Horse News

Letter: Don’t believe what BLM says about wild horses

as published in The Salt Lake Tribune

I am writing in response to the Jan. 26 commentary you published “Wild mustangs need to be managed, not saved” by Saige Bowen.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

I do not agree with Bowen that “well-meaning sympathizers” are mistakenly advocating for the viability of America’s wild horse population.

The commentary is lacking in substantive data and cites the Bureau of Land Management as an authoritative source to justify the “overpopulation” viewpoint toward wild horses and burros. This limited and highly unscientific viewpoint has been contradicted at the highest levels, by the National Academy of Sciences, concluding that BLM assessments are not supported by scientific information and are lacking in transparency to stakeholders.

The NAS was established in 1963 by an act of Congress, and its members are scientists and researchers who provide objective advice on matters related to science and technology. The BLM is a government agency managed by officials appointed by the White House. Their views on grazing lands and on wild horses and burros are influenced by the interests of ranchers and mining companies, which take precedence over the welfare of wildlife and public lands.

BLM assessments are lacking in responsible, ethical research methods of determining sustainability of the environment and wildlife coexistence. I urge the editors to publish a more in-depth examination of the issues involved, relying on the opinions of scholars, wildlife experts and scientists, rather than on the under-researched opinions of an undergraduate student.

Marianne Smith, Oakland, Calif.

6 replies »

  1. “The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act (“VGPRA”), H.R. 5737, was introduced in Congress by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) yesterday afternoon. This new bill will authorize new grazing permit retirements, and will also protect those that have already been bought out but are now threatened with being re-opened to livestock grazing. Right now, grazing allotments previously bought out in the national forest lands south of Yellowstone and in the Escalante Canyons of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are under threat of being reopened to livestock by the Trump Administration and its push to open every last acre of land to extraction and exploitation. This bill would close those lands to livestock in perpetuity.

    Now that the bill has been introduced, the next step is to build a broad base of support in the House of Representatives in anticipation of hearings and an eventual vote in the Natural Resources Committee. Please take a moment to contact your Representative and ask them to become a co-sponsor of the VGPRA or thank the original co-sponsors of the bill: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47), Rep. Denny Hecht (D-WA-10), Rep. Earl Blumenaeur (D-OR-3), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA-28), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6), and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.DC-at large).”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marrianne you were too nice. Just read Ms. Bowens article. She is an outright liar. I have video and photographic proof that the Onaqui horses are not starving and the only deterioration in the range conditions are caused by sheep and cattle overgrazing the HMA. If she is any indication of what our universities are putting out we and the horses are in serious trouble. Wonder how much the BLM or the cattleman’s Asssoc. paid her to put this garbage out to the general public !! Once again a case of fake news in the media. No wonder no one trusts the media anymore.


  3. Per the United States 1971 Congressional Wild Horse and Burro Act, the land is to be devoted principally although not exclusively to the wild horses and wild burros’ welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands.

    The recent National Academy of Science (NAS) institute report lent credence to accusations that the bureau [BLM] HAS BEEN IGNORING SCIENCE AND GROSSLY MISMANAGING THE WILD EQUINES, and that it pursued policies that favored corporate livestock grazing interests over the interests of the wild horses and burros. That, it said, was in direct contradiction to the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

    The NAS findings clearly state that the BLM has failed to provide accurate estimates of the nation’s population of wild horses and burros. Therefore, the NAS cannot conclude that a state of over-population exists and or [cannot] provide a recommendation for artificial management considerations such as fertility controls to control populations for which the complex population dynamics are currently unknown.


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