For close to a century, horses have been released in the area of what became the U.S. Army’s very extensive warfare training areas in west-central Louisiana: Ft. Polk and Peason Ridge. The free roaming horses have reverted to their wild state, especially through natural selection in their breeding, resulting in offspring that have never known anything other than wild.
There are hundreds of them.
While some in the Army have only tolerated the horses, others have actually enjoyed their presence. One commander even stated that he didn’t want to lose the horses, that for many decades have been an integral part of the environment of the training areas; where they constituted an element of realism, along with their freedom and beauty.
Now, a new commander, Brig. Gen. Timothy McGuire, has approved (if not ordered) the removal of the horses. The Army held a public meeting to discuss a good plan for their disposition on August 13th, 2015. An outcome from the hearing, was that all proposals for humane solutions were to be submitted by Sept 5th, 2015 and a decision would be made just after the first of the year.
Several groups and individuals submitted proposals. However, he has continued to allow a capture program that allows people to take horses off the ranges. Horse Trader “Kill Buyers” (who get horses cheap at sale barns and turn some over to slaughter for lucrative profits) have smelled the “blood and money in the water” and are obtaining horses from the Army training areas for free.
While public relations representatives for the Army are coining the above activities as “adoption”, some of the equines are being advertised by these horse traders as either for sale or trade for other horses, where they disappear and their whereabouts become unknown. They completely fall off the radar for any traceability or accountability whatsoever of the Army or U.S. Forestry.
The welfare of these equines depends on Gen. McGuire to simply stop giving the horses away to just anyone, who uses techniques that are injuring them, and to work with the humane community to assure that these currently exploited horses go to appropriate homes or places that will properly care for them.
Our understanding is that he doesn’t intend to solidify a plan to deal with the horses in an organized way until after the first of next year. A group of us met with him this past Tuesday and he was not receptive nor concerned with the horses at all, saying that the program has “momentum” and he wants to keep it going.
It’s just most unfortunate for the horses that it’s going in the wrong direction – where the horses are being abused in cruel captures, leaving the frantic animals at risk for injury during transportation and an unknown future, including the potential of cruel slaughter (most likely in Mexico).
The lineage of these horses has NEVER officially been determined. (focusing on horses at Peason Ridge, but not excluding horses on base). They have not been recognized as Wild Horses and the opposition used the word “Trespass” in their documents because it served the purpose in defending their agenda to remove the equines.
Many of the free roaming equines are believed to be descendants of thousands farmer’s animals and logging horses that proliferated areas in Kisatchie National Forest prior to and around the turn of the century. Over two hundred of these heritage families were forced to leave the area to make way for Fort Polk in the late 1930’s, and some of their animals used for WWII Cavalry efforts.
The U.S. Forest Service still hasn’t conducted adequate analysis or investigations, including genetic testing. I don’t think it’s fair to base a decision of this magnitude on partial or scant evidence nor flawed interpretation of the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burros Act of 1971.
We still don’t know if some are of Spanish Colonial Horse descent, but very early settlement history in Kisatchie indicates many horses of this type were traded by the Indians and settlers. The FRWH&B Act of 1971 specifically protects progeny of some horses, such as the Spanish Mustang, a strain classified under Spanish Colonial Horse. There should be absolutely no round up if this is still undetermined.
Clearly, U. S. Forestry / Army’s decision is contrary to the congressional intent of the FRWH&B Act. Also, if the Government can’t prove that all wild horses were eliminated from the area, how can they proceed without a proper investigation by an unbiased organization ie DNA etc.. In addition, I find it hard to believe that “ no one had institutional memory” to know if Wild Horses were present in 1971 and thereafter, when Kisatchie’s history lends a large equine presence. I have a contact that is 75 yrs old and remembers horses in Kisatchie when he was a teenager.
Please request a moratorium on removals until a comprehensive, ethical, humane, conservative and executable plan has been developed and disclosed to the public; and that horses either be relocated to another area of Kisatchie National Forest (over 600,000 acres) where they will be free from harm or that they be humanely handled if removed; and that they should only go to long-term adoptive homes or sanctuaries instead of loaded up and removed in trailers, with their whereabouts and destiny unknown.
Most recently we learned of tranquilizing for capture with darts without vet attendance, in the ground snare traps, multiple tight noosed ropes left around abandoned horses’ necks and trailers of horses leaving at night.
Where is the Honor & Integrity in that?
Facebook Page: Our page nearly went viral last week with Post Reach is the 80k range
General Honoré lends his voice… Will you?
Honore’ joins advocates asking for a moratorium on Fort Polk ‘trespass’ horse permits
RT Fitch from WildHorseFreedomFederation.org
Horseback picked up Laura’s article!
Metro Leader Newspaper
KPLC Reports on our #FortPolk / #Kisatchie Horses
BEAUREGUARD DAILY NEWS
KATC (2 different stores)
Please reach out to me if you have any questions.
firstname.lastname@example.org updated 12/4/2015 kcs