Last Thursday a short term budget resolution bill was passed by the House and Senate, then signed into law. This bill does not provide permanent funding for the fiscal year that began October 1, it simply averted a shutdown of certain government functions for 9 weeks. The debates to pass a spending bill involve multiple issues and could go into a series of these resolutions that fund the government short-term and then require a new resolution.
We are getting a lot of emails asking about the BLM roundup schedule. The agency still has not officially updated the the schedule, nor posted a written explanation furthering public confusion. Communication is not a “strong suit” of the program.
This budget chaos also effects legal actions as the Department of Justice (DoJ) attorneys that defend BLM also face a time of “unknowns.”
What we can tell you:
Any operation that began prior to the expiration of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget is funded and will continue. (You can download the FY2021 WHB schedule here)
Bait and helicopter drive trapping that began prior to October 1 continues. However, it appears that Barren Valley has not captured horses since the 29th and the Jackson operation officially ended shy of the goal, even though both were slated to end in October.
USFS is continuing to capture at Devils Garden.
The agency has approved the use of resolution funding for the massive Rock Springs roundup in Wyoming to begin Oct. 7. The plan is to capture 4,300, remove 3,500 and release 800 treated with fertility control is still confirmed to begin Oct 7. However, we expect there could be a delay in the making.
The agency has not published any “interim” schedule.
We wish we could tell you what the winter schedule will include so you can make travel plans. We expect this to be a time of short announcements for any additional operations placed on the schedule. We do know that Owyhee (NV) and Twin Peaks (CA) are two of the next large roundups awaiting funding.
If a herd you watch is in the cross-hairs and you are waiting for the area to be placed on the schedule, we suggest staying in contact with the field office as official announcements are very likely to not include much lead time (a few days). Our roundup volunteers are also facing scheduling uncertainties.
Our legal team is also navigating the continuing resolution hurdles. Depending on the issue being litigated a case in the courts can last a long time. As an example, our case against the “Confusion Spay Plan” is still active. Spaying via colpotomy was dropped from the plan, but the process that arrived at that decision is still in debate along with many other aspects of the plan approved in the EA. Only a piece of that case was resolved and the case was filed in October of 2020. Court deadlines are set, yet certain aspects of the courts functionality are very vulnerable to an uncertain budget.
Our team that was out at the Antelope Complex “emergency” roundup is completing our full review of the operation. The review is being submitted to the agency and key Congressional members. These reports are very different than the articles and videos we put online and are key to our continued work to create, improve and enforce a humane handling policy.
We will update you soon on these meetings and our work to expand our work on this front in the courts.
Social Media Down
Many of our readers are reporting issues with social media today.
If you do not want to miss new from WHE when your social media feeds go on the fritz, you can follow both the news section on the website and sign-up for our newsletter HERE.
An article appeared in the Nevada Current addressing a new “coalition” that is busy blaming wild horses and ignoring livestock. You can read the piece here.
Many Congressional members will be in their home offices for the next two weeks. Yes, even with the intense budget debate many will return to home offices. (You can download schedule here)
Wild horses and burros are a multi-layered public lands issue. Try to keep your concerns about the wild horse program in discussion with their public lands aide and SAFE Act (slaughter) in discussion with their animal law person. There is a sheer lack of actual management planning for wild horses while they are simply slated for removal to satisfy the planning done for industry. That type of discussion is for the person in your representatives office that does public lands, not puppy mills.
Two topics you might consider: Issues involving drought will continue to be a focal point and trigger for removals of wild horses in 2022. The BLM new euthanasia guidelines; getting old is not an unhealthy wild horse, yet the agency now includes signs of aging as a reason to kill them.
We will have a list of new actions you can take as the budget debate remains a moving target and is likely to remain that way for months to come.
Updates coming soon from our teams working hard in field and at the desk.
Categories: Wild Horse Education