Horse News

Wild Equids, Public Lands, the Future We Choose to Change

an open letter from Charlotte Roe

“Protecting public rangelands from overdevelopment and livestock overgrazing is a key to fighting global warming. “

Friends and Partners of the Wild Equids:

photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

While our nation and hearts are reeling from the latest mass gun violence, in come ever more urgent wakeup calls from international climate and biodiversity scientists, who warn that we either change course systematically or face a dystopian world in which over a million plant and animal species go extinct and tens of millions more humans must migrate to survive.  The news couldn’t be starker.

You’d think that America’s wild horses and burros take a back seat to these developments.  Yet their fate, and what we do with public lands, is intimately linked the health of the planet and our own well-being.

Yesterday Bruce Finley of the Denver Post reported on a recent study showing that development — including livestock grazing, logging, road building, oil and gas extraction and pipelines — is gobbling up America’s natural landscape to the tune of two football fields per minute, a rate even faster than the deforestation that is devastating the Amazon forest.  (Wild equids know this process all too well, as the BLM has removed more than 22 million acres designated for them by the Wild Horse Act of 1971, and continues to shrink their existing herd areas.)  Here’s the Finley article:

Protecting public rangelands from overdevelopment and livestock overgrazing is a key to fighting global warming.  Like a blind machine, the current Administration keeps pushing the reverse button.  President Trump just appointed William Perry Pendley as the BLM’s new acting head.  Pendley has long argued for selling off our public lands to benefit cattle ranchers and other commercial interests, .

Joy Reid had this to say about Pendley’s appointment.  The clip that starts with lighthouses also features wild horses, rare visitors on the Rachel Maddow show:

With Pendley we can expect more ramped up pressure for BLM to get the appropriations it is seeking from Congress — a fraction of which the House has already approved as a pilot — for hugely accelerated roundups, sterilization experiments and genetic manipulation that would all but bring wild horses and burros to extinction to make room for more encroachment by welfare ranchers and developers.  We’ll be hearing more of the language of plunder and exclusion in the Agency’s ongoing push to treat these treasured natural resources as “excess,” tramplers of the range, overpopulating hordes, and general nuisances.  We’ve heard this bully talk all too often.  We know where it leads.What can be done?  Congress is in recess, an apt time to urge your Senators and Representatives to say no to these follies.  AWHC has more info on the BLM’s plan and suggested talking points:

The BLM plans another so-called Advisory Board meeting on October 28-31, this one in Washington DC, when the fake cowboy hat lobbyists will make a last push for their get-the-wild-equids plan.  If you can attend, please put it on your schedule.  Parallel events may be planned; stay tuned.

As a background paper you may want to share with lawmakers, I’m attaching an excellent piece by Devil’s Garden Committee leader Bonnie Kohlrider about the dangers and absurdities of wild horse sterilization and related elements of the BLM’s proposal.

Along with AWHC and Conservation Colorado, we also encourage you to comment on the Forest Service’s proposed rules revision that would seriously weaken public input and threaten wildlife including tens of thousands of wild horses and burros in public lands managed by USFS.  The deadline is August 12.  Please let me know if you’d like to get the call to action and sample letter on this issue.

Thanks for caring and choosing to act.  It counts.

Click (HERE) to download article

5 replies »

  1. Found this notification in my inbox today. The comment period has been extended for 14 days. The new closing date is: Monday, August 26.

    Proposed Rule
    National Environmental Policy Act Compliance
    FR Document: 2019-17071
    Citation: 84 FR 39244 PDF Page 39244 (1 page)
    Abstract: On June 13, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (Agency) published a proposed rule to revise its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The Agency is extending the comment period on the proposed rule, which was scheduled to close on August 12, 2019, for 14 days until August 26, 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They’re baaaack: Cyanide bombs brought to your public lands by Wildlife Services.

    “The Trump administration has reauthorized government officials to use controversial poison devices – dubbed “cyanide bombs” by critics – to kill coyotes, foxes and other animals across the US.

    The spring-loaded traps, called M-44s, are filled with sodium cyanide and are most frequently deployed by Wildlife Services, a federal agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture that kills vast numbers of wild animals each year, primarily for the benefit of private farmers and ranchers.

    In 2018, Wildlife Services reported that its agents had dispatched more than 1.5 million native animals, from beavers to black bears, wolves, ducks and owls. Roughly 6,500 of them were killed by M-44s.

    On Tuesday, after completing the first phase of a routine review, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would allow sodium cyanide’s continued use in M-44s across the country on an interim basis.


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