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Congress must wait for wild horse report

a wild mare and her foal
a wild mare and her foal
carrol abel

Friday ended an opportunity for the American public to speak their mind about the management of wild horses and burros in the west.  Bureau Of Land Management, a bureau within the  Interior Department, released it’s Wild Horse and Burro Strategy Development Document in early June and requested  public comments through their online e-planning system.  Unfortunately, the system proved faulty at best.

The initial  August 3rd deadline was extended by 30 days shortly after  receiving  a  letter of request written  by a Wyoming congressional delegation. "The summer months are some of the busiest for key stake holders in Wyoming...” wrote a delegation known for their anti- wild horse platforms.  The letter goes on to say,”This will ensure that the department is able to collect the type of diverse stake holder comment that is necessary to encourage an open, positive dialogue with the public on this matter.”  Although BLM made an e-mail address and a mailing address available for comment submissions about the same time, the information was not widely publicized.

When asked if the 30 day extension was in direct response to the Wyoming delegation request, Tom Gorey, national spokesman for the wild horse and burro program, stated, “ That was a factor, yes, in our extending the deadline , there would have been others that would have made the request too.  But yes,  we respected the input from the Wyoming congressional delegation to extend the comment period.”

 BLM issued the  Strategy Development Document and request for public comment in preparation for a  September 30th deadline to submit a  management strategy to Congress.   According to  Gorey,    “ That deadline is not going to be met.  “ 

“We did extend the comment period for an additional 30 days so it was a total of 90 days.  What we plan to do once we have come up with our proposed final strategy is to put that out again for public comment. That would be another 30 day comment period once we’ve done that. Given that schedule we will not be able to meet a Sept. 30 deadline.   The goal would be to get something done by the end of the year . Whether that’s feasible,  is debatable though.  We may have to  do it the next calendar year.” Gorey explained.

With BLM’s fiscal year ending Sept. 30 and appropriations for FY 2011 not yet approved, it is unclear how the need to extend  the deadline  will effect the program’s 2011 budget.  

A recent letter from the Arizona Game and Fish Department  requesting the Bureau take a closer look at euthanasia and “sale without limitation” along with the resurfacing of  a 2009 BLM internal communications document  that discuss detailed planning for euthanasia has brought both subjects into public venues once more. 

Gorey restated  BLM's position that these alternatives are off the table and offered his explanation as to why. “When  the government accountability office put out its report in Oct. 2008, they noted the fact that we were not in compliance with the 1971 law , the provision mandating the euthanasia of excess healthy animals for which there is no adoption demand and we were not in compliance with the so called Burns amendment that directs us to sell without limitation.  We don't want to go  in that direction. "

"Moreover, Congress itself has indicated tremendous ambivalence about its support for those provisions," Gorey continued. “ From FY 1988-FY 2004  Congress, actually through the appropriations process, barred the expenditure of funds for euthanasia of excess healthy animals.  So it tells you that Congress itself doesn’t seem have much support for that provision . Though it is the law,  it has not been removed, as is the case with the burns amendment.  We think there are  better ways and the administration has made it clear that these are not options for us to exercise.”  

While Congress and  the  public await  a sustainable strategy  for managing America’s wild horses and burros, the animals are being removed from western ranges literally by the thousands.    The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, and 54 members of the U.S. Congress, not to mention countless animal advocacy organizations are calling for a halt to the roundups.  Both  BLM Director Bob Abbey,  and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have repeatedly affirmed their decision that current roundup and removal schedules will not change.   

See also: Moratorium on horse gathers is essential


  • susie sansbury 4 years ago

    Bottom line here is.....YOU CAN'T TRUST THE BLM ANY FARTHER THAN YOU CAN THROW EM! Just about everything they say are lies, they falsify documents to suit their own wants, they blantantly lie in testimony in courts, and the bastards get away with it. And they ask for the publics comment? What a laff!! Salzqr has said himself....all the emails and letters they get are filed in THE TRASH!

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    By their own numbers they will have eliminated mustangs by the end of 2011 so ranchers can graze cattle there at tax payer's expense and pipelines can be build and mining be done.Once the mustangs are gone,the wilderness will be too.

  • Morgan Griffith 4 years ago

    Congress has also made it pretty clear that BLM is doing a lousy job and ought to be looking into improving their management of the herds. They have chosen not to give this any serious consideration. They have requested a study to be done but the results will be two years off--make that 3 if they do studies with the same expediency as the BLM--while they continue to gather horses at break neck speed. When all is done it will be easy to count the horses left on the range--zero. Thanks Salazar and thanks President Obama for appointing a fox (cattleman) to guard the chicken house.

  • Profile picture of Suzanne Moore
    Suzanne Moore 4 years ago

    Yeah, the horses will all be gone by then. BLM still hasn't answered Laura Leigh's Contempt of Court declaration. I know they're waiting as long as possible so they can round up more horses. I don't think there is ANYTHING those people won't stoop to in order to advance their agenda.

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    Any measure to eliminate feral livestock from fragile habitat is a plus for native species. The sooner we can cull these habitat-destroyers, the sooner these ecosystems can return to equilibrium. Bring back the bison; 100,000 loose ranch horses can't be wrong...

  • Profile picture of Suzanne Moore
    Suzanne Moore 4 years ago

    Hmmm.... No wonder you post anonymously. If I wrote something so ridiculous I wouldn't want my name on it either. Horses ARE a native species! Why can't you people go look up the science before you make an ass of yourself in public over and over. GEEZ!

    Besides, CATTLE outnumber the horses about 60-1. Do you consider cattle native? I guess you do because you didn't mention them.

    Indulge me for a moment. This is from the NAS web site: Wild Horses -- National Academy of Science field studies do not support the majority of claims that wild horses damage the environment. Responsible advocates understand that areas suffering from verified overpopulation are a different matter. Alberta's wild horses endure a relatively low survival rate among foals. The climate is challenging and predators are abundant.

    Cows have no upper front teeth, only a thick pad: they graze by wrapping their long tongues around grass and pulling on it. If the ground is wet, they will pull out the grass by the roots, preventing it from growing back. Horses have both upper and lower incisors and graze by "clipping the grass," similar to a lawn mower, allowing the grass to easily grow back.

    In addition, the horse’s digestive system does not thoroughly degrade the vegetation it eats. As a result, it tends to “replant” its own forage with the diverse seeds that pass through its system undegraded. This unique digestive system greatly aids in the building up of the absorptive, nutrient-rich humus component of soils. This, in turn, helps the soil absorb and retain water upon which many diverse plants and animals depend. In this way, the wild horse is also of great value in reducing dry inflammable vegetation in fire-prone areas. Back in the 1950s, it was primarily out of concern over brush fires that Storey County, Nevada, passed the first wild horse protection law in the United States.

  • Cheryl H 4 years ago

    And the cattle aren't affecting the fragile habitat? How do you figure that ? No, I don't think the bison will come back because how would there be room for all the private cattle contracts, mining, and natural gas extraction? Please explain the ecosystem with mining and gas pipes. Will they be painted the colors of the environment so YOU won't notice?

  • grrace 4 years ago

    Wild horses and burros are not feral, and there is no evidence they have "destroyed" their own habitat. Good try though. But science has refuted your garbage lies.

  • Lisa L. 4 years ago

    All the high-level players - Bob Abbey, Tom Gorey, Ken Salazar - have somehow gotten the notion that they are autonomous, above everything and everyone save the President himself.
    I find this almost as disturbing as the Wild Horse & Burro 'Management' Program; the accelerated removals prioritizing Wild Equines over livestock, the ridiculous population estimates, reproductive rates that fall somewhere between small rodents and Tribbles, the unexplainable Magic Formulas for assessing forage allocations, the state-sponsored cruelty of helicopter roundups and still, NO methods in place to manage Wild Equines as components of the ranges they occupy. The Roundups have become the Rule rather than the Exception, and there seems to be an inexorable movement toward criminalizing Wild Horse Advocacy. All of this accomplished with no science whatsoever, simply the egomaniacal musings of the Boyz in Charge who have proven their loyalties lie anywhere but where Wild Equines roam.

  • Karen Cassidy 4 years ago

    Ken Salazar YOU SUCK !!! You are nothing but a greedy selfish creep. You don't care how Americans feel about the B.L.M. roundups, we need to get him ( CREEPY SALAZAR ) out of office , ASAP!.

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