By THE CLOUD FOUNDATION
To The Desert Independent
June 15, 2019
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Last week, The Cloud Foundation (TCF), a Colorado-based nonprofit organization, sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee (Click here for letter), voicing opposition to a dangerous and ill-conceived management plan that could result in the roundup of over 50,000 wild horses. The letter calls on the Committee’s Chair, Rep. Raul Grijalva, to hold hearings regarding the failure of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to effectively manage the Wild Horse and Burro program. The Colorado nonprofit also urges the committee to provide oversight and benchmark requirements for a BLM pilot program, embedded in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill.
The legislation, as passed by the House Appropriations Committee on May 22, 2019, and headed to the House floor this week, “lacks safeguards, assurances and oversight,” said Ginger Kathrens, Director of The Cloud Foundation.
“We believe the appropriations language gives the agency far too much latitude on issues where there is disagreement between BLM and the wild horse and burro community. The Cloud Foundation recommends that this pilot program be developed with the oversight and guidance of the House Natural Resources Committee and that the committee initiate a series of hearings to oversee the development of a sound and balanced management plan that holds BLM accountable for implementing humane, reversible fertility control programs.”
The management plan, submitted to Congress earlier this year by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) et al. would double the number of horses in off-range holding at enormous cost to the American tax-payer. “While perhaps seen as a compromise, these groups are bargaining with the lives and potential deaths of 50,000 horses,” says TCF Director of Communications, Lisa Friday. “Unless funds are allocated to support those horses in holding for the rest of their natural lives, it is not hard to imagine that slaughter will be their eventual fate.”
TCF has advocated for wild horses and burros since its inception in 2005, and Kathrens has documented these animals in the wild for over 25 years.
“BLM never wanted the job of managing a wildlife species, particularly one that competes with one of their major clients, the livestock industry,” Kathrens states. “We cannot trust that BLM will implement reversible fertility control if we simply ask nicely, as called for in this plan. BLM must spend the money where it is allocated – and we must allocate the majority of funds to humane, reversible on- range management. We believe one way to hold BLM to account is to build oversight into any pilot program.”