Federal land managers say 14 wild horses were euthanized during a roundup in northeastern Nevada.
The roundup at the Triple B complex north of Ely gathered more than 800 horses to be removed and shipped to holding facilities.
The Bureau of Land Management says the roundups are necessary because there are more horses than the land can sustain.
This is not so. There are not more horses than the land can sustain. Read on.
FEDERAL LANDS — A Perspective
The federal government owns roughly 640 million acres, about 28% of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States.
Four major federal land management agencies administer 610.1 million acres of this land . They are the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS) in the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Forest Service (FS) in the Department of Agriculture.
In addition, the Department of Defense (excluding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) administers 11.4 million acres in the United States , consisting of military bases, training ranges, and more. Numerous other agencies administer the remaining federal acreage.
The BLM manages 248.3 million acres of public land and administers about 700 million acres of federal subsurface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM has a multiple-use, sustained-yield mandate that supports a variety of activities and programs, as does the FS, which currently manages 192.9 million acres.
Most FS lands are designated national forests. Wildfire protection is increasingly important for both agencies.
The FWS manages 89.1 million acres of the U.S. total, primarily to conserve and protect animals and plants. The National Wildlife Refuge System includes wildlife refuges, waterfowl production areas, and wildlife coordination units.
In 2015, the NPS managed 79.8 million acres in 408 diverse units to conserve lands and resources and make them available for public use. Activities that harvest or remove resources from NPS lands generally are prohibited.
Numerous issues affecting federal land management are continuously before Congress.
These issues include the extent of federal ownership and whether to decrease, maintain, or increase the amount of federal holdings; the condition of currently owned federal infrastructure and lands and the priority of their maintenance versus new acquisitions; and the optimal balance between land use and protection, and whether federal lands should be managed primarily to benefit the nation as a whole or to benefit the localities and states.
WE’VE BEEN THERE
Various individuals who work and volunteer for The Fund for Horses (The Horse Fund) have viewed great pieces of public lands managed by the BLM over the course of 15 years. They viewed these public lands by both helicopter and light plane.
It is virtually impossible to get across to anyone who have not seen the vastness of these areas just how immense federal lands are.
You can fly for large chunks of time — sometimes hours — and see absolutely nothing but land as far in any direction as your eye will take you.
A huge chunk of federal lands managed by the BLM are where our wild horses and burros roam.
ROOM FOR OUR WILD ONES
How is it possible there is room for cattle ranchers, miners, drillers, and all the rest, yet not space for our wild horses and burros, somewhere — no matter how remote? We do not care.
Our wild horses and burros would acclimate themselves. It may be unsettling at first. However they would survive.
It would be much better for our wild horses and burros to remain free roaming, even if it meant being captured and re-released, no matter where it was, than being robbed of their precious freedoms, breaking up their bands and confining them to holding facilities often in unsafe and deplorable conditions. Certainly anything must be preferable to submitting them to a brutal and terrifying death by slaughter. Castrating their males. Yanking the ovaries out their females.
We asked BLM personnel why this was not a workable solution, one that could surely offend no one and possibly delight quite a few.
The BLM spokesperson replied that the Department of Interior would not want wild horses and burros removed from their designated, herd management areas and moved to vast open spaces where the BLM might find it difficult or impossible to track and “manage them”. That they told us would be in direct opposition to the 1971 The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
At any rate, it seems obvious to us that they could simply do fly overs (like the ones we went on) once or twice a year to see where the bands were and report on their size and condition.
Certainly this is doable and good economics. Would this not also benefit America’s public lands? Wild horses and burros actually refurbish the land, not destroy it leaving it barren the way say, cattle do.
Mostly importantly of all, this would mean no more deaths like those of the 14 murdered Triple B wild horses. At least out in the wild, our mustangs and burros have a fighting chance to survive.
At long last we finally won some introductions, and caught the ear of some valuable people at the Department of Interior. They have been much more receptive to our ideas than the BLM have been. Please chip in with a contribution, any amount, to help keep us in nation’s capitol and active on behalf of our wild horses and burros, domestic horses, racehorses and walking horses. There’s a lot to do!
Thank you for your generosity and support.