Horse Health

Letter: What’s behind these wild horse roundups

written by Rick Karcich as printed in the Vail Daily

“A five-year Freedom of Information Act investigation of BLM wild horse and burro off-range corrals, undertaken by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, noted violations including misrepresentations, lack of scientific accounting for wild horses and burros on and off range, multitudes of inconsistencies in documentation presented to both the American public and Congress, and waste of taxpayer funds.”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

I’m a retired engineer and wild horse and burro advocate. In my humble opinion, the treatment of wild horses and burros during roundups, while devastating, really illustrates the way that human “management” of animals always prioritizes human interests, such as grazing space for cattle at the expense of federally-protected horses.

For years, the Bureau of Land Management has taken healthy wild horses and burros from their legally protected lands in the American West at the expense of taxpayers. Notably, keeping wild horses on public lands with their natural predators cost taxpayers nothing. Yet the BLM roundups continue, taking tens of thousands of wild horses into captivity and costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

The wild horse and burro program is nothing more than a grazing program ancillary, designed to give ranchers unfettered access to cheap feed on America’s public lands.

A five-year Freedom of Information Act investigation of BLM wild horse and burro off-range corrals, undertaken by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, noted violations including misrepresentations, lack of scientific accounting for wild horses and burros on and off range, multitudes of inconsistencies in documentation presented to both the American public and Congress, and waste of taxpayer funds.

The white paper that resulted from this research documented intentional attempts by the BLM to mislead and confuse the taxpaying public and legislators. Data from this 2017 report showed that large numbers of horses disappeared from the holding pens or during transports. Other issues documented include inhumane treatment of wild horses and burros both on and off range; herd growth rates based on BLM’s own statistics that are scientifically and biologically impossible — and the main driver of roundups.

Direct and indirect subsidies to public-lands ranchers of the BLM’s wild horse and burro “roundup and warehouse” policy now total $500 million to $1 billion every single year for a less than 2% contribution to the United States’ beef supply and massive destruction of our public lands.

With public lands grazing fees far below national rates, the BLM is losing over $100 million per year on the program. The current livestock grazing fee sits well below market value, at $1.35 per asset under management, but then ranchers charge taxpayers $60 per AUM to house wild horses on their pastures. All of this for a program that contributes only 1.9% to the nation’s beef supply.

The BLM’s wild horse and burro program has become a “capture and conversion” cottage industry, of federally-protected horses and burros being scapegoated for profit by welfare ranchers — all compliments of the American taxpayer.

I am asking for you to please write about this to inform your readers in the interest of justice.

Rick Karcich

8 replies »

  1. Good letter – posted it on the Letters from an American” this morning. Might possibly educate someone that has no clue regarding our Wild Horses.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent document and so very accurate! Today I wrote the Governor of my state in hopes he would take a position! The Public Lands belong to ALL of US in every state! I also contacted the FAA and have filed complaints! 3 or 4 years ago I protested in DC! Things we’re going bad then. But NEVER thought it could get worse! But the BLM plan is being exposed! Death & destruction for OUR Wild Horses & Burros! And the slick comment that the meat of our Wild Horses & Burros is free from toxic chemicals unlike our domestic horses! That comment burned thru my heart like a burning poker as I knew what that meant! I can only say these people are certainly Disciples of the 😈 just as the humane societies clothed in a lambs skin! As an American, I cannot fathom why WE CANNOT stop this! What a disappoint Deb Haalund is! I was personally told by her staffer if appointed the Roundups would stop! The corruption goes higher than anyone knows! My heart breaks for OUR Wild Horses & Burros! But I will NEVER give up the fight until they are SAFE!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Looking at the map it appears NY – where I am – has lithium deposits & quite a few other places. Cant leave those old resources in the ground – use em or lose em! Kind of like the way grazing allotments have to be GRAZED. Time for laws to be changed – many of them!

      Like

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