For Immediate Release
Icon of Freedom—Wild Black Stallion Escapes BLM Capture
Winnemucca, NV (January 6, 2010)—Today the Cloud Foundation honors the Calico wild stallion, named “Freedom” —an inspiration to mustang roundup protestors worldwide. On January 2nd Freedom escaped Bureau of Land Management (BLM capture) by fighting his way out of the roundup corrals, jumping a six-foot fence, and smashing through a barbed wire fence to run fee again in the wild. A storm of protests is growing following on the heels of Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago and Ketchum Idaho last week with more planned in Los Angeles and Lexington today, Denver and Albany, NY on Thursday, Boston on Friday and Las Vegas on Sunday. Protests in New York City, London, Santa Barbara, Toronto and Rome are being planned.
Still photos and the corresponding report from Elyse Gardner, humane observer, with ecologist Craig Downer document Freedom’s capture as well as his escape and are available on line. Link here
“This was an awe-inspiring, do-or-die effort demonstrating the wild horse’s loathing of captivity and his primal need for freedom,” said Craig Downer, Nevada Wildlife Ecologist.
"This wild stallion's defiance calls us to back him up by telling Congress we refuse to have such actions done in our names,” says Terri Farley, celebrated children’s author of the Phantom Stallion series. "Congress must attach strings to BLM's budget so that the Bureau is forced to cowboy up and admit our remaining mustangs are not responsible for the damage to the range."
The Cloud Foundation with 190 other organizations, celebrities and scientists joined by thousands of members of the public from coast-to-coast have called on the President to stop this high-jacking of our American mustangs by a rogue government agency.
“Freedom’s escape has rallied horse advocates across the globe,” says Lise Stampfli Torme, a San Francisco Bay Area Mustang backer adding, “His example is a lesson in values. Just as Freedom has boldly fought for liberty, we will continue to fight the BLM’s outrageous and inhumane roundups as well as their broken range management system that favors ranchers and other commercial interests, placing them above the law and the will of the American people. This must stop. The People's horses must remain wild and free.”
Despite their federally protected status on legally designated ranges, and an Act of Congress that states the lands on which they roam should be managed “principally” for their use, the Bureau of Land Management is continuing the roundup in Calico. The agency expects to remove more than 2,500 wild horses from Nevada’s last wild horse stronghold—the Calico Mountains.
Wild horse advocates assert that BLM is rushing to roundup 12,000 wild horses and burros based on faulty census figures and what may be a deal made with the builders of a massive natural gas pipeline project—the Ruby Pipeline
. Even BLM personnel have said that the Calico wild horses are not impacting the range as expected, despite their numbers exceeding what they (BLM) term “appropriate management levels.“ Cloud Foundation and other mustang and burro advocates dispute the BLM horse levels citing an internal system that is deeply flawed, arbitrary and indiscriminately applied without benefit of proper environmental review. (Full report and link to testimony online here
“The BLM is spending more than $30 million dollars to quickly eradicate an irreplaceable piece of American living history. I ask myself, what’s the rush? Is it only pressure from ranchers? Does the BLM fear the ROAM Act will pass? Is it to clear the land for the Ruby Pipeline project, or is it something else?” asks Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation.
President Obama continues to stonewall on the issue, with only a “no comment” from his spokesperson following months of requests from the American public for his intervention.
Links of interest:
Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit. America’s Disappearing Wild Horses
Frequently Asked Questions on Wild Horses
Ruby Pipeline Information
Stampede to Oblivion: An Investigate Report from Las Vegas Now (http://www.lasvegasnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=11285225)
Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist: interview Nevada roundup (http://vimeo.com/7135462)
Crunching Calico- An American Herds Report
Updated 2009-2010 Roundup Schedule
Unified Moratorium letter and signatories
Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971
Photos, video and interviews available from:
The Cloud Foundation