Wallis: Executive Director, United Organizations of the Horse
Duquette: Executive Director, United Horsemen's Front 541-571-7588
Katherine Minthorn Good Luck: Tribal Horse Coalition 406-670-7566
Tribes join UOH in call for restoration of humane and regulated horse processing in the United States
WY-Free-roaming horses have been a part of the landscape in the West since the
Spanish brought the species to what is now the United States. However, because the rangeland areas where
these animals now roam are home to almost no apex predators and no viable
market exists for selling them, the horse population has skyrocketed.
Feral horses-and unwanted domestic horses
being dumped in the country due to the economic meltdown-are now destroying
rangeland forage needed to feed livestock and wildlife and to retain soil in
place. They are also eating special
plants of spiritual and nutritional significance to the local tribes. Runoff is dumping topsoil into streams,
leading to degradation of the aquatic habitat for salmon and steelhead. Forage consumption by feral horses is also
threatening the survival of our other traditional foods, such as deer, elk,
bighorn sheep, and sage grouse. Something
must be done to reduce the number of wild horses grazing in the West, and fast.
The Bureau of Land Management of wild horses on federal lands, and the necessity of controlling the overpopulation in designated Horse Management Areas is only one small part of a much larger problem that includes federal lands outside of Horse Management Areas, tribal lands, state lands, and private lands. For instance, the resident adult horse population in the three-State area of tribal lands only in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho is above
20,000 animals, and the annual foal crop raises that number by 20 percent every
The closure of horse-processing facilities in Texas and Illinois has had a far-reaching effect on
the horse industry throughout the country.
Without the slaughter option, the horse market has been flooded, the
prices for all horses have dropped dramatically, and the livelihood of horse
ranchers-tribal and otherwise-has been severely jeopardized. A collateral economic effect of the glut of
horses is the devastating impact their populations are making on the
environment. Forage depredation is only
part of the picture. Plants important in
tribal spiritual practices and medicine are being destroyed. Vegetation needed for big and small game has
disappeared. Streams important to sport
and Indian subsistence fisheries are degraded by silty topsoil rolling off
Katherine Minthorn Good Luck, spokesperson for the Northwest Tribal Horse Coalition, noting that a historic meeting of tribes from across the Nation was held in Fort Hall, Idaho last year, and that as a result strong policy resolution have now been passed by the National Congress of American Indians. "The tribes stand shoulder to shoulder with the United Organizations of the Horse to call for the return of humane and regulated processing of horses in the U.S.," says Good Luck," and for the ability to manage feral horses in a sensible way that will actually protect our precious lands, maintain our sacred horses at sustainable levels, and provide much needed jobs for our depressed economy."
information, visit www.UnitedOrgsoftheHorse.org and