Wild Horse Advocacy

As many of may know the Tentative Removal Schedule regarding wild horses has recently been shared and reposted on facebook. Each time it is reposted it causes a flurry of comments anywhere from: “How can we help?” to “OMG! NOTHING CAN BE DONE!!!” (I may or may not be over exaggerating a bit.)  Now, in my opinion, panicking or complaining doesn’t help I thought I’d compile a list of things advocates can do to help our wild horses.

The first thing that people could do is donate to a respected organization that is known to advocate for wild horses. There are a lot to choose from, so I would encourage people to do their own research to find one that follows all the values they support before donating. There’s also bonus that one can donate as many or as much as they would like and they know the money will go to good use.

Another thing for people can do is telling their friends. A lot of people in the Midwest either don’t know wild horses still exist, or think they are an invasive species. Even in states that have wild horses people seem unaware about how the horses are managed. People really enjoy hearing stories, so providing anecdotes are often useful to help humanize the horses’ so there’s context if people are interested in hearing about statistics.

Of course, stories are only helpful for those who have them, so another thing people can do is visit wild horse ranges. Which is easier said than done sometimes, so maybe I should have written visit a wild horse. This could mean visiting a holding facility, sanctuary, or maybe someone you know adopted a wild horse. Even if one is still unable to visit a wild horse themselves there have plenty of people who have. Even just sharing a blog of someone who has visited a wild horse can help people become more aware of them.

Another thing people can do is contact those in government. It’s recommended for people to contact their State’s representatives, but people can also look up the various people at the BLM if they would like to contact them too. I can’t guarantee the politicians will respond back or listen, but there are some techniques people can use to help make the issue easier to understand. The first one is keep the language simple. Not because politicians only understand simple language, but simple language takes the least amount of time to read. The second tip is for people to keep it short. I’d imagine politicians hear from a lot of people each day, so they’re more likely to read and retain something that is to the point than something that isn’t. Lastly, use more than one way of contacting politicians. Letters and email are great ways, but sometimes phone calls can be more meaningful too.

As you can see there are several ways to help wild horses. There’s also no one way that’s best to help either. If someone only has time to do one of those things it doesn’t make any less of a wild horse advocate than someone else. There’s a lot of flexibility for people to help as little or as much as they would like.

There are a couple of things, however, that wild horse advocates shouldn’t do. One is to not sign petitions. I know it seems like a convenient way to give the BLM feedback, but quality, not quantity matter and the BLM doesn’t count each individual signature on the petition, they only count the petition as one document. Also, if several people make the same response it makes it look like advocates don’t care enough to do their own research and form their own response.

Another thing to keep in mind when communicating with the BLM is try not to be subjective. A lot of wild horse advocates are passionate people, so easier said than done, but in my opinion it has a bit to do with the golden rule. It’s tempting to accuse the BLM about the way some Field Offices wild horses, but then the BLM might get defensive. Then, neither party has an enjoyable conversation and the BLM may not be as inclined to work with you in the future. However, if each party shows mutual respect by agreeing to disagree as necessary than it will be a more pleasant conversation and the BLM might be willing to move forward in away that is better for the horses. Similarly, if a wild horse advocate is negative around other advocates it becomes discouraging and makes it harder for people to feel motivated.

Sometimes people will do all those things and expect big change, but don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen. After all, the horses belong to the entire American public, not just the politicians or the BLM. Which means that the American Public has the power to elect people who care about the horses. The more people who know about the horses and become wild horse advocates the more chance wild horse advocates will be elected. So, arguably it’s the little things that count. Even if things seem discouraging on a big scale each person who knows more about wild horses will mean a lot in the long run. Like I said there are lots of things people can do, and I probably missed so feel free to add anything in the comments.

Normally I try to incorporate fitting photos into my posts, but considering how long this post has been sitting in my "drafts" folder here's a pretty picture instead. (Pryor Mountain HMA, May 2013)

Normally I try to incorporate fitting photos into my posts, but considering how long this post has been sitting in my “drafts” folder here’s a pretty picture instead. (Pryor Mountain HMA, May 2013)

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3 Comments »

  1. Abbie Said:

    Great idea for a blog post 🙂 would you be able to point me in the direction of the most recent removal schedule?


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