Social Media (Facebook, twitter, etc.) has become a wonderful tool to stay in touch with family and friends. It has become a wonderful tool to get information to large groups of people fast. It has become a method of sharing stories that main stream media ignores. But it has also become a tool where inaccuracies, misunderstandings and outright lies get a wide platform.
This post is written to address several things flying around social media as “news.”
The House of Representatives passed a Bill to change the law for Mustangs
First there is an old news story being spread as if it just occurred. “The House passes Bill to save Mustangs!” filled our facebook and inbox with people very excited to see changes in DC thinking.
Plain and simple the story is old.
In 2009 a Bill called “Restore Our American Mustangs,” or ROAM, did pass the House. It made it’s way into the “black hole” of the Agriculture Committee and was never heard from again. It went for no vote in the Senate.
ROAM basically converted some “authorized” activities and methods into “required” activities and methods with respect to taking inventory, making determinations and application of peer reviewed scientific methods as the basis for developing management strategies, and it would have required consistent evaluation and management practices across all public lands.
But there were a few issues with ROAM. On one side panic that wild horses would “flood the streets” in Western states. On the other side advocates wanted a few loopholes closed primarily “Transportation” for purposes of converting protected horses and burros into commercial products needed to be added to the list of prohibitions in order to protect wild horses from slaughter.
It would be wonderful to see a revised form of ROAM re-introduced and several people (including those of us at WHE) are working toward that objective (no interest in Congress at the moment)… but ROAM, it it’s current form, died in the Agriculture Committee.
Extensive discussion of ROAM in an early article by Leigh. READ MORE HERE>>>
Nevada Passes Law to Protect Wild Horses
This one is a recent story. However there are some incorrect assumptions.
The “Bill” passed by the Nevada Senate is NOT a bill. It is something called a “Resolution.” A Resolution DOES NOT create enforceable laws. A resolution creates a platform to introduce conversations (subsequent bills that could create law) and gives state support to projects (in this instance the creation of TOURISM).
The other misconception is that this has “ability” to protect wild horses on BLM land. As we sat and listened to testimony from the public, and read comments and letters, it appears that the public is making a “plea” to the state to protect wild horses and reform BLM.
The state has no authority, nor do we EVER want the state to have authority, over BLM land. Just last session the state introduced legislation (did not pass) to deny wild horses water in the state of Nevada. Just last summer the states Department of Agriculture tried to push the federal government to remove horses (without having any specific data to support the request) due to drought. The state of Nevada (and most western states) were part of the need for 1971 legislation to have the federal government take jurisdiction of wild horses and burros OUT of the hand of states and private parties. This resolution will not stop those efforts by the state and if the language is not carefully crafted, could actually give the state additional resolve to push horse numbers lower.
We certainly hope that the state keeps in mind it’s own Constitution in the language of this resolution and recognizes the boundaries of it’s authority in federal matters.
WHE has not viewed the final text of the resolution that passed the State Senate. The original text has serious issues that might have opened some doors for the state to use it as a tool to urge the federal government (now backed by resolution) to further the agenda of removing horses for special interests. PLEASE remember the state has a “mining first” mindset and a huge “good ol’ boy network” of ranchers sitting in the Senate itself.
Wild Horse Education (WHE) did get involved (testimony and text work group) and have been reassured that the resolution in it’s current form has no language other than that supporting the state taking an active hand in creating partnerships to engage aspects of the states Virginia Range horse program and to promote wild horses (and all western heritage) through tourism cooperatives.
We will keep you posted as this heads for a vote in the full Assembly this week.
Horse-tripping Outlawed in Nevada
This is another instance where social media took an extra “step.”
A bill has passed the Nevada Committee and is heading to the assembly to make intentional tripping of a horse against the law. However it has not gone to the Assembly for a vote.
The bill did pass the committee it died in last session when the Senate was lied to by those against the bill and asserted that the events did not occur in Nevada and legislation was not required. We (through Leigh’s documentation) proved it a lie and the bill itself was resurrected this session.
HOWEVER the Senate re-wrote the text of the bill. We have NOT seen the full bill in it’s current form. There is a very real possibility that what will come for a vote in the Senate will be meaningless… after all this is Nevada. But there is reason to have hope that the Assembly will amend the bill and pass an effective piece of legislation.
We will continue to keep you updated on the state bills.
Wild horse litigation moves forward in all three active cases carried by Wild Horse Education including the Triple B/Jackson Mountain case (primarily a case on inhumane treatment), the Silver King case (now known as the Access or Press Freedoms case) and the Owyhee Complex case heading for hearing next month (inhumane treatment and lack of authority to remove).
Land use plans are being formed in several BLM districts. Land use plans (RMP) usually stand for 15-20 years and set the framework of assessments done to remove wild horses and burros. We are engaging those processes where possible.
Assessments and information is being gained to address the expected cries of “drought” coming from many districts to remove horses this summer. Alternative strategies need to be created and other actions prepared if required.
Several media pieces are coming soon. The NBC piece should air early next week. A wonderful short film “Wild Horses,” will premiere in June that has the ability to go “main stream” and lead to a full-length feature. The mass of independent film makers that show up in the West every spring is back full force…. Maybe America will wake up? Maybe our numbers will double or triple and the voices standing for our wild ones will become impossible to ignore.
There is much hope.