“Welfare” Ranching is the Great BLM Lie
During the final days of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “scorched earth” wild horse eradication program on Northern Nevada’s public lands private cattle were being quickly herded onto the same range that native, wild horses were cruelly removed from just hours before.
On Thursday, Feb 25th, one day prior to the abrupt cessation of the BLM’s assault upon the Antelope Complex’s wild horses, my wife Terry, Laura Leigh and I had left the mean wild horse trap site in an effort to locate a cell signal suitable to call in, as journalists, to the disappointing press conference by the BLM’s Director, Bob Abbey. As we raced across the HMA we crested a bluff only to run smack dab into one of the biggest cattle driving operation any of us had ever witnessed. Only a few short days before we had stopped on this very same road to shoot photos of distant wild horses living out their lives on their rightful land only to find those same horses being rapidly replaced by environmentally damaging private cattle, while the roundup was STILL going on.
The wranglers stopped us and wanted to know what we were doing out on “their” range as it was so isolated they rarely saw civilians during this time of the year. When told of the unlawful roundup of federally protected wild horses we were met with the singular comment, “Good”. Considering the safety of my passengers and the ratio of cattle wranglers to advocates the issue was not pressed in normal fashion.
Now let’s be totally clear, here. I have nothing against cattle or cattle ranchers. Here in Texas my fine neighbors ARE cattle ranchers but they buy their land, pay taxes on that land, maintain the land and are not given a federal government handout as are the “welfare” ranchers of America’s west. Does this disparity go unnoticed by our neighbors? Most certainly NOT!
One day we have taxpaying American citizens on public land enjoying and photographing the natural beauty of the true wild west, horses included, and the next day the same ground is covered, littered and picked clean by private cattle who are allowed to destroy the range for the meager price of $1.35 a month per head. At that rate, I could afford to be one the largest cattle rancher in all of Nevada…it just is not right.
Probably what stung the most was to spend days listening, in person, to BLM PR personnel stating that the Antelope Complex was NOT a grazing complex and that the horses HAD to be removed because there were five times more horses on the land than the land could sustain. 1.3 million acres, 1,400 horses removed and in one quick afternoon 300 private cattle introduced. Only the Lord knows how many cows have been added since. The system is seriously broken.
I cannot help but hear the haunting words of Mr. Myagi in the movie, “The Karate Kid” as he taught Daniel how to put wax on the car with his left hand moving in one direction while he took it off with his right moving in the other direction, “Wax on, Wax off”.
The BLM sticks it to the American tax payer with their left hand while distorting and abusing the law with their right;
“Private Cattle On, Wild Horses Off”…it’s enough to turn your stomach.
- BLM Calls Abrupt Halt to Deadly Winter Wild Horse Roundup (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- BLM Captures 1,400 Wild Horses: Releases 31 (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- BLM Boss Not Engaged with Wild Horse Range Reality (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- A Nation full of Anger, a Corral Full of Wild Horses and the BLM Hits the Replay Button (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Action Alert: Wild Horse Advocates to Rally at BLM Meeting (rtfitch.wordpress.com)