Wild Horse Education

“Killing Wild Horses” Is Back (White House Unified Agenda)

Branding66On July 1 the White House released the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

The preface to the regulatory change is extremely vague and does the opposite of “clarifying” any regulation: “This rulemaking would address wild horse and burro management challenges by adding regulatory tools that better reflect the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) current statutory authorities.  For example, the existing regulations do not address certain management authorities that Congress has provided since 1986 to control wild horse and burro populations, such as the BLM’s authority to sell excess wild horses and burros. Updating the regulations would also facilitate management strategies and priorities that were not utilized when the regulations were originally promulgated, such as the application of fertility control vaccines, managing for nonreproducing herds, and feeding and caring for unsold and unadopted animals at off-range corrals and pastures. The proposed rule would also clarify ambiguities and management limitations in the existing language. In sum, updating the regulations would allow the BLM to clarify existing regulatory language and address current wild horse and burro management challenges with additional and more flexible regulatory tools that better reflect the BLM’s current statutory authorities.”

William Perry Pendley, BLM’s acting director now nominated for the position permanently, has called wild horses an “existential threat” to the health of federal rangelands. Wild horses are number one on his “hit list” that he carries from his former clients that sit on his recusal list.

“They failed to get the regulations changed via budget bill last year and this base is itching to just kill those ‘broomtails and range rats’ like some 1950s black and white movie. Open sales to slaughter, killing the ones in holding and butchering the rest on range, so they can’t have babies, is such a sick shopping list; that old resentment for the Act that gave the federal government jurisdiction to stop those exact actions is still alive. 

We wont have any discussion on clarity for the actual mandate of management through planning, as outlined in the handbook (Herd Management Area Plans, HMAP). For 50 years BLM has ignored that step because it would allow advocates to fight for habitat and herd protection and it would make it harder to just give it all away to livestock and mining. Instead we are back to the sneaky moves, of ugly people, that want to destroy anything wild. “ ~ Laura Leigh, Wild Horse Education President.

The regulatory changes will reflect the regulatory changes sought by the BLM report that was rejected by Congress in 2019. In order to carry out the wish list put forward by a massive corporate agenda, through “Ten Years to AML” (later titled Path Forward), BLM needed regulatory changes. Things like killing thousands of wild horses n holding, open sales to slaughter, sterilized herds would not stand up in a courtroom but were part of the plan. Congress rejected the proposal in 2019 (for the 2020 budget).

The 2021 budget debate has brought a new planning document to Congress, the regulatory changes are part of the Unified White House agenda.

When the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed slaughter (or sales to slaughter) was forbidden. A sneaky move by Conrad Burns (R-MT) in 2004 slipped in a rider to a spending bill creating sale authority (sales to slaughter) and it has been defunded each year (not repealed). We expect approval of sales to slaughter to be part of this agenda.

“Killing unadoptable wild horses and burros” is an item that this administration has tried to get into some form of regulatory acceptability since the first year they took a seat. We expect this to be on the agenda.

Sterilized herds (partial and full) is something that would not currently survive litigation. We know that Pendley, and his former clients, want the “spay machine” to go into gear. We expect this to be on that agenda.

In essence every item (open sales to slaughter, killing ones you don’t want and butchering the ones left on the range so they do not have babies) that federal authority took away from locals and states when the Act, passed causing massive resentment, is on that hit list as it was in the budget bill since this administration took the reins. 

Federal authority over public resources takes many forms and covers many subjects; wild horses and burros are one item on a long list. The power to create regulations to protect water and air quality from industrial pollution, attempting to set stocking levels and turn out times through livestock permits, making hard rock mines clean up their mess, are a few other areas where federal authority is resented.

What wont be on that agenda? forcing BLM to create actual management plans (HMAP) that would give advocates an opportunity to address site-by-site issues of diminishing habitat die to industry, absurdly low stocking levels, water improvements, etc. Creating HMAPs would give advocates a chance, however small, to actually fight for preservation of our herds.

This is a developing story. We will update you with any appropriate action item as this moves forward. You can check out a story on E&E here. 

If you want to learn about “wild horses and slaughter” we did an article that explains the difference betweenSAFE, Burns and Budget to prep you for the debate ahead. (click text) 

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Roundups have begun in the last leg of the 2020 schedule that will remove over 5000 wild horses and burros from now until Oct 7; our teams are out.

We are still fighting the release of funding to fuel that schedule, and pushing for actual management plans; you can too(HERE)



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Categories: Wild Horse Education