The beat goes on

Been on the road and have a minute to try to catch up. I have received a ton of email in the last week. Some of it I have responded to, some not. It’s hard to dig through. If you have sent something urgent that I did not respond to, please send it again… and accept my apology.

So much is happening right now.

People keep asking me “what can I do?”

We had the meeting in Denver. It was honestly filled with promising dialogue. But it is just dialogue at this point. The report wont go to Congress until the fall. Who knows if anything will come after that.

But for now we hear the same beat of the same old song.

http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en.html

More meetings where we will be told not heard.

A very suspicious gather of horses deemed “estray” by the BLM to be turned over to the NV Dept. of Ag. They go to slaughter… legally under current law. But the timing and the area make you go hmmm… for many reasons.

Rental rates for Solar energy developers are announced. But there is no cost comparison for you to see… for that to be known you need to dig.

Horses continue to die from the Calico roundup. Observers denied an ability to witness the gelding of older horses… told “you have seen all there is to see.”

Gene Seidlitz of the Winnemucca district doing quite the sidestep after talking about cooperative monitoring.

And the beat of helicopters … http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro/wh_b_information_center/monthly_statistics.html

Change in this issue will only come when we have a full cost recovery system on public land. When lease holders actually get off the welfare line. But that action will only come through Congress. On all public land, not just places where horses are being forced off through manipulations of the multiple use mandate, lease holders are being allowed to reap private profit off of the taxpayer. Each lease requires an environmental impact statement that BLM field offices can’t perform in the manner truly needed to determine what those leases will do to our land. Ongoing effects to our wild resources can not be monitored as they should because the “powers that be” (in each field office) are not accountable to anyone but themselves. Conflicts of interest within our BLM/DOI are overwhelming and if they existed in the private sector would find themselves wrapped up in our judicial system in a manner that does not require the public to privately attempt to bring suit.

Write your Congressional representatives.

Write your newspapers.

Write your President.

The issues we are dealing with attempting to gain protections for our wild herds are identical to issues faced with any group looking for reform. In many respects our country is not regulated by our government… our government is regulated by special interests. The “checks and balances” have been removed through the lobby efforts of “industrializing” public land (not just on public land, everywhere)… on the back of a rapidly decreasing middle America.

But the symbol of the spirit of “freedom” is paying a great price.

I do not understand why in this time when America herself stands at this cross road we do not find it inside of ourselves to hold the symbol of the American Mustang high? We need all the reminders we can find of what it once meant to be resilient, brave, free…

not this…

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Purge Valve

I need to hit the purge valve tonight.

Most of you that follow my blog know that I have recently been to HMA’s and HA’s in 6 states. I have seen horses in other jurisdictions beyond the BLM. I have seen horses held behind bars awaiting whatever decisions man makes toward their further confinement or freedom.

I traveled to Denver to participate in the “workshop” that presents as if it wants to address reform.

Yet my life is wrapped in ever increasing demands to deal with protocols that run full force down the old paths that perpetuate crisis after crisis. In practice their new direction is just “pedal to the floor.”

I am not saying that the workshop did not address a possibility toward change. “Possibility” of change exists… willingness to make it reality is another thing.

What I witnessed was extreme pressure from special interests. There was an undertone to the “positive vibes” of aggressive pressure from those that reap a private profit off public land. BLM’s own documents state that lease holders do not even pay enough to cover the costs of  initial assessments prior to leases being issued. Yet statements come from these interests that claim they bring revenue into the community. Is it redundant to state the obvious? After operating a private subsidized business on the back of the American tax payer because they can pay their mortgage it benefits me?

How many Americans are struggling to find jobs, health care and pay their own mortgage? I’m sure each one of them would love a business subsidized by tax dollars so they could become a protected special interest deemed “contributing.”

In creating the “industrialization” of public land the pieces of our America left truly wild decrease rapidly. Those pieces become scraps that anyone interested in protecting wild places has to fight for. A microcosm  battle wages for resource for sage grouse, trout, any wildlife that exists. The concept that wild horse advocates are referring to a balanced equid containing ecosystem on 10% of BLM controlled land and that the premise of the core issues could benefit all public land goes unnoticed. Think the gulf here folks.

Now we head into the summer gather schedule.

Wild Utah baby taken just weeks ago

In less than two weeks we begin the Owyhee and Rock Creek. More than 1100 animals on that schedule for July. In Utah we zero out Winter Ridge and Hill Creek in July. Think about this… July, desert, helicopter, babies. We have seen this curve on the same old road so many times. Do we really need to see those images again?

Mare and foal Broken Arrow

In July the adoptions of the Calico horses and dispersal of “inventory” will occur from Broken Arrow to make room for the incoming… before the surveys are completed to even confirm the state of the range gathered last winter.

I am making a plea here… give us something tangible now.

Hold off on dispersal and do the range data in Calico before shipping off these horses into the black hole of tax payer fiscal responsibility. Hold off on the gathers and redistribute funds into creating the database to support a real structure designed at preserving the public land that belongs to the people.

Remember that private interest is not a benefit to the public if it creates a burden that destroys investment. (think gulf here)

Work toward saving more money by approving these “sanctuary” proposals and put that money into fixing the foundation.

Actions of Salazar's BLM

Will there be a "New Direction?"

One year… one year… just give us one year without the sound of helicopter blades chasing our horses to make room to exploit our land. One year where the concept of determining what we have and how best to preserve it for the public while allowing only responsible private undertakings on public land is given a chance.

New directions need to happen now. Why not try this one?

IDA Alert

Please Act Before May 21 – Oppose Removal Of 1,000 Wild Horses From Nevada’s Great Basin Region

Please use the form below to submit comments (and share with friends and family) before Friday, May 21, to oppose the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tuscarora Field Office (Nevada) proposal to round up 1,438 wild horses and permanently remove approximately 1,000 horses from more than 480,000 acres in Wild Horses, credit: Mark Terrellnortheast Nevada. The BLM has decided that only 337-561 wild horses are allowed to live in this 750-square-mile area. Meanwhile, the BLM allows private ranchers to graze thousands of livestock in the same area. The BLM issued a preliminary Environmental Assessment and refused to give serious consideration to alternatives to the roundup. The Obama Administration is intent on continuing business as usual when it comes to the BLM’s wild horse and burro program.

Read more and take ACTION

at the IDA web site!

In Memory of Mary Dann

Born January 1, 1923

Died April 22, 2005

I was given a copy of American Outrage at Christmas time by Lacy J. Dalton. I was told “You understand but  you need to watch this as part of your understanding.”

I don’t watch much television and it’s hard for me to sit still long enough to watch a film… so the DVD went into the boxes I carry in my pick up.

I’m getting ready to hit the road again and decided I would sit still for a minute and watch the film.

This film is an amazing testimonial to the strength and spirit of the Dann sisters. Embroiled in a battle with the US government over their right to use their own land for so many years and in such an outrageous fashion, yet it never removed their humanity.

Many of us know the story. But Lacy was right… now I know the story.

If you haven’t seen the video you can order a copy at the WIN website. WIN is a non profit devoted to the “freedom, safety and well being of the WIN Western Shoshone Indian Horse Herd. You can pick up copies of Lacy’s CD in the shop at the site, too. All sales go to care for the horses.

Jean Marie of WIN is the source of my camera that covered the Calico round up. Without it I would not have captured the images I did of Little Hope, the foal whose feet sloughed off.

Considering today’s date I thought sharing this with you was important.

Reserve Design

Often we see accusations that the Wild horse Advocates are a bunch of “tree hugging hippies that want the horses to run free and over-run the range.” I have read these accusations over and over until I want to scream.

AHHHHHH! (pastel sketch by me)

Reserve design IS a management strategy that has been around for a long time. The principles have been utilized by many groups including those in the US. Here is a quick reference link to a USGS “Design for Grasslands” and bird populations. Another link to an NCCP document for Southern Orange County and another link: Grizzly bears and aquatic systems in Montana.

Yet we have never seen these principles used by a branch of government tasked with managing wild horses and burros as “integral” to the American landscape as outlined by Congress.

When we bring up these scientific concepts to a branch of government we hear responses like: “We are not the bureau of wild horses. We are the Bureau of Land management.”Or they will act as if these principles will only apply to some “Complex” system or “Reserve” in the east.

None of the responses are the truth. Each response is created to further the current agenda. The current agenda continues to find ways to zero out our herds.

Even after the West Douglas decision where BLM was found to overstep their authority, they found ways to break the spirit of law without breaking the letter. The Tobin herd was brought down to between 20-45 animals. I asked Alan Shepard of the BLM if that was genetically sustainable. He answered “Probably not.”

So why does this “assault” continue?

There is a long history in the west. Many of us interpret the wild horse as a symbol of freedom and resilience. Yet there are those that see the horse as a pest or simply a resource. In that lies the divide. Yet the divide become meaningless when you look at the law.

When you bring this up to the BLM they will answer that they are mandated by Congress to gather horses. The truth is that they are not.They are mandated to “manage.” They make the choice to use the “gather and process” as the first line strategy. It has lead to the current crisis.

The time to put the breaks on this current protocol is long overdue. Instead in 2010 our Secretary of the Department of Interior plans to hit the gas pedal. Does that sound like a rational decision from the head of the DOI?

With the dialogue about a new “Tri-state Mega Complex” confirmed in Nevada, isn’t it time to begin to look at alternatives? Alternatives that may very well need no new legislation to implement?

Reserve Design in a nutshell.

Much of the documentation on Reserve Design is dry, yet the priciple is very basic.

You begin with a “Core zone” managed for ecological balance based on species diversity and resource. This zone is created for “minimal management.” The theory is that these places create a balanced ecological system that creates many benefits to man.

Then outside the “Core” is a “Buffer zone.” The buffer is managed for multiple use. The buffer allows for grazing and industry that does NOT interfere with the core. The buffer also creates opportunity for community involvement in other areas that benefit the community, not just a few through subsidized industry. Eco-tourism opportunities, social programs etc. that directly benefit the surrounding area.

Each original HA (Herd Area) outlined in 1971 could currently fall into this category including areas that the BLM has zeroed out. Current law states that these areas can be re-evaluated and horses and burros returned. Many of these areas are economically depressed and could use the jobs such a program would generate. As opposed to say a Uranium mine that ultimately benefits imported workers and a select few, this type of program would benefit regular Americans. The potential for infusing not only income, but community pride and unity, exists in the dynamic of Reserve Design.

When BLM is approached with this theory they simply state it wont work or “we don’t have the land.”

I will state again that this CAN work in each original HA. But in order for that to happen perhaps we need a new organization to implement a dialogue?

Perhaps the BLM/DOI has too many conflicts of interest to effectively manage wild horses and burros?

Or will we actually see new faces invited into the planning process?

Will we ever see anyone within the DOI to have the brass to stop the current protocol?

Why are we continuing to do something we know doesn’t work?

Popcorn?

I have re-edited the piece “Calico Complex In Retrospect” for viewing on the web.I was approached to provide video for a group pressing DVD’s for DC. They ran a test group and went only with my footage. I felt that the project I had begun was important because it told a more complete story of Calico.

I researched distribution and each option was expensive. This would slow down getting the images to the public in a manner that was timely. These horses need our attention now more than ever. So I created a public viewing option (click on Theatre)  here at a site devoted to the project.

A CD is still available and the edit is a bit different for anyone wishing to have a hard copy of the project. They are available on my website here.

Not sure if you want popcorn… but the piece is up for viewing.

In Retrospect

DC Rally (post 1)

So much happened in DC. meetings with Representatives, the protest, great media coverage.

But the piece that stands out the most in my mind are the advocates themselves. I have several stories I want to share with you. I will post them this afternoon.

But for now I am going to share stories written by others and a link to the wonderful coverage by CNN.

Jane Velez-Mitchell report on CNN here.

RT’s great story about the DC rally

Cloud Foundation Update

I spoke with Vicki Tobin just a minute ago and she is working on an update for Equine Welfare Alliance.

EWA photo Elyse Gardner

Here is a picture from the rally of some of the EWA folks Elyse Gardner sent to me last night. Left to right… RT Fitch, Craig Downer, John Holland, Vicki Tobin and myself… and the “support” troops standing behind us.

It says so much that when we as a nation need to make a “statement,” we send in the mounted patrol.

Need to add this release from Sen. Landrieu:

WASHINGTON. (Laudrieu) – U.S. Senator Mary , D-La., today joined the call for a better federal plan for the treatment of wild horses and an end to the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) unnecessary wild horse roundups.

The international March for Mustangs, a public protest against the inhumane treatment of wild horses, took place today in four cities across the globe: London, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Led by celebrity activist, Wendie Malick, in Washington, D.C., the protest comes in reaction to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s attempts to persuade Congress to provide more than $42 million to move animals from the West to the East.

“I have repeatedly called for an end to these inhumane roundups until a more sufficient plan is set in place by the BLM,”said Sen. Landrieu. “There is a civilized way that we can handle these horses, by providing for their adoption or their relocation to a sanctuary. But the cruel and horrific roundups, such as the recent Calico roundup that resulted in painful injury and even death for some horses, cannot continue.”

Last year, Sen. Landrieu fought to protect wild horses by championing language in the Interior Appropriations Bill to prohibit the BLM from using taxpayer dollars for the destruction of healthy, unadopted horses and burros. At Sen. Landrieu’s urging, the Senate directed BLM to develop a new comprehensive long-term plan for wild horse populations by September 30, 2010.

Sen. Landrieu also supported language that encouraged all federal agencies that use horses to acquire a wild horse from the BLM prior to seeking another supplier. In addition, Sen. Landrieu supports the BLM developing an expedited process for providing wild horses to local and state police forces.

As a result of the recent 40-day BLM Calico Roundup, at least 79 mustangs have died and nearly 40 females have aborted their late term foals in the Fallon, Nevada holding pens—where the death toll rises daily as a result of the winter roundup.

Currently, the wild horse and burro population in the United States is about 69,000, and there are 36,000 horses in short-term and long-term BLM holding facilities.