We are publicly posting this letter that Grandma Gregg sent to Joan Guilfoyle, Neil Kornze, Ed Roberson and Sally Spencer:
Joan Guilfoyle, Division Chief
Division of Wild Horses and Burros
20 M Street, S.E.
I strongly oppose the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plan to send 100 federally protected wild burros—at taxpayer expense—to Guatemala, where they would become working animals. Once outside the U.S., the fates of the burros would be unknown – forever.
This idea flies in the face of the BLM’s legal mandate to care for and protect these cultural treasures here on U.S. soil. It is not only cruel and a waste of resources—it also fails to address the ugly reality that led to this misguided scheme: the BLM’s wholesale failure to manage our wild herds on federal public lands.
As for BLM’s Guatemala proposal:
First off,the Guatemalans will slaughter some (and eventually all) and I doubt they will give anyconcern about their slaughter methods but it won’t be humane.
Second, the burros are wild and although eventually could become pack animals with humane training and care, the typical and historically forceful methods to train equine that most people use in this and other countries is inhumane.
Third, I can tell you that nobody is ever going to check on the welfare of these burros – ever. As a BLM adopter of two wild horses, BLM never checked on them until finally after two years; and then only because I pestered them about getting my ownership papers. In addition, they never checked on the wild stallion I bought – never. If anyone thinks that anyone is going to check on those in Guatemala … think again. And even IF someone tried … how could they find a hundred burros that had been dispersed throughout the country? They could not.
Fourth, by agreeing that it is acceptable to send our wild burros to another country we are setting a precedent that allows these American wild icons to be disposed of to another country and that is an unscrupulous precedent – if not illegal. They are to be protected per the United States Congress.
Fifth, our burros do not belong to BLM or the government – they belong to the people of America and BLM has no right to sell our burros overseas to an unknown future. They are not a livestock commodity.
Sixth, the most important issue is to again articulate to our government (BLM) that there are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land that was (per law) given to them principally for their protection. To agree to anything less than what is really true and legal and correct is a betrayal to the wild horses and burros and the American people who own these wild equine.
With about 50,000 wild horses and burros stockpiled in BLM holding facilities, clearly the BLM’s wild equine program needs a complete overhaul. Rather than continuing to round up and remove horses and burros to holding facilities while instituting no legitimate on-range management plan, the BLM must first realize and admit that there are no “excess” wild horses and burros on their congressionally designated legal land.
The recent National Academy of Science (NAS) report on the Wild Horse and Burro Program determined that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has no evidence of excess wild horses and burros; because the BLM has failed to use scientifically sound methods to estimate the populations (NAS, 2013).
The NAS cited two chief criticisms of the Wild Horse and Burro Program: unsubstantiated population estimates in herd management areas (HMA), and management decisions that are not based in science (NAS, 2013). Shipping our protected equines off to other countries is the very opposite of proper management.
* The photo above may not have been taken in Guatemala, but illustrates the point of how equines are mistreated in other countries.