For nearly a century, horses have roamed the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. A portion of KNF and surrounding area became the U.S. Army’s training area: Ft. Polk.
These free-roaming horses, over years and generations, have reverted to their wild state, especially through their offspring who have never known anything other than wild.
In the past Army has at least tolerated the horses and some have actually enjoyed their presence. Some commanders appreciated them even enjoyed their presence and stated that he didn’t want to lose the horses, which had become an integral part of the environment of the training areas where they constituted an element of realism.
In August 2015, a new commander, Brig. Gen. Timothy P. McGuire, 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.
Part of the outcome from the hearing, was recommendation that the public submit comments & proposals for humane solutions regarding the equine presence in Kisatchie and at Fort Polk. Comments/Proposals were to be submitted by Sept 5th, 2015. It was also implied that the proposals would be reviewed by Army Officials and a plan formed. Once the proposals reviewed the Army implied another public hearing would occur to go over finding and then a decision would be made just after Jan 2016.
Caring individuals made a simple request for the humane, ethical, conservative approach to addressing the equine presence at Fort Polk Military base and Kisatchie national forest as a whole. Although our focus is centered around the welfare of the horses, the safety of civilians and soldiers is paramount. However the gross disregard for the public’s opinion is extremely concerning, as is the attempt to paint caring individuals as activists which has a negative connotation. This is a classic tactic and frankly inappropriate and inflammatory. The horses need a voice focused on their welfare, this is not activism, rather advocacy.
The claim of receiving only 717 comments by the Sept 2nd, 2015 deadline, is questionable at best, given the number of people who have called or emailed the army base along with the petition and support shown via social/news media.
By the end of the comment period in September 2015; over 1200 individuals sent approx 2,736 letters to Congress. Public demand for conservative, humane, ethical treatment of these animals is undeniable and support continues to grow as seen by the steady increase in support today.
There is strong Historical evidence Horses came into the area with the Hernando de Soto Expedition (1539-1543). Free-roaming horses came into the area from various sources including American Indians (1800’s), Heritage Families, and the U.S. Cavalry. Their progeny still roam this area today.
The Commanders at Fort Polk come and go every couple of years. Previous Generals allowed the horses some even fought to preserve them, protecting the sanctity of the land, history and animals. It is grossly unfair that a temporary commander is making a permanent decision on the behalf of future generations. There is a very real possibility that some of the remote herds are of Spanish Mustang decent, and would be Federally protected and should not be managed to extinction. The population management of these horses cannot be a brute attack on their future ability to thrive and exist. Many methods of sterilization have been unsuccessful and even detrimental to the health and existence of these horses. It is vital that this process is done with careful, conservative, scientific consideration. Repair fencing, implement new barriers such as cattle guards, provide sanctuary and/or assistance with relocation for the sum of domesticated horses. These are a few simple steps that could be taken to ensure soldiers’ lives are protected.
Once that is done addressing remain herd population issues will be appropriate.
Choosing to protect both the soldiers and the horses can become a tremendous positive image builder for the military, especially Fort Polk and encompassing parishes. This area of Louisiana is especially rich in national heritage and is known for its love of freedom, love of country and love of kin. The people of Louisiana area are hugely patriotic and supportive of the military. We are also proud of our history and our heritage. These horses are an important part of the history, culture, and heritage of this area.
We implore them to include Specialized Wild Horse Professionals and Equine Advocates to assist Fort Polk in devising and executing an ethical and humane solution to the equine presence in Kisatchie / Fort Polk / Peason Ridge that allows the military, the civilians of the area, and the free horses to peacefully and safely coexist as they have done for the past century.
As concerned citizens our goal is to protect the Wild Horses, in Kisatchie National Forest including herds at Fort Polk, Peason Ridge, etc.. who trace their heritage from 1940’s Camp Polk Cavalry horses and early settlers’ farm horses. We are in awe of their ability to self sustain as a wild herd for more than 75 years.
Our efforts focus on creating a sanctuary for them with responsible herd management and birth control protocols..
PEGA strives for a Win/Win outcome for the Ft Polk Wild Horses and the US Army.
Please be respectful in your dealings with Ft Polk Officials
We do not want any chance of pro-horse slaughter individuals to attempt to profit by gaining access to even one horse from this historic herd to sell to Mexican slaughter plants. They are both irreplaceable and worth so very much more than their price per pound. Although there have been reports of such activity as well as official requests by locally known kill buyers for access to obtain horses
While there have been discussions of potential adoption for a portion of the herd – as guardians we do not endorse this for any horses that have lived wild for the entirety of their lives.
Please submit comments supporting sanctuary and protection of Ft Polk Horses to: email@example.com
These comments and ideas may be part of the record to be addressed in the Environmental Assessment.
#OpCowgirl #OpCowboy #WildHorses #Louisiana #LipizzanerRescue1945
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Please visit our Facebook Page: Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie
There are 2 theoretical groups of horses in Kistachie National Forest:
1) The horses that are seemingly more domesticated. Most likely dumped horses. These horses congregate near the base and the training area.
2) Wild Horses located near Peason Ridge – These horses are a very tight knit herd and Do Not seem to be domesticated at all.
Facebook Page: Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie Our page nearly went viral last week with Post Reach is the 80k range
Catch up on where we are with our struggle to protect these horses here as well as this article which provides detailed info about the Current State of Affairs.
Ret. General Russel Honore’ joins advocates asking for a moratorium on Fort Polk ‘trespass’ horse permits. General Honoré lends his voice… Will you? West Central’s Blast Article with Ret. General Russel Honre
RT Fitch from WildHorseFreedomFederation.org
Laura Leigh of WildHorseEducation.org
Metro Leader Newspaper
KPLC Reports on our #FortPolk / #Kisatchie Horses
BEAUREGUARD DAILY NEWS
KATC (2 different stores)