” Today, I found out about something that is really bad, putting ALL of America’s Wild Horses and Burros in danger. For the last 3 months, we have been opposing SJR007, a Utah Senate Joint Resolution to have states lethally control Wild Horses and Burros. SJR007 is now a thing of the past, because today Representative Chris Stewart and Senator Orrin Hatch introduced an Act (The Wild Horse Oversight Act), that would amend the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Free Roaming Act to have the states and registered Indian tribes, manage our Wild Horses and Burros in America.
This would mean no more BLM management (that follows set HMA regulation standards), but rather the Fish and Wildlife Service managing Wild Horses and Burros along with the States. This would also mean that the States could set the numbers for the amount of Wild Horses and Burros removed from the lands, rather than the Federal Government. If you know how the States operate, you will know that the number of Wild Horses removed would rise drastically, which could result in no more Wild Horses and Burros. Not to mention, it has not been disclosed how the Wild Horses would be removed, if they will be adopted, or even if they will be sold to slaughter. This is an absolutely HORRIBLE THING that we ALL need to act on NOW!!! The main motive that Stewart has is – he thinks there are too many Wild Horses on the land. This is absolutely untrue and unproven! “
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Yesterday, after seeing a photo posted by Patty Summerson-Bumgarner on facebook of a dead mare at Palomino Valley Center, I was urged to contact the correctional facility where the foal was taken. I called them and was told they had no idea what I was talking about. So I called Palomino Valley Center 775-475-2222 Saturday morning at 11:48 AM to ask about the new foal that was born as mentioned in the news report posted by KTVN:
Protect Mustangs™ has started an education and discussion forum on facebook to discuss the use of contraceptives on wild horses and burros.
The forum members have been exploring the pros & cons, myths & facts about Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) currently in use on America’s federally protected wild horses and burros on public lands.
Join the discussion in the group or just read the posts and documents there – it’s an open group and everyone is welcome to post the research they’ve found or just read and learn more about PZP and its various forms (Native PZP, PZP22, ZonaStat), research and study reports and much more.
Join the discussion on Forum on PZP for Wild Horses & Burros on Federal Land
More roundups in Nevada are scheduled to start soon and one of them is Triple B HMA. It’s been more than 3 years since the Triple B roundup in the summer of 2011 – my first roundup! Going to this roundup (BLM speak: ‘gather’) was an eye opener for me and deepened my commitment to speak out about the roundups. [My first posts on this blog were about going to the Triple B roundup!] Continue reading
Wild horse preservationists have called into question the legality of the wild horse roundup in the checkerboard area of Wyoming which began Sept. 15.
Shelly Gregory with the Wyoming High Desert District of the Bureau of Land Management asserts the Wild Horse and Burro Act allows private land owners to request the BLM remove wild horses from their property.
“The BLM is respecting the rights of private land owners to operate their land as they see fit,” Gregory said.
A Stallion’s Courage
Why Did the 2010 Calico Roundup Occur in the Dead of Winter?
Because the contractor didn’t get the holding facility finished until December, instead of September. A contractor with no experience at holding wild horses. The roundup alone cost over $1,000,000 to drive horses at high-speed, young or pregnant, over rocky volcanic ground for up to 10+ miles.
Watch and listen carefully as the video posses excellent arguments about the markings on some of the wild horses and debunks the myth that all the wild horses are descendants of the Spanish horses set free in North America. Continue reading
In the lawsuit by the Rock Springs Grazing Assn against the BLM WH&B program – BLM caved in and agreed with the plaintiff more or less. However, it was the BLM WH&B staff that recommended the Rock Springs grazing association file a lawsuit against the BLM. That lawsuit has got to be the shortest lawsuit in which the BLM was named plaintiff. The lawsuits they aggressively litigate, go on for years and are the ones that wild horse advocates have filed.
The BLM WH&B program has never followed the science, has never asked for or accepted help by those people who really care and know about wild horses and they have loaded their advisory board with ranchers and pro-slaughter folks and not with people who do NOT have affiliation with cattle ranchers or horse slaughter.
This board is totally jaded against wild horses roaming free. BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is an expensive farce and adds insult to injury by their recommendations – the latest one is to export 100 burros to Guatamala where they will become beasts of burden. The BLM has also misconstrued the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro act to suit the ranchers, frackers, miners, timber harvesters and solar farm industries but rarely honestly protect the animals they were charged to protect.
Last night while trying to locate the gather report for the Great Divide Basin I stumbled across this page on the BLM website: Myths and Facts
Many of the ‘Myths’ and facts are BLM interpretations based on the NAS report that was given to the BLM in the summer of 2013. They misconstrued the NAS report that came out last year to fit the needs of their other ‘clients’ who don’t have the same federal protection as the wild horses and burros. Makes me wonder who is filling their pockets?
The BLM stated Myths that are facts and facts which are myths for the most part. Some of their references used below are not reliable sources of information.
Myths and Facts
Contact: Tom Gorey, BLM Public Affairs (202-912-7420)
Updated as of August 15, 2014
Myth #1: A report issued in June 2013 by a 14-member research committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommended that the BLM stop gathering wild horses and burros from Western public rangelands and let nature cull any excess herds.
Fact: These characterizations are completely erroneous. NAS’s Board on Agricultural and Natural Resources (BANR), which oversees the academy’s natural resource studies, issued a special-edition newsletter in July that said: “Some news accounts have incorrectly reported that the study found that the Bureau should stop gathers and ‘let nature cull any excess herds.’ In fact, the report recommends more intensive management of the horses and burros….” BANR then cited several management measures recommended by the report, including using scientifically rigorous methods to estimate the number of animals on the range; modeling the effects of management actions, such as the use of fertility-control treatments on mares and stallions and the removal of animals through gathers, on wild horse and burro health; and, following gathers, using the available one-year fertility-control vaccine (known as PZP) more widely and consistently to treat some mares.
The 383-page report itself, titled “Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward,” makes it clear that to “let nature cull any excess herds” is not a viable option. The preface to the report, which does challenge the status quo of wild horse management, goes on to say in the very next sentence: “It is equally evident that the consequences of simply letting horse populations, which increase at a mean annual rate approaching 20 percent, expand to the level of ‘self-limitation’—bringing suffering and death due to disease, dehydration, and starvation accompanied by degradation of the land—are also unacceptable.”
Myth #2: The BLM is selling or sending wild horses to slaughter.
Fact: This charge is absolutely false. The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management care deeply about the well-being of wild horses, both on and off the range, and it has been and remains the policy of the BLM not to sell or send wild horses or burros to slaughter. Consequently, as the Government Accountability Office noted in a report issued in October 2008, the BLM is not in compliance with a December 2004 amendment (the so-called Burns Amendment to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act) that directs the Bureau to sell excess horses or burros “without limitation” to any willing buyer.
Myth #3: Horses are held in crowded “holding pens.”
Fact: This assertion is false. The BLM’s short-term holding corrals provide ample space to horses, along with clean feed and water, while long-term holding pastures – large ranches located mainly in Kansas and Oklahoma – permit the horses to roam freely on approximately 289,000 acres of grassland.
Myth #4: Since 1971, the BLM has illegally or improperly taken away more than 20 million acres set aside for wild horses and burros (from 53.8 million acres to 31.6 million acres).
Fact: This claim is false. No specific amount of acreage was “set aside” for the exclusive use of wild horses and burros under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The Act directed the BLM to determine the areas where horses and burros were found roaming and to manage them “in a manner that is designed to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands.” The law also stipulated in Section 1339 that “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the [Interior] Secretary to relocate wild free-roaming horses or burros to areas of the public lands where they do not presently exist.” Of the 22.2 million acres no longer managed for wild horse and burro use:
6.7 million acres were never under BLM management.
Of the 15.5 million other acres of land under BLM management:
48.6 percent (7,522,100 acres) were intermingled (“checkerboard”) land ownerships or areas where water was not owned or controlled by the BLM, which made management infeasible;
13.5 percent (2,091,709 acres) were lands transferred out of the BLM’s ownership to other agencies, both Federal and state through legislation or exchange;
10.6 percent (1,645,758 acres) were lands where there were substantial conflicts with other resource values (such as the need to protect habitat for desert tortoise);
9.7 percent (1,512,179 acres) were lands removed from wild horse and burro use through court decisions; urban expansion; highway fencing (causing habitat fragmentation); and land withdrawals;
9.6 percent (1,485,068 acres) were lands where no BLM animals were present at the time of the passage of the 1971 Act or places where all animals were claimed as private property. These lands in future land-use plans will be subtracted from the BLM totals as they should never have been designated as lands where herds were found roaming; and
8.0 percent (1,240,894 acres) were lands where a critical habitat component (such as winter range) was missing, making the land unsuitable for wild horse and burro use, or areas that had too few animals to allow for effective management.
(The percentages above were current as of July 25, 2011.)
Myth #5: The BLM is managing wild horse herds to extinction.
Fact: This charge is patently false. The current on-the-range population of wild horses and burros (approximately 49,200) is greater than the number found roaming in 1971 (about 25,300). The BLM is seeking to achieve the appropriate management level of 26,684 wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands, or about 22,500 fewer than the current West-wide population. The BLM also actively monitors the genetics of each herd by sending genetic samples to Dr. Gus Cothran at Texas A&M University. Dr. Cothran furnishes the BLM a report on every sample with recommendations for specific herds.
Myth #6: The BLM removes wild horses to make room for more cattle grazing on public rangelands.
Fact: This claim is totally false. The removal of wild horses and burros from public rangelands is carried out to ensure rangeland health, in accordance with land-use plans that are developed in an open, public process. These land-use plans are the means by which the BLM carries out its core mission, which is to manage the land for multiple uses while protecting the land’s resources. Livestock grazing on BLM-managed land has declined by 35 percent since 1971 (when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act) — from 12.1 million Animal Unit Months (AUMs or forage units) to 7.9 million AUMs in 2013.
Myth #7: The BLM lacks the legal authority to gather animals from overpopulated herds or to use helicopters in doing so.
Fact: This assertion is false. Section 1333 of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act mandates that once the Interior Secretary “determines…on the basis of all information currently available to him, that an overpopulation exists on a given area of the public lands and that action is necessary to remove excess animals, he shall immediately remove excess animals from the range so as to achieve appropriate management levels.” Section 1338 of the law authorizes the BLM’s use of helicopters and motorized vehicles in its management of wild horses and burros.
Myth #8: Gathers of wild horses by helicopter are inhumane.
Fact: This claim is false. The BLM’s helicopter-assisted gathers are conducted humanely, as affirmed by three recent independent reports (see below), and have proven to be more humane, effective, and efficient than other types of gather methods when large numbers of animals need to be removed over wide areas or rugged terrain. Helicopters start the horses moving in the right direction and then back off sometimes one-quarter to one-half mile from the animals to let them travel at their own pace; horses are moved at a more rapid pace when they need to be turned or as they reach the entrance to the capture site. Helicopter pilots are better able to keep mares and foals together than horseback riders; pilots can also more effectively move the animals around such barriers as deep ravines, fences, or roads.
In Fiscal Year 2012, out of 10,350 wild horses and burros gathered, a total of 80 animals, or approximately three-quarters of one percent (0.77 percent), died or were euthanized during gather operations; of those 80, 22 animals, or about one-fifth of one percent (0.21 percent) of the gathered animals, died or were euthanized because of acute injuries. Acute injury deaths include all animals that died or were euthanized because of acute injuries, such as spinal cord or head injuries, fractured limbs, or other severe injuries that occurred during gathers. Total deaths include all animals that died or were euthanized for any reason during gathers, including acute or sudden injuries or illnesses, as well as chronic or pre-existing conditions that required euthanasia (such as limb deformities, lameness, and poor body condition).
Two reports issued in the fall of 2010 (one by four independent, credentialed equine professionals and one by the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General), plus another report released in 2011 by the American Association of Equine (Veterinary) Practitioners, found — without any ideological or political bias — that the BLM’s gathers of wild horses are conducted in a humane manner. The Inspector General determined that the BLM’s gathers are “justified” and reported that the agency “is doing its best to perform a very difficult job.”
Myth #9: If left alone, wild horses will automatically balance their reproduction rate with rangeland conditions.
Fact: There were an estimated 25,300 wild horses and burros in 1971, and those numbers rose to a peak of more than 60,000 before the BLM was authorized and able to effectively use helicopters for gathers. If left unchecked, Mother Nature would regulate the wild horse and burro population through the classic boom-and-bust cycle, where the population increases dramatically, food becomes scarce, and the population crashes through starvation or dehydration.
Myth #10: The BLM overestimates the number of wild horses and burros on the range.
Fact: This assertion is false. Currently, most BLM field offices in the West use a “direct count” method that involves the counting of each wild horse and burro actually seen during aerial surveys. This method, the Government Accountability Office (in October 2008) and a National Academy of Sciences research committtee (in June 2013) concluded, results in an undercounting of herd populations. A BLM directive, known as an Instruction Memorandum, seeks to correct this undercount by using two principal methods of survey that account for a range of error. The two survey methods, which will be implemented in a multi-step process, are known as “simultaneous double-count” with sightability bias correction and “mark-resight” using photographs. The directive, prompted by the GAO report, can be accessed at this link.
Myth #11: The Government Accountability Office, in a report issued in October 2008, found that the BLM has been mismanaging the Wild Horse and Burro Program.
Fact: This claim is completely false. The GAO made no such finding. The full report can be accessed here: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0977.pdf
Myth #12: Wild horses are native to the United States.
Fact: This claim is false. The disappearance of the horse from the Western Hemisphere for 10,000 years supports the position that today’s American wild horses should not be considered “native.” American wild horses are descended from domestic horses, some of which were brought over by European explorers in the late 15th and 16th centuries, plus others that were released or escaped captivity in modern times. Over this 500-year period, these horses (and burros) have adapted successfully to the Western range. Regardless of the debate over whether these animals are native or non-native, the BLM manages horses and burros on public lands according to the provisions of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, which describes the animals as “wild” rather than feral.
Myth #13: Two million wild horses roamed the United States in the late 1800s/early 1900s.
Fact: This mythical figure has no historical basis; it is complete speculation. In a book titled The Mustangs (1952) by J. Frank Dobie, the author noted that no scientific estimate of wild horse numbers was made in the 19th century or early 20th century. He went on to write: “All guessed numbers are mournful to history. My own guess is that at no time were there more than a million mustangs in Texas and no more than a million others scattered over the remainder of the West.” (Emphasis added.) Mr. Dobie’s admitted “guess” of no more than two million mustangs has over the years been transformed into an asserted “fact” that two million mustangs actually roamed America in the late 1800s/early 1900s. When it comes to the historical wild horse population, a substantiated and more relevant figure is the number found roaming in 1971, when the BLM was given legal authority to protect and manage wild horses and burros. That number was 17,300 wild horses (plus 8,045 burros), as compared to today’s estimated population of 33,780 wild horses (plus 6,825 burros).
Myth #14: Under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, BLM-administered public lands where wild horses and burros were found roaming in 1971 are to be managed “principally but not necessarily exclusively” for the welfare of these animals.
Fact: The law’s language stating that public lands where wild horses and burros were found roaming in 1971 are to be managed “principally but not necessarily exclusively” for the welfare of these animals relates to the Interior Secretary’s power to “designate and maintain specific ranges on public lands as sanctuaries for their protection and preservation” — which are, thus far, the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (in Montana and Wyoming), the Nevada Wild Horse Range (located within the northcentral portion of Nellis Air Force Range), the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range (in Colorado), and the Marietta Wild Burro Range (in Nevada). The “principally but not necessarily exclusively” language applies to specific Wild Horse Ranges, not to Herd Management Areas in general. The Code of Federal Regulations (43 CFR, Subpart 4710.3-2) states: “Herd management areas may also be designated as wild horse or burro ranges to be managed principally, but not necessarily exclusively, for wild horse or burro herds.”
Myth #15: The Code of Federal Regulations (43 CFR) specifies that the BLM is to allocate forage to wild horses and burros in an amount “comparable” to that allocated to wildlife and cattle.
Fact: The Code of Federal Regulations (43 CFR, Subpart 4700.0-6) states that “Wild horses and burros shall be considered comparably with other resource values in the formulation of land use plans.” This regulation means that in its development of land-use plans, the BLM will consider wild horses and burros in a manner similar to the way it treats other resource values (e.g., cultural, historic, wildlife, and scenic, as distinguished from authorized commercial land uses, such as livestock grazing or timber harvesting).