 23336.  Here’s a sample of what you could write:

Dear Refuge Manager,

     I just learned about the wild pony roundup.  I am writing to ask you to stop catching these frightened ponies and auctioning them off to whoever comes along.  I love horses, but would never buy one who was taken away from her mother and sold against her will.

     I am also upset about how the ponies are forced to swim across the channel from Assateague Island.  I think this is mean and could hurt the horses.   The horses should be allowed their freedom.

     Please stop the roundup and auction, and please don’t write back and tell me it’s okay, because it isn’t.


[your name]

     Help stop horse and buggy rides.  Tell people about how these horses can pound the pavement all day long in the summer heat, pulling buggies full of people through heavy traffic.  If carriage-horse rides are offered in your town, write a letter of protest to the mayor or call the mayor’s office.  (Go to your local library for the mayor’s name and address).  If you live in New York City – you can e-mail the City Council President by clicking here.  Tell him you want carriage horse reform now so that these horses are better protected.

     Avoid riding stables.  It can’t be fun for the horses to have a different stranger on their back every hour of the day, especially when many of them don’t know how to ride gently and yank on the reins, pull the bit in your mouth and kick you in the ribs.

     Don’t go to horse races.  They can be exciting for people, but miserable for horses.  When horses get injured or their feet hurt, sometimes people give them drugs to numb the pain but make them keep racing.  This makes their injuries even worse.

     Write for information or join the Hooved Animal Humane Society (HAHS), P.O. Box 400, Woodstock, IL 60098.  This group rescues abused and neglected horses and nurses them back to health in a sanctuary until they can be adopted into good homes.  They also have investigators that look into cruelty complaints.  The Indiana Hooved Animal Humane Society, P. O. Box 500, Morocco, IN 47963 does many of the same things.  You can also send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Black Beauty Ranch, P. O. Box 367, Murchison, TX 75778 for more information about the work they do in saving horses.

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