PZP Amendment Omitted from Senate Spending Bill?

A few members of Congress are still clinging to the idea, according to a news release issued today by Animal Wellness Action, a lobbying group in Washington, DC.

The measure does nothing to change the resource allocations and management priorities that leave America’s wild horses and burros with crumbs, forcing their removal from public lands in favor of privately owned livestock.

RELATED: Op-Ed Pushes Contraceptives.

Op-Ed Pushes Contraceptives

There is hope, according to the writers of a guest column published yesterday in Horse Nation, not because the BLM has decided to change the resource allocations and management priorities on lands set aside for wild horses, but because Congress may force it to implement an $11 million darting campaign.

Do they not see that they’ve thrown in with the groups they criticize?  Do they really want HMAs managed primarily for livestock?  How many wild horse herds are truly overpopulated?

The Confusion HMA, subject of next week’s roundup, certainly isn’t.  Would they start the darting program there?  Before or after the roundup?

Next to the government and public-lands ranchers, the greatest threat to America’s wild horses is not the oil companies, not the mining companies, but many of the so-called advocacy groups.

RELATED: Why Should You Oppose Sterilization of Wild Mares?

Wild Horse Wars on Drudge

The link pointed to a copy of the story in the Houston Chronicle.

Wild Horse Wars on Drudge-1

The government spends $57 million per year to warehouse 52,000 wild horses and burros, according to a recent news release, so it can collect an estimated $850,000 in grazing fees from the ranchers to whom their food is sold.

Revenue = 52,000 horses × 12 AUMs per horse per year × $1.35 per AUM

With taxpayers making up the difference, the grazing program is a fine example of redistribution of wealth.  That’s what Protect the Harvest is trying to protect.

RELATED: Wild Horse Wars?, Grazing Program Ancillaries.

Teeny Weeny Clarification

In yesterday’s news release about the WHB Program in FY 2020, BLM said it protects wild horses and burros by gathering and removing excess animals from the range and offering them for adoption or purchase at facilities and events around the country.

Except that’s not what Velma had in mind.  They were to be protected on their home range.

Horse #81 is excess in an area where the AML is 80.  Same for horse #240.  The forage assigned livestock can support 450 of them, for a true AML of 530, so a roundup is not necessary.

If Congress wants to write letters to the Secretary of the Interior about the treatment of wild horses and burros, why not condemn public-lands ranching?

Stop the Ovariectomies, Use PZP Instead!

The Animal Welfare Institute said in a news release yesterday that 58 lawmakers from both houses of Congress sent a letter to the Department of the Interior condemning the BLM’s plan to sterilize wild mares from the Confusion HMA in western Utah.

Instead, they suggested, wild horse populations should be controlled with PZP.

Nobody wants to talk about causes.

The HMA is managed primarily for livestock.

Look at the resource allocations and management priorities of the RMP.

Then you’ll understand why the AML is low and the desire to shrink the herd is high.

RELATED: Confusion DR Setting New Precedent in WH Management?

Forest Service to Reduce Big Summit AML

Wild Horse Education reported earlier this week that the Forest Service has issued a decision notice authorizing a reduction of the AML for the Big Summit WHT, among other things, subject to a 45-day appeal period.

The number of horses allowed by plan would change from 55–65 to 12–57, necessitating a revision to the RMP.  The limiting factor is winter forage.  See “Purpose and Need for Action” in the EA, page 11 in the pdf.

The AML is the number of horses (or burros) an area can support after diverting most of the resources to privately owned livestock.

The horses will require 684 AUMs per year at the upper end of the new AML, while domestic sheep receive approximately 1,700 AUMs per year during a summer grazing season.  The forage assigned to livestock would help the horses bulk up in the summer and be less vulnerable to winter conditions.

The low end of the AML is usually set at approximately 50% of the high end, to provide five years between roundups at a growth rate of fifteen to twenty percent per year.

But the project sets the low end at roughly 20% of the high end, allowing the herd size to be cut to the bone.  This would set new precedent in wild horse management.

If the herd survives from a starting point of 12, how many years would pass before the population reaches 57?  The growth rate at Big Summit is thought to be around 8% per year, according to “Current Conditions” in the EA (page 10 in the pdf).

Here is the mathematical relationship.  Solve for x.

12 × 1.08^x = 57

The answer is 20.24—twenty years to reach the high end of AML.  Throw in some contraceptives and the herd will basically flat-line, the dream of land managers and ranchers everywhere.

RELATED: Comments Invited on Changes to Big Summit Management Plan.

Coming Soon: WHB Act at 50

Next year marks its fiftieth anniversary.

Today, most wild horse areas are managed primarily for livestock.

Most of the so-called advocacy groups are trying to ruin the herds with contraceptives.

The rancher-friendly ‘Path Forward‘ will remove 70% of the horses from America’s public lands.

There will be five times as many horses in contracted pastures as on the range.

What exactly are we supposed to celebrate?

RELATED: Fiftieth Anniversary ‘Celebration’ of WHB Act?

Understanding the Relationship Between Roundups and RMPs

Resource management plans determine, among other things, who gets what on America’s public lands.  They set the speed limits.

Roundups enforce those limits.  They are the highway patrol of the wild horse world.

If you exceed the limits, you don’t get a ticket, you are removed from the road.

That you can only go 20 while others can go 80 is beyond the scope of the program.

Wild Horse Management

R.I.P. Assateague Horse Census?

The Park Service counts the horses six times per year, in February, March, May, July, September, and November, according to a news release published in November, 2019.

Western Horse Watchers has been unable to find any data since March, 2020.

Did they stop doing it?  Probably not.

Why did they go underground?  Perhaps they don’t want you to see the long-term effects of the darting program.

What about other such programs?  There’s no accountability to the public.

Every group that administers a darting program, whether on public or private lands, should be required to produce a census count with demographics, at least once a year, so the American people can see what’s being done to their wild horses.

They already have the data.

Remember, there’s no such thing as birth control for horses, only safe and effective birth control for horses, and interfering with nature is a good alternative to roundups.

And above all, never talk about resource allocations, management priorities and privately owned livestock.

RELATED: Assateague Wild Horse Census Temporarily Halted?

Confusion at Confusion HMA About Cause and Effect?

Roundups, sterilization and long-term holding are effects.  They are outcomes of a process.  If you want to change the outcomes, you have to look upstream in the process.

Why are these effects occurring?

How much forage has been allocated to public-lands ranchers?  How many horses would it support?  What is the true AML?  How does the current herd size compare to that?  Would the roundup be necessary if the HMA was managed principally for wild horses?

Why is it managed primarily for livestock?  How are resource allocations determined?

Why are the horses treated like pests on land set aside for them?

RELATED: Confusion Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick.

Thriving Ecological Balance-3

Definition of Rangeland Health

It’s when the poor ranchers can enjoy the full benefit of their permitted AUMs.

Consider this example from Appendix VII of the Final EA for wild horse management actions in the Caliente Complex:

To reestablish the health to the rangeland in the Areas we currently run Cattle the population of Wild Horses must be managed properly.  Current numbers indicate a gross overpopulation of Wild Horses on our allotments as well as many others.  We currently have an allotment that is supposed to allow us up to 327 Cattle (1312 AUMS) on our Sheep Flat permit.  The damage because of overpopulation of Wild Horses has made it to where we can barely run 100 head on this Allotment and not for the full grazing season.  We have to gather cattle and move them to rented pasture in Barclay to finish out the summer season.

Can you imagine that?  Having to pay market rates to feed your cattle?  You wouldn’t wish that on your worst enemy.

Cattle and Horses

WHBAB Member Identifies Cause of Wild Horse ‘Problem’

In a story posted yesterday by the Paulick Report, a news service devoted to the horseracing industry, Dr. Tom Lenz, WHBAB member representing veterinary medicine, said “I think the problem we have today is that the public, through Congress, is managing the horses, rather than the BLM managing them through scientists.”

OK, people, it’s time to ‘fess up.

Who among you have been writing and approving the RMPs that allocate eighty percent or more of the forage in HMAs to privately owned livestock?

How many of you have been demanding the roundups and other population controls that enforce those resource allocations?

Which one of you secured funding for the ‘Path Forward,’ which will ultimately remove seventy percent of America’s wild horses and burros from their home range and place them into off-range pastures and private sanctuaries?

Who benefits as HMAs are zeroed out, predators are decimated and invasive species, such as pinyon pines and juniper trees, are eradicated?

Who pushed for changes to the WHB Act, rendering it ineffective?

Avoid the consequences.  Identify yourselves in the comments.  Do it now!

Propping Up a Failed Industry

“Nevada’s livestock industry would not exist without ranchers’ ability to graze on public land,” according to the Nevada Rangelands Resources Commission, because most of the land is owned by the federal government.

Nevada is also home to half of America’s wild horses.

Western Horse Watchers is unable to determine if NRRC is a government entity or a trade group masquerading as a government entity.  The state seal appears on their home page.  An email seeking clarification in November 2019 was never answered.

Federal ownership of land in other western states is considerably less, but we see the same pattern of roundups and biased RMPs.

Do you think the rancher-friendly ‘Path Forward‘ applies only to Nevada?

“Healthy horses on healthy rangelands” is a lie.

Roundups enforce resource allocations of RMPs, which assign eighty percent or more of the forage to privately owned livestock, not because the ranchers are on the verge of bankruptcy but because they have co-opted a federal agency to suit their agenda.

The wild horse and burro program has been turned into a grazing program ancillary.

Cut them off.  The west is settled.  They are destroying an irreplaceable natural resource.

How many tears were shed when manufacturers of vacuum tubes went out of business with the advent of the transistor?

Who cried for makers of carburetors when fuel injectors hit the market?

Can you imagine the federal government spending hundreds of millions of dollars to marginalize Henry Ford so it can protect the jobs of those who make buggy whips?

It’s time to end public-lands ranching and restore the WHB Act to its original form.

Thriving Ecological Balance-3

What Happened to the Moriah HMA?

It was chartered in 1983 with an AML of 29, according to Section 4.1.2 of the Final EA for wild horse management actions therein.

To quality as an HMA, an area must supply forage, water, cover, space, and reproductive viability, according to Section 1.1.  In 2007, Moriah was evaluated for wild horse suitability and “failed to meet one or more of the five required habitat components resulting in the decision, under the land-use plan, to drop its HMA status.”

But the EA does not say which requirements were not met and does not explain the 714 wild horses currently living there.

There must be another reason.  The allotments that overlap the HA were not zeroed out so perhaps it had resources coveted by the public-lands ranchers.

The initial comments in Appendix V of the EA support that theory.

RELATED: Moriah Roundup Pending.