Upon hearing about the BLM’s plans for the large-scale removal of 2,500 horses in northwest Nevada near the Black Rock Desert, more than seven thousand citizens submitted public comments to the BLM opposing the Calico Mountain Complex Round Up, scheduled to begin on December 1, 2009. Public comment has been extended through November 22, 2009 according to the BLM.
Currently more than 33,000 wild horses are stockpiled in government holding facilities at a cost to taxpayers of $100,000 a day. The scheduled removal of 2,500 from Nevada will bring that total to more than 35,000.
“We already have enough wild horses in pens. Adding more horses to those already held in confinement, when they are much safer on the range is shortsighted, inhumane and fiscally irresponsible.”—Ginger Kathrens, Emmy Award Filmmaker & Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation.
The BLM will pay the private contractor $610 per horse rounded up for an estimated total of nearly $2 million for the Calico roundup alone according to BLM spokesperson, Tom Gorey. Branding, vaccinating, sterilizing and processing of horses to be placed in government holding will cost several million more. The BLM hired the same contractor for the controversial roundup of the famous stallion, Cloud, and his Pryor Mountain herd in September, 2009. Bands including two-month-old foals were chased down off the mountaintop by helicopter for 10-15 miles in more than 90 degree heat resulting in trauma and lameness.
"The government is acting in defiance of the spirit and intent of the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act which Congress passed unanimously —Julianne French, wild horse advocate.
The 1971 Act preserves wild horses and burros in over 300 areas of publicly owned rangeland in the west, forbidding their exploitation, harassment and removal. Regardless, only 30 million acres remain of the 54 million acres designated primarily for wild horse use in 1971. Over 100 herds have been completely removed by the BLM and most remaining herds are too small to insure their long-term survival. The BLM's current policy of eradicating these herds is a betrayal of the wishes of the American public.
Sheryl Crow, with wild mustang and burro supporters, calls the public to action urging all to write, e-mail, fax and phone Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, their congressional representatives and President Obama. The list of contact phones, e-mails, faxes and mailing addresses is online here.
“Its time for all of us to speak up for our Wild Horses and Burros so we do not lose these living legends and inspiring symbols of our freedom in America.” —Sheryl Crow