Wild Horse Education (WHE) and our members have been a frontline reporting organization providing public oversight for 15 years. WHE is the only organization to ever walk BLM into a courtroom (repeatedly) over abuse. Our early litigation drove the creation of the first internal welfare standards BLM calls the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program or CAWP. In 2023, we have filed litigation to drive transformation of the internal standards into review, open public comments and into enforceable rules.
Fast overview of fiscal 2023
Helicopter drive-trapping funded in fiscal 2023 will end with the Calico Complex roundup. The 2024 fiscal year began when Congress passed an interim spending bill containing the same language and budget line items we have seen for the last 5 years. Please take note of the schedule; BLM was not removing overpopulated ranges filled with starving wild horses, they were hitting areas they already hit and ensuring a lack of future viability.
Our team works hard to be onsite and provide a daily report and related information to the public during each operation. In addition, our team creates a yearly review of the program. We are working on our yearly review of BLM’s program from fiscal year 2023. (2022 report)
WHE team reports listed below. Often, our team was at more than one roundup at the same time.
The videos below are a rapid glimpse at the fiscal year. For more info, click the specific operation above. Our team has been working on roundup updates every single day since July 1. We need to dust off and get some equipment repaired, new team members trained and are heading back on the road.
Part 1, 2023 fiscal year
Part 2, 2023 fiscal year
Advocates have been asking BLM if “census” flights were done to determine how many horses (or burros) are on range in HMAs before roundups. BLM slammed many of the areas on the schedule with large removals in the last couple of years and the hard winter saw massive die off of everything from pronghorn to domestic cattle. BLM alluded to doing “flyovers.” However, BLM has not released any data to the public in any form (usually BLM would do what is called a “Decision of NEPA Adequacy” or DNA that shows how current data aligns with existing approved planning). In the wild horse world, BLM stopped doing these after a DNA resulted in litigation because BLM overstepped the removal numbers in the original planning document and the roundup was halted back in 2014.) What our field team has found out is that BLM did not do census flights, but distribution flights. They did not look to see “how many,” but “where are they” so they knew where to set traps.
We are extremely disturbed that BLM is plowing forward with “expanding fertility control” without actual data to support the use of the compound and extreme measures they are implementing. The data is not demonstrating any need to treat an animal that does not fully mature until 5 years of age with high doses of hormones that carry a very high risk. The data goes not show treating an animal over 10 years of age, that has a lifespan of 18-22 years in the wild, with high doses of hormones to cause 5-10 years of infertility. Throw sex-skewing (increasing the number of males) into the mix and the recipe is one that creates aggression, frustration and destroys natural behaviors.
BLM is demonstrating clearly that an internal protocol like the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program (CAWP) is inadequate. After years of relentless litigation BLM adopted CAWP and said they would do annual reviews, revise the policy and enforce it. During the period BLM initially called a “review phase” (2015-2020) BLM did not perform a single review. Since that timne, CAWP has become an “endorsement” program and not an oversight team. We are deeply saddened that litigation is once again a necessity.
The 2024 fiscal year schedule was recently published and is another hard hit. Once again, BLM is placing operations before Appeal periods expire and Appeals can be adjudicated. There are several on schedule where the associated personnel are more than notorious for denying meaningful access and violating the CAWP policy. We are contacting team members, repairing equipment and getting ready for the grueling run ahead.
Many of you are asking what you can do to help forward one important goal for our wild ones: Stopping Abuse.
If you want to help address abuse DIRECTLY that you see at roundups you can CALL your reps and add to your requests for the 2024 fiscal year Department of Interior, BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program:
“I would like you to propose an amendment to add a budget line item solely devoted to make the BLM wild horse and burro welfare policy (currently referenced as “CAWP”) into an enforceable rule. The internal program is not creating an environment where wild horses and burros are treated according to safe, sane, current animal husbandry practices to ensure steps are taken to prevent injury and. death. Death is not the only measure of abuse.”
You can find your reps: http://govtrack.us
Wild Horse Education will be resending a packet to members of Congress showing why we need an enforceable welfare rule.
Briefs have been filed over the last couple of months in various cases we have active, including the case against abuse. We are working on an update. This update focuses on roundups. We will have one that focuses on the rest up soon. Running roundups leaves little time to report on much else, this roundup season is relentless.
Please, as always, be very specific in what you are asking Congress to fund or defund. What you have been seeing the last several years is how BLM “expands fertility control.” Although Congress will have really big issues and unavoidable chaos coming up in the ongoing debate to fully fund the government for 2024, you can still try to make an appointment to speak to an aide. You can use our 2024 advocate plan as a guideline. Although written for the debate that began in the spring, it can still serve as a template to help you organize (HERE).
As holiday shopping begins, you might be able to find a gift for yourself or the horse lover in your life at our WHE storefront on Zazzle. All proceeds support our work for our wild ones. HERE.
Through October 23rd, you can help support our field team out gathering data to support our litigation against abuse through the purchase of our “stop abuse” t-shirt. Click HERE.
Categories: Wild Horse Education