MEDIA RELEASE: More Wild Horses at Risk as Bureau of Land Management Misleads Public, Ignores Questions
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (June 16, 2022) — 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 145 wild horses in the Cañon City, Colo., off-range corral. In an effort to deflect scrutiny from its incompetence and mismanagement policies, the BLM’s Colorado office held a public webinar on Wednesday evening, June 15, 2022 titled, “BLM Colorado Wild Horse Virtual Information Meeting.” In Defense of Animals and other major wild animal and ecological organizations attended and are now calling “foul” over the carefully selected topic propaganda.
Of major concern is the expedited removal of more horses from the Piceance-East Douglas public land, wild horse Herd Management Area (HMA) beginning this week, where ranchers will still be allowed to graze their privately-owned livestock — even after Gov. Jared Polis called for a pause to this “costly and wasteful” roundup.
The BLM posted information on its website about this virtual meeting which stated, “There will be a question-and-answer period, written questions can be submitted during the live meeting, at registration, or submitted online prior to the meeting.” 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. Hundreds of questions were submitted and the substantial questions from legitimate individuals and organizations that challenged the BLM’s stance were omitted from the Q&A period.
For example, Eric Molvar, executive director of the Western Watersheds Project (WWP), submitted two questions that were deliberately skipped over. The questions were in reference to the planned roundup in the Piceance-East Douglas HMA in Colorado discussed during the webinar. They were:
- Why is the BLM authorizing more than twice the livestock AUMs in the Piceance wild horse HMA than are consumed by the maximum allowable number of wild horses?
- Why isn’t the BLM using its own regulations - 43 CFR § 4710.5 - that authorize them to remove any or all classes of livestock from wild horse HMAs if needed? (there's a drought, and not enough forage, the agency itself reports).
Questions that were asked by Erik Molvar, executive director of the Western Watersheds Project, and ignored by the BLM. Photo: Erik Molvar
WWP has been challenging the BLM on its livestock grazing policies for many years. WWP has shown scientific proof over and over again, to Congressional Committees and other outlets, that privately held livestock continue to degrade and destroy our public lands. The organization was recently a major participant in the Healthy Public Lands Conference that presented numerous studies on the damaging effects of livestock grazing on public lands and the ecosystem. It has also confirmed, scientifically, that wild equids do not generate the damage to our public lands like that caused by livestock grazing.
“Extensive misinformation about wild horses and burros is being conveyed by the Bureau of Land Management and other government agencies,” said Ginger Fedak, Wild Horse and Burro Campaign Director for In Defense of Animals. “This latest BLM webinar is more of the same, and the skipping over of legitimate, hard-hitting questions is part of their non-transparency and deflection campaign to the American media, Congress, and public.”
In Defense of Animals and others challenge the media to look deeper into both these wild horse and burro issues as well as the misuse of our public lands for private profit. Well informed advocacy organizations are ready and willing to supply the truth, using science and well-respected sources.
In Defense of Animals stands firmly with and for America’s wild horses and burros. The general public has no idea about the abhorrent situation these iconic and cherished animals find themselves in. Our own government agencies have put the interests of private livestock operators above those of federally protected wild horses and burros, to the detriment of both the wild equids and our public lands. We stand with our allies to bring truth to this travesty of justice.
Images (free to use with credit): https://bit.ly/ColoradoWildHorses
Ginger Fedak, [email protected], 415-448-0048 x217
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 39-year history of fighting for animals, people and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org/wildhorses
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