Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Save the Mustangs

Hollywood comes to Hot Springs - Film star and animal rights activist Stefanie Powers shares horse stories with Dayton O. Hyde, owner of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, before a press conference announcing the "Save the Mustangs" program.

Save the Mustangs
Actress Stefanie Powers holds court at Sanctuary

HOT SPRINGS - On a flawless Black Hills day, with the pristine prairies and green hills in the background, a group of about 35 people from all walks of life converged upon the Wild Horse Sanctuary to begin a joint effort to save wild mustang herds from slaughter. Recent media attention has attracted Ford Motor Company, the makers of the popular Ford Mustang sports car, who have jumped on the bandwagon with film star and animal activist Stefanie Powers, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Take Pride in America to help save about 2,000 wild mustangs that currently face an uncertain future. "The Ford Mustang is America's iconic sports car and takes its inspiration from the wild mustang, a true icon of American freedom," said Ford's Chairman and CEO Bill Ford.

Last week 32 of the mustangs were delivered to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary ("WHS"), after being rescued from certain slaughter. While stressed from travel and compromised health, the horses were in stable condition and ready to meet the press Thursday, when the auto maker announced it will provide aid to save the mustang population. "The wild mustang embodies the passion, spirit and heritage that are an integral part of the American experience," said Bill Ford in the company's press release. "We felt compelled to do what we could to help preserve these beautiful, legendary animals," he said. The company was initially contacted by Powers, who learned of the animals' plight. Powers is well known for her work with animal preservation through the William Holden Wildlife Foundation.

To help provide a means for the public to contribute to the ongoing care of the horses in their new habitats, Ford has established the "Save the Mustangs" fund. Contributions to the program will be managed by Take Pride in America and are tax-deductible. Take Pride in America was created in 1985 to preserve and maintain American public lands and historical sites and has evolved to protect places and things that symbolize the American spirit. Through its Wild Horse and Burro Sponsorship Program, which offers a variety of sponsorship levels to assist wild horses that have been placed in holding facilities, Take Pride in America is heavily involved in the effort to preserve wild, free-roaming mustangs and burros.

"This is an example of government partnering with corporate America," said Jon Harmon of the Ford organization, as he introduced the various partners in the Save the Mustangs campaign, including Powers, who said, "we're all in collaboration. This is a good guy story." Powers, who epitomizes Hollywood glam with her movie star cowgirl attire, was every bit the lady on location. As beautiful and charming now as she was 20 years ago, Powers expressed great delight in the scenic attributes of the WHS. "It's so beautiful here," she said as she viewed the expanse of prairie and canyon from the visitors' center. Her love for animals was evident in her inquiries about local wildlife, especially wild turkey. In her opening address to the crowd, she said, "This is a positive answer to a dilemma we have right now of the rescue of these horses," who were in a separate corral enjoying sweet feed before being turned out to pasture. While some of the horses' ribs were showing, they did not appear too scraggly and, according to WHS's Hyde, "mustangs are always lean." The other 19 horses are under quarantine and are expected to arrive next week.

Wild horse lovers can learn more about the issue and can help support the cause by visiting

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ford Ramps Up Effort to Rescue Wild Mustangs

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. — Ford Motor Company stepped up its commitment to preserving thousands of wild mustangs on Thursday by providing funding to save 2,000 of the horses, along with setting up a "Save the Mustangs" fund.

Company executives witnessed a symbolic release of 51 horses into a new habitat here, on land that was the setting for the recent action movie Hidalgo. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, along with actress and animal-rights activist Stefanie Powers, participated in the effort.

Powers told Inside Line wild-mustang preservationists wanted schools and urban families to join in "virtual adoptions" of the horses. She urged the public to support companies such as Ford.

"Unless the corporate world can see conservation and preservation making good business sense, it won't happen," said Powers, who said she was not being paid by Ford. "Ford has an altruistic bent, but we can't simply rely on certain leadership in corporations. One day, Bill Ford may not be the CEO of Ford. If their bottom line doesn't look good, the board may say we can't save the mustangs. We have to support these companies by buying their products."

Ford gave $19,000 earlier this spring to save 52 mustangs from slaughter. Congress in December replaced a 34-year-old ban on slaughtering mustangs with a law permitting older and unwanted horses to be sold.

What this means to you: Mustang lovers can visit to find ways to help head off the demise of these threatened animals, along with Ford.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Ford Motor Co. investing in wild horse sanctuary

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. -- The company that makes the Mustang sports car is investing in the wild horse of the same name.

With the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary as a backdrop, officials from Ford Motor Co. said the company would provide money to help save 2,000 wild mustangs that face an uncertain future and help establish a fund to take public donations to maintain the horses.

The Bureau of Land Management and the Take Pride in America group also are participating in setting up the fund.

Among those on hand for Thursday's press conference at the sanctuary's headquarters on the edge of the Black Hills were actress and animal activist Stefanie Powers, credited with bringing the mustang issue to Ford; BLM director Kathleen Clark; Dayton Hyde, president of the Institute of Range and the American Mustang and the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary; and Ziad Ojakli, group vice president of corporate affairs for Ford.

"The mustang is a symbol that drove a lot of our success," Ojakli said, referring to the sporty Ford Mustang introduced 40 years ago.

He said Ford's commitment to save mustangs is "a small token that we can do to pay back" for the company's success.

He didn't provide a dollar figure for helping save 2,000 mustangs but he said it would easily reach six figures.

Powers said Thursday's announcement showed "there are no good guys and bad guys. We're all in collaboration in the rescuing of these horses that were going to be slaughtered," she said.

A new federal law passed late last year allowed the slaughter of mustangs for the first time since 1971.

Ford officials said the 2,000 wild horses could go to a variety of locations, including American Indian reservations.

Clark said the public-private partnership on behalf of the mustangs "is the kind of effort that will really make a difference."

The BLM oversees some 32,000 mustangs on federal lands in the West and another 22,000 currently in holding facilities.

The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, established by Hyde in 1988, has 400 mustangs on 11,000 acres in southwest South Dakota.

The BLM's mustang program drew controversy earlier this year when it was discovered that some horses the agency sold to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota had subsequently been acquired by a broker and shipped to an Illinois plant for slaughter.

Alerted by Powers, Ford purchased the remaining 52 "Rosebud" horses. Thirty-two of them have been moved to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. The remaining 20 will also go to the sanctuary after being released from quarantine in Illinois.

The nonprofit sanctuary is not receiving any money from Ford to maintain the Rosebud horses, but it can apply to the new public fund, sanctuary spokeswoman Karla LaRive said.

Ford Saves Wild Mustangs From Slaughter

They're now free. Fifty–two wild mustangs first sold for slaughter are running free in KOTA territory.

“We figure we could get a good jump start on saving mustangs and get them good homes,” said Ziad Ojaki of Ford Motor Company.

The grueling trip ended and now they roam freely in their new home, just south of Hot Springs at the Wild Horse Sanctuary.

“We verify that they have the capacity to take care of these animals and that they have pasture and resources,” said Kathleen Clark of the Bureau of Land Management.

Ford Motor Company actually saved the mustangs from slaughter. They intervened after a South Dakota Indian tribe sold the horses to a broker who sent them to an Illinois processing plant. Ford purchased and donated the mustangs to the non–profit sanctuary.

“A good part of our success has been driven by the mustang, so we saw that as a good opportunity to pay back and pay forward,” said Ojaki.

“These animals were sold and became private property, once they were private property there wasn't anything illegal about the tribe trading them nor was it illegal for the broker to take them to slaughter,” said Clark.

Actress and long–time horse advocate Stefanie Powers brought the matter to Ford's attention and persuaded them to ship the wild mustangs. Ford plans to help save about two–thousand nationwide.

“I'm a great lover of horses. I have 26 of my own so to see this event occur is just good news,” said Powers.

The issue drove the Bureau of Land Management to the three U.S. processing plants begging them to refuse to buy horses sold for slaughter. In December Congress replaced the mustang slaughtering ban with a law permitting older and unwanted wild horses to be sold.

“It's difficult to gentle a horse that hasn't been around people, riding, or through a training program then all of a sudden they are 11 years old and it makes it more difficult,” Tom Dyer of the Bureau of Land Management.

"They're beautiful and they couldn't be in a more beautiful setting,” said Ojaki.

Ford established a save the mustangs fund. If you want to learn more about the issue or support the cause you can log on to

Thursday, May 19, 2005

U.S. will resume selling wild horses

The federal Bureau of Land Management will announce Thursday it is resuming sales of wild horses with protections to prevent the animals from being sent to slaughter, the agency's director said Wednesday.

The agency suspended the sales last month after discovering that 41 animals rounded up from Western rangeland had been sold to an Illinois slaughterhouse and processed for meat.

In addition, Ford Motor Co. will pay to transport up to 2,000 horses to Indian reservations and locations run by non-profit organizations. The company will also oversee a "Save the Mustangs" fundraising drive to help groups that adopt the horses pay for their care.

Wild horses are "a beautiful symbol of the Wild West" and an "icon" for Ford, said Jon Harmon, a spokesman for the company whose Mustang sports car has been a flagship brand since 1964.

The government's management of wild horses and burros has long been an emotional issue. The herds have no natural predators, so they can double in size every five years. Wild horses hurt ranchers by competing with cattle for grass on federal rangeland. Animal rights groups, such as the Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates, have pushed for greater protection of the 32,000 horses. The horses numbered 2 million a century ago.

In 1971, Congress recognized wild horses and burros as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West" and passed legislation to protect and manage them. Since then, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has conducted regular roundups. More than 200,000 animals have been adopted by people after demonstrating they provided humane treatment for a year.

In December, Congress for the first time authorized selling the horses and burros if they are more than 10 years old or have been unsuccessfully put up for adoption three times.

Congress is weighing reversing the law. The House of Representatives could vote on the measure as early as today.

The BLM has sold about 1,000 horses since December. It has 22,500 horses and burros in holding facilities; about a third of them are eligible for sale.

Last month, the BLM found that 41 horses in two separate transactions had been sent to the slaughterhouse despite requirements that the animals be treated humanely.

BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said the agency will now impose tougher requirements on buyers, who will have to sign a bill of sale promising not to sell the animals to anyone who intends to process them for commercial products. The document also notifies buyers they could face criminal penalties.

"We are very committed to assuring that the animals affected are placed in good homes that will provide humane, long-term care," Clarke said.

Last month, Ford paid to save 52 horses about to be slaughtered. Those horses were transferred to a sanctuary in South Dakota. Ford launched its program at the urging of actress Stefanie Powers, a longtime animal-rights activist. "Nothing more symbolizes the move West to us as a nation," Powers said.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ford shows its heart with move to save wild mustangs from slaughter

With all the scrutiny of its financial challenges these days, Ford Motor Co. didn't need to buy dozens of wild mustang horses last month to save them from a Midwest slaughterhouse.

After all, the automaker scarcely needs added publicity for its popular Mustang car.

Yet, in dramatic fashion, Ford stepped up and rescued 52 animals after getting an emergency call from distraught government officials at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The horses aren't wandering the grounds at Ford headquarters in Dearborn or at work in photo shoots with Mustang cars.

Ford is seeing to it that they're cared for until they can be transferred to a safe place where they can live out their lives.

Wild mustangs roaming the nation's West have held a special place in American folklore for decades. The creatures symbolize freedom, spirit and wide open spaces -- the same attributes Ford officials say are embodied in the Mustang car.

For 34 years, the horses were protected by law from slaughter, but a provision in the federal spending bill passed in December now allows the sale of older, unwanted mustangs.

Had Ford not responded, the animals -- all at least 11 years old - would have been chopped up for meat and exported overseas.

Ford didn't act because market research showed it would help boost vehicle sales. And Ford officials didn't take an opinion poll before quietly joining with land management officials to develop a new program, to be announced later this week, that will help another 1,000-plus wild mustangs.

This is what a responsible, caring company does, even if some 40 years ago, when Ford's Mustang was named -- after a fighter plane, not the horse -- the automaker never imagined it would be called on in such a way.

In today's cutthroat business world, a lot of corporate managers are tempted to view philanthropy as something that matters only in good times.

Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr., who got letters about the horses, and the company, which received further information from actress and animal rights activist Stefanie Powers, deserve kudos for resisting that notion.

They also deserve praise for moving so quickly -- within a matter of minutes, I'm told -- to respond to what was a very dire situation at the slaughterhouse.

It's obvious that Ford cares about more "than just making cars," said Jeff Rawson of the land management bureau.

The horses are not an isolated example. Through its Jaguar unit, Ford contributes to jaguar cat conservation efforts in Central America -- an initiative now in its third year despite Jaguar's considerable red ink..

Imagine what the big-hearted automaker could do if it had a more secure financial picture.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

McCloud - There Ya' Go! The 'Sagebrush Sherlock Holmes' Is Riding Onto DVD!

We've been telling you for more than a year that McCloud was coming to DVD in 2005, and today Universal has made it official with their announcement of McCloud - Seasons 1 & 2 for release on August 9th in a 3-disc set (each one double-sided). For $39.98 SRP you get 946 minutes containing what ought to be 14 episodes. Why so few for two seasons? Don't forget that McCloud, along with McMillan & Wife and Columbo and sometimes others, were part of a rotating selection of shows that shared a (1.5-2 hour) timeslot under the group name "NBC Sunday Mystery Movie", so each characters' series only appeared every 3rd or 4th week. Prior to that, McCloud was briefly part of NBC's "Four In One" program in the same timeslot, which had the same "rotating shows" concept.

McCloud told the story of one Sam McCloud (played to perfection by Dennis Weaver), a Deputy Marshal from Taos, New Mexico whose pilot episode had him traveling to New York City to transport a prisoner to the NYPD. Later, he stays in the Big Apple to learn law enforcement techniques there (and to be near his lady (Star Trek/ST:TNG's Diana Muldaur), who works for her daddy's NY newspaper), but his down-home style also ends up teaching the big-city cops a thing or two. No only did this classic show work as a great detective story, but there was also lots of humor to be had from the program's fish-out-of-water concept.

Glen A. Larson was one of the Executive Producers of this series, so it's no surprise that you'll find Battlestar Galactica's Terry Carter ("Colonel Tigh") on board as Sgt. Joe Broadhurst, who was friends with McCloud despite Chief Clifford's grouchy manner in respect to Sam's style. Other regular cast seen in the show when appropriate included Teri Garr and Della Reese. The pilot episode (if included on this set) guest stars Julie Newmar and Raul Julia, among others. Throughout the first two seasons you'll also see the likes of Susan Strasberg, Lorraine Gary, Doug McClure, Richard Dawson, Susan St. James, Randolph Mantooth, Sebastian Cabot, Alan Oppenheimer, Elisha Cook Jr., Stefanie Powers, Joan Blondell, Vincent Gardenia, Pat Morita, Burgess Meredith, Gary Collins, Shelley Fabares, Avery Schreiber, Vic Tayback, and the incomparable Milton Berle.

Expect the DVD to present this classic series in the orginal Full Frame video and English Mono audio. English and Spanish subtitles are also going to be included. Stay tuned for box art, plus any updates that may or may not include extras.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Whoa, Boy

Wonder if Janet Jackson's idea of equestrian style will catch on. We hear that her stylist, Wayne Scot Lukas, ordered riding boots for her the other day, along with custom-made half chaps that lace up the back, to go over 4-inch stilettos.

Lukas happens to be a rider himself, currently training with Jonathan Soresi at Soresi Show Stables at North Jersey Equestrian Center. Stefanie Powers flew from California to New Jersey last week to spend a day riding with her boyfriend, Tom Carroll, and Soresi. Carroll's honing his skills in the saddle to be able to keep up with Powers and her polo ponies.

Stefanie, incidentally, has been busy putting in her bit for a forthcoming DVD collection of her and Robert Wagner's vintage "Hart to Hart" series.