As we talk about that big picture, from the bottom to the top, one of the key things at the root of everything is transparency. If you can’t see it and document it, you can’t change it.
Freedom of Information Day is observed on the birthday of former President James Madison. The day ensures the public is aware of all the government’s information and provided with the necessary information. (Freedom of Information Day is March 16.)
From Leigh v Salazar, Feb 14, 2012, Ninth Circuit Judge Milan Smith wrote: “Open government has been a hallmark of our democracy since our nation’s founding. As James Madison wrote in 1822, ‘a popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.’ ”
James Madison is, quite literally, the father of the First Amendment and our entire Bill of Rights.
The information the government can hold onto may include the decisions it makes, the facts it discovers, and sometimes private information on people for surveillance purposes. Under the Freedom of Information Act, an individual can demand the information they want by requesting it, and this information is provided free of cost or with a minimal fee.
One of the most well-known Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) investigations in the world of wild horses was done by Dave Philipps for ProPublica and uncovered over 1700 wild horses being sold to one kill-buyer that shipped them to slaughter. This investigation has been included in multiple White Papers and even in a Government Accounting Office (GAO) report. (Interview with Democracy Now)
Our latest Zoom Event included why transparency is key to advocacy:
“As we talk about that big picture, from the bottom to the top, one of the key things at the root of everything is transparency. If you can’t see it and document it, you can’t change it. Behind good legislation, for example, is knowing what the issues are and being able to see them so we can address them. Behind addressing issues of humane handling we have to see it. Behind addressing planning problems we have to be able to see where the deficits are in how they are setting AML, appropriate management level, the number of horses that can be on the range.
If we don’t understand how AML is set, if the agency is not being transparent, then how can you address the problems with how AML is set. If we don’t see the handling in holding, how can we address the issues of handling. So that is what I mean by transparency is at the bottom, at the root of everything.”
WHE is currently working on two large FOIA investigations and will will publish our findings when they are compiled.
We are grateful to our forefathers that had the insight to make the First Amendment first among our rights.
Every change we need to create involves the ability to observe and assess the problems.
We celebrate Freedom of Information Day.
The event mentioned in this article was a live in-the-moment version of our newsletter. Participants received follow-up email with links to articles addressing action items, documents referenced, regulations referenced.
You will be notified of future Zoom Events by subscribing to our free Wild Word e-newsletter Subscribe – Wild Horse Education
Our upcoming event will be CAWP Talk: Humane management and handling, history, policy and the fight against abuse today.
You can take 2 Actions today that can help stop the madness and gain transparency:
YOU CAN contact your representatives in Congress and ask that they co-sponsor HR 6635.
This bill would halt helicopter roundups pending a report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) that looks for humane alternatives and discloses the full effects of the use of aircraft in the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.
The bill has gained 5 cosponsors. You can see the full text of the Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act of 2022, introduced by Dina Titus (D-NV), HERE.
This fast click and send will go directly to your representative CLICK HERE.
Contact Your Two Senators and One Representative
Call the Capitol Hill Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative. You can say:
“I’m a constituent, and I’m calling to ask that you please do all you can to influence the crafting of the 2023 Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Spending bill to help begin actual reform of the Wild Horse and Burro Program.
- Designate $5 million for water source creation and repair in HMAs.
- Defund removal plans where the BLM has skirted the NEPA process and failed to create a management plan for the herd, an HMAP.
- Designate specific funds to provide for an open online portal where the public can access range monitoring, roundup veterinary reports, shipping manifests and death statistics.
- Defund the Adoption Incentive Program pending a review.
- Continue to deny funding for “sales without limits.”
Categories: Wild Horse Education