The horses of Nevada's Virginia Range, the
largest free-roaming herd left in the country, does not benefit from
federal protection. They
rely primarily on the work performed by a consortium of allied non-profit
horse groups for their protection and the placement of horses that are
removed from the range. They are often described by the locals
as "The Forgotten Herd."
Recently a couple of significant and potentially tragic events have occurred
involving these horses that have challenged the allied groups. Here
is what has occurred, what we're doing about it and how you can help.
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" The Forgotten Herd"
With all the public concern about America's wild horses and the Bureau
of Land Management (BLM,) the herd that actually started the wild horse
protection movement, Nevada's Virginia Range horses, has largely been
In 1950 Velma "Wild Horse Annie" Johnston, a diminutive Reno
secretary and dude ranch owner who had been compromised by polio, became
incensed when she followed an overcrowded truck full of Virginia Range
horses that was dripping blood onto the highway. Johnston's ultimate
achievement was the Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971,
unanimously passed by Congress and signed into law by President Nixon. However,
this federal law did not apply to the very herd of horses that first
caught Johnston's attention as they ranged on private and state lands,
not on federally designated herd areas.
The Virginia Range horses became the responsibility
of the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA.) Under current policies, NDA offers horses
that they remove from the range to qualified non-profit "cooperators" where
they can be placed in sanctuary or with qualified adopters. However,
under state law if the horses are not placed, NDA is required to sell
or otherwise dispose of horses that are not placed with cooperators. Thus
the allied nonprofit groups are often busy taking in and placing horses
if they can.
Two recent events have challenged the allies. NDA had removed
19 horses (three family bands) that were currently in the state corrals,
and the allies discovered that an established Nevada sanctuary, the
Nevada B Mustang Sanctuary, had made plans to ship all of its horses
to a livestock auction in Mira Loma, CA, that based on multiple reports
was frequented by "kill buyers." Several of the groups
(including Let 'Em Run) had placed horses with Nevada B. The
groups had a duty to both the horses and their contributors who expected
those groups to exercise due diligence to protect the horses. They
went to court, obtained a temporary restraining order, and the Judge
facilitated the allied groups' buyback of their horses as well as purchase
of all of the others that were at risk, a total of 54 horses. At
the same time the groups were still working to take in the 19 horses
standing in the state corrals.
These efforts have been very challenging and are naturally producing
significant unanticipated expenses. Ojai based Wildhorses in
Need purchased the Nevada B horses and covered various start-up expenses. Let
'Em Run is collecting donations to cover pasture rent, hay and various
logistic expenses. The Nevada B horses are presently in a large
pasture with rolling hills, tree cover and year-round natural water. Some
of the older horses will need to stay in permanent sanctuary pasture. The
younger horses will be evaluated for potential adoption.
The horses in the state corrals are still awaiting the allies removing
them to safety. The groups are presently working on those issues.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
* You can make a contribution to cover these horses' expenses.
* You can help us locate appropriate permanent sanctuaries for
the horses that need to go to sanctuaries.
* You can adopt a horse and provide a permanent home.
* You can help spread the word among people who may be willing to donate,
provide sanctuary space or adopt a horse.
Undoubtedly there will be additional horses being brought in during 2015 that
will need to be taken in by the allied groups. Helping get these present
activities on-track will help preserve the groups' abilities to deal humanely
with future horse issues.
Lacy and Dale Poune sing "Ode to Slaughterhouse
Sue and the Butcherin' Crew"
A visit with Shirley Allen
at LRTC's Orphan Foal Project. Call (775) 246-7636 for more information.
'EM RUN FOUNDATION is a nonprofit organization in partnership
with government, business and community, committed to the protection
of wild horses and the heritage of the American West.
take a moment and view the exciting poster and print created for
the Marathon De Mayo in Reno a number of years ago by the talented
Bonnie Adams and Kenneth Freeman. Also on view is the incredible
very talented Diana Wyles of Oroville, CA. These items are being
made available on
a limited edition basis. Please view them here.
feel free to contact us should
you have any questions about our site.