Save Our Wild Horses
Our point of view
For all of Annie's hard work, today's populations are half of what they used to be. This is a wake up call to all Americans. History repeats itself and we must learn from history. With the extirpation of wild horses and burros as a policy of the BLM up through the 60's, is it no wonder that we see little change in policy regardless of a law designed to protect wild horses and burros. BLM is managing our wild horses and burros out of existence! We must stop them!
Secondly, the greatest travesty that our wild horses and burros suffer today is the lack of enforcement of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. This is a sound environmental law which implements other environmental laws such as FLPMA and NEPA. Yet continual violations persist, many by BLM personnel themselves.
Let's not allow history to repeat itself. The following BLM actions show their intent to destroy the Wild Horse and Burro program.
1980-1990 BLM, without statutory authority, removes wild horses and burros from over 100 areas where they were found in 1971 by zeroing out entire populations.
1984, proposed regulation changes contrary to statutory language of the Act, allowed BLM to gather over 40,000 wild horses illegally. These horses were dumped into holding corrals.
BLM starts a media campaign to promote sale authority which would allow excess horses not adopted to be sold for slaughter, a direct opposition to the intent of the Wild Horse and Burro Act.
BLM supported the Range Omnibus bill which included a provision for sale authority. This bill was killed in 1985.
Fee-waiver mass adoptions begun by the BLM. Nearly 20,000 wild horses gathered in 1984 - 1986 were disposed of by this method. The majority of animals were sent to slaughter. Some mass adopters never even waited the year for title to pass.
A law suit by Animal Protection Institute and the Fund for Animals halted mass adoptions which led BLM to create other avenues of disposal such as the Prison Training programs and Sanctuaries.
BLM began reducing the size of the area where wild horses and burros had a right to roam. BLM termed the range the Herd Area (HA) and the reductions in the HA, the Herd Management Area (HMA). If the animals stray out of the HMA, they could be removed by the BLM.
The next easy way to remove horses, BLM began removing all animals who strayed out of the Herd Area.
The latest ploy by the BLM is to remove animals based on a potential "emergency." Even though, with good planning, BLM has a regulation which if ever implemented would protect wild horses and burros during potential emergencies. This is 7410.5 or Closure to Livestock. Instead, thousands of wild horses and burros have been removed in the past several years due to potential emergencies such as drought etc. However, in many places where wild horses and burros were permanently removed, cattle were allowed back after several months.
BLM has never had a training program for its Wild Horse and Burro Specialists and for Managers in the 27 year history of the Act. BLM's marketing program is practically non-existent. No business can prosper without either a marketing or training program.
Because BLM must reduce wild horses and burros based on habitat conditions, BLM is setting standards much higher for wild horses and burros and unchanged for livestock. In some areas, equid grazing can only use 10% of the plant while livestock can graze 50% of the plant. Grasshoppers and rabbits could easily devour 10% of the plant. This now is genocide for wild horses and burros.
BLM violated the Act by not reporting to Congress in 1994 and 1996. BLM is required to write a biannual report to Congress.. It is the law!
BLM's Mission Statement, rewritten in 1992, glaringly omits wild horses and burros as a resource on public lands.
1994, acting BLM Director, Mike Dombeck listed ten visions for public lands. Wild horses and burros were not mentioned.
1997 Associated Press reporter, Martha Mendoza, exposes corruption within the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro program in seven articles which ran throughout the year.
Until recently, BLM actively reported that there were too many wild horses and burros who were overgrazing public rangelands. This created controversy with many environmental groups who looked at wild horses as domestic animals and not wild and free-roaming as they are and as law dictates.