by Fran Jurga | 9 September 2009 | The Jurga Report at Equisearch.com
The drama unfolding in the high plains of Wyoming has been between wild horse activists and Bureau of Land Management policy makers, as horses have been rounded up, including the famed "Cloud Herd". In spite of an inspired effort by activists to block the plans in court, the roundup proceeded over the past week, with stallions, mares and even tiny foals being herded by helicopter from their mountain pastures down into holding pens.
But the real drama may lie ahead. While it is heartwarming to see all the emails, blog posts and Tweets calling people to action to save Cloud, the real crux of the matter comes on September 26, which is national adoption day. The equation doesn't always make sense, but in the BLM way of doing the math, the adoptability of these horses is critical to the program.
Did all the publicity over the roundup help or hurt the chances of these horses finding homes?
Certainly the Pryor Mountain horses are one of the most beloved of wild horse bands in the United States, in large part thanks to publicity from Cloud's story and their status as descendants of Spanish colonial stock. Just as certainly, no one outside the BLM will ever know what role public pressure played in stopping the roundup at this particular point, since it was winding down anyway, so activists can't quite claim a victory.
This afternoon, horses are galloping back toward their hills, although many mares were apparently treated with PZP as a pregnancy deterrent. Certain horses stayed behind at the holding station and are slated for adoption.
The Cloud Foundation has done an exemplary job of keeping the public informed of their efforts to stop the roundup and, once it started, to observe it and report on the condition of the horses. The contrast between their detailed blog posts and heart-wrenching photos and videos--often updated several times per day--and the BLM's carefully worded official documents is classic.
This complex issue will be off the message boards and Tweetstreams in a few days but it is far from over.
If you really care, click a little deeper:
Click here for the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center web site.
Click here for the Cloud Foundation's blog with updates, photos and video, including information about specific bands and stallions and which ones have been split up.
Click here for the BLM's information page on the Pryor Mountain roundup.
And, what are you doing September 26? It's National Wild Horse Adoption Day. That's the day to make noise about wild horses, whether you are in favor of adoption or against it. If you feel that these horses truly belong in the wild, you'll have to find a way to keep them in the news.