Horse News

OIG Report: “DOI Has Never had a Scientific Integrity Policy”

Exclusive Report by Lisa LeBlanc ~ SFTHH Chief Investigative Reporter

In April of 2010, acting Inspector General of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Mary Kendall issued a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar summarizing the findings of an evaluation report entitled “Interior Lacks a Scientific Integrity Policy” (Report No. WR-EV-MOA-0014-2009).  The report outlines the objective of determining whether “… codes of conduct [for scientific research and publication] exist and in what form.”

BLM's relationship with Science

All scientific integrity policy documents, from 2000 – 2009 were reviewed. Ms. Kendall states, “We found that Interior has no comprehensive scientific integrity policy

Only one agency under the DOI has integrity policies in place, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) an agency where the sciences (biology, geography, geology, geospatial & hydrology) are held in deep regard. The web site is akin to reading a romance novel, if a romance novel were a highly technical and instructive manual. USGS is also the only agency to have published scientific reports on wild horse behavior on the range. The reports include such topics as effective management strategies, affects of contraceptives administered on the range and validating aerial photographs identifying wild horses by their markings, among others.

The OIG report, in its synopsis, asserts that the Department of Interior has never had in place a scientific integrity policy or related requirements “to track allegations of scientific misconduct”.  It also states that “without sound policies to protect the scientific community and general public from potentially flawed scientific research, data and publications, Interior’s reputation and its Public trust are at risk”. (emphasis added).

It goes on: “Interior’s mission… is to protect and manage the Nation’s national and cultural resources” and “To date, Interior has never had a comprehensive scientific integrity policy.”

The report further states that for fiscal 2008-2009 Congress appropriated $1.4 Billion for scientific research projects but it also cites examples of the lack of integrity policy allowing high-level department heads to unduly influence, misrepresent or taint results of scientific study. As of April 2010, despite requirements over a decade old, scientific integrity policies still elude nearly all of the agencies under the Department of the Interior.

Even without the report from the OIG wild horse and burro advocates who pore over thousands of current and archived articles, records, reports and transcripts have known that there is little evidence that science is a genuine basis for the continual assault on wild horse and burro populations. When expressing that justified frustration on blogs, in comment sections in articles, even directly to the BLM and its agents, advocates are justified in questioning the Bureau’s method because there appears to be no actual, practical or applied “method” in population estimates, in forage allocation, in range conditions or in Environmental Assessments that appear to be, as one wild horse advocate stated recently, “cookie cutter” forms; Available at the Front Desk, simply choose from the appropriate terminology column, sign, date and submit.

Where’s the proof? Where are the signatures of the teams that put boots on the ground, walked around, collected specimen grasses and plants, scoped out water resources, photographed stud piles and can identify this herd and distinguish it from that one? With a FY 2010 budget for the Wild Horse and Burro Program at nearly $68 Million, $28 Million of that earmarked for roundups and holding facilities, these “assessments” should be dead on accurate right down to the pollen count on a 1 acre square parcel of rangeland.

The Bureau’s Herd Area Statistics for FY09 state the total acres in Herd Management Areas at 31,864,461, with wild horse and burro totals at 36,940. This comes out to a little less than 863 acres per wild equid. However, the AML states the total of these areas are capable of supporting only 26,578 wild horses and burros requiring 1198 acres to sustain a single wild equine. Nevada’s 15.25 Million acres, according to the BLM Formula, is capable of supporting only 12,688 wild horses and burros requiring 1200 acres per wild equid. This is a staggering assertion. And again, “Where’s the Proof?”

When asked to qualify these findings, the answers themselves are as varied as the colors amongst the horses but still reveal nothing as to how the findings were achieved. Instead, the Bureau reaches for its Standard Issue Truisms and with an affinity for abbreviations, all too familiar to wild horse advocates, adjusts the statistics a little and presents the latest, though hardly the most accurate or ‘scientific’, reasoning for obliterating yet another group of wild equines. Independent research; and all Advocates are guilty of this, the sifting through hundreds of Environmental Assessments and related documents going back decades reveals very little in how the Magic Formulas are arrived at. But oddly enough, even with geological & historic changes in the landscapes, losses of original Herd Management Areas and the passage of time, the Formulas have stayed pretty much the same over those decades.

Judging by the OIG’s findings, scientific principal is just not that important.

Advocates depend on the investigations of agencies like the Office of the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office and public resources such as the Freedom of Information. And we believe those findings should come at a heavy cost to the agencies at which they’re directed. Only time will tell.

But at the end of the day, we’re left with the imaginings of a group of ordinary citizens fighting an extraordinary cause. Imagine, for instance, a stadium or an arena filled with people, or a small town in Nevada, with a population hovering around 30,000. And picture those people dispersed in small groups across more than 31 MILLION acres. Even with resources at a premium, how is it possible there is simply not enough room?

There are also discomforting realizations that come on the heels of the hard won victories.  Without a sound scientific and cooperative approach in place right now to better manage wild horses and burros and their land, the single largest threat to their survival as a species isn’t drought, disease, starvation, predation, over-population or attrition is the Bureau of Land Management. Or that some Wild Ones ranging free right now have a better chance of dying in captivity than of natural causes on their own ranges. That is unacceptable.

The small battles, fought in an effort to support the larger war; a wild horse advocate is currently fighting for information on disclosure of the whereabouts of more than 600 Mustangs removed from the Southern Nevada desert late last year. When an agent of the BLM feels the need to express feelings of persecution in the Court of Public Opinion, perhaps an inquiry could be made with that agent as to our missing mustangs.

The little inequities that occur, by sleight of hand, while wild horse advocates are busy addressing the big ones; The Moriah Roundup scheduled for later this month will remove 72 Mustangs from their HMA, one of the smallest in Nevada, and they will be zeroed out. Moriah will be re-classified as an HA. According to the Environmental Assessment, the habitat contains ‘insufficient resources’ for wild horses. 72 wild souls and even they couldn’t stay under the radar. Of course, the survivors will be available for adoption from a Utah holding facility; that should bring those mustangs significant comfort & hope. And perhaps the Moriah HMA will finally be put to good use.

By close of business this year, 40,000 wild horses and burros will be held in captivity. 40 Thousand. Many will be sent to the mythical grasslands of the Mid-west and Secretary Salazar may begin to realize his historical fantasy of a vast ‘sanctuary’ system where Wild Equines will become exactly what? Bereft of their roots, families & herds, chemically and physically altered, unable to reproduce, how is this to their benefit, or ours? History may judge Salazar harshly for his contempt of a single species and the bizarre lengths he seems willing to go to wipe the wild horses from the ranges. But before that, the New Sheriff should be aware, advocates aren’t waiting for history and he should be attending to his own house before venturing too much further in other directions.

Wild horse advocates are more than willing to use whatever opportunities/means present themselves and we are always watching. Considering the Inspector General’s report and the unprecedented letter signed by 54 members of Congress, we are not the only ones.

The entire report can be accessed here:

http://www.doioig.gov/images/stories/reports/pdf/ScientificIntegrityPolicy.pdf

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81 replies »

  1. Pretty well sums it up..If you look at the RMPs that is where the land is taken away from the horses, as in the owyhee and Rock creek HMAs, that decison was arrived by the scientific means,– of the input from the ranchers and permittees, telling the BLM horses shouldn’t be on certain areas, and those areas are the ones in the watersheds were the best grazing is and where their cattle are to this day…grazing..WWP currently has filed suit in 2010 to have 28 of these RMPs thrown out as invalid, because of the way they are decided, you can look at that map of these areas over at WWPs website, in the lawsuit. Those rmps encompass the HMAs of the wild horses…and will do more to restore land to the horses than any report, which BLM routinely ignores. And contrary to what you will hear, WWP does not believe it is the horses who destroy the land, but the cattle..they have NEVER filed a suit to have Wild Horses removed, ONLY livestock, they understand that horses move in their grazing and livestock do not and over graze..In fact their greenfire preserve had a large herd of Challis HMA horses that grazed there and they welcomed them..se the pictures on their website..the BLM swooped down and removed them against the wishes of WWP..just out of spite for all the trouble WWP has caused them..and they do have a small band still there, and most of the horses removed were adopted by people from the valley..Please-DO NOT-believe the rumors you hear circulating..I believe this is the work of the BLM trying to cause problems between WWP and us by having us attack them..Please do not fall for this tactic..there are many underhanded things going on these days and we must question everything..plants are being made among the advocates. If you don’t personally know someone you are talking to online..be carefull and use your head

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    • Looking in the rearview mirror, this is the way advocates should have pursued this, by challenging not the National Law but these administrative decisions made in house by the BLM, not congress, these decisions, made by them with no scientific input should have been examined and challenged as WWP is doing, instead we are left to chase EAs and roundups which is the tail of the horse leaving the land.

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      • yes, if those reports could be FOIA, like the facilitys render company reports OR/AND the actual number the contractor was paid for at the point of round-up- we could uncover the REAL- numbers.

        side by side with their ‘reported numbers’…

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      • what about the report and pictures of the ‘large tracked trucks crushing pristine sagebrush. I think that is against the law on public lands?

        Can that be turned in to the authorities?

        What about the state laws that animals must be provided the basics, shelter/water/food. Can the pictures of sunburned- no shelter horses be turned over to the state officials in charge of enforcing the state laws?

        Those are called ‘private facilities” they can’t be above the state laws for care can they??

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  2. I really appreciate this article. The content is hardly surprising, but it is heartening to see that the BLM could potentially run into problems because of lack of required paperwork. Perhaps their lives could be made miserable that way? Through the back door, by highlighting non-compliance. One has to wonder, though, what spin they will manage to apply to the science? Truthfulness is evidently a matter of opinion as far as Ken Salazar is concerned.

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  3. Can see even the basics of what the BLM does in their silly policy manual with just the foaling season dates.

    Sure untouched wild horses foal in spring, then come in heat and maybe are pregnant with next springs foal.

    The BLM FAILS to mention in their policy book what happens when they give mares that birth control drug.
    Mares come in season month after month. That attracts stallions of course. The mares are bred over and over. This could cause bacterial disease spread and weakening of the general health of mares having to deal with the activities of breing bred every month.

    The stallions have to spar and fight off other stallions year round..making them weaker and many more chances of a major injury.

    If the birth control drug wears off and a mare becomes pregnant and delivers in middle of winter. Babies born in dead of winter, think that is good for any wildlife?

    Just horrible what the BLM knows they do to wild horses and FAIL to inform in their silly POLICY book!!

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    • could just be me, but have anyone else noticed Cloud after the birth control drugs were used on mares in his area?

      It makes me sad he looks so much more bitten up and nicked up all year around. I feel so bad as he ages he has to year around be forced to fight for his place during all seasons of the year. Never any once a year mares in season and the rest of the year a chance to regain full vigor.

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      • This is what I was reflecting on yesterday..when they do these studies in universitys and find no negative effects of PZP, it is not under the same conditions as will exist on the range..put 20 mares and 20 stallions in a pasture and see what happens!..now we have a 60 to 40 ratio they are returning, more stallions than before…mares constantly cycling, never the peace of a winter season those 11 months when studs are not fighting for mares and breeding rights..it will be chaos in their herds-there will be no structure-but damaged horses physically and mentally.

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      • Could someone direct me to the article(s) that support what is being said about the effects of PZP, please? what I have found is that , at least in the Assateague ponies, that it is effective in keeping populations under control, w/ minimal side effects, no article I have seen mentions the wild cycling mentioned on this post and others. This is a wild population, not a University study.
        I think CLoud looks great, as do the rest of the Pryor horses.
        Matt DIllon on his site has a very comprehensive post concerning PZP.

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      • Its like the BLM says..how can we make this birth control plan cost the taxpayers the most millions so we can stay in hotels around america and have hundreds of hours stunt flying our planes and maybe get to shoot animals from helicoptors on the same wonderfull ‘vacation’!!

        Instead they COULD dart a stallion from the helicoptor..BACK OFF and wait for him to go down. land ..vasectomy (snip snip the sperm cord away) ask a human doctor how they do this fast IN office on humans!, (freezebrand, note, even worm and vaccinate.. and microchip while asleep) give drug to quickly

        wake horse and GET FAR AWAY.

        Then you have a stallion who acts natural in all respects and is shooting blanks.

        and bait ‘harvest’ the adoptables, batch groups! yearlings! from the edge of the HMAs

        nothing as good/healthy quality as a horse that is given a year or more of growing up untouched by humans on the range. and they won’t be afraid of people or damaged by helicoptor running or being born in a ‘holding facility’ the worse kind of horse in any breed.

        can’t these people dart a horse?? they can shoot them, they can touch them with helicoptors and knock them down! and they simply can’t learn to dart, vas. wake and back off.

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      • Jan here is an older NYT story that explains how the drug works.

        why the BLM can’t dart just floors me. I still think its because they have that HUGE budget and they want to make sure they get the budget every year..so they use the squander taxpayer money method so they have their fun free ‘vacations’

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      • The only thing I don’t like much with darting a horse with sedative is that they can hit their heads on the ground pretty hard when they collapse. A lot depends on if the sedative is too strong and takes effect too fast. Really difficult to monitor on a wild horse, though I definitely agree that snipping is better than gelding. Still got the testosterone going — but shooting blanks!
        I think this idea has some real potential.

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      • Laura, I KNOW how the drug works, what I’m asking about is the articles that state that mares cycle all year round and are abused by stallions, etc. I have found no reports of that in any of the research I’ve read. It’s being used in sanctuaries and wild horse populations, I believe it’s a viable option to the brutality that is happening to the wild herds now. Of course, it’s success would cause Cattors, et al, to be out of work! and look at all the BLM “specialists” who would no longer be needed!
        Vasectomies in the wild, i don’t buy, that’s invasive surgery, that would be hard to monitor the recovery from, besides, I’ve not even heard of that in domestic horses to know if the procedure is ok to use on horses.

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      • I am discussing BLM policy and how they are using PZP this year when they do return mares..it appears all mares are getting PZP and they have changed the stallion ratio..do sanctuarys have 200 stallions running with 150 mares??? See where I am going here..Mares in the wild are generallly pregnant for 11 1/2 months out of the year..on a breeding farm..studs act like geldings for that period of time, there is quiet and peace…there will be no peace as the mares will be cycling continuiously, with the possiblility of winter anestrous..I have not seen data that addressed that.

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    • Laura, was wondering what you meant by the comment about horses born in holding facilities the “worst kind of horse of any breed”? I have a 2 year old that was born in a holding facility. Was wondering what problems I should be expecting from her?????

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      • What I meant is they don’t get to grow up in the wild. Learn horse social skills from their elders. They learn so much from watching and interacting from their family.Learn their place in the herd. Not the same level of physicial activity. No natural grazing and foraging. Learning how to deal with trouble.

        He may be fine growing up in holding. He will be more used to humans and he never had to suffer the helicoptor run (thank God!) Guess in holding he had a chance to play with others his own age, and that’s a good thing too!.

        There is quite a difference in his ‘horse’ social experiences and a horse in general old or young does best with plenty of space.

        I bet he’s happy to be out of that holding and out in the big wide world 🙂

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      • Interesting..just discussing this very thing with someone who just adopted a horse born in holding and 3 years old..can be handled and loved, but terrified of the sound of a metal gate shutting on trailer pen ect…sounds related to screaming and terrified horses that he may or may not ever get over. he quakes all over in terror.

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      • I didn’t think about that Sandra! Poor horse what he must have seen and heard in his years in holding. Very smart horses though. I bet he will catch on that he is out of the bad place and no need to worry anymore, when he hears those sounds 🙂

        My mustang was captured as a 2 year old and had 120 days prison training. I got her when she was 12 ,someone outbid the meatman. She seems to have no fears, people seem to have been nice to her. She is not afraid of anything and has skills she learned from her family her first 2 years. She loves groups of men that look like prisoners lol 🙂

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      • Sandra, I’ve also been mulling this over. I wonder how many horses are turned back in to the Adoption Program as unhandleable. Even a single negative experience can haunt a horse for the rest of its life. No matter how sweet the animal is, that trigger can turn a horse into a danger to not only people, but also other animals and itself.

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      • no, she didn’t get to grow up in the wild, but neither did my other horses in my little herd; she certainly learned herd interactions and the concept of pecking order in her pens. She has no problems with trailers, which is amazing, since she was born in NV, went to PVC as a yearling, went from there to VA, then to MO, ending up in OK as a 3-striker, then on to IL and IN, now back to IL, i keep telling her my 5 acres isn’t NV, but it’s not a bad place to be, horse wise.

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  4. Humane fertility control, yes! In the immediate Now, however, the horses are being systematically brutalized, removed, hunted, slaughtered, exterminated. Illegally. The biggest corporate land grab in history is silently taking place under American noses. Illegally.

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  5. The knowledgeable people who I have listened to in discussions, support the DISCRIMINATE use of PZP. That would be very different than how it is currently being used. You don’t just zap them all with it. I’m not sure how that is decided, but it would have to be by people who know what they are doing. There are people here who know a lot about horse husbandry that could probably shed more light on it.

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    • Again, no science seems to be involved in the decision making.
      And I’ve always wondered why the BLM would authorize a round up the following year when the PZP is supposed to last two years. Why is there a need to cull the herd if there’s very little possibility that a mare will be able to conceive for two years?

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    • I agree with you Louie. Jerry Finch and I have been following the development of this contraceptive for many years and there was a time that we were considering using it for our mares that we took in at HfH as we do NOT promote or allow breeding of the horses that we adopt out to the public (stallions are gelded). But we did meet resistance as at the time we were considering this it would take reapplication of the drug for years to come to insure that the mares did not reproduce and we just did not have the resources to track that issue for unknown years.

      But in the case of our wild equines a scientific plan for limited application of PZP administered by dart gun is a very real, humane and viable option. Jerry studied with a Dr. out of Montana who was testing this, I’m getting old as I don’t remember his name, and the plan was to only administer a limited number of mares by dart in an effort to properly manage numbers. Now that seems to be a very viable plan to me as it is minimum trauma and humane…BUT, let’s look at the numbers first and then make logical decisions.

      Rounding up all the horses, zeroing out herds, pumping lady with PZP is insane, but then again, it’s Obama’s BLM.

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      • I went to a talk by Heidi Hopkins of Program Manager of Wild Horses for HSUS last week–addressing the 2 herds they are now doing research with–Sand Wash Basin in CO and Cedar Mtn in UT. Jay Kirkpatrick is the Dr. from Zoo Montana in Billings who has done a lot of the work developing PZP. From questions asked, there were no definitive answers to the social dynamics of the herds that were affected–just that they “didn’t seen any big difference yet.” The time of the year the mares are darted definitely affects the success rate of the PZP. (Best success rate for in-season foals is to treat mares in December. Out of season foals are the result of other PZP treatment dates. Of course, that means when they roundup and dart in September there will be out-f-season foals.)
        It was an interesting talk–among other comments she made, Heidi did agree with some in the audience that there were too many head of livestock on some of the ranges. HSUS is now working in Sand Wash setting up soft traps at water holes and baiting with nutrients and mineral blocks to prepare to dart mares at the end of the year, in hopes of precluding so many roundups for them in the future. I can see that this is a more feasible process with a herd of 200 or less, but a daunting task to accomplish on a herd of 1000-2000 horses, for sure.

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      • Linda, thanks for the info, I too am hoping it decreases the need for roundups, with the BLM’s budget, I think something could be worked out, instead of employing the helicopter monsters, employ caring professionals who can work out humane ways of getting the mares darted.
        SInce there probably aren’t any herds of 2000+ horses left anymore out west, or won’t be after this next round of roundups, that’s probably a moot point.

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      • from what little I have read about the drug its a vaccine that keep the sperm from contacting the egg. If it’s a vaccine it should have a measurable blood titer? and not be dangerous to over vaccinate? or miss and hit males, or make in a lab-drop with cubes like they do with rabies vaccines? if it’s a vaccine there must be a point where the shot lasts a lifetime.

        now I’m just thinking without any facts. Sure seems like it would be cheaper for the blm to use their helicoptors and dart even 10-20 percent. Even if they just chose a color like dart every bay.

        Maybe they are stuck wanting to spend that big budget, “use it or lose it next year”

        You could spay the mares for the adoptors. That would scare away the breeders 🙂

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      • What do you mean “spay a mare” do you have any idea of the mortality rate or difficult recovery for that in a horse..they are not a fricking cat or dog..BLM suggested this at denver..to do this surgery in the field with the dubious quality of their vet personel..every surgery on a horse is major, due to their size, construction, weight bearing and pain intolerance..you can stop that talk right now!

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      • Sandra, What if field laproscopic spaying could be done? And it is 99.9% permanent. Mayby its more time consuming and invasive that I think it is – and the equipment is terribly expensive – or it would be used more on dogs and cats too – and total hysterctomy is preferred on dogs and cats to avoid future cancers. I don’t know if the equipment could even be modified for use in the field someway?

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  6. We need to hear a lot more from Karen Sussman. She probably has as much knowledge as anyone about birth control and herd dynamics. She could educate all of us.

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    • My understanding from reading her material is if you don’t muck with them and disrupt their social structure, it holds pretty steady on birth and deaths..there is no abberant jumps like what occurs after you have mucked with them..BLM has no wisdom in their policy and are unwilling to give it a try..yet I have seen it in their own statistics on some of these EAs where they hadn’t gathered in years..birth rate was around 6% and holding went to 20% after gathering the first time..I was just hoping we could do better than the BLM than to muck with them as well.

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      • The problem is the DOI-USDA and state agencies don’t do legitimately and scientifically certifiable census counts or data collection. The time periods are askewed and range conditions are always fluctuating. Funny thing is, that until human intervention (massacres), the equines were born, lived and died with reasonable regularity before this any cause of action by the “regulating entities” took place. The fact of the matter is that multiple use is a big fat, flaming lie and preference is always given to extraction trolls (deforestation, logging, hunting, mining, permit grazing, etc).

        It may take science and statistics to figure this out, but it certainly doesn’t take “rocket” science.

        When is Salazar going to get fired for the Gulf alone? What is protecting him? It ain’t Obama, because I don’t think he could find a National Park or HMA on a map if asked. Of course, HMAs and maps are a differnet matter althogether….people that care have a tough time pulling that type of info together too.

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      • The way it is now, the numbers are so low in these HMAs a hard winter can wipe them out as in 95, lost a whole hma of horses in oregon..it is predicted to be a cold snowy winter here this year starting the end of october..may not need any PZP..the funny part..the last time there were so few horses left -congress had a bill to declare them an endangered species when the act was passed..they came back from recess and did not pick it up.

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  7. Obama stressed scientific integrity and called for every department to submit their papers. Most of the agencies to date have not done so, guess they rely on the dart board methodology also. But Obama is still the stink at the top as he has done nothing (at least publically and this report has been out for a bit as I read this in a headline a month or so ago) to give these agencies a good shake up. Money talks–no report no funds period the end. Penalties for each day they are late? Other than that it is just talking the talk O. But that does absolutely NOT give any blm employee who is not doing the job they are being paid to do, while the agency continues to cash the checks for the absent work, an excuse to continue to turn in the same performances. This also lies with the head of each and every field office, do your job or find another one. Perhaps its time to fire the public affairs officers and hire some boots on the ground until they get their house in order.

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    • I am loath to call what BLM does ‘decision making”. they create directives and use information and the ‘input from studies’ and all this is crafted around the industries they cater to. Out with horses and take up their lands and pat each other on the back. mar

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  8. Money really does talk. I wonder if the appropriations committees for DOI could demand scientific integrity before they’ll fund more programs.
    A relative of mine worked for a completely different appropriations committee. She’d go around to different sites and require them to demonstrate why it was that their departments needed funds. If protocols and requirements weren’t met, she’d give a thumb’s down to more funding until they gave her sufficient proof that it was necessary.

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      • 61 pages of “light reading”. Looks interesting. I need to copy it to Word and print it out (in smaller type!) to evaluate this guy’s position and assertions. Sounds more philosophical than proveable.

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    • Since we’re dealing with the system we currently have in place, perhaps tracing the money back to where it originates would be helpful. Congress — specifically appropriations committees — can and do set limits on what they’ll fund.
      Has there been any effort on the part of advocates to get in touch with DOI appropriations and ask that the scientific integrity issue be discussed? If this was one of Obama’s stated concerns, perhaps some follow up? Don’t know if that’s a realistic idea, but I thought I’d toss it out there.

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  9. Now that we know this, what can we do with it? Is the IGA going to do anything? Is anybody going to do anything???

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    • I will answer that question with a resounding YES, we are going to do something about it. 

      But, due to the fact that the dark side hits this blog dozens of times a day I will not tip our hat. But there is a tsunami headed their way that I hope they will not survive…they have crossed the line and there is no going back.

      The die is cast.

      Video at 11.

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    • Sheriff Tony DeMeo proved by his example that local forces can stand down corruption and tyranny by a federal agency that is both illegal and unconstitional.

      We can’t free the horses if we ourselves are in a prison without walls and can’t see it. I think Sheriff DeMeo knows it.

      We stand to be “warehoused” too, after we’ve been successfully depopulated. What’s happening to the wild horses is actually happening to us too.

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  10. anyone who thinks they have a ‘better” way than mother nature devised..better think again..there are always unintended consequences, I am not against birth control, i think its use is a last resort in wild horses..period..I do not know how they handle island ponies, but they still round up and adopt.

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  11. What an excellent job by Lisa…..thank you!

    Can anyone really imagine how bad the situation within DOI really is if their own IG delivers these kinds of findings? Trust me…internal IGs get so watered down, delayed and shoved in the basement, it is no wonder that very little ever comes of those reports.

    I will tell you I’ve been through a few in my government days. This report is critically important to our cause. I will not say more.

    No certifiably science; NO………………????????

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  12. Just for the record, I’m not sold on PZP or SpayVac (long-term immuno-contraceptive, 4-5 years). The jury is still out as far as I’m concerned, in regard to permanent sterility when given to young mares, out of season foals when it wears off, and distorted social structure and accelerated aggressive behavior. Management needs to be what works best for the horses, not for man.

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    • hear, hear, thats all I am trying to say as well..how about a” as needed policy” we are not talking feral cats here, were talking wild horses who do not have litters and have low birth/survival rates.lets not finish what the BLM started and treat them like zoo animals or humane society animal shelters or rescue horses.Its an entirely different situation

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      • I would much rather have birth control on the range than the BLM removing 80-90% of all standing herds in each round up, which is what they are doing. Susanville,Tuscararo,Calico leaving 200 horses on 500,000 acres as in the case of Tuscararo. Birth rates drop to zero when stallions are separated and gelded and put into captivity & those genes are lost forever in the wild, & perhaps the best and most hardy genes are being eliminated by these round ups, as there is no science or serious thought on which horses to round up and which to leave wild. Not to mention the herd wisdom lost. There is nothing more damaging than round ups, especially when driven by a for profit, private round up contractor.

        Like

  13. My understanding about contraceptives for wild equines in the US (and this may have been discussed), but HSUS opted into this program to help the BLM reduce the “so-called” numbers. Many advocates were against it, but I truly believe HSUS did this with a hope of helping, not hurting the equines. A legetimate study, scientifically based over a reasonable period of time with the suspension of massacres may have shown what many have already said on this thread. States, DOI and USDA never wanted the birth rate reduced…they wanted the equines permanently GONE. We know that and I think HSUS knows that now.

    Contraceptives have serious problems in the wild. More importantly, without legitimate census counts and follow up, it contributes to the massacres.

    But I know we all know that now.

    Like

  14. Thank you Lisa – that is the heart of the matter and proves that management by roundup is “bad dumb.” I am going to splurge and copy my letter to BLM that harped on this issue of “no science.” I apologize in advance for the ego trip in printing the whole thing. . .but by Monday nobody will care. This was originally posted on The Cloud Foundation Blog.

    District Ranger
    Steve Williams
    PO Box 130
    Austin, NV 89310
    775-964-2671

    Dear Steve:

    I wish my comments to be a part of the Public Comment period ending today, March 26, 2010. Please read my comments with the understanding that my concerns and issues revolve around matters chiefly driven by a hope to see our American wild equids fairly treated, competently managed using modern science and methods, diligent, honest, and factual transparency through all steps necessary leading up to the decisions made affecting the herds, and then humanely removed when necessary,all within a common sense view of not squandering taxpayer money unnecessarily. As you indicated you will forward a copy of this email to Dave Palmer. I appreciate it.

    PREAMBLE

    In honesty I feel that the decision and actions of the Bureau of Land Management as regards their Wild Horse and Burro program have been of uneven quality over the years, and though I realize that, within all our agencies, there are honest public servants, and even brave souls who have been seen over the years to ignore Washington in favor of what they feel is a better way, I am at this moment in time convinced that our Wild Horse and Burro program is in real serious and flagrant violation of The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195).

    As you enter into your partnership with them on your Project (proposed) I would urge you to be aware that the eyes of the world are upon you, if you are not aware of that already. The horrendous Calico Roundup — just another of a long string of such gathers — where too many horses were gathered too quickly, flew in the fact of the 1971 Law which dictates humane treatment of wild horses and burros from the gather through the processing periods, including proper food. Their veterinary staff is too small, and inadequate to humanely process these animals. These gathers are dangerous to the people involved, deadly to the wild horses and burros, and damaging to the American public who are aware of the loss involved and suffering of the horses, and the great costs of these gathers. The wild horses and burros belong in the wild, and they are to be managed at the minimal levels — that means, not that you should have the smallest number of wild horses on the public lands, but that the management is done in such a way to minimize requiring these dangerous gathers. It looks to me like the BLM is maximizing these gathers at public expense, with great suffering to the horses.

    DUE DILIGENCE

    My overall first impression of the Project is that the project area includes excessive WHTs and that these WHTs are far too numerous to be carefully and conscientiously evaluated in only one Project. There is danger of oversimplification and generalization in massing eleven (11) different Wild Horse Territories together with the apparent lack of detail resulting. (see below, “Table 4”)

    PRELIMINARY CONCERNS AND QUESTIONS ON THE NOPAA

    It is unfortunate that the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act requires that “no less than 80% of funds appropriated for the Act must be used to fund on-ground range rehabilitation, construction and maintenance of range improvements, and training of personnel. More value might come to the American taxpayer by funding longitudinal studies showing the impact on the lands of domestic cattle grazing, wild equid utilization and migration and other wildlife and ecology studies.

    There is a term I have heard from the Bureau of Land Management, “benefitting subactivities.” Can you please define what BLM means by that and given an example? Does a “benefitting subactivity” benefit the land, or does it benefit the Forest Service? Does a “benefitting subactivity” benefit FROM the activities of the BLM or the Forest Service? Is financial exchange of any kind involved in interfaces with “benefitting subactivities?” I am in the dark on this.

    The “gold standard” (of “No potential for significant impact”) is too lax. This standard is apparently what you use to determine whether the “Project” goes ahead. I would suggest that it appears to allow any activity that you can show “No potential for significant impact” to be approved for spending taxpayer money. Under this “gold standard”, it would seem that, if wild equids are not viewed as beneficial to the natural systems in place where they occur, then justifying removals of wild equids would be unnecessary.

    This NOPA makes no attempt to portray the wild equids as an integral, functioning presence in their territories, or as part of the “ecological balance” you refer to. This is either because there are no studies which have determined them to be a species that is a beneficial presence within the Project Area, or, perhaps there is a bias on your part against the wild equids, or you are under pressure from other parties to reduce the wild equid numbers, or there has been a lack of diligence in obtaining or carrying out the necessary objective fact gathering and scientific studies that may show benefits to having wild equids as a part of the natural systems. The result is to present to the American taxpayer an excessively vague and perhaps unbalanced NOPA from which the taxpayer is to base his or her comments.

    You state that, “Under desired conditions, a Territory Management Plan for wild horse territories on the Monitor, Hot Creed, Toquima Ranges would be in place and implemented. Why have these “desired conditions” not been met to date?

    If no AML’s are “set” in these 11 WHT’s, would all the horses be removed? Will this Project increase cost to the American taxpayer? If AMLs are placed on these WHTS, this will apparently result in costly wild horse gathers. There is no discussion how either of your options impact the herds or the taxpayer. Who is directed to provide this information?

    SCOPING

    You state that initial scoping was begun 5-4-06 for this Project. You state that additional scoping with BLM was initiated in 2009. Who initiated the 2009 “additional scoping?” Please provide documents or records reflecting this decision to initiate “additional scoping, such as a letter, memo, or notice showing which agency (Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management) initiated this “additional scoping.” What reasons were given at the time for the “additional scoping” initiative of 2009?

    TRIBAL COORDINATION

    Are any member of the Yomba Tribal Council or their families employed by, or contract workers for, either the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management, wherein a conflict of interest may be seen to be present?

    The NOPA indicates that you, Steven Williams, District Ranger, notified the Yomba Tribal Council on 5-12-06 regarding the Wild Horse and Burros Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) and that during the meeting, no concerns were raised and that updates will be provided as they become available. Have these updates become available? Upon what basis are such updates obtained? Are updates on this issue required on a timetable throughout this comment period? Please provide a copy of any updates you have received. Please also provide the location of the Tribal Council meeting. Was a quorum fulfilled? Please additionally provide a copy of or a website address (URL) where your original notification to the Tribal Council may be viewed by the public. If not available, please provide information for the public to use in verifying the Tribal Council’s position in the matter, such as a letter of “no concerns and no issues” they may have provided to you. Is there a standard document normally produced reflecting such agreements between an agency of the Federal Government and an Indian Tribal Council?

    PRELIMINARY ISSUES
    “Range” (Issue)

    The 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act 43 U.S.C. && 1901-1908, October 25, 1978, directs the development and implementation of an experimental program to provide incentives or rewards to holders of grazing permits and leases whose stewardship results in improved range conitions. The results were required to be reported to Congress in December 1985, and with their evaluation of the fees established by the Act and other grazing fee optinos, and recommendations for fees in subsequent grazing years. To your knowledge were such programs developed and implemented at the time within any part or parts of the Project area where cattle grazing permits are or were at the time in place? Were records kept by the Forest Service or the Department of Agriculture on these programs, if developed?

    Were any such experimental programs developed and implemented, with similar reporting taking place to Congress in any year or years subsequent to 1985 in any part or parts of the project period? Please specify location of experimental program(s); dates of reporting to Congress and where the public can locate this information on the record. If no location for obtaining verification is provided, please provide the verification itself, in the form of posting it on your website. Please include one contact name in Washington, D.C. or elsewhere in the Department of the Interior Secretary’s Office or the Department of Agriculture Secretary’s office, for each such project carried out, to enable the public to follow-up on this important initiative that affects our public lands everywhere, with over 3 million domestic cattle grazing thereon.

    TABLE 4

    Proposing Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) for eleven (11) Wild Horse Territories (WHTs) in such a way is premature. I base that judgement on the poor quality of the Table 4 summary information. It is clear, in my opinion, that the “Potential ‘No Action’ Impacts” (first column in Table 4) delineated in Table 4 are inconclusive and vague. You admit to, for example, no documentation having been made to date on the effect of wild horses on the sensitive plant population “in the analysis area.” You do not specify what the “analysis area” is, nor when and by whom these “sensitive plant populations” have been recorded. You state that “use by wild horses on these plants has not been documented.” Further, you report no actual damage of any kind from any hoofed animals anywhere in the analysis area. Is this “analysis area” within the scope of this NOPA, or within the Project Area?

    Where has it been shown that the presence of hoof action by wild equids has adversly affected Marsh’s Bluegrass and Nachlinger Catchfly? You only say “impacts in riparian zones MAY affect Marsh’s Bluegrass and Nachlinger Catchfly” (under the future possible results of increased hoof action).

    To what degree (1%? 3%? 5%?) will choosing the “No Action Alternative” “increase the possibility” (your words) of NOT (my words) “attaining ecological balance” (as per your Brown, 2006?) By what means, and over what time period, and to what degree will the goal of “attaining ecological balance” be “reduced” (your word) before significant or measurable disturbance to wildlife and their habitats occur? Is this a long trend taking several years or decades? Taxpayer money is on the line here. What studies taking place inthe actual Wild Horse Territories encompassed by this Project show that unmanaged wild equid populations “would” (your term) “result in the downward trend” (your term) of the “ecological status”(your term). Please define “ecological status.” I am not asking if studies have been done, or if studies are done all the time, I am asking you to show me the studies, where they can be viewed by the public, with complete dates and verifyable information. I know from speaking with you today that you are willing to answer my questions, and I sincerely appreciate that.

    Since you have not quoted any current management studies that may be in existence for this Project area, or chose not to include those studies (if they exist) in this NOPA for whatever reasons, I feel that your persist use of overly vague terminology could be construed as misleading, in my opinion.

    Let me ask you a question using your own terms: Has the Forest Service ever determined what period of time the possibility of conditions that may affect the likelihood of a “reduction of the possibility of attaining ecological balance” must persist before certain actions, such as spending taxpayer money on what may be unnecessary BLM gathers must be taken?

    BLM gathers and the subsequent penning and processing of these wild animals costs a lot of money. Also during these gathers and the subsequent penning and processing of these wild animals, suffering and death occur with regularity. This impacts all of us, to the degree we may feel responsible for the suffering we have inflicted on innocent animals either directly or indirectly, through inappropriate legislation or lack integrity in the management processes involved. Is the high cost of and the suffering of these animals through these gathers justified by your Table 4 “Summary of Potential No Action Impact?” No.

    However, the unhappy fact remains that you only have to justify your actions by proving “No Potential for Impact.” That is the fallacy of this exercise and the injustice you are doing to the American public, young and old alike, by omitting, or failing to do the studies necessary on the beneficial effects of having the wild horses and burros in these natural systems. Here is where there might be shown impact. And it is exactly here, where the most important information to this NOPA should be found, where it is not found. The American public should have a reasonable expectation that you are conscientiously fulfilling the legislative intent of The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195). To me that means providing information in your NOPA that is factual, specific, identifies real time threats or damage, and is well-balanced. Do the studies first before you set the AMLs. Work with the herds on the lands before you subject the taxpayer to more excessively expense roundups. Please see my questions, earlier, about how your No Action options might affect the existing herds. Would they all be removed if not placed under the “protection” of these new AMLs?

    Again my question, from earlier: Who initiated this “additional scoping” of 2009?

    MONITORING

    “Recent vegetative assessments” (your words) have been done. Were these assessments done within the Project area? Where and when. What was the result of these “recent vegetative assessments?” Where are these assessments published? Please provide documentation showing the exact locations within the WHTs where these “recent vegetative assessments” were completed, and for what purpose they were completed? Were they completed in conjunction with the issuing of grazing permits? Were they completed as a matter of due course? Were they completed in response to the needs of this NOPA?

    “Annual and long-term monitoring will be conducted within all the WHTs to determine if the AMLs is improving range conditions and moving toward ‘desired conditions’.”
    Has previous annual and long-term monitoring been completed in these same areas? Have you done monitoring of the eleven (11) Wild Horse Territories within this area to determine how closely they have or have not, thus far, “moved toward desired conditions” in the past under the current regime?

    What additional cost can realistically be expected to be incurred under the “Proposed Action” by this annual and long term monitoring (over and above the excessive costs involved in bringing these wild equid populations in line with the new AMLs?

    Why hasn’t annual and long term monitoring been done previously in each of these Wild Horse Territories? The 1971 Act was signed into law 39 years ago. What studies specifically have been done, including objective scientists, (as per the 1971 Act) in any of the WHTs covered in this project at any time in the past 39 years which would support the necessity of setting the proposed AMLs that are presented here? Have studies been initiated by the Forest Service within these 11 Wild Horse Territories that would address the effects of the domestic cattle grazing allotments on these natural systems? If so, please provide where these studies can be viewed by the taxpayer.

    “Census flights of Wild Horse Territories will occur at least every 4 years” according to this NOPA, under the “Proposed Action.” How many census flights have been carried out in the last 12 years? Last 20 years? Last 39 years? What is the result of these prior census flights, if any?

    Will initiating census flights, per this NOPA,increase the cost of monitoring? By how much? 100%? The taxpayer needs to know that their hard earned money is not going to provide unnecessary program costs. How will taxpayers gain from these census flights? Who trains the personnel who carry out the census flights? Will not these proposed census flights prove to make the herd more skittish of helicopters, therefore make them more canny on ways to avoid the chopper, thereby making them more difficult to gather if a gather is found to be required by this NOPA? If you have not read about the Stinking Water Creek BLM shootings (from helicopter) of the savvy horses who learned to avoid their traps you might well begin to edify yourselves on the matter. The BLM records show that during the two-week October roundup, forty “diffucult” mustangs were gunned down. One reason given was because, “The horses had been chased several times in the past. They had been spooked, and some of them were spoiled and afraid of the fences.” This unfortunate event illustrates the importance of careful thought in dealings with horses: they never forget anything.

    What modern research methods do you proposed to emply in these census flights? How can you tell basic herd health and condition from the air in forest lands? What accuracy has been proven by utilizing these census flights? Where can studies or papers be viewed by the public illustrating the necessity of such expensive census flights in the management of wild horses and burros on public lands?

    Seasonal Distribution Maps are proposed to be produced in this NOPA. Are there seasonal distribution maps for these territories in existence from previous such studies? Will the production of these represent additional program expenditures? How will they be used to benefit the wild herds and the American taxpayer? How will matters of accident liability insurance be handled for employees working in this area, if any is required. Will there be additional costs for liability insurance as pertains to these census flights?

    Please list the names of all Forest Service Personnel and Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro personnel involved in this Project. Have any Forest Service personnel involved in this Project ever been emplyed by the Bureau of Land Management?

    Have you done an Environmental Assessment for this project? If so, where can it be viewed by the public. What were the specific reasons an Environmental Assessment had to be carried out, or will have to be carried out for this project? Is it because of the presence of the Toombah Tribe? For what other reasons might an Environmental Assessment be required to be carried out?

    In my opinion, this NOPA is excessively vague and as such fails to communicate factual real time conditions in the Project area. In my opinion, the Summary of Potential No Action Impacts uses concepts and ideas that are so inconclusive and vague as to give the impression of attempting to intentionally mislead the reader. I belive this vagueness and incompleteness stems from the fact that you have chosen, at this time, to take on eleven (11) Wild Horse Territories in this Project. As I said above, you are risking doing a quality job of providing the public with useful and timely information in the form of this NOPA, and I believe the public has received short shrift when given a document covering this vast Project and so little information.

    The use of jargon and in-house catchwords not readily familiar to the public, and the appearance of a lack of due diligence and the existence of foregone conclusions throws up a big red flag to this taxpayer. I do not believe that this NOPA should have been published as it stands for these reasons, and in my opinion, it should never have been presented to the public under the guise of a tool for the purpose of discussion. Furthermore, the quality I describe that I find so lacking in this NOPA suggests, in my opinion, the invisible hand of a party or parties unseen guiding the potential outcome of this proposed Project.

    Thank you, Steve, for the willingness you have indicated to assist me in locating the documents I have requested and your patience in this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Janet Ferguson

    Like

    • Dear Janet…a superb letter.

      I have only one suggestion….splurge, get a bottle of your favorite bubbly (Coke, Dom Pergninon, etc) and send Lisa’s OIG info and your letter to every rep in your state at both levels- Fed and State. Also ask them in the face of such spectacular deficeits…why they spendin’ soooooo much money on an agency (agencies) that are wiping out wild equines.

      Like

    • Lisa, brilliant article! And Janet, well-researched, thoughtful and articulate, as usual. Both are destined for my folders. Good job!!!

      Like

    • Lisa, this report was superb! Thank you for your diligence in digging. We all “knew” this but you proved it via their own office of investigation. Didn’t the GAO also press this point of “no science” back in the early 90s? And Congress as well in the early 2000’s?

      Jan, what a letter! Did you ever get a response to your questions? Surely not. My own letters are not nearly so comprehensive when commenting on their proposals and I have NEVER received one word of reply in response. In fact, I bet if we FOIA’d the past year worth of docs that were released by BLM for a public comment period, many of the best letters – like this one – will not be attached. So easy for them to just “lose” the pointed questions, the objections, and move ahead with the preplanned rubberstamp decision. They have already proven their underhandedness in so many ways, losing public input would be expected.

      Like

  15. Rt
    The Dr. is Jay Kirkpatrick and he developed the drug with a grant from HSUS. The cost is 21 a dose and can be administered with a dart gun. The individuals go to him in Montanna to be traind to be able to dart. I have read all the studies and did not find any reference to to harmful side effects. Jay is an animal lover and developed the contraceptive (originally developed for humans) as a humane way to control wildlife population. There are currently 3 longitudinal studies on the long term effects on wild horses and deer. Fire Island being the most well known. The scientific studies are available from Jay or HSUS. They have also been published in scientific journals. I am not sure I like the idea of gelding in the wild. On my own horses I had to cold hose them daily and have it done while there were no flies. I agree a scientific study needs to be done to determine if there is in fact a horse overpopulation problem. If that is the case, then perhaps PZP is one solution but if and only if the other option is roundup and slaughter.

    Like

  16. Thank you, Lisa, and thank you, R. T.

    Interesting. Let’s see. The Inspector General advises the Secretary of the Interior that his department needs to develop and implement standards for scientific integrity, and these standards must be able to be peer reviewed in the scientific community

    Very interesting since the federal judge In New Orleans threw out the Secretary’s moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf based on misrepresenting the findings of seven scientifics. He told the Secretary that his conclusions could not be drawn from the scientist’s work, not could they be drawn from common sense. The Secretary said that the scientists had seen his conclusions and agreed with them, but to a scientist, they denied it and said that the conclusions he had drawn could not be drawn from what the reported. So the Secretary not only misrepresented the scientists’ findings, he said the scientists agreed with him, when, in fact, they had not seen the conclusions he had drawn based on their work.

    So the American public is supposed to believe that Ken Salazar is the person to create and implement standards of scientfic integrity for the Department of the Interior. How about reporting violations? I’d like to see the Secretary leading this initiative (wink, wink, nod, nod). That’s a pretty big blog of oily slick oysters to swallow.

    Like

  17. This is a link to a story about how the Secretary of the Interior falsified information that he used to instate a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf and the federal judge’s remarks as he threw the moratorium out. At the bottom of the article are links to other pieces about the Secretary.

    I include this because it is a public and blatant example in which the Secretary was lying and mispresenting scientific evidence that he himself compiled. It is the finding of a federal judge that the Secretary has lied and misrepresented his sources. Secretary Salazar can not pass this off on a lower level employee.

    http://michellemalkin.com/2010/07/16/ken-salazar-needs-another-ass-kicking/

    Like

    • Just emailed your post to my friends. . . with the ditty at the top:

      FIRE SALAZAR AND SAVE THE WORLD

      (This is actually a Facebook page!)

      Like

      • Janet, Could you copy and paste the “facebook” link for FIRE SALAZAR AND SAVE THE WORLD here?

        I went to facebook and can’t find it.

        Like

      • The reason you could not find it is because I had the name wrong. Sorry. But, in googling Fire Salazar and Save the World, I did find the Japanese Facebook page (Fire Salazar and Save America) and lots of members. Posting was in English. (?) (!)
        I copied from the Facebook search — hopefully you can find it now?

        Show:

        Name: Fire Ken Salazar and Save America
        Type: Public Figure
        26 people like this.

        Like
        All Results
        People
        Pages
        Groups
        Applications
        Events
        Web Results
        Posts by Friends
        Posts by Everyone

        Like

      • My mis-speakings seem to have no bounds.

        It is FIRE KEN SALAZAR AND SAVE AMERICA

        Fire Ken Salazar and Save AmericaLike
        Wall
        Info
        Photos
        Discussions

        Like

        Fire Ken Salazar and Save America + Others
        Fire Ken Salazar and Save America
        Just Others

        Fire Ken Salazar and Save America In case you think Salazar is better on mining, Read this.
        Post Carbon: Greens call for Salazar’s resignation – Juliet Eilperin
        views.washingtonpost.com
        In the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it was only a matter of time before someone asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to go.
        June 10 at 5:12pm · Share
        Thomas Enman likes this.

        Fire Ken Salazar and Save America This is a world movement.. to fire the guy that is bringing crude oil to every ocean and to the shores of every continent. Warning: this article will scare the crap out of you.

        Oil Spill: Here’s the Inside Scoop → Washington’s Blog
        http://www.georgewashington2.blogspot.com
        It’s now likely that the actual amount of the oil spill dwarfs the Coast Guard’s figure of 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day.Independent scientists estimate that the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day. …
        June 10 at 5:08pm · Share

        Like

      • Morgan:

        You’re watching it…..still in office, media keeps giving him a pass, still murdering wild equines, wolves, coyotes, bison, raping natural resources, polluting pristine habitats. Those are his punishment.

        Like

      • Oh don’t forget the big paycheck–I don’t know his salary and I almost don’t want to know. He is completely crooked and incompetent and obviously leads his dept that way. It starts at the top and rolls downhill.

        Like

      • Here’s a view:

        …“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
          17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
          18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
          19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
          20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.

        (Matthew 7:16-20)

        Like

  18. Last I heard, a person condemed in and to hell can’t bartar…earthly paychecks, 401k’s, big shot connections and all. The only currency is suffering and pain for evil deeds and life lived corrupt. And if you don’t believe in heaven or hell…there’s always karma. I just wish the karma train would schedule in a few stops for many at DOI, USDA and the states.

    Like

  19. I’m all for karmic retribution but then I see that hat and watch him talk, hear or read his silly-ass, mean-spirited, all-knowing, all-seeing declarations on How Things Oughta Be and I black out a little.
    If wicked thoughts are also a basis for bad karma, I’m doomed. But I keep comin’ back to this quote I heard once, attributed to a monk, many centuries ago:

    “I do not know if I am doing God’s will, but I think He appreciates that I try.”

    Like

    • Facebook never ceases to amaze me — I didn’t think you could “get on ” Facebook without a password! So naturally I didn’t think a URL would work! But it does. How is that? The wonders of the 21st Century.

      Like

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