(Socorro, NM) Wild Horse Education (WHE) has filed additional documents in the case against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bordo Atravesado Herd Management Area (HMA) Decision and Gather EA plan. The appeal was originally file in September 2022 after the BLM approved DOI-BLM-NM-A020-2022-0014-EA and the battle continues.
WHE points out that the New Mexico BLM collected no rangeland utilization or rangeland health data in accordance with existing documents such as the 1991 Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) or BLM policies, and they admit to not “directly or indirectly” considering this crucial information in the Bordo Atravesado Decision and Gather EA plan.
“The public is under a misconception that BLM carefully measures resources and determines a stocking capacity for wild horses and burros based on a scientific equation,” said Laura Leigh, President of WHE, “In truth, BLM simply carries forward an arbitrary number set after the Act passed based on a need to create a number that livestock interests could live with at that time to try to keep down resentment after multiple regulatory laws passed in the 70’s. BLM manages for convenience, not through science or any sense of balance.”
BLM set Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 40 wild horses back in the 1980’s, when they were first (finally) figuring out the 1971 law, for administrative convenience. This AML doesn’t even come close to National Academy of Science (NAS, 2013) report of requirements of herd size of 150-200 to ensure genetic viability. The 1991 Bordo Atravesado HMAP states concerns of “inbreeding” (which was known 32-years ago) stating that removed wild horses put into holding in the local prison program shall be returned to the HMA to support genetic diversity of the herd. This has never happened and the agency seems to have forgotten that they set population levels dangerously low.
“The entire Bordo Atravesado HMA is 100% allocated (AUMs) for livestock, not one single AUM is reserved for wild horses on the entire 19,000+ acre HMA when you actually ‘do the math’” said Tammi Adams, WHE NEPA coordinator, “Yet in response to our filing BLM argues that wild horses and burros must be removed from public lands to make way for livestock, extraction and “green” industries under FPLMA’s “multiple-use” mandates. It is okay for BLM to remove wild horses to make way for “other” multiple uses, but wild horses receive no privilege of multiple-use mandated under Federal public land laws according to NM BLM. The absolute disregard for the law to protect herds and habitat is outrageous.”
“I am convinced that the HMA has rarely been visited over the past 10 years by BLM personnel affiliated with the wild horse program, nor has rangeland health been documented/monitored properly during this time,” stated Laurie Ford, WHE volunteer. “After reviewing years of BLM documentation and visiting the HMA there is evidence that wild horses have largely been restricted to only a fraction of the HMA by livestock fencing. Did BLM visit the area and decide it was ‘ok’ to limit access by wild horses to territory they should legally be managed on?”
“On top of the sheer lack of data to justify any removal. if the BLM proceeds with removing these horses as they plan by bait trapping (BLM does not permit observation of bait trapping) I will never have had the opportunity to view them on the HMA or during, and after, the proposed roundup. My heart simply aches at the injustice.” Laurie concluded.
Wild Horse Education remains committed to fighting for the Bordo wild horses and herds facing similar injustices nationwide.
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