On Tuesday morning, I took a journalist and a cameraman from France TV out to a waterhole at Sand Wash Basin, home of one of my favorite wild horse herds. The previous day, they had been driven around a herd management area near Lander by the BLM wild horse and burro expert there, and had only seen 3 wild horses. They were thrilled as we drove up to see at least 60 wild horses around the waterhole, and they kept asking me if the horses were going to leave. I explained that the horses in this area were relatively used to people, and if we approached quietly and respectfully, we should be able to get some good footage of wild horse behavior.
I spent about 5 hours with them, and made certain to discuss on the range management versus removal, the use of birth control instead of roundups, the livestock outnumbering wild horses on public lands by about 100 to 1, the pressure of special interest groups such as welfare ranchers that are squeezing out the horses, the importance of maintaining genetic viability of each herd,the inhumanity and cruelty of the helicopter roundups and housing the horses in holding facilities without shelter, and the BLM’s plan to do sterilization studies on the horses, to name just a few topics. I pointed out the behaviors that are characteristic of wild horses, that make observing intact families so special.
Then they headed to Rangely to meet up with Callie Hendrickson, one of the most virulent wild horse haters that ever sat on the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, in order to interview one of her rancher friends.
They certainly could have interviewed some wonderful wild horse advocates in the Pisceance/West Douglas Herd Areas, and given those that fight to protect them a little more time and notice. But they did not.
If I sound bitter, it is not because I didn’t get more air time – it is because they claimed this would be a balanced piece.
News stories come and go, but I am not going anywhere.