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BLM releases plan to decimate wild horse & burro herds

To The Desert Independent

April 29, 2018

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – The Bureau of Land Management has prepared a wild horse and burro management plan for Congress that suggests decimating wild horse and burro herds. The plan is entirely based on achieving the agency’s arbitrary Appropriate Management Level (AML).

This AML has already been deemed “not transparent to stakeholders, supported by scientific information, or amenable to adaptation with new information and environmental and social change” by the BLM-commissioned 2013 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report.

All options presented in the plan will bring wild horse and burro numbers down to the BLM’s AML of 26,715 total animals, just above the population estimate in 1971 which spurred Congress to pass the Wild & Free-Roaming Horses & Burro act due to concern about the possible extinction of these herds.

“This is an absolutely devastating Management proposal,” said Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director if The Cloud Foundation and Humane Advocate on the BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board. “These federally protected animals are being blamed for rangeland health problems caused by welfare ranching on public lands and are falsely called ‘starving’ and ‘overpopulated’ as an alarmist tactic to remove them from their home ranges.”

The plan relies heavily on appalling tactics to achieve AML. Options include removal of 50,000 animals, “euthanasia” and sale without limitation of 10,000 animals to reduce the horses and burros currently living in government holding. Other options include the inhumane approach of sterilization of these animals en masse. The BLM option to use the more humane method of fertility control vaccines still relies heavily on massive removals of animals and the killing of horses in holding.

“We are alarmed that after spending over a million dollars on the NAS report and receiving extensive public input about what will work, the BLM is still resorting to unscientific and inhumane management methods to cruelly eliminate the majority of these animals,” Kathrens said.

TCF will have a more detailed response in the days to come after thorough review of this management plan.

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