Heigl, joined by Animal Wellness Action, the Center for a Humane Economy, the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, Wild Horse Photo Safaris, the Red Birds Trust and the Cloud Foundation, rallied to raise public awareness of the plight of the horses, who face a mass helicopter roundup beginning July 12.
The roundup. the groups claim, will send 80 percent of the herd to Bureau of Land Management corrals, in the process injuring or even killing some of the frightened animals. While the horses will be put up for adoption, the groups alleged that some will wind up in foreign slaughterhouses.
The federal Bureau of Land Management, which will handle the roundup, claims an overpopulation of horses in the Great Basin has left inadequate forage.
Heigl, a Utah resident best known for her work on the TV series Grey’s Anatomy and now starring in Netflix’s Firefly Lane, and leaders of the groups involved, spoke to rally attendees before traveling directly to the rangeland where the Onaqui wild horses live wild and free.
On July 1, President Joe Biden’s Bureau of Land Management, doubled-down in a press release announcing they will proceed with the roundups.
“We’re pulling out all the stops in pressing President Joe Biden to stop the roundup and eradication of the iconic Onaqui wild horses in Utah and call on the president to implement a course correction before it’s too late,” said a statement from Heigl, herself a horse owner.
Erika Brunson, philanthropist, and member of the Global Council for Animals, also called for a halt to the planned roundups.
“With over 52,000 wild horses and burros currently in government facilities, it’s time to stop round ups and focus on a robust humane fertility control program utilizing PZP,” said Brunson. “Currently, only 1% of the population is addressed which is ludicrous.”
Descended from horses used by pioneers and native tribes in the late 1800’s, the Onaqui horses are known for their robust beauty and their ability to thrive in the harsh environment of the Great Basin Desert of western Utah. They are a favorite among wild horse photographers and enthusiasts and are believed to be the most popular and photographed wild herd in the country.
Visit the campaign website at www.SaveTheOnaqui.org for more details.
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