The overall end-result of donation-funded non-profit wild horse advocacy groups is, as the record shows, the demise of an American Icon; the Wild Horse. These non-profit groups have certainly had their ‘time at bat’… and it’s well past-due for a new hitter.
Too many Americans have forgotten how America came to be, and how wild horses were critical partners in building America…
Once numbering in the millions across America, wild horses were a continual source of horse-power for industry and ranching.
Wild horses, along with domestic horses, were instrumental in the evolution of the American dream.
Really, doesn’t America owe its wild horses a little bit of our respect and gratitude?
A token of such gratitude would be to help them to finally be able to genuinely live wild and free, unfettered by the meddling and ignorance that stems from the currently failed wild horse management by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and by the donate-button-funded non-profits armed with high-powered-gas rifles, who are supporting the harassment and shooting American wild horses full of the ‘genetic poison’ known as PZP.
What our Wild Horses desperately need is; activism around a workable plan that meets critical criteria!
The Wild Horse Fire Brigade ‘Plan’ (‘WHFB’) allows wild horses to be truly wild and free, while also providing these benefits:
1) The Plan is arguably acceptable to a majority of stakeholders around public lands grazing and wild horses.
2) The Plan is sustainable on it’s own, without the need for $-millions in ongoing funding
3) The Plan provides true freedom for wild horses in the wilderness where they belong; in the intent of the 1971 Act.
4) The Plan allows Nature to manage their genetics and populations through the evolutionary process of ‘Natural Selection’
5) The Plan doesn’t burden taxpayers with continuing costs in the $100-million per year range, the current situation with BLM.
6) The Plan would re-balance ecosystems and also, reduce wildfire fuels
7) The Plan would reduce the need for costly and dangerous prescribed burns that pollute the atmosphere
8) The Plan sequesters carbon compounds back into soils through the wild horse herbivory
9) The Plan helps protect forests and wildlife from wildfire
10) The Plan reseeds fire-scarred landscapes with native plants and thereby reduce erosion, protecting fisheries
I am also concerned about the limited capacities of much-needed Sanctuaries who are doing noble work by continuing to take-in horses, caring-for and feeding them, from both domestic situations/rescues, and now also from increasing wild rescues…
By solving the wild horse issue, Sanctuaries can focus their donated resources on the needs of domestic horses that need rescue…
There is a finite amount of physical sanctuary space (land area)… and money… most sanctuaries are already filled-up and we have thousands of perfectly good domestic horses needing rescue of some kind, which are filling the trucks heading into Mexico and brutal slaughter, along with American Wild Horses/Mustangs salted-in.
The reality of WHFB is this; we aren’t over-extending in any way via the implementation of the Plan.
Even if we deployed whatever horses there may be left in the holding facilities into the WHFB program, and any additional horses that will surely be coming off HMAs where they are commingled with livestock, we really only have enough wild horses to rewild and provide fuels reductions in a relatively small fraction of the total area of lands in America that are ‘designated wilderness’, which total about 110-million acres. These areas contain the few remaining heritage trees, some of which are thousands of years old, and if lost to catastrophic wildlife, might end yet another species on the planet.
A general metric that helps put things into perspective:
The metric that Dr. Michael Rains (former professor of forestry at Humbolt State U, and former Deputy Chief at the USFS) gave me during a telephone conversation a few years ago was this:
After reading my (Simpson’s) research… Dr. Rains read that the CA population of deer is down about 1.5 to 2-million deer over the past 50-years…
Rains commented that; to makeup for just the lost natural grazing of these approximate 2-million deer missing in CA, we would need to deploy about 500,000 wild horses! That’s just re-balancing the natural herbivory in California alone… an herbivory that in previous warm-periods kept wildfires in the realm of ‘normal’ wildfire as a result of a reduction of about 2.5-million tons of annual grass and brush fuels on the landscape.
Obviously, if we include all wild horses that may still be alive in BLM/USFS holding facilities, as well as all the remaining free wild horses in HMAs (now maybe just 40,000?) the total number of wild horses left in all of America is roughly 120,000 horses…
If we carefully deployed wild horses into just 20-million acres of the 110-million acres of ‘designated wilderness’ at the rate of 1-horse per 200 acres, we could rewild 100,000 horses! And the immediate, direct savings to taxpayers with that one move would be over $100-M per year!
If we also logically estimate a reduction in losses to natural resources, infrastructure, homes and socioeconomic losses resulting from wildfires at the rate of just 2% impact/reduction resulting from wildfire grazing by wild horses, considering we are experiencing financial losses in the $-hundreds of billions (insured and uninsured losses), the additional savings could easily amount to an added $500-million or more, annually!
Wild horses can thrive in a wide range of regions and at a wide range of elevations… from the deserts to the arctic circle, and high in the mountains with deep snow (the eastern Oregon ‘Big Summit’ herd has lived for hundreds of years at an elevation of about 8,000 feet! with up to 20-foot of snow)… The home-range of the wild horses around Wild Horse Ranch in the Cascade-Siskiyou wilderness is at an elevation that ranges from 3,000-feet to 6,000 feet within a 5-mile radius.
Using existing Law to rewild and relocate American wild horses into ecologically ideal areas:
We have in-hand existing law that allows any government entity (city, county, state, or agencies within those categories) to get wild horses directly from the BLM and USFS at no cost.
Using the existing law to obtain wild horses, and entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (‘MOU’) with one of more agencies (ODF, BLM, USFS) to deploy the wild horses as ‘work animals’ to reduce wildfire fuels in carefully selected at-risk forested wilderness areas, we can begin to provide a positive, cost-effective solution for wild horses that benefits them to the highest degree.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (HUMANE TRANSFER OF EXCESS ANIMALS SEC. 116) to transfer excess wild horses and burros currently in holding to other federal, state, and local government agencies for use as work animals.
H. R. 133—Page 358-359
HUMANE TRANSFER AND TREATMENT OF ANIMALS
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to land administered by the Bureau of Land Management, or the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to land administered by the Forest Service (referred to in this section as the ‘‘Secretary concerned’’), may transfer excess wild horses and burros that have been removed from land administered by the Secretary concerned to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals. (b) The Secretary concerned may make a transfer under sub-section (a) immediately on the request of a Federal, State, or local government agency. (c) An excess wild horse or burro transferred under subsection (a) shall lose status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro (as defined in section 2 of Public Law 92–195 (commonly known as the ‘‘Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act’’) (16 U.S.C. 1332)). (d) A Federal, State, or local government agency receiving an excess wild horse or burro pursuant to subsection (a) shall not— (1) destroy the horse or burro in a manner that results in the destruction of the horse or burro into a commercial product; (2) sell or otherwise transfer the horse or burro in a manner that results in the destruction of the horse or burro for processing into a commercial product; or (3) euthanize the horse or burro, except on the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian in a case of severe injury, illness, or advanced age. (e) Amounts appropriated by this Act shall not be available for— (1) the destruction of any healthy, unadopted, and wild horse or burro under the jurisdiction of the Secretary concerned (including a contractor); or (2) the sale of a wild horse or burro that results in the destruction of the wild horse or burro for processing into a commercial product.
You can find more information and a draft outline for a legislative bill at: https://www.WildHorseFireBrigade.com
William E. Simpson II is a naturalist living among and studying free-roaming native species American wild horses. William is the award-winning producer of the micro-documentary film ‘Wild Horses‘. He is the author of a new Study about the behavioral ecology of wild horses, two published books and more than 150 published articles on subjects related to wild horses, wildlife, wildfire, and public land (forest) management. He has appeared on NBC NEWS, ABC NEWS, theDoveTV and has been a guest on numerous talk radio shows including the Lars Larson Show, the Bill Meyer Show, and on NPR Jefferson Public Radio.
#WildHorses, #WHFB, #ReWilding