The WHB Act charges the BLM with “maintain(ing) a thriving ecological balance among wild horse populations, wildlife, livestock and vegetation to protect the range from the deterioration associated with overpopulation,” according to a story published this morning by the Idaho Statesman.
The Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture have primary responsibility for the WHB Act, now referred to as 16 USC 30, not the BLM.
Search the statute (CTRL+F) for keywords such as ‘balance’ or ‘livestock.’ See if you can find the statement above.
Try searching for ‘thriving ecological balance among wild horse populations, wildlife, livestock.’ It’s not in there.
The idea of managing HMAs and WHTs primarily for livestock comes from federal regulations, created by unelected bureaucrats, not the people’s representatives, presumably at the behest of the public-lands ranchers.
An estimated 95% of the authorized forage at Saylor Creek, neglecting wildlife, has been consigned to the ranchers. They pay around five cents on the dollar for the resource, compared to the going rate on rented pastures.
Not much of an offset to the tens of millions of dollars the government spends each year to make life better for the ranchers, especially on land set aside for the horses.
As for the rest of the western U.S., the land can only support 27,000 wild horses and burros because most of the resources have been diverted to public-lands ranchers.
You only need to read a few of the ‘Short End of Stick’ reports to see that.
Velma understood the problem, but sadly, many of today’s ‘advocacy’ groups do not.
They want to shrink the herds by shooting the mares with contraceptive darts, instead of pushing back against the ranchers.
The ranchers like the idea of cutting herd sizes, but in a more timely fashion.
That’s where the ‘Path Forward’ comes in.
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