By Steven Long
Photo by Terry Fitch
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – An employee in the Denver office of the federal Bureau of Land Management has been outed as advocating a hunting season for wild horses in the west.
The employee’s email was traced after it was sent to author R.T. Fitch’s “Straight From the Horse’s Heart” blog. Fitch, a fierce opponent of current BLM stampede, capture, and hold, policies traced the email address to BLM NOC OC-330, Denver Federal Center, Bldg 40 – the agency’s National Operations Center.
The employee wrote: “The deer populations up north are so big and beautiful, but down south there are far too many deer and they are all malnourished and fighting for little food sources. We regulate the populations through hunting permits and kill-quotas. Why is it such a faux-pa (sp?) to hunt a horse? If we leave the horse populations alone, all the press and citizens would look at the sickly and starving over-abundance of horses and beg the government to do something about it!!! Rediculous. (sic) Why is a horse’s life more important than a deer’s life? Or a chicken’s life? (sic) The populations must be regulated to ensure good healthy strong ones are around for future generations to enjoy.”
BLM national spokesman Tom Gorey quickly repudiated the statement saying, “The BLM is committed to the well-being of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range. Our agency categorically repudiates the remarks of the individual quoted on R.T. Fitch’s blog, which in no way reflect the views of the BLM.”
Yet in the blog, Fitch fears the statement of the Denver BLM employee who wrote to him is characteristic of the attitude of agency employees throughout the Wild Horse and Burro Program. Horseback Magazine as well as others has repeatedly exposed abuses ranging from threatening media with arrest while reporting and photographing “gathers” of horses, denying press and public access to the capture of wild horses, denying ongoing access to giant holding pastures paid for by taxpayer funding, use of veterinarians unlicensed in State of Nevada, and closing air space over its roundups in violation of Federal Aviation Administration rules.