The Bureau of Land Managment (BLM) is supposed to protect wild horses and burros from "harassment", "capture" and "death" and manage them at the "minimal feasible level" to maintain "free-roaming" behavior. Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. §1331 et seq. (WFRHBA)
The focus of BLM's management has, instead, been to round up wild horses, destroying the herds, their free-roaming behavior and leaving families separated in stark holding facilities. All at an astounding cost to taxpayers.
Despite the protections of the WFRHBA, BLM's priority has been to clear public lands of wild horses and burros to accommodate livestock grazing, oil and gas development, mining and other development interests. The latest is the Ruby oil and gas pipeline in which BP is involved.
BLM has wielded great political power in opening herd areas and ranges to "multiple use", including selling off public lands, increasing grazing, and prioritizing oil and gas, mining and other development and trophy hunting. So many special interests are now beholden to BLM and its control of public lands. It's easy to see how the horses and burros have become nuisances to BLM. They interfere with BLM's power grab. Indeed, BLM has ignored both the law and truth in limiting herd areas and issuing so-called "environmental" assessments and other pronouncements that wild horses and burros are degrading the range, overpopulated and starving. It seems BLM will say anything to get rid of the wild horses and burros, including running over its own employees who have said there is no overpopulation and the range can support the number of wild horses and burros.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's plan for the wild horses and burros announced late last year has meant stepped up roundups with the idea of aggressively sterilizing horses and burros and placing them in zoolike settings in "preserves" in the Midwest and East where they are not native; the horses would be generally non-reproducing, ensuring their extinction.
BLM meeting notes establish the real hope is to send these animals to slaughter or kill them. BLM officials have actually openly admitted to discussions with agents for European slaughter houses.
In the past, Secy. Salazar has stated opposition to keeping wild horses on any public lands. It is clear Salazar has no intention of making sure BLM complies with the WFRHBA.
Call on President Obama and members of Congress to put a moratorium on the wild horse and burro roundups now until Congress has had a chance to investigate the wild horse and burro program and come up with a plan that will protect these animals as the law intended.
Please put a moratorium on any further wild horse and burro roundups by the BLM at least until there has been an opportunity to investigate BLM's management of the wild horses and burros and put in place a program that will protect them on public lands as intended by the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
BLM's stepped up roundups have been inhumane, devastating herds and bands, leaving wild horses injured and dead or penned for decades in stark facilities. This is unacceptable, an outrage, and a violation of the spirit as well as the letter of the Act which requires BLM to manage these animals at the "minimal feasible level" to maintain "free roaming" behavior.
The BLM and the Dept. of Interior have ignored the law and are using our wildlife and natural resources, our public lands, to advance a political agenda with livestock grazing, oil and gas and other development interests. They are not fit to be stewards of the public lands. It is up to you to take action to stop this atrocity and save the wild horses and burros, a living symbol of our freedom.
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