BLM’s proposed 2018 budget includes provision for unlimited sale of wild horses

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), tasked with the management of America’s wild horses and burros on public lands, released its proposed budget for 2018 which includes a $10 million reduction for its Wild Horse and Burro Management Program and the ability to conduct sales without limitation. View Budget Justification Document (pdf, 11 pp).

In the overview section of its justification document they state:

The BLM also proposes to address the explosive cost growth in the Wild Horse and Burro Management program.

The BLM then calls for a $10 million reduction in spending on its Wild Horse and Burro Management Program stating:

The consistent growth in annual costs for the program is unsustainable and constrains the Bureau’s ability to effectively address competing uses of public lands, as the number of animals on the range and BLM holding facilities grows.

To accomplish its proposed $10 million budget reduction, the BLM suggests:

As such, the budget proposes to give BLM the tools it needs to manage this program in a more cost-effective manner, including the ability to conduct sales without limitations.

In a BLM press release they make it even clearer stating its 2018 budget plan would allow for the humane euthanasia and unrestricted sale of “excess animals.”

The unrestricted sales of excess animals of course opens the door to slaughter.

In its budget justification the BLM discusses further funding decrease methods:

The remainder of the funding decrease will be achieved by reducing gathers, reducing birth control treatments, and other activities deemed inconsistent with prudent management of the program.

The proviso “other activities deemed inconsistent with prudent management of the program” could meaning anything and is dangerous language.

The BLM have demonstrated throughout its history that their idea of wild horse and burro management is to get rid of them any way they can.

The motivation is of course this recurring theme — “competing uses of public lands”.

This is a problem the Department of Interior and its Bureau of Land Management have created for the wild horses and burros. Not the other way around.

There are so few remaining wild horses and burros.  In the vastness of America’s public lands, how can they possibly be troubling anybody? They cannot.

No one who has witnessed their destruction over the decades would think there is a federal law protecting them.

“Competing uses” is chiefly — if not entirely — about the ranchers grazing their livestock on public lands, particularly the corporate billion dollar “welfare” ranchers who are leasing these lands for a song and now using their clout on the Hill to destroy what is left of America’s free-roaming wild horses and burros. They are the ones making the loudest and possibly the only noise on “competing uses”.

There’s more. These factions who favor the “unrestricted sale” of wild horses are doing so in anticipation of the return of horse slaughter to U.S. soil in 2018.

Take Action

Contact your federal lawmakers — including your Representatives and both U.S. Senators — and tell them you oppose the Bureau of Land Management’s 2018 budget proposal that would allow them to sell America’s wild horses and burros without limitation and ask that this language is removed.

This is an instance where your lawmakers must hear from you directly. Call them or use their online contact form. However, calls are really most urgently required.

Calling and Contact Forms

If you know your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators, call them via the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Or use the Senate Phone List or House Phone List to find their phone numbers. These lists also provide a link to their website which hosts their contact forms.

If you do not know who represents you in Washington, use the links below.

U.S. House

Find Your U.S. RepresentativeYou will need your zip code +4.

U.S. Senate

Find Your U.S. Senators.

Summary

Your call should sound something like this:

• I am opposed to language in the BLM’s proposed budget for 2018 that allows the unlimited sale of our wild horses and burros which exposes them to slaughter.

• I am opposed to language that the remainder of the BLM’s funding decrease will be achieved “by other activities deemed inconsistent with prudent management of the program”.

• Please see that this language is removed from the BLM’s 2018 Budget.

Note: If you have signed a Petition, that is not enough. Please contact your lawmakers directly. Thank you.

Wild Horse War Chest

Please donate to help us fight hard in Washington D.C. for our wild horse and burros. Every dollar you give is enormously helpful in these critical times. Thank you!

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Captured Mustangs. Google search result. Unattributed photo.

Wild horse populations in Oregon on the rise says the BLM

The BLM says Oregon’s wild horse and burro populations are greater than the rangelands can handle in balance with other public land uses.

PORTLAND, Ore. (May 16, 2017) — Amanda Peacher reporting for the Associated Press writes:

New numbers from the Bureau of Land Management show Oregon’s wild horse and burro populations are on the rise.

There are an estimated 4,351 wild horses and burros on Oregon’s rangelands. That’s up more than 13 percent from last year’s population. And it’s far more than the number of horses the BLM says the rangelands can handle in balance with other public land uses.

Wild horses are protected under a 1971 Congressional Act, which makes it illegal for the government to euthanize them to keep populations down. But the horses cause big problems on the rangelands when they chomp down native grasses and cause erosion.

The BLM wants to try new birth control methods for wild horses — including capture and sterilization — but those methods have been protested by animal rights advocates.

The BLM says the appropriate population number is 2,715 for Oregon’s rangelands.

What do you think — especially coming from Oregon? We know what we think.

Notice the key words, “far more than the number of horses the BLM says the rangelands can handle in balance with other public land uses“. Italics added. With other public land uses. That sums it up in a nutshell.

How does Oregon want to purge its ranges of wild horses since they can’t kill them the way they want to? Capture and sterilization. Does the bad news ever end?

Oregon should hang its head in shame for continuing to harass and shake its death rattle at America’s iconic Mustangs who belong exactly where they are and if it weren’t for the continued encroachment of these “other land uses” into their territory, there would be enough room for everyone.

The tragedy is — and one you do not often see mentioned anywhere but here — there still is room for everyone.

Many of the herd management areas that the BLM have emptied out of wild horses and burros for “other land uses” are still empty.

The wild horses and burros they removed are either languishing in long-term holding, their lives irretrievably broken, or dead, some slaughtered for their meat. Or what seems to be the rarest of all outcomes, adopted.

In case you need reminding. Your tax dollars are paying for this barbarity.

Amanda Peacher should hang her head in shame for writing such a jaded one-sided article. Perhaps that’s unfair. She probably didn’t write it at all. The Associated Press which used to be a highly relied on and valued purveyor of news seem to have become little more than a press release distribution service.

Learn more about Oregon’s disappearing wild horse population at Oregon Public Broadcasting. It is beautifully done. They even have a population counter for the number of wild horses in the wild and in holding, plus how much it is costing.

The case of a young Oregon Mustang they call Blue Eye paints an oft repeated scenario of what happens to these wild horses once they have been taken from their homes and end up in a BLM corral:

Blue Eye, like all the horses in short-term corrals, faced three strikes. The BLM would offer him for adoption three times.

If no one took him, he would be trucked far from his native high desert to long-term holding. The BLM rents pastures in states like Oklahoma and Kansas where old or unadoptable horses spend the rest of their lives.

Yet . . . 

The crisis, [BLM’s Rob] Sharp says, is “absolutely preventable.”

Blue Eye was caught in the middle. The young foal would never go back to the range. He faced the two options BLM most often relies on: adoption or exile to pastures in the Midwest.

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BLM captures 155 wild horses in Oregon, Sept. 4, 2016. Source: Return to Freedom.

Meat Out for Mustangs: Week 3

Wild horses wander in the Sand Wash herd management area 45 miles west of Craig, Colo., in the Sand Wash Basin. Joe Amon, The Denver Post.
Wild horses wander in the Sand Wash herd management area 45 miles west of Craig, Colo., in the Sand Wash Basin. Joe Amon, The Denver Post.

MEAT OUT FOR MUSTANGS — We are hosting a “Meat Out for Mustangs” campaign the whole month of May.

The purpose of “Meat Out for Mustangs” is to catch the attention of those grazing livestock on public lands who are working to remove and wipe out the nation’s wild horses and burros.

Eat a Burger. Kill a Mustang?

U.S. wild horses and burros are protected by the Free-Roaming Wild Horses & Burro Act of 1971 (8 pp, pdf) and overseen by the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program in conjunction with several other State and federal agencies.

The wild horses and burros free-roaming U.S. public lands have many antagonists but we will deal with the two most obvious for the purposes of this campaign.

First up of those seeking the removal and destruction of America’s wild horses and burros typically come from cattle ranching families who have leased public lands for generations to the degree they think they actually own the land. They loathe the idea of these wild equines sharing their lands with them and view them as an imposition on their perceived rights.  These cattle ranching families are deadly enough.

The second group is equally deadly. It is made up of billionaire ranchers who use their economic and political clout to get extensive use of public lands while promoting the removal and destruction of the wild horses and burros potentially giving them access to even more.

Ellen Cathryn Nash contributed a paper about this second group to the Fund for Horses called “Rolex Ranchers and the Living Legends” in 2005.

The subtitle to Nash’s paper states: “10% of BLM Land Lease Subsidy Recipients are Billionaires and Control 65% of all BLM Lands”.  65%! It is highly likely it is even more now. Here are a few of the billionaire welfare ranchers Ms. Nash listed:

Ted Turner
Baron Hilton
Mary Hewlett-Jaffey
JR Simplot
Annheiser-Busch
Hunt Oil Company of Dallas

Nash also points out how the U.S. taxpayer is subsidizing these groups of people.

“The Public Lands Ranching Organization reports that the federal grazing program operates at a loss, costing taxpayers at least $500,000,000 annually. This figure includes direct program costs and millions of dollars spent on emergency feed, drought and flood relief, and predator control to support or mitigate damage from public lands grazing.”

By the way the damage from public lands grazing is caused by the cattle, not the free-roaming wild horses and burros as is often falsely stated by their antagonists.

Ten years later Nash’s report, Vickery Eckhoff wrote an article entitled “Wild horses, federal grazing and America’s billionaire welfare ranchers“. The subtitle to Ms. Eckhoff’s report reads, “America’s .01 percent like the Kochs and the Hiltons are collecting massive subsidies from the federal government.”

Here is Eckhoff’s list of billionaire welfare ranchers:

David and Charles Koch (Koch Industries)
J.R. Simplot Corp.
Bruce McCaw (McCaw Cellular)
Barrick Gold
Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA)
W. Barron Hilton (Hilton Hotels)
Mary Hewlett-Jaffe (Hewlett-Packard)
James Barta (Sav-Rx.com)
T. Wright Dickinson
Stan Kroenke (Kroenke Group) & Ann Walton Kroenke (Walmart)
Family of Robert Earl Holding (Sinclair Oil and Hotels)
Ted Turner

Profits, Losses and Expenses

According to the USDA cattle ranching on public lands contributes a “substantial portion” to the U.S. beef market, however the official making this statement would not give us the numbers.

However much they are selling it is safe to conclude that everyone is making a tidy profit from the beef they sell at the expense of the taxpayer and the safety of the country’s wild horses.

In her article Eckoff also talks about the cost to the taxpayer and damage caused by welfare ranchers grazing their livestock on public lands:

“The .01 percenters are the nation’s biggest welfare ranchers, according to numerous environmental and policy groups; and it’s time they brought some attention to themselves and the federal grazing program they’re exploiting to the tune of an annual estimated one billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies while causing long-term damage to one of the public’s most treasured assets.”

It doesn’t end there for the taxpayer.

The federal government wastes millions of taxpayer dollars year after year on needless, dangerous, herd-destroying management tactics in order to serve the land up to welfare ranchers. Then they spend millions more stockpiling the same wild horses and do so while ludicrously complaining about the expense — as if it’s the horses’ fault.

Meat Out for Mustangs

Enough is enough. Let’s grab their attention if we can while there is still a chance of saving country’s remaining wild horses and burros.

Here’s how. Give give up meat or try a vegan diet. If you cannot give up meat altogether then give up beef — or any variation of the three for the month of May.  It is never too late to join this campaign. Start right now. Take the pledge today.

More to Come

Meat Out for Mustangs is so popular that you have been asking us if we will please continue it in some way when May is over. We are putting our heads together and come up with a plan, and will announce it at the end of the month. In the meantime, thank you and “meat out”.

Are you a vegan so think there’s nothing for you to do? One enterprising advocate got 14 people in her workplace to pledge: 2 giving up beef, 5 giving up meat and the remaining 7 experimenting with a vegan diet. And they aren’t all ladies either — 6 men and 8 women — and she reports they are all feeling great for it. Tell us how you are inspiring others via email or in comments.

Inspiring Words

“START WHERE YOU ARE
USE WHAT YOU HAVE
DO WHAT YOU CAN”
— Arthur Ashe

Related Reading

Meat Out for Mustangs, Week 1 »
Meat Out for Mustangs, Week 2 »

Recipes

Vegan recipes here on Tuesday’s Horse »
Vegan recipes on our Pinterest page »

PZP and the Pryor Mountain Herd

Marybeth Devlin writes following concerning the Pryor Mountain Herd and the use PZP*:

The issue underpinning the use of PZP and the continuing cycle of removals of wild horses from the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range is: Whether there are excess wild horses. No, there aren’t. BLM creates the illusion of an overpopulation by administratively setting the maximum herd-size below minimum-viable population. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature determined that, if a herd were managed carefully per a stud-book, it could sustain itself genetically at a minimum of 500 individuals. Compare that number to BLM’s maximum: 120.

In fact, according to the latest genetic analysis, the Pryor Mountain herd is evidencing “a general trend for a decline in variations levels of the herd.” The recommendation was to “increase population size.” Yet, BLM stubbornly insists on its own failed approach of artificially limiting herd-size, declaring that it disagrees with the scientific “interpretation.”  Continuing reading  »


* Porcine zona pellucida is a form of zona pellucida extracted from the ovaries of pigs, often referred to by the initials PZP. It is a popular source of antigens for immunocontraception [1].  Porcine zona pellucida has been used in wildlife contraception since the late 1980s. Animals with which PZP has been employed in this context include elephants, feral horses [2], elk and whitetailed deer.

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Pryor Mountain wild horses. Photographer not specified. Google search image.