photo: Protect the Harvest
SOMETHING IS AWRY IN OREGON
Guest opinion by Bonnie Kohleriter
The Oregon Wild Horse and Burro Program seems to have gone afoul with abuse of America’s wild horses and burros, with lies and mismanagement. It is time to express your concerns to Congressman Blumenauer, who is a co-chair of the Animal Caucus in Congress, and to Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon.
A few years ago the BLM quietly negotiated a “deal,” a so called “closed loop system,” wherein wild horses would be bait trapped and PZPed to stabilize the population and wherein 20 foals would be gathered yearly for training and adoption in a large taxpayer funded covered arena. Initially, 1,000 horses were rounded up and removed with 100 to 250 remaining as Appropriate Management Level (AML).
Apparently, that was not good enough for the BLM. The BLM sought to illegally remove all of the horses and put back only 100, the low AML, sex ratioed 60-40 and PZPed. Then the BLM sought to remove 20 foals yearly for training and adoption, but oops, 20 would not to be available from Beatys Butte. Hoping nobody would notice, the BLM would bring in foals from the outside to be trained and adopted jumping on their backs at age 1 and 2 to do cow work on the snow and icy range, even though their bones are not fused. Forget the closed loop system. The ugly Medusa head rises.
SNAFFLE BIT FUTURITY EVENT
Last year Rob Sharpe, the State Lead for Oregon, sold 12, two year old fillies in the remote Bend, Oregon corral to Dave Duquette and his calloused money grubbing dudes. Dave, as we know, was the sidekick of Sue Wallis, now deceased, who tried to reopen slaughter houses in the United States. Dave, who now works for Forrest Lucas’ Protect the Harvest, took the 12, two year old fillies and had them spayed by Leon Pielstick.
Following this, they sent them to Reno to be sold for training and showing in the 2018 Snaffle Bit Futurity Event titled “First Annual Wild Spayed Filly Futurity” with a purse of $25,000. The Snaffle Bit Futurity Event has been going on for some 30 years with mainly quarter horses…stallions, geldings, mares. So why now do entries have to be spayed? Laura Norman on the organizing committee explained “They (?) don’t want the wild horses to go home and be bred. There are already too many of them. If you want a wild horse, adopt one.”
So private horse owners can’t make their own decision to breed or not to breed. Risk the health and the well-being of these fillies who are placed in this event, not to mention their bones also are not yet fused, to have a person on their backs doing the expected twists and turns. And, of course, there are not too many quarter horses. We don’t have to dictate to spay them and tell their private owners to breed or not to breed.
Forest Lucas’s money is behind this Wild Spayed Filly event. Forrest says he hates “liars” and he is about “tradition.”
Lie Number One: Forrest, wild or domestic horses aren’t traditionally spayed unless they have a tumor or behavior issue. Your promotion of spaying isn’t tradition.
Lie Number Two: Forrest, you did not get your way in Congress last year when you pushed for slaughter of wild horses. Now you are pushing for sterilization and for mass extinction. You are using your money in the Snaffle Bit Futurity to promote spaying for extinction so that the ranchers on our public lands have the forage and not the wild horses. This move on your part is not about private breeding. The Medusa head rises again.
STUDYING FEASIBILITY AND BEHAVIOR IN WARM SPRINGS HMA USING OVARIECTOMY BY COLPOTOMY
The Oregon BLM wants to have a “control” group and a “studied” group. The BLM geneticist says a “minimum” of 150-200 wild horses with 150 effective breeding animals is needed in a herd to have sufficient genetic diversity and variation for its continual health to prevent a lack of fecundity, abnormalities and collapse. Warm Springs has an AML of 96-178 wild horses. Its low AML which is sought is already below acceptable genetic numbers.
In its last genetic evaluation in 2010 diversity had declined and a number of variants were at risk of loss. The Oregon BLM through removals, sterilization and contraception wants to keep its number at 96. Then it wants to have 50 stallions and 50 mares but 24-38 will be sterilized no longer contributing to its gene pool.
So, in actuality, you have 50 stallions and 16 effective breeding animals or a low AML of 66, far short of the minimally recommended number for healthy horses. Foals would be born. Let’s say half colt and half filly and half will die. Now you have 54 stallions and 20 mares. With the disparity between the sexes the foals will likely be bred and will have difficulty carrying and caring for the offspring. This part of the study does not appear on the USGS agenda and after all, it is done after 2.5 years.
The Oregon BLM speaks again and again in this document about “thriving, natural, ecological balance.” However, let’s be clear, with this approach the wild horses will not be thriving or healthy as a herd. Then the livestock on the range are not natural. And the horses with 2424 AUMs and the livestock with 19,392 AUMs on 456,855 acres is certainly not balanced. So cut the deceit with your “thriving, natural ecological balance.” The Medusa head rises again.
In this EA, it states the BLM has an overall allowable number (AML) of 27,000, but currently has 82,000 on the range. This is questionable when 50- 500% growth rates year to year are recorded. This 27,000 is not historically authenticated and it is not based on scientific rangeland evaluation, according to the National Academy of Science. At 27,000 AML, if achieved, 120 of the 151 horse herds and 30 of the 33 burro herds will have numbers below 150, most far below 150, severely risking sustainability over time.
It is time to redo the Land Use Plans (LUPs) and the Resource Management Plans (RMPs) to increase the number of the allowable wild horses and burros on the 27 million acres where the animals are only allowed to be and to decrease the number of allowable privately owned livestock in those acres.
The BLM needs to get honest if it is truly to have healthy horses on healthy rangelands and to forget sterilization, slaughter and euthanasia for those herds where their numbers are already at risk for continuance. It is worthwhile to acknowledge livestock are on 238 million acres of our public land and wild horses and burros are only within 27 million acres. A mere half of 1% of our meat is produced and where livestock are on 238 acres of public lands and a mere 3% of our meat is given us.