Wild Horse Education

WHE Respond

On January 2, WHE published a piece on the “State of Wild Horses/Burros.”(HERE)

We ask that you read the piece from January 2. The following piece is presented by request from our readers to simply look at the statements made in the BLM release from our perspective.

We discussed how the new BLM Director, Tracy Stone-Manning, is following in the footsteps of Perry-Pendley (former Acting Director of BLM whose tenure Stone-Manning fought when she was in the private sector) and has committed to acceleration of the “2020 plan.”

Today, BLM sent a press release confirming the acceleration of that agenda and is committed to placing 22,000 wild horses/burros onto the capture schedule (fiscal year schedule ends Oct. 1). BLM NEWS RELEASE. GATHER SCHEDULE. 01052022

From BLM release:

In total, the BLM plans to gather at least 22,000 wild horses and burros from overpopulated herds, remove at least 19,000 excess animals, and treat at least 2,300 animals with various forms of fertility control and release them back on to public lands through the end of September 2022. If achieved, this would be the largest number of animals ever treated with fertility control in one year – nearly double the previous record of 1,160 treatments set in 2021 – as well as the largest number of animals ever gathered and removed in one year.

In essence, this is the “Path Forward” or “BLM 2020 Plan” in full view and moving forward, fast. (This plan was first titled “Ten Years to AML.” In typical fashion, the name of an agenda can change if controversy surrounds it. Historically a name change happens when something they reference creates a fast Google search showing too much controversy; even a a holding facility or herd can have a name change.)

It is not uncommon for the Director to send out a press release prior to the agency publishing a “gather schedule” update. Often, as is the case with Stone-Manning, the release will be a good indication of how the agency will use the press statement to foreshadow the way Department of Justice (DoJ) attorneys will fight existing and pending litigation. Translation: Your Honor, deny their motion because wild horses are starving and need to be removed immediately (on the same range we are approving water improvements so cows can expand their range, just approved a mine expansion and need to act like we just protected sage grouse).

From BLM press release:

“The BLM is committed to the safety of the wild horses and burros entrusted to our care,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “Our gather efforts, handling standards, and fertility control work are guided by our compassion for these animals and our desire to protect their well- being, as well as the health of our public lands.”

It is no surprise that we see the agency repeat the same “we care” statement and then use drought and “starving” to push continuing the status quo. (They do not actually address the drought or the loss of habitat to industry, just accelerate the status quo that is based on the “lack of data” the NAS has pointed to since 1982 on everything from stocking levels, boundary lines, etc.)

We all know the agency has skipped critical management planning (Herd Management Area Plans, HMAP), has failed to review the failing humane policy (Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy, CAWP), record numbers of branded wild horses are showing up in kill-pens, etc.

Stone-Manning and her hypocrisy are on full view in the release as she simply accelerates the plan written and delivered to BLM by big business interests. Her failure to mention a single item that would actually demonstrate the word “care” confirms exactly what we wrote in the January 2, article (HERE).

From BLM press release:

The agency made significant progress last year towards its goals, including placing more than 8,600 animals into private care through adoptions and sales – the largest number in 24 years.

They, of course, fail to mention how many of those wild horses landed in a kill-pen and what that cost the taxpayer. The release simply promises to strengthen protection in the coming months.

The release says absolutely nothing about correcting the lack of actual management planning on-range and just asserts that removal/fertility control is management.

Things to remember: The concept of boundary lines (artificial boundaries for a free-roaming species) were set in debate in Congress over language in the 1971 Act 50 years ago, not a science based analysis. The concept of a National Appropriate Management Level (AML) also came from Congress and the numbers originally set in the first plans in the late 70’s and 80’s simply carried forward through today. Even though survey methods changed, those numbers we compare current survey numbers to came from that time. 

By your request, we have posted a direct response piece. Our readers emailed us an avalanche of copies of the BLM press release. WHE had already sent out our response to media outlets (different than this article).

However, we published an extensive piece on January 2. The statement sent out today by BLM simply confirms everything said in the article we published.

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Categories: Wild Horse Education