From the Cloud Foundation
Comments are due Monday, May 11 on BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program Survey and Focus Groups
Please submit your comments today.
BLM is seeking comments on its plan to conduct public opinion research into the strengths and weaknesses of BLM’s management of wild horses using a nationwide survey, 13 focus groups and 12 longer individual interviews.
After thoroughly reviewing BLM’s draft discussion guide to be used by moderators in interviewing 130 interviewees, we are deeply concerned that the proposed research plan will not be successful in achieving BLM’s goals and will only produce highly biased and unreliable results. While this research plan will undoubtedly cost taxpayer thousands of dollars to execute, the more damaging result will be to present findings in which media, legislators, and the public cannot trust to represent an accurate and balanced picture of problems plaguing wild horse management in America today. (Please read the BLM Draft Discussion Guides for yourself.) The focus group discussion guide and nationwide survey instrument must include accurate and balanced content and questions; not simply present to interviewees so-called “Fact Sheets” with information and arguments skewed toward a BLM bias. Research bias produces unreliable results!
We urge you to submit comments in hopes of directing the BLM’s research efforts in a way that is not biased but balanced… and away from misleading interviewees into supporting poorly conceived and potentially dangerous plans for the future. Here are some talking points you might want to include in your own comments:
Increase number of focus groups to fairly represent all geographic areas with HMAs.
Selected Interviewees must be representative of all key stakeholders and advocacy groups in all affected geographic areas.
Ensure transparency in selection of interviewees. How are interviewees picked?
Include all points of view equally concerning history of conflicts.
Screen prospective interviewees to determine whether level of knowledge and interest in issues is sufficient to produce meaningful and balanced discussions.
Reduce number of topics covered in interviews to ensure more substantive discussion on selected public policy and management issues.
Examine how win-win approaches can be developed.
Educate interviewees using unbiased and accurate “Fact Sheets,” (discussion handouts) on all aspects of issues including costs of Wild Horse and Burro Program, costs of Federal Livestock Grazing Program, Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, population of wild horses on the range, population of wild horses in BLM holding, numbers of livestock grazing within HAs and HMAs, threats to genetic viability of herds.
Identify all cost saving alternatives including: “management on the range” using fertility vaccines and protecting predators, repatriation of wild horses in BLM holding to zeroed out HMAs and HAs.
Remove inaccurate, misleading and biased information from the discussion guide: impact of wild horse populations increasing beef prices, selective use of “out of context” portions of studies, costs related to PZP fertility vaccine.
Please indicate “Attn: 1004-NEW” regardless of the form of your comments.
Send your comments via email, fax or mail by Monday, May 11 to:
U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
1849 C Street NW.
Room 2134 LM
Attention: Jean Sonneman
Washington, DC 20240
For More Information:
BLM Draft Discussion Guides
BLM to Gauge Public Values, Preferences for Wild Horses