February 25th, 2010 by Nicole Meyer
This past weekend, hundreds of Nevadans and horse advocates took to the streets to voice their opposition to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s gross mismanagement of the wild horse and burro program. At Nevada’s state capital in Carson City nearly 150 people joined together for a hugely successful “Truth Rally” demanding that the BLM stop rationalizing its unsustainable and cruel roundup and removal policy. Click here for just one of the pieces of media coverage. IDA sent alerts to our Nevada members, inviting them to the Carson City rally and another in Las Vegas.
Some of the facts:
- Cattle given five times more public land than wild horses & burros: Currently the BLM manages more than 256 million acres of public lands of which cattle grazing is allowed on 160 million acres; wild horses are only allowed on 26.6 million acres of this – our public land – which must be shared with cattle.
- Cattle given precedence in wild horse and burro areas: In the horse and burro Herd Management Areas (HMA), the BLM allocates more grazing and resources for cattle than for wild horse and burros – often two or more times as much grazing is designed for cattle than wild horses and burros on the publicly-owned HMA. These designations are known as “Animal Unit Months,” or AUMs.
- The number of wild horses in government holding facilities (35,000) now exceeds those left in the wild (33,000 by BLM estimates). The Calico Mountain Complex roundup of nearly 2,000 horses is the turning point for the number of horses now confined in government holding facilities as opposed to those wild and free on the range as Congress originally intended. If things do not change, President Obama will go down in history as the president who allowed the stockpiling of wild horses to overwhelm the numbers of those left on their natural, historic ranges.
- The wild horse population today is smaller than in 1974 when the BLM conducted its first census after Congress protected the horses in the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Members of Congress mentioned “extinction” multiple times during the floor debate of the Act, which passed unanimously due to grave concerns about these magnificent icons.
- Wild horses comprise a minuscule fraction (0.5 percent) of grazing animals on public lands, where they are outnumbered by cattle at least 200 to 1.