If Utah Governor Gary Herbert (pictured at left) had his way, his state would clear the public lands of wild horses "to keep ranges open for cattle grazing."
In public statements made last week, he proposed "aggressively" killing some mustangs and surgically sterilizing the rest! On Monday, AWHPC, our founding organization Return to Freedom, and our coalition partner The Cloud Foundation, dispatched a strongly-worded letter to Governor Herbert, reminding him that America's wild horses and burros are protected by an act of Congress, and demanding that he stop exaggerating the number of wild horses in Utah and scapegoating wild horses for environmental damage caused by livestock grazing. Please help us deliver a loud and clear message to Governor Herbert that these national icons -- like the public lands themselves -- belong to all Americans from all 50 states, not just the handful of ranchers who profit from grazing their livestock on public rangelands with subsidies paid by all American taxpayers.
Return to Freedom/AWHPC Partner with BLM on Pilot Birth Control Program for Wild Horses in Gardnerville, Nevada
Last year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed removing a population of wild horses from the Fish Springs area in Gardnerville, Nevada. The local community organized to strongly oppose the plan. Since last summer, Return to Freedom/AWHPC has worked with the local community members and the BLM Sierra Front Field Office to develop a PZP fertility control program to keep the horses free on the range.
PZP fertility control is currently the best available alternative to roundups and for keeping wild horses wild on the range. The public-private partnership between the BLM and Return to Freedom is a win-win for the agency, the community that wants to protect this beloved herd of horses, and most of all, for the horses themselves. Last week, AWHPC's Deniz Bolbol was out in the field last week to begin darting mares with the birth control vaccine. Deniz, who has been trained in PZP darting by the Science and Conservation Center, is pictured at left with a few of the Fish Springs horses last week. To read more about this exciting pilot program, please click here.
AWHPC Supporters Meet With Senator Feinstein's Los Angeles Staff
Last Friday, April 18, a group of 16 AWHPC supporters and constituents of Senator Diane Feinstein met with staff in her Los Angeles office. The advocates are lawyers, teachers, social workers, accountants, filmmakers and entertainment industry professionals who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with Senator Feinstein's staff to ask that she sign the Keep Wild Horses Wild Pledge and reform the broken federal management program.
These constituents made a strong impression on the Senator's office, letting her know that her constituents care about this issue and want her to act. Thanks so much to all who attended! We hope that their experience will empower other AWHPC supporters to organize similar meetings in your community. As Senator Feinstein's staff said, the public interest in this issue has never been higher, so let's keep the pressure on to make real change for wild horses and burros in 2014. Please read more about the meeting here.
BLM Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Meets in Sacramento, California
Earlier this month the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board met in California. We were shocked that the BLM and the board failed to address the dire drought situation facing wild horses and burros on the range as summer approaches. With the driest year on record, the Advisory Board and BLM both completely ignored the urgent need to haul water and take actions to protect wild horses and burros. Instead of discussing the negative impact that continued livestock grazing is having on fragile rangelands during drought, the Advisory Board recommended that the BLM evaluate the negative impact that "excess" wild horses and burros are having on the range -- completely ignoring the fact that private commercially owned livestock outnumber wild horses and burros many times over. However, this is not surprising given that the board is stacked with members that have ranching interests and advocate against the horses and burros. AWHPC was on site at this meeting and has prepared a detailed report available here.