Adobe Town Family
by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Please Comment by April 4, 2017 on the Checkerboard 2017 Roundup
The BLM was unable to roundup wild horses from Salt Wells Creek, Adobe Town and Great Divide Basin in 2016 because we won a lawsuit that prohibits the BLM from managing the wild horses in the Checkerboard using only Section 4 of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which allows them to remove wild horses from private lands. Because the Checkerboard includes public lands, it is illegal to manage them as if they were privately owned by the ranchers demanding these roundups. In order to legally roundup wild horses from the Checkerboard, the BLM must prove that the numbers are above Appropriate Management Level, or AML. Now, they are not even conducting a census to prove this, instead they are “projecting” that the horses are over the high end of AML.
Roundups cause the destruction of hundreds of wild horse families, as well as injuries and death to the horses as they are chased by helicopters and flee in terror into traps. These captured wild horses are chased into trailers and taken away from the only home they have ever had to end up spending the rest of their days languishing in holding corrals with no shelter. Only a lucky few are adopted by members of the public and these do not always mean good homes – the return rate back to the BLM for adopted or purchased wild horses is over 50%. Many many of these horses will end up at slaughter in Mexico. There is no good reason to roundup and remove these horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin.
I have been following and observing and photographing the wild horses in these three herd management areas for the last 13 years. These horses are uniquely suited to this sometime harsh high desert environment. They are the last three largest herds in Wyoming, and they deserve to be preserved on our public lands. Although the Checkerboard presents challenges to BLM management because of its pattern of public alternating with private lands, that is no reason to cave into petty demands from the Rock Springs Grazing Association, which is made up from less than 25 members. These wild horses are valuable to us, the American public, and so every effort must be made to preserve them here where they were found at the time the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed. These horses were here long before the Grazing Association, and now what needs to happen is land swaps to consolidate blocks of public land that the horses can continue to roam upon. Managing the wild horses on the range, on our public lands where they can continue to roam free and making these necessary land swaps happen is what the BLM needs to be working on, not perpetuating this every 3 year pattern of roundup, removal, then warehouse our wild horses. The Field Manager of the Rock Springs BLM Field Office has been quoted as saying: “For all intents and purposes, we consider the Checkerboard private.” But it is NOT private. In fact, over half of the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas are public land, that belongs to us, the citizens of the United States of America, not the Rock Springs Grazing Association.
Great Divide Basin Family
This time, the BLM wants to remove 1029 wild horses: 584 removed from Salt Wells Creek, 210 removed from Adobe Town, and 235 removed from Great Divide Basin.
They are not even calculating their numbers from an actual aerial census – they are making these numbers up. Every year, the BLM conducts and aerial census in late April, but now they are just “projecting” the numbers.
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