262 Million Acres and Salazar Can’t find a Place for Wild Horses? – EWA Press Release

CHICAGO, (EWA) – The Los Angeles Times printed a guest column today by Department of Interior (DOI) chief and former rancher, Ken Salazar, aimed at rationalizing the unnecessary removal of America’s wild mustangs and burros from their vast ranges.

Equine Welfare Alliance’s (EWA) John Holland commented, “The opinion piece is an attempt to spin the growing outrage and coast to coast demonstrations which have taken place over the past few weeks.”

An EWA announced protest will take place on January 17 in New York City from 1pm-3pm at Columbus Circle (59th St at Central Park S-corrected address). Two other protests are planned for January 18 in Reno from noon-3pm at South Virginia Street and South McCarran Boulevard and January 21 from 11am-1pm at the California State Capitol building.

Salazar falsely states that in the 1960s, the wild herds of the American west were on the verge of extinction, prompting Congress to pass the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. In fact, much like today, legislators in Washington tardily passed the law after the heroic work of a Nevada woman named Velma Johnson and hundreds of thousands of protesters applied enough pressure to get the Congress’ attention.

Today, it is the DOI on Salazar’s watch that is entrusted to protect the wild herds but instead, is now the driving force managing the wild herds to the verge of extinction. Why? Because Salazar’s rancher friends need more land to graze their 7.5 million cattle which now have to compete with only 30,000 wild horses.

Many herds have been zeroed out, rounded up and are now held captive in pens on private land that the American public, who pays for their upkeep, are not allowed to view.

The small numbers of horses that have been returned to their lands after round-ups have received birth control and with such small numbers are destined for extinction. There are currently more wild horses being held captive than remain free-roaming with those remaining in the wild rapidly becoming genetically bankrupt and unable to create future generations.

Salazar states, “Without natural predators, wild horse populations have grown beyond the carrying capacity of the sensitive and sparse lands on which they live, causing damage to ecosystems and putting them at risk of starvation.” Pictures and video footage from the gathers tell a different story. Unfortunately, the primary predator is Ken Salazar and his pals at the cattlemen’s associations, meat producers, and the America Farm Bureau. Also not mentioned, is how those sensitive and sparse lands can sustain millions of privately owned livestock? Wild horse advocates have likened America’s public lands to that of a giant private feedlot for ranchers.

Salazar’s plan to move wild non-reproducing herds to seven new preserves in the East and Midwest will ensure their extinction. Even he is at least honest enough to call them tourist attractions. Climate, habitat and range changes coupled with birth control and separating sexes is the beginning of the end as they disappear in zoo like settings. The estimated initial cost for these preserves is $96 million which doesn’t include the cost of gathering or transporting the horses. The cost for the gather underway at the Calico complex in Nevada alone will run taxpayers over $1.9M.

Glaringly missing from Salazar’s editorial is the Ruby Pipeline and the California Heliostat project that will rip through the wild horse ranges.

Mr. Salazar has asked for ideas from the public. EWA will be issuing a position paper on wild horse and burro management within the next few days and full proposal within the next few weeks.

Salazar’s invitation for public comment rings hollow when every time the public attempts to speak to the BLM wild horse board they are cut off and not heard. Moreover, the agency’s director, Bob Abbey, has repeatedly dodged interviews with respected journalists about the wild horse issue.

“The future of our wild herds is dependent on working together,” commented EWA’s Vicki Tobin. “Future generations should be able to enjoy wild herds in their natural habitat, not read about them in history books.”

The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 90 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.



5 Responses to “262 Million Acres and Salazar Can’t find a Place for Wild Horses? – EWA Press Release”

  1. Marilyn Wargo Says:

    That we do indeed pay for all the outlandish, destructive and deadly actions that BLM makes and then we are denied any say, denied viewing of long term and short term facilities and no record keeping is revealed to numbers of horses sold by BLM, who then expects us to shut up and back off? We want to effectively change management decisions away from roundups and holding. We want designated lands to be favorably managed for wild horses and burros and not cattle. Buying out leases to keep cattle away from areas would help us tear down fences that have been preventing the roaming, regional migration of horses around their traditional watering places. This can be done and the big bucks saved WHEN BLM decides to deal with local organized and responsible people wanting involvement with the wild horses and burros. mar

  2. T.A. Paxton Says:

    Ironically real zoos are usually working the other way around. They take an animal on the verge of extinction, try and breed it back to a healthy population and hopefully reintroduced to wildlife preserves. Instead these horses start with healthy populations and are intentionally being decimated. In fact if there are no natural predators, what was that on the last Cloud program? A mountain lion’s ghost? I’m sure other nature programs have shown them in these areas. When you come down to it, it’s not just the horses. Any animal in competition with cattle, including wolves and other predators, gets decimated. While American zoos and nature specialists fight to preserve species from all over the world, we seem to be losing the battle to save our own. I would trust nature’s system of checks and balance’s far more on the range lands than our own choices. We are a very short sighted species. Sometimes we can’t see past anything with dollar signs.

    • Marilyn Wargo Says:

      Well said, TAP, I am in agreement. We start programs for wildlife all around the world, and when we do something gutsy here, we get shot down, literally, even as it succeeds.

      If BLM remains legally immune, then the people’s will may be more of an influence. We must keep at them and circumvent their program with knowledge and organization and local involvement. Mar

  3. Janet Ferguson Says:

    Note: where to put this copy/paste jobber on “endangered species” being discussed somewhere on this blog: ?! Here’s a copy of an article about the endangered species act. I think the free roaming horses and burros are becoming endangered per below. (And FWS has the responsibility here to administer this Act in the case of all other than marine species covered by NOAA.

    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a federal law that was passed in 1973 and can be found at 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq. It aims to prevent the extinction of those invertebates, vertabrates, and plants listed as threatened or endangered. It is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWA). NOAA handles marine species, and the FWS has responsibility over freshwater fish and all other species. Both agencies jointly manage covered species that are found in both habitats.
    A species must be listed if it is threatened or endangered due to any of the following five factors:

    1. present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
    2. overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
    3. disease or predation;
    4. inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
    5. other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.
    After being listed as threatened or endangered, a recovery plan must be created that aims to protect the species from extinction. One method of protection is the creation of a “critical habitat zone”, in order to protect against habitat loss that contributes to extinction of a species. In 1978, Congress amended the ESA to require designation of critical habitat zones for all threatened and endangered species except those which might be harmed by the publication of such maps.
    The Act requires federal agencies or their non-federal permit applicants to determine whether their proposed action may impact a listed species. FWS or NOAA will provide a list of threatened, endangered, proposed, and candidate species and designated critical habitats that may be present in the project area. If no species or critical habitats are present, then no action is needed. If a listed species is present, then the federal action agency must determine whether the project may affect a listed species. If so, consultation is required. However, if the federal action agency determines that a project may adversely affect a listed species or designated critical habitat, formal consultation is required.

    • Marilyn Wargo Says:

      I think they were at the Orphan Foal update? But it was getting sooo long.. am glad you put it here.

      I am going to post this meself, JF, Thanks for this. We need to list all these projects and people take them and apply them. There is the proposal for National Treasure at WH&BW blog. There is a petition for Salazar’s resignation.
      There could be a Heritage Species Proposal… Now Endangered Species status.

      Any Takers? If you decide to become a local organizer for TCF you could take one of these on with a new group in real time. mar

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