Wille Nelson is one of the true living legends of country music. He’s been writing and recording classic songs for decades, and at 88-years-old, he’s still going strong.
In addition to music, Willie Nelson has long been an advocate for many causes close to his heart — including the protection of horses.
Now, the country star is urging Congress to ensure better protection for America’s wild horses, many of whom are currently threatened by slaughter.
In an open letter published by the wild horse conservation nonprofit Return to Freedom, Nelson explains that while Congress passed a law wild horses and burros, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, back in 1971, its effectiveness was hindered by further mandates forcing the animals to “share the protected land with private livestock grazing, energy projects, and public recreation.”
This caused a conflict over the use of the spaces, with the wild horses ending up “outnumbered” and squeezed out of their own protected space.
“The Bureau of Land Management has been setting an arbitrary number for how many wild horses it thinks ought to be on our public lands, and then using taxpayer-funded helicopters to round up the herds when it has decided there are too many,” Nelson explains.
“Wild horses, like other wild animals, were meant to be wild and free. Historic family bands are broken as the horses are separated forever. Some are adopted or sold, and many thousands more end up living in crowded corrals or leased pastures, exposed to the elements. Some end up slaughtered for human consumption overseas.”
“The wild horses need us humans to come up with solutions that will end roundups, stop the stockpiling of horses, and ensure their safety.”
Nelson urges animal lovers to contact their local Congress representatives, urging them to pass all efforts to end these roundups and to promote humane fertility control, and to pass the SAFE Act to permanently end horse slaughters in the US.
“We must speak up. Without pressure on the Bureau of Land Management from many groups, advocates for wild horses, and lawmakers, these historic symbols of American freedom will disappear,” Nelson writes.
“Let’s heal our divisions by coming together for this common purpose.”
Willie’s passion for horses is well-known: in 2019, he made headlines by saving 70 horses from slaughter and giving them a new life on his ranch.
“My horses are probably the luckiest horses in the world,” Nelson told KSAT. “They get hand-fed twice a day, and they were just ready to go to slaughter is probably the last thing they remembered, so they’re happy horses.”
He has long been an advocate and supporter of the nonprofit Habitat for Horses. The musician is also not shy about putting his beliefs in animal rights over his music career: in 2013, he pulled out of a concert held at SeaWorld due to disagreements about their treatment of animals.
“I don’t agree with the way they treat their animals,” Nelson told CNN. “It wasn’t that hard a deal for me.”
Thank you to Willie Nelson for continuing to advocate for wild horses. We hope these beautiful animals get all the protection they need from Congress.
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