BLM ignores the public, again, and is out of control
CHICAGO, (EWA) – Wild horse advocates from around the US reacted with dismay and outrage Wednesday as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that the Calico Complex round-up of over 2,700 wild horses will proceed on December 28 as planned. Despite receiving over 10,000 public comments on the impending round-up, the BLM turned a tin ear to the public outcry and indicated it will sign a “No Impact” decision. A no impact decision means that the public comments sent to the BLM had absolutely no impact on their decision to move forward with the round-up.
This egregious decision further perpetuates the perception that the BLM is managing the wild herds to extinction. John Holland, EWA President said of the decision:
“The BLM is operating in direct opposition to the very law that they are charged with enforcing (the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act). This outrageous decision makes a mockery of the whole public comment process.”
The decision comes during a perfect storm of public outrage calling for a moratorium on wild horse and burro round-ups. During the past week, the number of organizations and dignitaries supporting the moratorium has grown to 180. Among the recent dignitaries joining the call were, Bill Maher of HBOs hit series, Real Time with Bill Maher, author of Dances with Wolves, Michael Blake, Genesis Award winner of the movie Blinders, Donny Moss, John Paul DeJoria, CEO & Co-Founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems, Jorja Fox, from the hit series CSI, Neal Schon, Multi Platinum Recording Artist and founding member of the rock band Journey, and comedienne Lily Tomlin.
Actor and Social activist, Mariana Tosca, said today “With no oversight and no independent assessment, the Bureau of Land Management is running roughshod over the rights these horses were guaranteed by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, reducing herds without any statutory authority to do so.“ Ms. Tosca and Viggo Mortensen were early proponents for the unified call for a moratorium.
Wednesday also marked the deadline for the public to submit comments for the BLM Advisory Board meeting that will be held on Monday, December 7.
The bureau turned a deaf ear to public comment during their last meeting in Washington D.C., cutting short many prominent wild horse advocates as they attempted to address the board. Many of those trying to comment today online reported they were unable to do so because the BLM mailbox was full and not accepting new email.
“We are encouraging the public to attend the meeting and voice their opinion on the blatant mismanagement our wild herds”, said Vicki Tobin, vice president of the EWA.
The only remaining chance for the Calico Complex horses to remain free is a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Calico Complex herds by In Defense of Animals and EWA advisor Craig Downer. The case is scheduled to be heard on December 16th. The EWA is optimistic that the court will find the BLM in violation of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act as a Colorado court has done previously.