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---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Stop the BLM's aggressive wild horse and burro roundup campaign and its years of mismanaging the Wild Horse and Burro Program
Date: Sun, July 5, 2009 12:12 pm
Dear President Obama,
Wild horses and burros are an American treasure both as reintroduced native wildlife species and as cultural and historic resources. More than any other native animal, they have died for us in our wars and partnered with us in the creation of this country. They should not be eliminated from their congressionally mandated rangelands as the Bureau of Land Management(BLM)proposes.
The BLM has not complied with its fiduciary duty in observing the tenets of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act and has mismanaged the Wild Horse and Burro Program for 38 years. In conducting aggressive aerial roundups of America's wild horses and burros, the BLM has removed approximately 200,000 from their legal rangelands in 10 states. In the spring of 2008, a top BLM official told wildlife ecologist, Dr. Craig C.
Downer, that virtually all wild horse and burro Herd Areas (HA's)and Herd Management Areas (HMA's) were leased to livestock grazers. From a close examination of the original 1971 wild horse and burro HA's and HMA's in relation to overlapping livestock grazing leases, approximately 95% of wild horse and burro rangelands are being grazed by livestock. This is in direct contravention of federal law under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.
The BLM stated that there is insufficient forage and water to sustain wild horse and burro herds. Contrary to BLM claims, forage consumption by livestock on public lands amounted to nearly 7 million-6,835,485 Animal Unit Months (AUM's) in fiscal year 2005. This is contrasted with a mere 381,120 AUM's worth of forage that was consumed by wild horses and burros.
The latter consumed 5.6% of the forage consumed by livestock. And this is substantially lower still when forage consumed by big game animals is brought into the calculation. THERE WOULD BE ADEQUATE FORAGE AND WATER FOR WILD HORSES AND BURROS IF THEY RETAINED THEIR MANDATED RANGELANDS AND THAT AGENCIES UNDER THE PURVIEW OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR WERE NOT ALLOWED TO REZONE SAID RANGELANDS TO SUIT THE NEEDS OF SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS SUCH AS CATTLE RANCHERS, BIG GAME HUNTERS, OIL INTERESTS AND GEOTHERMAL COMPANIES.
In the July 9, 2008 House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources letter to the BLM's Director of Operations, Henri Bisson, Senators Nick J. Rahall and Raul M. Grijalva strongly urged the BLM to refrain from any further action regarding wild horses and burros until the results of the BLM's management practices by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was conducted. The BLM refused to change its practices and continues to act with impunity concerning its management of the Wild Horse and Burro Program. The BLM has done little to address the concerns raised by a 1990 GAO report and has placed over half of the wild horse and burro population in holding pens where they languish. If these captured wild horses and burros are not subsequently adopted, they are sent to slaughter. Senators Rahall and Grijalva go on to state the following: "You may be aware that the BLM's inability to administer the budget of the Wild Horse and Burro Program with any trace of fiscal accountability is a long-standing concern and must not be used as a death sentence upon these celebrated symbols of the American West." Sadly, this is exactly what has been happening to America's wild horses and burros and it is an unconscionable travesty.
By law, wild horses and burros deserve the right to their designated rangelands. Yes, these animals are a part of our western heritage but more importantly, they are sentient beings that should live out their lives without interruption of politics, greed and cruelty.
I respectfully ask you, Mr. President, to make the Bureau of Land Management and other Department of the Interior agencies comply with the tenets of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act and that these agencies cease to grant favors to special interest groups at the expense of America's wild horses and burros the 1971 Act was meant to protect.
Please ensure that the BLM review the scientific findings that contradict the agency's claims of wild horse and burro overpopulation and negative impact of rangelands. Place a moratorium on ALL roundups (as requested by the Committee on Natural Resources) until actual numbers of wild horses and burros have been independently assessed and finally, restore the Herd Management Areas designated by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. These wild horses and burros belong to ALL Americans on public lands that belong to All Americans, not special interests.
For more information on what is happening to America's wild horse and burro populations, please refer to www.americanherds.blogspot.com managed by renowned wild horse and burro advocate, Cindy MacDonald.
On behalf of our precious wild ones and the Americans who dearly love them, thank you, Mr. President, for considering my requests.