Bureau of Land Management Misleads Public About Wild Horses
Tragic conditions for America’s wild horses and burros in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facilities have recently been exposed, particularly with the unnecessary deaths of at least 145 wild horses in the Cañon City, Colorado, off-range corral. To deflect scrutiny from its incompetence and mismanagement policies, the BLM’s Colorado office held a virtual “informational meeting” on June 15, 2022. In Defense of Animals and other major wild animal and ecological organizations attended and are now calling “foul” over the carefully selected topic propaganda.
The BLM posted that questions could be submitted before and during the virtual session. As advocates expected, the questions addressed live on the webinar were carefully chosen for those with pre-prepared answers to fit the BLM’s false narrative that it has been using for decades to address its failed management policies. The substantial questions from legitimate individuals and organizations that challenged the BLM’s stance were omitted from the Q&A period.
Of significant concern is the expedited removal of horses from the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area (HMA) in Colorado. Governor Jared Polis, Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse, and other Congressional leaders called for a pause to the Piceance-East Douglas roundup, initially scheduled for September. Responding to this, the BLM quickly moved the roundup to start the week of June 13, trying to get ahead of the outcry it knew would be coming.
Four ranching companies hold grazing permits that allow them to graze 12,247 cattle annually in the Piceance-East Douglas area. Yet, the BLM declares the range can only sustain 135 to 235 wild horses in that very same 190,000-acre area!
To further justify their unjustifiable actions, the BLM released a propaganda video taken in early 2022 in the Piceance-East Douglas HMA, at a time when wild horses are naturally thinner than any other time of year and new grass is not yet growing. BLM staff on the video stated the horses were in poor condition and needed to be removed for their health and the health of the land. However, videos taken recently by others show fat healthy horses and an abundance of grass and forage.
If the BLM doesn’t know that this is the natural cycle of wild horses, it is in the wrong “business” of “managing” them. However, its staff does know this and is simply trying to mislead the public with carefully selected photos, videos, and topics without proper explanation.
We ask that the public, the media, and Congress look deeper into wild horse and burro issues and how it is directly linked to the misuse of our public lands for private profit.