Two press releases follow, the first is from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and the second is from the Bureau of Land Management.
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign press release
Ely, Nevada (August 26, 2010)…Beginning tomorrow, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management ( BLM ) is scheduled to roundup and remove every wild horse living in the Moriah Herd Area 48 miles north of Ely, Nevada. It will take the agency four days to capture, via helicopter stampede, the estimated 72 horses living in this 55,300 acre public lands area.
The action is part of the most aggressive government roundup effort in recent years, with 12,000 mustangs and burros targeted for removal from the Western range this year. The majority of captured mustangs will join the 38,000+ wild horses already warehoused in government holding facilities, a number that exceeds the population (<33,000) left free in the wild.
“The Moriah Herd Area is just the latest federally protected wild horse habitat to be ‘zeroed out’ by the Interior Department,” said Suzanne Roy, Campaign Director for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, which is supported by a coalition of 40 public interest, conservation, historic preservation, horse advocacy and animal welfare organizations.
“Over the past four decades, BLM has eliminated more than 20 million acres of federally-designated habitat for wild horses and burros, shrinking the lands available to these Congressionally-protected animals to just 26 million acres,” she continued. “By contrast, livestock grazing is authorized on 160 million acres of BLM lands.”
In Moriah, BLM is claiming that removal of all of the 72 wild horses is necessary to improve rangeland health, yet the agency continues to authorize more than four times as many cattle – over 300 – to graze those same lands.
“In area after area, BLM sets arbitrarily low management levels for wild horses and allocates the majority of resources to livestock,” Roy concluded. “It’s clear that private commercial interests drive BLM policy, but the public is increasingly demanding change in the way our public lands are managed.”
Last month, 54 members of Congress sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar urging a halt to BLM roundups, citing concern about the trauma, injuries and deaths caused in the helicopter stampedes and raising questions about BLM ’s “flawed” and “unsustainable” wild horse management policy.
Ranchers graze cattle on public land for a fraction of the cost of grazing on private land ($1.35 per Animal Unit Month (AUM) on public lands vs. an average of over $15 per AUM on private lands, according to the Congressional Research Service, 2009). Publicly-subsidized livestock grazing — dubbed “welfare ranching” — costs taxpayers in excess of $122 million annually, yet cattle grazed on public lands provide just 3% of the nation’s beef supply.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. For more information, see:
Fact Sheet on BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program
Fact Sheet: Livestock vs. Wild Horses on BLM Land
BLM News Release
The Bureau of Land Management ( BLM ) Ely District, Schell Field Office will begin to gather 72 wild horses from in and around the Moriah Herd Area near Ely , Nevada , starting Friday, Aug. 27, 2010 . The gather is expected to take up to four days to complete.
The BLM Ely District is implementing the Ely Resource Management Plan that was signed in August 2008. Through the planning process, a decision was made to change Moriah’s management classification from Herd Management Area ( HMA ) to Herd Area (HA), due to insufficient habitat resources necessary to sustain healthy wild horse populations.
“Our goal is to manage for healthy public lands and healthy wild horses,” Schell Field Manager Mary D’Aversa said. “The Moriah Herd Area lacks the resources necessary to sustain healthy wild horse populations, year-round. As a result, the horses are moving outside the Herd Area boundary.”
The gathered animals will be transported to the Salt Lake Wild Horse and Burro Facility, in Salt Lake City , Utah , where they will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals. Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.
The BLM will regularly post gather information on its Website. Also, an observation day for the public and media is scheduled Saturday, Aug. 28. For more information or to sign up, call Chelsey Falge, BLM Ely District administrative clerk, at (775) 289-1800.
“The top priority for this gather is safety – that of the animals, our employees, and members of the public,” D’Aversa said.