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Critique of BLM’s Broken Wild Horse & Burro Program

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new-logo25Carl Mrozek, filmmaker:Saving Ass in America” A documentary about the horrendous slaughter of wild horses in America.  Set to begin showing December 7th, 2013

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Comments on NAS’  Critique of BLM’s Broken Wild Horse & Burro Program

To their credit, the NAS critique of BLM totally discredits the BLM’s unscientific management methodology, particularly re: gauging population levels.  Unfortunately, they prescribe a primarily pharmaceutical remedy for a problem that hasn’t been established yet, i.e. ‘over-population’. How can you assert that there is overpopulation of wild horses and/or burros when you:

1. Don’t know what the population of horses or burros currently is, in a given HMA

2. Have no data-driven basis for gauging how many horses or burros a particular HMA can support. In practice BLM treats all habitats as being pretty much the same, and as resource poor, by requiring 1000+ acres/ horse or burro. 

The NAS report also buys into BLM’s myth that wild horse & burro populations are increasing at a fairly constant rate of 15-20%/ year regardless of some radical differences in range quality between one HMA and another….

as well as radical differences in the structure, health and genetic viability of one herd vs. the next.

3. Fail to address the impacts of cattle and sheep upon rangelands, and upon wild horse reproductive success and recruitment rates

What I most appreciate about the NAS report is that they confirm key criticisms made by advocates, and ignored by the BLM, for a very long time including:

1.  the BLM’s population numbers are speculative at best, and fictitious at worst !

2.  the roundups are a counter-productive and inhumane solution to a problem (overpopulation) which may or may not exist in a given locale, at a given time.

3. the frequent and aggressive regime of roundups actually stimulates increased reproduction, migration and over-population, at -least where enough equines survive the roundups or can migrate from adjacent herd areas. This creates a viscious cycle wherein aggressive roundups create a need for more frequent and aggressive roundups.

Glaring omissions in the NAS report include:

1. The question of what constitutes “fair and balanced” apportionment of forage and water between horses and livestock on a given HMA, -which is critical to ascertaining whether the range is being overgrazed, how much, and by what animals. Without exception, livestock are allocated the lion’s share of available forage, typically upwards of 80%, -where data is even available.

2. what to do with the 37-50,000 horses and burros now languishing in long and short term holding. including what proportion should be returned to their rightful range, on what schedule…. etc. Until this ‘overpopulation problem’ is addressed, there will continue to be a wild horse ‘population crisis’ and a costly one at that.

3. How to induce an agency accustomed to being regarded by the world at large as the default authority on public rangeland capacity and on wild horse and burro population levels residing on them, to begin managing both on the basis of actual, current data rather than on data, or fudged numbers, of varying age and veracity and hence with questionable credibility.

Overall, though, the NAS panel indicted a sadly flawed, broken program in desperate need of a total makeover, starting with a basic need for fresh data and a scientific approach vs. the “Trust us because we’re the authorities on public lands and the wild equines that live there” which has prevailed for 40+ years that BLM has been tasked with managing this priceless heritage for all of US.

WHO OWNS AND CONTROLS OUR WATER ON OUR LEGALLY DESIGNATED WILD HORSE AND BURRO LAND?

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by Grandma Gregg – Eye Witness

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The Bureau of Land Management is claiming an emergency drought and plans to capture 12 horses near the Summit Springs on the Surprise Valley High Rock Complex – 615,946 acres of federally protected herd management area (HMA) in N.W. Nevada.

ONE standard size water truck could supply these 12 horses with enough water for 21 days. They could remain in their home range “where found” as Congressional law requires. A horse drinks about 15 gallons of water a day so for the 12 horses near the Summit Springs area of the BLM Surprise Valley that would equal only about 1,260 gal. per week. BLM states they are taking three water truck loads a week to the area (see link) so obviously it is livestock and wildlife that are drinking the other 10,740 gallons each week and the horses get the blame … as usual.    Does something smell fishy to you?

Sheep on HMA

As it happens, in this same area there are two large livestock grazing permits one of which is authorized to graze 1,340 cattle this time of year. Have the livestock been removed to protect the range and the dwindling water supply? Another example is the Bright Holland Corporation who controls very large water rights in this same Surprise Valley area – the company’s president is the Nevada water baron Sam Jaksick who is also tightly connected to Sempra energy – Sempra is reported to be the largest global energy company next to BP. So who DOES own and control our water on our public land? More

Open letter to the BLM: (HEE HAW!)

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Debbie Coffey (c) copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

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December 27, 2011

To: Mr. Thomas Seley, Field Manager 

We're watching you!

Tonopah Field Office

1553 S. Main Street

Tonopah,NV89049

 RE: Comment on the Bullfrog HMA wild burro gather 

Dear Mr. Seley:

I urge you to select the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE to the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Bullfrog HMA wild burro gather (DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2011-0102-EA). 

This EA states BLM is proposing to remove an “excess” 53-86 burros and leave only 70 burros on a 151,782 acre Herd Management Area (which is PRIMARILY for use by the wild horses and burros).  More

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