I was reading a story in the Washington Post this morning about the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the crisis facing their management (or containment, anyway) of feral horses in the western states. I'm trying to understand this important issue facing horse welfare in our country.
The government has threatened that euthanasia is the Final Solution to the crisis in their pens out west.
About a third of the way through the story, I was sure I was dreaming when I read that horse-lover Madeleine Pickens, wife of bazillionaire energy-evangelist and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens, was planning to take all those wild horses off the BLM's hands. The Post reported that she is shopping for a suitable real estate package for the horses.
Ms. Pickens was a vocal opponent of horse slaughter in the state of Texas and helped to close the plant outside Dallas. After Hurricane Katrina, the Pickens took matters into their own hands to rescue animals and people, donating $7 million and circumventing FEMA with a Continental Airlines airlift of 800 pets out of the disaster zone.
The problem that motivated Ms. Pickens, who also owns racehorses such as the now-retired star Rock Hard Ten, is a law that allows the BLM to euthanize a horse that is older than 10 and has failed to be adopted after three tries.
Organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are promoting contraceptive intervention as a possible aid in stabilizing the increasing wild horse population. Watch this blog for more details on the HSUS work in this area, as well as the Pickens Plan.