Wild horses are the only animal in our country legally defined by where they stand, not what they are biologically. Wild horses, as a “living symbol of the (pioneer) spirit of the West” literally carry the history of the land they stand upon.
Public Lands Day thoughts from WHE, compiled and contributed by Pam Chandler.
Failure to fulfill the mandate to protect wild horses, as an integral part of public lands, America will effectively lose forever that legally defined symbol of the spirit of the American West.
When most people think of the American western landscape they think of a vast expanse of open range. Open range is a romantic notion. There is no such thing! Our western landscape is a series of fenced open pit mines and fenced livestock grazing land crisscrossed by highways. There are very few truly wild places left.
Our public lands in the American West is in serious trouble. Public land management, by the Bureau of Land Management, is broken. This is not some new revelation, but extends back over a hundred years.
Our wild horses are not “the problem.” Nor, did wild horses create “the problem.”
Over a century of using lands to fund “profit-driven interest” has led to practices that stem in historic uses, political expediency, not based on science. Anyone who thinks our public lands are managed for preservation of beauty have never visited our public land beyond a tourist attraction. Large areas of public lands are being carved up to suit industry. This is not preservation. Our public land is to be managed in a “sustainable, multiple-use fashion, for all interests” including our wild herds. This is not “thriving natural ecological balance.” Not even a pretense of fair-minded preservation of the wild; industry controls the range and the narrative.
A monumental battle over control of your public land and resources has existed since before the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was formed. Public resources will always be under the eye of profit-driven interests. Many of these interests are represented by strong unified agendas and well-funded industries with lobbyists that influence the decisions of local politicians and Congress. With the profit line as a driving force we will always face corruption, well-funded opposition and changing legal framework.
Every aspect of the turf war, over public land, is escalating as environmental protections (water, air, and endangered species) face increased threats in a political climate run not for building a legacy of preserving our nation, but to exploit it for profit. Our wild horses are caught in a truly deranged war that is intent on hiding the roots of corruption while ignoring advocates’ voices.
Habitat loss is one of the key factors that cause wild horses to be removed in roundups. Fair and equitable management on the range seldom exists.
Give away the land, water and forage inside a designated territory; blame the wild horse or burro for not being able to leave the artificial boundary lines we put them behind to find food and water that was taken away inside the boundaries expect them to stay within.
The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (1971) defines the wild horse and burro and gives them status as an “integral part of the system of the public lands.” The Federal Land Management and Policy Act (1976) ensures your voice in the planning process that are integral to that system. The National Environmental Policy Act guides that system.
The system is exploited and manipulated. That is “the problem,” not the wild horse.
Our wild horses and burros are incredible. Resilient survivors they still embody the soul of what America claims to represent. Have we abandoned the will to maintain the spirit of freedom and family in this disposable world where a pretense presented in a social media picture is all we need to claim something is real?
As roundups accelerate at an unprecedented rate, slamming population levels back down to a politically-convenient number set in Congress in the 1970’s, no effort has been made by the agency to address resource preservation, impede industrial growth and protect our wild horses and all wild things.
On “Public Lands Day” we renew the commitment to continue to fight for the wild horses and burros and the land they stand.
Categories: Wild Horse Education