We stand at a cross roads in management of public land, advocacy (for any species) and an election year with the potential to feel more like civil war than a campaign for votes. This is not a catchy line or a meme title for social media, it is a fact.
The “battlefield” of the next election is taking shape. YOUR public lands, and everything that lives and breaths and reaps a private profit, will be massive agenda items that will undergo the vicious attack and the severe political spins we have come to expect. Intelligent, factual debate will be hard to find. You will need to put on your hip boots and wade through a cesspool of misinformation and flashy multimillion dollar advertising. The only way to understand will be to make a real effort to avoid “all that floats” and not to slip on what sinks to the bottom.
We are working on an extended piece that will explain the Sage Grouse FEIS. When we mention “the sage grouse issue” people know it exists, but know very little about it. The ramifications of the document, the political maneuvering against the practices outlined in the document and the consequence of a failure to implement the document, all represent changes on a scale never before seen in Western range management. The changes rival those in scope brought to the pacific northwest by the spotted owl. (We will include a distinct action item with the article).
When we view all of this in harsh daylight anyone that spends time scouring through any data available on rangeland health, wild horse populations and the documents that are now circulating from multiple public land uses, you can not help but feel dread deep down in your soul.
The BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program was a broken machine from it’s inception and incessantly continued to compounded problems as it failed to keep pace with the modern world. We now have nearly 60,000 wild horses living in government warehousing. We have an adoption program that that has been absurdly scapegoated for mismanagement. We have a bankrupt program, that in truth operates all aspects of it’s daily existence for a mere fraction of subsidizes to public land grazing (that provides less than 3% of US beef).
Our rangelands are unhealthy and over crowded with the vast political interests that reap profit from our public land. Most of the interests are represented by unified agendas. They are represented by well-funded machines that reach daily to local politicians and Congress with their “bought and paid for scientific” mechanizations designed to justify their ability to exploit our wild places. (We will publish a distinct action item with an article that focuses on this issue).
Wild horses? With a few small exceptions, our wild ones stand largely exposed to the continued assault driven by prejudice and greed. The “interest” that represents wild horses is a massive “public interest.” That is encouraging but at the same time creates a vulnerable “interest” as agendas are fractured, not unified. It dilutes critical, and often urgent, information. This creates a situation where more action occurs in conversations through social media then we see in practice where it counts, on the range and engaged in policy. Recently the dangers of that vulnerability were well exploited by interests that want your wild horses removed, and even destroyed.
This is not where this conversation should begin, but it does.
We are not going to sugar coat things or present them in a way that could be considered “politically correct,” no matter what side you sit on. Things are going to get very rough. If you are not ready for it there will simply be no way you will understand the “whys” let alone what needs done. (“What to Expect” will be the next feature).
There is a range war. There is a battle over control of your public land and resource. The first thing any “soldier” needs to do is to suit up and show up. Petitions and form letters have become a standard practice. They work to begin to show a public interest, but they do not represent the way we need our “frontline” now. Other interests have well funded associations and lobbyists, wild horses do not. YOU are the voice of the interested public. Those of us on the ground are a conduit for information and a “standing” presence for legal efforts. Organizations do take their information to meetings and engage political issues on local and national levels, but YOU represent the VOTE.
In order to ensure that the wild horse is not simply a scapegoat other interests can all agree on eliminating, YOU must make sure that your voice counts. That happens long before a ballot box. The campaign platforms are already being built.
Next week we ask all of you to make a call. Call your Congressional Representatives. Call those nice little volunteers sitting on the campaign staff of those running for office. Make ONE call.
Preservation of public land, that includes places that remain untouched, is important to you.
Wild horses are a vital and lawful use of public land and you expect them to be managed humanely and to be kept on the land. (If they give you a hard time about AML simply state that the National Academy of Sciences addressed AML and it is severely flawed. No broad actions are being taken to rectify that grossly inaccurate and prejudicial factor at a time when livestock use is not being appropriately addressed at a far greater cost to our rangeland health).
Any indication that they support any sale of wild horses to slaughter, or euthanasia of those in holding, will lose their party your vote.
You DO NOT support states gaining control of federal land.
WHE will begin to give you ammunition to get “in the weeds” appropriately armed. We will take you battlefield by battlefield and give you what YOU need to address every issue.
We will post a new “call to arms” each week. Will you suit up and take ten minutes this week to make the calls? Remember to Keep it Simple. This week simply show that “wild horses” will be an issue that could win or lose an election campaign. Wild horse advocates outnumber those that want wild horses gone by more than 3 to 1 (according to every poll done in the last 5 years).
NOW is the time to be heard for our herds.
There are skirmishes on multiple fronts and hillsides. Those of us on the ground need YOU to be air support. COMMIT to making at least one call every week until the election is over. Will you suit up?
To learn about WHE, why we are under attack from adversaries to wild horses and our founder click here: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2015/09/08/whe-explain-ourselves/
Categories: Wild Horse Education