This fast exchange on Facebook explains why this was published today.
A simplistic analogy; Creating a law that makes stealing a car illegal creates a way to hold those accountable to theft. Creating a law does not stop car theft. We have a policy now that begins a conversation on stopping dangerous or abusive practices at roundups.
In addition, much like witnessing an automobile collision, only someone that was present can testify. If you learn about it on the news you are considered “hearsay,” and not admissible. The same goes for determining if an incident at a roundup was preventable or if it were unforeseeable. In other words an “accident” or “actionable” item. An actionable item, or violation of policy, has a process for accountability. Only the first hand witness can take those steps. This is not a “click and send” moment, it is time for a conversation about accountable actions had within process by those that witnessed an event.
The protocol must be engaged, refined and work toward accountability to that policy.
At the end of 2015 BLM issued a Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP) after years of litigation by Wild Horse Education. We obtained the largest library of wild horse captures in the world and used that to engage.
The policy was released in a Beta test mode with an interface to improve the protocol. Each operation post fall of 2015 is supposed to have a data set compiled to demonstrate if the interface and metrics used by the agency to ensure safety of wild horses during capture is effective, or not.
Instead of a need for WHE to litigate further every observer that has first hand documentation is afforded the opportunity to engage on sight personnel and the state director. This information is also used to change how CAWP is monitored and enforced on sight.
If CAWP is not effective in addressing the issues litigation can be filed to stop an operation, but it has to be done quickly. However, just like with our litigation process to create the policy, you have to be able demonstrate that the event is an actionable item and not an unforeseeable anomaly. (We brought successful litigation after CAWP was created to enforce policy and strengthen the frame).
There is a big difference between making an allegation compared to working rapidly and proving an allegation in court; one creates a legally sound avenue to improve policy, the other just creates noise.
Wild Horse Education’s field team is trained in CAWP policy and engagement. We are gearing up our roundup team to head into the field.
Some members of the roundup team overlap with our in field range monitoring team. That team has been extremely busy as multiple changes are being proposed in Congress and in the BLM into how we manage wild horses. Many of those changes will result in increasing removals. Many projects are moving forward that will result in loss of habitat, we are deep in engaging that realm at this time as these events are critical and require meticulous documentation. .
We are on ground gathering data so that herds are not victims of prioritization for political and exploitive removals.
The current operations will have multiple observers. We are prioritizing our field work before the weather turns and then onto being at roundups that will not have large audiences. We must prioritize resources and not duplicate efforts that already have devoted resource. Each link in this chain needs to find the best use of time and energy in this landslide of “public lands.”
We are writing this to answer the number of concerned emails in our inbox this morning. We hope that this answers your questions.
The pdf below is from 2014 and our final push to get CAWP actually included into roundup contracts to make it an actualized policy and not one simply created to defend actions as we litigated, over and over, against recurring conduct issues. In the fall of 2015 CAWP was included in the legal framework for roundups.
Categories: Wild Horse Education