Land of the (Formerly) Free, Home of the (Once) Brave

The Pryor Mountain mustangs who were removed from their home by the federal government–that’s you and me–have all been adopted, according to the Cloud Foundation, the non-profit organization that advocates for them.  Adoption by humans means the horses are not facing slaughter or euthanasia as a result of being rounded up, or at least not in the near future.

There is no guarantee that mustangs adopted today will live as long in captivity as they might have lived on the range.  Some may end up slaughtered or euthanized when the human who owns them decides they are worth more dead than alive.  Some may live longer in captivity than they might have lived on the range, where their continued existence would have been subject to weather, disease and injury, and sometimes predators.  The only thing certain is that a month or so ago they lived a more or less free life with family members, in the open, finding their way by instinct, wit and sense.  Today they live in captivity.

Are the mustangs icons of American freedom?  What does it mean to us as a people that we could not prevent their capture and subjugation?

In a recent piece at the Huffington Post, Bill Maher asked

why has America become a nation that can’t make anything bad end, like wars, farm subsidies, our oil addiction, the drug war, useless weapons programs – oh, and there’s still 60,000 troops in Germany – and can’t make anything good start, like health care reform, immigration reform, rebuilding infrastructure.

I would add “and why can’t America find a way to let horses run free?”


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