Conference featuring “Dances with Wolves” Author, Michael Blake, will precede BLM Advisory Board Meeting with candlelight vigil and protest to follow
Phoenix, AZ (March 9, 2011)- Dances with Wolves Author, Michael Blake, filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, artist Laura Leigh, author R.T. Fitch and equine advocate Simone Netherlands will be joined by advocate Madeleine Pickens at the wild horse advocates’ press conference tomorrow. The conference will be followed by the controversial Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Advisory Board Meeting beginning Thursday afternoon. All events will take place at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel (340 N. 3rd street) in Phoenix. The media and the interested public are both encouraged to attend the press conference from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10th. A candlelight vigil will take place on Thursday evening from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in memory of every horse that has died at the hands of the BLM. On Friday March 11, advocates will protest from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m., calling for a stop to the roundups, after the public comment period of the BLM Advisory Board Meeting.
Sponsored by The Cloud Foundation, Respect4Horses, The Habitat for Horses Advisory Council, Grassroots Horse, and American Wild Horse Advocates, speakers will demand that the BLM halt all roundups that are destroying the last of America’s wild herds at enormous and escalating taxpayer expense and call for the return of wild horses and burros to their rightful public lands ranges.
“We already have more than 40,000 wild horses and burros in pens. Adding more horses to those already held in confinement, when they are much safer on the range is shortsighted, inhumane and fiscally irresponsible.”—Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation.
Under the mismanagement of BLM Director Bob Abbey, the BLM has stripped tens of thousands of federally protected wild horses and burros from public lands. Annually, BLM conducts inhumane and unwarranted helicopter roundups that result in death and injury to hundreds of animals and cost American taxpayers millions.
Currently the BLM has stockpiled more than 40,000 wild horses and burros in costly government holding, leaving millions of acres of legally designated wild horse and burro ranges empty. Advocates are calling for the return of wild horses and burros to the 24 million acres originally designated for their use. Only 180 of the 339 herds identified for protection by Congress in 1971 remain in the wild. Year after year the BLM has “zeroed out” herds from public lands without proper justification. Currently the BLM’s wild horse and burro program is under an investigative review by the National Academy of Sciences, as called for by 54 members of Congress and several Senators in 2010.
The cruel and costly roundups continue while BLM has no accurate count of the number of wild horses and burros remaining in the wild. An independent statistical review, using BLM’s own numbers, reveals a population of less than 18,000 wild horses on Western ranges.
Wild horses and burros comprise only a tiny fraction of the grazers on our public lands yet are scapegoated for damage done by welfare livestock. Millions of head of privately owned cattle and sheep graze on public lands at a cost of $1.35/cow-calf per month. Overall public lands grazing constitutes a net loss of $123 million annually to the American tax payer following administrative costs while economists estimate the total damage done to public lands to be $500 million to $1 billion annually.
Schedule of Events:
Thursday March 10th:
11:30am- 12:30pm: Press Conference at the Phoenix downtown Sheraton Hotel, 340 N. 3rd street.
1:00pm – 5:00pm: BLM Advisory Board Meeting begins
7:00pm – 8:00pm: Candlelight vigil for the wild horses and burros who have died and suffered at the hands of the BLM beginning in front of the Sheraton
Friday March 11th:
8:00am – 9:00am BLM Advisory Board Meeting resumes
9:00am- 12:00pm: Public Comment period of meeting
12:00am – 2:00pm Demonstration/ Protest beginning in front of the Sheraton Phoenix downtown hotel
1:00pm – 5:00pm BLM Advisory Board Meeting concludes
Links of interest:
Roundup outrage on CNN http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtL7NKpWenA
Independent Report to Defund Roundups: http://bit.ly/gCyiu0
Video calling for Defunding of Roundups: http://bit.ly/hL0eOj
High Crimes and Misdemeanors- American Herds Report http://bit.ly/gQlaxa
54 Members of Congress protest BLM management http://bit.ly/gFJDs1
“This is Extermination, Not a Rescue” 1993 LA Times article by Michael Blake http://bit.ly/EnaR_MB
BLM Boss Not Engaged with Wild Horse Range Reality http://bit.ly/eLOVbr
Stampede to Oblivion: An Award Winning Investigative Report from CBS Las Vegas: http://bit.ly/iiNNYs
Wild Horses and Renegades, documentary http://vimeo.com/19153806
American Herds – “What’s Left?” http://americanherds.blogspot.com/2009/12/whats-left.html
Unified Moratorium letter and 200 signatories http://bit.ly/6ck87L
The Cloud Foundation http: www.thecloudfoundation.org
Respect 4 Horses http://www.respect4horses.com/
Habitat for Horses Advisory Council http://www.hfhadvisorycouncil.org/
Grassroots Horse http://www.grassrootshorse.com/
American Wild Horse Advocates http://www.awha.info
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign http://www.wildhorsepreservation.org/
Madeleine Pickens http://www.madeleinepickens.com/
- Madeleine Pickens to Join Wild Horse Advocates and Celebs at Mustang Rally (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Wild Horse and Burro Preservation Groups Announce Phoenix Press Conference and Rally to Call for Immediate Halt to Roundups (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Obama’s BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board to Meet in March (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- OBAMA Wild Horse Posts Still Unfilled, Board’s Current Makeup Suspect at Best (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- OIG Fails in Investigation of BLM (thecloudfoundation.wordpress.com)