UPFRONT: A note from the team in answer to questions in our Inbox:
Our team members are working onsite at the ongoing Antelope roundup, off site at the Antelope Complex and engaging to protect wild horses and burros in various parts of processes involving upcoming removal plans, livestock, mining and energy projects. Yes, we also have team members trying to break through the big corporate lobby faction that has pushed to fund the “2020 plan” for another year with no change and no review.
We are busy. Many of you are asking our view on the spending bill. So we will simply repeat what we said when the death of the stallion (palomino that broke his leg and then was run another 35 minutes before being shot) was used to promote a spending bill that passed out of a House committee… now that basically the same bill has passed out of the Senate Committee:
The spending bill that passed out of the
House Senate Committee being lauded today as “change” by many organizations but is actually word-smithing representing exactly what you have now. Since 2020, many have created these “victory” messages when the language they are lauding creates no change, it just rewords what already exists. BLM already is supposed to “triage” funding for roundups based on need (escalating issues reports). BLM is already supposed to be handling horses humanely (in existing law and why we were able to stop roundups in court in the past; CAWP is a policy gained after that litigation AND budget language last year already says they need to adhere to it). BLM already has grants for “monitoring and fertility control” that anyone, including veterans, can apply for (where feds are required to prioritize Veterans, like when they hire employees). BLM has been required to set aside “$11 million for fertility control” for years now and consider alternatives to choppers (bait trap, fertility control, etc.).
You can laud this bill for not sliding back things like the prohibition against opens sales for slaughter and killing healthy wild horses outright (the sales program and Adoption Incentive Program, AIP, stay in place). You can laud it (if you want) for keeping the same grants and funding for fertility control. But do NOT laud this as change.
We find it more than offensive that these incidents we have documented year-after-year keep getting co-opted to push agenda that will not stop what you see in the footage. We have had the same language in the bill for years and it DOES NOT, would not, impact the events surrounding the death of Sunshine (the stallion in the video). Fertility control is a broad term that includes everything from a non hormonal vaccine to surgical sterilization. Eventually, the number removed would be reduced, but not stopped and at what cost to the herds as the agency does no site-specific analysis on the impacts of this mash-up of substances and methods at all and just keeps approving more “ten-year gather plans.” Reducing population is a potential tool under management, it is NOT management (particularly when they have not even done things like defining a site-specific foaling season).
If Congress wants to do something to give people the tools we need to create change:
Before the BLM is allowed to move a fully funded strategy forward, for the 5th straight year, the public deserves an analysis from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The last NAS review was in 2013.
We need a hard look at the program from government oversight agencies such as the Government Accounting Office (GAO) and the Department of Interior Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
You can call your reps and ask that they demand BLM commission a new NAS review. http:govtrack.us to find your reps.
If Congress actually wants to begin reform? Identify the real issues and do not just listen to paid lobbyists.
At WHE abuse of wild horses and burros is always front and center. Humane handling of wild horses and burros is a very distinct layer in the program. Helicopter capture is even used during fertility control treatments (catch/treat/release). Fertility control has been pushed to slow the number captured, it won’t stop roundups. It must be addressed head-on. We have not been able to break through corporate noise and get BLM to move on reforming the welfare program. We had no choice but to file litigation.
Abuse is abuse. To comply with basic (existing) tenets of law BLM needs to revise the inadequate policy, create rules and enforce them. FULL STOP.
Our team is not letting our work in other distinct layers slide off the table: Greenlinks (energy transmission line) comments went in this week, work is being done on an appeal against a livestock grazing scheme and briefs have been filed in ongoing appeals regarding upcoming removals.
Two choppers and two traps were used for the second day of chaos at the ongoing roundup at the Antelope complex.
So far: 22 wild horses have died. The majority of those deaths occurred when human judgment would be impacted by a dangerous heat index and horses would be the most vulnerable. BLM simply dug in their heels, embraced the preferred partners and refused to listen.
What do 2 choppers in the same valley look like?
If the video above won’t play, just imagine this image all day long unless the chopper is in to refuel.
Instead of using them like you might use riders to move cows (one to move the group and one to pick up stragglers), it is really rather relentless. Please remember July is (in fact) foal and breeding season; tiny babies and the herd on alert even without a helicopter. BLM needs to be held accountable and define a data-based foaling season before running bands this way.
Although BLM notes temperature as only 90 at the time of the last run, observers, once again, logged temps at just under 95. The National Weather Service and NOAA marked that gps location at 95 at the time of the last run. How is it that BLM is always 5 degrees cooler in summer and 5 degrees warmer in winter than every other source?
It should be noted (again) that temperature alone has been considered an antiquated method for determining impacts to physiology for nearly a decade. Heat Index is now considered the measure in standard equine husbandry, No surprise, BLM is behind the curve.
BLM is using both corrals at temporary holding. Corrals were full of wild horses.
Yesterday BLM captured 165. BLM lists 85 as shipped and 177 captured yesterday. This left the overnight population in temporary corrals at 257.
We are not given much time to document horses during holding tours. Video above.
Today, BLM flew one trap (2 choppers) in the same valley presumably to get as many out of the grazing allotments near the Mustang Monument Resort as possible.
Our public report from today will file as soon as we can.
Thank you for keeping us in the fight!
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Categories: Wild Horse Education