Op-Ed by R.T. Fitch, author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart“
HOUSTON (SFTHH) – Friday, the 5th of February, seemed more like Groundhog’s Day than did February 2nd. There was an unpleasant odor of déjà vu in the air all thanks to the bumbling and mumbling of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
On September 9th, 2009 wild horse advocates were both surprised, yet pleased, to hear the BLM announce that they had concluded their highly contested and unnecessary wild horse round-up, early, in Montana’s Pryor Mountains. Along with the announcement came a mathematical breakdown of how many horses had been stripped from their lawful homes and how many were allowed to remain. The numbers did not add up.
On February 5th, 2010 wild horse advocates were both surprised, yet pleased, to hear the BLM announce that they had concluded their highly contested and deadly wild horse round-up, early, in Nevada’s Calico Mountain complex. Along with the announcement came a mathematical breakdown of how many horses had been stripped from their lawful homes and how many were allowed to remain. The numbers did not add up.
Do we detect a pattern, here?
Let’s take a look at the math that surrounds the Calico round-up as it depicts the destruction of the largest wild horse herd that had managed to survive in our western United States.
The BLM’s 2/5/2010 press release states that they stripped the 550,000 acre complex of 1,922 native wild horses. They now estimate that 600 remain alive and free. The math indicates that there must have been a total of approximately 2,400 wild horses on the complex prior to the round-up.
Yet the BLM’s original plan stated that they had intended to gather approximately 3,000 wild horses, releasing 380 back to a remaining population of 220 which would leave 600 free in the complex. But that equation would mean that the total population, prior to round-up, would have been around 3,200. That leaves a difference of 800 horses from what actually occurred and what the BLM had proposed to do. Where are the missing 800 horses?
The BLM used the later numbers to justify their attack yet their actual numbers are considerably lower, if you believe them. Why such an enormous discrepancy? Is this sort of incorrect, grade school math utilized across the board when mismanaging one of our rarest and most unique national treasures?
BLM contractor Cattoor Helicopter - Photo by Terry Fitch
Keeping this gross lack of accuracy in mind, the BLM announced that they, along with the Cattoor contractors, killed 39 wild horses during the Calico round-up. 7 were murdered at the ground-up site while 32 were destroyed at the feed-lot style holding facility. Do we trust those numbers? Why did they leave out the deaths of 25-30 miscarried foals from mares that were run into the ground and traumatized to the point of spontaneous miscarriage. They also failed to mention that the Cattoor helicopters ran 2 small foals until their little feet fell off. With incidents like that how could BLM District Manager Gene Seidlitz make the statement that the “gather went well”?
It appears that such questions will remain unanswered as only a limited number of tax paying American citizens were allowed to view the process, on limited days, during limited hours, at an extended distance and were finally banned from observing over the past several weeks. No hope of verification, no chance to validate the actions of a federal, government agency that obviously can’t add 1 to 1 and come up with 2.
In 2008 the benevolent BLM wanted to send 33,000 unnecessarily penned and captured native wild horses to slaughter because they couldn’t feed them. Then they captured thousands more during 2009, almost 2,000 to date in 2010 and have announced a goal of 12,000 to be condemned to captivity in 2010, total. Are we missing something here?
In reality, if our children went to grade school and consistently came home with math scores that were as far off-base as what the BLM has been spouting we would either forever enroll our children in a remedial math program or question the organization that was teaching them such biased science.
In the case of the BLM, it is high time that we opt for Congressional hearings on the total mismanagement of one of our rarest national icons and the completely inept interpretation of Federal law.
The time has come for the BLM to go back to school, learn how to count, get their facts straight and sit in the corner while repeating “I will not kill wild horses. I will not kill wild horses. I will not kill wild horses. I will not kill wild horses.”