Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) spreads false information in New York Times OpEd, but researcher Marybeth Devlin counters his opinion with facts

Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah deceived Congress by implying there was a 41% increase in wild horse & burro population in only 5 months, and by showing a photo of one thin horse and claiming that a majority of the wild horse population on the range were starving or dying from dehydration.

Stewart authored the recent Amendment in the House that would lead to 46,000 healthy wild horses & burros in BLM holding facilities and tens of thousands more on public lands being “euthanized” (killed).

Now Stewart has stooped to spreading false information about wild horses in an OpEd that appeared to in the New York Times titled “The Hard Truth About the West’s Wild Horse Problem.”  Stewart continues to push for the killing of healthy wild horses & burros, both in his OpEd and in Congress.

Researcher Marybeth Devlin submitted her remarks (below) countering Stewart’s OpEd to the New York Times via its “we want to hear from you” page.  However, when I clicked on the link to the “we want to hear from you” page, it was gone (so apparently, the New York Times doesn’t want to hear from anyone).  Marybeth also commented on The New York Times Opinion Section on Facebook, where Stewart’s piece is listed (among others, halfway down the page).

Our thanks to Marybeth Devlin for exposing the misinformation opined by this squirrelly politician (my apologies to squirrels).   Stewart’s own constituents even booed him in Salt Lake City this year.

“No birth control, no euthanasia, no slaughter: None of them fixes fraud.  The problem is fraud – BLM’s fraud – not overpopulation.  What is needed is honest management of our wild horses and burros.” – Marybeth Devlin

by Marybeth Devlin

The Bureau of Land Management’s wild-horse fraud: The “overpopulation” of wild horses is a pernicious lie, a concocted “crisis”. The government doesn’t have a wild-horse problem — wild horses have a government problem.

Arbitrary management level (AML): The maximum number of wild horses that BLM declares the Western range can sustain — 26,715 — is a political construct. Per the 31,583,386 acres — 49,349 square miles — of dedicated wild-horse habitat across the Western states, the AML establishes a maximum stocking density of 1 wild horse per 1,182 acres — nearly 2 square miles! Even if the wild-horse population really were 72,000 (hint: it can’t be), that would mean a stocking density of 1 horse per 438 acres (⅔ of a square mile). No reasonable person would consider that excessive.

Sparsely populated, widely dispersed: Wild horses are few and far between. While the arbitrary maximum density that BLM begrudges is about 1 wild horse per 2 square miles, many herds are restricted even more severely. Here are examples of stocking densities that BLM deems “appropriate,” and down-to-which it strives to reduce them:

1 wild horse per 3,102 acres — 5 square miles — Antelope Complex — NV
1 wild horse per 3,566 acres — 5½ square miles — Triple B Complex — NV
1 wild horse per 4,381 acres — 7 square miles — Beatys Butte — OR
1 wild horse per 4,500 acres — 7 square miles — Warm Springs — OR
1 wild horse per 5,062 acres — 8 square miles — Paisley Desert — OR
1 wild horse per 6,606 acres — 10 square miles — Eagle herd — NV
1 wild horse per 9,591 acres — 15 square miles — Silver King herd — NV

Contrast with livestock density: To put this in perspective, nationally, BLM allows a stocking density of 1 cow-with-calf pair (or 5 sheep) per 76 acres, which means 8 cow+calf pairs (or 40 sheep) per square mile. Further, within dedicated wild-horse habitats — where the mustangs are, by law, supposed to receive principal benefit of resources — livestock are often awarded most of the grazing slots. Examples:

89% of AUMs to livestock — Red Desert Complex — WY
91% of AUMs to livestock — Checkerboard — WY
94% of AUMs to livestock — Triple B Complex — NV
96% of AUMs to livestock — Antelope Complex — NV

Normative annual herd-growth = at most, 5%: Horses are slow to reproduce. Gestation lasts 11 months, and a mare produces 1 foal. By analyzing BLM’s own raw demographic data, Gregg, LeBlanc, and Johnston (2014) found the average birth rate across wild-horse herds to be just under 20%. But they also found that 50% of foals perish before their first birthday. Thus, the birth rate is just a temporary blip in the data. Starting with the surviving-foal rate (10%), and then subtracting a conservative estimate of adult-mortality (5%), the expected normative herd-growth rate would be, at most, 5%. At that rate, it would take 14 years for a wild-horse herd to double. Meanwhile, the corresponding growth-rate for wild-burro herds is 2%. At that rate, it would take 35 years for a burro-herd to double.

Fraudulent figures on the range: BLM’s herd-growth figures are falsified. Repeatedly, we find BLM reporting one-year increases that are 50, 100, even 200 times the norm, far beyond what is biologically possible. Examples:

237% — 47 times the norm — Great Divide Basin — WY
256% — 51 times the norm — Beatys Butte — OR
260% — 52 times the norm — Shawave Mountains — NV
293% — 59 times the norm — Diamond Hills South — NV
317% — 63 times the norm — Jackies Butte — OR
418% — 84 times the norm — Black Rock Range East — NV *
522% — 104 times the norm — Salt Wells Creek — WY
525% — 105 times the norm — Carracas Mesa — NM **
1,218% — 244 times the norm — Centennial — CA
1,257% — 251 times the norm — Carter — CA

* BLM claimed the Black Rock Range East’s population grew from 88 horses to 456 horses in one year, an increase of 368. If so, that would mean each filly and mare gave birth to 17 foals.

** BLM claimed the Carracas Mesa population grew from 12 horses to 75 horses in one year, an increase of 63. If so, that would mean each filly and mare gave birth to 21 foals.

Fraudulent figures off the range: A report has just been released after a 5-year investigation by Wild Horse Freedom Federation. It revealed that BLM has been publishing fictitious figures regarding the number of wild horses removed from the range and now supposedly boarded in private pastures. BLM is paying, but where are the horses? http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/white-paper/

Fraud and embezzlement are crimes: BLM’s representations with regard to wild horses and burros are false and misleading. Making false and misleading representations = fraud, which violates Title 18 USC 1001 of the Federal criminal code. Embezzlement and theft violate various sections of Title 18 USC Chapter 31.

Adoptions: The adoption-market has not “dropped.” There’s just been a change in the definition of an “adoption.” Back-in-the-day, BLM actually used to count sales-for-slaughter as “adoptions.” Nowadays, only true adoptions — forever-family placements — qualify. However, wild horses are not homeless horses. They have a home — where they belong — on the range.

No birth control, no euthanasia, no slaughter: None of them fixes fraud. The problem is fraud — BLM’s fraud — not overpopulation. What is needed is honest management of our wild horses and burros.

11 comments on “Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) spreads false information in New York Times OpEd, but researcher Marybeth Devlin counters his opinion with facts

  1. It seems NO comments are being allowed on this article? I cry FOUL. Journalism is truly dead if only those in positions of power, wealth, and influence are allowed to speak freely. Further, all dialogue is proscribed, no “truths” can be challenged, and “we, the people” become fully neutered… and fully “cowed.” This is not my America.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Our senators and representatives believe the lies that they are being told by the BLM. May I suggest that we all send MaryBeth’s factual letter to your senators and reps? It is ONLY by spreading the TRUTH that our wild ones will survive.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Notice how he elegantly suggests killing healthy horses AFTER rounding them up and enormous taxpayer expense. Will we then be expected to pay Wildlife Services to come and kill off all the predators and omnivores thousands of horse carcasses will attract? How much of our public lands will be “off limits” and for how long to allow them to murder masses of innocent animals in private?

      “On Care for our Common Home” by Pope Francis should be on the recommended reading list for all horsekillers, and most especially those who profess to be Christians.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Politico

      GETTING U.S. BEEF TO CHINA MEANS SOLVING TRACEABILITY RIDDLE: U.S. cattle ranchers want to know: If China has agreed to a date – July 16 – by which it will begin accepting shipments of U.S. beef as the Commerce Department announced last week, does that mean Beijing is ready to accept the U.S. standards on traceability?

      China has been saying it’s ready to end its ban on U.S. beef since at least September, opening up a market that’s been closed to U.S. producers since 2003 over BSE concerns. The market is believed to be worth $2.6 billion per year. What’s new about last week’s announcement is that it’s an indication negotiators are further along and have made progress on resolving multiple technical barriers, according to Kent Bacus, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s director of international trade and market access. He hopes to see the details of the deal reached with China soon.
      https://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-agriculture/2017/05/getting-us-beef-to-china-means-solving-traceability-riddle-220309

      Like

  3. Congressman Chris Stewart Violates U.S.C. Title 18
    PRESS RELEASE
    6 July 2017
    Citizens Against Equine Slaughter has found evidence that the Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and at least one Congressman are guilty of violating 923. 18 U.S.C. § 371—Conspiracy to Defraud the United States:
    “The general conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, creates an offense “[i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose. (emphasis added).”
    Congressman Stewart Reports a 41% increase in WH&B population in less than 5 months – IMPOSSIBLE
    We find that Chris Stewart did stand in front of a Congressional Appropriations Subcommittee for the Department of the Interior in 2016, addressing the BLM FY 2017 Budget. He did state that the wild horse population, in a majority, on the range were starving, or dying from dehydration. He also stated that there were, at that time, 67,000 wild horses on the range. These claims and population statements were those made by the BLM and the DOI in several media sources, as well as the Budget Justification letter submitted to Congress.

    Screen grab from Rep. Stewart’s website with video of his presentation.
    These 2 population statements would suggest that the wild horses went from approximately 47,000 in January 2016 to 67,000 by May of 2016 a 41% increase in less than 5 months? When BLM skews the ratio of stallions to mares on the range, 60 :40, this would mean that with 40 percent of the 47,000 wild horses in January, 18,800 would be mares, and all of them along with approximately 1,500 stallions had to have given birth in 5 months to achieve the 67,000 population boom stated in May of 2016.

    1. We found that the August 2016 Environmental Assessment, Adobe Town Wild Horse Movements & Habitat Selection Research Gather, DOI-BLM-WY-D030-2016-0104-EA, page 35, Line 132 and 133, stated the wild horse population on the range was less than in holding (47,403 in holding), according to BLM officials in January of 2016.
    https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/59671/97559/117715/Draft_Adobe_Town_Habitat_Movements_Research_EA_9-23-2016.pdf
    2. Then in the Interior Appropriations subcommittee mark up, Representative Chris Stewart did state on 25, May 2016 that “There are more than 67,000 of them (horses) now, …” https://stewart.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-chris-stewart-calls-for-bipartisan-solution-to-the-overpopulation-of
    Was there even a census between these two numbers showing a 41% increase from Jan to May of the same year (2016)?
    While we gathered photos of horses across the 10 states in various HMA’s to prove they were healthy, we found no wild horse advocate group with volunteers on the ground, no wild horse photographer, and even one ranch manager (Stacey Davies, from Roaring Springs Ranch in Oregon) who stated he knew of NO starving horses in Oregon, during a meeting of the Steens Advisory Council. So we asked, but never received any proof of this claim of “tens of thousands of horses that look like this”, made by Representative Stewart, as he held up an old photo of a mare and foal from one instance in 2015 in which human interference with wildlife created an issue where the horses did not act naturally, but instead became emaciated.
    Along with these claims of health crisis and population booms, there is always the claim of rangeland destruction, but the question must be asked when photographic, or range-tour evidence is presented, was there ever livestock here? How long ago? And did the time after livestock were removed allow for rest and recovery. There is no wild horse habitat without livestock damage that proves the wild horses are destructive. Even studies such as the WY radio-collaring of wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area will be biased by the fact that plant life or consumption will be looked at based on the location given by the collars of the horses, however, no other species that eats these plants is simultaneously studied. Therefore, there is no valid way of scientifically determining what ate that plant. Making that aspect of the entire study invalid.
    We assert that these statements and misrepresentations of truth are intentional
    We assert that these statements and misrepresentations of truth are intentional, and done to convince the public as well as Congressional members to agree to an agenda to push these horses off the range or to genetic extinction. Many herds show signs of inbreeding when the genetic analysis reports are read. Augmenting genetics with the odd mare from an outside herd is not keeping the unique genetics found in different herds or areas viable or separate from the meta population, rather destroying any uniqueness. The augmentation method has also proved unsuccessful in the Kiger/Riddle HMA’s of Oregon. The Oregon genetic analysis reports have shown a steady decline in viability, even with outside mare or stallion introductions.
    These intentional lies and mistruths must be exposed, and those perpetrating them must be charged with violation of U.S.C. Title 18, with intent to misinform the U. S. government to reach special interest agendas while misleading the people they are to serve.
    Submitted to Congressman Raul Grijalva for the Congressional record, to be shared with the Natural Resources Committee of which he is the Ranking Member, on 7, July 2017.
    Media Contact:
    Val Cecama-Hogsett
    541.315.6650

    Liked by 3 people

    • Can you hear me applauding this???
      This is the kind of information that we all must send to our public representatives so that they can learn the truth and make wise decisions for all Americans.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Title 18 or the United States Code regarding falsification of legal documents. Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial Title18 U.S. Code § 1519 – Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.) US Code.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Let’s take it to the top and talk to the BOSS

    From THE NEW YORKER
    A Conversation with A. G. Sulzberger, the New Leader of the New York Times
    By David Remnick
    December 22, 2017

    Not long after, the very same Sulzberger was based in Kansas City, where he described the experience of being a vegetarian in a city known as a “Mecca of meat.”
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-conversation-with-a-g-sulzberger-the-new-leader-of-the-new-york-times

    Liked by 1 person

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