The Horses Just Can’t Catch a Break in Nevada
The board will meet at 1 P.M. Monday in Reno to approve a draft letter denying water to the state’s wild horses and burros. The letter will be sent to State Water Engineer Jason King. He serves with the Nevada Division of Water Resources. If the board agrees to proceed, the letter will tell King to notify federal agencies charged by law with caring for wild horses that only animals “designated for beneficial use” will be allowed to drink Nevada water. Those animals include cattle and “wildlife.” And that is the distinction.
To comment directly to the board, follow this link to obtain their published addresses and phone numbers of the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners. The commission is made up of a farmer, rancher, five sportsmen, a conservationist, and a representative of the general public.
Horseback Magazine is also running a poll asking readers to vote either for or against President Obama’s intervention on behalf of Nevada’s wild horses and burros to enable them to have access to water.
In Nevada, the Board of Wildlife Commissioners claims that wild horses and burros are “feral” and not deserving of a taste of life giving water. The proposed letter goes on to charge that horses under the care of the federal Bureau of Land Management “are making unlawful use of Nevada waters.” According to Nevada law, water on public lands is designated only for livestock and wildlife. Allowing a national treasure such as the state’s wild horses and burros to drink is “illegal” according to the letter.
The BLM holds around 28 water permits in Nevada for the wildlife under its jurisdiction, however, under the feral designation wild Mustangs would not be permitted to drink.
The issue is complex, and BLM policy makes it more so because the agency also calls wild horses “feral.”
Wild horses and burros compete with millions of cattle who graze BLM lands under leases dramatically lower than market value. The letter says “neither the Nevada Department of Wildlife, nor the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claim these animals are wildlife under their jurisdiction. The waters within most of the Nevada rangeland wildlife habitats that are grazed by domestic animals are owned by the rancher and shared by law and cooperation with Nevada wildlife. The federal government has no law that supersedes the State of Nevada’s water law.” The letter cites the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The claim is a stretch. The Tenth Amendment states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Wild horse advocates say the horse is a native species reintroduced to its natural habitat. They cite a recent National Academy of Science study confirming that the genus equidae originated here. Some claim the wild horse never went extinct in America. In fact, when Lewis and Clark made their epoch exploration of the west, they bought horses from Indians who had been breeding them for generations.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that Nevada is home for the largest number of Wild Horses under BLM jurisdiction. For two years, the BLM has been capturing thousands of them and housing the horses on large private pastures enriching landowners. The program has consumed the entire budget of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.
Last week, the wild horse program’s head, Don Glenn, quietly resigned without explanation. He was replaced by a longtime BLM employee with no wildlife management experience.
Click (HERE) to visit Horseback and vote on if Obama should intervene!
- Obama Administration Names Wildlife Rookie to Sensitive Wild Horse Post (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Obama Administration’s Animal Cruelty is Apparent in Wild Horse Stampede Video (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Obama Administration to Begin “Largest” Wild Horse Stampede of the Winter (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- OIG Joins BLM in Propaganda War Against Iconic Wild Horses and Burros (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Major Humane Organizations Plead with BLM to Postpone Deadly Wild Horse Stampede (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Government Spin Machine Goes into Overdrive in Wild Horse Case (animals.change.org)
- Follow the money… (artandhorseslauraleigh.wordpress.com)
- Nevada’s wild mustangs: Officials reject philanthropist’s sanctuary (latimesblogs.latimes.com)