Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saving America's Mustangs Responds to BLM's Thursday's Announcement


Dear Friends & Supporters,

Saving America’s Mustangs (SAM) is encouraged by yesterday’s announcement by Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey that major changes are on the horizon for the Wild Horse and Burro Program. However, we have many concerns about the timetable to make these changes and actions that the BLM will take in the intervening time while America waits for these changes to go into effect. It is also hard not to recognize that promises have been made in the past with no results and the startling number of horses that continue to be gathered remains an untenable fact and something needs to be done about gathers in the short term to protect the diminishing numbers of wild horses left on the range. The incremental and minimalist approach taken in the past has not served anyone well and the public is crying out for reform in the short-term.

Looking at the specifics of Director Abbey’s statement, we would call for Secretary Salazar and Director Abbey to take an in depth look at the following:

1. The current Appropriate Management Levels (AML) is severely flawed in a number of ways. The number of aums allocated to horses compared with those given to cattle is skewed badly and must be changed. The BLM must do an audit of the forage on all public lands allotments and ensure that there is true equity where multiple uses are concerned.

2. When the Wild Horse and Burro Act was passed, 53 million acres were allocated to the wild horses. 21 million acres of that has been removed from use, leaving only 32 of the original 53 million acres for use by wild horses Re-establishing acreage formally designated as wild horse Herd Management Areas that have been zeroed out and converted to other use to return wild horses where possible should be a major goal of the new overall assessment.

3. Emphasis on public/private land partnerships should take into consideration private investment, entrepreneurship, volunteerism and value to the public good. Simply issuing new contracts to warehouse wild horses does little or nothing to move us in a new direction when looking at the vast number of horses currently in holding pens.

4. The reference to additional science being required to respond to many of the deficiencies in the current management of wild horses could not be more pressing than when looking at the current approach to gathers. We are gathering very healthy horses off of range with sufficient forage to support not only the horses currently there but even larger numbers if the truth were told. The claim that large numbers of wild horses are starving or will starve is an exaggerated conclusion that has been offered as a stalking horse to continue the current gather policy. With 40,000horses currently in holding pens and a schedule to remove another 7500 each year, how long will it be before we have eliminated our wild horse herds or put the Program in such financial hardship that it cannot survive? SAM will continue to call for a halt to all gathers until such time as real science is applied in this area and we feel that Secretary Salazar would be well served to simply stop gathers now and let the science tell the real story when the NAS study is completed.

SAM firmly believes that the Secretary has it within his current authority to make many of the changes that would move us in a new direction. We totally support the NAS study approach but strongly question the need to continue to build on the bad policies of the past when everyone seems to recognize the myriad problems in the current Wild Horse and Burro Program management approach. We offer our resources and commitment to assist the Secretary and Director Abbey in any area where we can bring about change more expeditiously and help manage more effectively.

Copy/paste this URL to read the original BLM Annoucement from Thursday.

Very Sincerely,

Madeleine Pickens & all the mustangs

Are you doing all you can to make this world a better place to live in?

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