The CANA Foundation hosted its First Annual Hampton Classic Bipartisan Legislative Panel, which gathered an audience of more than 100 and sought to draw national attention to the humane and sustainable management of wild horses throughout the country. The CANA Foundation held the inaugural, bipartisan panel on Saturday, September 1st at the Hampton Classic, bringing together a diverse crowd of accomplished experts, advocates and government officials in support of common-sense protections for wild horses and the foundation’s mission.
Attendees included some of New York’s top elected members of Congress, New York State, County and Town officials and the state’s top horse foundation philanthropists. Speakers included Republican Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), CANA Founder Manda Kalimian, CANA Native Rangelands Director Moses Brings Plenty, renowned Author and Artist Roberto Dutesco and celebrity horse jumper Kelli Cruciotti. The Panel was moderated by former Congressman Steve Israel, who serves as CANA’s Legislative Advisor.
Panelists educated attendees about the issues surrounding the current management of America’s wild horses, the importance of preserving America’s wild horses and habitats as well as potential solutions for rewilding horses to native and private lands. The panel also discussed ways Democrats and Republicans could work together on horse preservation, rewilding and what community leaders can do to raise awareness about the traumatic “round-ups” of wild horses.
“CANA Foundation is proud to have held its first ever bipartisan legislative panel at the Hampton Classic to bring CANA’s important rewilding work to the doorstep of the horse-loving community and its leaders, by promoting solutions and protections for both wild and domestic horses,” said Manda Kalimian, Founder of the CANA Foundation. “We take great care in promoting awareness and working together with our government leaders, so we can educate citizens to empower them to vote for those in favor of sustainable solutions. Real change always starts with real dialogue which leads to real solutions for our ultimate goal: to save and protect America’s wild and domestic horses from slaughter and abuse. In turn, this will protect our environment and our public food supply.”
This is not a Republican issue, this is not a Democratic issue, this is an issue of horses, habitat, and humanity,” said former Congressman Steve Israel. “This is a good example of the many bipartisan issues in Congress. Republicans and Democrats are working together to protect these horses and our heritage. The CANA Foundation exists for three reasons: to free these horses from pens, to adopt them, and to rewild them onto native lands.”
Rep. King discussed the need for protecting wild horses at the panel event. “I consider wild horses to be a natural resource, said Rep. Peter King. “I’ve been proud to vote against having them exterminated or shipped overseas for possible mistreatment. The main goal should be to preserve and protect as much as possible when it comes to wildlife and wild horses. We also need to find areas for them to live, so they are not confined in pens. This is a humanitarian obligation that we have. I’m glad to be here today, glad to be a part of this, and I look forward to working with you in any way I can.”
Rep. McCollum spoke about the challenges facing the nation’s wild horse and burro populations, the important work being done for wild horses and the need for increased horse adoption. “We have to work together with the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) on how to solve problems and come up with solutions,” said Rep. Betty McCollum. “About 46,000 horses and burros are held on off-ranch facilities. It’s not what we want, to have our wild horses living in these conditions. They’re cared for and fed but it’s not the experience we think of when we think of re-wilding. There are about four thousand horses that we would like to put up for adoption, each year, but only about two thousand are adopted. The work the CANA Foundation does for this is extremely important about getting the word out.”
“Horses are my life,” said Kelli Cruciotti, a celebrity horse jumper. “They are my passion, my partners, but most importantly, they are my family. I have a tremendous amount of love for what they do for me. My heart truly breaks for the wild horses that aren’t treated with the level of compassion and respect they deserve. CANA stands for all the right things; the rewilding is so important because horses are naturally herd animals and they need to be out with each other in the wild.”
“Our legislative panel event was a rousing success thanks to the commitment of the attendees and our gracious hosts, including former Representative Israel,” said Manda Kalimian. “The generous support of our organization allows us to ensure wild horses receive the care and protections they richly deserve. We’re thankful for the attention to our cause that comes from the bipartisan support from Reps. King and McCollum who graciously spoke at the event and are committed to preserving our national wild horse heritage. We also send special thanks to Long Island Press, our top sponsor.”