Wild Horses in Short Term Holding – a Target for Slaughter
After the proposal to experiment on sterilizing wild mares at the Burns BLM Facility in Oregon, I wondered how the situation facing our wild horses could be come more dire. Now there is news about the Bureau of Land Management’s Budget Proposal for 2017. In this proposal, there is a clause that would remove the protection for wild horses and burros from being sent to slaughter.
Here is Section 110 of the President’s Interior Budget Request:
TRANSFER OF EXCESS ANIMALS SEC. 110. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior may transfer excess wild horses or burros that have been removed from the public lands to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals: Provided, That the Secretary may make any such transfer immediately upon request of such Federal, State, or local government agency: Provided further, That any excess animal transferred under this provision shall lose its status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined in the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. You can look at the whole document here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2017/assets/int.pdf
This extremely disturbing proposed change to the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act puts thousands of our wild horses held captive in Short and Long Term Holding by the BLM at risk of getting sent to slaughter. The BLM may say that this is to expedite the transfer of horses to other agencies that might have jobs for the horses, but in actual fact, stripping the protection of the Act from the horses makes them a target for slaughter, with no over site, and no responsibility taken by the BLM. Remember the 1794 wild horses sold under the sale Authority Act, without limitation, to Tom Davis that ended up at slaughter?
Given that state and local authorities in many states have repeatedly called for the slaughter of wild horses in holding facilities, it is easy to see that once transferred to the states and other agencies, they will in fact be sold for slaughter. This becomes a convenient way for the BLM to get rid of some of its “wild horse problem” – those pesky “excess horses” whose care absorbs so much of the BLM’s budget.
But the American people do not want the slaughter of our wild horses – the vast majority would like to see wild horses remain wild and free on our public lands, and managed on the range, not rounded up with helicopters, warehoused in holding facilities, and secretly shipped off to slaughter.
Another section of this budget includes the BLM’s “Budget in Brief” which indicates a priority for the BLM in the coming year will be to continue to carry out dangerous and cruel experimental sterilization methods on our wild horses. “The BLM will also continue expanding the use of contraceptives and the application of spay and neuter to begin to reduce program costs and help address the unsustainable proliferation of wild horses and burros on public lands.”
The American public would like to see wild horses and burros managed humanely, not experimented upon and sterilized.
As far as “unsustainable proliferation of wild horses” – the simple facts are that wild horses are in only 12 percent of our public lands, and there are currently more wild horses that are captive in holding facilities than on the range. Their numbers are completely dwarfed by the vast amounts of livestock that graze on these same public lands.
The news is not good, but at least now we have the ulterior motives of the BLM laid out in the budget: Opening the door to slaughtering wild horses and burros, sterilizing herds of wild horses and burros without regard to their sustainability, welfare, and continued presence on our public lands.
“We were about to post the BLM’s latest propoganda and lie-fest when Grandma Gregg sent an email that lit me up. Instead of posting her comment after the article we are using it as a ‘forward’ to the idiot article, it’s just too much…so Grandma, tell us what you think and take it away…!” ~ R.T.
FYI although BLM has claimed that the 1971 population was about 25,345 they FAIL to include the over 70,229 wild horses and burros that were “claimed” by anyone who wanted to round them up from 1971 to 1979. These would be “mustangers” in the truest form of the word and these WH&B would have gone to slaughter – i.e. sold by the pound. And these over 70 thousand are ONLY the ones that were reported and I don’t think anyone familiar with the wild horse and burro issue would disagree that many many many others would have been captured by mustangers and NOT “reported”.
So although we will never know the exact population of WH&B on the day the 1971 Act was passed there is no way in ‘ell you can convince me that it was 25,345 and that those other over 70 thousand were already owned by the people who captured them. No way. I personally have no problem believing that the true wild horse and burro population in 1971 was well over 100,000 and they were not over grazing their lands. The domestic private/corporate livestock were over-grazing since there were many many many more of those on public lands (millions from what I can figure out (http://www.law.gonzaga.edu/law-review/files/2013/11/Coggins.pdf) but the wild horses and burros were not overgrazing their legal lands simply by comparing the numbers of WH&B versus the domestic private/corporate cattle and sheep.
And then we can ALSO talk about their unsupported and non-defensible annual population increases they puke all over us each year and on each and every EA.
Cindy Macdonald (American Herds) wrote a summary about this subject.
BLM seeks to expand initiatives to address problems with new legislative authority
46,000 Horses Already Being Cared for Off-Range
Off-Range Care of Unadopted Horses Would Exceed $1 Billion
Necessary Horse Gathers Exceed Available Space and Funding
The Bureau of Land Management announced today that as of March 1, 2016, more than 67,000 wild horses and burros are roaming Western public rangelands – a 15 percent increase over the estimated 2015 population.
The updated numbers show more than twice the number of horses on the range than is recommended under BLM land use plans. It is also two and a half times the number of horses and burros that were estimated to be in existence when the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed in 1971. To help address the problem, BLM is seeking legislative authority for additional initiatives.
“Over the past seven years we have doubled the amount of funding used for managing our nation’s wild horses and burros,” said BLM Director Neil Kornze. “Despite this, major shifts in the adoption market and the absence of a long-term fertility control drug have driven population levels higher. A number of program reforms are underway, but assistance is needed from our local, state, and federal partners.”
While herds of wild horses consistently double in size every four years, there has also been a dramatic decrease in adoptions in recent years. In the early 2000s, nearly 8,000 horses were being placed with private adopters each year. Due to a number of economic factors, that number is now down to roughly 2,500 animals each year, compounding an already difficult management situation.
The total lifetime cost of caring for an unadopted animal that is removed from the range is substantial. Costs for lifetime care in a corral approaches $50,000 per horse. With 46,000 horses and burros already in off-range corrals and pastures, this means that without new opportunities for placing these animals with responsible owners, the BLM will spend more than a billion dollars to care for and feed these animals over the remainder of their lives. Given this vast financial commitment, the BLM is now severely limited in how many animals it can afford to remove from the range.
To address these issues the BLM is taking a number of steps, including sponsoring a significant research program focused on fertility control; transitioning horses from off-range corrals to more cost-effective pastures; working to increase adoptions with new programs and partnerships; and requesting two new pieces of legislative authority — one to allow for the immediate transfer of horses to other agencies that have a need for work animals and one that would create a congressionally-chartered foundation that could help fund and support adoption efforts. Additional tools and resources are needed to bring this program onto a sustainable path.
The table below shows the 2016 West-wide, on-range population on a state-by-state basis as of March 1, 2016. This year’s 15 percent increase over the 2015 population compares to an 18 percent increase from 2014 to 2015. The BLM plans to remove 3,500 wild horses and burros from Western public rangelands in 2016.
Wild Horse and Burro On-Range Population as of March 1, 2016
IN THE HANDS OF KILL BUYERS! When horses are purchased at auction by buyers intending to kill them, they're hauled away in double- decker tractor trailers where they are beaten and often blinded with baseball bats to mollify them. After crossing the border into Mexico, the animals are stabbed on each side-an act to tenderize their meat-and immobilized. Workers, then saw the horses legs off, at the knee and hang them to bleed out-all while the horses are ALIVE! (This is an excerpt, from an article written by Missy Diaz, crediting Victoria Mc Cullough and Sen. Joe Abruzzo for bringing awareness of horse slaughter, to Florida. In 2010 Florida Legislation unanimously passed the Horse Protection Bill, making it a felony to slaughter horses for personal or commercial use.)