Window dressing for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is concerning

Window dressing for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is concerning

Friends of Animals saw it coming.

The Bureau of Land Management has appointed the Cloud Foundation’s Ginger Kathrens to its Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board in the category of “humane advocacy.”

Sadly, the leader of the Cloud Foundation being window dressing for the BLM might be good news for Cloud and may guarantee he will never be ripped from the Pryor Mountains of Montana, but it certainly isn’t good news for the rest of America’s wild horses. It just illustrates that Kathrens threw in the towel some time ago, and has been sucking up to the Bureau of Land Management ever since.

At last year’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting in Oklahoma City, Kathrens, who was once one of the harshest critics of the BLM, was called an “asset” by the agency. And a few months prior to that she lauded BLM for ending cruel helicopter roundups in the Pryor Mountains and for utilizing a “humane” birth control vaccine as an alternative to the removal of wild horses from the range and administering it in a manner that keeps the horse families together respecting the importance of their social structure.

It is maddening that anyone who calls themselves a wild horse advocate can ignore the fact that when the Humane Society obtained ESA registration for PZP in 2012, the organization never provided evidence that PZP doesn’t have negative side effects…it just provided information about the efficacy of PZP and actually requested waivers for most of the studies ordinarily required from an applicant seeking pesticide registration—including a toxicity study, ecological effects and environmental fate guideline study. The majority of research submitted by HSUS was published by the late Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, a veterinarian who manufactures PZP, and did not consider the biological, social and behavioral effects the drug can have on wild horses.

More recent research has demonstrated repeated applications of PZP can cause physical damage to treated mares; it is not completely reversible; it can increase mortality in foals post-PZP effectiveness; and it interferes with herd cohesion, which is critical to the overall health of wild horses. In addition, preventing mares from producing foals can create a genetic bottleneck that may ultimately extinguish the species as a whole.

Plus, by BLM’s own admission, darting wild horses with PZP is generally not practical for BLM because it is difficult to approach most wild horses closely enough on Western rangelands, so it will never replace roundups as PZP pushers would have the public believe.

Last summer Kathrens silently sat back as the BLM rounded up with a bait and water trap and removed of 18 “adoptable” “excess” horses between the ages of 1 and 3, including a foal—nearly all of the youth of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd.

The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd includes Cloud, the pale palomino wild stallion and his family, made famous by the Cloud Foundation’s Emmy award-winning documentaries. BLM’s crime that it got away with last summer comes after years of forcibly drugging Cloud’s family with the fertility control pesticide PZP, which unfortunately the Cloud Foundation has participated in despite Kathren’s saying at March for Mustangs in 2010 that “Freedom and family is everything to wild horses.”

There were only a measly 170 wild horses left in the entire state of Montana last year and the BLM Billings Field Office thought that was too many. Montana’s BLM has already zeroed out six of seven of the original wild horse Herd Areas in the state.

Friends of Animals is not trying to be an asset to the BLM, instead we are trying to be a thorn in the worst government agency’s side so it doesn’t succeed in zeroing out any more wild horse herds on federal public lands in America.

Furthermore, appointing the director of the documentary Unbranded, Ben Masters, to the advisory board for the category of wildlife management is also disconcerting. However it is also not surprising as the film, which leaves true wild horse advocates feeling like it should be filed under the horror film category, is pure BLM propaganda and more about padding the ego of the four friends who decided to take a reckless3,000-mile ride through dangerous, punishing terrain while exploiting America’s wild horses in the process.