After the election in November I found myself full of hope: that with a Democratic majority in Congress and a new president, that things could finally change for the better for the wild horses.
In fact, there is hope with the ROAM Act, HR 1018, Restoring Our American Mustang coming out of committee and on its way to the House floor for a vote, hopefully soon.
However, the Bureau of Land Management does not appear to have changed its ways at all, despite the change in the Administration. First, the BLM calls for bids for 6 more long term holding areas for wild horses because the ones it has are full, and they plan to round up at least 5000 more horses this year. This despite claims from the BLM that they don’t have enough money to feed the 33,000 horses currently in long and short term holding, hence their proposal last summer to euthanize them.
Then I have just received the Environmental Assessment and Herd Management Area Plan for Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountain Herd Management Area in Montana.
In this plan, the BLM will remove over 80 horses and reduce the size of the herd to between 90 – 120 horses, which is below the number needed to sustain genetic viability, especially if most of the breeding age mares that are not removed are treated with birth control.
And the Custer National Forest has plans to rebuild and reinforce the fence dividing the horse area from the Forest Service lands and remove all the horses currently on Forest Service lands.
The problem with this is that the Pryor Mountain horses have lived and grazed in these areas for several hundred years, and anyone who has visited the area will see how meaningless a boundary this fence truly is. I have been following Cloud’s herd since 2004, and have watched these horses live and interact and grow in this beautiful environment. This herd is truly a national treasure and deserves to be preserved and protected, not destroyed.
The Cloud Foundation has been fighting hard to preserve Cloud’s herd and to stop the Forest Service from building this fence, and the BLM from decimating the herd.
Here is a link to information from the Cloud Foundation about what you can do to help:
On June 15 in Sacramento the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will be meeting to discuss wild horse management, and there is an opportunity for the public to comment at this meeting. I will be there speaking on behalf of the Pryor Mountain Herd. If you can attend and support the wild horses, please do, and if you cannot, you may submit written comments by June 10.
I will report on the meeting in my next post.