Friday, October 28, 2011

Independent Panel Comes to Reno to Review BLM's Wild Horse Policy

My News 4 KRNV Reno. NV

Reno, Nev (KRNV & -- The Bureau of Land Management has hired an independent panel to review the nation's controversial policy of rounding up wild horses from public land. And the first meeting of this national panel was Thursday in Reno.In a state with the most wild horses in America, it'll always be controversial. How many wild horses do we have, are they truly overpopulated, and if so, how should we manage them?
And so the BLM has commissioned a non-governmental panel from the National Academy of Sciences to study the issue and provide the BLM with unbiased findings.
The problem, horse advocates say, is the panel won't be looking at what they call the BLM's favorable treatment of livestock interests on public land. And advocates say they don't trust the panel to be unbiased.
"We have concerns about the composition of the panel, a number of individuals have openly stated their anti-horse sentiment, and one of the panelists has met with the BLM director," said Deniz Bolbol of the American Wild Horse Preservationist Campaign.
But head panelist Dr. Guy Palmer of Washington State University, says the National Academy's 150-year record speaks for itself.
"I think it's a very natural response and concern, but I can assure individuals that the National Academy's process -- they do 300 reports a year -- is strictly adherent to policy that is unbiased and science-based," said Palmer.
The passion in this room for wild horses was evident... As one by one advocates asked the panel to advise the BLM on managing horses without the removals and sterilizations advocates believe to be harmful.
But also in this crowd, people who say the wild horses are too overpopulated.
"We need to manage based on science, not by emotion and public opinion," said Larry Johnson.
This is the first of several meetings by the National Academy of Sciences.
Horse advocates say the panel needs to add panelists who are equine experts and pro-mustang. Doctor Palmer says the panel will consider that, as the process continues.

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