It is a very familiar and unwelcome feeling that I have, writing about the BLM’s plans to roundup and remove over 55% of the wild horses in the Wyoming Checkerboard. It seems like just yesterday I was writing about this plan that affects wild horses on 2.4 million acres in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin. The last roundup was in 2014 when 1263 wild horses were removed from their homes and lands. 14 died during the roundup and over 100 died in short term holding facilities in the four months following the roundup.
This time, however, the situation facing the wild horses in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Greek Divide Basin is much more dire. The consequences of being rounded up and removed from public lands could not be more serious because right now the BLM is asking Congress to lift the restrictions on killing and slaughtering wild horses, and every one of the 1560 wild horses that the BLM is planning to remove is facing imminent death. The BLM does not consider in its Environmental Assessments what will happen to the wild horses that are removed according to their Proposed Actions. They do not care about the suffering, illnesses and deaths of the horses and they do not care about you and I, the taxpayers, funding a lifetime of each horse being kept in pens, in captivity. It is a wasteful, cruel and insane policy that favors overwhelmingly corrupt livestock interests who get to graze and overgraze their private livestock on our lands, losing millions of dollars on this program each year.
In this Proposed Action, the BLM is pandering to the Rock Springs Grazing Association, which only has 24 members, and whose grazing rights on public land are a privilege, not a right – but they don’t see it that way. Land swaps could have easily solved the problem of the checkerboard of public and private lands, but it is not in their interests to cooperate. They want to control all the land. And they want the horses gone at any cost. But 70% of the land, of the 2.4 million acres in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin is public land. It should not be managed as if it were all private land, but it is. We stopped the 2016 Checkerboard Roundup because we won an appeal which said that the BLM cannot manage all these lands as if they were private.
This time, we need your help to speak up, write the BLM and demand that they select Alternative C – no roundup or removal.
The BLM should not be allowed to move forward with this roundup only on the basis of an Environmental Assessment.
This is an excellent explanation of why by American Wild Horse Campaign. Please feel free to use this information below in your comments.
“Due to the controversial and litigious history of the BLM’s wild horse management plan for these HMAs in the Wyoming Checkerboard as well as the myriad of environmental, economic, legal, cultural, and social issues that the Proposed Action raises, the BLM must prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). An Environmental Assessment (EA) is not sufficient. The EIS on this Proposed Action must address the following impacts and concerns:
- A real analysis of alternatives to the proposed action as required by the NEPA, instead of justification of a foregone conclusion;
- Impacts to taxpayers – the full costs of this action to American taxpayers, including the costs of the roundup itself and the long-term costs of lifetime warehousing of horses removed in the roundup;
- Impacts to captured wild horses – a detailed analysis including the impacts of the BLM’s budget request to Congress to lift the ban on destroying healthy horses and burros and selling them for slaughter. NEPA requires that BLM analyze all foreseeable activities that will affect horses so this lethal strategy that would have devastating effects on horses removed must be fully detailed and analyzed in the EIS.
- Impacts to wild horses who remain on the range, including the effect of the removal on the genetic viability of the wild horse populations in the three HMAs. All genetic analysis reports should be included in the EA’s appendix.”
Alternative C is the correct choice, no roundup or removal. Their alternatives were not explored in any meaningful way, but they should include lands swaps to create contiguous protected habitat for the horses, suspension or reduction of livestock grazing on public lands, and a real plan for managing and maintaining the population on the range that does not include sterilization.
Wild horses should remain a part of our public lands, and should not be treated as pests or vermin, to be captured and slaughtered on the behest of a single interest group. These horses belong to me, belong to the American people and deserve to be treated and managed humanely and with respect, as a treasured part of our heritage and our lands.
Here is the link to all the documents: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/projectSummary.do?methodName=renderDefaultProjectSummary&projectId=74247
Please send your comments by August 10, in your own words.