Excerpt cross-posted from Denver Westward Blogs
Written by ALAN PRENDERGAST | 14 June 2010
THE SALAZAR PLAN
I read with interest the following paragraphs in a post entitled, “Ken Salazar: Frustration riding high over his wild horse plan.”
Declaring that the Bureau of Land Management’s 40-year effort to protect and manage wild horses and burros on public lands had been ineffective, last year Sheriff Ken unveiled the Salazar Initiative, a $100-million proposal for aggressive population control that includes fertility drugs and relocating thousands of excess horses to pastures and “preserves” in the Midwest and East.
In an attempt to win support for the Salazar plan, BLM’s National Wild Horse and Advisory Board held a public workshop at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Denver, drawing participants from across the country. But the conversation among grazing interests, horse lovers, conservation agencies, lawmakers and others, while mostly cordial, also illustrated just how complex the problem is–and how impotent the feds have been in devising decades of management strategies that simply haven’t worked.
The BLM plan to designate “treasured herds” in order to attract ecotourists, for example, was met with skepticism by all sides. Some questioned whether that meant undesignated herds would suffer or if such status could be conveyed without changes in the 1971 law extending protection to wild horses and burros. The costly plan to develop preserves for rounded-up horses also raised more questions than answers; while the current system has placed almost as many horses in long-term holding pens (at astronomical expense) as the 38,000 still on the range, most of the folks at the workshop suspect the cash to acquire and develop preserves would be better spent improving BLM’s current rangelands.
By far the sorest point, though, is the battle over what constitutes a “sustainable” herd. The BLM is intent on more round-ups and fertility control in order to avoid a nightmare scenario; one official projected that, unless aggressively managed, the herds would swell to 76,000 horses in another four years, requiring a 16,000-horse roundup every year just to keep at that level. READ MORE >>
Wait a minute. 16,000 every year? Wouldn’t they have to wait another four years for there to be 76,000 again?
THE GRANT PLAN
I have a great idea for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) who exposed themselves to the public for two days in Denver last Monday and Tuesday.
- Call a moratorium on all roundups of America’s wild horses and burros.
- Cease and desist with birth control.
- Return all wild horses and burros in long-term holding facilities back to their original herd management areas, including the Calico horses.
- Revisit the situation in four years.
- Conduct an independent aerial survey of how many wild horses and burros are actually on public lands.
- If there are indeed 76,000 horses or more, remove enough cattle to make way for these wild horses and burros who are protected by law.
- Give notice to the welfare cattle ranchers — not the small ones, but the corporate ones — they may need to up stakes and move in four year’s time.
Think of all the taxpayer money that will save. How many millions would that be? I don’t know. My math skills are about as good as the BLM’s, but it must be substantial.