Horse News

BLM and Forest Service Shock America with Grazing Fee Announcement

by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“The Numbers do NOT Add Up!”

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat  ~  photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Tighten up your girth and grab a hold of your saddle horn, America, as this is going to be a real shocker.

The official word is out (drum roll please); the Federal grazing fee for 2014 will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.35 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The 2014 fee is (DOINK) the same as last year’s and has not changed for decades.  Welfare ranching continues to be endorsed by the federal government.

The following is for your information:

An AUM or HM – treated as equivalent measures for fee purposes – is the use of public lands by one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month. The newly calculated grazing fee, determined by a congressional formula and effective on March 1, applies to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and more than 8,000 permits administered by the Forest Service.

The formula used for calculating the grazing fee, which was established by Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act, has continued under a presidential Executive Order issued in 1986. Under that order, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per AUM, and any increase or decrease cannot exceed 25 percent of the previous year’s level.

The annually determined grazing fee is computed by using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM/HM for livestock grazing on public lands in Western states. The figure is then calculated according to three factors – current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. In effect, the fee rises, falls, or stays the same based on market conditions, with livestock operators paying more when conditions are better and less when conditions have declined.

The 2014 grazing fee of $1.35 per AUM/HM grazing fee applies to 16 Western states on public lands administered by the BLM and the Forest Service. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Sheep covering Adobe Town HMA ~ photo by Carol Walker

Sheep covering Adobe Town HMA ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Now these two agencies claim that there is not enough room on our public lands for federally protected wild horses and burros, lets take a look at the numbers compiled by Carla Bowers back in 2011.

–       38,500: BLM reported total of WH&B population (as of 2/28/11, not validated)

–       26,600: BLM high AML (appropriate management level) for WH&B population

–       16,000-18,000 BLM actual current targeted low AML for WH&B population

–       21,354: WH&B population as of 2/28/11 using BLM’s own data& 20% growth model (independent analysis)

–       240,000-480,000: Approximate head of livestock on WH&B management areas

–       Up to 3M livestock on BLM lands

–       Up to 1.5M livestock on USFS lands

–       20 million mule deer, 1 million elk, 700,000+ pronghorns, 70,000 bighorns (considered a “species of concern”) on Federal, state & private lands

–       245 million: Number of acres BLM currently manages

–       160 million:  Number of BLM acres allocated to livestock use

–       53.8 million: Number of BLM& private acres originally designated for WH&B in 1971

–       31.6million: Number of BLM & private acres currently managed for WH&B

–       22.2 million: Number of acres WH&B have lost since 1971

–       27 million:  Number of BLM acres currently allocated to WH&B use (with livestock)

–       11%: Amount of BLM land currently designated for WH&B use

–       83%: Amount of forage allocated to livestock in BLM WH&B areas

–       17%: Amount of forage allocated to WH&B in BLM WH&B areas

–       339: Number of BLM original Herd Areas designated for WH&B in 1971

–       179: Number of BLM reduced-size Herd Management Areas currently designated for WH&B

–       160: Number of WH&B Herd Areas BLM has zeroed-out

–       193 million: Number of acres USFS currently manages

–       91 million: Number of USFS acres allocated to livestock use

–       2 million: Number of USFS acres allocated to WH&B use (with livestock)

–       1.04%: Amount of USFS land currently designated for WH&B use

–       650 million: Number of Federal land acres

–       4.5%: Amount of Federal land acres (BLM/USFS) designated for WH&B use (with livestock)

Costs to Taxpayers:

–       $75.7 million: FY2011 total cost of BLM’s WH&B Program

–       $11.4 million: FY2011 cost of roundups, including fertility control

–       $48.2 million: FY2011 cost of BLM warehousing WH&B

–       $766,164: FY2010 cost of BLM WH&B census & range monitoring (3.3% of budget)

–       $144-500 million:  FY2011 cost of livestock grazing program

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

Wild Horse grazing among private, welfare cattle on Adobe Town HMA ~ photo by Carol Walker

Wild Horse grazing among private, welfare cattle on Adobe Town HMA ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Which all begs the following questions:

 – Considering the above numbers, is it fair to claim WH&B are overpopulated in America?

– Why is livestock allocated the majority of forage on WH&B legal areas?

– How does BLM arrive at AML for WH&B versus livestock on WH&B legal areas?

– Is WH&B genetic viability & survival of healthy, self-sustaining herds considered at all in AML establishment?

– Shouldn’t the above requirement be the first consideration in WH&B AML establishment before forage allocations are set on WH&B legal areas?

– What is the best mechanism to correct the insufficient & unfair allocations between livestock & WH&B on WH&B legal areas?

– How is damage to the range studied exactly& how much time is dedicated to monitoring?

– How is it determined unequivocally what animals did any range damage, i.e., WH&B, livestock or other wildlife?

And to further pour salt upon our wounds last Friday, January 31st, the budget strapped BLM released not one but two $6 million contracts to secure the cruel services of helicopter companies to chase and roundup federally protected wild horses and burros only to cram the captured equines into overloaded short term and long term holding facilities at YOUR expense.

Ain’t it great….NOT!!!

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58 replies »

    • Renate, great comment. It tests the logic for current AMLs, and it challenges the BLM and USFS to give rationale for them. Let’s say I hit the Powerball, by a western ranch with a permit to graze on an HMA shared by livestock and wild horses. Only NOW my “livestock” are horses or even wild horses. Shouldn’t I get the full “livestock” AML for my horses? If so, why?

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      • Rob, You can use the grazing rights for horses instead of cows but the Permit may require something like a three pasture rest rotation. It would be interesting to see if you could make your ranch a WH&B sanctuary and then use the public range, within permit parameters, to graze them. You would have to be able to round them up though.

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    • How about offer on-the-range adoption to the general public at the going private market rate of $16-20 per month – thats still pretty cheap board for someone that cant home a horse in their backyard. Do you think a higher fee would create incentive to leave them wild and free ? They need the $ badly. Unfortunately, the govt doesn’t have to do business by way of cost-benefit analysis (like everyone else who runs a business that’s not subsidized by the govt) it would take a Constitutional Amendment to require them to do business like everyone else and then lawsuits to force them to do it.

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      • L, I have floated this idea before, too. It seems it could work. If we citizens could adopt a wild horse in place (in situ) for $1.35 a month it would only mean a more equal playing field. These are public lands after all, right? The funds raised could be kept in a separate accounting stream, and those adopting could “own” specific, identifiable horses by markings in most cases. It seems it would also only be fair to allow US citizens to adopt the number of horses which equal the number of domestic livestock grazing these (our) lands at the same cost.
        So by my reckoning this would mean nearly 500,000 eligible horse adoption spots. We have of course nowhere near that many out there.
        Lately the BLM has been advertising for proposals to help reduce populations through various pharmacalogical and surgical enterprises; why can’t we citizens unite and create a viable proposal for in situ adoptions? Then the BLM could decide whether and if the domestic livestock are damaging the land and manage them accordingly. The law is clear the horses have rights, the domestic livestock have only a (subsidized) privilege. And lest the powers that be complain that $1.35/month is not sufficient to cover the cost of an in situ adoption program, well, the Emperor has no clothes…
        I think this could work, anyone reading this who can put something viable together PLEASE DO!!!

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  1. This government sucks congress and all government sitting up there getting there fat salaries and free insurance and lifetime retirements while we the people who pay there fat salaries suffer from there ignorance and stupidity of every damn one of them as they take away history the mustangs belong there as did the Indians we stole the land from in the first place this country has gone to hell .

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  2. All fun and games. Toss the numbers into the air, and the legends and see what comes down. It all means the same thing. It is garbage accounting. Science is the only cure. Science and law. USGS in compiling their report on water made numerous statements that the BLM could not provide data on the grazing program and provide statistics for how many animals, where they were, and how long they were on the public land allotments. The grazng fee accounting is a token, an honor system. The ranchers decide how much they are going to pony up and can write that figure down for all srts of reasons, such as calf mortality (and get paid by taxpayers if they make up a story that wolves or a lion or coyotes did I). I also didn’t see a number up there for the money spent by taxpayers to install and modify water sources (ranchers are supposed to develop but we know how that goes) and or to repair envirnmental damages by livestock. Right now cattle are grazing Twin Peaks – illegally and with the silent assent of the BLM district managers. Also consider that taxpayers fund disaster repayment or straight out losses. We also pay the ranchers for fencing that is damaged in storms, fires on public land. We are also funding at low interest loans to ranchers who are swelling the value of their land by including the allotments they have permits for and receiving rancher loans based on that number. These numbers are limited because there is more. Much more. Do research. Use this information, such as it is, and nail your DC reps. Demand the rathole where all this money is going be filled in and get the livestock off public land. Every study by every agency or university finds rangeland damage is undebatably caused by “inappropriate livestock grazing management.” And finds further that there is no way to properly asess the effect of grazing because there is no BLM produced or maintained data. Demand wild horses and burros be protected agaiinst the animal hating livestock rural type (aka feral) humans. BLM now has instituted a loophole of “continiued improvement” which allow the most agregious users to continue their permits if they so much as clean a water tub – for 20 years. It has to stop.

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    • I forgot to mention the environmental damahe to Twin Peaks will be substantial with the unrestricted and illegal grazing. The cost of reseeding by air, plugs, hand sowing, saplings, was in the many millions – thak you Mr Taxpayer. All that work is being undone by masses of cattle flesh. Don’t listen to damage by horses – multiple surveys have been done ouit there and all horses are gone with the exception of a token few and strange new ones appearing. We need to turn those damned satellites down so they do those who are paying for them some good in keeping on eye on the prize – the llast of our open land and the wild horses and burros who are mere placeholders. Push for a moratorium. Push for science.

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    • Jan, I wrote both my senators and my congressional rep today… insisting they take a position and let me know where they stand on these issues. Hope they will provide a response with a spine instead of the usual “I’m monitoring” letter written by a staff person.

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  3. There must be a way to curtail the BLM and Forest Service Ole Boy Network. Congress is, as stated before, useless. Our Congressman from my District in Colorado is an ugly bump on the log.(getting anything from him other than form letters and GOP B.S. is impossible) The BLM is running their own little slushfund and the Wild Horses and Burros are paying the interest.

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    • Tom, I’m in CO and have been getting the same sort of replies from both the D and R elected officials. None will take an actual position on anything… so I keep pressing them and have said I will vote against them if they continue remaining vague on their positions on legislation affecting wild horse management.

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      • Back to the idea of on- the- range adoption : it’s my understanding that the BLM is going to start funding pilot projects to determine viable options for on the range mgmnt. Maybe that would be the venue to apply this strategy. I think offering the private market rate for grazing might be a bigger carrot for BLM. Also, it sets us apart from the welfare ranchers and sets a higher standard for how business should be done.

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      • Lynn, I agree but think it would be IMPERATIVE that any in-situ adoption monies be separately tracked and independently audited. It would make no sense (and wouldn’t help the horses) to toss money into the black hole of the BLM.
        I also think an oversight or steering committee should be involved which includes more than a token number of non-government employees (independent concerned citizens) to watchdog the cash and the results.

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  4. Dear Mr. R T Fitch, I have a one on one meeting with Senator Sherrod Browns Aide, NEXT WEEK to discuss The SAFE ACT for Horses, I am compassionate and informed and active on this issue , however I need help condensing the vast amount of information , so I can present the most important facts to present to him in person….since time will be limited Please give me the critical points to convey to him, any photos , links , videos that you feel would accomplish this please send to me !!!

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  5. Unf$%@ing believable! The BLM and USFS are so full of crap it boggles the mind. I am seething right now so I better sign off. Gonna go and pray for the wild ones.

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  6. Hey RT – at first actually believed there HAD been a bump in the dollar amount!
    How could I have been so naïve? Honestly, if each of us could adopt even one horse & pay the $1.35 a month – I’m sure there would be a “rule” preventing that – what do you bet? Would be doable – even for those of us who aren’t exactly living high on the hog. Shameful that the grazing being allowed in the Twin Peaks area is allowed to go on.

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  7. Same old crap over and over again, the cattle get to be on the land and the t belongs tot he horses and they have to be in jail, the are wild horses they belong on the land in fat their land. BLM Is not to be trusted in any thing they do. Where do this money go they get or the cattle and sheep who are horrible on the pasture and grazing lands ? Needs to be an investigation from the top to the bottom of the this department , some thing smells fishy. They need to get rid of the entire staff and bring in others who are for the betterment of the horses.

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    • Actually, Craig, the public record does not include the BLM on any of the documents that list FWS, FS, NPS, EPA, APHIS, Commerce, State, DOD, USAID, and others. Since the National Invasive Species Management Plan was not completed when President Bush took office, the cabinet level positions changed personnel, but there is no evidence that any of the so called citizen stake holders appointed by then Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt changed. President Bush amended President Clinton’s February 3, 1999, Alien Species Act to add the position of Homeland Security to the Presidential cabinet level advisory council, but rather or not this was a rote thing that his administration did after 9/11/01 or not can’t be known by looking at this council alone.

      The only detail that seems to be relevant is that President Bush tried to given ranching priority over other used through an executive order that was deemed unconstiutional by the Supreme Court very early in the current President’s term. It is hard to know without knowing the exact date when he issued the order whether or not he knew that our wild horses and burros were included in this or not. We tend to think he would favor ranchers and possibly oil since his family’s wealth is based on oil and ranching. Selling cattle or selling the same cattle again and again seems to be a good way to launder money.

      The relationship between non-governmental agencies such as the Sierra Club and the BLM & how many millions of tax dollars we taxpayers are paying the Sierra Club and other groups (primarily birders is well documented) but would never have come to my attention if I had not been following wild horse and burro issues.

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      • It was not my intent to imply that the President Bush was in anyway linked to the practice of using the sale of valued animals as a method of concealing where monies come This is not the case with the elected officials associated with planning, implementing, and carrying out the scheme to turn America’s wild horses and burros into outlaws in their homeland.

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    • Population studies for endangered wildlife are rounding up the minimum individual numbers required for a population to maintain enough genetic variation to prevent extinctions.

      However, some species like grouse and horse interbreed to produce hybrids which means they are sterile and very unlikely to reproduce.

      However, studies on sage grouse seem to indicate when individual members of a species in a particular area are too small to produce a partners with which the female can reproduce, they will leave their area to mate with a male of a similar species. Every now and then a genetic mutation will again to appear that reflects the adaption of either species to the low numbers, so in order for the genus to survive, a new species emerges. This appears to be what happened in the case of the sage grouse.

      However it is also possible that this tendency towards hybridization would threaten the recovery of the species unless it was provided vast amounts of contiguous habitat. Interestingly, in the Eurasian Steppe, only two species of grouse remain. The remaining species have become more forest dwelling species which may tell us that there is some futility in trying to maintain a species that prefers cooler temperatures in hot, arid desert—cool, arid may be ok, but hot not so much—which is one of the reasons burros adapter to warmer temperatures and horses seem happiest in somewhat cooler ones.

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  8. Any lawyers out there? It should be investigated why and how private landowners are considering grazing leases as part of their property value… when it is a privilege, not a right, and certainly not a purchase or ownership of public lands. I think this is a big part of the pushback against wild horses… but unless private owners have title to the land they should not in an ethical legal system be able to artificially increase the value of their property, especially at the expense of we, the people. Period.

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  9. Found this:
    “Various formulas are used for calculating grazing fees on public lands. Some examples are:
    For federal rangelands of the United States,
    the grazing fee “equals the $1.23 base established by the 1966 Western Livestock Grazing Survey multiplied by the result of the Forage Value Index (computed annually from data supplied by the Statistical Reporting Service) added to the Combined Index (Beef Cattle Price Index minus the Prices Paid Index) and divided by 100; provided, that the annual increase or decrease in such fee for any given year shall be limited to not more than plus or minus 25 percent of the previous year’s fee, and provided further, that the fee shall not be less than $1.35 per animal unit month.” Apart from the $1.35 floor, which took effect on February 14, 1986, this is the same as the fee calculation that applied for the grazing years 1979 through 1985.”

    Or… 1 fish, 2 fish x purple divided by snow = Hey, Macarena.

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  10. To change the subject a little bit, everyone knows what the Middle East looks like but did anyone really look at the forage or grazing out in open areas? To me it always looks thin and bare, I think its because the tribes there have always grazed goats and sheep, these animals can denude a large section of grazing in no time. The overgrazed public land that the BLM blames the mustangs for looks just like huge areas of the Middle East if a person looks close at it. AZ could easily be a country in the Middle East so could a number of other states where cattle and sheep have consistently overgrazed public land and stripped it bare.

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  11. Barbara, the overgrazing of the west begin pre 1800s in the Open Range era… at one time there were over 26 million sheep wandering these ranges according to one study I viewed. The policies since then have tried to rein in the amount of grazing pressure but the ecosystems already took an irreversible hit in many areas. What we see today is not the result of entirely natural processes, only the result of human impacts (through grazing) on these dry, fragile lands.

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  12. It sure seems like this makes sense, but the world has not always had either the same climate or geological structure that it has today.

    In terms of how we can quickly determine whether of not places that are now deserts were once far wetter and more tropical filled with large leafed plants and other carbon rich grasses and trees, we can ask this question:

    Is there evidence of oil, gas, or coal classified as “fossil” fuels because
    they were once plants that decayed and were later covered with sediment that
    millions of years of geological pressure turned into coal, diamonds, oil, or
    can be extracted in the form of natural gas?

    If there had never been a time where this area was richly populated with lots and lots of plants, heat, and water, there could be no “fossil” fuels. Some big oil and banking tycoons figured that out a long time ago and they have lusted for the black gold below that lay below the land where our horses now graze.

    The problem is that our horses lived in these very same areas—during the very same times, but were much smaller as horses tend to get when the climate warms. This has provided the possibility of the horse to be used as an example of Darwin’s theory of evolution, but the DNA evidence regarding the species identify of the different sized horses makes the idea that size alone or even the humber of toes can be used to date the time when the species was present in North America—turns out our caballoids have been here in an assortment of sizes and shapes for much longer than the bones alone reveal.

    Anyone ever heard of Gondwana—????

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    • HH, good info. A drastic amount of systemic environmental change has occurred, though, since European contact in the Americas and most especially the post Civil War era when livestock were driven en masse into the western rangelands to mine the green gold there. I’ve read several texts on rewilding this year and one thing stood out starkly for me. It concerned the phenomenon of deep gullying in NM. Seems pre-beef and sheep the waterways there were commonly flat and sandy, with an intact riparian corridor along their margins which included mature stands of Cottonwoods. Once overgrazing occurred, the soils lost stability and ability to hold the little natural precipitation… resulting in a drop of the water table such that even the Cottonwoods couldn’t reach their roots far enough. These stands died off, the banks continued to erode, the gullying increased, leaving what we see as emblematic in many places of the west today: deep, unstable gullies.
      It’s true gullywashers have been part of the west a long while, but pre-grazing the silt was spread and held by the native vegetation along the margins. As those died off, the tendency towards scouring deep gullies increased, which led to even less stability and more gullies… and less forage. ETC. ETC. ETC.

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      • Icy Spots,

        The re-wilding subject is one of the topics that can link what we are observing now to the sciences that tell us what has happened in the past. Whether you come down on the side of supporting “rewilding” or opposing it, you at least get acquainted with the notion that what we can see during our brief time on the planet is no more than a snapshot of the forces that are constantly at work to change our world. I think we need a much longer lens to see through time to get a more complete idea of how geological feats of geographic regions have changed over much longer periods of time.

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      • HH, I agree about understanding geological time as best we can comprehend, but it’s also very clear that in human time there is often a direct link between cause and effect which is easy to trace, as is the case of overgrazed lands. It may be that in former epochs, when severe drought cycles occurred (as they did and do) the grazing animals simply moved on and didn’t impact the land as severely as they are forced to do by fences, artificial watering holes, encroaching development, and on-site feeding, for some examples. I see what is happening today on our public lands as a conflict between public good and private profiteering. Our government is supposed to strike a balance but it seems the scales are drastically tilted away from native species and ecosystems towards a one-shot energy boom. The public pays the tab in all instances, and loses in all instances.

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  13. This is ABSURD and stupid. But it’s the government. Why am I not surprised. Shame on them all for allowing this to go on. As an American citizen I am embarrassed by this. Animal abuse by the US government They should be held accountable for breaking animal cruelty laws and for not abiding by the constitution but it seems they have been doing that a lot lately.

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  14. Arlene, did you get the information that you need for your meeting? This might help you to cover key points. It’s from Respect 4 Horses website. You can choose an example that you want to illustrate each point.

    Also, these websites will give you plenty of material.
    http://equinewelfarealliance.org/Horse_Slaughter.html
    http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/

    From Respect 4 Horses
    When you speak or write to your legislators let them know WHY we need to pass the SAFE Act::

    1. It will effectively end the brutal torture and suffering of over 160,000 of our American horses.

    2. Carcinogenic horse meat will not become a public health risk for Americans.

    3. Tax Payers will not have to foot the bill for a predatory foreign industry.

    4. Horse breeders will have to breed more responsibly.

    5. Horse owners will no longer have to fear kill buyers when selling their horses.

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    • Dear Louie , as you know this was not easy to get this meeting, have been trying for a long time……….I will be speaking to Sherrod Browns Aide i am assuming he will not be aware of what is going on with the Horses , Mustangs and Burros, i will have to be on spot with everything I present , Sherrod Brown is on the committee who will be voting on this, he to date has taken NO Stand on this issue, I also assume that John Ryan will be young and will want photos and short videos it is condusent to that generation………. I will arrive there with filled with passion for the Horses, and must have my facts all in a row !!!!!

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      • I have sent sherrod brown, marcy kaptur numerous emails on this subject the past year. I got a form letter thanking me for my concern. blah blah blah.

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    • Thank You Louie , I got this one shot at this, i want it to be the best one I can do !!!! i will be their voice for that moment and I want to be factual with awesome points !!!!! I want to give them every reason to Pass this Safe Act , i want to leave him with no doubt it is the only thing to do !!!!! Since i am Novice at speaking to Politicians I want to be precise and on point wasting no time to get points across…. would love to bring short video and pictures also…………………

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  15. A friend forwarded this to me today, I’m not sure where else to post it so will put it here. This BLM pre-solicitation notice is looking for “qualified” contractors to take up to 500 horses/burros PER YEAR (?) from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. I thought they removed almost all of them last year, and any returned to the range were sterilized. Where are they getting up to 500 more ANNUALLY? It doesn’t seem plausible these could come from Sheldon, but there is an HMA nearby.

    Here’s the info:
    Reference number: F14PS00185
    Issue date: 02/05/2014
    Response due: 03/19/2014 05:00 PM PT

    The USFWS is actively seeking qualified Contractors to receive, care for, and find long-term homes for up to 500 feral horses and/or burros per year. Contractors may receive horses for placement each year for up to four years. Horses will be captured and removed by the USFWS from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Denio, NV (Humboldt County). Award will be made to multiple Contractors. Pricing will be based on a per-animal fixed price. Interested contractors must be registered in SAM (System for Award Management) at http://www.sam.gov and complete Online Representations and Certifications (ORCA) at http://www.bpn.gov. This solicitation will be posted to http://www.fedconnect.net on 02/18/14. All technical questions are to be directed to John Kasbohm at (541) 947-3315 and contractual questions to Shannon Blackburn at (503) 872-2825. PROJECT INFORMATION: The successful contractor(s) shall perform scope of work as specified in the Statement of Work.

    Set Aside: N/A
    NAICS: 813312-Environment, Conservation and Wildlife Organizations
    PSC / FSC: F019-NATURAL RESOURCES/CONSERVATION- OTHER WILDLIFE MAN

    Contracting office:

    FWS, DIVISION OF CONTRACTING AND GE
    EASTSIDE FEDERAL COMPLEX
    911 NE 11TH AVENUE
    PORTLAND, OR 97232-4181

    Contact: SHANNON BLACKBURN
    Phone:
    Fax:
    Email: shannon_blackburn@fws.gov

    https://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect/PublicPages/PublicSearch/Public_Opportunities.aspx

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  16. Will someone explain this in layman’s terms?.I’m trying to be informed and this is all over my newsfeed, but unfortunately, I don’t understand it fully.

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    • Cameo, there are others more knowledgeable but the short version is that in 1971 designated homelands were established across the west for wild equines, and they became a federally protected and managed species. In those areas the horses were to have priority (but not exclusive) rights to forage and water. Domestic grazing leases have also been allowed in these areas which introduce non-native species (cattle and sheep) in populations which far outnumber the horses, usually 50 to 1 but sometimes more than 200 to 1. These domestic livestock pay only a pittance for this, and the program itself is taxpayer funded in the millions each year – it makes no money for the program or the public, but does enable private stock owners to make profits off grazing public lands.

      The fees announced here are a repeat of the same old non-free-market fee of $1.35 per animal unit month (defined as one cow and her calf, or five sheep or goats, or one horse.

      What continues to happen is the horse homelands are consistently reduced (by many millions of acres), domestic livestock are introduced and the land and ecosystems are impacted by overgrazing, especially in drought periods. However, horses take all the blame for this when their numbers are scarcely higher than they were 40 years ago in the wild. Well over one hundred of those legally designated homelands have been completely emptied of horses by the BLM and USFS, forever.

      Roundups and removals are based on this evidently artificial conclusion of horse overpopulation while completely ignoring the for-profit domestic livestock ranchers utilizing the same areas. It is argued horses are there year round, and livestock are periodically removed, but horses migrate tens of miles daily if not artificially confined, while livestock do not, and livestock are introduced in the primary growth period of many forages. Sheep are often introduced in winter, which can be harder on dormant forages as well due to the manner in which they graze.

      The bottom line is the taxpayer pays for all this “management” which is losing money, losing land, and losing wild horses and burros while private interests profit.

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  17. http://wildhorsepreservation.org/media/elko-county-agrees-give-10000-wild-horse-lawsuit
    ELKO COUNTY AGREES TO GIVE UP TO $10,000 IN WILD HORSE LAWSUIT
    Posted on February 8, 2014 at 7:8 PM
    By Dylan Woolf Harris, Elko Daily Free Press
    ELKO — County leaders agreed Thursday to help pay up to $10,000 for a lawsuit filed against the federal government’s management of wild horses.
    The Nevada Association of Counties and the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation, who filed the complaint with a federal court in Reno, argue that although wild horses and burros have long been a part of Nevada’s landscape and heritage, their populations have grossly exceeded appropriate management levels.
    Jeff Fontaine, NACO president, said via email as of Thursday NACO spent about $56,000 on the suit and estimated the cost to reach about $90,000 by the time it gets resolved. NACO funds will not be used in the lawsuit, however.
    “So far we have received financial support from a variety of groups, including nongovernment organizations and counties,” Fontaine said.
    The county commission voted to give NACO $5,000 immediately for the lawsuit, and approved to give an additional $5,000, if it is needed.
    NACO released a statement that explained counties are concerned about wild horse population numbers for a variety of reasons.
    “Wild horse overpopulation creates serious environmental concerns for horses, wildlife, and ecology of rangelands, and creates both direct and indirect economic impacts,” it states. “Loss of use of public lands as well as the cost of services associated with the health and safety impacts created by the overpopulation of wild horses and burros decreases tax revenues and yet increases the costs that counties must bear.”
    According to NACO, after attempts to reach out to the U.S. Department of the Interior to discuss the problem failed to yield results, it decided to file suit.
    NACO is asking the court to require the DOI to gather all excess animals on public lands, conduct regular counts, cease interfering with water rights, follow multiple-use principals, and remove horses from long-term holding facilities to instead “auction, sell and otherwise properly dispose of such animals in accordance with the (Wild Horse and Burro) Act.”
    Meanwhile, wild horse advocates, who are also critical of the BLM’s management practices, are vehemently opposed to the lawsuit.
    Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, said in an email the lawsuit represents the opinions of a few ranchers “who are dead set on slaughtering America’s wild horses over the objections of the American public,” because they compete with cattle for food.
    Roy said polls indicate a majority of Americans favor the protection of wild horses, and said the lawsuit “hinges on the scientifically disproven claim that there are more wild horses on BLM land than the range can sustain.”
    Roy said Congress bars the BLM from selling horses for slaughter and it reinstated a ban on horse slaughter in this country.
    “As we all know, the number of wild horses pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep who are permitted to graze on our public lands,” she said. “This lawsuit is an attempt to scapegoat wild horses and divert attention away from the destruction of our public lands by livestock grazing.”
    Originally Posted By Elko Daily Free Press

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  18. That’s cause no one cares. Because. history isn’t important. Our. founding. fathers won wars from the. backs. of. t hose. Horses that the. ranchers. consider pest. Cows are. the. pest.

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