Horse News

Minutes from the BLM Wild Horse and Burro October Advisory Board Meeting

compiled and submitted by Bonnie Kohleriter

This is a lengthy read but will be of serious interest to Wild Horse and Burro advocates, everywhere.  For your convenience we have uploaded the document (HERE) so that you can print out a printer friendly version for offline review.  Many thanks to Bonnie for compiling and sharing this information. 

Commentary is interspersed in the minutes.

MINUTES OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD CONFERENCE ON 0CTOBER 13 AND 14, 2011

            ERRORS MAY BE IN THE NOTES STANDING TO BE CORRECTED

HEREIN IS A SUMMARY OF THE ADVISORY BOARD CONFERENCE ON OCTOBER 13 AND 14, 2011.

TOTAL PROGRAM COSTS PRESENTED FOR 2010-2011 AND PROJECTED FOR 2011-2012  $75 M

2010-2011                                                           2011-2012

390 T FOR HERD MGMT.                                            337 T FOR LAND USE PLANNING

1       M FOR MONITORING                                       1.3     M FOR MONITORING

700 T FOR CENSUS TAKING                                   1        M FOR CENSUS TAKING

7.5   M FOR GATHERS                                               7.6    M FOR GATHERS

27     M FOR SHORT-TERM                                     23        M FOR SHORT-TERM

15.8 M FOR LONG TERM                                        17.3    M FOR LONG TERM

7     M FOR ADOPTIONS                                           7.9    M FOR ADOPTIONS

7.5  M FOR PROGRAM SUPPORT                           8.6    M FOR PROGRAM SUPPORT

5     M FOR ADDITIONAL SUPPORT                        5.5   M FOR ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

500 T FOR COMPLIANCE                                         627 T FOR COMPLIANCE

1.5 M FOR POPULATION SUPPRESSION                  ?         FOR POPULATION SUPPRESSION

3      M FOR ECOSANCTUARIES

ABOUT 5 % OF THE BUDGET IS BEING SPENT ON  THE RANGE MGMT, 79 % ON OFF THE RANGE MGMT. AND 19 % ON PROGRAM SUPPORT.  FOR A PROGRAM THAT WAS TO MANAGE AND PROTECT THE HORSES AND BURROS ON THE RANGE 5% VERSUS 79% RAISES THE QUESTION OF A FAILURE IN THE PROGRAM .  IN ADDITION THE SUPPORT COSTS OF 19% APPEAR HIGH.

43,000 HORSES AND BURROS ARE IN HOLDING, 11,000 IN SHORT-TERM AND 28,000 IN LONG TERM, AND 18,000, 24,000, 33,000 or 38,000 are on the range.  The BLM AND PUBLIC DON’T REALLY KNOW.

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THE PERFORMANCE GOALS FOR 2011-2012 ARE:

A) TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF HMA S (HERD MGMT. AREAS) WHERE THE AML (APPROPRIATE MGMT. LEVEL) HAS BEEN ACHIEVED AND

B) TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF HMA S WHERE POPULATION SUPPRESSION HAS BEEN APPLIED.

THE FERTILITY CONTROL TREATMENT AND REMOVAL OBJECTIVES ARE:

A)     RE: REMOVAL

FROM 0CT.1 TO FEB. 29                2011-2012                   6354

FROM MAR.1 TO SEPT. 30                      2012                   2555

TOTAL              8909

B)     PROPOSED IS THE REMOVAL OF 8909 FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011-2012, 7912 FOR THE BLM AND 997 FOR THE FOREST SERVICE WHICH IS MORE THAN ABBEY TOLD CONGRESS.

C)     PROPOSED FOR THE BLM IS TO GATHER 931 BURROS AND REMOVE 881 FOR 2011-2012 AND TO GATHER 9512 WILD HORSES AND REMOVE 6991 TOTALLING 7872.  (7912 VERSUS 7872 ?)  WHERE WILL 881 BURROS BE PLACED; THERE IS MORE OF A DEMAND FOR BURROS SUPPOSEDLY BUT IS THERE THAT MUCH OF A DEMAND?

D)     PROPOSED FOR THE FS IS TO GATHER 1282 WHILE 223 WERE GATHERED IN 2010-2011. NOW, OF THE 1282, 600 WILL BE DEFERRED TO 2013, AND 252 WILL BE GATHERED AND REMOVED WITH THE  BLM AS IT DOES THE PANCAKE AND SAULSBURY-STONE CABIN COMPLEXES.  A NEW WILD HORSE AND BURRO PERSON IS TO BE NAMED TO TAKE CARE OF THE HORSES AND BURROS.  BARRY IMLER WAS AT THE CONFERENCE.  THE QUESTION IS WHY THE  PRONOUNCED INCREASE IN THE NUMBERS TO BE GATHERED?

E)      RE: FERTILITY CONTROL TREATMENT.

F)      IN 2010-2011 16 HMA S WERE INVOLVED IN FERTILITY CONTROL TREATMENT WITH 834 MARES BEING TREATED WITH PZP; IN 2011-2012 PROPOSED IS 1200 WILL BE TREATED  WITH PZP, A MERE INCREASE OF 366 MARES. ABBEY TOLD CONGRESS FERTILITY CONTROL TREATMENT WOULD INCREASE TO 2000.

G)     ARE WE TO ASSUME THE BLM IS PLANNING TO GELD OR STERILIZE 800 STALLI0NS THOUGH ABBEY NEVER SAID THAT DIRECTLY TO CONGRESS?

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H)     THE HSUS HAS SUGGESTED 9000 MARES BE TREATED WITH PZP.  WHEN DEAN BOLSTAD, DIVISION CHIEF, WAS PUSHED TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN, HE APPEARED TO PUSH BACK ON THIS IDEA.  IS IT BECAUSE THOROUGH AND POTENTIALLY EFFECTIVE POPULATION

SUPPRESSION ON THE RANGE WOULD RESULT IN THE NEED FOR A MAJOR CHANGE IN CONTRACTS WITH GATHER CONTRACTORS, AS WELL AS WITH SHORT TERM  AND LONG TERM CONTRACTORS?  COULD THESE CONTRACTORS LOSE INCOME  AMD SAVE TAXPAYERS INCOME?

GELDINGS TO BE DONE WILL BE ON STALLIONS 8 YEARS  AND OLDER  THOUGH THE PROCEDURE IS MORE RISKY FOE THE OLDER STALLION.  THE GELDINGS POTENTIALLY WILL NECESSITATE THE NEED FOR MORE FREQUENT GATHERS TO STAY WITHIN AML , AND/OR THE GELDINGS WILL FURTHER REDUCE THE NUMBER OF MARES ON THE RANGE WHO ARE ALREADY BELEAGURED BY FERTILITY CONTROL TREATMENT, SEX RATIOING WHERE THERE ARE 60 TO 70 % MORE STALLIONS THAN MARES, REPEATED RAPE BY CONFUSED STALLIONS, AND TWO YEAR OLD PREGNANCIES.   RAPING, PREMATURE PREGNANCIES, AND INCREASED OUT OF SEASON FOALING ARE BEING REPORTED BY THE WILD HORSE AND BURRO SPECIALISTS, BY THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICERS, AND BY THE GATHER CONTRACTORS  SINCE THE INCEPTION OF VARIOUS POPULATION SUPPRESSION TECHNIQUES ON THE RANGE.  THE QUESTION IS, WITHOUT RESEARCH  OF THE MULTIPLE POPULATION TECHNIQUES BEING ADVANCED NOW  ON THE RANGE, WHERE IS THE WILD HORSES’ FUTURE GOING ON THE RANGE? IN ADOPTIONS GELDINGS ARE PREFERRED OVER MARES SO WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR THESE ANIMALS BOTH OFF AS WELL AS ON THE RANGE?

THE NAS STUDY WILL REVIEW EXISTING RESEARCH FROM QUESTIONS AND DATA PROVIDED BY THE BLM.  IN OTHER WORDS, THE NAS STUDY WILL BE A COMPILATION OF BLM PROVIDED DATA, NOT SCIENCE-BASED INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION.  NONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS TO DATE APPEAR TO HAVE A BACKGROUND IN WILD EQUINE BEHAVIOR.

SPACE IN SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM  HOLDING IS POSING A NEAR FUTURE PROBLEM.

17,300      HORSES AND BURROS  SPACES IN FEEDLOTS OR SHORT-TERM FACILITIES.

11.962      HORSES AND BURROS  CURRENTLY IN THE FEEDLOTS

5,338       SPACES  LEFT FOR HORSES AND BURROS COMING OFF THE RANGE

32,374     HORSES SPACES IN LONG TERM PASTURES

30,012     HORSES  CURRENTLY IN LONG TERM PASTURES

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  2362      SPACES  LEFT IN LONG TERM PASTURES

5338

+2362

7700     TOTAL SPACES  AVAILABLE IN HOLDINGS FOR NEXT YEAR WHILE 8909 ARE             EXPECTED TO BE GATHERED AND REMOVED FROM THE RANGE.

THE BLM’S ANSWER TO THIS DILEMMA  APPEARS TO BE 1) STERILIZING HORSES ON THE RANGE WHICH RAISES THE QUESTION OF THE HORSES’ FUTURE IN THE WILD AND/OR DEVELOPING ECOSANCTUARIES FOR THE REMOVED HORSES.  SO ARE WE AS TAXPAYERS TO SUPPORT JUST ONE MORE WEALTHY RANCHERS LAND USE—CORRALS, LONG TERMS PASTURES AND NOW ECOSANCTUARIES WHERE THE PUBLIC CAN LOOK AT STERILIZED HORSES,  NO LONGER WILD, EATING GRASS. THE BLM’S ANSWER TO THIS DILEMMA DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE INCREASED, INTENSIVE FERTILITY TREATMENT NOW AT THE APPROPRIATE WINDOW OF TIME.  THE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE NEAR FUTURE ARE  NOT AIMED AT HEALTHY HORSES ON THE RANGE BUT AT THE DEMISE OF SOME HORSES ON THE RAGE THROUGH PERMANENT STERILIZATION AND  CONTINUED  REMOVALS  FROM THE RANGE.

ADOPTIONS

2888 HORSES WERE ADOPTED IN 2011.  867 HORSES AND 16 BURROS WERE SOLD IN THE EAST.  25 ADOPTION EVENTS WERE HELD IN THE EAST IN TENNESSEE, WISCONSIN, AND NEW JERSEY.

PROPOSED IS 4200 HORSES WILL BE ADOPTED IN 2011-2012. BLM WILL SELL 2200 (500 TRAINED) AND THE MUSTANG HERITAGE FOUNDATION WILL SELL 2000.  ADOPTIONS HAVE DECREASED FROM 7700 A YEAR TO 2880 A YEAR.  SALES OF HORSES HAVE BEEN ABOUT 650 A YEAR.  SATELLITE ADOPTIONS RUN ABOUT 80-100 A YEAR.  RANDOM C0MPLIANCE CHECKS FOR ADOPTIONS ARE COMPLETED.

THE FOREST SERVICE HAS 28 ACTIVE HORSE TERRITORIES , 4 ACTIVE BURRO TERRITORIES AND 3 ACTIVE COMBINED TERRITORIES. In  2010-2011 223 HORSES WERE GATHERED AND REMOVED AND  68 BURROS WERE GATHERED AND REMOVED.  108 WERE ADOPTED OR SOLD THROUGH FS ACTIONS.  IN 2011- 2012  1030 HORSES WERE PROPOSED TO BE GATHERED AND REMOVED THOUGH 600 HAVE BEEN POSPONED TO 2013, AND 45 BURROS WILL BE GATHERED AND REMOVED.   252 ANIMALS WILL BE GATHERED AND REMOVED IN CONJUCTION WITH THE BLM PANCAKE AND SAULSBURY-STONE CABIN COMPLEX GATHERS.

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LAWSUITS MENTIONED WERE 2 FILED BY THE CLOUD FOUNDATION FOR CONSTRUCTION AND RECONSTRUCTION OF THE FENCES IN THE PRYORS  AND 1 FILED BY A GRAZING PERMITTEE AT MURDER’S CREEK.  (OTHER LAWSUITS ARE PENDING, ONE ON HUMANE GATHER PROTOCOL AND ONE ON PUBLIC ACCESS, FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.  A SUIT ON GELDING WAS SETTLED AS WELL AS ONE ON  THE PANCAKE GATHER .

STRATEGIES PAST AND PRESENT WERE PRESENTED. THE LAW OF 1971 SAID THE HORSES AND BURROS WERE TO BE WHERE FOUND.  THEN AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW WERE MADE IN 1976, 1978 AND IN 2004.

WILD HORSES AND BURROS  ARE  A PART OF THE BLM AND FOREST SERVICE.

THE GOAL IS TO HAVE A THRIVING NATURAL ECOLOGICAL BALANCE IN COMBINATION WITH OTHER MULTIPLE USES.  THIS GOAL OF THRIVING, NATURAL, BALANCE IS HIGHLY SUSPECT FOR HORSES AND BURROS ON THE RANGE TODAY GIVEN THE BLM S MANAGEMENT PRACTICE AND COMPETING POLITICAL INTERESTS.

FACTS ACCORDING TO THE BLM ARE:

A)     WILD HORSES ARE IN 10 WESTERN STATES.

B)     179 HERD MANAGEMENT AREAS EXIST THOUGH QUESTIONALBE DUE TO ZEROING OUT AND COMBINING OF THEM, BUT THE 179 IS DOWN FROM THE ORIGINAL 339. ARE LAND AREAS WHERE THERE ARE NO HORSES OR BURROS SUCH AS LEE FLAT, PIPER MTN. AND PALM CANYON IN CA CONSIDERED TO BE HMA S to make up the 179?

C)     WILD HORSES AND BURROS OCCUPY 27 M ACRES OF LAND AS WELL AS 5 OTHER PLACES DOWN FROM THE ORIGINAL 53.8 ACRES

D)     BLM CONSIDERED APPROPRIATE MANAGEMENT LEVEL (AML) FOR HORSES AND BURROS IS 26.600, BUT 3 M FOR LIVESTOCK, 20  M FOR MULE DEER, 1 M FOR ELK, 700,000 FOR PRONGHORN, AND 70,000 FOR BIGHORNS…ECOLOGICAL BALANCE?

E)       38,500 HORSES AND BURROS ARE REPORTED ON THE RANGE AS OF 2-28-11, 33,000 HORSES AND 5500 BURROS (THOUGH THESE NUMBERS ARE HIGHLY DOUBTFUL.)

F)      19,000 TO 22,000 HORSE AND BURROS ARE SAID TO BE IN NEVADA(THOUGH THESE NUMBERS AGAIN ARE HIGHLY DOUBTFUL.  YOU HAVE ONLY TO LOOK AT THE BLM STATISTICS FROM YEAR TO YEAR TO NOTICE THE INCONSISTENCIES AND IMPROBABILITY OF THE NUMBERS. LOOK AT THE PROPOSED GATHER NUMBERS, ACTUAL GATHER NUMBERS, REMOVALS, RELEASES AND GUESSES OF BLM EMPLOYEES BASED ON JUST

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G)     THAT, GUESSES.  TALK TO THE WILD HORSE AND BURRO SPECIALISTS INVOLVED IN MANAGING THE HORSES AND BURROS AND COMPARE THEIR NUMBERS WITH THE NATIONAL STATISTICS.  NEVADA, CALIFORNIA AND WYOMING’S NUMBERS ARE THE MOST WIDELY SUSPECT.

THE BLM CLAIMS :

A)     TO STRIVE FOR HEALTHY HERDS ON HEALTHY RANGELANDS  BUT THE EMPHASIS APPEARS TO BE ON THE LANDS.

B)     TO DO VEGETATION MONITORING.

C)     TO DO HERD HEALTH MONITORING LIMITED PRIMARILY TO NUMBERS AND SIZE.

D)     TO DO POPULATION SURVEYS BY DOING AERIAL SURVEYS  WHOSE OUTCOMES ARE HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE DEPENDING ON WHO DOES THE SURVEY AND HOW IT IS DONE.

E)      TO DO POPULATION CONTROL BY REMOVAL BY HELICOPTER OR BAIT/WATER TRAPPING.

F)      TO DO CATCH TREAT AND RELEASE  WHICH APPEARS TO BE MORE CATCH. REMOVE THAN CATCH, TREAT, RELEASE.

G)     TO DO FERTILITY CONTROL WITH PZP THOUGH,  NOT COMPLETELY RESEARCHED AS TO ITS RESULTS AND EFFECT ON THE BANDS AND HERDS BEHAVIOR NECESSARY FOR SURVIVAL.

H)     TO DO SEX RATIOING  THOUGH ITS RESULTS AND EFFECTS ON THE BANDS AND HERDS HAVE NEVER BEEN RESEARCHED.

I)          TO DO GELDINGS TO THE POINT OF HAVING NON-REPRODUCING HERDS WHICH IS  POSSIBLY AGAINST THE LAW.

25 SHORT-TERM HOLDINGS AND 6 PRISONS HOLD WILD HORSES AND BURROS IN FEEDLOTS WITH  DEATHS AND REASONS NOT REPORTED TO THE PUBLIC  AND A UNIFORM PROTOCOL FOR GELDINGS NOT ESTABLISHED SO THAT ANIMALS MAY BE AWAKE WHEN THE PROCEDURE IS  DONE AS WELL AS OTHER INHUMANE PRACTICES REPORTED. (SEE THE 2011 AAEP REPORT)

20 LONG TERM FACILITIES HOLD HORSES IN PASTURES IN IOWA, OKLAHOMA, KANSAS, AND DAKOTA.  AVERAGE ACREAGE IS 8,000 TO 15,000. 39% OF THE HORSES ARE 11 YEARS OR

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MORE.  THE PUBLIC, MEDIA, GOVERNMENT AND NON-GOVERNMENT EVALUATORS ARE ALWAYS SHOWN THE SAME FEW PASTURES OVER AND OVER.  WHY AREN’T THE OTHERS SEEN?

41,245 HORSES AND BURROS ARE IN CAPTIVITY.

RE: FERTILITY CONTROL

A)     500 A YEAR WERE DONE FROM 2004 TO 2010

B)     900 WERE DONE IN 2010-2011

C)     1200 ARE PROPOSED TO BE DONE IN 2012

D)     THE HSUS HAS RECCOMMENDED 9000 BE DONE

E)      THE HSUS HAS STATED PZP, TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE, SHOULD BE APPLIED NOVEMBER THROUGH FEBRUARY AND TO 66- 85 % OF THE MARES IN THE HERD.

F)      YET THE HSUS HAS GIVEN AND THE BLM HAS USED THE PZP IN JULY THROUGH OCTOBER AND IN FAR LESS THAN  65 TO 85 % OF THE MARES IN THE HERD.  SO ONE CAN’T SAY IF THE PZP ITSELF IS INEFFECTIVE OR IF IT IS INEFFECTIVE DUE TO THE TIME  AND AMOUNT GIVEN. WHEN SPEAKING ABOUT PZP IS THE BLM SPEAKING ABOUT THE 1 YEAR OR 2 YEAR FOMULA?

G)     WILD HORSE AND BURRO SPECIALISTS, AS WELL AS CONTRACTORS HAVE REPORTED NOTICEABLE OUT OF SEASON FOALING WHICH IS NOT TO THE HEALTH OF THE MARES AND FOALS SINCE THE PZP HAS BEEN USED AND THEY HAVE REPORTED INCREASED PREGNANCIES IN 2 YEAR OLD MARES WHICH IS ALSO NOT TO THEIR HESLTH.

RESEARCH IS BEING DONE IN ONGOING PROJECTS.

A)     POPULATION ESTIMATION TECHNIQUES: AERIAL POPULATION ESTIMATES ARE BEING DONE AND THE USGS WAS INVOLVED IN TRAINING WILD HORSE AND BURRO SPECIALISTS IN STATISTICAL ANALYSIS.

B)     THE EPA, NOT THE FDA IS IN CHARGE OF PZP AND SPAY VAC.

C)      OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY HAS DEVELOPED 2 FORMULATIONS OF SPAY VAC.

D)      PAUL’S VALLEY IN OKLAHOMA HAS AN ONGOING STUDY ON THE 2 FORMS OF SPAY  VAC.  THIS IS A CAPTIVE PASTURE.  30 HORSES ARE INVOLVED WITH 2 GROUPS BEING TREATED AND 1 IN A CONTROL GROUP. THIS IS A 5 YEAR STUDY STARTING IN 2011.

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E)       CARSON CITY PRISON HAS AN ONGOING STUDY IN THE USE OF LIQUID PZP AND PZP 22 WITH 105 HORSES. DR. TURNER IS CONDUCTING THE RESEARCH.

F)      CEDAR MT. IN UTAH TRIED TO DART ITS HORSES THAT ARE IN A LARGE AREA OF LAND, BUT WAS UNSUCCESSFUL. IT IS NOW PLANNING A CTR.  GUS WARE, THE STATE LEAD, SUGGESTED THE BLM MAY HAVE ORIGINALLY MISCOUNTED THE NUMBER OF HORSES IN THE CEDAR MTN. AREA WHEN I ASKED ABOUT THE 192 IN THE 09 NAT’L STATS AND THE 362 IN THE 11 NAT’L STATS, A 35% ANNUAL GROWTH RATE FOR A PZP STUDY?

G)     SANDS WASH IN COLORADO DARTED 80% OF ITS MARES.  THE POPULATION SUPPRESSION APPEARS TO BE 20% FOAL RATE YEAR 1, 15% Year 2, and 15 % year 3.

H)     GONAGON IS NOT BEING TESTED BY THE BLM.  THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE AT TEDDY ROOSEVELT PARK IN NORTH DAKOTA IS TESTING THIS CHEMICAL.

I)        PZP AND SPAY VAC ARE ABOUT THE SAME PRICE OF $200 A SHOT.

J)       THE HSUS HAS AN ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECT IN JARITA MESA, N.M. ON REMOTE DARTING.

K)      THE BLM NOW HAS A SCIENTIFIC INTERGRITY OFFICER, HEIDI  HADLEY IS AT THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT AT 202-912-7201.

L)      THE BLM GOES TO CO. STATE OR THE AG DEPT. FOR ITS SCIENCE.

M)   THE BLM WORKS WITH THE USDA FS WITH ITS LOCATION AT 1200 FRANKLIN WAY, SPARKS, NEVADA 89431   PH. 775-355-5360 CONTACT: TOM FROLLE, INTER REGIONAL PROGRAM COORDINATOR, WHO IS THE NEW WHB MGMT. SPECIALIST FOR THE FS.

THE BLM IS INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING ECOSANCTUARIES—PASTURES AND PARTNERSHIPS.  THE GOAL IS TO REDUCE THE LTH COSTS AND THE NUMBERS IN STH. WILL THE COST DEFLECT FROM THE COSTS THAT COULD BE APPLIED TO MGMT. ON THE RANGE? WILL THE COSTS REALLY BE LESS  THAN THE COSTS OF STH AND LTH?  THOUGH INSURANCE WILL BE SHIFTED OUT OF THIS AGENCY TO A DIFFERENT AGENCY, STILL THE TAXPAYER WILL HAVE TO BEAR THE COST OF LIABILITY  WITH THE PUBLIC ON THE SANCTUARIES.  WILL THE PUBLIC REALLY WANT TO GO LOOK AT STERILIZED HORSES NO LONGER WILD, EATING GRASS?

DR. JOHN MITCHELL PRESENTED THE FINDINGS OF THE AAEP REPORT ( SEE THE REPORT ON THE INTERNET)

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A COMPREHENSIVE ANIMAL WELFARE PROGRAM IS BEING DEVELOPED.  LILI THOMAS WILL HEAD UP THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROGRAM.  JOE STRATTON, DR. CAROLINE STALK FROM UC DAVIS, DR. KANE, AND THE HERITAGE MUSTANG FOUNDATION WILL WORK ON THIS PROJECT.  MEMBERS OF THE ADVISORY BOARD ALSO OFFERED TO WORK ON THE PROJECT.  (IT WAS SUGGESTED TO LILI THOMAS THAT NOT ONLY SHOULD STANDARDS FOR THE  ANIMALS CARE AND EMPLOYEES WORK BE PUT IN PLACE BUT ALSO PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING INAPPROPRIATE PERFORMANCE AND GRIEVANCES AND CONSEQUENCES.  THIS WOULD BE A PROTECTION TO THE ANIMALS, EMPLOYEES AND THE EMPLOYERS.  LILI RESPONDED “WE” HANDLE OUR PROBLEMS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.)  THIS IS A 40 YEAR OLD ORGANIZATION RUN LIKE A MOM “LILI” AND POP “DEAN” SHOP, NOT THAT MOM AND POP HAVE NOT BEEN  DEDICATED EMPLOYEES.

GOALS FOR THE FUTURE

A)     TRANPARENCY(WHICH WRITTEN STANDARDS, PRODEDURES AND CONSEQUENCES  PROMOTE)

B)     ACHIEVEMENT OF AML ( BUT NOT BELOW IT AS IS NOW HAPPENING)

C)     SUSTAINABLE HERDS WITH POPULATION GROWTH

D)     HEALTHY HERDS ON HEALTHY RANGELANDS . HEALTHY HERDS ARE INCREASINGLY QUESTIONABLE WITH LOW AML S, WITH REDUCING HERDS BELOW LOW AML, WITH NOT ALLOWING THEM TO BE IN THE AREA WHERE THEY ROAM FROM SEASON TO SEASON, WITH CHASING THEM OUT OF THEIR HMA S ONLY TO REMOVE THEM, WITH NOT RELEASING THEM BACK TO THEIR FAMILIAR HMA S ONLY TO HAVE THEM PICKED UP NEXT GATHER BECAUSE THAY ARE OUT OF THEIR HMA, WITH APPLYING FERTILITY CONTROL TREATMENT, SEX RATIOING, GELDINGS, FREQUENT ROUND UPS, REMOVALS, RELEASES  WITH NO RESEARCH AS TO THE AFFECT ON THE HORSES  WITH THE USE OF THESE MULTIPLE POPULATION SUPPRESSION TECHNIQUES APPLIED  ALL AT THE SAME TIME,AND NOT ACKNOWLEDGING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BANDS FOR SURVIVAL( PROVIDING PROTECTION, NURTURING, ATTACHMENT. ELDERLY LEADERSHIP S SHOWING THE BANDS AND HERDS  THE WAY TO DIFFERENT FORAGE/WATER AREAS,  LEAD MARES CONTROLLING  HEALTHY REPRODUCTION SO THAT THE YOUNG AND OLD ARE NOT SO EASILY BRED, BANDED MALES NOT GELDED CHALLENGING THE DOMINANT STALLION AT TIMES FOR REPLACEMENT TO INSURE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.)  THE HIGHER MANAGEMENT IN THE BLM SEEMS TO GIVE NO VALIDATION OR ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BANDS IN THE WILD.

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E)      INCREASED POPULATION SUPPRESSION

F)      TREAT 2000 PER YEAR INCREASING FROM 500 (NOT SAID HOW WITH WHAT)

G)     BALANCE REMOVALS WITH ADOPTIONS

H)     OFFER MORE TRAINED ANIMALS

I)        DEVELOP PARTNERSHIPS

J)       OFFER YOUTH PROGRAMS

K)      DEVELOP ECOTOURISM PROMOTING WILD HORSE AND BURRO PROGRAMS WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES INVOLVED IN PARTNERSHIPS—LOCAL VOLUNTEER AND

L)      SUPPORT GROUPS. CAN WE ENGAGE VOLUNTEERS ON THE RANGE RATHER THAN JUST IN ECOSANCTUARIES WHERE THE HORSE AND BURROS ARE NO LONGER WILD?

M)   CONTINUE SCIENCE AND RESEARCH

THE BLM IS INVOLVED IN REDOING ITS CHARTER. IT HAS 7 STRATEGY REFORMS FROM WHICH IT ACQUIRED COMMENTS FROM 9000 AND 43000 PEOPLE. THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT ALL COMMENTS  ARE WHICH THEY DO NOT AND WAS DISPUTED AT THE ADVISORY MEETING IN FEBRUARY, 2011.

THE BLM IS LOOKING NOW FOR  PUBLIC INTEREST, ADVOCACY, AND VETERINARY POSITION  PEOPLE TO BE ON THE ADVISORY BOARD.

A CENTRALIZED POSITION FOR DEVELOPING VOLUNTEERISM WAS DISCUSSED. DEAN BOLSTAD APPEARED TO DOWNPLAY THE POSITION BASED ON A LACK OF INCOME.  NOTICED WAS A NUMBER OF TIMES THE BOARD MEMBERS APPEARED INTERESTED IN BECOMING INVOLVED IN ASSISTING THE BLM, BUT THEIR INTEREST APPEARED MET WITH A LACK OF ENTHUSIASM AND ENCOURAGEMENT.

BOB ABBEY HAS OFFERED $25000 TO STATE LEADS TO INITIATE ‘BEST OF VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS’  MATCHING INTEREST WITH CAPACITY.’  THIS WAS DONE IN 2011 AND PROPOSED FOR 2012.

THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE PRESENTED INFORMATION AT THE ADVISORY BOARD CONFERENCE

  1. ROBIN LOHNES CO-CHAIR

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  1. GARY ZAKOTNIK CO-CHAIR
  2. ED ROBERSON A.D. RENEWABLE RESOURCES BLM
  3. JOHN LYON BLM EASTERN STATE DIRECTOR
  4. KAREN MALLOY EASTERN STATES WHB PROGRAM LEAD
  5. SHARON KIPPING WHB STAFF
  6. DEAN BOLSTAD WHB DEPUTY DEVISION CHIEF
  7. HOLLY HOOKS WHB STAFF
  8. LILI THOMAS WHB STAFF
  9. SALLY SPENCER WHB STAFF
  10. PATTI COLBERT MHF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
  11. BARRY IMLER USDA FOREST SERVICE
  12. ZACH REICHOLD WHB STAFF
  13. JOAN GUILFOYLE DIVISION CHIEF BLM
  14. DR. AL KANE USDA/APHIS, STAFF VETERINARIAN
  15. DR. JOHN MITCHELL, AAEP

Commentary is interspersed in the minutes.

Submitted by Bonnie Lynn Kohleriter, bkohlerite@yahoo.com November 12, 2011

30 replies »

  1. Is this the meeting that RT featured with the live feed link coming out of DC?

    Can anyone here summarize the importance of this report…I mean for the ignorant me? Some of those notations are just so troubling; to me, the one sentence that is just so sickening is the vacillation with the on range population counts (if you can call it that). THEY DON’T KNOW HOW MANY EQUINES ARE REALLY LEFT??????????????? Isn’t that your baseline for everything else?

    Good gravy!

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    • This has been the central issue, IMHO, for years. Dwindling populations and herds gone from all over. How can they legally proceed? They can’t. They do it anyway because they have the power to make Policy.

      Census anyone? People ask what they can do… well this is the BIG question, ain’t it?

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  2. Thank you Bonnie for the very detailed, excellent report. It all bothers me to no end, but your following observation made my heart stop: “THE PUBLIC, MEDIA, GOVERNMENT AND NON-GOVERNMENT EVALUATORS ARE ALWAYS SHOWN THE SAME FEW PASTURES OVER AND OVER. WHY AREN’T THE OTHERS SEEN?” All I can think is, how many more are missing/gone that we don’t know about? And how can we force them to show us our mustangs?

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  3. I am very concerned. I live in Oklahoma and am only an hour or so from the Pauls Valley holding facility. I also am very much aware of Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman…website, blog and cooking show) and her husbands ranch in northeastern Oklahoma. They contracted with the BLM a few years back and have hundreds of wild mustangs that run on their land. They are given supplemental feed (hay) in the winter. Our own brilliant (NOT!) Senator Tom Coburn said in a TV interview that these animals “must be adopted out or destroyed” and noted the taxpayer money going to feed these animals in holding facilities. WHY ON EARTH were they removed from the wild lands in the first place? Gas pipeline and uranium claims. Simple as that. Pisses me off. Not knowing how many horses are being removed and held in domestic facilities is signing their death sentence! Who is to stop the big trucks coming in and shipping them off to slaughter to reduce their numbers? Makes me sick. I sign petitions, make phone calls, send faxes, donate money, join action oriented advocacy groups for horses and still the BLM manages to be ruining the very thing that makes this planet viable and extraordinary…..the wild things.

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  4. 43,000 HORSES AND BURROS ARE IN HOLDING, 11,000 IN SHORT-TERM AND 28,000 IN LONG TERM, AND
    18,000, 24,000, 33,000 or 38,000 are on the range. The BLM AND PUBLIC DON’T REALLY KNOW.

    How can you round up horses as overpopulated when you don’t know how many there are? Isn’t this basic? I think we all know the days of more than 30,000 horses in the wild has long since passed. Most likely we have 3x as many horses in holding than on millions and millions of acres in the West. If that is not gross mismanagement, I’ll eat my hat.

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    • I can’t find my calculator…but those numbers are just soooooooo screwed up! How can they throw numbers around like that and still GET FUNDING FROM THOSE TROLLS IN CONGRESS WITH NUMBERS LIKE THAT?????????

      I don’t get it. I just DO NOT get it!!!

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  5. We go by the Drummond Ranch at least once a month. If there are hundreds of mustangs there, I don’t see them. I see a few, maybe 50-100 next to the road in separate bands but have never seen a large herd. The ones I do see appear to be in good shape. Have a few pictures I took last month.

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  6. The first thing to come to mind is Madeleine. Why would BLM tout her sanctuary and then suddenly shut her down? Because she was asking 500 dollars per horse vs 475? Seems to me that’s a simple fix. Tell her the number and then allow her a chance to either “fix” her asking price or step down. By informing the public by way of an announcement without telling her in advance-that was slap in the face. I can only figure that BLM got cold feet realizing that they were close to losing their precious government funding so they took it out on Madeleine.

    Next I would love to see BLM conduct roundups with a different twist. The horses are all branded, those numbers recorded, age sex medical history (worming and so forth). And then those animals released. Get real numbers. Count ALL the foals. One year the current foal crop doesn’t count and now we are seeing them count current foal crops. Make a decision and stick with it. You can have it both ways.

    I am ABSOLUTELY against gelding the studs. And to geld without medicating? Vets need to be sanctioned by appropriate vet boards. This is cruel and torturous to the animals.

    Someone told me that they are studying a three year PZP dart. Seems to be effective with no ill side effects. I don’t much more about this than that. May be worth looking into.

    The folks that I talked to on NAS seemed to want to hear from us. That might be lip service–I don’t know. Seems like its worth a chance to tell our side of things. The worst we can expect is for them to ignore what we say. But BLM does that everyday. Just something to think about. Note I talked to NAS folks at Reno and not back East.

    I think a valuable tool would be to put up cameras at holding. It wouldn’t be about what BLM is doing wrong (unless we saw something like an employee going into a pen and hotshotting a horse for no reason–that’s an example). It would be about helping BLM to monitor horses in holding. Such as if a mare looked bad after foaling or someone was injured.

    Committed public working with BLM to find solutions, to help monitor, to help erring actual counts–to me these are great first steps. Then we have something to build on. Rezoning HMA’s so they round up horses again is a step backward in the publics perception. And it hurts the horses.

    BLM has to find a way to dart mares at the correct time of year to stop out of season foaling. This is dangerous not only for the foal but the mare. If they can’t dart then the horses miss a year.

    Let herds stabilize at appropriate herd management levels. This will stop studs from breeding baby fillies. Quit messing with the ratios and let the horses figure out who’s breeding and who isn’t. This is mother nature and we shouldn’t be artificially messing with this.

    I apologize for my long post. I guess it was just sitting in my head and was waiting for a chance to be expressed. I hope some of this makes sense and others find it useful.

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  7. I scanned this and haven’t yet gone over it thoroughly, but at a glance, I DON’T see any mention of the two MOST important points.
    FIRST….there is NO problem with overpopulation. America’s Wild Herds are in serious danger AND the STOCKPILING into holding facilities/concentration camps. NO WONDER they don’t want any changes to the program. It has been a real money maker for some.

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  8. Those 20 PLUS MILLION acres that have been taken from America’s Wild Horses and Burros NEED TO BE RETURNED to them. THAT IS WHERE WE START. WE have a team of people who could oversee that project…they are in the field as we speak. They know the range and they know where those Herds belong.

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      • “WE have a team of people who could oversee that project…they are in the field as we speak. They know the range and they know where those Herds belong.”

        Who does, Louie?

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      • Off topic here and I apologize for hijacking this thread.

        Mar I think I’ve seen you mention Monsanto before. Last night I started reading about this company. I don’t want to go too far into what I read. It I do have a question.

        If many of our food sources are being changed by GMO’s–how does this affect almond milk? I’ve read cows can be fed hormones and it doesn’t necessarily have to be disclosed. What about almonds? Can they be changed somehow?

        For the most part I don’t drink cow’s milk–cause I like almond milk. It doesn’t t have as much fat, calories or carbs. And mixing it with Costco’s Ancient Grains Cereal–YYYUUUMMM!!!

        Thanks for any insights you have.

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      • I don’t think I have mentioned Monsanto here. Many of our foods are genetically engineered now and we are not told that, either, not on the labels as they ought. I would talk to people at an organic grocery about almonds. There are definitely organic almonds out there and organic almond milk!

        I have been saying we should not buy food from China. Dogs are dying here again from dog treats this time. It is like our pets are guinea pigs. Sanjay Gupta did a report from out of China a few years ago and tested water that was used on fruit trees. It was full of heavy metals and other pollutants. We do not need to buy canned fruit from China as we have a very healthy fruit growing community in this country. Always check the cans. We have also found that the only canned mushrooms we can find grown in the US are organic ones. All the other brands that used to be US are now filled with mushrooms from Indonesia. We do not have to waste energy sending foods around the world… not for sale. Maybe to starving people. We may really like specialty foods from other countries but we do not need China trying to put our fruit growers out of work.

        I know… what has that got to do with Monsanto?? I don’t know. We need to know what foods are engineered and what is safe. As the insects are reduced in number from the new crops we are losing many species of small birds that ate them. So it is all relative…

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  9. The BLM is going to have plenty to deal with as this battle for Public Lands/Resources evolves. This agency would be wise to work WITH those that offer REAL solutions to the management and protection of Wild Horses and Burros. There is PLENTY of land.

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  10. First, thanks to both R.T. and Bonnie for presenting this information to us. Second, Margaret: your suggestions and comments are great – and you’re preaching to the choir here! LOL We all have had those same types of questions for the last 2-3 years and they are never answered! Third, a friend I spoke with yesterday made an interesting comment when I said something about “our government” and he responded with: “we don’t have a government anymore – we are being run, controlled, etc. by a corporation! That’s why Occupy Wall Street is happening – because we no longer have any relationship with the people who were elected to “represent us” – it’s a giant corporation that’s the power now – and people have finally begun to realize that!” Sadly, and with great trepidation, I have the feeling he may be right on target after reading the coverage of the meeting. Smoke and mirrors – no different than any o the other “corporations” that are responsible for the oil leaks & spills the past 2 years. A chilling concept to consider.

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  11. http://www.ispmb.org/about/
    The organization was incorporated in 1965 and received its 501 (c) (3) nonprofit status in 1968. Velma Johnston became the organizations first president.
    From Karen Sussman, president of ISPMB (INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF MUSTANGS AND BURROS)

    “As you know, I have been in the wild horse movement for nearly thirty years now. Our organization has accomplished so much in our past 50 years. Our reputation is impeccable, not only with the BLM but with all the wild horse and burro groups and conservation groups in the U.S. Over the years, we have united more humane and wild horse groups than any other organization.”

    “BLM’s removal methods have destroyed the horses social structures which resulted in a severe lack of modeling to younger horses by the older and wiser horses. This has happened by younger and younger stallions taking over the harem bands. The best analogy is that the Harvard professors are no longer in charge of the harems which have given way to younger stallions who are the equivalent of grade school children.
    We have the answer as to why the fertility rates have doubled in the past 15 years.”

    “We also believe that the future of the herds on public land are at great risk for survival over the long term because of the breakdown in their educational system through the destruction of their social harems.”

    “Finally, we will share our “model management” program with the BLM. Most of the programs that BLM have are from ISPMB.”

    “Because of BLM’s lack of knowledge in managing wild horses, they have created a doubling of the fertility rates in 197 herds by their removal methods.
    BLM’s removal methods have destroyed the horses social structures which resulted in a severe lack of modeling to younger horses by the older and wiser horses. This has happened by younger and younger stallions taking over the harem bands. The best analogy is that the Harvard professors are no longer in charge of the harems which have given way to younger stallions who are the equivalent of grade school children”.

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  12. This makes perfect sense to me after observing this group and learning from the posts, comments, and links from this link for nearly two years.

    However, after 40 years of ineffective management strategies, the way I see it is that it is time for the BLM to either “cut bait or fish”. They are as anachronistic as a Model T Ford. Here they are trying to manage wild horses as if we were living in the Dark Ages instead of the Information Age. I am tired of their secretive and almost cult like treatment of our wild horses and burros at trap sites.

    I am tired of secrecy, numbers pulled out of the air, disappearing horses, disrespect for the collective knowledge and wisdom of the American people, and the prevailing attitude of the BLM being the only sheriff in town. Trouble is the BLM works for the criminals, not the people. In fact, the BLM is the official U. S. government poster child for being able to break the law with impunity.

    Congress would be wise to shut down this agency tomorrow and start over again withprotection of our non-revenue producing natural resources such as the wild horses and burros who remind us of the pioneer spirit and the sense of freedom and unlimited possibilities than made our country great. Maybe that is exactly why the Obama administration is standing by its BLM. Maybe they want us to forget that we once were the great explorers of unknown territories, keen with the spirit for adventure and discovery. We were people who would give anything to remain free just like many of our wild horses do. The wild horses remind us of where we have come from and what we still long for, and it is not to have our government dictate to us what our possibillities are. Perhaps this is why Salazar is on his Screwtape (reference to C. S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters) mission to destroy what exists of our wild horses.

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  13. I totally agree with Karen Sussman of ISPMB
    i.e. BLM’s removal methods have destroyed the horses social structures which resulted in a severe lack of modeling to younger horses by the older and wiser horses. This has happened by younger and younger stallions taking over the harem bands. The best analogy is that the Harvard professors are no longer in charge of the harems which have given way to younger stallions who are the equivalent of grade school children.
    We have the answer as to why the fertility rates have doubled in the past 15 years.”
    GP: They (BLM) are too arrogant and stupid to listen.

    Like

    • In predator control programs this is what happens to coyotes and why indiscriminate killing does not work. Target specific animals and it works.

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  14. I think ISPMB now has 4 Herds

    More from Karen Sussman:

    Our goal is to validate all of ISPMB’s extraordinary findings. We were fortunate as our first two herds had not been disrupted, rounded up, etc. in decades of time. These two herds are the most natural behavioral healthy herds in the U.S. Our third herd came in late in the year of 2004. It was this herd that created an eye opening experience as to the effect of multiple round ups of horses and the devastating effects on the herd.

    We know that there are only two other herds besides our two healthy herds existing on public lands whose band structures have not been disrupted. Both herds have sufficient mountain lion predation that their numbers remain stable.

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  15. The taxpayers also pick up the tab for predator control. THEN, BLM states that x number of Wild Horses have to be removed because “they no longer have natural predators”.

    Compiled by Carla Bowers, 10/26/11, Revised 11/6/11
    For NAS/NRC Study Panel of BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program
    All numbers above are verifiable

    $13 million: FY2011 cost of predator control program to benefit livestock

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  16. Jade, your friend is absolutly right. And a corporation is only in business
    to make money for it’s investors and to make money even at the cost of people, animals, or the environment. I fear that our governments investors are the Chinese. Louie posted a couple of days ago where a Chinese delegation was inquiring about building horse slaughter plants in MT. Sounds like the selling off and the selling out of America, by our government corporation.

    Like

  17. Pulling a post forward, once again. It may not be seen otherwise, as it was posted under an older article:

    Jan Liverance
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 15:11:58

    Thank you and for the record. . .
    Please visit the link to this article at Atlantic Online
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/11/the-night-wild-horses-came-to-manhattan/248639/ and retweet or share on Facebook.

    RT, many thanks for helping to spread the word.

    It’s worth noting that Managed to Extinction? A Legal Issues Forum Assessing the 40th Anniversary of the WFRH&B Act would not have happened without hours and hours of volunteer effort by NYU students. Because this event was hosted by the NYU Environmental Law Journal we did not accept any monetary donations from any third-party animal or wild horse advocacy groups so we could legitimately maintain an issue neutral point of view. We did not pay any stipends nor did we offer to pay for any travel expenses.

    We also made every effort to provide a balanced and diverse range of views. We spent hours trying to work out attendance by grazing interest groups.

    Everyone received an unsigned invitation, most by email. As soon as we set the date for this, we reached out immediately to the BLM. Joan Guilfoyle was our first invitee. I personally took time off from my day job and drove from the NYC metro area to visit the Washington DC area twice, with the express purpose of meeting with BLM representatives face-to-face to request their participation in this Forum.

    I approached Joan Guilfoyle right after her speaking engagement at the IEC (International Equine Conference) in September. She refused to give me a business card or any contact information so I had to contact Tom Gorey via email, which I did shortly thereafter. He did call me on the phone but expressed reservations about our choice of Andrew Cohen, of Atlantic Online as a co-moderator.

    In October, I attended the Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting (staying with friends 45 minutes away to defray the expense instead of the Crystal City Hyatt Hotel where the meeting took place) and during the public comment period invited the entire WH&B Advisory Board as well as BLM representatives. Joan Guilfoyle approached me and said she was busy the day of our Forum and would be unable to attend. So I spoke directly with Ed Roberson and gave him carte blanche to send any representative of the BLM of his choice. He expressed misgivings that the BLM had not been approached at least six months, preferably a year in advance. I explained that we had conceived the idea for this in early September when we realized that there seemed to be no plans to mark this 40th Anniversary date by the BLM or any other academic or public institutions.

    Andrew Cohen withdrew as co-moderator so he could instead cover the event as a journalist. We released a press release announcing the Forum on November 4th but did not receive a response from any BLM representatives – despite numerous follow up phone calls or emails – until we finally received a definitive answer from Ed Roberson via Tom Gorey on Thursday, November 10th, six days before the date of the Forum. (see his response below).
    ………….
    On Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 3:29 PM, Gorey, Tom
    wrote:

    Dear Mr. xxxx:
    I appreciate your recent invitation to Joan Guilfoyle to participate in New York University’s (NYU) legal forum titled “Managed to Extinction?” regarding wild horse management issues. Joan is on my staff and I am responding on her behalf and on behalf of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

    I found it unusual that the letter inviting Ms. Guilfoyle to participate was unsigned and was hand-delivered by an NYU student working on a video project related to the issues surrounding wild horse and burro management on public lands. I expressed concern to Ms. Liverance, the NYU student who delivered the letter on October 13, that the proposed forum was just over a month away and that, in spite of the fact that the forum was being touted as a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the WFRHB Act, no one at BLM was consulted regarding the development of a forum agenda and invitation of attendees. I also expressed concern that the letter did not provide any indication of whether the focus would be on the legal issues (the Act and litigation), which I would think would be important to the NYU School of Law and Environmental Law Journal.

    The BLM is focused on a management objective that results in healthy horses thriving on healthy rangelands. We strive to continuously improve the humaneness and effectiveness of our management actions using the best science. We recently completed a strategy and will soon present a report to Congress on the ideas we developed over the past year and a half with extensive public engagement. We would have welcomed the opportunity to participate in a discussion about these issues.

    I was advised by Ms. Liverance that the forum would be balanced with discussions on all sides of the issues, and that it would provide the opportunity to chart or forge some new, more sustainable solutions. At that time I did not have any more information about the forum than was provided in the very short invitation. When I was finally able to get the details a week ago, I unfortunately found the title of the conference to be “Managed to Extinction?” and a list of invited panelists who predominantly have a negative stance regarding the BLM’s management of wild horses and burros. This leads me to the conclusion that the intent is not to find common ground and sustainability, and, further, that the forum is unbalanced by design. I therefore must advise you that the Bureau of Land Management declines to participate. Had the BLM been brought into the preliminary discussions about putting on this forum, our agency would have had an opportunity to provide input at a time when it could have made a difference. Regrettably, this did not happen.

    As the 40th anniversary of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act is marked, our agency remains committed to the health and well-being of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range. We welcome partnerships with all who share this commitment as we carry out our multiple-use mission, as set forth by Congress in the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Accordingly, we will continue to manage and protect wild horses and burros, along with the Western public rangelands on which they roam, for current and future generations.

    Sincerely,

    Ed Roberson, Assistant Director
    Bureau of Land Management
    20 M St., S.E.
    Washington, D.C. 20003

    ……….

    Despite this negative response to our invitation, we responded to the BLM as follows:

    Dear Mr. Roberson,

    I am sad to read that you have decided against attending or sending a BLM representative to our panel, to take place in six days here at NYU Law. But thank you for responding and offering insight into the decision not to attend.

    The panel’s representation is not imbalanced by design. The BLM was our first invitee, along with industry and grazing rights groups. Everyone received an unsigned invitation; most by email. I spent hours trying to work out attendance by grazing interest groups, but we were unable to work it out – for reasons of travel costs and a desire to avoid discussing ongoing litigation. Further, we had a long discussion regarding the title, which I agree is controversial. We believed an edgy title would attract students, professors and others who could use a bit of a nudge to attend as audience.

    More than anything, I am surprised at the expectation here. The Environmental Law Journal is part of an independent academic institution. We invite the government to participate, but not to dictate the panel’s complexion and the content of its subject matter. We would have gladly worked with you to discuss altering the panel title and to leverage BLM attendance to invite other interest groups such as the cattle industry. But a six day notice–where I first hear of your concerns—makes it hard to believe in a willingness to chart or forge sustainable solutions.

    Our panel intends to be simply that–a panel. No new legal obligations will come of it. Just a conversation among representative beneficiaries of Congress’ trust- the trust that holds wild horses and the federal land upon which they graze. They will simply discuss a statute as it applies to today’s changing world, and it would have been wonderful to include BLM’s voice.

    I hope that despite your decision not to send a panelist, the BLM will be represented in the audience. We intend to hold a vigorous question and answer session, and BLM’s perspective is certainly desired.

    ……………

    Please click this link to download a zipped file with the event program.
    http://tinyurl.com/7gxt6pd

    Follow up:

    We did not have any budget to webcast the Forum but a NYU student from the Tisch School of Film and Television did volunteer his time to videotape the proceedings. We are editing the video and will also make every effort to create a transcript of the Forum to share with everyone who was unable to attend. Thank you for your patience; we will post links to all of this from our event webpage when they are available.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/257682197616881/

    Like

  18. Typical stonewalling on the part of BLM and USFS of so very valid criticisms of the program. In fact these pawns of the big public lands exploiters particularly livestock continue to thumb their noses the General Public and to ignore the true intent of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros act. This is a disgrace to America!

    Like

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