Friday, October 2, 2009

A Horse That Limps Isn’t Lame?

From Horseback Magazine

By Steven Long

The English language is elegant, nuanced, but most importantly clearly understood
and spoken.

The Bureau of Land Management is an agency which has nomenclature all its own. The jargon is a juxtaposition of what the outside world calls things – what things actually are it is a language directly opposite the words everyday Americans speak and understand.

In BLM speak a wild horse isn’t wildlife.

In BLM speak a clearly injured horse that limps isn’t lame.

In BLM speak a helicopter provoked stampede is nothing more than a gentle run down a 5,000 foot slope over a rocky ten mile trek. Never mind the rocks, never mind the hooves. Never mind four spindly fetlocks carrying a 1,000 pound load.

In BLM speak there isn’t enough land to feed about 60,000 wild horses in the
261 million acres BLM manages, and more than 34 million acres dedicated to the Mustang.

The agency is a part of the U.S. Department of Interior. It may be more appropriate
to move it to the U.S. Department of Education, if for no other reason than for its employees to learn the English they forgot from school.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) Louisiana passed a bill in late September that could
revolutionize a part of the federal government that has a literal death grip on America’s herds of wild horses. If the bill passes the House and is signed by President Obama, the
BLM will have to reinvent itself. And well it should.

No unit of American government so needs reform. For weeks we have immersed ourselves into the issue of the care and management of our wild herds. We approached the issue with an open mind – in fact a bias in favor of the BLM. After all it has been a consistent advertiser in promoting its wonderful
adoptions of Mustangs in the Gulf Coast Region and elsewhere. And wonderful they are. We have personally seen many happy mustangs adopted from the holding pens
and into wonderful homes.
Another event, Extreme Mustang Makeover, brings knowledge of wild horses to thousands in arena competitions across the nation

Yet what we found in the wake of our investigation of the illconceived “gather” of a historic herd of wild horses in Montana raises concern. Allegations are that the BLM’s goal will eliminate Mustangs and burros from the wilderness. The BLM has
made no compelling argument to counter the charge.

Herd after herd is being decimated by BLM roundups. The BLM currently holds 33,000 wild horses in pens across the American West. So many horses were removed from the Pryor Mountain herd that equine geneticists tell us that the animals taken over Labor Day week leaves it no longer
genetically viable.And the list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and the public deserves a fair hearing in which all sides are presented. We believe BLM has much to answer for, much will be disturbing.

The House passed the Restoreour American Mustangs Act, or ROAM, by a large majority. It is now in the Senate. The law would reinstate the protection of wild horses removed in the dead of night in 2005 from the 1971 Free Roaming Horse and Burro

ROAM must pass.

Louisiana’s Landrieu has said she would consider moving the BLM’s stewardship for wild horses to another agency. Perhaps that proposal deserves serious consideration.

It’s clear that not enough people working for the Bureau of LandManagement understand enough English to clearly read their mandate under the law.

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