Multiple press releases were issued today by state and district BLM offices announcing winter 2015 planned operations. These announcements have come prior to the final setting of the national schedule and dates are expected to be somewhat of a moving target.
Update: the schedule is confirmed http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/herd_management/tentative_gather_schedule.html
It is expected that over the next few days we will see other states begin to announce operations, even if dates are not finalized.
We expect to see a national schedule out early next week. The national schedule will be held to the specific parameter restrictions due to budgetary constraints as last year. The total number of wild horses and burros to be removed in the 2015 schedule is expected to total approximately 2000.
Limited space in holding (after nearly 5 years of removing almost 10,000 each year) BLM found itself in a crisis situation a couple of years back with nearly 50,000 wild horses held in government facilities.
Utah BLM begun an Environmental Assessment to reduce the Sulpher herd from their current estimate of 718 (does not include 2014 foals) to between 165 and 250 horses. Removing 500 Sulpher wild horses would likely make this the largest single operation of 2015 given current restrictions. Utah: http://www.sltrib.com/news/1938020-155/blm-to-round-up-wild-horses
update: In the confirmed schedule the winter removal will be 100 wild horses with the assessment for the removal to AML underway.
BLM Nevada has reported three HMA’s, Pine Nut Mountain, Fish Creek and Little Fish Lake will be on the schedule, having a total removal number of 460 with about 250 mares being treated with fertility control and released. BLM NV has also said they will complete the zeroing out of the Humbolt HA that began this past spring, with 160-180 removed. BLM NV announced that it will have a 1000 wild horse “gather” cap in winter 2015.
Update: confirmation 200 Fish Creek, Little Fish Lake 100, Pine Nut 160, Humbolt 160.
CA added 35 horses and 35 burros to be removed at Centennial.
Bait trapping of burros in Twin Peaks continues as well as horses off East Douglas/Piceance.
CO will continue with bait/fertility control only at Little Book Cliffs, Sand Wash Basin and Spring Creek.
BLM NV has also included a copy of the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP) into the press release. This version of CAWP became an “Interim Memorandum” after the decision Wild Horse Education’s President, Laura Leigh, gained in the course of litigation that included inappropriate conduct at the Owyhee Complex in January 2013 http://wildhorseeducation.org/owyhee-complex/ . This court order was the fourth gained by Leigh against such conduct that included the first such court orders in history at Triple B http://wildhorseeducation.org/2014/08/30/triple-b-and-the-fight-for-humane-care/ .
To read the version of CAWP that made the “IM” go here: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/regulations/Instruction_Memos_and_Bulletins/national_instruction/2013/IM_2013-059.html
A finalized version of CAWP will be made public soon and included in national policy and contracts.
Compared to years past removal numbers remain low, the lowest since 1977. (link to first removal by BLM in 1975 and Velma Johnston. http://wildhorseeducation.org/2014/09/15/perspective-1975-first-blm-wild-horse-capture/)
“We have an opportunity here, even though it has literally been forced on us by overcrowding and litigation, to begin to create something new,” said Laura Leigh, “We can take the time to refine a handling policy and to create strategies to gather data to address other flaws in the program. This is a time for diligence and responsible action. If we can actually reach a juncture where we can say that mistakes were made and now we can create the tools to fix it, we may actually fix it. I am so tired of the mindset that we have this insurmountable crisis, yet nothing is done wrong.”
“For five years I was told it was impossible to get a humane handling policy for wild horses and burros,” Leigh said “We now have a version. We will however remain vigilant in documentation and addressing issues promptly as we have done these last five years and expect that every effort will be made to not repeat history. We remain hopeful that we can now begin to address the core of the program, the wild horse and burro free on the land they now stand, given equitable resource to protect them as a thriving living symbol of the pioneer spirit of the west.”
Watch our site for upcoming explanations of documents being created for these upcoming removals and how to comment to each action as it is proposed.
To read about the NEPA process that governs actions on public land visit our NEPA page here: http://wildhorseeducation.org/nepa/
To view some of the documentation that led to the court orders leading up to CAWP go here: http://wildhorseeducation.org/video-2/
Wild Horse Education is devoted to gaining protections for wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction. Main website: http://WildHorseEducation.org