photo from Broken Arrow in 2016. These wild ones are lined up to be slaughtered in the FY18 budget
There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house. ~ Mother Goose
(EDITORIAL, Laura Leigh) The flotsam and jetsam of our public land management swamp have coalesced into, literally, a hand with a gun pointing at tens of thousands of wild horses in our holding facilities. The last decade has seen a building ooze of filth, lies and corruption riding a wave of bloodthirsty zombies poised to devour all they see. Wild horses, prepared as an hors d’oeuvre by those tasked with their protection, sit on the banquet table of public land. They are not alone; seabirds, wolves, ocean mammals, hibernating bears, water and air quality, historic sites. These tasty morsels skewered one by one and swallowed by the foul swarm that has arrived dressed in Armani suits cooing at each others finery in public, shamelessly. Those tasked with protection, sworn by oath, cower sniveling in the corner as one by one they feel the bite of corruption that brings the illusion of power and wealth and join the diseased horde…
I know that description sounds a bit cinematic and overly dramatic, but it’s the simplest way to describe today’s reality. I honestly needed to have some literary fun with it or simply cry.
“I only made this letter longer because I had not the leisure to make it shorter.” ~ Blaise Pascal I know Mark Twain and others have a similar quote, but Pascal is the earliest recognized version.
I’m a detail freak. It is what makes me successful at things like litigation, but really lousy in the world of social media. In many ways I don’t understand how a tool that could be an incredible portal to deeper understanding has instead become the “beginning and end” for many when it comes to informing themselves on any issue. It’s like settling for one potato chip, I need the whole bag.
The original draft of this one article was over 5000 words. Those 5000 words barely scratched the surface. I have tried to satisfy all of our readers with this one piece because my time is so limited. I know people that want the journal type stuff, the dry fact type stuff and a simple “click here and do this.” I have not been able to get many pieces up and I am so afraid of causing any confusion. I already see a lot of confusion on social media and people looking for things to scream about and that will add to the mess. (I WILL write shortly about Utah… oh, Utah. To do so here would have made this even longer). So my apology for the long ramble… but I cut it down to 3000.
The fiscal year (FY) 2018 federal spending budget proposed by the President does come with the “slaughter Americas horses,” domestic and wild, as part of the menu. The last six weeks has been one that has seen our horse loving public rise to the challenge, beautifully. There was a brief dip in the calls and letters early on, partly due to confusion over the FY 2017 budget stuff folks had read on social media and the rise of the “I signed a petition therefore I took action” speed bump. However, as more and more people became aware of the truth of this crisis, more and more picked up a phone or hit a FAX machine. It was like seeing the cavalry come over the rise as the infantry was taking hard fire, booyah.
In simplistic terms the “hand of ooze with the gun” has two bullets; one aimed at opening horse slaughter plants again in the US and one aimed at the heads of our wild horses in holding facilities. One bullet sits in the chamber of the USDA budget and one in the chamber of the Interior Department budget.
An amendment on the USDA front, introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and co-sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), was successful in the Senate to block the refunding of USDA inspections on horse meat, essentially that keeps the plants from making any profit, hence no plant. But the House of Representatives said “yeah, we want to bar-b-que America’s horses.” So this isn’t over yet, but the signs are pretty good. Don’t stop your calls saying “YES” to the Udall Amendment to defund horse meat inspections.
Now with wild horses it gets more complicated. We see some confusion in the public and the Senate. We can make it simple or as complicated as you can handle.
Simple first. The amendment in the House by Chris Stewart (R-UT) is essentially a hodgepodge with but one real agenda; empty holding facilities by killing tens of thousands of wild horses so BLM can run the multi-million dollar roundup machine to satisfy livestock. All the rest of it is flotsam, ignore it when you call but remember it.
The House passed this amendment saying, “kill tens of thousands of wild horses in holding, but that’s not slaughter (wink, wink).” Stewart made his Academy Award nomination performance in the House Committee on the FY18 Interior portion, “I would never eat a horse or slaughter them, this is not slaughter of wild horses,” when it is. But he also voted for horse meat inspections (horse slaughter) in the USDA portion of the budget.
Anyone familiar with the phrase “liar, liar pants on fire?” It would be funny except these kinds of staged performances are going to get our wild horses killed because in todays world facts are worthless. Someone can get up and lie and if he has enough people screaming behind him, or threatening others to stay quiet, we have the birth of “alt fact.”
Lining wild horses up and shooting them one by one is a slaughter, even if it is not the “legal” definition.
I know that performance was not born out of careful analysis of data in the big picture. In my tenure in advocacy I have engaged those in DC [Congressman, Government Accounting Office (GAO), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), federal agency heads] and been involved intimately with actions on the ground, both inside and outside the system. I can tell you there is no careful analysis of data in large part because there is no comprehensive data, we have perpetuation and adamant defense of “boobery,”
The lack of comprehension of legal precent, developed metric tools for the field and even what the dang (trying not to swear like a Congressman) Codes of Federal Regulations (CFRs) actually say is breathtaking. Here I’m not talking about the public. I’m talking about those that have nice paychecks and benefits on the tax payer dole, the people whose jobs it is to know and then act appropriately, legally. Add to that the destabilization of field offices by the drama of living in “Game of Thrones” on a daily basis? Many times I wasn’t sure if what I was looking at was some infectious psychological disorder or a day care center.
When a “preferred” BLM volunteer type is recorded on the camera of an independent film maker saying to BLM “Don’t worry, I’ll lie for you. If anything bad happens I wont talk about it.” Then the film maker plays it back for you and asks you about it? All you can do is shrug your shoulders and say “That’s collaboration.”
The next question went like this: “So why are you not actively darting as a volunteer?” Answer: “I guess I don’t meet the qualifications.” Interviewer breaks out into laughter.
Wild horses are a small part of federal land management. You would not think that if you listen to all the bellyaching. In a nutshell the problem is that wild horses have been used for decades as a placation tool. It really is that simple. I added more below the action item and video for those that want to keep reading.
I really do understand just how bizarre it is to need to work so hard to protect federal jurisdiction that has, in truth, been a collaborator to the mess our wild horses are in. But federal jurisdiction is the only thing that stands in the way of all out slaughter. Once defended we can than kick it in the pants again to get accountability to all the laws federal managers have never even read.
At this juncture it looks like there will not be any floor debate or vote on this amendment in the Senate until after August recess. I repeat, at this juncture.
So your calls on this bullet sound like this, “NO, on the Steward amendment. It’s not ok to kill tens of thousands of wild horses in the budget when there are at least a dozen other ways BLM can save money. As an American, I find this unacceptable.” That is really all you need to do.
Done calmly, politely and with as many of your family and friends as you can educate to what is happening, is an important action everyone can take.
All bills work the same; introduction, subcommittee or committee, committee vote, floor vote, the Budget is no different. So calls to your representative, even if they are not on a committee, are valuable in more than one way. Not only do you get your rep prepped for a floor vote but you begin to inform them to how things will turn out for them at the next election (midterm election next year has every seat in the House up for grabs and nearly 40 seats in the Senate). If you have a rep on the subcommittee for the Interior budget you have a chance to be influential in the language that goes to a full vote.
Find your Senator:
Make your calls for them. (More below video for those that want to be even more frustrated).
The “non emotional” facts are so simple that can be explained to any second grader. Without labelling the equation “wild horses, cows, mining, wildlife” and instead substituting variables such as w, x, y and z, a student with only rudimentary mathematical skills can see “it aint w.”
Many federal employees themselves engage in x and and their families and social circles engage in x.
“W” is a variable that occupies the least amount of space, contains the fewest individuals and consumes the least amount of resource; physically and monetarily. W occupies 11% of the base (in actuality occupies about a third of that area), but within that 11% is given less than 16% of the whole, that’s about 0.2% of the entire equation. This costs about $80 million.
Variable “x” uses occupies 66% of the base, is given 80% (or more) of the resource within the whole. Variable x does not give a return on investment. Fees collected to not cover the cost of it’s existence and from 2002-2012 lost the tax payer over 1 billion dollars in direct loss. $125. million is lost after calculations on receipts are complete per year and rising fast.
For more than a century it has been known that x causes severe trampling and degradation as well as severe social conflict.
Variable x and w occupy the same spaces, because variable x occupies 6 times more area than w.
Last year the Government Accounting Office (GAO) report found that those that engage in x break the law more than we thought and infractions are often not reported.
In 2013 the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found that the entire management system for w was based on flawed practices including very little actual data.
The logical conclusion is that if you want to solve range degradation and fiscal issues you address x, then w.
More than 80% of public land has not been appropriately evaluated (this is a truth).
In the state of NV more than half the use of x is done with no evaluation.
W is blamed for it’s distress, without evaluating x.
In addition, if you want a zinger for perspective, the Department of Defense spent over $84 million in 2014, more than the cost of w, on the big “V,” viagra.
State those points without the trigger words and the sentences are almost boring. But when we insert the words “wild horses and cows,” instead of “w and x,” the conversation becomes unrecognizable from the facts.
BLM is complicit. This entire push to slaughter wild horses was helped by the BLM to satisfy the exploitative grazing interests and those that resent federal control.
Broad scale fertility control was possible over a decade ago. It was possible without helicopter roundups. For over 30 years this tool has been available, used worldwide in multiple species and at Assateauge for 30 years.
As an example in 2013 about 9 million dollars was spent on rounding up wild horses including law enforcement costs.
Keep in mind that reproduction is increased on the range during roundups due to disruption of herd structure. Using roundups as the “only tool in the toolbox” is where BLM came up with the “20% reproduction rate.” Left alone reproduction is between 12-16%. After 3 years of decreased helicopter roundups the population only grew 15% west wide (2016 census). On another note the National Academy of Sciences, at a cost to the tax payer of over a million dollars, proved this to be a fact that went ignored.
Technically over the three years, if we use the figure of a population size of 50,000 as a baseline for easy math, minimizing roundups stopped nearly 3000 wild horses from being born. The cost of removing that many horses would have amounted to over $3 million and then the cost of holding for their lifetime was saved.
If the money spent destabilizing populations during roundups was used to do fertility control in large areas, via dart, and it was only 50% effective? It would have stopped about 20,000 births over a 3 year timeframe (it takes a year to be effective as most mares are already pregnant at the time of the first treatment).
For half the money spent on helicopter roundups and associated expenses volunteers and seasonal hires could have done the job (job creation, what a concept).
Think about it. Can anyone at the BLM put aside personal agenda (like being friends with helicopter contractors), prejudice against advocates, friends that hunt and run cows and just use a damn calculator?
But fertility control is controversial. I can not tell you how many times I have heard BLM whine. They literally make me sick with all of their twisted drama.
No, fertility control is not controversial. It is used worldwide in multiple species. It is used on deer in the eastern US. It has been used for 30 years at Assateage increasing lifespan, quality of life and improving the natural environment.
BLM feeds and fuels controversy to promote an agenda that has been used for decades, play the horse card to make my friends happy. Roundups are controversial and I litigated and litigated and won against conduct at roundups. Did they stop if they knew I was gonna show up and litigate? NO. This excuse is full of… literally, bull.
The first large scale fertility control operation to be stopped was at Fish Creek in Nevada. It was not stopped by the “unicorns and rainbow farts” of advocacy, it was stopped by the county and the ranching community.
It didn’t look good that I could point at them as unreasonable. I was getting death threats.
After that a strange thing occurred, extremist fringe advocates (that were never part of the vast majority of wild horse advocates) began to file against fertility control projects.
Proslaughter was overjoyed and often cheered them on in social media (WHE supporters did screen grab those before they disappeared).
BECAUSE… wild horses have never been about integrated management of a protected living being, ever. It is about cronyism and money.
I have looked through historic documents and even boundary lines are not “where the horses stand in 1971” but where some BLM person drew a pencil line on a map, that really covered nothing but what he saw driving a pickup truck on a range, maybe.
There are no seasonal migration routes mapped out over decades but a hodgepodge of survey flights that you need to make guesstimates on.
There is no critical habitat designated. If you use the words “critical habitat” BLM bursts an aneurysm because that implies the habitat needs protection. Those words are actually kind of fun to throw around. Ask the next BLM person that tells you how much they care about horses what critical habitat they have identified and preserved and how they have done it, sit back and watch the turns and handstands.
It took a lot of soul searching to decide just how far out on a limb I wanted to go. I have had the limb cut out from under me and hit the ground more times than I can count.
I’m just wondering how bad the threats to my life are gonna get this time. I told that to several key Senators, the investigators and even BLM. I can tell you BLM doesn’t care. Just like the horses themselves anyone that wont “play” the game is disposable.
I have just finished the tasks I needed to do to get range information into key hands. Documents and recordings went off as well. I have some key media with me this week, as I had last week and the week before. More is expected as this debate gets set to hit the Senate floor.
“NO, on the Steward amendment. It’s not ok to kill tens of thousands of wild horses in the budget when there are at least a dozen other ways BLM can save money. As an American, I find this unacceptable.” That is really all you need to do.
Done calmly, politely and with as many of your family and friends as you can educate to what is happening, is an important action everyone can take. Be the cavalry for a very tired infantry. Thank you.
Keep us in this fight!