The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

Then What?


This page is dedicated to the search for viable solutions that will benefit the ranges in the Western United States and all of the inhabitants. The reason for this page is due to the overwhelming cry of the American Public from all points of view regarding the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. Some want the program completely disbanded. Some want the gathers to stop completely. And then others want the program to continue, and with it the gathers. Still there are other interest groups who would like to see no wild horses or burros left to free-roam the range.

What would you like to see happen?

What solution would you propose if given the chance?

If you would like to post anonymously, please feel free to do so. There are no spam guards in place for this very reason. I must insist however that you maintain a “G” rating for your posts. No one will be allowed to ostracize anyone else for their opinions or perspectives. This is a place of FREE SPEECH. So please, feel free to speak your mind, whatever that may be.

Thank you most sincerely in advance,

Tracie Lynn Thompson

*Quick Side Note: When I reply to the posts on this page, I truly do want the answers to the questions I pose. I am not trying to be adversarial, or in any other way mocking of the individuals posting. And the debates that I present are based on information that I have at hand at that time. I am always open to learning new information, *ALWAYS!*

“For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of Mankind, on is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the Slaughter.”

GEORGE WASHINGTON, address to the officers of the army, Mar. 15, 1783

 reas

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56 Responses to “Then What?”

  1. reveil39 said

    Ideally, wild horses should not be held in holding pens but run free on an open range.
    The question remains for the horses already captured: If they are going to be moved away from their turf, could the new destination be of similar terrain?

    • *Again, I’m playing the Devil’s Advocate!*
      Ideally, yes, this would be the optimum choice. But the BLM and other agencies state that the range cannot support the amount of horses currently running on the range, hence, their reasoning behind the currently scheduled gathers and those of the past.
      Moving away from the turf and to destinations of similar terrain would be somewhat difficult given the above mentioned reasons. There are mountainous regions across the US, but ones with better than 90% similarities are difficult to come by simply because of arid conditions of the weather among other factors.
      Do you think that the ranges currently undergoing herd size reductions are in fact not able to sustain the amount of horses inhabiting them? And did you have a specific place in mind for their relocation?
      *T*

      • reveil39 said

        I do think that the range is able to sustain the amount of horses, if managed properly.
        I think it is not very wise to eliminate or greatly reduce animal species for economic reasons. Who knows what type of environmental challenges we will be facing in even just 10 years? What if it is too late to reestablish equilibrium?
        In such a vast amount of land, how can 10 or 20,000 horses wreck any havoc?
        I wish there would be new legal implementations to help find solutions, as well as external teams of specialists who would have access to the land and the horses to help bring true balance to the issue.
        I just get the impression that the removals are conducted in the same exact way they were done 10, 20, or even 50 years ago. Haven’t we learned more since then?

        As far as a similar terrain, I was just trying to figure a solution if nothing changes.
        In the meantime, how long do the horses have to spend in holding pens? We are in the middle of winter, and theses poor animals are stuck in a place without a shelter.
        Again, there has to be more knowledge on taking care of wild animals since the 50s, and certainly more knowledge as far as preservation.

        • Very interesting points!!! I like it!
          Yes, proper management is the key. You cannot sustain any ecological system properly and adequately without proper management.
          I also agree with not eliminating/reducing numbers for economical reasons (in the wild) but I would like to ask which economical reasons you are speaking of specifically.
          And yea, there really is no telling where we will be in the 10 years environmentally.
          As for the legal implementations and external teams of specialists… I’m working on getting that info for you guys. Same for the operational procedures.
          The horses spend time in the holding pens while they await adoption at the long term holding facilities. The short term holding facilities usually don’t keep them that long, but there are determining factors such as if a herd/band came in with an illness and must be quarantined to protect other horses from being infected.
          Thankfully, there is an abundance of knowledge now vs. the 50’s. Its all about how we apply it, and how we encourage our leaders and the BLM to apply it.
          More to come soon… T

          • drgnldy333 said

            Ok, when they sort the horses, any horse 10 yrs or older is not considered adoptable, those horses are shipped to long term facilities which are huge ranches contracted to provide a home for the horses. They are pretty much left on their own, other then to supplement with hay when needed. Horses under the age of 10 and deemed adoptable are shipped to short term facilities and enter the adoption program. Now the area I am not real sure about is the sale authority horses, and how the horses wind up in that catagory. But, who ever purchases these horses have to sign a document that the horses will not be sold to slaughter for human consumption. Holding pens are just that, holding facilities while they await transport.

        • reveil39 said

          There seem to be various economic factors in rounding up horses, none of which are currently taking into account the preservation of the species.
          Private land owners want to keep the wild horse out of their land, while other interests (energy needs for example) typically forge forward.
          Although on paper it may sound profitable at first to take the immediate numbers into account, hidden numbers are bound to arise, not limited to but including further environmental damage as well as the public total loss of trust, which can manifest itself into many other areas affecting an already challenged economy.
          It would be formidable that an energy giant for example took a step forward towards preservation. It would not be the first time, and probably not the last, but there has to be something positive to be done to improve the habitat of the wild horses. What about corridors to give easy access to water? I am not a geologist, but just to blame the lack of water on one species alone comes across as a narrow minded study. And reducing the numbers of animals to a bare minimum is equivalent to trying to throw a bandage over a ravine.
          THere has to be some incentive to motivate public and private improvement of the range as a whole because current environmental changes are not a slow occurrence of the past but a pressing challenge already on our door step.
          In other words, if lack of nutritious range and water is the issue, and we can’t figure out how to get the horse to water, we might as well get back to prehistorical times.

          • Once again, I like this line of thought very much! Very though provoking.
            I agree with you on the points of economic factors influencing the gathers. This has been shown repeatedly with the various reasons you listed, and as well with the overall budgetary constraints that are shown in the BLM’s Budget Justification files from the BLM. (See https://themustangproject.wordpress.com/documents-evidence/blm-budget-and-fiscal-information/)
            As for the suggestion about the energy giants taking a step towards preservation, I like this idea even more! I have already sent your comment to a few of the larger corporations who are involved in the “fast-tract initiatives” projects currently proposed for the Western US States, and I will send this to more later on tonight. I’m sure that we will all anxiously await their responses.
            “In other words, if lack of nutritious range and water is the issue, and we can’t figure out how to get the horse to water, we might as well get back to prehistoric times.”
            Again, I agree. I believe that there are several research programs in place currently to remedy this situation. I will look for the links tonight and try to get them posted as soon as possible.
            *T*

  2. I suggest that we push all elected leaders in the US to mandate that ANY horse used by ANY government agency from this point on MUST come from a BLM adoption facility. With the overabundance of wild horses in government long term holding, they could essentially supply all of the mounted personnel with hardy and healthy horses for at least a decade to come.
    This mandate would eleviate the overcrowding currently plaguing the LTH facilities, and would give the horses a much needed “job” instead of standing around in a field being bored and depressed. As well, it would greatly reduce the budgetary costs associated with the care and feeding of said horses.
    Senator Mary Landreiu has made this ‘recommendation’ and I applaud her efforts. However, recommendations are not solving the immediate crisis. Madates and policy changes will.
    *T*

  3. Lynn Bauer said

    You seem to have only one person talking to you – whY??
    LB

    • LOL you are a pistol,aren’t you…
      This page has only been up for about a week itself. Reveil and I started talking on this page, and then for the most part, we all talk in the comments to specific posts. When we’re not talking there, we talk through emails and phone calls or text messages. It all gets around before it’s over with.
      T.

  4. gowest said

    I recently watched the wild horse rounup video on GMA-I was given a wakeup call to the need for voices to be raised..I personally have raised QHs for amost 40 years, and have given my 5 studs and band of mares-a paid vacation- until the economy improves. I have lived on ranches thru out the west-and among the wild horses. I am not at all convinced what i have heard from the BLM-is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth..First off the wild horses in the video were in great shape-at the end of january coming into the spring grasses…Starvation is certainly not at hand..so they must mean…they potentially could starve..at some point in the future. Secondly-a roundup of this size-surely means-you are not really concerned with getting them adopted…the market couldn’t possibly absorb this many at a time…so that leaves the door open for the BLM to say see…we have to go to the alternative..sending them to pastures in the midwest..It has no other outcome when you do it that way-instead of the small incremental adoptions, that had people drawing lottery #s in order to get a chance to bid on one. Thirdly-this means of rounding them up, holding them for long periods of time- feeding, vetcare-there has to be more vet care and injuries in confinement-shipping them to the midwest…and then paying “ranches” to feed them…for how long? Isn’t it more logical to leave them where they are at, in a habitat where they know how to find food shelter and water..and suppply hay and water IF there is a shortage? That is common sense to me. I have to wonder at motive-to do the MOST expensive alternative?

    • Gowest,
      I am so happy to welcome you to the site!
      Your opinions and views are not singular as we have found that most people feel this way. There are very valid points on both sides of this issue, and yet at the same time there are so many misinterpretations and misunderstandings.
      We have all asked the BLM at some point or another these same questions, and we always receive the same answers. We as the public are somewhat “at the mercy” of the BLM and the Wild Horse and Burro Program because we are dependent upon them for some of our information about the situations in the wild. Luckily, we also have those among us who dig further, and sometimes “come up with a worm” LOL.
      I completely understand why you would see the situation as you stated above. I also see some of the same issues.
      Do you think there are alternatives to the current state of their management? (the gather currently being conducted in the Calico Complex)If so, please share.
      T.

      • Anonymous said

        I have worked for a huge private co. out of texas on a windmill project in eastern oregon..It was a private ranch, sagebrush country. They were paid 1 million dollars for a 10 year lease on the property, approx 1,000 acres, but only certain aresa were suitable for windmills…aprox. 80 wm. During construction, the ranchers cattle continued to graze the areas we were working in…and will continue to do so for the next ten years..the contract said…If any ow died (fell into one of the holes during construction) the rancher was to be paid 50,000 a cow…needless to say the holes were paneled off and a gaurd posted at the gate to keep cows in until they could install a cattle gaurd…Now my point is….The government could make the same deals with the windmill farms…the horses could still roam the land…and the government could make the BLM a revenue producing agency…pay for the horses care and maintence in rough winters ect…and pay down the national debt..the government should not give the land away on cheap leases…there is big money and enourmous tax breaks given to these corporations on the wind farms. After all, Jackson Hole Wyo. has shown they can feed the elk in the winter, draw tourists, have buckboard tours during feeding months, and keep everyone happy..It doesn’t take long for wildlife to find those sites…I see it as a win-win for all parties…the fact that the dept. of interior is trying to do this removal at such a fast pace, at the worst time of year and such HUGE numbers of horses…leads me to think there is a hidden agenda.

        • gowest said

          sorry, that was me above..My next thought was: After having gone to the BLM page, and looking at the numbers of horses rounded up so far-better than 1/2 are stallions so far…I am guessing bachelors, -and diversity is important in genetics, couldn’t stallions and mares be relocated to other areas to widen the genetic pool? I see so many ways the animals could be managed here where they belong, I certainly don’t see the herds of wild horses, the way I see the herds of domestic cattle that are grazing on BLM as I travel the west…but years ago when i traveled thru nevada_ i would see many bands of horses and burrors…rare now to see that..i am not against the cattle using the land…but i do get angry when the seem to think they have more entitlement to the land than the horses, and refuse to admit to the abuses of overloading their allotments-and thus overgrazing..I would like to know if the BLM has employed the tracking collars used on wild horses in australia, to verify their travels in foraging…and do the same for cattle on BLM…to settle once and for all this debate…I am not sure they are working at gleaning hard facts to resove this question…it keeps the argument going between cattlemen and the rest of the wildlife…

          • tracielynnthompson@yahoo.com said

            Hey Gowest! Yea, this is just a great set of questions! I’m sending them out to officials soon and we’ll see what we can get back. Keep ’em coming!!! T.

          • drgnldy333 said

            A university in Texas does all the genetic tests on all mustangs and makes recommendations to BLM based on those genetics, as far as herd ratios etc and keeping the genetic pool viable. Part of the problem is all the HMA’s currently able to sustain the mustangs are already overcrowded. Other areas may be able to sustain mustangs and burros at a later date when the rangelands health has improved from either over grazing, wild fires etc. Currently there is no provision in the ACT to allow them to re-distribute the herd populations.
            As far as the suggestion to mandate all gov officials to use mustangs for their mounts, what if the officer is 6 2? He gonna look pretty silly on a 14h horse. The majority of mustangs range from the 14 to 15h range, although there are some much larger they are harder to come by….. How bout mandating all the federal correctional facilities to institute the inmate training program? A saddle trained mustang is far more adoptable then untrained horses?

          • Texas A&M (Gig ‘Em Aggies!) is the university that does the genetic testing, more specifically that would be Dr. Gus Cothran. Gus has been doing Equine Genetic Research for more years than I think I’ve been alive LOL. Yea, Gus gives recommendations, but on the whole BLM doesn’t bother with them all that often. This is not to say that they never follow the recommendations, just that for the most part they don’t.
            The 1971 Act has been amended and added to and written over so many times at this point that it probably looks a lot like a piece of paper with a bunch of white out on it!
            Mustangs do in fact come in the 15-17hh range, and in quite an abundance actually. They come from Northern Nevada mainly. In fact, the horses from the Calico Complex are – for the most part – on the taller side. They are part of the descendants of the US Calvary Remount Stallions. Of course, not all of them are this tall, but I only saw a handful that weren’t. I was quite impressed with the quality of their limb bone structure, their conformation, and their overall carriage; large is an understatement in some of these cases.
            I do agree with the training programs except for one little drawback… With the current inmate programs, you never can guarantee that a single inmate will be with the horse from beginning to end of the formative training due to the reward/consequence system employed by the penal system. If they mess up, they get their reward of working with the horses taken away. The Mustang is then left with another inmate to pick up where the first one left off and they more than likely do not have the same training methods. With a Mustang, you teach them once and they remember it. Two different styles of training can confuse the horse and actually make things worse. This program would be much better suited to be allowed as a reward only to those inmates who have a proven record of good behavior.
            T.

    • reveil39 said

      Good post, but I was wondering, what does QH mean?

      • tracielynnthompson@yahoo.com said

        QH = Quarter Horse

  5. sandra/go west said

    DOI News

    ——————————————————————————–

    Interior Opens Conversation on Open Government

    ——————————————————————————–

    02/05/2010

    On December 8, 2009 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the Open Government Directive, instructing federal agencies to take specific steps to increase transparency, participation and collaboration in government.

    Today, the Department of the Interior launched DOI.gov/open – an online portal to Interior’s Open Government Plan and other efforts in to increase transparency, participation and collaboration in our agency. At DOI.gov/open you can:

    Join Our Online Dialogue
    We want to hear from you! The Department of the Interior has launched OpenInterior.Ideascale.com an online dialogue focused on Interior’s Open Government Plan. You can submit your ideas in one of five topic areas (transparency, participation, collaboration, innovation and improving the dialogue) and vote and comment on ideas submitted by others.
    Track Our Progress
    The Open Government Directive lays out several deadlines for federal agencies to meet as we develop an Open Government Plan. You can track our progress here.
    Check Out FOIA Reports
    The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to access Department of the Interior records and information. Learn more about our FOIA program and download our annual reports.
    Download Data
    DOI is committed to the President’s Open Government Initiative has submitted seven high value datasets in support of the Open Government Directive. Although there are seven high value datasets specifically targeted for meeting the needs of the Open Government Directive we continue to identify more opportunities for dataset publication and have many more in the review queue. Learn about our seven high value datasets.

    Get the Latest News
    We’ll post regular updates about the progress of our Open Government Plan and respond to some of your questions and ideas. Be sure to check back often.

    O.K., I went there this morning as soon as i picked up the news, Its not there yet, I have been asking for this on Salazars facebook page…and yes, making a nusiance of myself…in hopes that we could have a direct line into DOI…I found the tea Partiers very annoying when i was politically blogging…now i am finding “some” of their methods worthwhile…dominate the conversation, stir emotions, use catch phrases. LOL..By the way thank you for the information..it was very informative…I am always looking for facts to check-however I believe in Salazars message he said 125 leases had already been received and I don’t see anything like that number on that data sheet. I did find some interesting information at a site called friends of black rock that clarified some things for me including some disinformation in a news article..They do not support the wild mustangs-however they do support “the burning man convention” go figure..they are residents of gerloch nev.

    • Its funny to me sometimes how much we think alike LOL
      T.

    • Its finally “open” for business LOL
      T.

  6. sandra/gowest said

    I thought i would leave you with this….from the songs of the cowboy(1921)

    you will miss him on the roundup;
    It’s gone, his merry shout,–
    The cowboy has left the country and
    the campfire has gone out.

    Kind of the same feeling for the wild horses-I have a field of horses and stallions in pens that I can see at anytime time-but its not the same as seeing wildhorses on a ridgetop…pen them up and they are not wild horses-the spirits gone- the instinct fades away, and foals raised in captivity are basically domesticated…besides which ..seeing my stallions running with my mares is an emergency situation…LOL

    • drgnldy333 said

      Lol, my mustang shyanne was captured as a yearling, she was adopted as a two yr old, trust me her instincts were quite intact lol… my other mustang was born in captivity and adopted out as a weanling, lol same with his instincts. Mustangs would have to be bred in captivity for generations before their instinct levels would lessen, one generation would not change that.. Even if they are living on a ranch with over a 1000 acres to roam, it is the human interaction that will take away that wildness. If you handle any horse correctly, you will never and shouldnt ever lose that spirit… That spirit within them is the same spirit as us, without our spirits we but empty shells taking up space and wasting oxygen.

      • drgnldy333…

        The instincts and spirit to which Sandra was referring are not the same as the ones you are referring to – they are something that only an American Wild Mustang can possess while on the range living free. The ones you are referring to are the ones that as trainers we strive not to diminish but rather nurture. Sandra is a very knowledgeable woman herself when it comes to our Equine partners having been raising, breeding and training horses for many, many years now – the ones she is referring to when she talks about looking out across a field of horses and stallions in pens that she can see at anytime time – but Sandra also knows the difference in her own horses and the wild ones that she would see on a ridgetop.

        T.

  7. Patricia Barlow-Irick said

    How about we turn ’em into dairy animals and open a chain of Cowboy Bars where we sell fermented mustang mares’ milk right next to the Starbucks? It could be a self-funding program. And it would appeal to the Mongolian tourists.

    All kidding aside, a rational solution to the problem of over-population is TOUGH!!! We can’t even work on it though until we have the ground rules for trust. The first step towards trust is honesty and your blog is about the most honest thing I have seen concerning the issue. Thanks for doing it.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more about the ground rules for trust, and about being honest. Thanks for your support.
      T.

      • That’s right! So, how can we come up with suggestions when we have NO idea of the real facts of the situation? How many horses are really out there on the range? How rapidly do they really reproduce? How many horses can the range really support? Why can’t the powers-that-be give the horses at least some of their land back? We know there are too many cattle – how about removing some of them? How about trying some other birth control method than PZP? How about using people who really know about horses and the condition of the range?

        I think there are SO many unanswered questions that I can’t make serious suggestions. :o(

        However, moving the horses to the Midwest and east is a no-brainer. NO!

        • sandra longley said

          We take it one issue at a time..form groups to work and research on each issue..alot can be done on line-some has to be field work..Frustration rises the further we look into this..we need to make our anger and frustration work for the horses..the more we uncover in bits and pieces, the more ammunition we can bring to the table..The one thing I know-is that we can not quit..we are the only thing standing between the horses and the edge of the cliff…and there are so many groups looking to push those horses off that cliff..It is not hysteria..it is the real urgentcy of NOW!

          • It seems to me that the FIRST thing we have to have is an accurate count of the horses. Everything else sort of hangs on that. But how can that be done with the BLM continuing to round them up?

          • Suzanne,
            I agree with you, and with the others who’ve stated the same, that we need to have more accurate counts of the horses on the various HMAs. So riddle me this: how can this be done more effectively and more efficiently than the current methods? I have “racked my brain” trying to figure this one out myself, and I keep coming up empty handed because of the huge amounts of land that the horses traverse. Obviously, in the smaller HMAs that do not have 100s or 1000s of horses, a simple solution is viable. For instance, a hike into the HMA by a lone observer who could be “discreet” about his/her presence and thus facilitate a more accurate account of the horses without spooking them away. But on the large HMAs, how can you employ the same tactic without re-counting the same horses you counted before – because since you counted them in XYZ area, they have now moved to ABC area.
            Really, really, REALLY would like more input on this one…
            T.

          • What ABOUT Sandra’s idea of using the USGS global imaging? They themselves suggested it, didn’t they, Sandra? From what little I really know about this, it should be able to do the job. One thing that came to mind also was a computerized “horse recognition” system, in conjunction with the above. I mean, they have facial recognition, finger print recognition, etc. It’s just a matter of putting in the right criteria. And, it would be building a database of the horses as it went along so could recognize individuals even better – like a spam filter.

            This COULD be done, and once implemented, it wouldn’t cost much to run, wouldn’t need highly trained operators either.

            Did you say the Aussies have collars on the brumbies, Sandra?

          • sandra longley said

            Yes the aussies have a program out of the university doing these studies-they are having a conference this summer, with invited speakers-2 of which are from the united states-one steven patterson-is a professor at the University of Utah-and is supposed to be an expert on the wild mustang..I e-mailed him asking for materials of his I could read..but never heard back from him..Australia is fighting the “same”fight we are fighting…and found a list of people to contact over there..thought maybe we could share ideas and solutions..I have just been too tied up with research to pursue that thought…

  8. […] Then What? […]

  9. sandra longley said

    Using the global imaging that the USGS suggested in their management plan, Its fast and accurate head counts could be made..At the time they suggested it -2002…it was tied up with military use for surveilance of terrorists.

  10. sandra longley said

    absolutely, the USGS provides the science for the BLM..they were actually brought over to help the BLM manage the land and horses..Budget constraints do not seem to apply to the BLM as they seem to think taxpayers have deep pockets. The USGS has stated that global imaging to identify and count herds combined with PZP to “scientifically” control population growth – would virtually eliminate the need to gather the horses. This is what really frustrates me, is the the BLM chooses to ignore the science and resonable and cost effective measures to manage the horses..and instead chooses the path of “most” resistance and the worst results for the most money….

  11. I happened to remember something. Am correct that the BLM is supposed to base their decisions to remove and how many to remove on the condition of the RANGE, not the number of horses? Have any of you read “Buried” from American Herds, and the Eckel testimony? If not, here it is: http://americanherds.blogspot.com/2009/12/blm-photo-2004-warm-springs-hma-wild.html

    • sandra longley said

      No one holds the BLM accountable to the rules or law..even the courts go on the assumption that the BLM has done range studies to support their claims..I am begining to think they make things up as they go along..I find when they are taken before a judge we find out…whoops they didn’t perform those pesky NEPAS or EISs or mitigations if they did find a problem..I am completely disgusted with there ability to follow their own written protocols..I think their assesments are done in a bar over a bottle of tequila…and until they PROVE otherwise..thats is the picture I have in my mind..I am sure there is an effort being made in some units, and I would like someone to point them out so I could personally shake their hand. I am truly sorry I have lost my objectivity on the organization as a whole…I just see them as dysfunctional as a system of management-they can’t even manage the rocks forcrying out loud…

      • sandra longley said

        O.K. I read the article and bookmarked it..I salute Ms Ekle for telling the truth on the stand..and where did that get us? Lets hope it means something when the judge makes his decision..And if it does, I will buy that woman a bottle of the finest- what ever she wants, and put on a parade for her..seriously! The fact is had that case not gone to court..that information would never have been published…there is no place in the BLM for a whistle blower.

      • I agree that this has historically been the case. There is no excuse for allowing personal arrogance or pride to interfere with the operations of your primary job duties and thus allowing your job performance to suffer in the process; especially when your job duties are to protect life.
        That being said, I have been relieved recently to find that while this is still the case in some areas, it is no longer the case as a whole. I will explain more here soon when I have all of the information, but suffice it to say (agian) that our efforts have not been in vain.
        I find it somewhat ironic how things have turned out with the court case concerning the Calico Gather. The plaintiffs of this case were basically attempting to stop the gather and have the horses remain on the range at some level. The defendants were basically attempting to remove the horses and place them in adoption homes or in long term holding. (This is just a summarizing of the case, not exclusive reasons.) After reading the judge’s opinion, it appears that his finding is that the BLM is within the 1971 law to gather and remove the horses, that they are within the law to place them in short term holding and adoption / sale authority. However, the ruling that is now being anxiously awaited is the determination of whether or not they are allowed by that law to place them in long term holding or not. If his ruling is that they are not within the law to do so, his opinion is that the law reads that they are actually in violation not to euthanize the horses who would normally go to these long term holding facilities across the US and that they are in violation of the law to fund them with tax dollars.
        If this ends up being the case, we are all in for a really big problem. 30,000 horses in long term holding currently. And the vast majority of employees at the BLM and WH&B Program don’t want to euthanize them, nor do they want to euthanize the future horses who are gathered and removed. I was told recently by certain employees that if this ends up being the ruling, there will be a mass walk-out of said employees because they will not be a part of this.
        If this happens, not only are we as the wild horse advocates in for a big fight to save these horses, but we are also going to be facing the problem of no one to manage these horses, no money/funds to manage these horses, and who will be replacing these employees. Some may that this is a good thing, that we need replacement of these employees. That may be true. But the fact still remains (and yes, I said fact) that there are some these employees who do not need to be replaced. As well, what do we do about the 30,000? And what about the interim replacements?
        I really don’t want to think about the possible outcomes of this ruling if it is not in favor of the long term holding facilities. But it seems at this point that we don’t have much choice but to entertain these thoughts so that we may be prepared should this occur.
        T.

        • sandra longley said

          Actually the judge in this case was only ruling on the plaintiffs request for an injuction to stop the roundup until it could be adjudicated. The judge does not see the same amount or quality of evidence he will see when the case comes before him..in order to grant an injuntion, he must see evidence that would lead him to reasonably believe the plaintiff would win the case in a full trial…generally (depending on the judge)it would have to presented as a pretty cut and dried-and weighed against the consequences of putting a hold on operations(in this case the roundup)which was presented to him by the BLM as necessary to do now because mares would be foaling later in the spring and would be dangerous to do it later…The BLM did NOT state this was an emergency gather(ie.range conditions were such that it was imperitive to get the horses off of there now-or they would starve or die of thirst..Given the out come and the warning the judge issue to BLM at that time…I will be anxious to see what the judge rules…given the outcome of the calico gather…

          And yes, My concern has always been-what kind of mess we will have if we stop the movement to long term holding and Zoos..I keep asking “do we have a plan?” A recent conversation over at straight from the heart was about this..Willis Lamm was involved in a release of the virginia range horses, and thinks it is a big project but could be accomplished…but certainly not in a dumping process- like a whole sale gather..I think someone like willis, who lives in that country,works with wild horses and has some experience along these lines would be perfect to work with the blm to get it done..He also thinks there are BLM personel at that level who care about the wild horses..I would be more concerned about directives from Abbey, that would amount to a “I’ll show you”..and enmass dummping back out on the Calico range, resulting in more destruction. Which is why they call them the BLM-not The Boy Scouts of America….

          • sandra longley said

            I want to add a thought to that…Judges generally don’t want to be made to look bad in their rulings…and ruling in the favor of the BLM on this injunction-resulted in some egg on his face..’old family saying “don’t piss off the alligators untill you get across the river”

          • sandra longley said

            Personally I think they wanted the horses off of the land before The Ruby Pipelines start date projected the first part of April. I am pretty convinced and have yet to see evidence to the contrary..

          • See IDA v. Salazar from Animal Legal & Historical Ctr

        • Well, Madeline Pickins has been trying to get them to give the Long Termers to her. Salazar even talked at length with her recently and invited her to sit in on a committee. She wants those horses – that was what she has wanted from the beginning. She WILL take them.

          • sandra longley said

            Yes, but they are refusing to let her purchase allotments to go with the land..They are bound and determined to get those horses off the lands in the west..and by shipping them back east..they seem to think-if they remove them from the lands they roam…future generations will forget they were ever there…thus end the fight once and for all..leave them on the nevada lands with Mrs. Pickens keeps it in the publics eye and memory, and some congress could be pressured to eventually turn them back out…they would have to truck them back from the midwest to get them to their lands…Lets not forget..Bob Abbey has spent years in Nevada politics trying to eliminate the wild horses and knows the fight inside and out…wouldn’t suprise me to find out..that he had advised the Bush admin. on this project..difference is ..bush was going to send them to slaughter-salazar to zoos.

          • drgnldy333 said

            Maybe you should read her full proposal before you state that… and her hubby is involved in that ruby pipeline deal too. hummm.

          • Hold the phone… Say what? T. Boone Pickens has what involvement with Ruby???
            T.

    • Yes, the reasoning behind AML levels is based on the conditions of the range. Yea, read Mrs. Eckel’s testimony. I am still not sure what to make of it. From the research that I did following that article and the testimony reading, I came to the conclusion that their were too many conflicting opinions. Some have said that she was a disgruntled employee, some have said that she was inexperienced, and some have said that she was not performing her assessments correctly and therefore was not able to make these determinations correctly. Still others have agreed with her assessments (although I am still not sure what even they have based this opinion on). Even more frustrating: some have said that they agree with her assessments of the numbers of horses but don’t agree with her assessments of the health of the range. Finally, I had to give up on this one for the time being because I couldn’t nail down anything concrete. All in all, it ended up being a he-said-she-said game, which I just really didn’t have the time for LOL.
      T.

      • I don’t think she was disgruntled. I think she was just doing her job as she thought she was supposed to – she checked the range, it was good, so she didn’t worry about the number of horses. Even when she found out there were 5 times the AML, she didn’t worry because of the condition of the range. I don’t think she meant to be a whistle blower – she was just answering the questions she was asked.

        Whether she was right about the range health or not, it’s the principal of the thing that interests me. I mean, isn’t this what it’s SUPPOSED to be about?

        Then the BLM came and took out the “excess” horses, even though the range was good. This doesn’t make sense to me. Why not save the expense of a roundup and holding if the range is good? What does it matter how many horses are on it as long as they are not doing damage? That’s what I’m getting at. It just seems to me the BLM is doing things bass-ackwards if you get my drift. ;o)

        They say they don’t have enough people to stay out and monitor the ranges adequately. But if they used the money their spending now to get range specialists and only roundup when ACTUALLY needed, it seems to me it would still be cheaper. All this of course if there isn’t some other agenda that we’re not supposed to know about. Ha Ha.

        I believe Craig Downer is working on a range plan to suggest to them. If anyone can come up with a workable plan, it would be Craig. I have SO much respect for this man and his expertise. I haven’t read his ideas yet, but if I know Craig, they will be eminently reasonable. Which probably won’t make a bit of difference, but at least it will BE there.

        • sandra longley said

          Suzanne, I am on the same page as you..It is the argument I think is most critical. The only way you can come to “excess” is with proof the range cannot support them. If i see photos or reports of thin horses in the summer-I know something is wrong with the range they are on, and they probably will starve to death in the winter. In the case of the Calicos they have stated..it is not lack of forage but lack of water…and yet i see many instances where they are fencing horses off of water, and diverting water sources for other projects. None up us want to see the horses starve or die a horrible death from dehydration..I would rather see them removed..But as of yet..I have seen no evidence the BLM is managing resources that would allow the horses to live in their environment..As I recall from my own personal experience -there were massive roundups of horses prior to the 1971 bill being passed, they were not being adopted they were being sent to slaughter and to rodeos for wild horse races-which is why there were only 17,000 wild hrses left when they did the counts in 71 to determine the HMA allowances..where they were found and how many there were was quite different prior to that..My point is that the land supported a guesstamate of 1 million or so wild horses at any time.

  12. Tom said

    T, how many horses do you know of being killed in the roundup in Nevada. It is being reported that so far 77 have been killed and 39 foals lost. Are these numbers true?

    • tracielynnthompson@yahoo.com said

      I think its 77 or 79 but I’m double checking now. Soon as I get confirmation I’ll letcha know. Good news though: the older stud in the sick pen is on the gain according to John. He was really bad off and didn’t look so hot; lethargic & down. John says he’s beginning to pick up a little bit of weight & feeling a little better. Only time will tell with this one though; he was pretty bad and could still have some complications. We’ll keep our fingers crossed! 🙂
      T.

    • Sorry it took so long, busy weekend and boy howdy was it a Monday or what?!
      The following came in this morning from John Neill at Palomino Valley / Broken Arrow:
      “The death total at the Fallon Facility is 72. There were 4-5 deaths that occurred at the gather operations. I am sure they are including those in their total. As for miscarriages that occurred at the facility, we have not quantified them. We estimated so many had occurred at one point. The groups used that number as a starting point and have kept a tally going since then.”
      T.

  13. Rochlia/Tracy said

    If the horses must be removed, then the BLM should use natural PZP and bait trapping. Roundups are not the answer. They destroy and are not humane.

    • Agreed.
      T.

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