A Friday evening piece is unusual unless we are at a roundup. However, we are getting multiple messages. It appears BLM has used this as a social media post even before they sent out the press release. We hear you. We understand you want our response.
Today the BLM has sent out a press release that simply reaffirms the CAWP commitment they had claimed to make back in fall 2015. The statement is almost word for word of the claim made during legal proceedings.
“Are they kidding? The standard was developed in 2015 after years of litigation, in order to respond to federal judges. Did someone just wake up from a 4 year slumber and write a press release?” Stated Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education. “This press release is meaningless and not relevant to any new statement or action.”
We can only assume that BLM has created this press release in response to the events at the recent Confusion roundup and the outcry after collisions with the panels resulted in fatalities. It is common practice for BLM to make assertions of “working to make conditions better” when documentation surfaces that they are not. (Warning: Disturbing Content https://wildhorseeducation.org/2020/12/03/confusion-day-4-warning-disturbing-content/)
Maybe it was simply done so BLM can work on their social media? They posted on Facebook before they sent the release to the public. (BLM Facebook page HERE)
After years of litigation BLM had created the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP) and committed to annual review and revision of the policy, inclusion of on range standards and standards for off-range corrals. They said they implemented annual training. BLM made that commitment following litigation, and conferences, in the fall of 2015.
In response to insistence from WHE that training was lax last year, BLM NV stated that “nothing was wrong” and annual training was taking place, This affirms that BLM has been using the assertions in the releases for some time now.
“BLM making the 2015 policy a permanent policy, when humane handling is already a legal requirement in the Act, after no review and revision, yet claiming they will review and revise after making the same commitment in 2016 and doing nothing for 4 years, is the absolute craziness we have come to expect from Pendley and the revolving door of Deputy Directors.” said Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education.
“Watching roundups this year, I observed blatant violations of the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program (CAWP), a policy that is already part of the contract BLM has with the helicopter crews.” said Elyse Gardner Walsh, WHE CAWP team volunteer. “Thanks for nothing, Mr. Pendley. I don’t mind if the door hits you on the way out.”
For the last 3 years we have been asking for the annual reviews of CAWP. WHE filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. BLM refused to answer. We asked again, BLM still refused.
Our teams did not stop digging. We found no reviews or revisions. We found extreme flaws and lags in training. We found absolutely no work had been done to create a facility policy. THE BLM simply tagged off a “review” to the ill-equipped citizen advisory board in 2018. The work to tie the memos, deals and intimidation tactics of the last 4 years, wont stop because of a press release. Abuse at roundups wont stop either until the agency begins to respect the wild horse and burro. Something unlikely to happen, considering they still do not protect the basics of life, water and food, from the industrial interests BLM serves.
“This press release looks like a last ditch effort to make William Perry Pendley look like he is a responsible man with a heart, instead it makes him look like a fraud. ” stated Leigh. “Every single action in the wild horse program under Pendley needs to be dragged from the dark corners and scrutinized, including his disregard for abuse as he ran around calling wild horses the greatest threat to public lands. Under Pendley humane management has been a joke. Range management is his private poker game. Backdoor deals, and moving the agenda of his former law clients, was all he put in his directives.”
“This press release is not reassuring, it is infuriating.” concluded Leigh.
In 2020 alone, BLM broke necks on panels, tied a wild horse to a moving ATV, ran wild horses in smoke under health alerts, ran wild horses through barbed wire, ran foals to exhaustion, on and on. In the last weeks of the year Pendley sends a press release on his way out the door.
You can read the BLM Press Release at the bottom of the page.
The fight will continue.
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BLM Press Release:
The Bureau of Land Management renews humane treatment standards for wild horses and burros
New policy formalizes a comprehensive program to protect the well-being of wild horses and burros on public lands and directly under agency care
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The Bureau of Land Management today released guidance that affirms its long-standing commitment to assure the humane handling and treatment of wild horses and burros on public lands and under the agency’s care off the range. This longstanding practice and policy makes permanent the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program and reflects the agency’s commitment to transparency as it carries out its responsibilities to protect and manage wild horses and burros under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
“As we continue to implement the challenging mission of managing and protecting wild horses and burros on public lands, the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program supports our efforts to ensure the treatment of these living legends is based on compassion and concern for their well-being at all times,” said Deputy Director of Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley.
The BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program consolidates humane handling practices already in place for wild horse and burro gather operations, transportation and care at public events and in all off-range corrals. All BLM employees, contractors and partners involved with handling animals are required to adhere to the humane handling standards and will complete annual training as part of the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program.
The BLM developed the standards included in the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program in collaboration with animal welfare experts from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service – Veterinary Services. The standards will be reviewed periodically to incorporate the best available science, husbandry and handling practices applicable for wild horses and burros.
Access the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program policy on the BLM website: https://www.blm.gov/policy/pim-2021-002
**Photo caption: BLM staff at the Bruneau Off-Range Wild Horse Corral Facility examine a newly freezemarked wild horse in preparation for the adoption program.
Categories: Wild Horse Education