"This new partnership is an example of how the public sector and private industry can work together to help provide for long-term care of these animals, while sustaining the health and productivity of America's public lands," said U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
Wild Horse and Burro Sales Resumed
The BLM is resuming its sales of wild horses and burros affected by a new Federal law after revising its bill of sale and pre-sale negotiation procedures to strengthen the agency's efforts in finding good homes for the animals that must be sold, said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke. In addition, Clarke said the Bureau is working to persuade all three U.S. horse processing plants to refuse to buy any BLM freeze-branded horses sold under the new law. Today's action ends the BLM's temporary suspension of sales, which took effect April 25 in response to two incidents involving the commercial processing of horses that had been re-sold or traded after being bought from the BLM.
"Our agency is committed to the well-being of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range," Clarke said. "With this support from Ford and Take Pride in America, the BLM will be able to carry out the will of Congress while finding good homes for wild horses and burros, which are a treasured symbol of the Western spirit and an icon of American freedom."
Save the Mustangs Fund
To help provide a means for the public to contribute to the ongoing care of wild mustangs in their new habitats, Ford has established the Save the Mustangs fund. Wild horse lovers can learn more about the issue and can help support the cause by visiting www.savethemustangs.org. Contributions to the Save the Mustangs fund will be managed by Take Pride in America and are tax-deductible.
Preserving a Legend
After learning that thousands of wild mustangs were in jeopardy, Ford Motor Company approached the BLM to explore potential ways to provide support for the animal that has served as an inspiration for the company for decades. While working with BLM on a broader plan to provide safeguards for the wild mustangs' continued protection, Ford interceded at the agency's urgent request on April 25 to prevent the slaughter of dozens of wild mustangs. The horses were no longer in the control of the BLM as they had been re-sold and sent to a processing facility for slaughter. Ford purchased the 52 horses and donated them to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary outside Hot Springs, S.D.
The initiatives announced today will help ensure that larger numbers of wild mustangs are relocated to good homes, primarily at non-profit sanctuaries and Native American reservations.
"The Humane Society of the United States applauds Ford Motor Company for being part of the solution, working for humane and sensible treatment of America's majestic wild horses," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. "These symbols of the American west deserve America's ingenuity and drive, and it seems in Ford, they're getting just that. We can do better, as a country, than to allow their destruction and demise."
An American Icon in Jeopardy
Nearly 32,000 wild horses and burros roam public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in 10 Western states. These wild animals have virtually no natural predators, and their herd sizes can double about every five years. To maintain populations in balance with their habitat, the BLM removes excess animals from the rangelands every year. The BLM places thousands of wild horses and burros into private ownership through adoption each year. Approximately 22,500 Mustangs that have been removed from the rangelands are currently in federal holding facilities.
The BLM was directed to sell more than 8,000 wild mustangs as a result of a bill passed by Congress in December 2004. This legislation requires the BLM to sell gathered wild horses and burros that are more than 10 years old or have been offered unsuccessfully for adoption at least three times.
The wild mustang, the symbol of the legendary Ford Mustang sports car, has had a unique place in Ford Motor Company lore. Although the original Mustang concept car was named for the American P-51 Mustang fighter plane, the production Ford Mustang was introduced with great fanfare in April 1964 proudly wearing the wild horse insignia.
"The Ford Mustang is America's iconic sports car and takes its inspiration from the wild mustang, a true icon of American freedom," said Bill Ford.
The Save the Mustangs fund will feature a new but familiar symbol - the Ford Mustang's wild horse insignia with a ribbon draped around its neck.
(May 19, 2005)