One of the attractions of Placitas in New Mexico is the free ranging horses that wander around in the neighborhoods of this beautiful mountain village. Horses are our oldest animal friends and they belong to the most beloved wildlife species. Well, there is a little difference between a horse that is born and raised in a ranch and a horse from wilderness. Nevertheless, tourists and wildlife enthusiasts are eager to catch a glimpse of these feral horses. These horses are the signature feature of the northern part of Albuquerque; however, some of the residents are irritated by them as they keep feeding on the vegetation of their “delicate” desert landscape. Apparently, they have become unwanted by these people, but where would they go? Probably in their silence they are appealing for their livelihood and these feral horses need to be heard.
There have been attempts to reduce their population by administering female contraceptive but state officials have prevented that. Instead, they have rounded up 125 horses to remove them from federal land that has created a tension between the state authorities and horses’ advocates. Gary Miles of Placitas Animal Rescue has even hinted the possibility of a “Cliven Bundy situation” -- an incident of armed confrontation with the federal government that took place in April over public land use. County officials recognize the passion concerning the horses but they point out to safety issues as well; occurrence of someone getting killed or maimed for life by hitting a horse at night is not impossibility. As there is no livestock business managed by any of the counties, the federal government is not going to pay for keeping these horses alive; the last thing they would do is to sell them to Canadian or Mexican slaughterhouses.
Horses advocates believe that these feral horses are the descendants of the herds that were left astray from the time of Spanish conquest and hence, they are wild animals. On the contrary, federal and local officials maintain that they are horses from Native American pueblos that were recently abandoned. In response to complaints earlier this year by some residents, more than fifty horses were removed by New Mexico Livestock officials. Placitas Animal Rescue and other advocates bought them at different auctions for as low as $10.00 a horse; however, it costs around $3000.00 a month to feed these horses just with hay. The federal officials are not paying attention to the claim that the feral horses are wild animals; these horses to them are “unauthorized excessive livestock” -- that’s how the federal state courts have ruled on the matter.
Some of the advocates are not willing to accept the court's’ ruling and they want to continue their fight. The US Bureau of Land Management has already notified the local residents that it is going to remove more or less 48 horses by December 31, 2014. In the meantime, horses advocates have contacted over 40 animal rescue groups about adopting the about to be rounded up feral horses of Placitas.
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