Laura Leigh founder Wild Horse Education, was also one of the contributors to my upcoming feature article in TrailBlazer, "The Last Wild Horse In America Died Today." Its an honor to feature here today ~ I first featured Laura in November 2012, with this story and it is appropriate to revisit it today ~
Laura Leigh - Wild Horse Education -“Voices For The Voiceless”
How do I write this? Friends who know me, and know my style, know that I write about, "People & Horses Helping Horses & People," in an upbeat and happy way. Celebrating the good that people do. Championing the horses who heal people, change lives and give their spirit so that those who need healing can realize a new beginning. Every now and then, in order to celebrate the good people do, I must write about things as tears stream from my eyes to drip on the keyboard … This is one of those stories.
How do I write about horses chased by helicopters to the point of total exhaustion, and death? How do I write about tiny foals running in a desperate panic to keep sight of their mommas, running as fast as their tiny legs can manage, sometimes running right out of their hoofs, and left to die. How do I write about helicopter pilots ramming the slower horses repeatedly with the skids of their helicopters? How do I write about horses being hosed with water in the holding pens soaking them so completely the tiny foals freeze to death? How can I write about the crowded, filthy holding pens? How do I write about the truckloads of once noble and proud spiritual wild horses being trucked to slaughter? I don't think I can.
But Laura Leigh, a freelance photojournalist, founder of Wild Horse Education (WHE) is documenting in photos and videos the excessive and inhumane roundups that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is conducting against wild horses and burros. Laura was the first to bring the public daily reports of the conditions at the roundups, and continues to be the best source for information on what is happening in the field for our wild horses and burros. WHE has been essential in providing the public with documentation and investigation of the BLM practices in the roundups and long term holding of these captured wild animals, who in reality belong to the American people. The body of work is more than a collection of photos and video. It has been used to fight in Federal Court for the welfare and well-being of wild horses and burros.
|Laura Leigh on the job working for the horses|
Laura has been an advocate for the rights of horses for many years. Yet her attention turned to wild horses in a daily marathon of documentation and research after looking into the eyes of an eight month old colt that was suffering from hoof slough (feet falling off) during the BLM Calico roundup of 2010/2011. She named that little red colt "Hope Springs Eternal." After being refused the opportunity to aid the colt, he subsequently died. Laura has worked every single day since then to stop the madness.
When her work began sparking public criticism, BLM sought to restrict her access to their operations and facilities. Laura, fighting for the very lives of our helpless wild horses, filed a lawsuit against BLM. The fight to document wild horses, wherever they are in the system, has been a "battlefield" in Federal Court. The case that has become known as the "First Amendment" suit won a landmark decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in February of 2012 and is scheduled to head back to the courtroom in February of 2013.
Her second suit against the BLM for "Humane Care," if it wins, could put an end to the cruel practices now ubiquitous in the BLM wild horse and burro program. WHE was able to halt two BLM operations through injunctions and restraining orders related to these suits. Just recently, WHE joined on as part of the investigation team into the allegations that BLM participated in the sale of mustangs from their feed lots to kill buyers. This case too is pending.
Two years ago Laura gained the first Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in the history of the BLM’s "Wild Horse and Burro Program" to inhumane conduct. Since then her documentation has gained a second TRO and an Injunction to conduct. The case against inhumane care of wild horses is still active in Federal Court.
An investigation by Laura's organization was essential in helping journalist Dave Philips, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, break the huge story that clearly illustrates the relationship with the BLM and kill-buyers. Currently the IG's office is investigating on a Federal level and the state of Colorado has turned over information to the DA's office for prosecution
These cases, investigations and documentation, are supported solely through donations to Wild Horse Education. This group is really doing the work in the field and getting the results in the courtroom protecting the voiceless who need our voice.
Please visit the Wild Horse Education site http://wildhorseeducation.org/ … Spend some time viewing the videos, looking at the pictures … You may not believe your eyes … Also on the home page is a box that says "Educate Yourself: Myths and Facts." Here is the link to that and it is one of the best guides to what is wrong and what is going on that I have seen. … http://wildhorseeducation.org/2012/11/10/educate-yourself-myths-and-facts/
Please share this blog and their link with your friends, ask them all to tell their friends, spread the truth, and give support. So many lives depend on our voices and our help. What's being done by the BLM is not only wrong, it's cruel. With enough public notice and outcry, we can stop the BLM and save our wild horses and burros.
God Bless and Gitty Up, Dutch Henry