Public lands stole the spotlight during the standoff in Oregon a few months back. Due to conflict between ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management, many question whether the BLM is fit for the job of managing our public lands. For horses sake, I would definitely have to say the BLM is not fit.
What exactly is the BLM up to?
Despite recent disagreements between select ranchers and the BLM, traditionally ranchers and cattlemen have enjoyed a cozy relationship involving leasing public lands. The BLM rents the land and the ranchers gain land for grazing.The BLM has another customer besides ranchers that it fancies–fracking and drilling operations. The BLM favors these customers, while they target one very special resident of our public lands for eviction. If these are our public lands, shouldn’t we the people have a say in the fate of these magnificent animals?
Neither the ranchers nor the BLM seem to have any consideration, concern, or see value in protecting wild horses. To the ranchers, cattle come first and foremost. They don’t believe there’s enough land for both cattle and horses, so the horses have to leave. This is ridiculous, for cows and horses can certainly coexist. Rather than allowing the horses to reside anywhere, the BLM corrals and captures thousands of them at a time by rough and sometimes lethal measures. Then they turn around and sell them at auction, oftentimes to people with bad intentions.
Best Steward of our Public Lands
In light of what occurred earlier this year in Oregon, perhaps times have changed and now both horses and ranchers are losing under BLM tyranny. It’s too sickening and heartbreaking to go into all the BLM has and continues doing to these wild animals, but if you care there’s plenty of information you can find. In my opinion, it’s beyond time that our public lands are put in the hands of people that respect the lands and the creatures who inhabit them. Be it for corruption or wherever their loyalties lay, the BLM cannot be trusted.
SOLUTIONS: HELP PROTECT OUR WILDHORSES
- End BLM tyranny. The Department of the Interior is failing us and has allowed the BLM to become an agency of bullies.
- Help keep the horses wild! You can help make a difference by supporting organizations that do everything possible to protect these wonderful wild animals.
- http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/ The Cloud Foundation, is a Colorado 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, that grew out of Ginger Kathrens’ knowledge and fear for not only Cloud’s herd but other wild horses in the West. “I began to realize that we were losing America’s wild horses,” Ginger says. “They are rounded up by the thousand, losing in an instant what they value most–freedom and family. I realized that even Cloud and his family were in danger.”
(Clip I found on youtube one the best Robert Redford movies, The Electric Horseman)
UPDATE: The Advisory Board for the Bureau of Land Managment (BLM) has recommended euthanizing all 45,000 wild horses currently held by the BLM. Its atrocious that a government agency responsible for the care of these animals, is choosing this course. Only perhaps 70,000 wild horses remain on public lands, as many as 250,000 have long since been captured by the BLM and sold at auction or slaughtered since 1971. It is only because of drilling and cattle lobbying interference and the resultant corruption within the BLM that cattle are permitted on grazing lands while horses are not.
From the soon to be published, Wecology Handbook:
There’s a war happening on our public lands out west—industry vying for drilling rights, cattlemen and ranchers lobbying to ensure their cattle have sufficient grazing grounds, and both determined to push the wild horses out of the way even if it means extinction.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the federal agency responsible for managing America’s wild horses and our public lands continues to struggle with corruption and lack of integrity. Leads one to wonder if the BLM is fit to manage these lands?
While at times there may not be enough food in dry, arid regions to support these animals, if we just let them be they can more than likely figure out how to survive all on their own. Instead our government keeps interfering and trying to manage these wild animals. If the cattle can stay put on our public lands, shouldn’t the horses be allowed to as well? If the BLM must manage them, certainly they can figure out a better solution than removal. Perhaps the cattle ranchers can rotate their herds or adopt more collaborative land use strategies that allows and considers the horses well being too.
Until 2004, wild horses had been protected for over thirty years. The Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act, which granted protection for wild horses, was passed in 1971. Due to some political trickery, former Senator Conrad Burns of Montana officially eliminated protection for our wild horses. Burns claimed that there were too many wild horses grazing on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and not enough food available. That’s ludicrous when you realize that there are between 3 and 4 million cattle eating up our public lands—that’s nearly 150 cows for every horse! Sounds like too many cows. Furthermore, cows moreso than wild horses are responsible for damage to the land and massive depletion of resources. One hundred and sixty million acres of publicly owned grazing land should be able to host numerous animals
Because of Burns and his cronies, between 2005 and 2007, over 30,000 wild horses had been captured and taken to slaughterhouses. Since that time the three slaughterhouses that had existed in the US have closed. Thanks to continued public outcry and pressure on our Senators and Congress, protection for the horses was reinstated successfully in 2007. Nonetheless the corruption with the BLM has continued, perhaps to what extreme we’ll never know. Even as late as November 2015 it was discovered that the BLM sold nearly 2000 horses between 2009 and 2012 to a Colorado rancher who then took the horses to slaughter in Mexico. This is completely unacceptable. Both the BLM and Colorado rancher Tom Davis should be prosecuted.
ENERGY EXPLORATION in WILD HORSE HABITAT
Perhaps one of the major threats and explanation for continued BLM roundups and transfer of our wild horses is the leasing of public lands to oil and gas companies. If the leasing of public lands for energy exploration should continue, then the development of these drilling and fracking sites must have more consideration for the ecosystem and wild animals. That land is still ours, lease or no lease and perhaps we can determine better than the BLM how best it be used.
- Write, call, email, contact the Interior Department and the BLM (the BLM is part of the Interior Department). Request that the agencies more effectively manage the ranges and make decisions that benefit the wildhorses as well! All animals matter, not just cows! Just like good farmers rotate crops, the BLM needs to rotate animals so certain grazing areas do not become depleted and animals do not starve.
- Pressuring from profit-seeking lobbyists must cease. In a democracy, laws are to be made according to majority opinion. Keep lobbyists out of it!
- Michael Markarian, Executive Vice President of the United States Humane Society, suggests using immuno-contraception techniques, which will lead to smaller populations of horses. Furthermore, they could survive in the wild if gathered and transported to areas that are not as depleted, like sanctuaries and horse preserves.
- Follow the evolving horse action in Congress, visit the Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates website, aowha.o rg.
- Adopt a horse if you can. Go to: doi.gov/horse/requirements.htm
- Support the preservation of land for wildhorses and animals of all kinds. Visit the Trust for Public Land today, www.tpl.org
- Discover what you can do to help the horses, visit the Habitat for Horses website, habitatforhorses.org.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Director Neil Kornze
1849 C St. NW
Washington D.C. 20240
National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc. Department of the Interior
9110 East Nichols Ave. Suite 300 Secretary Sally Jewel
Centennial, CO 80112 1849 C Street N.W.
(303)694-0305 Washington, D.C. 20240