Everyone will have heard of the controversy surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline. The reports of protests at the Oceti Sakowi camp, better known as Standing Rock, have focussed on the plight of the pipeline protesters, the native Sioux tribes of the area. However, this crisis has not just affected humans - there have also been a number of horses injured in the counter-actions. A vet from Utah, Dr. Charmian Wright, was moved by videos showing horses being wounded, so she traveled an astonishing 900 miles from Utah to North Dakota to treat them.
In the course of the protests which went on over several months and turned ugly, the law enforcement officials deployed plastic bullets, dogs and even water cannon on the Native Americans who were protesting peacefully. However, rather than that putting them off, the number of protesters continued to grow. The objections succeeded, but the situation some weeks ago was critical. When Dr. Wright saw the videos of horses being attacked, she asked on Facebook if she would be of any help to the people at Standing Rock. A horse caretaker at the camp told her that the people and horses would greatly value her presence there. That was all she needed to hear. She then set up a GoFundme campaign to raise money for transport and essential supplies, and through the generosity of donors, she was able to reach her target. She packed up a trailer laden with medical necessities and a pick-up truck and began the epic 900-mile trek to North Dakota.
When Dr. Wright arrived at the camp, she discovered that the majority of the camps’ horses were very well cared for, but there were a few who needed help, so since she knew she could not stay there long-term, she decided to teach the protesters how to tend the horses for themselves, i.e. to provide basic medical care. The training she covered included the use of a stethoscope, testing for lameness, how to examine teeth, doing a body score for weight, how to assess and treat various injuries, different types of medication and how to use them, and bandaging, suturing and correct equine nutrition. With this knowledge and training, the Standing Rock people can now do a better job of keeping their horses as safe and in good health, as much their situation permits.
The “Help the Horse Nation” GoFundMe campaign set up by Charmian Wright is still running, continuing to provide medical supplies and equipment to the Standing Rock protesters. Wright has posted on her Facebook page that there are plenty of heroes in this protest battle and that she has been called a hero too, for her compassionate actions in this cause, which have greatly helped both humans and animals. She doesn’t consider herself a hero, but I think we would all agree that she most certainly is.
Picture courtesy of www.narcosphere.com