Hello Supporter, September 22, 2011
Comments Needed on NAS Review Committee on BLM Wild Horse Program
Provisional Panel Lacks Balance and Critical Expertise
Earlier this month, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced a proposed scope and panel for its review of the "science, methodology, and technical decision-making approaches" of the Interior Department Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) Wild Horse and Burro Program and is providing a 20-day public comment period.
AWHPC has evaluated the prospective committee members and is concerned that the panel lacks balance and critical expertise on subjects of wild horse evolution and natural behavior, as well on the environmental impacts of livestock grazing on public rangelands. The panel appears to be skewed in favor of those who espouse the scientifically-outdated theory that the wild horse is an invasive, non-native species, and several panel members hold official positions with the Wildlife Society, a group of fish and game managers, which has consistently taken extremely anti-wild horse positions in the past.
Now is the time to tell the NAS that the deficiencies in the current panel makeup must be corrected so that an objective and meaningful scientific review of the BLM wild horse program can be undertaken.
BLM Oregon Shuts Down Public Observation at Barren Valley Roundup
7 Horses Die So Far at Unnecessary Roundup
Helicopter flies dangerously close to horses at Barren Valley roundup on September 14, 2011. Photo by Deniz Bolbol.
The BLM is reporting the deaths of seven wild horses and the capture of 406 to date at the Barren Valley Complex roundup, currently underway in the remote southeast corner of Oregon.
Thanks to a grant from our coalition partner the ASPCA, AWHPC's Deniz Bolbol has been onsite at Barren Valley, but her efforts to witness the roundup have been stymied by the Oregon BLM, which set up public observation areas long distances from the trap site and barred public observation entirely for most of this week.
The lack of transparency is particularly egregious in light of the deaths at this roundup, including two horses who died at the trap site after breaking their necks, as well as questions that linger regarding the conduct of the helicopter contractor, Sun J, whose practice of flying dangerously close to horses prompted an emergency injunction issued by a federal court in Reno, Nevada last month.
Deniz' report on her experience at Barren Valley is available here.
Meanwhile, the controversial roundup in Spring Creek Basin in Colorado ended this week, and the Winter Ridge roundup in Utah, which aims to "zero out" this historic Herd Area for wild horses, is underway.
AWHPC Founding Sponsor Advocacy Sponsor
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Supported by a coalition of over 40 organizations, its grassroots campaign seeks:
* A suspension of roundups in all but verifiable emergency situations while the entire BLM wild horse program undergoes objective and scientific review;
* Higher Appropriate Management Levels (AML) for wild horses on those rangelands designated for them;
* Implementation of in-the-wild management, which would keep wild horses on the range and save taxpayers millions of dollars annually by avoiding the mass removal and stockpiling wild horses in government holding facilities.
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