A clearer view on the dilemma of wild horses and the BLM

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Today, we have a guest writer – Robert Bauer. Mr. Bauer is a well-known wildlife biologist and long time advocate of the wild horses and burros in the West . He takes apart the justifications the BLM uses for the wild horse round ups. ~ HfH
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From: Habitat for Horses
By: Robert Bauer

wildhorses3The dilemma of the wild horses and burros continues out west, along with the propaganda of the Bureau of Land Management through its wild horse and burro program. Many issues have been addressed, in reference to this, including the unscientific manner in which the BLM has approached the wild horse and burro populations, out on the range. This is important in that the wild horses and burros should be allowed to remain out in the wild, in numbers that nature and its mechanisms dictate. This is the only way to maintain a true thriving natural ecological balance and not one according to the unscientific methods, and data of the BLM. Accurate numbers of the wild ones out on the range are another problem. This remains a significant issue in that the BLM claims populations of approximately 33,000. Using the BLM’s own numbers and simple mathematics, however, reveals an entirely different picture. Factoring in mortality percentages established by a National Academy of Sciences study, along with common sense details which include sex ratios, use of contraceptives and subtracting numbers of horses and burros that the BLM have already rounded up, one comes up with numbers in the very low teens if that. The unscientific concept of the appropriate management level, or AML, still exists. This is based, not upon what forage the wild horse and burros will consume, but how much forage that the BLM are allocating to the wild horses and burros, in comparison to cattle and other species of wildlife. That amount of forage that is allocated is a very, very, small percentage of the overall forage. This is significant in that these HMA’s, in which the wild horses and burros exist, are legally established as areas where the wild horses and burros are the principle species. The small amount of forage allocated to these wild ones translates to a very low appropriate management level, or number of wild horses that the BLM will allow in an area. This is the basis upon which the BLM are constantly crying “overpopulation”, as opposed to nature, that would allow numbers that are far greater. The horrors of the roundups, witnessed by myself, stab the hearts of many. These roundups are downplayed by the BLM as if it were a spectator sport to those who have witnessed them. The question has been posed, as it was during the Wassuk roundup, if those watching were enjoying the “gather” as though it were a baseball game, or a Broadway show. The conditions through which they are rounded up are many times horrendous, however, not to mention the manner in which they are rounded up. Lack of transparency on the part of the BLM, as to what the viewer actually sees also exists. It has been found that many mistakes are made by the BLM, not to mention that a very clear attempt is being made to hide much of what is actually going on. All of this is brought up in overview, as it were, to bring about a couple of important points to challenge the reader.

The question must be raised as to what the underlying foundation is, in the mind of the BLM to justify the roundups. The battle cry of the BLM is, “overpopulation”. This false concept is perpetuated in the minds of the public and governmental figures by the unscientific concept of the “Appropriate Management Level”, from which only a small number of wild horses or burros are allowed in each area. Anything above this is overpopulation in its mind. Exaggerating the numbers of the wild horses and burros, and just plain lying about their numbers, is added to this. This, the BLM continues to reflect in its statistics, not factoring in accurate mortality, sex ratios, and the use of contraceptives. In addition the ages of females, as to when they are able to drop a foal, and the genders of the foals are conveniently left out of the picture. It is true that the atrocities of the roundups must be continually addressed, but the foundation of the roundups is one that we as advocates must keep blasting away at. Proving this will stop the roundups once and for all and as farfetched as it may seem, will prove to be instrumental in the restoration of these wild ones back to the wild, from holding. Their lives are to be carried out in the wild. This is what they are, and what they deserve!

Another challenge must be presented to the reader. This issue is an ethical one. Each one of us who have committed ourselves in this fight for the wild ones must examine our hearts, as to the motives by which we are approaching it. The salvation of the wild horses and burros, out in the wild, in numbers that nature dictates, should be an issue that burns in the heart purely for the well being of these beautiful wild ones. Based upon differing motives, the advocates of the wild ones have been divided, as have their resources, financial or otherwise, making the fight for these wild ones, an unreachable plateau many times. This is opposed to the seemingly unlimited resources of the BLM, the primary one being financial in nature. Yet one thing should stand true with us all, that being a deep desire for these magnificent creatures to be running free and untouched.

Each one of us, who love the wild horses and burros and have experienced them in the wild, could tell you his, or her, own story, as to how they have touched their heart. Like many who stand for these magnificent wild ones, I have looked into the eyes of the wild horses after being captured, or while they stand motionless in holding facilities, and see a drama having played out in their hearts. In holding facilities they are dead inside, their former life and families still in loving memory, now all lost. In the wild, they are alive, not just physically but even more so in hearts. Great band stallions come to mind for me, as is the case for many; The famous Cloud and Conquistador of the Pryor Mt area, Lightning, from the Calico Mt range , El Magnifico, from the Leadville canyon and our beloved, Freedom, from Black Rock East, who courageously escaped the hands of the BLM clearing a 6 ft. panel and bulldozed his way through a barbed wire fence to make it back to the wild. The band stallions are kings of their domain. Some miraculously are still there, in the wild. Most are gone along with their families, and along with the balance that once existed. These and their beloved bands are, as it were, images played over and over in our hearts. We remember, yet they do too! With these thoughts in mind, it is by necessity that we approach the fight for these wild ones with one heart, putting aside self, and joining together resources, both financial and otherwise to win the battle against what seems to be an unstoppable foe, the BLM.

I am aware that there are many facets to this battle, but differences must be laid aside, once and for all, along with the possible desire for fame or fortune, to win. Our hearts must be solely on the lives and freedom of these wild ones. It must burn in us so much that their well being is our only motive, nothing more. Each of us must examine our hearts in this respect. The wild horses and burros are just this, wild, and the conditions in which they thrive in, no matter how mild or harsh is part of the beauty of their existence. This is true of any form of wildlife. Taking them out of this environment is not only destructive to their lives but also to the ecosystem of which they are a vital part.

Together with one mind and one heart this onslaught against the wild horses and burros can be stopped, and their freedom secured, wild, free, and untouched, in the numbers that only nature and its mechanisms dictate. This must be our only focus! I would ask all of us who are in this fight to take these thoughts to heart. Again, the beauty of the wild horses and burros lives in the fact that they are free, carrying out their lives in the wild, untouched by man, no matter how harsh that the conditions may be. This is what they are and why we love them so much! Nature knows very well how to manage the wild horses and burros, in the wild, along with all other interacting forms of wild life. Untouched, left to nature alone, is how they must remain.

~ Robert Bauer




AUTHOR: Posted by Habitat for Horses Calaway
14 Comments
  • Barbara Warner

    How very true. Thank you .

    November 26, 2013
  • Penny Zielstorf

    He Speaks The Truth Mother Nature Will Take Care Of Her Own.Mankind Needs To Quit Playing God For His Own Greed. There Is So Much More To This Horrible Act The BLM Is Doing 1. Why Is The USDA Pushing These Processing Company To Set Up In The USA To Slaughter Horses.
    2. Why Is The Gov Trying To Do Away With The Horses.Bear,Wolf,Big Cats …But Allow Big Cattle Men To Have Freerange.
    3. Fracking Is Coming And It Is Going To Destory Us…

    I Will Never
    Stop Fighting For The animals…

    November 26, 2013
    • Barbara Warner

      Penny, you are so right about fracking and there is little potable water left. It seems Sec. of Jewell supports it. I understood her to say she was unaware of spills and that the companies should do a better job of educating the public as to its safety. She quoted the same old BLM lies about our wild horses and misinterpreted the NAS report also that blamed the removals for the increased birth rate.

      November 27, 2013
  • James Olson

    So eloquent and so true. Thank you.

    November 26, 2013
  • Shelley Sawhook

    When man thinks he/she can do a better job than Mother Nature, it shows how truly narcissistic we have really become. But beyond the BLM’s narcissistic behavior is just flat out screwing things up. I wonder how we as a nation will feel when our very souls are ripped from us because of the loss of our wild horses. It is beyond important that we set aside our differences, band together and protect them. It isn’t about us, it’s about them.

    November 27, 2013
  • Arlene Aquino

    All these knowledgeable people telling the true story of the wild horses and burros, yet not one person in Congress listens to them. The BLM is bought and paid for by big ranchers. Sally Jewell is certainly not worth her paycheck! Big oil, big cattlemen, big money, that is what it is all about. So darned discouraging and the horses pay the price.

    November 27, 2013
  • Robynne Catheron

    PLEASE get this letter to go viral! With Mr Bauer’s permission, every single one of us should forward this to our Senators and Representatives as soon as possible, and also to Ms Jewell and every one of her employees. Maybe we could add our own comments to each of our respective Congressmembers at the end of the letter, imploring that they be the first person powerful enough to topple the evil and rogue BLM fortress. Ask them if they believe they have the clout and intelligence to outwit and outsmart the greedy cattlemen and oil barons who are using their deep pockets to rid our nation of its rich heritage to further their own wealth. I, for one, have tried playing on my state representatives’ compassion and heartstrings often enough to know that it doesn’t work. Maybe if I use their own egos and sense of power to convince them that they’re capable of singlehandedly taking down this corrupt department, it might pump them up and make them feel like battle warriors, ready to take down the wicked, fire-breathing dragons. Who knows, it might work. It certainly can’t hurt.

    November 27, 2013
  • Robynne Catheron

    To start this going viral, let’s post it on Facebook, and asking everyone we know to share and crosspost.

    Jerry, do you think Mr Bauer would consider reading his letter aloud on YouTube? I have no doubt that the his passion would show through, validating his intelligent statements even further.

    November 27, 2013
  • Susan carter

    I am new to this fight. So, perhaps, I see it with fresh eyes. What I have seen ie, yes, a love for the horses but, also, a fragmented effort. So, many different lawsuits, so many individual paths. So many facebook pages and, yes, so many egos! This one fights that one. So many want to be Chiefs, nobody wants to follow. Please, we need to see the top six or seven biggest Groups join together. The Wild Ones are at their darkest hour.

    November 27, 2013
    • Susan, I so agree with you. Organization of efforts is badly needed. The foundations do work together and I think the large organizations/foundations are doing a marvelous job of educating and advocating. The problem is that most are involved with specific herds of the states in which they live or where they have a specific connection, but they have good working relationships for the most part and have been working together against horse slaughter, etc.

      The rest of us, however are just making comments, sharing information and signing petitions which do little if any good. We have a feeling of overwhelming helplessness. I feel strongly, however, that we all have an individual part to play and if we could just come together, write together, bury our elected officials in letters of protest, they will have to pay attention and listen to us. We are, after all, the people that put them in office, even though it would appear they care more for their contributors than they do for their constituents. (I think I have seen your name as Sue Carter on FB, but not sure.) If you or anyone reading this would be interested in working together, in brainstorming, etc. and getting some of our friends to join in, we might make more headway in getting this turned around. Organized as a group of individual wild horse lovers and advocates against the horrific and corrupt behavior of the BLM, we can schedule letter writing, and conduct a people’s campaign against its policies.

      I am trying to organize such a movement on Facebook. We not only can write to our individual state legislators (in both their state and D.C. offices), but to other states representatives where roundups are conducted…and to the White House!

      I have written a letter to President Obama with links to sites of information on BLM activities and am attaching this wonderful document. Going to attach it to all the other letters to Reps and Senators as well. I will use email also, but my main method will be PAPER…loads and loads of snail mail has a visual affect and sends a very strong message.
      If interested, message me at https://www.facebook.com/windsong46

      December 1, 2013
      • Kathleen Hayden

        check out this website for info regarding the effects of genetic bottlenecking: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_bottleneck
        Until wild horse and burro herds are protected by operation/enforcement of ESA and National Historic Preservation Sec 106 laws, the cheerleading organizations can best raise funds to sue for the amendment of resource management plans. Read this case or email me and I will send it to you Case 1984 Mt Legal v DOI 10th Circuit
        740 F.2d 792
        21 ERC 1759, 14 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,687
        In structure and purpose, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act is essentially identical to the Protection of Bald and Golden Eagles Act. 16 U.S.C. Secs. 668-668(d) (1982). The Bald and Golden Eagles Act prohibits possession, commerce, killing or other activities with reference to the bald and golden eagle, whether dead or alive, their eggs and nests, with both criminal and civil penalties for violation. The Act is absolute in its terms except that there is a provision for obtaining a permit from the Secretary of Interior to destroy or remove eagles that are destroying lifestock or agricultural crops. Id. Sec. 668(a). This ameliorative provision is essentially identical to the ameliorative provision of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1334 (1982). Under some circumstances, even the Secretary may not issue a permit for the taking of eagles even if they do damage to animals and crops. See 50 C.F.R. Sec. 22.23(c) (1983).

        December 3, 2013
  • Very well said. Thank you.

    November 27, 2013
  • Kathleen Hayden

    The National Historic Preservation Act is the primary piece of legislation..passed in 1966 which produced the National Environmental Policy Act and other legislation designed to protect the human environment without halting or unduly slowing needed public works and other development. These laws include CLEAN WATER ACT OF 1972, CLEAN AIR ACT OF 1963, ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT OF 1973, NEPA, RECOURCE AND RECOVERY ACT OF 1976 ESA law mandates critical habitat for distinct population segments of special status. species. Resource management plans must be amended to ensure the future of viable genetic herds of Wild and free roaming horse and burro herds by operation of law. This is the legal foundation for repatriation of herds.

    November 27, 2013
  • This man is 100 % right

    November 28, 2013