OpEd: BLM slapped down in California


Jerry Finch, September 29, 2013

HELICOPTER-STAMPEDE-1_Medium-600x398Finally, the BLM received a slap down when two horse advocacy groups won a lawsuit canceling an agreement between the BLM and the United States Forest Service to round up more horses.

San Francisco based Protect Mustangs and Citizens Against Equine Slaughter brought the lawsuit to stop the USFS and the BLM  from rounding up unbranded, free roaming horses on the Humboldt-Tolyabe National Forest lands and the tribal lands of the Fort McDermitt Tribe. The agreement was to last until May of 2015.

The first McDermitt roundup resulted in many of the horses being auctioned off to killer-buyers for foreign equine slaughterhouses.

A strong point needs to be made that these two nonprofit organizations, and many other such organizations across the country, are taking their hard earned donations to fight our own tax funded government. In a democracy that is to represent the will of the people, with the majority of us opposed to the destruction of wild horses, we should not need to spend money fighting our own representative government. The BLM has become nothing more than a tyrannical dictatorship that has set itself apart and above any control. 

This was a slap down, a small one, that saved a few of our wonderful wild horses from another needless roundup and a trip to the slaughterhouse. What will it take to stop it altogether? More court battles funded by nonprofits? More realization by the citizens that our own government no longer represents us, but instead fights us on behalf of the meat and oil/gas industry? While a small group of equine advocates voice opposition, the majority of our citizens absorb the BLM propaganda and watch complacently, believing that our government knows best.

Less than 20,000 wild horses are left. It wasn’t that long ago that over 2 million of them roamed the plains and mountains of the west. They are almost gone, wiped out by the very agency that we pay to protect them. Chances are very high that your grandkids will never see a true wild horse. 

We were all seduced by the hope that, with Salazar gone, things would change. In walks Sally Jewell, and the silence from the Department of Interior has become deafening. We hoped the NAS report would bring results, yet we hear nothing, and the roundups keep rolling on. The BLM says, “We never send horses to slaughter,” but never say anything about the thousands of missing horses. As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Something is very wrong in America and you have the voice to do something about it. On the other hand, there are some great TV shows on this season. What are you going to do about saving our horses? The choice is entirely up to you. No one will ever truly know if you cared enough to call, fax or write, or if you plopped down on the couch to watch a comedy. But in the end, you will know if you did nothing. This time the future is truly in your hands.

Sally Jewell 
Secretary of the Interior 
Department of the Interior 
1849 C Street N.W. 
Washington DC 20240 
phone (202) 208-3100 
fax (202) 208-6950 

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • debra heverly, m.d.

    This is good news in Cali – we hope for good news this week in Nevada (Sheldon) – there was good news on adoptions for some yesterday, but not for all (and those are heading to long term holding in Wyoming with questionable fate) the battles rage on please write Sally Jewell and sign and share all you can so the long-term holding facilities do not fuel the slaughter pipeline – We must get the SAFE ACT passed so that does not happen.

    September 29, 2013
  • Arlene

    The Mustangs can count on me , been here with them and their Plight, they alone are an intricate part of all life, they are the the Perfect Balance !!!!!!Their captivating Beauty alone is enough, but their attributes are amazing to say the Least !!!!!! What they have given to each and everyone of us is a phenomenon………. Their Spirit is awesome , their courage , their grasp of the knowledge of the ages is all there inside the their Beautiful exterior, the Mustangs have the Perfection we all admire and wish we could be lucky enough to have !!!!! Graciousness to a wonderment …. They are the Perfection we all can only dream of ……. Their only flaw is they must depend on Humans , to live in peace……… So far we have only touched the tip of what they offer willingly … without reservation !!!! there is much more within them to astonish and amaze us !!!!!! The Mustangs are a wonderful Gift of Love !!!!! The Balance of all living things !!!!! We must give to them the FREEDOM they long for ,and need until this is accomplished we will all never truly be FREE>>>>>>>>>

    September 29, 2013
  • Nicola Creasey

    Thank you Jerry.

    September 29, 2013
  • Garnet Pasquale

    Excellent article Jerry.

    September 29, 2013
  • Kathleen Hayden

    1.Wild horses and burros are no less “wild” animals than are the grizzly bears that roam our national parks and forests (Mountain States v. Hodel) neither the states of the federal government have the right to harm Our Heritage Wildlife as found by the 1995 Supreme court Ruling Babbit v.Sweet Home.

    2. The Babbit v Sweet Home case found that the term “take” means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. 16 U.S.C. § 1532(19)

    3. By a 6-3 vote, the Court upheld the statutory authority of the Secretary of the Interior to include “habitat modification and degradation” as conduct which constitutes “harm” under the ESA.
    In addition to the statutory provisions described above,

    4. Section 5 of the ESA authorizes the Secretary to purchase the lands on which the survival of the species depends. Accordingly, Sweet Home maintained that this Section 5 authority was “the Secretary’s only means of forestalling that grave result [i.e. possible extinction)

    5. As a result, based upon “the text, structure, and legislative history of the ESA the Supreme Court concluded that “the Secretary reasonably construed the intent of Congress when he defined ‘harm’ to include ‘significant habitat modification or degradation that actually kills or injures wildlife species.

    6. Pursuant to BLM’s 2001 Special Status Species Policy requirement that “sensitive” species be afforded, at a minimum, the same protections as candidate species for listing under the ESA. It called on BLM managers to “obtain and use the best available information deemed necessary to evaluate the status of special status species in areas affected by land use plans . . . .

    7. See Policy at § 6840.22A. Under the Policy, those land use plans “shall be sufficiently detailed to identify and resolve significant land use conflicts with special status species without deferring conflict resolution to implementation-level planning.” Id. (Case 4:08-cv-00516-BLW Document 131 Filed 09/28/11 Page 8 of 37 (Sagegrouse decision)

    September 29, 2013
    • Janet Schultz

      This is good information, Kathleen.

      October 1, 2013
  • Margaret

    Laura posted the other day something about the wild horse and burro act “protecting” all horses everywhere. Like the Salt River horses who have no protection are suppose to be umbrellaed in by this law.

    I fear Judge Du has been fed the toxic beef broth again.

    However, she was going to allow additional arguements tomorrow and there’s yet another hearing in Oct. we are making slow steady steps. I know it doesn’t seem fast enough but it took Laura a LONG time to get standing and respect in NV Courts. The wheels of justice are VERY SLOW.

    September 29, 2013
  • BlessUsAll

    Beautiful OpEd, Jerry.

    Quite the opposite of the mind and heart of the new DOI Secretary, which are downright ugly in the eyes of us horse-loving, tax-paying Americans.

    September 30, 2013
  • Janet Schultz

    Laura copied that information on protection of all horses from the complaint that was filed on behalf of CAES and Protect Mustangs. There is nothing that Leigh has done that has advanced the cause of the horses aside from her hitting the sensitive compassion button of all advocates for donations. Please stop diluting the work of hard working activists with the referrals to leigh’s lawsuits whch have done nothing but confuse and distract from the issues we need to be paying attention to. The money that has been paid over to this woman and her need for attention culd easily have won more cases and protected more horses than we will ever know. I am sick of hearing about this woman, who is not even doing this work under her real name! And for the record, the win was against USFS not BLM and the horses are those in Nevada, not California.

    October 1, 2013