AWHPC Supporters Meet With Senator Feinstein's Staff in Los Angeles

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On April 25 a group of 16 AWHPC supporters met with staff for Senator Feinstein to request her leadership and intervention to protect wild horses. By taking the time to meet with the Senator's staff personally, these advocates made a strong impression that Senator Feinstein's constituents care about this issue. Their experience can serve as a model for AWHPC supporters in other areas to mobilize in order to get your legislators to stand up for wild horses and sign the Keep Wild Horses Wild pledge. Special thanks to Stephanie Zil who spearheaded this meeting, and to all who attended!
 
By Stephanie Gil

As promised, I'm writing with an update on the meeting at Senator Feinstein's Westwood office last Friday, April 25th.  Sixteen advocates gathered at 2pm for a brief introduction and strategy discussion prior to our scheduled meeting with Kevin Chang, Senator Feinstein's field representative, at 2:30pm. Kevin began the meeting (at our request) with a brief description of his position on the Senator's staff.  Along with his responsibility for the Riverside area, he also works on issues relating to various Federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management.

After he had introduced himself, each member of our group introduced herself (or himself) with name, occupation or affiliation, and a brief statement of her motivation, advocacy work and anticipated outcome of our meeting.

The members of our group included a filmmaker (currently working on a documentary about wild horses), an attorney, an art teacher, members of the accounting and financial services professions, a social worker, a photo journalist (whose work includes images of wild horses on the range, in BLM holding facilities and at auction on their way to slaughter), a health care professional, and members of the entertainment industry, among others.  The comments ranged from heart-felt outrage to the most heart-breaking eye-witness accounts of the roundups.  The testimony of our group was detailed, specific, and articulate.  Our meeting lasted well over an hour.  The horses could not have had a more dedicated and effective group of advocates.

Kevin Change made notes throughout our presentations.  Once everyone had spoken, he reiterated the concerns and proposals of the group as a whole, as he understood them.  

We confirmed the following list of requests for action:

  1. We requested that the Senator sign the Keep Wild Horses Wild pledge.
  2. We requested that the Senator use her position on the Interior Appropriations subcommittee to stop funding for the BLM's failed of rounding up wild horses and burros and placing them in holding facilities.TT
  3. We requested that the Senator support the SAFE act currently pending in Congress.
  4. Additionally, members of the group requested that the Senator revisit the status of Mustangs and work to have them reclassified as an indigenous species.

In closing, Kevin informed us that the issue of protection for wild horses and burros had gone from being intermittently monitored by the Senator's staff to being on the agenda at virtually every meeting.  He said that the level of public interest and comment has escalated dramatically, and urged us to keep contacting Senator Feinstein's office, and to reach out to other members of congress as well.

I am honored and proud to have been part of this exceptional group of advocates.  Working together, we made real progress in enlisting the support of a powerful member of Congress.  But we know, and Senator Feinstein's representative confirmed,that we need to do more.  After our meeting at Senator Feinstein's office, we discussed continuing our lobbying efforts with visits to Senator Boxer, Representative Schiff, and other members of Congress.

Thank you for helping to organize such a stellar group of advocates!