Wild Horse Helicopter Stampede. Catoor Livestock image.

Wild Horses: Government transparency and public process jeopardized

Protect Mustangs Press Release

Wild Horse Helicopter Stampede. Catoor Livestock image.
Mustang advocates want 30 days notice for public hearings on use of Helicopters at roundups. Wild Horse Helicopter Stampede. Catoor Livestock image.

RENO (May 28, 2012) — Protect Mustangs has discovered that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) scheduled an important public hearing for 10 a.m. the morning after Memorial Day weekend without adequately notifying the public. The hearing is scheduled for 10-11 a.m., at the BLM Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, in Carson City, Nev.

The wild horse preservation group is requesting the BLM reschedule the public hearing — regarding the use of helicopters and other motorized vehicles for roundups and management — in order to give the public at least 30 days notice.

“What happened to government transparency and public process?” asks Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “With 80% of America’s federally protected indigenous wild horses and burros living on public land in Nevada, the whole country should be given adequate notice to participate in person as well as via email. Most members of the public are against helicopter roundups. Is BLM trying to sneak this by without public input?”

On Saturday, the preservation group’s website alerted the public about the hearing, after they saw it posted in the Mesquite News online.”Through our social media channels the public began to hear about the public hearing that no one knew about,” said Novak. “Even horse advocates in Carson City hadn’t heard about the hearing.”

“I live in Carson City and never heard a thing about a public hearing regarding helicopters and motorized vehicles for roundups and management,” says photographer and wild horse advocate Cat Kindsfather. “People would like to come to the hearing from around the country but they need proper notice.”

“I live in the Carson area and just found out about the Helicopter hearing,” says Craig Downer, author and wildlife biologist. “These hearings are mandated by the law so why aren’t we being informed out them?”

“I live in Reno and only heard about the hearing today when a friend called,” says Terri Farley, author and wild horse and burro advocate. “Mustangs are the people’s horses, but BLM’s stealth meetings make it impossible for us to stand up for their welfare.”

Advocates, as well as members of the public nationwide, would like to attend the hearing but they need 30 days notice to make arrangements.

“I live in Oakland, California and I would like to speak against the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles,” says Kerry Becklund, Outreach Director for Protect Mustangs. “But I need to give my day job notice to take a vacation day.”

“I live in Houston, Texas and work overseas,” says R.T. Fitch, volunteer president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, “Hearing about an important BLM meeting—only a day before it occurs—continues to stack the deck against the horses and burros as our collective voices cannot possibly be present to speak to the issue.”

“I live in Richmond, Virginia and would like to speak at the public hearing against using helicopters but I need adequate notice to make travel plans,” says wild horse advocate Lisa Friday. “30 days notice is standard. Why doesn’t the BLM notify us properly? Is this against the law?”

“I live in New York City and would like to speak at the meeting against helicopter roundups,” says Hope Smith who loves wild horses. “I want to be part of the public process but I need more notice to get out West.”

“I live on 36 acres at the base of the mountains in Arizona and would like to come to the hearing,” says Michael Blake, Academy Award-winner and author of Dances with Wolves. “Helicopter roundups are nothing but incessant warfare against life on earth . . . for money.”

In the letter addressed to The BLM, Novak states, “The requirement for the public hearing was set in place to protect the public’s rights to participate in government and this must not be ignored.”

The BLM press release reads:

    Before helicopters or motorized vehicles can be used, a public hearing is required in order to comply with Section 404 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The BLM proposes to use a helicopter, fixed wing aircraft and other motorized vehicles to estimate population numbers and obtain seasonal distribution information for wild horse and burro herds throughout Nevada. Also proposed is using a helicopter to assist in gathering excess wild horses and burros on gathers and complexes throughout the state during the coming year. The actual number of areas where gathers will be conducted or inventoried will depend on a number of factors including funding.

Members of the public can fax the BLM head office in Washington DC to request the helicopter hearing be rescheduled with a 30 day notice given to the public. The fax number is: 202-208-5242

Controversial helicopter roundups have harassed wild horses and burros—stampeding them for miles, often resulting in lameness and sometimes in death.

Besides being concerned about animal cruelty at helicopter roundups, Protect Mustangs believes that helicopters flying in the desert for days or weeks emit pollution that harms the environment and contributes to global warming. The group believes motorized vehicles damage the ecosystem—hurting many forms of wildlife, such as sage grouse, and other endangered species on the range as well.

The group opposes the use of helicopter and motorized vehicles (except in a state of emergency or for an accurate population head count—not an estimate.)

“If wild horses and burros are facing a water or food emergency then bring it out there but roundups must stop now,” states Novak. “A drought isn’t an excuse for roundups to zero out indigenous wild horses and remove them from their home on public land forever . . .”

# # #

Source: Protect Mustangs Press Release


BLM press release on public hearing for helicopters and motorized vehicles: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2012/may/blm_to_hold_public.html

Letter requesting rescheduling helicopter hearing: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=1409

Protect Mustangs alerts public about Tuesday hearing: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=1385

BLM Director’s Office: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/directory/wo100_dir.html

GAO Report: Aircraft Emissions Expected to Grow, but Technological and Operational Improvements and Government Policies Can Help Control Emissions: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-554

Comments against 3 California Roundups: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=1377

6 thoughts on “Wild Horses: Government transparency and public process jeopardized”

  1. We need adequate notice on public hearings. It can take months to prepare and make time for. Stop rushing your agenda, spiked with special interests, thru. We also need state-wide access and participation on matters concerning federally funded wildlife and land concerns. Wild Horses in Nevada, for example, belong to all Americans and are governed under public legislation. Use the internet and mail!


  2. Barbara Ellen, Tucson, AZ.

    Dear NV. BLM members,

    The BLM intension is only the destruction of a wild horse species?

    If we as advocates were to talk we would want have a discussion of an adult manner. I’m sure we would review the all the seven of the deadly sins and address reasons to move to conservation and natural predictors examples like cougars and nature to have a natural death.

    When we destroy this God’s beauties we will be fracking open doors of hell’s fire. Then some will wondered why Mother Nature actual is shaking us with tremors, title waves and our last breaths of oxygen when we are depleted.

    We need to look at world markets into the future of your species of human animals. I have only seen the butt side of human’s in BLM meetings.

    It might be time to truly depart from BLM /Forest Service/Interior political class system and deafness and have a change of heart.

    Freedom is just not another word and something else to lose. If we lose freedom of speech and wild horse ~ well we are not free. As Madeleine Pickens stated, “The advocates were created by the government and lack of free speech to actually discuss the freedom of generosity about wild horse welfare and to respect their rights (and) our legal rights for wild horses.

    Thank you for any and all consideration……

    Barbara Ellen, Tucson, AZ.
    cc for Craig Downer
    Comments to BLM





  3. Looks like a BLM pattern of behavior designed to minimize not promote public participation (and criticism of a controversial policy that puts millions of dollars into the pockets of private contractors) – short notice, meeting date smacked right up against a holiday or important public event.

    Last year, I was one of three members of the public who attended and spoke out at the BLM helicopter meeting in Susanville, CA. And guess when they scheduled the meeting? Monday, Sept. 12th, right after the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when I guess they hoped everyone would be home watching TV coverage of this momentous event. Those of us who attended also wondered – and spoke up – about why the BLM selected such an out of the way location for a meeting designed to solicit public comment – why not something closer to heavily populated cities? Why not Sacramento?

    Short notice, out-of-the-way locations, inconvenient dates – what does this tell you about the BLM’s real interest in soliciting a broad spectrum of public opinion?


  4. A group of us here in Northern California who love wild horses and burros care enough to get a caravan of Americans (who want a democratic government of the people,for the people and by the people–with 30 days notice before laws are enacted that our taxes have to pay for) want to be at that meeting and each one of us wants to be given the opportunity to speak for our wild horses.


  5. The BLM is not putting out a 30 day public notice with a date of the meeting because they want the world to think that no one is interested enough in the Mustangs to show up. If I remember correctly they pulled that one before.


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