Comment by Debbie Coffey on this article on JournalStar.com
BLM’s documented “Vision” for our Wild Horses and Burros
In an article on JournalStar.com written by Art Hovey (link above, and copy of the entire article at the bottom of this comment), a new BLM Long Term Holding Pasture contractor (Stan Dobrovolny) in Atkinson, Nebraska, made a public comment advocating the re-opening horse slaughter plants.
STAN DOBROVOLNY statements include:
“Up to now, he sees ‘a lack of understanding from the public and false solutions coming from far left wing environmental nut cases’.”
Stan also stated “The best control would be to open the kill plants and let the people who like horse meat eat horse meat.”
Your tax dollars are paying this guy.
How does the BLM chose people to care for our wild horses? Does the BLM just look for a chunk of land that is suitable?
Did the BLM personnel who interviewed Stan have bad judgement, or do they share his callous attitude? This attitude seems to start at the top and trickle down to the BLM condoning a reckless helicopter pilot like Josh Hellyer (used by Sun J at roundups), to putting wild horses on the private property of a rancher who thinks it’s a good idea to slaughter horses.
There needs to be a radical attitude change from top to bottom in the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, which actually has a mandate to PROTECT the wild horses and burros. When the BLM places horses on the property of a person who believes in slaughtering them, one would naturally question the care the horses might receive. Even if the horses are on a pasture, they are loaded and unloaded, may require supplemental feeding, etc.
It is important for all advocates to read the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
Some important points in this Act are:
“The Secretary is authorized and directed to protect and manage wild free-roaming horses and burros” (notice the word protect).
“It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”
So many aspects of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program indicate both a lack of caring and incompetence, that there should be a Congressional Investigation into EVERY aspect of the program. As we know, there is a lack of PROOF of an excess of wild horses and burros (photos and videos of the wild horses and burros taken during inventory flights to validate the raw data), to even justify removing them from their federally protected Herd Management Areas.
Here’s the entire article:
Nebraska rancher puts wild horses out to pasture
June 18, 2013 6:00 am • By ART HOVEY/lLincoln Journal Star
The numbers at the Wild Horse and Burro Center at Elm Creek have been holding steady at between 430 and 500 for the past decade.
Nonetheless, the population of horses relocated to Nebraska from over-populated federal ranges in western states has more than doubled in recent months because of an Atkinson rancher’s decision to offer a long-term holding pasture for 800 mustangs.
“I was born and raised with a horse between my knees,” said Stan Dobrovolny, “so nobody likes to see horses starve to death like that.”
Dobrovolny’s entry on the wild horse scene occurred over several months last winter, he said Monday. It comes to light as the National Academy of Sciences recommends sterilization to the Bureau of Land Management as a correction strategy for what many see as a failed management policy.
Recent estimates put the wild horse population as high as 50,000 and climbing and the annual cost of management at $75 million and rising.
Tom Gorey of the BLM office in Washington declined to react to a June report that the agency asked the academy to provide.
“We want to let the report speak for itself,” Gorey said Monday. “We don’t want to characterize it.”
Joe Stratton, facility manager at Elm Creek for the past 15 years, also steered clear of a detailed reaction to the National Academy findings. But Stratton acknowledged efforts to find people willing to adopt horses brought to a site about 160 miles west of Lincoln had been going backwards lately.
“The last couple years, we’ve been averaging right about 50 animals adopted a year out of our facility,” he said. “So it’s gone down a significant amount.” He blamed the trend on “high hay prices, drought, the economy, you name it.”
The weakening response has brought an end to periodic efforts to truck adoption candidates to events scheduled for that purpose in more populous parts of the state. “We haven’t really done adoptions off site much, because the productivity of that has not been there.”
Meanwhile, the breeding and birth cycle puts pressure on the supply side at the rate of 20 percent more horses in 2012 than there were in 2011.
“That’s about 7,600 babies every year,” Stratton said, “so if you don’t catch that many a year, you’re losing ground.”
Elsewhere in its report, the National Academy found fault with capture and removal. That’s because, according to the study’s authors, it creates a self-perpetuating problem in which removal makes room for more horses to survive in an area that otherwise would be overgrazed.
Past suggestions that captured horses be sent to slaughter plants produced a huge outcry from those who wanted what they viewed as a more humane solution. Sterilization is not a new idea either, although it’s new coming from the academy.
Dobrovolny said he wants to read the report rather than rely on media portrayals. Up to now, he sees “a lack of understanding” from the public and false solutions coming from “far left environmental nut cases.”
He sees merit in the slaughter idea, even though killing the horses is a crime that dates to the Nixon administration and even though a slaughter plant operated at North Platte is among many that closed.
“The best control would be to open the kill plants and let the people who like horse meat eat horse meat,” he said. “Obviously, that’s my opinion.”
France has been one popular export destination.
In the absence of more effective controls on horse numbers, Dobrovolny is in the business of custom grazing for mustangs relocated to his ranch.
No, he said, he’s not doing it for free.
“Actually, if you’re in the ranching business, everything you do has to have some profit to it or you can’t afford to do it.”
Reach Art Hovey at 402-473-7223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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