Mustang Heritage Foundation

Friend and Supporter of the Mustang Heritage Foundation

M. P. Murray recognizes the issues facing America's Mustang and is pleased to provide support as a Member and through the sale of his artwork, donating a portion of the proceeds to this worthy organization.

The Mustang Heritage Foundation was founded to support the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse & Burro Program by facilitating the adoption of excess mustangs and burros.  They have worked hard to bring this vision to life and have seen the fruition of their efforts through the 8,000 animals that have been placed into loving homes through their programs.  Multitudes of people and organizations like M. P. Murray Art have also come alongside them in partnership, sponsorship and friendship; people who share their passion and look to see the value in every American Mustang.

History of Mustangs

America's mustangs are the descendants of wild horses brought to the New World by Spanish explorers and missionaries in the 16th century.  Others come from stock that was released or escaped from miners, ranchers, homesteaders and others who settled the West.  More than two million wild horses and burros are reported to have roamed the West by the late 1800's. By the early 1900's, competition intensified between wild horses and cattle, sheep, fences, farms, and ranches for the remaining open range.  Wild horse populations plummeted as tens of thousands of animals were rounded up for use as draft animals, saddle stock, military mounts, food or to reduce competition with domestic livestock for limited forage, water and space.

Velma B. Johnston "Wild Horse Annie" (1912-197) was tireless pioneer in establishing legislation for the protection of wild horses and burros across the United States. Her effors were instrumental in getting the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act.

The Pencil War.  By the mid-20th century, domestic markets for pet and chicken fee and European markets for horse meat emerged, further reducing the number of wild horses and burros remaining in the West. Public concern escalated in response to the brutal methods used by mustangers to capture and transport wild horses for sale to rendering plants. Horrified by the mustangers' gruesome practices, Velma Johnston spearheaded a "Pencil War," a letter writing campaign that generated more letters to congress than any single issue besides the Vietnam War! Thousands of letters were written by school children concerned for the horses' welfare.

Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act.  As populations on western rangelands declined to fewer than 20,000 animals, the Congress of the United States deliberated over the animals' future and passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act in 1971. The Act placed America's mustangs and burros under federal jurisdiction, and charged the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Agriculture's Forest Services (USFS) with preserving and protecting wild horses and burros as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West."

The Balancing Act.  Along with protection and preserving comes responsibility to keep the land in balance. The BLM is required to maintain  animal levels that achieve a "thriving natural ecological balance." When populations of wild horses and burros along with wildlife and livestock exceed the capacity of their habitat, land health begins to deteriorate. Native vegetation is damaged, encouraging the growth of invasive weeds and reducing the amount of food and water available to support the animals. When the BLM determines that the mustang population exceeds habitat capacity, the excess animals are removed from the range and prepared for adoption to qualified adopters.

About the Mustang Heritage Foundation

The mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation is to create and promote programs and activities that provide information and education about wild horses, elevate their image and desirability, provide opportunities to become involved in the wild horse experience and secure adequate numbers of caring homes for excess horses.  Working in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, the Mustang Heritage Foundation is passionate about the successful placement of mustangs into private care so future generations can enjoy this distinctive feature of our American heritage.  The Mustang Heritage Foundation has placed over 8,000 mustangs into private care since 2007.

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