The New York Times ran a piece by Phil Taylor of Greenwire (look up Greenwire, it is an “energy and environment” publication).
I took the time to submit an Editorial, but am not taking the time for the submission to be rejected.
There are several other areas of the piece I find disturbing besides what I address in the below submission, but there is only so much time in the day.
I urge you all to create your own submission to the Times.
I am crafting doc’s and editing and back on the road…
I always hate to ask… but I do need your help to stay out here and continue the work.
While applauding the Times for having covered the issue of Wild Horses and Burros on public land, the journalistic standard of the piece “Interior’s New Wild Horse Chief Confronts…” by Phil Taylor lacks authoritative bases.
Federal law does not “force” the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to “cull” horses. The law instead requires them to manage according to a “multiple use” mandate and to “protect” wild horses as “living symbols of the pioneer spirit of the West.” “Removal” of horses is only one of many tools in the BLM’s toolbox although by choice, it is the only one utilized thus far in the forty-year history of the mandate.
The “advocate community” is rightly concerned that wild herds are not managed under “multiple use,” but are managed at a non viable standard in an inhumane fashion. If an extraction company was forced to operate at the current capacity that our National Treasures are being managed, they would be forced out of business. Genetic bankruptcy is more than a concern, it is a stark reality that would ultimately lead to the extinction of wild horses in the West.
There is no “over population.” There is instead, competition for resources on public land.
If you give away a resource the horses rely on to an entity that operates in a subsidized fashion on public land, you have an “over population” of horses according to the agency. You have also created another avenue for public wealth to go into private pockets on the back of an already over burdened American tax payer.
The agency manages more public land than any other, approximately 262 million acres. All of that land is open to “multiple use,” two-thirds of it open to livestock grazing and a mere 10 percent is currently legal land for wild horse herds. Within that 10 percent, horses are often provided less than 2 percent of available resources.
Fences create artificial migration routes. Water sources are fenced off and roads are being widened for the high speed heavy truck traffic to accommodate expanding extractive interests. These extractive interests compete for water in arid western states. Their thirst for the liquid is rising at an alarming rate.
This agency determined that an “Appropriate Management Level” (AML) of horses for one Herd Management Area was sufficient at three animals. Why did they leave three? The BLM did not want their statistics to show another area “zeroed out” of wild horses.
Joan Guilfoyle is now sitting atop an agency guilty of severe fiscal mismanagement rooted in historic prejudice where private interests can profit. Its failed policy is running full steam toward disastrous consequence to the health of public land. Wild Horses are its chosen scapegoats. It is more than tragic that yet another bureaucrat who parrots the old regime has taken the helm.
Guilfoyle, claiming to have been at the Triple B roundup, states,
“It might be the one in a thousand that rears up against the corral and bumps up against the gate, and people go, ‘Oh my gosh, it got hurt,'” she said. “But that’s one out of thousand that came through more or less agreeably. Part of it, I think, is perception and understanding of what’s happening.”
I personally attended more roundups than any government personnel or public observer in the last eighteen months. I documented horrific incompetence and lack of the most basic of humane treatment. That documentation includes a nonstop testimony to numerous daily offensive actions. Triple B is no exception. Taylor, who accepted her words as Gospel, fell down on the job when not seeking where the truth lies.
Mr. Taylor cites one lawsuit that could not halt the roundup. Yet, he fails to cite the suit that succeeded in proving that the Agency is guilty of inhumane treatment. A temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued late last month by the Honorable Howard D. McKibben, a Nevada federal judge (Case 3:11-cv-608). His Honor expressed stern disapproval not only toward the conduct of the helicopter pilot who actually struck an exhausted horse, but toward the BLM’s justification process that “blames the horse” for such incidents The suit remains active in federal court. Meanwhile, Guilfoyle’s agency has yet to address Judge McKibben’s decision. Incredibly, the BLM refuses thus far to even recognize Judge McKibben’s remarks of his being “troubled” by the BLM’s conduct, nor has Guilfoyle’s agency issued parameters for pilot conduct in the wake of the judge’s ruling.
The press has yet to “do their job” and hold the government accountable as our forefathers intended they do when they wrote the Constitution. Taylor’s piece is evidence of spineless reporting where he fails to address press access issues in his warm “welcome aboard” message to Guilfoyle.
As camera lenses and observers catch atrocities, Guilfoyle’s agency closes its doors to observers instead of implementing corrective action. The BLM blames advocates for “not understanding” what they must do. Or, they”blame the horse” for “necessary” abusive treatment.
Two respected organizations, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the National Press Photographers Association, filed a brief in a pending Ninth Circuit appeal (Case 11-16088) over their concern for the Agency’s denigration of constitutional First Amendment “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” notions. The case addresses the repeated content control accomplished to minimize “bad press,” when Guilfoyle’s agency systematically excludes the press and public from viewing its horrific handling of wild horses captured from public lands. Remove the press and there is no problem.
It is more than a “shame on you” I send to Phil Taylor for failing to address either of these cases in his article. Mr. Taylor instead, chose the “easy way out,” avoiding the tough and gritty method real journalists employ when ferreting out the truth of their chosen topic. Taylor’s piece legitimizes an agency that is no friend either to America’s wild horse or to the true journalist.
Founder, Wild Horse Education
Vice President, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Plaintiff in the above mentioned Federal lawsuits