Roundups get the attention of the public and media in a way that brings contention and controversy. 2016 was no exception.
Many things occurred in 2016 that effect management on the range and the wild ones in holding. We will discuss those in detail in our year in review ebook to our year end contributors, “an educated advocacy is more important than ever.” To participate in the year end campaign you can go here.
A mainline objective of Wild Horse Education (WHE) is humane management and handling of our wild horses, on range, during capture and in holding facilities. Our work has been ground breaking. WHE is the only organization to litigate and win, repeatedly, against handling practices. The first humane handling policy in the history of the act to protect our wild ones was put in place as a result of multiple court rulings, public pressure and ongoing engagement.
However winning something in court does not mean it wont happen. We know there are those that say because a court case was won in one state, that the federal government must stop doing something (mostly messing up the paperwork). This assertion leads the public into a multitude of fictional places, with tragic consequence, when the deed is done again. Either the public losses faith in trying or advocacy as a whole losses credibility.
As an example people are saying BLM can never simply use AML as justification to remove wild horses from the range. In 2015 WHE was party to such a win at Fish Creek, when counties in NV asserted AML was justification, and the horses held hostage went back to the range. The very first case under the Act essentially stated that BLM could not just remove horses to a certain number, but needed to do a full evaluation. BLM has tried it again and lost in court. If it is tried again, it will lose in court. But if it is tried again and litigation becomes necessary, will the public support it or feel cheated and lied to?
It is crucial to become educated to the reality of process and the way the judicial system works. Wild horses and burros need committed long term advocates to be their voice that are fully aware of the effort, vigilance and twisted path that must be maintained… without losing heart.
Issues of inhumane treatment were brought to court, WHE won every time. “Every time” implies it took more than one win. Do those wins mean we should stop being vigilant? Do those wins mean we don’t need to watch the roundups? Do those wins mean we will never need to litigate the issue again? No it doesn’t, WHE wont mislead you.
The videos in this post are some of what WHE documented this year. WHE is creating an observation and recommendation report to submit to BLM. Will that engagement be successful? We don’t know, but we will remain accountable to process. Will we need to litigate the issues in 2017? Yes, if there is no accountability. (In years past we did compilation videos of roundups, you can view them here)
WHE will not stop our engagement. A humane handling policy is only as good as the enforcement of the policy. At this juncture the word accountability is at the fore.
In on range practices, during capture and in holding…. we MUST remain vigilant and engaged. Remember that when the Act itself was passed the public was placated, confused, competitive and did not appropraitely engage. The mess we are in now is in large part due to that lack.
2o17, the year of accountability.
We thank you for keeping us in the fight in 2016 and we take all we have learned forward, into the new year.
Compare. Is vigilance needed? Roundups are always simplistic analogies for the whole program. Advocacy is a commitment that has no end.
Caliente/Eagle, beginning of 2016.
Owyhee, end of 2016
Other year end posts: