By: William E. Simpson II of Wild Horse Fire Brigade
History is replete with examples of people and agencies causing great harm or that have been caught in the act of some form of wrongdoing only to offer the excuse, I was just doing my job…
On 16 March 1968, First Lieutenant William L. “Rusty” Calley, Jr., and his platoon murdered at least 300 Vietnamese civilians (and perhaps as many as 500) at a small South Vietnamese sub-hamlet called My Lai.
The excuse offered to the military court in regard to that massacre was “I was only following orders”.
Is it ever acceptable for Government agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management (‘BLM’) and the U.S. Forest Service (‘USFS’) or their employees to engage in wrongdoing as a function of ‘just doing their job’?
Are employees of Government agencies required to follow directives from their superiors even when such directives are highly questionable or fly in the face of common sense, logic and established policies and law?
Is it reasonable for the BLM and USFS to willfully ignore the best available science that would lead to a more honest, humane and ecologically appropriate wild horse management model?
Is it fair to American taxpayers for the BLM to knowingly waste over $100-million annually in taxpayer funds mismanaging wild horses when there exists a far more cost-effective and humane method for managing native species wild horses in America?
History teaches many lessons for those who ask the right questions.
Lessons from history provide the precedent lens for judging the people and agency(s), in this case the BLM and USFS, who are engaged in arguable wrongdoing in regard to their management of publicly-owned natural resources, including wildlife and wild horses.
When Government agencies, such as the BLM, the USFS and their employees engage in clear malfeasance, such as knowingly misinforming the public as to key scientific facts about the evolution, natural history and behavioral ecology of American wild horses, they are engaged in malfeasance and a violation of the Public Trust in regard to the management of a publicly-owned natural resource.
Lets examine some of the evidence that incriminates the BLM, as well as the USFS, in the arguable malfeasance due to their intentional misrepresentations made to the public and it’s elected officials, which form the foundational premise for their current flawed management model:
- The BLM has claimed for decades that wild horses are “not a native species in North America”, insinuating they are an invasive species.
This statement by the BLM (as well as by the United States Forest Service) has been made in writing and orally by the agency and many of it’s employees.
That statement is manifestly false in every respect, and is contradictory to the preponderance of recent scientific investigations and publications, of which include, DNA and paleontological evidence showing wild horses did not go extinct in North America during the Ice Age, approximately 15,000 years ago.
We now have fossil and DNA evidence for wild horses that lived in North America just 5,000 years ago.
Furthermore, we have documented observations of post Ice Age splinter populations of wild horses by the French explorer LaVerendrie and company in the early 16th century, as well as logged observations of wild horses living among indigenous peoples on the Oregon-California border made by captain Sir Francis Drake in 1580, just 90-years after America was first discovered by Columbus [1, 2].
- The BLM claimed (in writing) that; “Wild horses have no natural predators…”.
The BLM has been and is currently engaged in an ongoing campaign of willful ignorance combined with a campaign of public misinformation via their ongoing propagation of manifestly false statements, including but not limited to this material misrepresentation:
“Wild horses have no natural predators …” is a dishonest statement promoted by the BLM.
That false statement appears in a so-called management plan that was presented to the Congress of The United States in writing titled; ‘Report To Congress – Management Options For A Sustainable Wild Horse And Burro Program’.
Only a corrupted agency would propose to manage any resource, starting with a lie.
That statement is completely false and conflicts with current and past observations by scientists and citizens living in rural areas who have witnessed wild horses being predated by coyotes, wolves, bear and mountain lions.
In addition to common knowledge of the natural selection of wild horses by their co-evolved predators. There are numerous published studies and accounts of wild horses being depradated by coyotes, wolves, bears and mountain lions, all of which are co-evolved natural predators of wild horses in North America [3, 4].
Instead of wasting taxpayer funds issuing false and misleading information as a means for supporting an arguable eradication plan of wild horses on public lands to maximize the monetization of public lands, American legislators and taxpayers should demand a proper management model.
Wild Horse Fire Brigade offers a humane plan that is both ecologically and economically appropriate when applied to select critical and designated remote wilderness areas (approx. 110-million-acres) where motorized vehicles and equipment are prohibited as well as invasive species livestock grazing.
- The Aboriginal North American Horse; Dr. Claire Henderson, History Dept. Batiment de Koninck, Laval University, Quebec, Canada. Feb. 1991):
“Dakota⁄Lakota people have an extensive “horse vocabulary,” and they distinguish between their “own” horses, which among other names they call “sunkdudan,” the small legged horse, and the European imported horse which they call the long-legged horse, or the American Horse.”
- Extracted quote from the dissertation by Dr. Yvette Running Horse Collin, titled; The relationship between the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the horse: deconstructing a Eurocentric myth, which can be read in it’s entirety at the following URL:
“The Spanish conquistadors were not the only European explorers to have noticed and recorded early sightings of horses in the Americas. In 1579, the Queen of England sent Sir Francis Drake to “The New World.” Drake also recorded having seen herds of horses in the Americas during his voyage off the coasts of what are now known as California and Oregon. An account given of Drake’s landing in the geographic areas now known as Northern California and Southern Oregon includes the English explorer’s description of the homes of the Native Peoples, as well as the animals that he encountered. “It related his wonder at seeing so many wild horses, because he had heard that the Spaniards had found no native horses in America, save those of the Arab breed which they had introduced.” 116In addition to accounts from explorers appointed by European kings and queens, there are accounts of native horses in South America in the area now known as Argentina. One such account even includes an explanation as to why the Spanish may have been motivated to hide the fact that the Indigenous horse of the Americas existed and had a relationship with Native Peoples. According to an article entitled Antiguedad del Caballo En El Plata (The Antiquity of the Horse in the River Plate) by Anibal Cardoso as cited by Austin Whittall on his blog site article 115 Ibid., 53. 116 Henry S. Burrage, Original Narratives of Early American History. Early English and French Voyages (New York: Unknown Binding, 1906), 23.—-
- Knopff KH, Knopff AA, Kortello A, Boyce MS. (2010). Cougar Kill Rate and Prey Composition in a Multiprey System. Journal of Wildlife Management 74(7):000–000; 2010; DOI: 10.2193/2009-314. View here.
French, Brett. (2010, December 9). Ferocious appetites: Study finds mountain lions may be eating more than previously believed. Billings Gazette. View here.
Turner JW Jr and Morrison ML. (2001). Influence of Predation by Mountain Lions on Numbers and Survivorship of a Feral Horse Population. The Southwestern Naturalist. Vol. 46, No. 2 (Jun., 2001), pp. 183-190. View here.
Greger, Paul D. and Romney, Evan M. (1999). High foal mortality limits growth of a desert feral horse population in Nevada. Great Basin Naturalist: Vol. 59: No. 4, Article 10. View here.
French, Brett. (2004, August 12). Lions blamed for deaths of Pryor foals. Billings Gazette.
Grizzley bears and wild horses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXfMNHnpvDk
4. Impact Of Wild Horses On Wilderness Landscape And Wildfire – Preliminary Findings Report By: William E. Simpson II – Naturalist – July 25, 2019: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6a30c6_98642a78546849f0a94e2687cdf35654.pdf