Rep. Grijalva Chides BLM’s “Broken” Wild Horse Policy

Source:  by SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press

“It’s a question of a policy and management strategy that has consistently failed in preserving and sustaining the wild horse legacy of this country.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., talks to reporters after touring a U.S. Bureau of Land Management corral holding more than 1,000 wild horses recently rounded up on federal land, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, in Palomino, Nev. Grijalva said he wants to work with BLM managers to overcome decades of mismanagement of the horses and fix outdated roundup policies he says prioritize livestock over mustangs. . Photo: Scott Sonner

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., talks to reporters after touring a U.S. Bureau of Land Management corral holding more than 1,000 wild horses recently rounded up on federal land, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, in Palomino, Nev. Grijalva said he wants to work with BLM managers to overcome decades of mismanagement of the horses and fix outdated roundup policies he says prioritize livestock over mustangs. . Photo: Scott Sonner

PALOMINO VALLEY, Nev. (AP) — The top Democrat on a congressional subcommittee on public lands said Wednesday that he wants to work with well-meaning U.S. land managers to overcome decades of mismanagement of wild horses and fix outdated, “broken” roundup policies he says prioritize livestock over mustangs.

After touring a government corral with more than 1,000 horses, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva said he finds it disturbing that the number of captured horses and burros in holding pens now slightly surpasses the estimated 40,000 on the range in 10 Western states.

“Those numbers should disturb people,” Grijalva said, adding that it makes no sense to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to round up horses from their native range when the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has no room to store them.

“It’s not a question of blame,” he told reporters outside the BLM’s Palomino Valley holding facility north of Reno. “It’s a question of a policy and management strategy that has consistently failed in preserving and sustaining the wild horse legacy of this country.”

Grijalva, ranking member of the House Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and environmental regulation, said he hopes to work with BLM to develop legislation that would lead to a “sound management plan with the maximum amount of habitat that the wild horses use … as opposed to a management plan that is constricted around holding pens.”

He pointed to a recent independent scientific report recommending the agency move away from roundups and put more emphasis on the use of contraceptives and other fertility control methods to manage horse populations.

The 14-member panel assembled by the National Academy of Sciences‘ National Research Councilconcluded that BLM’s removal of nearly 100,000 horses from the Western range over the past decade is probably having the opposite effect of its intention to ease ecological damage and cull the herds.

By stepping in prematurely when food and water supplies remain adequate, and with most natural predators long gone, the land management agency is producing artificial conditions that ultimately serve to perpetuate population growth, the committee said in a 451-page report in June.

BLM spokeswoman Erica Szlosek said Wednesday that the agency welcomed the congressman’s visit. She said it continues to review the academy panel’s recommendations.

“The NAS report did not call for an end to the gathers. It looked at different options on the range, population control, growth depression, those kinds of measures,” she said. “We’ve been reading the report and we are parsing out chapter by chapter different parts to different specialists at BLM to look at the range of possibilities.”

The number of animals at holding facilities surpassed the estimated number on the range earlier this year for the first time since President Richard Nixon signed the Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. BLM estimates there are about 40,000 wild horses and burro on the range, about half of those in Nevada.

The scientific panel said the agency averaged removing 8,000 horses from the range annually from 2002 to 2011. Last year, it spent 60 percent of its wild horse budget on holding facilities, more than $40 million.

Grijalva said livestock outnumbers mustangs by margins of 3-to-1 or more on many federal lands designated as horse management areas.

“It should be a shared resource,” he said, adding that he believes the political and fiscal landscape of the debate has changed significantly since the NAS panel concluded the agency has a “very broken management system” that is “not functional.”

“When advocates are passionate about an issue — as advocates for the wild horses are — sometimes unfortunately you dismiss that as being ‘a point of view,'” he said.

“I think what the academy did is validate it. You have an independent validator that said these are the findings after rigorous study and these are the areas in which we see significant faults, and things must change or this situation will get worse,” he said.

54 comments on “Rep. Grijalva Chides BLM’s “Broken” Wild Horse Policy

  1. Yep, the BLM had been browsing through the report looking for loopholes for their next assault on the wild mustangs and burros. It looks like Grijalva has caught them in the act. Livestock grazing from something i read is up to over 4 million now and IF they’re are 40 thousand mustangs on the range, the ratio is actually more like 10:1, not the 3:1. The good ole boys network isn’t going to fool him like they have been consistently trying to do to the public. It irks me that they think everybody is stupid and that they are smarter, more devious than they are. I’m not a stupid woman and I’ve seen through them all along. I guessi wouldn’t last long in their presence because i don’t back down to men (or women) who think that they can scare or neutralize me into silence. I don’t back down, can be as devious as they are and they would probably kill me but test assured, I’d die trying and take as many asi could with me to the grave. I don’t have good sense and am not assays of bullies.

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    • Yep, the BLM had been browsing through the report looking for loopholes for their next assault on the wild mustangs and burros. It looks like Grijalva has caught them in the act. Livestock grazing from something i read is up to over 4 million now and IF they’re are 40 thousand mustangs on the range, the ratio is actually more like 10:1, not the 3:1. The good ole boys network isn’t going to fool him like they have been consistently trying to do to the public. It irks me that they think everybody is stupid and that they are smarter, more devious than they are. I’m not a stupid woman and I’ve seen through them all along. I guessi wouldn’t last long in their presence because i don’t back down to men (or women) who think that they can scare or neutralize me into silence. I don’t back down, can be as devious as they are and they would probably kill me but test assured, I’d die trying and take as many asi could with me to the grave. I don’t have good sense and am not afraid of bullies.

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  2. Finally the truth is revealed,obviously Raul Grijalva is everything i believed he is, a friend to Our Mustangs !!!!!!!!!! Can he get this turned around in favor of the Mustangs , Yes I also believe he is not afraid of Bullies also !!!!!! The Mustangs have waited long enough for a real Hero , he has everything to do this , and he can !!!!!! Gods Speed to Rep Raul Grijalva !!!!! He has us also and we will help him !!!!!!

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  3. Way to go Terri Russell I am with you all the way!
    The BLM is out of control on a path we all want to see stopped.
    Abuse of tax payers money. Abuse of power over public lands and
    excess cattle.
    Sally Jewell is of no value to our Wild Horses.

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  4. Will these captive horses be released eventually? I know I am putting the cart before the horse with that question, excuse the pun, but that would be a good start if the BLM listens.

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  5. I saw the news report on the 5:30 pm news in Reno. Just what I thought. The congressman and actress sang the praises of BLM and told the advocates BLM is not the enemy and they the advocates should work with them…I had to laugh because I knew they would side with the BLM. The advocates did thier job and of course the others let them down. Dont give up keep pushing for the horses….

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    • I too, am disappointed with the response, butt kissing and most importantly, no positive help for our captured and tortured wild equines and most especially, no insistence that roundups stop.

      I am sadly disappointed and I am beginning to understand why the wild equines keep getting abused; their Congressional advocates like Grijalva really can’t fix this extermination of wild equines or the rapid, for profit rape of public lands.

      Sad.

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    • The BLM is not the enemy. The enemy is a government policy that entered federal agency policy through an international treaty. It is dressed up as science, but it is not based on science. This should not have usurped the 1971 Act, but it sure lookes like that. I do not know whether any of the scientists on the NAS panel know exactly what the source of the policy is.

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      • Agreed.

        All one half way intelligent human has to do is look at the checkerboarding of public lands between counties, states, Feds, and all those different agencies, coupled with regs, “scientific” (and I use the term loosely ) NEPAs not being scientific, poor judicial options/opinions…………public lands and anything not extraction on them is SCREWED.

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      • My husband and I go off roading alot in Northern Nevada,we see NO deer,some wild horses (but mostly when he goes dirt bike riding on goat trails 8000 ft high)he saw 4, but we sure as heck see PLENTY of cattle in the middle of the desert just recently last Friday after we went to PVC and went to the Smoke Creek Desert. We then went to Dry Valley BLM claims there are wild horses on the trailheads we saw none. This is all BLM land we go off roading on. Hundreds of cattle and 4 wild horses he saw about 2 months ago…but again he sees hundreds of cattle on open range all over…..hmmm what’s wrong with that picture????

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    • For those of us who can not make it out to Nevada. Deluge BLM sites, call DOI, FWS and BLM. Sign petitions. Get informed and above all BOYCOTT BEEF! Let The Cattlemen know at every Cattlemen, CattleGrowers, Beef, USDA and BLM site you can find. Be relentless/

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  6. Please ask your U.S. Senators and Representatives to support the Safeguard American Food Exports act, which will ban slaughter in the U.S. and the shipment for slaughter to Canada and Mexico. Safeguard American Food Exports act is S. 541 in the U.S. Senate and H.R. 1094 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This website makes it easy to contact your elected officials: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

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  7. Why does Grijalva keep putting out these higher numbers of horses (40,000) “on the range” , twice as many as advocates like James Kleinert and Craig Downer, and many others who have looked into this in some detail, both physically and mathematically, claim? Does he mean ALL wild horses – including those on Foreste Service land and on reservations, and not just those within the HMA’s managed by the BLM? I think this needs to be addressed somehow.

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  8. The statements made at the rally were two-faced, one rightly expressing disgust at the status quo and how the wild horses were being cheated and the other pandering to the authorities. There should have been an unequivocal statement that what is happening is simply wrong and that there are far too many cattle and sheep getting far too much of the grazing resource as well as water pie, same with miners, energy developers, etc., and at the bottom of the totem pole being scapegoated are the wild horses and burros. The latter are being lied about and maligned. This must simply stop. I wish I could have spoken at this rally. After all I am a wildlife ecologist and multi-generation Nevadan who grew up on a horse aout among the wild ones and was friend and worked with Wild Horse Annie, and on top of this took four years to write a book The Wild Horse Conspiracy that I strove to make a well rounded book and I am told by many that it truly is. Check it out at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009XJ64P4 and also please sign my petition at http://www.signon.org/sign/Stop-the-Excessive-Roundups The wild equids have a truly life-saving role to play both in the West and in many parts of the world today. But people are setting them up for failure, people who think their only place is as a slave to humanity, not a free, wonderfully self -expressing and life-fulfilling presence.

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    • Thanks, Craig, I felt I was not getting the real story. I did want to hear that BLM was getting fully criticized. “It is not about blame,” from Grijalva sort of surprised me. I did expect more and there is lots of blame to go around. If his visit had been unannounced he might not have been allowed to see the whole facility, Louie. But there should be protocol in place to allow elected officials to see what they want. Who knows with BLM?

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  9. I don’t care what Raul Grijalva is saying about helping the Mustangs I absolutely don’t trust him. He is after attention from the public and is using the horses to put himself in the spotlight. He is open borders, he would like nothing better than to remove the Mexican border with the US and let all of Mexico come and go here as they please. He was one of the politicians that stated publicly that for businesses to boycott Arizona when the state had passed their immigration bill several years ago because the illegal aliens was bankrupting the hospitals because of not paying their bills. They have children in the US that are considered US citizens even with both parents being illegally in the country. Using their new little US citizens they sign up on food stamps, housing, medical. Anything they can get for free from the state and county all of this through their US citizen kids. The US government refuses to control our southern border. Since Obama has been in office he has brought to a halt deporting the illegal aliens unless they commit murder. This is why he has been pushing the amnesty to please the legal Latino voters but its mostly to make himself look good. These people eat horse meat in Mexico because at the slaughter plants some of them serve lunch to the workers and it is horse meat. Remember the horses in Florida that are found slaughtered, these are some of the people that buys the horse meat on the black market. Please educate yourselves about all of this. I would suggest calling Mr. Grijalva’s office in Tucson, AZ and ask whoever answers the phone how he feels about Obama’s amnesty.

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    • Barbara~~Colorado is an amnisty state now- we have been flooded with illegals-it is a joke anymore every hit and run(which is up 100%), every drive by, you name it has a latino name attached to it-our country is out of control. and nothing is being done to stop it-you think obama is bad wait until we get a latino president. so much for the great americans at the Alamo.

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      • Geri, I know about Colorado and numerous other states are doing the same thing. I belong to numbers usa.com. My rep. here in Washington state is listed with numbers as a B+ as far as his being against amnesty but when I sent him several faxes and Emails about what is happening in our country he refused to answer all but one. He claimed we are all immigrants which is not true. My ancestors and many others as well came to the wilderness of North America as settlers not immigrants. There was no immigration offices in existence here. When this rep used the words “we are all immigrants” I knew he was open borders. This man is a retired law enforcement officer he should know better. All of the senators and reps in this state are open borders. Illegal aliens are given drivers license, since we have the motor voter up here many of the Illegal aliens also vote. We are losing the country.

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  10. I know I have said this before , and Im going to say this again, the only way to end this is we need to UNITE as a Whole and all of us need to go to Washington DC and make are wishes for the Mustang a Priority #1 , and make no mistake on what we want for these Magnificent Mustangs and Horses………………………Freedom to Roam, and absolutely NO to Horse Slaughter……………………. PEOPLE, UNITED WE STAND < DIVIDED WE FALL, Freedom for the Horses , and the American People , THIS MY FRIENDS is THE AMERICAN WAY !!!!!!!!!! There is no other way we have tried them all !!!!!!!!! Until we can can Stand for What is right for the Mustangs , the BLM will do as they please !!!!!!!! I am not willing to give up the Mustangs or the Horses Are YOU ??????

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  11. Thank you, Rep. Grijalva! Finally a voice of reason – with clout – in the cacophony of the BLM’s cow-centric yammering. I am proud to be a fellow Arizonan!

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  12. M cares for I commented on the news report that I appreciate him coming out. But what the h-e-double tooothpick too him so long!!! Ii refuse to bow and scrape because someone (sme politician) finally comes to see for himself. I’d like to see real commments and not the conciliatory whitewash that has already hit the news waves. Grumbling…there are horses DYING does any of them get it! They live real lives, real time, do or die – really??? Its been 4 years since Salazar began this horror ride!! I do not accept that BLM is the horses’ friend so do not even speak those words, Ms Malick. And wasn’t it fun standing in that unabetted wind?? Hope it Was hot too.

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    • Jan this was a publicity move for the congressman and the actress…I am so disgusted with both of them I wont even say thier names…..just my opinion,…

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      • I am too Nancy. Just disgusted. Advocates better start practicing expecting the truth and not accept “they are doing the best they can.”. That show today was pointless except it revealed some two so-called supporters for the players they are.

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    • Palomino Sue was there early before the press conference and a horse had died in the pens. She was not allowed to see it up close. They had to remove it before the more people arrived. A day in the life of Palomino Valley…

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  13. They should NEVER have been captured and removed from their Legal Herd Management Areas in the first place. They should NOT be in holding facilities OR in prisons, where they are never seen again. They belong BACK on the range…PERIOD.

    http://protectmustangs.org/?p=5103

    No evidence of alleged overpopulation
    Posted on September 4, 2013 by Protect Mustangs

    Follow the money and discover the myth behind BLM’s tobacco science pushing fertility control drugs on a population facing extinction . . .
    The whole world is watching.

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  14. There seems to be mixed reports of yesterdays meeting , which is it did Rep Raul Grijalva do the Mustangs proud??????? Dear Nancy, are you going to adopt the mare who picked you out??????? How i wish i could have been there yesterday 11111111

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    • Arlene,
      This is my position on the wild horses and I will get personal. I moved to Reno because I was just amazed how beautiful these animal are. I have been following them for 15 years. I went thru a very bad time 5 years ago and I always found comfort and peace just watching them. One day I was out watching them and I started talking to this guy. WE shared emails and phone numbers and we were married in 2010. So these horses not only “heal” me they brought me to the love of my life. We go almost every weekend watching them. I went to PVC for the past 15 years and hate what I see there. The amount of horses there is outrageous. I went to the news in July and gave them pictures of what I saw. They aired the storyin July, that got the ball rolling with the workshop, this visit etc. It was purely coinicidental that the advocates were doing the same thing as I was. I am grateful for everything they have done and so are the horses. I dont have the property size to adopt a horse, I wish I could. Reno has restrictions on how big of a property you need. I do plan on retiring to Southern Utah in 10 years and I am planning on buying property big enough so I can adopt. So there ya go.

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      • WOW Nancy See the horses do so much for us, then even led you to the Love of your Life !!!!! How wonderful they are !!!!!! So glad you are close by , they have a real friend in you !!!!!111

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  15. Arlene. and NO the congressman and actress fom the local news reports here in Reno did not do anything for the horses…just my opinion. We are back where we started and its pissing me off. I wasnt able to attend because I had to go to work. i have deadlines at my job that I need to fulfill. I do what I can for the horses because they did for me. I am so glad there are people out there who work independantly and who are with advocacy groups that do what they do. I appreciate them and hope they appreciate what I do. Please take a look at the horses I took pictures of at http://www.redbubble.com/people/leake1

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  16. I guess I am still naive to what is really happening. Maybe I was projecting too much optimism on this last publicized event with Grijalva and the actress. Thanks to all of you for spelling it out through the comments. Haven’t had beef products in two or three weeks now. Not missing it a bit. After work today I am going out to the barn and and give my horse a huge hug and curry. I am just so greatful to have him and so sad to what is happening to his wild brothers and sisters.

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  17. The management policy sure is broken and poorly managed.
    Why is it that thousands of people are against the mishandling and abusive treatment of the wild horses and burrows but their pleas to save them are ignored?
    Why are many horses removed because their “food supply and water is scarce” and then they are placed in these cramped,inadequate holding pens that are far worse?
    The idea is to keep them in these deplorable conditions until their health deteriates so badly that the BLM can justify killing them?
    What’s the sudden interest in sage grouse?
    Birds are nice but horses and burros should take precedence on public lands. Why isn’t there a wild horse and burro iniative program?
    What’s Secretary of Interior. Sally Jewell doing about this? She’s pushing for sage grouse but what about our horses can burros.? Wild horse groups all need to get together and protest this horrible treatment and misuse of these wonderful historic icons of our Western states before they’re all gone.
    The horses,and burros have been our loyal friend and companion throughout history. Its time we returned the favor and keep them flourishing in their habitat. They should be be revered forever.

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