Movie Week continues with “Documentary Monday!”
There are many issues surrounding the current crisis face by wild horses and burros and those that advocate for them. In order to be an effective advocate for wild horses and burros you need a few things: a thick skin (to catch the slings and arrows thrown in your face at at your back), laser focus on the specific issue you are addressing and INFORMATION!
Many times we see comments that “mix up” jurisdictions. Please be aware that there are different levels of “jurisdiction,” meaning states and different government agencies, manage wild horses. OFTEN we see things that the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDoA) do get mixed up with what the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does. NDoA manages the “Virginia Range” (283,769 acres, of which over 160,000 acres is privately owned) and estray horses (estray means domestic turned loose or lost). The BLM manages wild horses and burros on Federal Land (about 26 million acres). NDoA has no infrastructure in place to hold animals for adoption and send them to a livestock auction (kill-buyer sale). BLM has an adoption program and a “sale” program, they are different. BLM horses DO go to auction, but that is after “title” (like a car) is transfered, one year after adoption and immediately after sale. BLM claims not to sell horses to kill buyers but recent investigations have proven that false. Both agencies have their “issues” but when advocates “mix them up” it makes it easy for the offender to slip the “issue” by claiming those making the complaint are “not informed.”
It also doesn’t help when state representatives on the NDoA hold a seat on the Federal Advisory Board. Dr. Boyd Spratling holds a livestock seat for NDoA and a seat on the BLM wild horse and burro advisory board.
Another assumption is that this is a “cow vs. horse” debate. That is also not a complete truth. Domestic livestock (cattle and sheep) are given by far (usually at least 80%) the greatest portion of available forage within the smaller areas managed for wild horses and burros. Domestic livestock does damage the range. We could clearly state that public land grazing is managed with domestic livestock as a priority species. This is an issue particularly when you take into account all of the sensationalism over the cost of holding wild horses and compare it to the amount of money lost to the American tax-payer by selling a month of feed per cow/calf pair (AUM or Animal Unit Month) for only $1.35, when market rate is between $10-$20. for comparable feed if done on private land. It is easy to see what actually costs the tax payer more, a lot more.
However livestock not the only threat to wild horses and burros on public land. Over the last three administrations in the White House, backed by Congress, we have had priorities shift on our public land to what has been deemed “Industrialization” by the last Secreatary of Interior, Ken Salazar. Please read here to learn about BIG ENERGY AND WILD HORSES>>>
Also in our READING ROOM is “Myths and Facts” addressed directly from BLM’s website. Several months ago WHE published a printable doc (available at the link) as part of our “press kit” at roundups. SEE MYTHS AND FACTS HERE>>>
In our Monday Feature we have posted a piece originally done as a fundraiser for supporters, so skip the first few minutes. PLEASE realize this is a rough cut, done on a laptop literally while traveling covering various range issues. BUT PLEASE bear with it… watch… and learn about some of the laws, legislation and how those overlap to create a literal crisis for wild horses and burros on our public land… managed on Federal Land… by the BLM.
Several articles are being prepared to add to Wild Horse Educations reading room. If you have a subject you would like to see covered put : Q&A in the subject line and mail your suggestion to: firstname.lastname@example.org