Marta Williams, VP of Wild Horse Education, “sounds off” on the anti-wild horse movement in Nevada.
The wealthy cattle ranchers in Nevada, who got that way through publicly-subsidized livestock grazing (hey wait a minute, isn’t that welfare???), are tiring of this endless game of ‘should the wild horses in Nevada be given their legal right to live and have land?’ These same livestock advocates have grown weary of the equally tiresome pastime: ‘should we have to comply with any limits at all from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or anyone else on what we do with our cattle on public land?’ So the ranchers came up with a scheme to wipe out the wild horses in Nevada and throughout the land. How? Why through huge infusions of money of course, what else?
And What Will Money Buy You?
Well apparently for starters it buys you an hour long infomercial on a public broadcasting station. In the piece “Rangelands Under Fire”, the fourth installment of the “Stewards of the Rangeland” series produced by Dennis and Gabe Golden in partnership with KNPB Public Broadcasting, the wild horses of Nevada are held responsible for the destruction of ranches and ranch families, and it is predicted that any support of wild horses will surely result in the spreading of famine throughout the land. HUH????? For an in-depth look at who underwrote this anti-horse propaganda piece, and for an analysis of just how flawed is the information provided by these greedy cattlemen, check out WHE President, Laura Leigh’s editorial on the program.
If you watched the program, you would have felt prompted to ask, ‘Uh, excuse me, where is the Wild Horses’ Day in Court?’ But PBS didn’t bother to go there and truthfully, they deserve nothing less than a complete lack of public support when they do their little fundraisers for what they are calling “public radio.” The sad and honest truth is that it always will be the cows not the horses who are ruining the range, and welfare ranching, while making a few cattlemen really rich, is doing just about zip for the economy of Nevada.
George Wuerthner of Western Watersheds states that, “According to the state of Nevada, the number of people employed in all agriculture totals less than 2,200 people. Some of the larger casinos in Las Vegas often employ more people than all the ranching operations in the entire state. Yet public policy in Nevada, as in the rest of the West, is severely skewed to favor these few ranching-dependent individuals at the expense of the general public and the land.”
So What Else Can Money Buy You?
Money also buys you fancy lawyers and legal action. The Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) and the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation have filed a lawsuit that not only requests the court remove all wild horses in populations that exceed the inaccurate wild horse population levels set by BLM (and identified as inaccurate by the 2013 National Academy of Science finding on BLM), and removal of individual horses who stray onto “private property, but also calls for the destruction or sale “without limitation”, which includes sale to slaughter, of all horses in BLM holding facilities nationwide. This is the final chess move in the wild horse holocaust. The suit cites the 2004 “Burns Amendment” that allowed wild horses to be sold for slaughter for the first time since the 1971 Act to protect wild horses and burros was passed. The Amendment was slipped into an Omnibus spending bill prior to Thanksgiving recess. Americans, and several Congressmen, were surprised the language existed at all in the bill. Funding for BLM to destroy wild horses or sell them for slaughter has been repeatedly denied in subsequent appropriations bills including again in 2014.
What’s a Public to Do?
So what can the now completely-ignored public do to help the absolutely powerless wild horses of the west? Join WHE in yet another David and Goliath stand off, this time with the livestock industry of Nevada. WHE President and founder Laura Leigh filed documents on Jan 27th, requesting court permission to intervene in this legal action aimed at all of Nevada’s wild horse population.
About the suit Leigh states, “This suit is retaliation for BLM finally creating valid restriction to livestock use. I have every expectation that tensions will increase as drought conditions repeat this year. It is more than past time for the BLM to begin to admit the mistakes of the past in the wild horse and burro program, stop catering to livestock producers and give wild horses the rangeland and resources they actually need to survive as ‘wild and integral’ before private profiteers destroy what is left of our living symbol of freedom and our public rangeland.”
To learn more about this issue, about the broader plight of wild horses and burros in America, and to sign up for our Wild Horse Wednesday weekly action alerts, go to WHE’s website.
Have you taken the Pledge to make a stand against abusive treatment of wild horses and burros at the hands of our federal government? Sign the Pledge TODAY!
Click this LINK! http://wildhorseeducation.org/whe-pledge/
Catch up on our legal efforts HERE: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2014/02/08/litigation-update/