by Robert Bell
Out west, herds of wild horses that are supposed to be protected by the Bureau of Land Management are sometimes rounded up and sent to Mexico for slaughter, their meat shipped overseas, to places where the consumption of horse is considered acceptable.
I know this will shock you, but it turns out BLM has a very cozy and incestuous relationship with oil and gas companies, which lease federal lands for drilling. Those companies pay a nominal fee to the feds, and in return, they can do pretty much as they please with the land, extracting their fill of the fossil fuels and then leaving the mess for someone else to clean up. It seems that herds of wild horses have a tendency to inconvenience these companies, hence the animals' poor treatment at the hands of the agency that is ostensibly supposed to protect them, under the Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
But some accommodating legislation from former Montana Republican Sen. Conrad Burns negated critical parts of the act, allowing for the removal of the wild horses. Burns snuck the changes into an appropriations bill in 2005 without any public notice or debate in Congress.
"Wild Horses and Renegades" is a documentary that tells this story of corporate greed and animal cruelty abetted by bureaucratic negligence. The film contains some pretty shocking footage of abuse, though, so if that sort of thing bothers you, then you should definitely make a donation to Wing Spur Wild Horses, which cares for two families of wild mustangs rescued from a grisly fate at the abattoir.
The nonprofit sanctuary, located at Wye, is among several that were started by kindhearted folks around the country who wanted to make sure these majestic creatures get a chance to survive. There will be drinks and hors d'oeuvres in addition to a screening of the film.