The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is required to have an “advisory board.” The board creates a series of recommendations on management of the BLM wild horse and burro program. The BLM is under no obligation to follow any of the recommendations put forth by this board.
It should be noted that participation in process by the public demonstrates “public interest” in management practices. However the limitations of the board should be noted as you temper your frustrations with content as you submit comments. Often the conversations that take place from board members are more indicative of how those representing livestock interests are presenting their agenda than to any board focused on the welfare and preservation of wild horse and burro herds.
Two new members have been selected for the board. Once again numerous wild horse advocacy organizations endorsed prospective candidates and none made the roster. June Sewing of Cedar City, Utah, has been re-appointed for the category of wild horse and burro advocacy; Jennifer Sall of Lander, Wyoming, has been appointed for the category of public interest (with special knowledge about protection of wild horses and burros, management of wildlife, animal husbandry, or natural resource management); and Dr. Julie M. Weikel, DVM, of Princeton, Oregon, has been appointed for the category of veterinary medicine. Each individual will serve a three-year term on the Advisory Board. (It should be noted that none of these individuals represent any mainstream, or otherwise, advocacy organization or position on management).
The upcoming Advisory Board meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, 350 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215; phone number: 614-463-1234. The meeting will be live-streamed (at http://www.blm.gov/live). The agenda of the meeting can be found in the March 23, 2015, Federal Register (at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-03-23/pdf/2015-06517.pdf).
Those who would like to comment but are unable to attend may submit a written statement to: National Wild Horse and Burro Program, WO-260, Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nevada, 89502-7147. Comments may also be e-mailed to the BLM (email@example.com); please include “Advisory Board Comment” in the subject line of the e-mail.
To watch the meeting go to: http://blm.gov/live April 22-23, 8 am – 5 pm Eastern time zone.
WHE comments below:
Advisory Board Members,
As an active wild horse and burro and burro advocacy organization we ask that you take the following into account as you create your recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program:
1. Surgical sterilization is not a lawful, nor acceptable, management option. Surgically sterilizing populations of wild horses runs counter to current mandates outlined in the WFRH&B Act, specifically in the definition of a “wild” population. A “wild” population is one that must maintain the ability to reproduce itself. In addition surgical sterilization has proven to create an extremely stressful and aggressive environment documented extensively at the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS) by our organization. This is not an option as it fails to protect wild horses and burros as “wild” nor does it manage them as mandated “humanely.”
2. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was adamant in the 2013 report, A Way Forward, that serious deficits in hard data exist in nearly every aspect of current protocol. Until such time as those deficits are corrected any decision making process will perpetuate flawed management practices. Simply reformatting past data does not solve the problem. Restructuring of funding to provide the needed resources at the field office level should be a priority.
3. Euthanizing, or selling without limitation, wild horses currently held in government facilities is not an acceptable option. Failed practices led to the current holding crisis. Simply erasing the evidence of failed practices does nothing to change the practices themselves. Aggressive measures to create validated “on the range” strategies are required to ease the symptom of a burgeoning holding situation.
4. Temporary fertility control creates a flexible strategy that addresses the immediate need to reduce removals. Combined with a strong data collection component that includes identification of critical habitat, individualized core genetic components and overall range condition as impacted by all users of our public lands is the only valid option. This option keeps within the confines of the mandates of the WFRH&B Act and follows the prescribed vision of the NAS.
5. The CAWP program must be a priority. Implementation of this program must be taken seriously and immediately extend into holding facilities. A lack of shelters, infectious disease protocols and humane handling practices in facilities is a reality that the public will not tolerate.
Wild horses and burros are represented by a large public interest. The preservation of these herds in the small segment of public land they occupy is paramount to the basic premises governing public land.
As our western states are experiencing a fourth year of drought, with the consequences of a failure to address serious flaws in domestic livestock consumption of our public resource increasingly evident, any “board” that represents the “welfare” of wild horses and burros must act responsibly. That responsibility must include addressing interests that encroach upon the ability to preserve and protect wild horse and burro habitat. This board must seriously consider creating a recommendation to the Secretary to immediately curtail public land grazing programs and create a forage allocation for any future use based on a scientifically based equation (not historic use).
President, Wild Horse Education
Wild Horse Education is actively documenting herd and range health in multiple areas. The decisions made in the next year will have a massive impact on the ability of wild horse herds to exist in a viable fashion on our public lands. To help us in our mission click here: http://WildHorseEducation.org/donate
Categories: Wild Horse Education