As we countdown to 2017 we review all of our work, the political climate, the paper landscape and the real world.
Roundups always capture the attention of the pubic in big ways. These moments between range management and holding generate more discussion in media than almost any aspect of the program. (Our roundup review here: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2016/12/25/countdown-2017-roundups/)
In 2016 there were more dangerous variables being added to the larger equation. The equation contains not only the push against wild horses but the takeover of federal resource by private industry in a very large scale.
Wild horses are a resource under law, not a use. That means process to engage for the protection of the resource has not been a streamlined priority process like applying for a permit to mine or graze livestock. Wild horses and burros are the only beating heart directly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM is a regulatory agency tasked with following federal mandates to manage public resource.
How many of you realize that Congress overturned a federal court ruling in Idaho during Appropriations last fall that was devastating to gaining a foothold toward preservation of our Western landscape? Essentially at the end of 2014 (2015 Appropriations) Congress approved language that demanded the BLM continue to renew permits on livestock grazing even if they did not do a full rangeland health evaluation (our action alert from December 2014 https://wildhorseeducation.org/2014/12/01/action-stop-the-rider-to-overturn-judge/)
To understand how devastating that is to any assertion of appropriate management of anything, READ. We don’t simply suggest you read this link, we beg you. https://wildhorseeducation.org/2016/10/23/nerd-notes-for-the-pragmatic-advocate/
This happened during the largest revamping of public land use planning in decades, under “sage grouse.” We have been writing extensively and trying to get advocacy engaged in sage grouse planning, with little success. It was very hard to compete with social media that claimed accelerated wild horse removals while we were in truth at the lowest rate since 1978, (“screaming social media memes” even accused us of being “bought off by BLM” as we tried to engage process by those intent on getting their “page likes”).
There was a recent roundup in the Owyhee Complex of Nevada. The area has some of that “critical” sage grouse habitat.
We have gotten more than one email. social media message or text that asks “How can they push that sage grouse thing to remove horses? Sage Grouse are not listed as an endangered species. They can’t do that, we need to sue.”
To say our sadness is great over receiving such messaging is an understatement.
2017 must be the year of accountability across the board, that means advocacy too. This year we face a real danger of accelerated removals becoming a truth as wild horses in holding face the real threat of being sent to slaughter, in large numbers.
Part of the agenda of the States Right, Grass March, Sage Brush Rebellion (whatever you want to call it) is the resumption of mustanging (controlled by states, not feds) and the sale of mustangs in holding to slaughter for profit. Wild horses are just another resource they want to control and may very well be the key to gaining greater control of all resource, because historically it was the one thing you could get profiteers and traditional enviro groups to agree on, blame the horse.
The stakes are high now and advocacy is once again behind the curve.
“If you love something the greatest gift you can give is time. Time to learn, understand and provide the support that is required must happen. An educated advocacy is the only hope.”
Sage Grose Rebellion, what it is and what is coming: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2015/09/14/sage-grouse-rebellion-what-to-expect/
Advisory Board recommends killing wild horses in holding, “Final Solution?” https://wildhorseeducation.org/2016/09/15/final-solution/
Sally, Slow that mustang down. Sage Grouse in 2016 https://wildhorseeducation.org/2016/05/16/sally-slow-that-mustang-down-editorial/