| News |

Wild horse roundups: Funding cut renews cries to end "taxpayer-funded animal abuse" (VIDEO)

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

It's been a good week for mustang lovers. Not only did the Bureau of Land Management, in the wake of lawsuits, back off a plan to round up the entire West Douglas herd of wild horses in northwest Colorado, but the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut $2 million from BLM's budget to express its displeasure with the BLM's management of the horse program.

But that act of fiscal chastisement still falls short of the kind of Congressional action mustang advocates would like to see. The BLM maintains that the herds are overpopulated and will starve if not thinned, but critics say the government is managing the horses into extinction and kowtowing to grazing interests. The roundups, they contend, are cruel and unnecessary -- and damned expensive, since the horses are then moved to holding pens and private pastures operated by private contractors.

"Bad has become the norm at BLM," says Ginger Kathrens, director of The Cloud Foundation in Colorado Springs. "We ask that Congress defund the roundups now and rein in BLM before any further suffering occurs at taxpayer expense."

Kathrens, a documentary filmmaker who's been tracking wild horse herds for decades, has sent lawmakers a five-minute video focusing on the dubious tactics involved in recent "gathers." Warning: the video, which can be seen below, contains scenes of helicopters chasing exhausted animals, frightened horses being dumped clumsily into cages and panicking in tight pens, what appears to be some random pummeling of a helpless burro -- and, yes, cattle prods in use.

Horse advocates have proposed a range of alternatives to the roundups, including the use of contraceptives and selective breeding, to reduce herds where needed.

More from our News archive: "Wild horses in Colorado: ASPCA, other groups file suit to block roundups of two herds."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.