As I reflect over 2020, I am full of gratitude, hope and a feeling of possibility. I am deeply humbled and thankful for the many people, horses and burros who have given so much, meant so much, and the powerful role they have played in making Return to Freedom thrive.
The horses and burros at our sanctuary are alive today and are free from the harm and terror of roundups, thanks to our supporters. In spite of the many changes, we needed to make due to the pandemic, your support allowed us to continue our work. In 2020, we released 12 more horses at the sanctuary, placed 7 adoptable horses in good homes, took in 15 horses who survived a devastating fire, provided sanctuary for 500 wild horses and 51 burros with daily care to 30 special needs equines.
We held and participated in online events, educational webinars and conferences. We remained focused and active on the long game to change almost 50 years of failing government policies. Strides have been made and yet there is so much more to do. One thing we know, successful conservation efforts, globally, are the result of divergent stakeholders with opposing agendas working to find common ground so we can avert the harmful outcomes affecting wildlife, resources and habitat and ultimately ourselves.
The year ahead is going to be an active one. As I type this, 17 wild mares captured from the Confusion Herd Management Area in Utah are in line to undergo a painful and potentially lethal sterilization procedure called ovariectomy via colpotomy. This procedure opens mares up to serious risk from infection and hemorrhaging. There is a high-frequency of post-operative complications – some of which can be life-threatening.
Return to Freedom is suing the Bureau of Land Management to make sure it never happens. We need to stop BLM from pursuing this inhumane and risky procedure now.
In honor of the 17 mares slated to undergo this dangerous procedure, an anonymous donor has offered a challenge grant for $75,000. Each dollar we raise until Jan. 17 will be matched up to $75,000 for this court case, as well other litigation, grassroots advocacy and lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., to end horse slaughter and protect wild horses on and off the range.
While we are all celebrating the new year, 17 innocent mares are being held in a pen, not knowing why, facing an uncertain future. We need you to join us in the fight to protect wild horses and burros on and off the range. We are taking a strong stand, please give what you can now, in their honor. On behalf of the wild ones, thank you for standing with them.
Warmest wishes for a healthy, happy new year!
Founder and president