Friday, November 14, 2008

Wild Horses - still slated for euthanasia

I guess they figure we will be distracted by the election, economy and the holidays...
From the Cloud Foundation:
The National BLM Advisory Board for the Wild Horse and Burro Program will hold a meeting on Monday, November 17th in Reno, Nevada and will discuss the BLM euthanasia plan. The public is encouraged to attend and share their comments.

“This board is stacked against wild horses,” says Carol Walker, equine photographer and author of Wild Hoofbeats. “It is possible that they will condone euthanasia for healthy wild horses that belong to the American people,”

Over 19 million acres originally designated for wild horse use are currently empty of horses. The Cloud Foundation recommends the return of healthy wild horses to these ranges wherever possible. “Without immediate action to stop the BLM from continuing to mismanage wild horses, America may lose its mustangs forever,” Kathrens concludes.

Time to call and write. These are your horses, and they've got land we set aside for them, a fact ignored by the GAO report (who's methodology was focused on talking to the BLM which is leasing land to cattle ranching. Hmm. wonder why they are trying to get rid of 30,000 horses).

Here's a good news story from Salt Lake Trib on the GAO study.

an excerpt:
But Karen Sussman, president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros - the South Dakota nonprofit group that initiated and helped push through the 1971 law - said Monday that the BLM has acted illegally by rounding up the horses without first determining whether they had damaged the range.
Sussman said a 1990 GAO report recommended that the BLM also curtail the number of livestock on the range. "If you want to improve habitat," she said, "you need to remove livestock."

From Newsweek:
What are the biggest threats to the wild horse population?
I think it comes down to mismanagement. Study after government study, dating back to the Teddy Roosevelt administration, shows that it's livestock grazing that does the most damage to the range, not wild horses. You can't say that 20-something-thousand horses are doing more damage to the land than 4 million cows. Yet the Bureau of Land Management claims that wild horses are overrunning the West and that there is an "overpopulation" problem. It's simply not true. The only place there is an overpopulation problem is in government corrals—because the horses shouldn't have been removed from their home turf in such great numbers to begin with.

Then what's spurring the BLM to cut herd sizes?

There are a number of factors. The livestock lobby regards mustangs as pests, animals that steal food from cows, and since members of the lobby lease federal land for ranching, they pressure the BLM to curb the wild mustang population. There are also a lot of other things happening on public lands these days: increased oil and gas drilling, mineral leases, development. The BLM is supposed to determine how many wild horses as well as cows and sheep the range can support with range studies, but these are not always up to date. What this all comes back to is mismanagement: The fox is guarding the henhouse.

Readers comments from news stories around the country:

The real question is why are these horses in captivity in the first place? They are supposed to be protected on the 34 million acres allotted for them by Congress. Less than 15,000 are left on that land. And that's only 1/2 of 1% of BLM land! This certainly doesn't seem like what the 1971 law intended. Mining, energy and cattle interests have hijacked the BLM process that should have protected these animals. A better solution than shooting them would be to let some go and have the BLM partner with private interests to manage reserves for the horses and burros. You can go to to find out more about what can be done. Doing anything will take time but if the BLM kills them, that's an irreversible loss.

here's another:

The cattle out number the wild horses and burros 400 to 1 on OUR federal land. Their land is being dwindled away by mineral extraction, sheep, cattle, industry & development.

We just need them to get these horses, our horses, back on the land we established for them and stop caving in to the cattle ranchers, miners and developers.
(Here's a cool blog I found about a man who has adopted and trained wild mustangs. Gorgeous photography too).


Eric Clayton said...

Very nice to meet ya, thanks for the comments. Glad to have found your blog, looking forward to reading from this point on. :) That Mustang picture is amazing, one of my favs. Have a great night.


Breathe said...

It's an incredible picture - the Utah news should get a pulitzer for it! Look forward to more updates on Sawyer and Gus...