Wild Horse Education

Focus: Organized action, but not for wild horses

Cows watch as wild horses are loaded to leave the range forever

Cows watch as wild horses are loaded to leave the range forever

Public lands management is a multifaceted monster made of up politics, profit, bureaucracy and frustration. A multitude of interests that all feed on public land are continually jostling for position in competition. We have written multiple articles that focus on this reality from the broad view, to site specific instances.

Wild horse advocates get frustrated that they are not taken “seriously” in conversations with government agencies and their political representatives. They get frustrated at the “canned letters” that often seem cut and pasted from objectives presented by competitive interests sent to them by their Congressional Representatives, if they get a response at all.

Yet competitive interests have a predominantly united message and a united front, while wild horse advocacy does not. Often even “groups” having the same opinion or perspective, will present information in a fashion that is competitive with each other, instead of in a united fashion. This creates confusion among advocates as well as policy makers. It then becomes very easy to dismiss credible information coming on behalf of protections for wild horses as “they mean well, but really don’t understand.” This adds to the frustration and desperation among advocates.

We have watched over the years as many “good people” that really care leave active advocacy.

All we can say is R-E-A-D. In the last six months we have watched identical people sign petitions or letters from multiple groups on the same issue. In a few instances we have watched people actually sign, and promote, opposing views at the same time. Do you think that builds credibility?

Wild horse advocates literally number in the millions of American’s that lobby, adopt, rescue and actively engage process. WHY are wild horses still the “little guy?”

Articles are actively written attacking wild horse advocates in multiple publications supported by the livestock industry. This attack is going to increase ten fold in 2015 in an effort to discredit the movement. Let’s do our best not to do that work for them.

Images from an area of drought where the livestock interest united against wild horses creating the NACO legal action.

Images from an area of drought where the livestock interest united against wild horses creating the NACO legal action.

A lesson from the Livestock industry.

The Livestock industry is a powerful political force. Public lands livestock production accounts for less than 4% of beef utilized by industry. Yet historically this has been a massive political force that has monopolized public land grazing for private profiteers. The vast majority of livestock producers in the US do so on private land and are NOT given the same subsidizes as those that operate on public land.

Have you ever seen them bash each other on Facebook? Have you ever seen them fight against each other in any public forum? On the contrary they not only keep grievances outside the public sphere they actively support each other as the recognition that the power of a united front will gain more support. No private land rancher benefits from a trespass permittee getting core support (it actually hurts his image) but the Livestock industry will not police their own (not in public anyway).

They publish booklets on engaging process and members READ them. They hold meetings and members show up. They actively engage the system to use the system to get what they want. They do not IGNORE the system and simply scream.

Standing room only at the RMP meeting in Sparks

Standing room only at the RMP meeting in Sparks

The Carson District Resource Management Plan (RMP)

A series of six public meetings on the draft resource management plan began this week. The BLM is accepting written comments on the plan through March 27. An RMP is a massive document that takes years to write and complete. It creates the frame for ALL decisions for usually at least a decade or more. It creates the language for what is “possible or not” under the NEPA (legal) process.

Meeting schedule and locations, as well as the draft plan, can be accessed here: https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=32709

The first meeting was held at the Nugget in Sparks. Less than a dozen wild horse advocates were present. BLM did a short presentation on process and how to comment (we saw a few that have been in advocacy for a long time taking notes and we hope that is taken to heart).

Each interest represented in the draft RMP had a “station” to field questions.

If you can make one of the meetings we highly suggest you do so. If only to learn process (as it pertains to more than just this RMP) and to see the faces of those you often send emails to, or see quotes from, in the news.

We will be submitting written comments and will publish those comments closer to the due date as multiple other factors in public land management may arise that would be pertinent to this document before it takes a final form.

But please realize that the comment period is NOT a popularity contest. It is to show where analysis is incomplete through data or compliance with law.

Summer 2014, the Fish Creek wild horses need an informed supportive advocacy

Summer 2014, the Fish Creek wild horses need an informed supportive advocacy, copyright Laura Leigh

Fish Creek Wild Horses

Of all the BLM wild horse removals occurring this winter Fish Creek is the only one doing this under a new Environmental Assessment.

A detailed explanation of process and the EA (as well as a place to add your name) can be found here: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2014/12/24/fish-creek-hma-public-comments-due-january-23/

We have another area of confusion as multiple orgs have alerts out. We suggest reading every one and looking for supporting actions and then adding your name to the “public interest” for that position. But again comments are NOT a popularity contest. Alternatives are not created to “vote on.” Alternatives are created to demonstrate options and then show analysis of those options. The objective of creation of alternatives is to demonstrate why BLM chooses the “proposed action.” The purpose of comments is to provide information that may not have been appropriately analyzed under an alternative or an area where an error in compliance is made. That is why you will hear “50,000 comments count as one.” Because if they point out the same error, it is one comment. If another letter comes from just one person that has an appropriate notation of error, it would count the same as the 50,000 saying the same thing. But again, the number of comments do suggest a “public interest” component that can be utilized in other areas of process. If the comment letter you are signing or supporting is engaged by an entity actually engaging other areas of process, your comment has additional value to the entity attempting to create that change.

Another area of confusion is that we have three removals that contain the word “fish.”

Fish Springs area of the Pine Nuts is NOT Fish Creek. It is part of the Pine Nuts. The Pine Nuts are being done under a “DNA.” The DNA is associated with an underlying Environmental Assessment (EA) for wild horses in the Carson District for the Pine Nut HMA. SEE HERE for explanation of a DNA and Pine Nut: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2014/12/22/what-is-a-wild-horse-dna/

Little Fish Lake is also NOT Fish Creek. Little Fish Lake is also being done under a DNA. However this decision is associated with the underlying Drought Decision Records.  http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/nv/field_offices/battle_mountain_field/blm_information/nepa/battle_mountain_district.Par.40278.File.dat/BMD_FINAL_Drought_EA.pdf  This drought plan was put into effect in 2012. We will do another article on this removal and other areas, such as livestock use, effected under this underlying document.

Please “stayed tuned” as we have updates on the grazing issues and the Dann removal coming very soon.

Categories: Wild Horse Education