Saturday, March 8, 2008

Last of the Spanish Mustangs

Len Johnson's "Last of the Spanish Mustangs" is a recently released powerful documentary on America's wild horses and the road traveled by America's horses to the slaughterhouse.

Len describes his 20 years experience in broadcast and print and working as an anchor and reporter in Chicago, Phoenix and Baltimore that eventually drove him to making documentaries, "I have a degree in journalism and find that while you can tell a few good stories in television news, you never really get to tell the REAL story. That is what I want to do" and do it he does!

Here are a few excerpts for "Last of the Spanish Mustangs" website found at:

"I started out wanting to tell the cowboy’s side of wild horses. I wanted to follow a Bureau of Land Management “cowboy” on a roundup. I had been told the wild horse population was exploding. I was told wrong."

"This documentary centers on the Cerbat mustangs in Arizona, which face heavy kill from mountain lions and the constant threat of government removal. The BLM estimates their numbers at around 90...but there are really around 40 at the most. I go up there to see the animals. The BLM doesn’t, by their own admissions. At times, the BLM will round up a Cerbat if a rancher complains, and it is my belief that the herd will be gone in 20 years."

Having personally seen "Last of the Spanish Mustangs", I found it extremely well done. Mr. Johnson's courage allows us to go along for the ride as he finds the Cerbat Spanish Mustangs of Arizona and gets to know the herds, shows the corruption and obstructionism of state and federal law enforcement officials, slaughter plants, and the BLM throughout his journey as he travels to find and show the American public the truth behind what is really going on with America's horses.

As "Last of the Spanish Mustangs" has been making the rounds at film festivals known for quality journalism and documentaries, it was recently awarded the Special Jury Award at the Temecula International Film Festival and has been greeted with rave reviews.

Here is what the Santa Fe Film Festival had to say about this gripping documentary that clearly shows much of what America's horses, both wild and domestic, face today.

Santa Fe Film Festival
"Former television reporter Len Johnson looked into society's fascination with wild horses, specifically mustangs, and learned that most Americans are devoted to the myth of wild mustangs but not the reality. The myth: Wild and free, roaming the West, untamed, exultant in their own wildness and power. The reality: These horses are dwindling descendants of Spanish mustangs, treated with contempt by those charged with their care, hunted and slaughtered for dining tables abroad."

"Through interviews, extant footage and a gonzo documentary style that owes a lot to Michael Moore, Johnson is fearless (for he learns the West is dangerous) in researching and filming the plight of many horses and especially Spanish mustangs. Their heroes: People like Michael Blake, the author of DANCES WITH WOLVES, and Jim Baca, former mayor of Albuquerque . . Their enemies: mainly the Bureau of Land Management, which originally was called the U.S. Grazing Service and fronts for big cattle interests."

"There are scenes of horse slaughtering and processing from the three US plants -- two in Texas and one in Illinois . The result is a powerful documentary, packed with information, on an issue that most of us avoid." – Steven Davis

And Cinequest Online said:
"A new law railroaded through Congress by a Montana senator allows wild horse slaughter for the first time in over three decades. The government and politicians claim the horses are overpopulating and have no natural predators. The government lies. Blatantly."

At the Last of the Spanish Mustangs website, read Tense Moments as Len describes his treatment at the hands of Richard Sichling when he tried to get near the Pacific Livestock Company, or Baxter Black – the cowboy poet veterinarian who supports wild horse slaughter, or how commercial mainstream media was allowed to film while Mr. Johnson was told to stop!

This DVD is a must have for anyone interested in connecting to the majesty and spirit of our wild horse herds and seeing the truth of what is being done to America's horses behind the publics back.

Reasonably priced at $16.99 a companion DVD, Wild Spanish Mustangs is also now available for only $12.99. Len said "because so many people asked him about what it was like being around wild horses and where to find them that, I thought I'd offer a second DVD of just wild horses in the wild."

To learn more about this rare and courageous documentary or to order a your own personal copy of "Last of the Spanish Mustangs" or "Wild Spanish Mustangs". You won't be disappointed!

Thank You Len!

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