July 15, 2010 – TUCSON, Ariz. – Conservation groups sent a letter to the Obama administration today detailing how the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service can meet the president’s June 8 directive to cut 5 percent from agency budgets: reform or eliminate the money-losing, habitat-destroying public lands livestock grazing program.
“Instead of trimming the budget, the agencies should start by cutting their losses,” said Greta Anderson, Arizona director of Western Watersheds Project. “The fee has failed to keep pace with inflation, failed to cover even the administrative costs of operating the grazing program, and incentivizes destructive grazing practices on public land. In a time of budget crisis, it makes good economic sense to address these issues.”
The two agencies charge a paltry $1.35 monthly fee for each cow and calf that the livestock industry grazes on public land in the West. That’s far below private market rates and far short of providing enough revenue to correct the ecological damage caused by grazing.
Dear Animal Advocates,
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior that administers America’s public lands, including the animals who call these lands home. As part of its wild horse management program, the BLM periodically rounds up large numbers of wild horses and moves them into long-term holding facilities.
Over the weekend, the BLM began its latest roundup of more than 1,200 federally protected wild horses on public lands in Nevada. The use of helicopters to run the terrified horses over miles of scorching desert resulted in serious injuries and several horse deaths, which led to temporary suspension of the roundup.
This occurred in spite of the fact that the BLM, under intense public criticism, established an open comment period on its plans for wild horses that is not over until August. Instead of waiting to hear what the American public has to say, BLM officials decided to go forward with these cruel and brutal roundups in the blistering heat of summer (several more are scheduled for the coming weeks). This, of course, is funded by your tax dollars.
What You Can Do
Call the White House Comment Line today at (202) 456-1111. The Obama Administration needs to be told — politely! — that the BLM’s actions are underhanded and inappropriate, and that the current roundup and others scheduled this summer must be cancelled immediately.
Please visit the ASPCA Online Advocacy Center at www.aspca.org/BLM to learn more about this issue and to see some tips on what to say when you call.
First major wild horse roundup of summer proves deadly; critics claim Department of Interior’s public access restrictions censor truth about government wild horse program
(July 13, 2010) – Philanthropist and businesswoman Madeleine Pickens was joined today by the million-member ASPCA, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, and many other organizations expressing their outrage over the deaths of at least seven mustangs in a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundup conducted Saturday in the Owyhee Complex in northeastern Nevada. The wild horses died of dehydration-related causes — including brain swelling, colic and acute water intoxication – as a result of being stampeded by helicopters for up to eight miles in 90+ degree desert heat.
In a sign on letter addressed to President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Mrs. Pickens and the groups also harshly criticized the agency for cracking down on public access to observe and videotape roundup operations. The advocates released footage of a BLM representative stating publicly that public video of a prior roundup caused the agency to have “a really hard time trying to explain what’s happening.”
Dear Friends of America’s Wild Horses,
These are remarkably trying times, considering the recent deaths of our wild horses in the West. Despite a public outcry against the massive and dangerous roundups of these treasured animals, the Bureau of Land Management is pressing forward, leaving the broken bodies of our mustangs in their wake. When we have unpreventable disaster like earthquakes and hurricanes, it is indeed frustrating to watch a man-made disaster unfolding on our public lands in the West against innocent wild animals who only want to live in peace with their families.
Despite our anger at being ignored by the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, we must not let our emotions get the best of us. Any thoughts of violent actions or illegal behavior of any kind need to be put out of our heads. Instead, we must focus on legal methods to make a difference. Here is what you can do right now, today, and for the weeks and months that follow.
July 7, 2010 – CHICAGO (EWA) – On June 23, 2010, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District office buried on its website a notice that approximately 175 “abandoned, domestic, estray” horses located within Pilot Valley, NV, were scheduled for impoundment beginning June 25. The round up was expected to take 3 – 4 days with corrals set up on nearby private land owned by Simplot Land and Livestock until the horses could be transported and placed under the jurisdiction of the State of Nevada.
According to Nevada laws, an estray is a horse that is found running loose on public lands but shows signs of domestication and the owner is unknown. A horse is considered “feral” under Nevada law if the animal was domesticated or is the offspring of domesticated horses and has become wild with no physical signs of domestication. The state of Nevada owns estray and feral horses. Wild horses and free-roaming Mustangs are protected by the BLM under the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
Nevada authorities plan to sell the horses rounded up by the BLM at auction on July 10. The horses will be available to all buyers and are therefore at risk of ending up at slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada.
Americans are passionate about wild horses and burros, and there are many different, often conflicting, perspectives about how they should be managed. The BLM is committed to bridging these differences by working closely with our partners, stakeholders, the public and our employees to develop a strategy and find solutions that are best for wild horses and burros, wildlife, and the many other uses of the public lands. Over the next 60 days, we invite our interested stakeholders to offer their opinions and suggestions about the draft goals and objectives, as well as the series of possible management actions.
Please visit www.blm.gov for more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Strategy Development Document.
We value your input and look forward to any suggestions you may have to assist the BLM to improve the Wild Horse and Burro Program. Thank you for your interest and participation in this important effort.
Read the new People Magazine Article & then call for immediate Congressional hearings on BLM
Dear Supporters, the excellent People Magazine article by Helin Jung starts out: Willie Nelson wants to know: “Why are there more horse’s asses than there are horses?” The country legend’s gripe comes from his concern for the American West’s wild horses and burros, which are being rounded up by the thousands and placed into holding corrals by the federal government’s Bureau of Land Management. The capture of 2,500 horses started in the Calico Mountains of Nevada last month, but the agency expects to round up a total of 12,000 of the estimated 37,000 horses on BLM land by the end of this year.