August 5, 2015
Arizona Republic
Laurie Roberts

Add Gov. Doug Ducey and a good portion of Arizona's congressional delegation to the growing chorus of people telling the feds to back off and leave the Salt River wild horses alone.

Ducey tweeted that the state will step in to protect the horses if need be.



Meanwhile, U.S. Rep Matt Salmon fired off a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, asking him to put a stop to the wild horse roundup. The letter was also signed by Reps. David Schweikert and Kyrsten Sinema.

“Wild horses are an integral part of the history of America’s West, and the latest move by the U.S. Forest Service to impound the herd that roams near Mesa, Arizona shows a disappointing lack of understanding of the priorities and needs of the local community," Salmon said, in a prepared statement.

And here come Sen. John McCain,and Jeff Flake riding to their rescue with their own letter to Vilsack..



“A growing number of our constituents have expressed deep reservations about the Forest Service’s intent to gather these horses and transfer them to the Arizona Department of Agriculture,” they wrote. “We request that you postpone action until there has been sufficient public engagement in the process and that you respond to our questions.”

I've heard from people across the state, wondering what in the heck is wrong with the federal government, that it feels this need to round up and remove these horses.

Most are like Marta Saint-James, of Gold Canyon:

"My husband (Curt Fonger) and I … go often to see the Salt River Wild Horses, take friends and family and, except for one time, we saw them every time - my husband took these pics, have dozens more!.

"This decision of removing the horses, and possible euthanize them it's outrageous, even for a government agency. I've been contacting everyone, via email and Facebook, asking them to get involved, and yes, I did sign a petition for airlines to stop bringing wild life trophies. As a citizen, stories like Cecil and now these horses, brings a lot of frustration that we cannot do enough...

"We are often visitors to the Grand Canyon, what's next, removing the elk because 'they could harm someone?'"

Tonto National Forest officials contend they must round up the "unauthorized livestock". It is, they say, a safety issue for motorists and for campers. Yet I see no effort to relocate deer or elk. Or bears or snakes or skunks..

Me? I'd think forest officials would be better off trying to figure out how to prevent wildfires rather than worrying about how to prevent a few wild horses from roaming free, horses that are hurting…oh yeah…no one.

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