Response to NY Times Green Blog Article

You can read the full article entitled “Wild Horses and Hard Choices” from the NY Times Green Blog, published Oct. 11, 2011, here. Below is Ginger & The Cloud Foundation’s response to the factual inaccuracies the article writes about.

I have been studying and filming the natural behavior of wild horses for 17 years, and I am truly appalled at some of the glaring inaccuracies in this article. I find it shocking that the NY Times would allow something this grossly inaccurate to be posted.

Bachelor stallions in Sand Wash Basin, CO

The statement that wild horses are usually thin and underweight is baseless. By and large the horses on the range are in great condition, only in winter do some look thin. Those either do not make the winter, which is a part of natural selection, or bounce back come spring. As evidence, take a look at the volumes of footage of horses in the past several years running in the traps. Just where are the thin and, according to BLM propaganda, starving wild horses?

Panamints, CA, 2009. Screenshot - Carl Mrozek

You say BLM is planning a removal of 6,000 horses but fail to mention this is for only half of FY2012—until the first of March. The new schedule does not include the summer and early fall removals to be conducted.  While helicopters are supposed to be a tool for roundups, they have in the past two years been used as weapons. There is absolutely no excuse for hitting horses or knocking down burros with the skids of the choppers. Once a BLM management policy that allowed for the removal of only adoptable aged animals five and under has been expanded to animals of all ages—a scorched earth policy that includes running and capturing old animals only months or a few years from dying a natural death in the land in which they were born. Any rounded up which don’t meet a perfection standard in BLM’s eyes are shot or euthanized.

I have never seen a wild horse contaminate its water resource. Cattle, on the other hand often ruminate chew for hours near water and defecate regularly in their water sources, trampling sensitive riparian areas in the process.  Wild horses may linger for a while at water but usually move off quickly, traveling to their preferred grazing on higher, dryer ground, regularly traveling 5-10 miles in a day, sometimes even farther.

BLM maintains there are 38,500 wild horses and burros on the range—a statistical impossibility using BLM’s own reported numbers from 2007 to the present. Subtracting removals and even adding their inflated reproduction rates of 20% yield less than 18,000 wild horses and burros remaining in the wild.

A band stallion at the trap site, Antelope Complex, NV, 2011

There is also inaccurate information regarding the current number of wild horse herds remaining. While there were over 339 herd areas originally established, that number has shrunk to less than 180 herd management areas. Based on current management tactics, it is clear BLM is managing wild horses and burros to extinction.

BLM does not own the long-term holding pastures where older or “unadoptable” horses go to, which your article maintains. On the contrary, these areas are privately owned and the owners receive $500 per horse a year to take care of them. Short-term holding costs are even more expensive, with costs of around $5.50 per day for each horse that spends its days and nights feedlot facilities.

Last year only approximately 1,500 horses were adopted out. Sick or injured horses are immediately euthanized and usually will never make it to the short-term holding facility. For example, a horse who was blind in one eye and healthy was immediately shot after he was rounded, the reason given that he would not do well in holding. Sadly he is one of hundreds killed by BLM because they have an imperfection that does not impair their ability to live a life of freedom on their legally designated homelands.

The wild horse evolved in North America, only dying out after it completed its evolutionary path. The horses that died out some 7,000 years ago—not the 10,000 claimed by the author, returned with the Spanish in the early 1500s to repopulate ecosystems in which they evolved over the millennia. Check the new science and remarkable new discoveries made just since the mid-90s on this topic.

Trigger, a band stallion from the Pryor Mountains, MT - removed in 2009

The wild horse is a returned native and should be accorded the status they deserve. Sadly, that would be an endangered species listing. Less than 2% remain from millions that roamed the continent just a little over 100 years ago.

I would think it an embarrassment to a well-respected publication like the NY Times to learn it had misled the public (albeit unintentionally), with this article. The story of wild horses on public lands is a far different one than this biased, one-sided on line piece would lead one to believe.


Ginger Kathrens


12 Responses to “Response to NY Times Green Blog Article”

  1. Lisa LeBlanc Says:

    Git ’em, Ginger.

    This ‘reporter’ spent an entire summer working for the Forest Service and now considers himself a decorated veteran on the subject of wild equines.

    I think he should spend next summer in the Pryors, under the tutelage of someone who has actual experience with wild equines. I think all these self-styled experts – from the new chief down to every reporter who ‘googles’ his sources from the BLM – get down, get dirty, really see what’s going on and base your next public statements on The Truth.

  2. suetv Says:

    Well written Ginger! Thank you for speaking for all of us who truely care about the lives and future of the wild horses and burros.

    I hope and pray that thousands – yes, millions of people will take heed and rise enforce to STOP the Madness and mayhem, which BLM has been given free rein in destroying our magnificent wild horses and burros. I pray to God that BLM will be stopped and brought to justice – including all those who had any part in the devastation… And that ALL our treasured wild ones be saved, returned to the wild, where they can live, thrive and be safe from harm.

  3. Louie Cocroft Says:

    Ginger, THANK YOU! You need to go back in and comment to the last person who followed you. This one suggested that they go back to slaughtering Horses for pet food.

  4. Louie Cocroft Says:

    Lisa, NO WONDER…this reporter was embedded with the Forest Service! THAT explains a lot. I don’t understand the New York Times turning him loose with that story.

  5. Anne Novak Says:

    The new BLM spin doctors have gotten a lot of placement in the NYTimes in the past month. Bad spin = bad karma.

  6. Louie Cocroft Says:

    The ATLANTIC MONTHLY has had 4 excellent articles by
    Andrew Cohen….a REAL journalist.

  7. Linda Redman Says:

    No one could express this better. I just wish more people took the time to listen. If you would want to better the life of other companion animals like dogs and cats – you need to step up for the wild horses. The national symbol of the horses who have served us through the development of this wonderful country

  8. cssssswv Says:

    Even With-OUT ‘doing the research’, I doubt
    I’m being presumptuous in saying,
    “! FOLLOW the MONEY !?”
    —>WHO were the recent Big-time advertisers & contributors to the Famous (&
    unfortunately blindly ‘trusted’) NY Times?? &/or
    this reporter’s Affiliations?
    It is Sad AND Scary!!…
    NO ‘news Source’, whatsoever, can BE assumed as ‘fair, non-biased, even truthful @most basic level’ nowadays.
    & *the general PUBLIC has little/no awareness of this;
    even those who DO–> where & @what time-cost can PUBLIC citizens FIND or clarify ‘the Truth’ behind what they read or see ???
    It is Horrifying to see the rhetoric & lies published about our Wild Horses & Burros, yes!
    But it becomes simply Terrifying! in attempts to find the Simple nitty-gritty FACTS behind any news item.
    I’m so Frustrated @ *Election times, for instance;
    It Usually takes *hours* to find “What ARE the Car-facts?”; what does he/she Actually say, believe, plan…?
    –& that’s just to Vote for a city council member, much less high-ranking positions!
    {IF such information is available @ all} 😦
    And I KNOW that *most People* do Not have the Time, Resources, Energy to self-ANALYZE every important ‘fact’ they truly NEED to Know!!?
    —> no clue what the Solution would be; but
    I do know that it is a fast-tipping slope Towards the ‘Big Brother’ scenarios, which we’ve Feared & erroneously believed we were Prepared to prevent! ??
    😦 Ginger, & you other true Investigative reporters & documenters—Do You have any advice on this?

  9. Darcy Says:

    Ginger, thank you for putting this reply out there to the NYT, it is eloquent & straight to the point. I can’t believe some still believe in the Truth according to the BLM.

  10. Louie Cocroft Says:

    That New York Times article comment section has gone up to 3 pages with 52 comments, now. Here is the most recent

    October 19th, 2011

    I applaud the many readers who spoke up to point out some fallacies of this article.

    My favorite is how the decline in wild horse population before the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was attributed to starvation and other natural factors. Truth is, they were being RUTHLESSLE round up and slaughtered. That’s the horror that Wild Horse Annie found, that’s why the amount of letters to Congress about saving our wild horses was SECOND ONLY TO THE AMOUNT OF LETTERS ON THE VIETNAM WAR.

    I am also very happy that people pointed out that horses are natives of North America, their evolution stretches back over 57 million years here. Yes, they went extinct here in the Ice Age, but so did some elk and deer, who were also reintroduced by settlers.

    Anyone who thinks the horses are STARVING and suffering, please PLEASE look at any and all round up footage you can find, and show me a roaming horse with a body condition score of less than 4! I would say most are around a 5 or 6! Note: most race horses have a body condition score of 3 or 4. Horses don’t decline in body condition until they are in BLM’s holding facilities or in the midst of winter in the wild. However, we won’t start rounding up any other animal if we suddenly witness a few individuals starving and dying during the harshest winters. That is how mother nature intends to MANAGE populations. Since our predators are all hunted down to prevent a calf or two from being killed from each herd of domestic cattle, natural predator management is not nearly as successful as it should be!

    I could go on for hours, but really it’s all up to everyone to do research and OPEN THEIR EYES to the conspiracy that is the BLM. WRITE YOUR SENATORS, TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Even finding info on the BLM website is a puzzle, documents with broken links, etc.

    In short, I’m writing a speech for a class at Penn State. Ask me for citations. Not convinced? Above Top Secret’s website…. The Mustang Conspiracy. All you need to know.

  11. Louie Cocroft Says:

    For anyone who has not yet seen this:

    The Mustang Conspiracy: Sex, Drugs, Corruption, and BP. Part 1 in HD

    What, you may ask, could “Sex, Drugs, Mustangs, Corruption and BP” have in common? That’s not only a fair question, it has an astounding and disgusting answer that exposes one of the most bizarre, unethical, horridly sad and disturbing conspiracies we’ve come across yet (and that’s saying something after 13 years!).
    Please note, we said Conspiracy, not Conspiracy Theory. That’s very important.
    In this two part Special Report, ATS News’ Mark Allin interviews George Knapp in Las Vegas, Nevada about a very dark and very real travesty that is being played out by a cast of bad actors from the U.S. Government (U.S. Department of the Interior and its subsidiary agencies; The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and The Minerals Management Services (MMS)), “Big Agriculture”, and “Big Oil”. It all starts up in the Northern Deserts of Nevada where the U.S. Federal Government, in a Unanimous Vote of the U.S. Congress, set aside millions of acres of public lands for the indigenous wild horses, or Mustangs as they are properly called, back in 1971.

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