Responses from America...
The following letter is in response to the article "Law allows slaughter of West's wild horses--Tribes say most of herd in Arizona is safe with them" which appeared in The Arizona Republic, Apr. 13, 2005
from Kimberly Meagher
President, Wildhorse Ranch Rescue
We were interviewed by you regarding the Gila River round ups. We have several horses from their round up last year, where many foals died and mares were auctioned in groups so that the average person could not purchase them. We spent thousands of dollars to save the babies that they purposely orphaned during the round up, as did many other people who purchased them. One of our babies died and we heard from several other purchasers that their foals died as well.
These foals were separated when some were just days old and put in a holding pen at PLA for 3 days with hay and water. Foals at that age must have mare's milk or a milk replacement. If this is not cruel, please tell me what is. Many people begged the community and the PLA staff to allow them to help nurse the babies and all were turned down. There were even dead babies in the parking lot of the auction when they were unloaded from the round up at Gila River.
We know that Gila River rounded up last year, not 7 years ago, as they claim.
We were sad to see your article paint such a romantic view of what is actually happening to some of our wild herds in Arizona. The public has the right to know what is really going on during these round ups. Gila River needs to be honest about what they are really doing to thin their herds. This particular statement cuts the deepest "The tribe considers the horses culturally significant and wants to use its resources to protect them, said Montague, a member of the Pima tribe." We have tried, unsuccessfully, to meet with GRIC to talk about better/kinder ways to manage their herd....the wild horse, that they claim is culturally significant to them. They will not meet with us. We have email documentation of this.
Other tribes have wonderful programs to maintain healthy herds...GRIC just rounds them up and runs them through Pacific Live Stock Auction in Chandler AZ. Records at PLA will show that they did a round up last June...not 7 years ago.
We honestly do not understand how the Gila River community and Pacific Live Stock Auction continue to get away with this activity and the public is not made aware of it. Even the Sheriff's office in Maricopa County is aware of the abuse and deaths that continue to occur but they have no jurisdiction on Indian Land. The public needs to know what Wildhorse Pass is really all about so they can intelligently decide if they want to patronize the Casino and facilities at Wild Horse Pass.
Regards, Kim Meagher