Sunday, December 6, 2009

BLM admits price tag of $1,700,000 for wild horse roundup


December 4, 9:13 PMLA Equine Policy ExaminerCarrol Abel
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a small harem of Nevada wild horses                                                         photo by Carrol Abel

A new price tag has come to light for the highly controversial roundup of more than 2,700 wild horses from the Calico Complex in Northern Nevada; an expenditure almost double the previously reported number.
In a telephone interview earlier this week, Alan Shepard, Bureau of Land Management lead for the state of Nevada, quoted the expected "all inclusive" cost to be $900,000.  He verified the information in a second interview the following day.
An email communication to The Cloud Foundation from Tom Gorey, BLM senior public affairs specialist, provided a much different number.
The Washington Office has provided BLM-Nevada with $1,943,460 broken down by 3,186 horses gathered (not removed) @ $610 per horse for the Calico gather.  We cannot break it down any finer.  This covers the contract and BLM personnel."  Tom
Mr Gorey stated in a telephone interview today that after speaking with Shepard, it was determined that Shepard thought he was quoting only the cost for the contractor, Cattoor livestock roundups.  Gorey was comfortable with quoting an estimated cost " as high as ' $1,700,000 which includes BLM activities for the gather and payment to Cattoor.  The newly quoted expenditure projection is based on Gorey's original quote adjusted to reflect fewer animals targeted.
A tempest of public discontent surrounds the Calico roundup.  Over 10,000 public comments were submitted to BLM officials prior to the release of a final determination on the environmental assessment.  The final determination of " No Significant Impact" shocked animal welfare and wild horse advocate organizations.  Additionally, an email address provided for comments regarding the upcoming Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting ( Dec. 7) experienced such an influx of activity their email was reportedly overwhelmed and temporarily disabled.
The Department of Justice responded to a lawsuit filed by  the animal rights group   In Defense of Animals    and well known wildlife ecologist, Craig Downer, by delaying the roundup originally scheduled to begin December 1, 2009.  A filing for a permanent injunction will be heard by Federal District Court later this month.  The roundup it is currently scheduled to begin Dec 28 of this year.

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