BLM Crawfishs on Pickens Sterile Herds
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – A highly placed spokesman for the federal Bureau of Land Management refused to confirm that a proposed private refuge for tens of thousands of wild horses is a done deal, as claimed by billionaire Madeleine Pickens.
“We’re encouraged by recent meetings between Mrs. Pickens and BLM
Leadership,” chief Washington spokesman Tom Gorey told Horseback Magazine late Monday.
“At this time, we’re waiting for the receipt of a formal, written proposal from Mrs. Pickens before taking an official position on it,” he said.
In a note to supporters Friday, Pickens said, “Over the past three days, I have been to meetings in Sacramento and again in Washington, DC. I’ve met with BLM Director, Bob Abbey, Deputy Director, Mike Pool, along with the Wild Horse and Burro team. The BLM has officially agreed to support going forward with the development of the wild horse Eco – sanctuary for the horses in holding!”
Not quite yet, says Gorey, while highly complimentary of Pickens.
“Let me add that we appreciate Mrs. Pickens’ interest in helping our
agency deal with one of our most challenging issues – the need to care for
and maintain un-adopted and unsold wild horses, and we hope horse lovers
everywhere will consider adopting a wild horse or burro,” Gorey said.
The Texas billionaire told supporters in an email Friday she would begin with a pilot program of 1,000 wild horses placed on vast land she owns with the goal of moving all 36,000 horses BLM currently holds in captivity to an enormous 1 million acre ranch.
According to reports last year in the livestock industry trade publication, Western Livestock Journal, “Depending on the stocking capacity of the ranch and the availability of forage, she envisions the sanctuary ultimately carrying between 20,000 and 30,000 wild horses. According to the proposal, the herd will be non-reproducing.”
Such an agreement, if true, would guarantee that horses currently held in BLM captivity would go extinct leaving only the rapidly dwindling wilderness herds able to reproduce. Yet many of those herds have mares which have been treated with sterility drugs and geneticists charge that it is BLM policy to drive the American wild horse to extinction in order to make way for more grazing land for cattle.