by Carol Walker as published on Wild Hoofbeats
The Bureau of Land Management has announced its plans to roundup and remove an additional 6000 wild horses from our public lands citing drought as the reason behind declaring “emergency roundups.”
With an emergency roundup, the Bureau of Land Management overrides the need for public comments and input on their plans, and can proceed a day or two after the announcement. This quick time frame keeps the public from participating and observing the roundup, and it keeps their actions from being visible and transparent to the public.
But “the BLM Handbook states that drought does not qualify as an “emergency” and does not justify a full-force-and-effect decision-making process. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that the BLM provide further opportunities for public comment on site-specific information and proposed actions. Any “drought” EA would only be a programmatic document unless site-specific data and specific proposed actions are provided.”
Why would the Bureau of Land Management remove wild horses instead of reducing or eliminating livestock grazing in these wild horse Herd Management Areas if there is reduced supply of water and forage? Because the livestock ranchers who have grazing leases on wild horse Herd Management Areas have a big powerful lobby in Congress.
Nada Wolff Culver the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management seeks to justify this extraordinary measure that amplifies an already aggressive roundup plan to remove 11,000 wild horses this year and 20,000 next year: “As one of the agencies charged with the responsibility to protect and manage America’s wild horses and burros, the BLM is prepared to take emergency action where we can in order to save the lives of these cherished animals,” said Nada Culver, BLM’s deputy director of policy and programs, in a statement.”
But the Bureau of Land Management does not treat wild horses as “cherished,” far from it. Instead of managing them humanely where they are found and supposed to be protected on our public lands with their families, using birth control when their numbers need to be controlled, they chase them with helicopters, drive them into traps, separate them from their families and send them to feed lots. And under the Adoption Incentive Program, the BLM pays adopters $1000 per horse to take these “cherished animals” off their hands, and the result is hundreds of wild horses being sold to slaughter once the unscrupulous adopter gets their money.
This new plan by the BLM to remove an additional 6000 wild horses using the “emergency” of drought in an excuse is just a way to hurry up the removal of as many wild horses as possible from competition with the livestock which is grazing on our public lands at a pittance. One of the Herds targeted is the much beloved Sand Wash Basin Herd in Colorado which will be rounded up by or starting September 1, with a plan to remove 783 wild horses which may even leave less than low Appropriate Management Level, for no good reason, with no public oversight or ability to provide input.
What can you do to help? Call your Senators and Representatives and President Biden and tell them no emergency roundups – keep our wild horses on our public lands where they belong, and instead take the livestock off our public lands during the drought.