An open letter from Charlotte Roe
Wild Equid Partners and Friends,
photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
1. Stopping the Path Backward: Very shortly, the Senate Appropriations Committee will consider funding a plan for the de facto extermination of wild horses and burros that the National Cattlemen’s Association and allies aim to ram through Congress. The plan would cut wild equine herd populations to pre-1971 levels, authorize mass sterilizations of wild mares, and triple the number of WHBs incarcerated with no provision to protect them from slaughter. It would crash remnant herds by manipulating sex ratios and keeping them below genetically viable levels. Billed as a compromise between two animal welfare bureaucracies and the lobbying coalition that has long sought to clear public lands for subsidized livestock grazing and extractive industries, it would actually put the BLM’s broken Roundup & Remove system on steroids.
The plan is hidden within an appropriations bill for the Interior Department. The House has already passed a partial funding of the BLM’s requested authorization for the program, but the appropriations package must be approved by the Senate, then be taken up by a House-Senate conference. Please consider contacting your Senators (by whatever means, once again) and meeting with their regional staff informing them about this highly controversial, deeply flawed and compromised plan. Shout if you need background information or briefing pointers.
2. Stealing public lands: A new PBS video by Jeffrey Brown vividly depicts the Administration’s massive attacks on our public lands and governance, including the “largest reduction of federally protected land in US history, according to a recent study by the journal Science.” This includes not only the removal of wilderness protections from millions of acres but also severe reduction of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, prioritization of oil & gas development, and stacking BLM leadership with leaders ensconced in those industries. The video goes to the heart of why public lands matter. It merits sharing far & wide:
A recent article in The Guardian also delves into the conflict of interest at the highest levels of the Department of Interior, starting with DOI Secretary Bernhardt.
3, Speaking up for animal rights: One interesting sign of change is a “PAWlicy” just released by Presidential candidate Julian Castro, whose platform covers several dimensions of animal rights and wildlife protection, including wild horses & burros! May this be a challenge to ALL the candidates to address these and the related issues of public lands:
4. Violence against wild burros: The monstrous shooting of wild burros in California—42 left to die by the roadside—finally sparked the BLM into posting a reward to find the perpetrator(s). RTF, AWHC and The Cloud Foundation have joined in to to increase the reward to $18,500. The scope of these murders is stunning. Wild burros desperately need respect and understanding of their place in the West and their enormous benefits for the ecosystem. Not driving them off public lands. Not roundups. Never this. The following includes a BLM press release:
Thanks for what you can do to raise the wild ones’ voices — C