Last year with much fanfare, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced Interior Secretary Salazar's new strategy for reforming the woefully mismanged wild horse and burro program. Among the proposals: public/private partnerships and identifying alternatives to the off-the-range holding of wild horses, which is bankrupting American taxpayers. (The BLM has rounded up and removed so many wild horses from the Western range that it now warehouses more mustangs in government holding facilities [40,000+] than are left free in the wild!)
So what does the BLM do when presented an actual opportunity to match its words with action? The agency ignores a cost-effective alternative proposed by philanthropist Madeleine Pickens and her Saving America's Mustangs Foundation and instead gallops ahead with an expensive and inhumane plan to roundup and remove over 2,000 wild horses from the Antelope public lands complex in northeastern Nevada beginning in just days. . . on January 20. The action will leave behind as few as 427 wild horses on this 1.3 million acre range!
Instead of taking up Mrs. Pickens on her offer to construct holding facilities for the horses on two ranches she has purchased within and adjacent to the Antelope Complex, the BLM will subject these mustangs -- including heavily pregnant mares -- to a helicopter stampede in the dead of winter, conducted in trecherous conditions and freezing temperatures. One needs only to recall last year's Calico roundup, which caused scores of mares to spontaneously abort their late term foals, to predict what a terrible toll this roundup will take on the beautiful wild horses of Antelope. BLM actually plans to ship the Antelope horses thousands of miles away to holding facilities, when they could be housed instead on lands adjacent to their home range.
But now, a powerful coalition of humane, enviornmental and horse advocacy organizations have joined forces to tell BLM enough is enough. In a sign on letter sent this week to BLM director Bob Abbey, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), ASPCA, Western Watersheds Project, PBS Filmmaker Ginger Kathrens and The Cloud Foundation and many other organizations urged the BLM to postpone the Antelope roundup, writing:
BLM’s plan to proceed with a late-January gather in the Antelope Complex makes no fiscal or operational sense. Antelope horses will be captured during treacherous winter conditions and shipped thousands of miles to the Midwest, instead of being gathered at a safer time of year and held on adjacent private lands that will eventually become part of larger wild horse eco-sanctuary.
Please join these groups in sending a strong message to the BLM and other government officials that it's time for the agency to live up to its words by postponing the Antelope roundup for a few months until Saving America's Mustangs can take these horses and provide cost-effective holding for them on lands adjacent to their home range. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE, SO PLEASE PERSONALIZE AND SEND THE LETTER BELOW TODAY!
Please note that when you submit comments to your representatives in Congress, you may be asked to choose a prefix (Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc.) and a Topic area. For the latter, we suggest "environment" or "Interior." Thank you!