The Sulphur Stallion is the face of thousands of wild horses who, each year, are rounded up and removed from their homes on the range. The BLM's helicopter stampedes traumatize, injure and sometimes kill these animals, shatter their closely-knit families and forever rob them of their freedom.
Some horses and burros that survive the roundups are adopted or sold for as little as $10 a piece, with untold numbers entering the slaughter pipeline. The vast majority are warehoused for life in government holding facilities where nearly 50,000 wild horses and burros are stockpiled - more than remain free on the range!
Taxpayers fund this program to the tune of $80 million annually. But, what does it say about us as a nation, when our government uses our tax dollars to violently destroy an animal that represents the freedom and untamed beauty that makes America great?
It was not supposed to be this way. In 1971, Congress unanimously declared wild horses and burros as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West" to be "protected from capture, branding, harassment and death." But the law passed to protect these national icons has been turned on its head by the BLM, which has systematically eliminated nearly half the originally designated mustang habitat - only to allow commercial interests to dominate those lands. The biggest threat to wild horses and burros remains the livestock industry, which views these animals as competition for cheap, taxpayer subsidized grazing on our public lands.
Today, we face a choice: continue to spend millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars so helicopters can terrorize wild horses into pens and confine them for life, or we can manage wild horses in the wild using a humane, effective and cheaper birth control vaccine, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.
As we wait for change, the Sulphur Stallion, Grulla Stallion #3907 to the BLM, languishes in his holding pen, awaiting an Apr. 21 Internet auction, when he will be sold for a starting bid of just $25.