Not all the news is bad.
Yesterday the BLM announced that local ranchers bid $35 to $43 per AUM to graze eight parcels on withdrawn lands in southern New Mexico.
The McGregor Range covers 606,000 acres on the west side of Otero Mesa, between Alamogordo, NM and El Paso, TX, according to the news release. It was a part of Fort Bliss and supported live fire exercises with new missile systems.
Title I of FLPMA says the U.S. [shall] receive fair market value of the use of the public lands and their resources unless otherwise provided for by statute (item 9, page 8).
How does $1.35 meet that requirement? It doesn’t. How do those endeavors return the maximum benefit to the American people? They don’t. (Refer to Title IV on page 31 for remarks about grazing fees. Page 34 has the infamous helicopter roundup provision that was added to the WHB Act.)
Public-lands ranching is a gravy train. That’s what groups like Protect the Harvest and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are trying to defend—and expand.
It’s the driver of the despicable ‘Path Forward.’
Raising the grazing fee to $60 per AUM—in line with the cost of warehousing excess wild horses and burros in off-range pastures—would be a nice down payment on the goal of erasing public-lands ranching from the American landscape.
The U.S. would receive an additional $528 million annually, at least for a while, until the ranchers throw in the towel, because paying market rates just plain spoils the party.
You’ll hear that frequently over the next few months as roundup season grinds its way across western rangelands.
They had good homes, before the helicopters came. Anything else is unacceptable.
The plan was negotiated by ranching interests and animal welfare groups. Wild horse advocates were omitted from the process.
The story includes some photos and anecdotes from the Triple B roundup in July, and, as expected, gives the ranchers and their allies in government a pass.
UPDATE: Added video.
The American Farm Bureau Federation issued this pronouncement today:
“Wild horses and burros are to be managed according to the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act of 1971, which not only specifies where wild horses and burros can occupy public lands but that they shall be managed in a manner that produces a thriving natural ecological balance.”
Couldn’t agree more. Of course, the WHB Act of 1971 no longer exists—it was revamped by Congress at the behest of the public-lands ranchers.
So the first step would be to roll back the changes, restoring the Act to its original form.
Wild horses and burros are to occupy lands on which they were found when the bill was signed into law. This will nearly double the amount of land they inhabit today.
As for the thriving ecological balance, Congress ordered the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to confer with state agencies to ensure that wildlife, especially endangered species, are not adversely affected by the horses and burros.
There was no provision for domestic livestock, which leads to the second step: Ending public-lands ranching and its 100-year reign of terror in the American west.
The third step is a thorough house cleaning of federal agencies involved with public lands: Anyone with a ranching background or ties to the ranching industry is gone.
The Grand Forks Herald reported today that the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park will again be subject to a birth control program, meaning the mares will be shot in the butt with contraceptive darts.
The report did not indicate if the pesticide would be administered by park staff or volunteers from local ‘advocacy’ groups.
The full effect of this practice—tampering with breeding patterns and the reproductive systems of mares—will not be known for generations.
RELATED: TRNP ‘Culls’ Adopted.
Animal Wellness Action, a lobbying group in Washington, DC, said today in a news release that Congress should order the BLM (and presumably the Forest Service) to increase fertility control programs as a way to halt the growth of wild horse herds and reduce the need for roundups on public lands in the western U.S.
“It’s time to double down on contraception not roundups,” said the group’s director of federal affairs, in response to the wild horse management plan announced on 04-22-19.
Sadly, the problem is not wild horse overpopulation, it is public-lands ranching.