Every once in a blue moon, someone with the means to do something otherworldy amazing actually does something amazing. Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens did that and more this week when she agreed to purchase most, if not all, of the 30,000 wild horses and burros that the government has rounded up and are awaiting euthanization in federal holding pens. Unbelievable.
Above all, Ms. Pickens is an animal lover. She led the crusade to round up 800 dogs and cats left to die after hurricane Katrina. All were subsequently adopted.
Now she has set her sights on saving one of America's most glorious animals stating, "Animals don't have a voice, and as long as man is their protectorate, we have a responsibility to take care of them."
"Our wild mustang must be our national treasure. We must not be slaughtering it," Pickens said. "The horses have no natural predator. Their only predator is mankind, when we do the wrong thing."
Dating back to the time of the Spanish conquistadors, wild horses roam free on federal land in 10 western states and share that land with herds of cattle. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management thins the herds in order to ensure that there is enough food for both wild horses and domestic cows, keeping the mustang population to approximately 27,000 animals. They round up the rest and auction them off, many go to slaughter.
In recent years, the land available to the horses has been drastically reduced by 19 million acres; the government has had to round up more and more mustangs. Now, 33,000 horses live in holding pens, each horse costing $1,500 a year to feed. By law, if they can't be auctioned or adopted, they are to be slaughtered.
"Can you imagine somebody suggesting that you euthanize 30,000 horses? It was abominable," said Pickens, who lives in Dallas and has a ranch in the Texas panhandle and a home near San Diego. "That will never happen."
Thank You Madeleine.