Editorial and request for action; LLeigh (reading, and review, is important)
I feel compelled to write this now, in the moment, as I deal with members of Congress. Congress really is confused by the public. I am getting feedback that they felt that passing the “6 million dollar version” of the Stewart Alliance, not the “40 million dollar version,” is what the public wanted, because some click and send letter went out from an org that told you to say it. The top of my head, and my heart, hurt.
Congress wants to help.
We have had a real plan since 2013 from the National Academy of Sciences, it seems to have been forgotten. Our wild ones are in grave, grave, danger as reality, and science, have been washed away under public relations firms. The cost to our wild ones will be the decimation of the wild, wild, ones.
In debate in Congress, right now, is a “plan” by HSUS, ASPCA, Return to Freedom, the Cattlemen’s Ass’n, the Public Lands Council, etc. (for brevity I will reference this so-called plan as the “Stewart Alliance”). It’s not a plan, it’s a blanket over the truth to create subsidies. It solves nothing, parades around packaged by multi-million dollar lobby firms. It is money, talking to money, about more money. It is created by opportunistic feeders in the world of wild horses (HSUS, ASPCA, RTF) and the worst of the livestock industry (those heavily associated with the States Rights movement).
The “big three” pretending to represent wild horse advocacy are not public land centric, wild horse centric, orgs. They are not on the ground, in land use planning, or even fighting against abuse at roundups. These orgs focus on issues after failures in land management, when the wild becomes a domestic (after title transfer wild horses are domestic under law; when they hop from the law books on public lands into the law books on domestics. The word slaughter applies to the wild only after the laws turn them domestic, the vast majority of the time).
Management of wild horses is all in the books on public land law. Even the fight against abuse is in the public land law category. Wild horses are the only animal in our nation legally defined by the land it stands, not biology.
I sat in a room where a BLM employee made up the name of a spring. The head of one of the “big three,” listed above, nodded her head and said “Oh, I’ve been there and it is terrible.” The person from BLM turned to me and shrugged his shoulders. It was done to demonstrate to me just how easy it is to manipulate those seeking nothing but an appearance of knowledge, power and ego.
It is probably a good time to remind people that I was set to debate Gillian Lyons of HSUS when this “Stewart Alliance” broke to the public. The debate was scheduled for NPR. Lyons backed out.
There are more opportunistic feeders showing up in wild horses to pull pieces off the carcass, the vultures have landed. The crazy faction, that is also far removed from the reality of the wild horse is back, smelling money. In 2015 a campaign against advocates was launched. These were the anti-fertility control (PZP), leave them alone, fall on the floor at BLM meetings and pretend to be dead horses, doing the work of the livestock industry to stop on-ground advocates from showing we can manage on the range, faction. They are back and adding to the fuel of our opposition that wild horse advocates are “just nuts.” They paint that picture well. (note: Remember the first uprising and legal case, that lost in court, against fertility control came from the counties and ranchers. The tag line of the crazy faction is identical to the county and Protect the Harvest. These groups did the dirty work for livestock, just like HSUS et al are doing now. )
Over the next few weeks we are entering into a real, “last stand.” The wild horses, as we know them, are on the verge of being destroyed. It is that bad.
I knew it in 2016 while the “big three” were deep into selling out the work of on-ground advocates for more subsidies and the crazy faction, that helped our opposition lay the foundation to justify “closed door meetings” from the disruption of “bat s*** crazy.” The reins of wild horses were handed to the orgs with million dollar lobbyists. (You should be aware, by now, that two of the “experts” for the anti-PZP faction were picked up for starving the horses in their care. One, Karen Sussman of ISPMB, was the cause of the largest rescue of sanctuary, formerly, wild horses in history when horses were dropping dead at her sanctuary.)
“This is the only plan we have!” is now a public relations tagline for members of Congress and those that sold out our wild horses (the Stewart Alliance).
No, it’s not.
In 2013 the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) gave BLM “the plan.” The plan is over 400 pages long and cost the tax-payer 1.5 million.
The NAS plan, in a simple nutshell:
- The basic data is so bad, we must start there. BLM needs to get migratory routes, critical habitat, real genetic baselines and then protect them from being destroyed. They need to map out the program with data, not assertion. (note: at one point the NAS found they could not discern where the data was just bad or made up by a BLM manager to justify decisions).
- Transparency. BLM needs to disclose the “bad data” and open it up to discussion with all stakeholders, not just the friends and family club. Utilize volunteers to fill in those gaps before creating more chaos, based on nothing but assertion.
- Fix the underlying flaws. Boundary lines, forage allocations, are so flawed that BLM needs to go back and begin review and revision. Things like Appropriate Management Level (AML) are not based on science, no matter how far you stretch the limit of the word, they are based on politics.
- Lastly, use incremental removals and temporary fertility control, not spaying, to slowly bring populations in line only as validity of on range management (according to the law) can be established through actual data.
In 2013 BLM had “the plan.” However it was, after all, over 400 pages long. How can we expect land managers, or opportunistic feeders, to read so many pages! It is so much easier to just cherry-pick a line or two to forward your cash cow.
Those pages were written by the most respected scientific body in the world, the NAS, and confirmed every single allegation being made by the actual on-ground wild horse advocates. (note: We do know what happens if you actually follow the NAS, you get your life threatened. I guess HSUS et al felt joining those threatening our lives, the horses lives, was easier than helping to fight them. Flashback; Fish Creek.)
Imagine, if in 2013, BLM was funded to hire an actual sufficient number of Wild Horse and Burro Specialists, funding for data collection cooperatives that included advocacy, and created a program to actually manage wild horses according to the law? By 2019 the program would be on the way to solvency. Instead we got nothing but games, lying to keep jobs, bully tactics and playing wild horses in politics, as usual.
The “Stewart Alliance” begins with solidifying the broken frame, decimating populations without any science based justification, brutalizes herds with surgical sterilization (impacts behavior forever) and is simply insanity, brutality and subsidies that go into already deep pockets. The plan destroys the wild.
What the wild ones desperately need is to their critical habitat identified and impacts from industry halted. Our wild horses are in danger; fenced out of large swaths of their legal area, waters turned off and dismantled (or contaminated), management levels set to satisfy politics (the number “fast disappearing” when the Act was passed, is the number BLM says is “appropriate”).
When you call your Congressperson, and please do, you need to remind them there is an actual plan for legal management, not one written by lobbyists for industry (many see animal welfare as an industry. As a matter of record the CEO of HSUS, one of the orgs in the Stewart Alliance, has been quoted stating exactly that. Use the bullet pointed list above and a copy of the NAS Report in your correspondence to Congress. You should ask that the entire program get a nice deep probe into corruption, starting with the Stewart Alliance. (You can download a copy of the NAS review here)
What we have now is Congress influenced by the “media storm.” Social media, news blips and a document created by the Stewart alliance. Opposition to it? Congress is confused. They think the only real opposition is to include some smaller areas for PZP. They think the Stewart plan is what the public wants, as long as some funds go to PZP darting. (Fertility control, PZP, is a great tool, not a plan to fix the program. Fertility control also solves nothing unless it is a data collection tool,then utilized to fix deficits (NAS). PZP darting can be used in unacclimated herds, not just ones the public photographs a lot. Again “Flashback to Fish Creek,” the program dissolved in dirty backdoor deals.)
Congress is being bombarded by huge issues; climate crisis,”kids in cages” at the border, families losing health care, impending war, etc. We need to be really clear, we want the deficits fixed in data before anything else changes. Then any changes need to come only when actually justified.
Contact Congress. Use the bullet pointed list above and a copy of the NAS review. (you can find your representatives here: http://govtrack.us) Remind Congress a “plan” for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program was written, in 2013. A programmatic plan, or report, is going to be more than two dozen pages presented by Chris Stewart (R-UT).
It is the last stand for the truly wild. I’m not exaggerating. Pick up the phone, send a FAX or email.
Please remember, the BLM report to Congress is on it’s way. Don’t let that document, crafted by former Chief of Staff of Stewart, Brian Steed (former Deputy Director of BLM) be the nail in the coffin of the wild ones.
We will be bringing you site-by-site manipulations of the range, to create crisis in the wild horse, to push the Stewart alliance forward, aided by the BLM, soon. Will the public pay attention this time? Or is it too late?
More on NAS.
Help us stay in the fight. We are up against very well-funded interests. We wont stay silent.
Categories: Wild Horse Education