KBR Wild Horse and Burro News


Story date: December, 2000


The information below was forwarded to us by H.O.R.S.E. Rescue and Sanctuary. It is based on a report originally published by the Wild Horse and Burro Freedom Alliance, and so far it seems to hold up. Furthermore, I was informed by BLM that they were aware that something was happing in El Rito and that they had not been contacted for processing and placing the horses, which is generally the case when FWS wants gathered horses to be processed for adoption rather than "disposed of" in a more expedient manner. We're not sure what all this means as of yet, but we're following the story, we have official NFS documents headed our way to review, and we will update this feature as more details are known and/or verified.

The following bulletin has been distributed by Mike Dodge of H.O.R.S.E. Rescue and Sanctuary and is reproduced in its entirety.

The following bulletin needs to be circulated among as many people as possible. Please use e-mail, fax machines, letters, and word of mouth to spread the message. Please share your ideas and actions so that we may accomplish our goal of protecting the wild horses of Northern New Mexico.

Attention: Horse Lovers

Help us preserve the 'Last of the Wild Horses' in Northern New Mexico. An action is underway by the district ranger of the El Rito District of the Carson National Forest to irradiate all but 12 or 14 of the wild horse population living within the 54,866 acre La Jarita Mesa Wildhorse territory. We need to educate and bring attention to an important issue taking place in Northern New Mexico at this moment.

A recently discovered herd of wild horses within the Carson National Forest have been positively identified as descendants of the Spanish horses brought to the Americas by Juan de Onate in and around 1598. Blood tests done by the University of Kentucky have verified the 'Spanish Markers' found in some of these horses. These horses are in danger of being removed to the point of extinction through mismanagement by the El Rito Forest Service. It is our belief that this action is in conjunction with a few cattle 'permittees' who want to eliminate these horses to enable them to run more privately owned cattle n the 'legally designated wild horse reserve.

Unless action is taken by the public immediately, the district ranger of the El Rito Ranger District will proceed with his plan to use water traps, feed traps, helicopters, tranquilizers, in order to remove these horses from the wild. These horses would be subject to being destroyed in the most 'humane and cost efficient manner possible'. This is not acceptable!

At question here is the right of these horses to exist in an already designated 'Wildhorse Territory". By the all accounts, the herd of wild horses on the Jarita Mesa Wildhorse Territory may actually number between 40 and 100 horses. These horses share the land with elk, deer, and permitted cattle. The elk and deer are legally hunted.

Unfortunately, there have been numerous stories of people finding horses from this herd shot dead, some left as bear bait. Suspicion falls on the ranchers in the area who believe the land belongs to them. Truth is the land belongs to the American people and the horses have a right to be there.

It is time for the El Rito Ranger District to do their job and protect these animals rather than 'eradicate' them. Why does the District Ranger want to euthanize these horses if he can't find a suitable wild horse territory to remove them to? They are already on a suitable territory legally designated as a 'Wild Horse Reserve. Does this make any sense to you? Only if you are a local cattle rancher who does not want to share the 56,866-acre Wildhorse Territory within Carson National Forest with less then 100 horses (it may be less than 50).

These La Jarita Mustangs represent one more place where the past is kept alive in the present. We should honor these horses as part of our history as the U.S. government intended. This land has been put aside by our government for these wild horses to be free to roam within. At the moment there is a single District ranger who wants to change the fate of these animals by declaring them a danger to the vegetation in the area and professes a need to remove them. Private interest seems be playing a part in his decision. Well, now it is time for some Public Interest.

At present the El Rito District Ranger plans to begin reducing the existing herd of wild and free roaming horses commencing initial capture in 2001. There are alternative ways of dealing with the situation that must be discussed, reviewed, and approved by the people of New Mexico. Please participate. We need your help. In conjunction with the 'Wild Horse and Burro Freedom Alliance' we have requested specific information from District Ranger Kurt L. Winchester pertaining to the relationship between the wild horse herd, the cattle grazing, the vegetation and all existing management plans. There has been no response to date from a June 20th request. The Alliance is a coalition of 16 organizations with a combined membership of over 9 million members dedicated to the preservation of wild, free roaming horses and burros on our public land. We must now take action to prevent this proposed action from beginning in 2001. Beginning with letters and calls to:

    Bruce Babbitt
    Secretary of the Interior
    1849 C Street NW
    Washington, DC 20240
    Please note that an aol address for Mr. Babbitt is circulating in some bulletins. That address is not correct. If you sent a message to any address other than the one listed above, it did not go to Secretary Babbitt.

    Pat Shea, Director
    Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
    Washington, DC 20240
    (202) 208-3801

    Senator Pete Domenici
    120 S. Federal Place #302
    Santa Fe, N.M. 87501
    (505) 346-6791

Please e-mail copies of this to as many people as possible!!!

Chris and Mike Dodge, Founders
H.O.R.S.E. Rescue & Sanctuary

Webmaster's notes.

Carson National Forest has a web page about the El Rito District where the wild horse herd is mentioned. You can find this page by clicking Here.

We should receive original legal documents prepared by the Carson National Forest any day whereupon we will update this web feature.

Also, if anyone has updated information that can be verified, please email me at willis@kbrhorse.net.

This is not a BLM operated or BLM sponsored site. It is run by private wild horse and burro enthusiasts and owners.

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