“In My Humble Opinion” by R.T. Fitch ~ author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart”
Is there an odor circling about that just does not smell quite right?
You know what I mean; that ambient, just can’t quite put your finger on it smell of something that has gone very bad with a sickly sort of sweet odor trying to cover it up. The smell that almost turns you stomach yet it’s masked just enough to keep you from retching. That’s the feeling I get whenever I read a comment made from anyone affiliated with the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program.
Perhaps my olfactory sensors are stymied from the years of smelling dump truck loads of bull crap coming from the BLM’s direction; but bull crap doesn’t smell this rotten nor sickly sweet. Perhaps I am jaded but the new stench slimes its way down from the very top to the bottom; no one is telling the truth.
First we had the career cattleman from Colorado, Ken Salazar, Obama’s hand picked Secretary of the Interior tell us he was going to clear all those pesky wild horses off from their rightful public lands in the west and ship them out east to purchased or leased land where Americans could come and watch them all die off. You see, when you castrate all the males and sterilize all the females there’s really little hope of having a bunch of babies running around, that much I learned when I was 11 from Bertha Butts behind the Jungle Gym at Glendale Elementary; maybe Salazar never had such an enlightening conversation.
Next we have an accelerated and aggressive round-up schedule implemented that totally destroys and completely removes many herds with total estimates of ruined equine lives measuring into the thousands (in one herd alone). Even the few horses in the world famous “Cloud Herd” are not safe and are tortured and harassed simply because the BLM “can”.
Follow that up with the BLM Advisory Board meeting, last December, where program director Don Glenn stood up in front of God and country (also a video camera) and promised that the BLM would be transparent and equine advocates (taxpayers, the one paying his cushy government salary) would be “allowed” to witness all round ups and at the same time he was speaking an undercover round up that was never publicized was taking place. I mean it was going on while the words were falling out of his mouth and splatting on the floor before him.
Terrorized from the very beginning, the Horses of the Calico BLM Roundup - Photo by Kurt Golgart/Bureau of Land Management
Then the Calico Complex death stampede was planned and a suit was filed to stop it. The BLM’s genius master plan was to conduct it in the dead of winter, when horses need to conserve their energy, at a time when many mares were pregnant and to make it worse, they were going to use asinine helicopters to terrify and stampede the poor horses across miles of volcanic rock and ice, at least one young horse was run until it’s poor hooves sloughed off. The Federal Judge who sat on the case denied the suit but made comment to the fact that long term holding of horses by the BLM may very well be illegal and he strongly advised the BLM that moving forward with the winter round up would not be prudent. The BLM jumped right on it. And in so doing over a hundred horses are now dead, dozens and dozens of foals were aborted and there are virtually NO horses in numbers left on the complex, virtually none while almost 2,000 languish in a concentration camp that is under investigation for animal cruelty.
Now Salazar’s henchmen Bob Abbey tries to spray room freshener on the entire smelly mess by saying that the BLM is taking the Wild Horse and Burro program in a new direction by seeking input from the American public. Have you tried to use their electronic data base input tool for comment? This ole cowboy has been riding a computer keyboard since the ole Commodore 64 was a hot item and I can’t get the blinking thing to work. And if “input” means giving another stunted 2 minute speech before a finger tapping, eye rolling, day dreaming bunch of special interest Advisory Board members then no thank you. I don’t need to travel half way across the country, on my dime, so that total strangers can tune me out; I have friends around these parts that will do that for free.
And isn’t it strange that Abbey’s sugary sweet overture comes just as the BLM announces that the public will now be banned from checking on the 1,800+ horses at the Broken Arrow concentration camp near Fallon, NV. For crying out loud it has been the advocate visitors who, during their once a week 90 minute visits, have pointed out sick and injured animals that the only vet in attendance has not noticed all week. Sort of smacks of retribution for the animal cruelty investigation, doesn’t it?
Calico Wild Horses, healthy upon capture - Photo by Laura Leigh
So now we have almost 2,000 horses, young males castrated, many foals dead, many more sick, all imprisoned while their giant natural home remains vacant EXCEPT for the privately owned cattle that are allowed to be there and destroy the public lands. Anything wrong with this picture?
I’m not against proper (operative word) management using scientific processes with accurate numbers reviewed by qualified personnel. Appropriate birth control could be a method but we have no way of knowing if that is even required because the BLM cannot add one plus one and come up with two…here’s what I mean:
In January and February the BLM posted numbers as they progressed with thier deadly Calico helicopter stampede, here is a sampling of their POSTED statistics from their own website; you can verify these numbers by clicking (HERE)
* 1/29, the Daily Gather Report (herein after known as the DGR) quoted 1518 Horses gathered & 1435 sent to Fallon. (a difference of 83)
1/30 shows 1534 gathered & 508 sent to Fallon (dif. 1026)
1/31 shows 669 gathered & 527 sent to Fallon. (dif. 142)
2/1 shows 751 gathered, 646 sent to Fallon. (dif. 105)
2/2 shows 878 gathered, 744 sent to Fallon. (dif. 134)
2/3 shows 892 gathered, 861 sent to Fallon (dif. 31)
2/4 shows 922 gathered, 914 sent to Fallon. (dif. 8 )
Now mind you, these are their daily computations, we are not even talking about the numbers that were quoted prior, the numbers they quoted after and the insane numbers that they are using now for alleged horses left alive in the wild. It is all just way too outrageous.
Do you trust these people? Want them managing your bank account and stock portfolio? For a moment do you think that they are qualified to be making life and death decisions for the few remaining national icons that are left in the wild? I would think not.
For just a week, I would love to have Salazar, Abbey or Glenn work on my staff where they would be actually held accountable for deliverables and I would like to see how long they would last. Such gross negligence does not exist in the private sector, but in the government incompetence is rewarded by promotion. It is essential that all government employees be elevated to their peak level of incompetence so that they can begin their sideways drift while awaiting to be cycled into yet another job where no one remembers what horrible performers they were at their last position. It’s a self-perpetuating shell game and we get to pay for it. Ain’t it great?
Currently there is a story floating about that there is a plan being put together to release the horses on a private resort in northern Nevada. No comment on that in this article but although we would like to have the horses released from their restrictive concentration camp it is the general consensus that the horses should be released back onto their own land, the public land that was set aside for their use and not that of private cattle, pipelines, or geological extraction.
With that being said, I would like to levy two fair and straightforward requests to the BLM:
1.) Keep the Broken Arrow facility’s current visitor schedule in place. We are not even asking for fair access; just keep the same, stingy, unreasonable 1.5-2 hours a week open so that competent and compassionate eye balls can be laid up these publicly owned horses.
2.) Assemble a gender balanced herd consisting of 25% of the current captives and release them, immediately, back onto the complex. There are not 600 horses out there although the BLM will say so to cover for their gross error in managing numbers but independent observers have not seen anything remotely close to that number in the wild. Hundreds of range destroying private cattle but few horses. For the time being, at the very least, 25% should be set free. Of course their bands and families have now all been destroyed but out of that 25% maybe a few viable groups will be able to reassemble and survive. That is not too much to ask.
I would recommend that you write, and don’t write like me even though you are pissed (for good reason) and ask for the two, simple concessions listed above. Be angry to your core, it will drive you to sit down and compose your note. The anger will also flavor your letter with honest passion and caring but don’t let the ugly side bleed over into your text; the result will be the pushing of a delete key prior to your message being heard. When you are finished you can then go outside and fix a fence, dig a ditch, muck the barn or pressure wash the fence. Find a constructive way to vent off the legitimate frustration that all of us are feeling over this unwarranted situation. Turn the anger to good, you’ll be better for it.
Be sure to address your emails to Gene Seidlitz of the Winnemucca district, he would have the final say over the Calico situation. His email is email@example.com.
Laura Leigh, Project Manager of Herd Watch, has an example of her letter on her blog (HERE) and on our blog you can visualize Craig Downer’s letter (HERE)
Be sure to copy the following personnel on your letter to Gene Seidlitz:
Bob Abbey – firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure that they ALL know that you want the facility left open and a token release of the horses back to their rightful environment. If you have the time, please do it today as the clock is ticking for these horses and tomorrow may be the last time anyone ever has a chance to see these horses ever again.
Be the voice, send the message, pass the word that we need this broken agency to stop stealing our wild horses from our public lands. It’s time to access, compute and approach this situation with a proper process and accurate numbers. For the sake of all those that the BLM has caused to die, this has to be turned around…and it has to turn around, now!!!
*Statistics and research supplied by Lisa LeBlanc