FoA to BLM Director: Dismantle the Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board

FoA to BLM Director: Dismantle the Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board

Friends of Animals is calling on the Bureau of Land Management to dismantle the nine-member Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, a mouthpiece for the cattle industry, for its inability to reflect public interest.

FoA has attended numerous Advisory Board meetings, which are supposed to a conduit between the public and the BLM, but we have yet to see any of the public’s comments/advice incorporated into its recommendations to the BLM. In fact the opposite is true. In 2016, the board, which includes ranching interests, made a recommendation to euthanize wild horses in holding facilities and it was met with public outrage. Just last week the board made another outrageous recommendation—the destruction of healthy horses again, not only in holding pens but also out on the range.

Taxpayers dollars fund the Advisory Board’s expenses and reimbursement. According to Section 7 of the Board’s bylaws and procedures, “expense related to the operation of the Board will be borne by the BLM. The government will pay travel and per diem for non-government members at a rate equivalent to that allowable for federal employees.”

We are asking supporters to call or write Acting Bureau of Land Management Director Michael Nedd and tell him to ignore the board’s recent horrendous recommendations and to eliminate the board altogether—which ultimately show the cattle industry’s vendetta against wild horses is reaching a crescendo as other special interests compete for space on America’s public lands such as mining companies, hunting businesses and oil and gas companies—and to terminate the board altogether.

The Board’s most recent recommendations once again defy public opinion. In addition to the destruction of healthy wild horses, they include:
● Phasing out of long-term housing of wild horses to use the savings to improve rangeland management. Unadopted horses would be killed. (Currently there are 43,633 in BLM’s off-range facilities)
● Managing by using contraceptives and permanent sterilization once appropriate management levels are reached

While such recommendations are maddening, the Bureau of Land Management cannot slaughter horses in holding pens or on the range without Congress approving such a measure. Annual appropriations bills since 2010 banned humane euthanasia and the unrestricted sale of certain excess animals, but unfortunately Congress now seems to be on the offensive to curtail protections for wildlife.

So along with contacting Nedd, who can be reached at Phone: 202-208-3801; Address: 1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665 Washington DC 20240, we are also urging supporters to once again call and write your U.S. Senators and Representatives and tell them to:

● oppose the removal of sale restrictions on captured wild horses and burros in the FY 2018 budget;
● oppose the weakening of any language prohibiting slaughter of healthy horses by the BLM or its contractors placed in the FY 2018 budget;
● attach a stipulation to the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 that would allow wild horses to be returned or relocated to Herd Areas in states where wild horses once roamed but have been wiped out—Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
● Restrict cattle and sheep ranchers from grazing in wild horse Herd Management Areas

Find your U.S. representatives here: https://www.house.gov/representatives.
Find your U.S. Senators here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

When Congress passed the WHBA, wild horses and burros roamed across approximately 53.8 million acres. Since the passage of the WHBA, wild horses have lost 22.2 million acres, more than 40 percent of their 1971 habitat.

It’s time to give back to wild horses the habitat that was stolen from them.