Yesterday the story broke about the President’s proposed budget for FY 2018. FY 2018 begins in October 2017 for the federal government.
The budget does clear the way for that phrase “all the tools in the toolbox,” which is an absolute abomination of those words. A public relations phrase used by proslaughter and adopted wholeheartedly by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), it means two things; putting a bullet into the heads of wild horses in holding (“euthanasia”) and selling them to slaughter (sale without limitation). https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/05/23/presidents-budget-approves-selling-wild-horses-to-slaughter/
This laughable “budget” also cuts BLM wild horse program funding overall by $10 million. This program is so understaffed it is painful to watch in practice. This did not happen because we have horses in holding, the understaffing happened because other programs are prioritized. I watched that too in practice.
Handouts to make it easy to interact with Congress about the underlying “big” issues https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/04/06/handouts-and-pamphlet-wild-horses/
Find Congress here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members
So when you call your representatives make sure they know BLM is not using the tools they already have. REMEMBER to be conversational and relaxed. Yes, you are stressed and it is ok to say that, but don’t get crazy. Remember an educated advocacy is a very powerful tool. Do not get distracted and we can stop this. Use this as a chance to see if your representative will listen to you (you will speak to an aide). If they don’t? You know what to do in the voting booth in 2018. PLEASE do not sign a petition on this, make a call. You have leg work to do because even if this provision is removed, it will return again likely in a rider. We also need to watch for “management” of wild horses being turned over outright to states or one HMA at a time to private interests (livestock).
All the “tools in the toolbox” would actually mean:
- Hiring enough staff to actually monitor, document and compile real data on Herd Management Areas (HMA).
- Creating mandatory compliance with all aspects of the National Academy of Sciences Review.
- Prioritizing getting full rangeland health assessments completed before issuing another permit for domestic livestock in any HMA (80% of our western landscape has no full rangeland evaluation).
- Utilizing all volunteers on offer to achieve widespread fertility control and data collection.
- Those are only a few of the tools available that BLM does not use.
If you want to understand how this conversation was “set up” in Congress read here: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/05/17/posttruth-a-few-wild-facts-you-should-know-in-these-dangerous-times-part-one/
At a recent roundup in Nevada a conversation with Alan Shepherd the NV State Wild Horse and Burro lead went like this:
“Alan, I should be out darting. You should have given me 1000 doses and just let me go. I’d have each one catalogued and vaccinated. You need to stop saying we can’t get it done. If you let me go three years ago we would have at least twice that in fertility control and data rotation right now and you would not have to put up with me at this roundup.” Laura Leigh
“Laura, we know you could get it done, we have no doubt. But what happens when you die?” BLM
“Seriously? That is your answer?”
This was also a conversation:
“So many people are against fertility control and our hands are tied, we have to do these roundups because of sage grouse.”
“You really wanna dance there, eh? First the big opposition is the county, not a minority activist fringe. You never caved for me when I actually threatened you with litigation when a helicopter hit a horse or you ran it through barbed wire, you threw all you had against me. The threat of my litigation never tied your hands. You are afraid of the counties. And sage grouse? pleeeze, if you actually cared about the sage grouse you would not be putting that junk science into your bag of new spin that cows ‘save the range.’ Plus, you never even cared to work to change the language for wild horses, just the old broken crap (not the actual word used). Don’t dance, I don’t want to dance with you.”
There was yet another conversation where a BLM public relations person actually approached me and tried to make another BLM employee look like they were inept because they had expressed a differing opinion at one point that did not “fall in line” with the “vision John Ruhs had for Nevada.”
In 2010 I sat in a courtroom and was presented with two identical, word for word, declarations from two BLM rangers. The case was on First Amendment issues and both had edited excerpts of conversations. First, I noted that they were identical and therefore the rangers themselves did not prepare the statements, they were written by a DoJ attorney. Second, I noted that important parts of the conversation were absent. The conversation was said to come from “belt mics” the rangers wore. So I asked about the legality of not disclosing that you are recording conversations at a roundup. What I found was, it’s legal in Nevada as long as you are a party to the conversation.
Why is this relevant? It is relevant because BLM is being selective in the presentation of any “facts.” They have always been selective. Remember at roundups they said all we did was present the bad stuff and they presented the truth? I had to actually answer, to the Judge, that I was presenting the rest of the truth. The Judge actually got a bit frustrated with BLM that day and I won the first court order in history against conduct because the Judge could see clearly that instead of admitting that errors were made, they were trying to cover them up. He called BLM declarations a “blame the horse affront.”
Before people start with that “disband the BLM” nonsense we have to begin to understand something called “chain of command” and that BLM is simply a regulatory agency, not a law making body. If there is corrupt leadership that corrupt leadership needs to go, not the agency.
If Congress is going to debate any necessity for using the most extreme, lethal, final tool that should ever be used, we need to have a serious conversation about why “all the tools in the toolbox” were not used before we got to that conversation. We need to talk about corruption.
Tomorrow we will give you that “conversation,” the one we have had over the last two weeks with a handful of members of Congress.
We currently have a matching funds donor to help us fight this. If you can contribute your funds will be matched through Saturday at midnight.
Categories: Wild Horse Education