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How Sarah Thompson of Lead Stories failed to fact check

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Opinion by Debbie Coffey

Sarah Thompson, who started a blog a few years ago, and then in December 2019 became a “Social Media Authenticity Analyst” at Lead Stories, just wrote an article titled Fact Check:  BLM Did NOT Release a Plan to Annihilate America’s Wild Horse And Burro Herds

Unfortunately, Thompson seems to NOT have fact checked her own article, which is filled with omissions and errors.  And, how does this uninformed person, call a real expert a “HOAX?”

While citing an article by Carol Walker on wildhoofbeats.com, Thompson states that Carol Walker “serves as the Director of Field Documentation for the non-profit Wild Horse Freedom Federation.”

FACT:  Carol Walker has not been the Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation since early November, 2019, and has not been listed on Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s Board of Directors on their website since that date.

Thompson then goes on to claim that BLM’s plan “to ‘annihilate”’ the herds is a claim not supported by facts.”

FACT:  Almost every wild horse advocacy organization in the U.S. (with experts who have been researching and following every aspect of wild horse & burro issues for many years) has spoken out against this BLM plan.

American Wild Horse Campaign wrote thisBreaking It Down:  BLM’s Path to Destruction for America’s Wild Herds 

And this:  Q & A On the Dangerous Plan for Wild Horses & Burros

The Cloud Foundation wrote this:  The BLM’s Billion Dollar Disaster Plan

In fact, dozens of advocacy groups have spoken out against a very similar “path forward” plan.

It certainly seems that this “Fact Checker” did not do much research before “fact checking” or writing her opinion.

Thompson only cites sentences from the BLM’s plan, and obviously has an extremely narrow knowledge of this topic.  Thompson seems to have blinders on since her only source of “fact checking” is what the BLM wrote.

Many members of the public know that in 2016, the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board urged the BLM to euthanize all of the wild horses in holding facilities.  Many members of the public, who have been researching all aspects of wild horses and studying genetic analysis reports, also realize that the BLM’s plans for removal and sterilizations WILL annihilate America’s wild horse herds.

Thompson, from Vevay, Indiana, is listed as the President of American Heritage Carriage Company, but this does not qualify her as an expert on wild horses.

Lead Stories claims to be “an innovative fact checking and debunking website” but with Thompson’s article, it seems that their “fact checking” has set an extremely low bar.  In my opinion, Thompson’s article deserves the “hoax alert” and Lead Stories has, unfortunately, promoted disinformation.

Please comment to stop the BLM’s plan to wipe out 40% of wild horses in Wyoming (so that privately owned livestock can run roughshod over public lands)

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by Debbie Coffey

The BLM wants to remove 4,000 wild horses from four Herd Management Areas in Wyoming, which would mean removing 40% of all of the wild horses in Wyoming.

Please comment on a new Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Resource Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed changes to the management of four wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Wyoming: Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin and White Mountain.

Please urge the BLM to select Alternative A, which would manage wild horses in their respective 4 herds at the current Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) for each herd with a total AML 1481-2065.  As you can see on the graphs below, wild horses are already currently far outnumbered by privately owned livestock on public lands on these Herd Management Areas.

The BLM certainly seems to be violating the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) by favoring some “uses” (livestock grazing) over other “uses” (wild horses).  FLPMA stipulates that the BLM take into account the “coordinated management of the various resources without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment with consideration being given to the relative values of the resources and not necessarily to the combination of uses that will give the greatest economic return or the greatest unit output.”

If the BLM even took this into account, they ignored it. More

Please Comment Against the Destruction of 40% of Wyoming’s Wild Horse Herds

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The Bureau of Land Management is developing a new Resource Management Plan in Wyoming and has an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed changes to the management of four wild horse herds in Wyoming: Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin and White Mountain. The BLM’s proposed actions in their “Preferred Alternative” would zero out the Great Divide Basin Herd, zero out the Salt Wells Creek Herd and the White Mountain Herd and cut the Adobe Town Appropriate Management Level by half. Comments are due on this plan by April 30.

Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and White Mountain encompass 2,811,401acres, 70 percent of which is federally managed public land and 30% is mostly private lands with some state owned lands.

At issue here is the Checkerboard – a mix of public and private lands 20 miles wide that was set up in the 1870s, when the government was selling private land plots to raise money for the railroad. The private land, about 891,807 acres, is owned by Occidental, the parent company of Anadarko, and the Rock Springs Grazing Association, an association of 24 families. The Rock Springs Grazing Association has been working very hard over the last 8 years to get all of the horses removed from the Checkerboard area even though it is not all private land – it is a mix of private and public land. They have been involved in 4 lawsuits regarding the status of wild horses on federally protected public lands and this proposal is the latest, most sweeping and devastating attempt to have all the wild horses removed. RSGA and the BLM have been attempting to manage the Checkerboard as if it were all private land but it is not, and that is illegal.

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NY Times writer gets it wrong: What we’ve really got is a “livestock crisis” looming in the West

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by Debbie Coffey

David Philipps’ New York Times article “A Mustang Crisis Looms in the West” (3/22/20) requires correction for falsely blaming degradation of public lands in the West on wild horses, in both the headline and the body of the article.

Data and maps from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conclusively show private livestock, not wild horses, are overwhelming public lands in the West, both in grazing territory and sheer numbers (relative to wild horses).

BLM Grazing Allotments                                     Wild Horse Herd Management Areas
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BLM’s Final Solution for One Third of Wyoming’s Wild Horses – Sign the Petition Today

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Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

Mares and Foals in Salt Wells Creek

By Carol J. Walker

The Bureau of Land Management just announced plans to destroy three wild herds of horses in the Checkerboard Area of Wyoming’s Red Desert. These wild horses are federally protected and living on 2 million acres in southeastern Wyoming.

The proposed Resource Management Plan would zero out the Salt Wells Creek Herd, the Great Divide Basin Herd, and roundup up and surgically sterilize the entire White Mountain, meaning within a few years this herd will be gone as well. All three of these iconic herds have large sections of “checkerboard” of public and private lands throughout much of the area, which since 2011 has led to several lawsuits. The Rock Springs Grazing Association, the most powerful grazing association in the country wants all of the wild horses removed. Instead of participating in land swaps that would allow consolidation of the public lands that wild horses roam on, they want all of the land, private AND public for grazing their livestock and the wild horses removed completely even though America’s public lands  are “mixed-use” by definition.

The Adobe Town Herd Management Area, which has only a small fraction of Checkerboard and over 478,000 acres will have its Appropriate Management Level (which is the range from low to high of wild horses allowed in the area) cut almost in half, from 610-800 to 225-450.

The plan will result in the removal of over 4000 wild horses from their homes and families and freedom, and 40% of wild horses habitat gone forever.

Changing the Land Use plans as a vehicle for wiping out entire populations of wild horses defies their federally protected status. And the issue here is bigger than wild horses in Wyoming – this may very well serve as BLM’s new template for eradicating all of America’s treasured wild horses.    Read the rest of this article HERE.

Here is the link to the petition:

https://www.change.org/p/trump-administration-don-t-let-the-blm-destroy-wyoming-s-iconic-wild-horses?

Bureau of Land Management Plots the Absolute Destruction of 5 Wild Horse Herds in Wyoming

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Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

Adobe Town Family

Stop the BLM from Destroying 5 Wild Horse Herds in Wyoming

By Carol J. Walker

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a Scoping Document with a 30 day public comment period on 5 of the largest wild horse herds in Wyoming:

Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin, White Mountain and Little Colorado.

I have been visiting, observing and photographing the wild horses in these 5 herds since 2004.

The BLM claims that these herds are “overpopulated” even though they completed a roundup of three herds, Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin only 2 years ago. The last roundup and removal in White Mountain and Little Colorado was in 2011. More

Animal Advocates Radio “Voices Carry for Animals #240” Anthony Marr- Motorcade For Wild Horses

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Join Us **LIVE INTERVIEW** Animal Advocates Radio

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