The following is a clarification of our first email on the Wild Mustang roundups: Horse Rescue Help | Orphaned Foals From the Wild Mustang Slaughter!
Dear Equiderma Family,
Last week I sent an email letting you know we would be donating to Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang this month. We have increased the donation from 1% to 10% because of an emergency immediate need. The funds raised are for building a nursery for mustang foals left behind after their dams had been sent to slaughter. Since I posted my original email, I have been inundated with responses. A huge thanks goes out to those of you who donated to this worthy cause. I wasn't prepared for the backlash that would come from the email. I have received letters calling me a liar, emotionally strong-arming people, calling for the boycott of Equiderma and death threats if I don't "learn to keep my F'ing mouth shut." I want to write again to clarify the issue and hopefully assuage some of your concerns. What I have written is happening, and it is real. If my email inadvertently brings awareness that's a good thing. This week has been a real eye-opener for me. Like you, I thought the wild mustangs were protected, so when I learned there were many going straight to slaughter, I was incensed...
Equiderma is donating 10% of this months digital sales to Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang
If you would like to donate directly please go to - https://www.chillypepper.org/
Currently, the US owns 640 Million acres of Federal land. In 2017, the BLM spent $80.4 million on maintaining the wild horses. There is 8 times more land set aside for livestock than for the wild horses. Couldn't the US Government allow 1 million of those 640 million acres to be set aside strictly for providing sanctuary to the estimated 750,000 American wild horses? If every county in the US has land supplied to cats and dogs, why isn't the government producing the same for horses? Without a doubt, their contribution to the betterment of mankind warrants them more respect. If we all contributed a little bit, couldn't we the people buy sustainable land for the mustangs and domestic horses to roam free and safe? If the property were found, would you be willing to donate to such a cause?
Please watch this video, and you decide for yourselves if it is a worthy cause.
Please understand, I have no motive except to help. The issue of these wild horses is a hot button topic. I also think there is more to it than perhaps any of us know.
Misconception #1 is that the US stopped all slaughter in the US -
Yes, that is true, but they allow US horses to be shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Changing one black eye to another...
I was first made aware of this mustang foal rescue from a veterinarian; Kaia Sorem DVM. Kaia has an Equine Sports Medicine practice in Naches, Washington near the Yakima Indian Reservation. She is the vet for Chilly Pepper. After our conversation, I called Palomino Armstrong, director of Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang. According to Palomino and Kaia, it is not the BLM, but the Native Americans and the US Forestry Service who are rounding up these mustangs and sending them straight to slaughter. The mustangs are rounded up off the Yakima Indian Reservation and other native lands and sold to buyers from slaughter operations in Mexico and Canada. Some of the mustangs are shipped direct to Mexico or the Bouvry, Canada slaughterhouse and some of them are sent to and held in Montana holding pens owned by the Bouvry, Canada slaughterhouse. There they stay, are fattened up and then shipped to Canada as needed. The slaughter operations have found a workaround by partnering with the Yakima Nation and other Native American tribes.
The meat of mustangs is prized above all because it is considered organic and untainted by pharmaceuticals. There is a high demand. Whether there are BLM laws to protect them or not - whether people want to know about it or not - The Wild Horse & Burro Protection Act of 1971 and the horrific Burns Amendment added later, may make it illegal to send mustangs straight to slaughter but the mustangs on sovereign lands are falling between the cracks. Native Americans are not held to the same laws when the horses are coming from sovereign lands, and there are no watchdogs. There may be no ramifications for the native people, but that does not give open permission to Canada or Mexico to grab them and go without abiding by US laws. The buyers and shippers are bypassing the law, and no watch group is keeping an eye on what is going on at the Yakima reservation and others. Still, what the hell is the US Forestry Service doing involved? I don't know, but I am assuming the Burns Amendment allows mustangs over ten years old to be sold directly to slaughter.
Many of the emails I have received are about the inaccuracy of my statistical claims. Everyone is hung up on which breed is most slaughtered. The stats varied widely, and I wonder about the accuracy of any them if so many Mustangs are slipping by the laws. How can we know the real numbers? If the mustang herds on sovereign lands aren't being policed, they will go unaccounted for. Never-mind that the BLM would be happy to turn a blind eye to this if no watchdog groups make a fuss. If people who are inclined to make a living off the wild horse can trap them and sell them direct for fast cash, and I believe they are, it makes sense that it is going on. When they arrive at the slaughterhouse is anyone questioning where they came from? Do they have to be vetted with negative Coggins before they cross the borders? Is there any process in place to stop this from happening and how easy would it be to find a workaround? The person who has the answers is the woman out there on Indian land waiting to take the foals under 400 pounds. Palomino Armstrong...
Here are some interesting statistics regarding BLM horses. The horses on sovereign land not included. BLM is not the friend of these national treasures as these statistics will show..
I sent a question to Palomino regarding who is doing this -
Here was her answer:
We are always transparent and tell the truth. So, it would be Native Americans who are rounding up these horses - 400 pounds and over. They are on Sovereign land so are not under government regulations. The US Forestry service is also currently rounding up the wild horses, and "direct selling" to the contractors. ALL horses 10 years and older. It took years to get in the door, and we are one of the only groups the Native Americans will work with. Also please let your customers know that some of them have been helpful in making it possible to save all ages, including the last stallion we rescued.
Here is an article verifying the US Forestry Service is involved. All horses over 10 years old are being rounded up.
It's a dicey situation for Chilly Pepper - The Yakima do not typically work with white people. It took Palomino years to be trusted by them so she could be present to rescue any babies under 400 pounds. Otherwise, they get left behind as coyote bait or shot. I do not want to harm their efforts. Is the answer for watchdog groups to come in with guns blazing and shut it down? Yes, I think so, but what happens then to the thousands of horses living on the 1,130,000 acres of Yakima land? Is the answer that watchdog groups become the ones to buy the horses and ensure the laws are abided by? Poverty on the reservation is rampant, and so is the overpopulation of the mustangs. It's a quick and dirty way to make money, and it is happening.
Palomino knows this situation better than anyone and has answers I do not. She has devoted her life to this - No doubt her intentions are pure and what she does is good. I asked her why these horses weren't going to holding pens as I had thought they did. She was clear that horses from the reservations are not. I am sure she would be available to talk with you should you want to know more.
I want to be accurate in my reporting of the situation... Regardless of where they come from, how many, etc... There is a cry and a need for help. There is suffering. I think we can all agree on that. I want to help.
Below is a letter I received from Palomino asking her to clarify the issue in her own words. I called her and told her of the questions, so many of you have. I hope this sheds more light on what is happening. - Chilly Pepper is only a small microcosm of the problem. Every life counts.
Thank you for hearing me... 💟
From Palomino Armstrong -
I am writing this to clarify the misunderstanding that the orphaned mustangs we are rescuing are BLM horses.
These are NOT BLM horses. These are wild mustangs coming from SOVEREIGN LAND. We have spent years developing a relationship where we can save wild horses from the Yakama Indian Nation. (We have also worked with other Native Americans in different states). I have found that most of the Yakima rounding up these horses would rather see them adopted as opposed to them shipped to slaughter. However, there is no outlet or place for these horses to go and they are sold to whoever is there to buy them. The dream would be to purchase land for a sanctuary so we could save them all.
Because the horses belong to the Native Americans as they are coming from Sovereign Land, these horses are NOT subject to any of our governing laws. There are too many horses, and as always, there are people who want the land for cattle. It is also a very poverty stricken area, and many of these folks are just doing their jobs and supporting their families. Many of them view the horses as a commodity, just like cattle.
We work with different folks, and some of them bend over backward to help us place and save as many horses as possible, while others are cruel and see nothing wrong with rounding them up like cattle. Most modes of capture are barb wires strung up among trees... We treat multitudes of barb wire injuries, some of them being fatal. If you go to our Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/palominohoneybandit/ - and look back there is endless documentation of our "journey." We only use social media to benefit the horses. We are not political and do not allow bashing on our page. It is simply about raising enough money to save as many lives as possible. IF WE HAD A SANCTUARY, we could keep these horses as they have nowhere to go. Instead, they are shipped direct to slaughter. Everyone needs to come together and then we can save America's wild horses who are not under the BLM's jurisdiction (and domestic) by adequately managing them. Until then, my husband and I are doing the best we can to save what God puts in front of us.
Chilly Pepper is on the front line. We are called for emergencies constantly. We never search out horses to rescue, but respond to as many calls as we can. It is not convenient to be the only rescue doing the orphan foals in Toppenish, WA, (we live in NV). However, thanks to our amazing Chilly Pepper family, we have been able to save hundreds and hundreds of lives.
There is a Yakima Orphan Foal Page on Facebook, - https://www.facebook.com/groups/YakimaFoals/about/ - run by the rescue that we used to "share the load" with. Sadly they terminated their "orphanage" this last year, so it is up to us to set up the new Urgent Care Nursery Facility. However, this page also validates the history and that this has been ongoing for many years.
For those who are skeptical, and I understand many of you only have heard about what the BLM does, every single baby and adult we save is documented. Every single one that Chilly Pepper saves has a Coggins and a Brand Inspection. My number is 530 339 1458 if anyone wants any more information. You can go to Lauri Elizabeth Armstrong on Facebook, (unfortunately, I cannot accept new friends on my personal page per Facebook regulations) and we have a somewhat new Facebook page Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang. https://www.facebook.com/palominohoneybandit/
We have been a witness over and over to the direct to slaughter trucks being loaded. We listen to the mares screaming for their babies and the babies calling desperately for their mothers. It is heartbreaking and horrible, and all you can do is work your hardest to save every life you can. In addition to the foals, we were able to save over 100 adults last year. We have also helped save many pregnant mares and mares with foals at their side this year, in addition to several stallions. We always try to save at least a few stallions, because most folks cannot handle, vet or transport wild stallions. We work with so many amazing people who help us get them adopted out, and we have others who help with the babies.
The pictures show one of the rescues this year. Between the other rescue (across the driveway) and ours, we had 70 orphaned babies at once. That was only one of the multiple trips to WA this year. We had a Coggins scare (also documented), so we were stuck with all those milk babies and unable to move them to their new homes. We were making milk by the gallons.
So please feel free to call me if you have any questions. We were recommended to Bethany by our vet up there who have been doing the Coggins and helping with the injured for years. Sadly, this is not made up. The situation is dire for these horses and thanks to caring folks, we have been able to save hundreds and will continue to do our best to save as many lives as possible. Because we rescue, rehab and rehome, our donors do not pay for the same horses over and over.
We do have several special needs kids that are with us for their lifetime, including a 20 year old (now gelded) blind stallion we brought home from the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Burros (ISPMB) rescue, and another blind mare we brought back to be his buddy. (My husband and I sorted EVERY SINGLE one of the 900+ horses from the ISPMB rescue. We were working in - 40 degrees and blizzards, (also publicly documented.) So for the folks who were wondering if we were legitimate, we are, and it is all publicly documented. We appreciate all the love and support for the horses. Chilly Pepper is also a part of WIN - WILD HORSES IN NEED.
The United States Forest Service is also currently doing a backdoor operation. You can get information on that at the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC). https://americanwildhorsecampaign.org/ They are planning on selling the ones over 10 years old in groups of 36. Guess what? That is a semi load.
America's horses are NOT all protected.
Thank you for making it possible for us to save so many,
Palomino & Matt