3-Strike Ranch Horses
The purpose of this page had previously been to urge readers to donate to the rescue of the surviving 200+/- starved mustangs from the 3-Strikes Ranch outside Alliance, Nebraska.
The Colorado Natural Horsemanship Center helped put out the word to call widespread attention to the news of this awful situation. Thankfully, our efforts resulted in raising approximately $1,000 towards saving these starved horses from a certain fate.
A BIG thank you all who donated money and material goods towards that rescue effort!
The money raised here will go to support the direct expenses of feed, medical, care and other on location direct expenses and to find adopters for the horses impounded from the 3-Strikes Ranch.
It hasn’t been my practice to solicit funds on my website for horse welfare causes and my root philosophy regarding horses and their welfare is substantially different than that of many “rescue” organizations.
I have been involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of abused and unwanted horses since 2001 when I was elected to the board of Colorado Horse Rescue. Thursday April 30th I drove to Bridgeport Nebraska along with Hildy Armour and Stacey Couch of Colorado Horse Rescue to pick up several horses from the 3-Strikes Ranch impound CHR agreed to adopt.
I have seen a lot of skinny and starved horses, but never have I seen so many in one place.
The 3-Strikes Ranch held itself out to be a “Mustang Outpost” where mustangs and other horses could live out their lives in a natural environment. None of the people who sent their horses there, or the BLM who sold Jason Meduna “3 strike” mustangs, ever imagined in their most horrible nightmare that he would not supply them with adequate supplemental feed during the winter. Apparently this is exactly what happened despite the claim on his web site that “You fed your horse first before you fed yourself.”
Whether he didn’t have the money or didn’t have the will is really beside the point, the facts point to approximately 100 horses that starved to death because they didn’t have adequate nutrition. Meduna claims they were poisoned, but the necropsy on several horses revealed NO fat around the heart of several of the dead horses and parasites that had invaded the abdominal cavity and no evidence of other disease or poisoning. The cause of those horses’ deaths was starvation.
Among the 300 horses were, by some accounts, up to 47 stallions, which assured that virtually every mare would be pregnant and there would be even more inadequately fed horses. Those mares have been foaling for the last month or so and people who were on the ranch saw piles of dead horses pushed into ravines and a pile of dead foals with wood stacked on top of them so they could not be seen from the air.
The horses and burros apparently didn’t have any foot care as all the horses I saw had long feet and some of the burros had “ski feet” where the feet curled up like skis.
Here are links to YouTube videos made by Stacey Couch of Colorado Horse Rescue at the Morrill County fairgrounds where the horses were taken:
How could this happen?
This tragedy is the direct result of the “Burns Amendment”, an example of the worst kind of “back room” politics.
The Burns Amendment and it’s affect...
Conrad Burns, former Senator from Montana ,added the Burns/Reid amendment to the Appropriations act of 2005, without discussion or agreement of the public or the rest of Congress. The Burns/Reid Amendment overruled the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which protected America's wild mustangs and burros. The amendment was negotiated with Senator Harry Reid as a response to Nevada's ongoing "problems" with an explosive wild horse population, and added to the Appropriation act with the full knowledge of the Bush Administration.
What the Burns Amendment did was to require the BLM to sell horses that had been to three adoptions and had not been adopted “without restriction”. This meant 3-Strike horses, as they came to be know, could be sold and immediately sent to slaughter. It was signed into law on December 3, 2004. When the public found out, they were outraged, and demanded an explanation. All that Senator Burns said was, "I think what we should do is put some language in this thing that allows the BLM to sell excess wild horses. I'd prefer to sell 'em to whomever. Maybe some of them will end up going to slaughter."
To the BLM’s credit they resisted this requirement as best they could. They did sell horses that had not been adopted after three adoptions to sanctuaries, like 3-Strikes Ranch and others. The BLM did in fact do a range evaluation at the Meduna’s ranch in the fall of 2008 and found there to be adequate forage. No prudent stockman would ever expect 300 animals to survive a winter in the Nebraska Sand Hills without supplemental feed. No prudent rancher allows animals to eat the grass on their ranch down to the roots. Horses on the 3-Strikes Ranch were so hungry they pulled the roots out. Locals think it will be years before that ranch recovers.
There is plenty of room for discussion about the BLM’s wild horse policies and whether or not horses should be sent to slaughter, this isn’t the time or place for that discussion. Everyone agrees animals shouldn’t be starved be it dogs, cats horses or any other livestock. Its one thing for horses to starve in the wild, it’s quite another for them to be fenced in a pasture with inadequate forage.
Groups that helped in the rescue at 3-Strikes Ranch
- Habitat for Horses
- Humane Society of the United States
- Zuma’s Rescue Ranch
- Colorado Horse Rescue
- Front Range Equine Rescue
- Lifesavers Horse Rescue