BLM Works the Media
August 27, 2013
Statements made by the inner circle at the BLM have left no doubt that their goal is to “humanely euthanize” (pronounced “slaughter”) a large number of America’s wild horses. The recent push of stories into the media of budgetary crisis, emergency roundups and overcrowded holding facilities are ending with a sentence or two of the same conclusion – slaughter may be the only answer.
Of course that’s not true, but it’s a way to manipulate public thinking and designed to lead the public into agreeing. Just like the “unwanted and starving” horses that the pro-slaughter folks have long pushed on us, the PR pros want the American public to see the looming crisis as one not of the BLM’s making, but as a public service agency being forced into making the decision to slaughter.
The Washington Post came out with this story yesterday, “The West is on the brink of a wild horse apocalypse. (No, really.)” Within that story are some amazing BLM supplied “facts” such as, “There are currently some 33,000 wild horses roaming freely on public lands…”
Horse advocates estimate that there might be as few as 20,000 left. We know of roundups that have been cancelled because the BLM could not find any wild horses. Part of several lawsuits, one in which Habitat for Horses became involved, disputed their counting methods completely.
“Congress has largely restricted the slaughter of healthy horses.” Actually false. Thanks to Senator Burns, who stuck in the Burns Amendment in the middle of the night to an appropriations bill, any captured horse over 10 years of age or that has been up for adoption 3 times is available for immediate sale.
The article then discusses long tern “retirement” facilities and says, “There are now 45,000 horses in these facilities…” Probably wrong again, but we don’t know, thanks to the BLM’s transparency, which is about equal to a lead wall. The public is not allow on these ranches, so while payments are being made, we have no way of accounting for those horses other than simply accepting what the BLM says.
“BLM has announced that it will remove fewer horses from public lands. At the same time, the wild horses keep breeding, with unmanaged herds able to triple in size in just six to eight years.” – Please, and I keep asking, would someone tell me how a herd of 100 horses will turn into 300 in six years? That would happen only if every foal was born alive, no horses died and no predators existed. The BLM keeps chanting that herds double every four years. The National Academy of Science says if the BLM would simply leave them alone, herd size would stabilize in a very short time.
It makes one wonder how we have avoided being overtaken with sage grouse, big horn sheep and prairie dogs. Through some form of magic, nature has a way of managing species population – provided humans with all our wisdom don’t get involved, but that’s another story.
The article goes on to quote Robert Garret and Madan Oli of the University of Florida (Is this the new center for wild horse research?) who tell us of the looming disaster. “But what do we do when animals are destroying rangeland, competing with livestock and other wildlife and dying due to starvation and drought?” ask Garret.
Wait… Competing with livestock? Isn’t this land that was designated for the wild horses in 1971 in the Wild Horse and Burro Act? Did I miss something about welfare ranchers being far more important than horses? Once again, the beef industry pokes up it’s ugly head.
Then comes the contraceptive concept. Stick every mare on the range with PZP every few years. “But contraception by itself, they note, is insufficient. BLM would also need to remove many of the existing wild horses from public lands to bring the base population down to around 23,622.”
Now that, America, is being scientific! Exactly 23, 622 horses. No plus or minus a few, but exactly that number. I am totally and completely amazed, as I know you are. However, once again I feel forced to point out that there is no true or accurate accounting of the numbers of existing wild horses.
Now comes the zinger – “Or — and this is a grislier possibility — the government could kill off thousands of healthy horses.”
Giving credit to the writer of the article, Brad Plumer, for adding this to his article later:
“Here’s an additional point from the American Wild Horse Preservation Center. Using BLM figures, the center estimated that about 82.5 percent of the forage in wild horse herd management areas is actually reserved for livestock grazing, while just 17.5 percent of the forage is allocated to the horses themselves. So another possible option to alleviate overcrowding could be to scale back livestock grazing on public lands. That’s likely to be controversial among ranchers, but it’s worth noting.”
There is a place for comments on this article at the Washington Post, and I hope you make your thoughts known. CLICK HERE
Then if you REALLY want to make a statement, take a PLEDGE in the face of the beef industry and let them know that not another ounce of their product will cross your lips until they stop supporting slaughter. This article makes it clear that the welfare ranchers, meaning the beef industry, want the land for themselves and want the horses gone forever. Why put another dollar in their pocket when they are fighting the S.A.F.E Act? CLICK HERE to read about the PLEDGE and HERE to sign the PLEDGE and let your voice be heard.
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Habitat for Horses is always on the lookout for a few great people at our ranches. The work is unique, the animals are special and we want folks who both know and understand the special connection our animals need.