We don’t just take pictures, we take action! But in order to take action, we need your help. Without your support none of our work is possible!
I have sat down to write the “WHE Year in Review” piece several times. Each time I do one deadline or another hits the desk and I postpone the task and the video is longer than I had hoped. It barely scratches the surface of all we have done and seen this year.
“Reviewing 2018 ,” as if there is any resolution to a single issue faced on public lands and wild horses, is an impossibility.
The end of 2018 is simply a car on the rollercoaster of politics that is impacting everything, public land and wild horses included. If you stay up-to-date on the news you have seen one tragic, crazy, unbelievable story after another. If you simply focus your “news consumption” on wild horses and public lands? just the tip of an outrageous iceberg makes the general public of all of the bills, proposed projects and scandals.
A simple bullet point list of the “year in review” seems so shallow, inadequate and simply not appropriate this year. So much “on that list” contains unresolved, important, matters.
Some of what we have done in 2018:
We have active legal actions against livestock projects, mining interests and are poised to take on oil and that is actively invading wild horse country.
We also have drafted a legal action on humane handling, again. WHE is the only organization to take the issues of inhumane treatment into a courtroom. We have done it again and again and won. We promise to take action.
After the circumstances unfolded at Eagle, eventually leading to a mare run for 45 minutes as she aborted. The roundup ended fast. In order to fight in court, we need to be on file before it ends. We now stand ready. We just need to be able to get there.
Our legal teams had to continue to engage for access to roundups; not just for us, but for all. We also had to keep our legal work alive to allow access to captured wild horses in holding facilities. Over the last two years we have had to revisit a lot of legal ground we already won in court. We have been busy.
We have active litigation against a gold mine that will devastate the heart of a herd. The BLM approval process and justifications in the EIS, stand as an example of current political agendas aimed at keeping any environmental interest out. (We will talk more about this as litigation moves forward)
Our framework to fight oil and gas includes our depth of understanding of the herds involved due to years of field work. The framework is deep, tight and ready to roll into court.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has been under threat all year. This process is the place where the public has an opportunity to have input into actions of the federal government and their “analysis.” WHE has joined with over 300 organizations nationwide to formally protest the cuts to your voice.
A “bullet in the head” was dodged, but not cleanly. We will see a push to kill outright, or send tens of thousands of wild horses to slaughter, again in 2019. We will see at least 10,000 wild horses targeted for removal from the range.
( note: We thank all of you for your hard work on this task. So many of our readers reached out, made appointments with legislators, took the time to create accurate and informative information. Hang onto those packets, you will need them again in 2019.)
2018 began with a roundup at Triple B. It was an example of how the BLM prioritizes both internal and external politics, not the law. We added that information to the reports we gave to both the Office of the Inspector General and a House investigative committee. (At the bottom of this page we have embedded the “WHE Triple B digital magazine; an example of a single HMA and a single issue of our digital magazine)
The infractions run from high level corruption to constant, flagrant, violations of BLM Code of Ethics at the field level. We continue our work to bring a full investigation into the Department of Interior; from the connections of Ryan Zinke to Brian Steed (former Chief of Staff of Chris Stewart and now acting, possibly illegally, with the authority of the Director of BLM at Zinke’s behest) to the state and field level where threats, intimidation and “beer buddies” control the actions in the field.
Over 50,000 of you have joined us in our calls to action against corruption! We have been assured those investigations move forward. We have been very active in this arena.
Our “WHE Kids” program launched, that includes a website and educational outreach, and has reached over 15,000 school age children and they are engaging legislators, family members and, in 2019, will take the campaign to the media.
We created two new web portals, WHEKids.com and PublicHorses.org (both are being updated) and increased our daily readership to, on average, 4000 views each day throughout all three websites. On average each person reads 3 articles per visit. WHE is truly becoming a resource for a “wild horses interested public.”
The year in review, the decade in review, requires that we carry a depth of understanding as we move into 2019 as we address deep, historic and “simply wrong” in land management.
Throughout 2018 we did not only face extraordinary challenges in politics and obstruction, we face constant equipment issues like our old vehicle breaking down repeatedly.
Wild horses are part of public lands. As we address the “review” we must honor the past. In 1971 federal jurisdiction over free roaming horses was established and with it the legal phrase “wild horses.” That work was the life’s work of Velma Johnston, “Wild Horse Annie.” She spent her entire life wresting control from states and counties run by the livestock industry as wild horses were being run down, slaughtered and water holes poisoned. Federal jurisdiction over horses and burros, just like federal jurisdiction over public lands themselves, has been resented since it began. (public land background, focus wild horses)
Our work as advocates must take that intention forward and protect the achievements of those that came before us. An educated advocacy is needed more than ever.
Onward into 2019.