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New BLM policies are cause for alarm

Wild horses and burros, public lands in danger because of policy changes

To The Desert Independent

July 22, 2018

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The Bureau of Land Management is changing a 6-year-old rule, which will now make it easier for wild horses and burros in BLM holding to be sold en masse to kill buyers. Congress prohibits the sale of wild horses and burros to slaughter. Despite this, the BLM’s new policy will guarantee that many of America’s wild horses will die a horrible death in Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses.

“Walking back this rule is lethal for our wild horses and burros,” said Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation and Humane Advocate on the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. “Increasing the number of animals that can be sold at a time is a surefire way to send thousands of wild horses to slaughter. BLM is attempting to move thousands of wild horses and burros out of holding facilities, so they can replace them with thousands more, wild horse families still roaming free on lands owned by the American public.”

The previous policy only permitted a buyer to purchase four wild horses or burros in a six-month period. The policy was implemented in 2013 after it was discovered that a Colorado livestock buyer sent over 1,700 mustangs to slaughter. This mass killing of animals purchased from the BLM was confirmed by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General in 2015.

“The BLM has a responsibility to uphold the 2013 rule,” Kathrens said. “To do otherwise sends a clear signal that this agency is no longer concerned with the welfare of America’s wild horses once they leave BLM facilities.”

The new policy allows individuals and organizations to buy 25 horses at a time, with no restriction on how many times that buyer can make a purchase.

“The Congressional Interior Appropriations Committees have been clear that slaughter of these animals is prohibited,” said Lisa Friday, Director of Communications for The Cloud Foundation. “If they do not speak up against this egregious policy change, they are complicit and will have the blood of our wild horses and burros on their hands.”

This rule change comes at a time when the BLM is proposing dozens of roundups for the 2018 summer season that will render many herds in the West genetically unviable (below 150-200 adult horses). The BLM has also announced that they will move their offices out of D.C. and into an as yet undisclosed location in the West.

“This policy change in conjunction with dozens of scheduled catastrophic roundups is bad enough,” Kathrens said. “Now, the BLM will have offices outside of D.C. where it will make it difficult for anyone other than public lands livestock ranchers and mining/oil industry tycoons to have a voice. This decision is damaging for public input on our public lands and could restrict public access to agency officials.”

The Cloud Foundation is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our public lands.

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