Yesterday, an article came out in the Washington Post on the current debacle created by an alliance of corporate interests claiming to be a “collaborative” between cattlemen and advocates on changes to the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program. Public relations firms have been very busy polishing an agenda as a “plan.”
The agenda solves nothing. If Congress approves this document in any shape or form, they will run a broken program to collapse. (Take action against it HERE)
In addition to the lack of an actual plan, just acceleration of business as usual and multiple layers of unethical conduct in the private sector, the document contains massive involvement by two former BLM Deputy Directors, a lobby group masquerading as a “wild horse organization,” and more, that needs a serious Congressional ethics probe. (more HERE)
If an environmental organization went to the table with livestock and oil and gas and said to you “We are going to shrink Bears Ears by two-thirds and allow drilling and cows. We made a brave step, this is progress!”, what would you say? Wild horses and National Monuments sit in the same dirty hands. The hands of the wolf killers, the “bring back lead ammunition,” kill hibernating bears people; these are the “partners” of these “so-called advocate organizations.” (more HERE)
One of the orgs, that is far removed from the range, states: “The fact that we have a chance at shifting management to move away from these traumatic, senseless roundups and move toward better solutions in the near future is critical,” DeMayo said. Ranchers, she added, “are not going to say, ‘Thanks guys, we’re just going to take our cows off now.’ A huge step forward is that there is conversation.”
Can you imagine that statement coming from an organization advocating for wolves, pronghorn, sage grouse, etc? What if they said they would not fight new grazing schemes that would batter habitat or would not fight moves to remove wolves to dangerously low levels, but were instead going to help facilitate it, put some cash in their pockets in the deal, and package it with a bow and call it advocacy?
We were not contacted prior to, or after, meeting the journalist on the range. However, all of the other individuals quoted from advocacy were not at the roundup, nor on range.
On range BLM tried to continue the conversation with media, that begins this article, created by Goicoechea (Public Lands Council, Cattlemen’s Ass’n, counties; he represents them all).
To someone not familiar with the western landscape even a healthy central Nevada landscape can look a bit bare. We showed them the native grasses, the bio-crust, the pinyons and explained what was happening and why. Where we stood the range was healthy. Wild horses were being removed because to “mitigate” a mine in wild horse territory BLM simply says “trucks will slow down.” The media saw trucks not slowing down…. even going right through the trap location… while we were held in a ridiculous observation zone. We also told them about how the wild horses were removed, as the mountain lions were killed, in the grazing allotment to the south. (Unfortunately, none of that made this piece.)
Mining reform was more relevant to the area the reporters watched wild horses removed from, not a visit to the Goicoechea ranch. Yet not one word about the fact that mining laws, that prioritize the needs of hard rock mining above all else on public lands, has not changed since 1872.
We then had to explain who we were, as it seemed she thought another org did our work. We gave her our resume. We answered questions about multiple ranges and history.
As you read the article there is one sentence that is key to understanding all that is happening.The sentence comes from Ethan Lane, a lobbyist for Cattlemen:
To us at WHE this is the tragedy in a nutshell. Wild horses are not covered in the law book on domestics. Wild horses are all about public lands. So called “advocates,” that claimed to represent the wild horses (and you), are intending to confuse and manipulate public opinion through public relations arms, as they are addressing symptoms of failed management. They let the cattlemen define the range; actual management, not symptoms of failure. This subsidy grab, power play, dirty backroom deal, never had to happen.
The wild horse is the only animal in our nation legally defined by the land it stands. Fixing the program starts there. If you do not start there? Whatever you do puts a larger burden on the broken frame and it will collapse. The BLM Wild Horse and Burro program has a broken frame (the National Academy of Sciences). Build as many walls, of expensive material, as you like and keep putting them on a broken foundation; your house will collapse.
The organizations that saw the fight on the ground, particularly at Fish Creek that only drew their attention in 2015 (we will expand in a future article) as an opportunity to “negotiate a seat for themselves,” actually made deals to “get other orgs and individuals in advocacy out.” The deal making sold out advocates, that are on ground doing years of work, and the wild horse. This is more than corrupt and involves private deals, not only with cattlemen, but between organizations.
Please remember, as you hear these orgs package this in the tragedies that happen at a roundup, those orgs did not actually fight against abuse either. To this day, those of us at WHE are the only org to ever take BLM to court, repeatedly, and win, repeatedly, over abuse at roundups. Fighting forced a policy change to help the wild horse, not rolling over and/or simply marketing.
If this proposal gets passed by Congress in any form, the program will collapse. Wild horses will be in danger of slaughter and mass killing once more. Wild herds will be decimated in numbers, brutalized through surgical experimentation, and their habitat will be destroyed by profit driven interests with no protections. In addition our voice to fight back will be gutted.
The version of Interior Appropriations passed by the House, must not be passed by the Senate.
Get to know the names in the game. Ask yourself some deep questions about who, what and why each says what they say.
Help Keep us in the Fight
Video of areas in and around the roundup attended by the Washington Post