My travels this last year have taken me over 60,000 miles since last summer. HMA’s in Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and California.
Since roundups ended at the end of February I have crafted reports, done facility checks in three states, tracked horses and done range recon. I have assisted in the crafting of the documents for the Ninth Circuit. In many ways I have been busier than when documenting roundups.
Hit with a stomach issue this week as I worked with the attorney I was “laid up” for a couple of days.
Trying to create the agenda for the next road trip several things have come to my attention. One of the greatest issues is that the contradictions within a National program again speak to petty kingdoms run by petty kings, with no accountability has not abated.
Last July Federal Judge Larry Hicks ruled that the closure of public land during a roundup is a prior restraint to First Amendment Rights.
In a Press Release on Summer Roundups, dated June 20th, Director Bob Abbey states:
“With the new gather season starting in July, we must carry out these gathers in a fully transparent manner,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “That includes taking full ownership of what we do and by sharing both the positive and negative news with our various publics, whatever criticism may come our way.”
Yet the plan for the Jackie’s Butte Roundup in Oregon states:
As needed for orderly administration of the gather and to ensure safety for personnel and horses during gather operations, there will be a temporary closure to public access, use, or occupancy on public lands adjacent to and within the Jackies Butte Herd Management Area.
There are a number of other concerns right now about Oregon.
It never stops.
If you can help get gas in my tank… I’ll go check it out.
Still tracking horses for adoptions and working on other issues. Yes, I hope to be there for Triple B (date has changed). But without your support I’m grounded.
Following Submitted by:
BLM’S GATHER ADDICTION
The BLM wants to spend our tax money to keep its wild horse and burro employees in business. It has gathered so called “excess” horses so vigorously these past few years that it now appears to be ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel.’ to try to justify its work. Meanwhile, the taxpayer is having to pay for the costly helicopter gather of the horses, the trucking, the corralling, and the 20 year long- term pasturing commitment to the horses when it is highly questionable if the horses even need to be removed from their range where they are free to live. After all, these horses are only to be removed if they are in excess.
At the start of 2011 around l940 horses were reportedly on the range although 2715 were allowed to be there.(Oregon BLM Wild Horse and Burro Population Data Report Date January 29, 2011) Bob Abbey set the appropriate management level for Oregon at 2715 horses. So Oregon would be allowed 775 more horses. In spite of this, this summer the Oregon Wild Horse and Burro Specialists will embark on an aggressive gather operation as set forth below.
1. Kiger in the Burns District can have 51 to 82 horses on its range. 127 will be there post-foal time. The BLM hikes up its numbers at gather time. It says 132 will be there, 82 need to be removed, leaving 50 or is it 45 which is below the range of what is to be there.
2. Ten horses each outside their range areas of Paisley in the Lakeview District and of Warm Springs in the Burns District will be gathered although about 70 more horses could be in each of their range areas. The wild horses once had a herd area in which they were found and in which they were to be left to live. But the boys of the BLM said they needed to lessen that area so they could manage their horses. So now when the horses step over those boys’ man-made management lines, they are gathered, removed, corralled, 20 years long-term pastured. Why not, the government has all kinds of money for such activity. Don’t try to just put them back in their managed range areas of there is room for them.
3. Riddle in the Burns District can have 33 to 56 horses on its range. 72 are there post-foal time. Once again, the BLM hikes up its numbers saying 87 are there, 54 need to be removed leaving 33 or is it 18 which is at or below the range of what can be there.
4. Jackies Butte in the Vale District can have 75 to 150 horses on its range. 210 are there post-foal time. The BLM in this district doesn’t hike up its numbers this time. The BLM says 210 are on the range, 135 need to be removed leaving 75 which is at the lowest range of what can be there. But the BLM is not done. It plans to geld 10 of its 75 and return them to the range so that only 65 reproducing animals will be left, numbers below the lower AML.
5. Three Fingers in the Vale District can have 75 to 150. About 314 are there post-foal but less may be there because of previous pzp treatments. 250 will be gathered, 175 removed, and 75 left. But once again, the BLM isn’t done yet. Of the 75 almost all or 32 will be pzp ed though pzp works best November through January and 10 will be gelded. Studies suggest mares pzp ed in August may birth in the winter which would be potentially dangerous to the foal and mother.
6. Coyote Alvord, Sheephead Heath, and Sands Spring are all in the Vale District and are a clue to be wary when the BLM wants to group Herd Management Areas or HMAs. Sand Springs can have 100 to 200 horses on its range. 72 are there post-foal. So why is it involved in a gather? Coyote Lake Alvord Tule, previously 74 pzp ed in ll-08 can have 198 to 302 horses on its range. 339 are there post-foal with 37 excess horses or perhaps less because of the previous pzp treatment and the harsh winter. Sheepshead Heath Creek, previously 46 pzp ed in 11-08 can have 1612-302 horses on its range. 333 are there post-foal with 31 excess horses or again perhaps less because of the pzp treatment and the past brutal winter. 31 plus 37 or 68 excess horses or maybe not. So why does the BLM want to gather 626 horses and remove 258…not to remove excess horses but to bring Coyote Lake Alvord Tule and Sheepshead Heath Creek down to its lower AML. Does an excess of 68 or lower in two areas and a below AML in another area justify such a large gather and removal. Oh, I forget the government has lots of money to spend on helicopter gathers, removals, trucking, corralling, 20 year long-term pasturing. But the BLM once again doesn’t quit here. Of the 368 not gathered assuming half are mares, 184, and half are stallions or 184, 140 or 76% of the mares will be pzp ed and 40 or 22% of the stallions will be gelded.
Inflating numbers to justify gathers and removals, taking numbers below their lower acceptable range levels, removing horses from the range when they could be put back in their managed range area, grouping herd groups to mask unwarranted gathering and removing in some herds, gathering and removing when excesses have not been established, gathering and removing far in excess of what is needed to stay long-term within your appropriate management levels, and using pzp inappropriately speaks to mismanagement.
It is not a wonder our long-term 21 pastures are almost filled to capacity. It is not a wonder thousands of our wild horses are languishing in barren, unsheltered corrals up to three years when they were only to be there 30-45 days.
Why is it the American public has to pay for this grossly mismanaged program? Why is it the American wild horses and burros whose ancestors gave so much to us and who are so majestic and unique have to suffer at the hands of a grossly flawed program denied their homes, their families, and their bands? Isn’t it time to change the guard?