Roundups bring attention to the world of wild horses and burros. However, a roundup is not a solitary event. Roundups begin long before a chopper flies and have ramifications that involve the slaughter pipeline for individuals after capture.
We use one year of the roundup schedule to illustrate the entire program in this 4-part series. Run with us for the year 2020 and learn all bout the challenges of todays advocacy. Italicized words throughout the piece represent a link to an article for those of you that want more information.
Make no mistake, there is a fight ahead. Each roundup in this review will discuss a particular issue(s) that will be addressed in the action items we will list in the final article in the series.
Part 4: Confusion, Red Desert and a Corruption
Confusion HMA: BLM removed 304 of the 500 wild horses that were targeted for removal from the 230,000 acre HMA where they say only about 70-115 wild horses can live. 5 wild horses died during the roundup.
They use the fact that this HMA has populations that mingle with nearby HMAS to to justify a number that is not genetically viable on its own. However, when they created a plan to spay up to half the mares in Confusion, they did not take into account that one of the HMAs is treated with GonaCon (Swasey) and the other has gelding and IUDs (Conger). The Complex is a hodgepodge of an experiment ground with no science, logic or long term planning.
We engaged the entire process and, on October 28, filed legal action. Our suit addressed the plan to brutally spay mares, the mixing of methods, zero planning, etc. The legal action is still pending.
The roundup was run as if they were zeroing out the area and often really hard to watch. The number of adult wild horses roped was extreme.
Videos, like the one below, show the roundup was often designed for human convenience and very little thought, or willingness to change one begun. (Read about the video below here)
We are working on our official review of the operation that our CAWP (Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy) team submits after each roundup.
The agency is supposed to be reviewing the policy annually since 2016 and changing that policy based on the events at each operation. We asked for a copy of those reviews and found, with no surprise, that the agency has done no review, revision, or cared much about their obligations under law. The policy is simply a guidance to comply with the law.
BLM made it as difficult as possible over the last 4 years to get any question, no matter how simple, answered. Our team has over half a dozen Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) pending for nearly two years and a half dozen over a year old. Each one of those FOIAs, once answered, will point to incredible corruption and disregard for the law. But there are other ways to gain information.
As our team uncovered the dereliction of duty to the CAWP policy, Deputy Director William Perry Pendley had his staff create the most absurd press release. The press release tries to give the impression that CAWP is new and the obligation to all of the parameters (revision, extension into holding facilities and on range) is new. That press release is not going to make a good court exhibit, in fact it is likely to make a federal judge rather annoyed. We know, we are the only org to ever take BLM to court over abuse and are more than ready, with all of the info our team has uncovered, to go back.
The Red Desert Complex in Wyoming spans about 750,000 acres where BLM has set the management level at 480-724 wild horses. Sheep, cattle and mining gain the largest foothold of resources in the complex.
BLM captured 1970, 10 died at during the operation. BLM treated 100 mares with PZP and released them along with 97 studs.
Many people are confused and think the substance PZP means a dart gun. PZP is a substance, not a method. There are other substances that are temporary fertility control that can be both darted or applied as part of a roundup at the chute in holding, like Gona Con. Example of what BLM calls a fertility control operation in 2020 are Diamond, Shawave, Fish Creek, Range Creek, Red Desert, etc.
Temporary fertility control can be a part of management, but it is not management nor does it stop a roundup. Once applied it needs to be reapplied; PZP-22 every 18 months, GonaCon every 3-5 years.
The Red Desert roundup had multiple incidents involving barbed wire. One mare cutting her chest as she launched herself through.
Most of our readers will remember Red Desert because of an amazing feat by a black stallion. His family trusted him more than they feared the chopper. He demonstrated the heart of the American Mustang and inspired us all. You can read about that day HERE.
The last 4 years the BLM has had no actual director. The BLM has been led by both the Secretary of Interior and a revolving door of Deputy Directors given the authority of Director by the Secretary of Interior.
Basically, it has been a circus of a lack of accountability run by the influence of men unqualified for the job at hand and severe conflicts of interest.
The most well known, probably because it is the most recent, is William Perry Pendley who has been running the agendas of his former law clients. If you pull cases Pendley filed in court before becoming Deputy of the BLM, most of them he lost, you can see each every losing case he filed had their agendas hit center stage under his tenure.
Recently a judge in Montana ruled his tenure as acting director illegal. BLM is currently very busy obfuscating the distinction between his role as acting Director with his duties as Deputy Direct of Policy and Programs. It seems to be forgotten that actions taken outside the scope of status quo by a Deputy need approval of the Director. Pulling this apart is like playing in a skit by Abbot and Costello, “Who is on first.”
Our teams are very busy working on the “RICO board” of Secretaries and Deputies and their corporate partners. Just because they leave their chair does not mean they can not be held responsible for the damage they have done. The list includes Ryan Zinke, John Ruhs, David Bernhardt and, let us not forget the former Chief of Staff for Chris Stewart (R-UT), Brian Steed.
Let us not forget Zinkes long standing ties to pro-slaughter and the secret meetings he held. Zinke had a habit of doing things like deleting text messages and deleting this off his electronic schedule. There are technology based companies looking into that right now.
There is a tremendous amount of work to do, with many complex layers, to simply undo the damage done in the last few years.
Wild horses and burros are part of public lands. They do not live in the law books of domestic animals, they live in the realm of public lands law. Politics rule the reality of the range. We must fight hard to bring the reality of the range into the spotlight to gain, as the law states, a place for our wild ones to be protected as “integral to the system of public lands” for generations to come.
We need an educated advocacy that fights for them, integral to the laws of public lands. It is not an easy task.
Are you ready for the fight ahead? We are.
Next up: New Year, Join the Fight.
To get ready for the fight ahead take the time to read the look at 2020 Through the Roundup Window. This 4 part series can give you a baseline to become the voice our wild ones need you to become.
Categories: Wild Horse Education