The 2021 Appropriations bill (spending for the federal government) is heading to the Senate.
Four Step Action
1.) Send a fast click and send letter to your Senator.
You will get what is called a “form letter” as a reply from your Senator. Often the form letters were never read by anyone, just scanned for key words and then a form letter sent back. This is the result of all the “click and send” that has now become the standard in the “internet world.”
2.) Print out this letter, our write your own, send to the address listed on your Senators website. Sending a FAX is actually a really good alternative to the mailbox. You can find your Senators contact info on their websites. To find out who your Senator is go to http://govtrack.us
(click HERE SenateLetter to print and FAX)
3.) Call the phone number on the letter you get back after “Step 1.” Ask for the email address of the person handling wild horses AND the person handling public lands. Unfortunately, wild horses are lumped in with “animal issues” in many offices. Wild horses are a public lands subject.
After you get an email (or two) send the same letter that you put into the mailbox or sent via FAX via email.
Step 4: Make an appointment to talk to your Senators office. Due to Covid-19 offices are now doing those conferences via internet or phone. If you do not feel confident speaking to you rep about management planning you can email us at: Laura@WildHorseEducation.org and we will check to see if one of our WHE volunteers ca join your call. Put “meeting” in the subject line and include the call in number and time.
Thank you! Our wild ones need an educated and active advocacy, now more than ever.
Why we need you to take action.
As with any bill it needs to pass both houses of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives) before becoming law. (more here on the process)
In the House an amendment was added that obligates $11 million of the BLM wild horse and burro program spending to be allocated to the fertility control agent “PZP.” PZP is a non-hormonal temporary fertility control vaccine that can be delivered via dart gun, or by “jab-stick” in the chute after capture to wild horses BLM intends to release. “PZP” currently comes in two forms; a 1-year dartable formula and a dose that has an added time release pellet that wears off in 10-24 months (PZP-22).
This amendment does not change any factor of actual “management.” It does not even create a framework for accountability and re-treatment. It simply obligates $11 million for implementation, and the purchase, of PZP during fiscal year 2021. To be clear, we like this tool. But it is a tool, it is not management. Being obligated to use any tool, without first outlining and justifying the use in management, is just more of the what we have always gotten from BLM. Give them more money and have actual on-range management get worse. We are just treating another symptom and avoiding the disease.
The program is still on the fast track to collapse.
BLM has avoided creating actual management planning. Management planning is supposed to be present in a document called the Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP). A good HMAP would determine what types of capture method and/or fertility control was appropriate for each herd and what would “tigger” each event to happen. It would also identify preservation and management strategies such as genetic baselines and goals, critical habitat and preservation of those essential resources, and when the stocking level (AML) and forage allocation would be evaluated and the methodology.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has been pointing out the deficits in the program, and how those deficits continue to compound, since the 1980’s. The most recent report in 2013 points out the same flaws as the NAS has been noting since 1980.
Quick overview of the core issue: Every program managed by the federal government has mandates that charge an agency with specific responsibility. As an example BLM operates as a multiple use agency as mandated by law (FLPMA). They have many responsibilities to the public interest that require an “analysis” process, as outlined by law (NEPA). The BLM has many handbooks that outline how they will carry out these laws. The BLM is mandated to manage wild horses and burros humanely as an integral part of the systems of public lands (Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act). The BLM has a handbook on the wild horse and burro program as well. They use that handbook to present to Congress and judges, but they do not follow it.
The distinction is that for everything else BLM does, they stick close to the handbook. For wild horses and burros BLM skips the first step, the management plan. This creates contention, a chaotic and reactive reality that is constantly manipulated and easily corrupted.
The baseline for the program is so severely flawed, and easily exploited, that the entire program now sits on the verge of collapse.
The current form of the Appropriations bill will continue to fund the collapse of the program.
We are heading into the years where more wild horses will be removed from the land since the Act was passed. Additional fertility control (applied primarily in conjunction with these mass removals) will not impact the flood of wild horses and burros hitting holding. The numbers of wild horses wearing a BLM brand are rising at auction houses at risk of slaughter. Sterilization plans are moving forward. BLM is not releasing “sales” records (those with direct transfer of title) through Freedom of Information Act requests.
All of the above will happen without any actual management planning for our herds.
In order to impact actual management, to take steps to stop the cycle from repeating and gain some accountability on range, where it all starts, we ask that you take the following actions.