by Debbie Coffey, V.P., Wild Horse Freedom Federation
People have been contacting the BLM and asking for the 2019 Herd Area and Herd Management Area Statistics. This is BLM’s data about the population of America’s wild horses & burros on each of their federally protected areas in each state. The BLM has been promising that this data would be made public “soon” or “in a couple of days” but after weeks, this data has still not been made available to the public (as of this date). Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today to try to gain access to this data. Here is part of our FOIA request:
“Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) requests, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA):
1) Herd Area and Herd Management Area Statistics as of March 1, 2019. This specific data containing the numbers of wild horses and burros in each Herd Area and each Herd Management Area in each state is usually provided to the public online, but has not been released in over a year https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/wildhorse_programdata_2018hmastats.pdf
The BLM released the “On-Range Population Estimate as of March 1, 2019” that shows the total for each state:
For further details on BLM population estimates, download the complete 2018 HA and HMA Dataset (pdf). The 2019 HA and HMA Dataset will be available soon.
However, as you can see from the sentence right under the chart, the BLM is only providing 2018 data to the public regarding the data on each Herd Area and each Herd Management Area in each state (https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/wildhorse_programdata_2018hmastats.pdf). The BLM is withholding the 2019 data, despite requests from the public for this information. In order for the BLM to have estimated the total for each state, the BLM would have needed to use the data from each herd area and herd management area. We believe the BLM has the requested data, but that they are withholding it from the public. These records are only about 21 pages, but they contain vital information about the numbers of America’s wild horses & burros on each Herd Area and Herd Management Area. The public and researchers need access to this data.”
The BLM is withholding important data from the public. This agency lacks transparency.