Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Advisory Board

On Monday, November 17th, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will be meeting in Reno, Nevada and submitting their recommendations to BLM regarding BLMs June 30, 2008 announcement of possibly killing tens of thousands of wild horses and burros now captured and warehoused to ease the financial consequences of their past management and decisions.

After one of the most aggressive wild horse and burro removal campaigns ever implemented, a campaign that many of the current Advisory Board members have overseen and approved of, they will continue to provide more recommendations to BLM about “what to do”.

Yet in July, the terms of three positions of the Board expired; Wild Horse & Burro Advocate, Interested Public and Veterinary Medicine. A year ago, BLM called for nominations to fill these positions and over 50 known individuals applied.

Yet the Secretary of the Interior has failed to appoint new members, despite the high number of those interested in implementing a change in course from the former Boards direction and oversight.

While many of the same individuals continue to be appointed again and again, one of the leading wild horse advocates in the country, Andrea Lococo, has been nominated repeatedly by those who wanted to see an advocate with working knowledge of the Program appointed instead; someone who was not afraid to speak out, knew how to find the flaws in BLMs proposals and knew how to find real solutions to many of the documented problems in the Program (that now span decades) only to have her nomination denied each and every time.

Furthermore, since Melissa Scott’s appointment to the position of Interested Public, she has only attended one meeting and so, in essence the Board has been operating with only eight members instead of nine.

The Secretary of the Interior made no effort to replace Ms. Scott nor to fill the other three positions at this critical juncture in the Program as the lives of thousands of mustangs and burros hang in the balance – another gift to our wild herds from Bush and his Administration.

While other Boards, such as Wildlife Commissions and Cattle Associations, appoint a high percentage of members dominated by individuals who represent what that Commission is about, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board has only one “official” position representing Wild Horses and Burros. (Ed. note: The position of Wild Horse and Burro Research held by Vernon Dooley was missed in the original post, though it is unclear if this position is permanent or rotates in Board appointments.)

This position has been represented for years by Robin Lohnes of the American Horse Protection Association, a vague and nebulous Association that has no website, has no known current information or involvement in wild horse and burro issues outside of BLMs Advisory Board (or horse issues at all for that matter!) and who’s background is currently unknown to the general public.

However, to be fair, at the moment Richard Sewing of the National Mustang Association is also serving on the Board under a Humane Advocacy Position and has been consistently active and innovative in new approaches to achieve proper, ethical management of our herds. (Click Here)

But then we have Board Member Larry Johnson, past President and still serving on the Board of Nevada Bighorns Unlimited, (Click Here to learn more about NBU) an organization that has publicly called wild horse advocates “the opposition”, who works with other bighorn organizations that publicly post one of their mission statements is “to reduce wild burros in bighorn habitat” (been pretty effective, haven’t they?) and who has repeatedly testified to Congressional subcommittees urging for more reductions and removals of our wild herds. (Click Here)

There is also Board Member Dr. Boyd Spratling, D.V.M., rancher and past president of the Nevada Cattleman’s Association, who was quoted in the January 2008 Quarter Horse News article “185 Wild Horses Dead” about the Jackson Mountain wild horse fiasco as saying, “The BLM is being impeded by so-called advocacy groups from making proactive management decisions and implementing them and until we can stop legal action by them, this situation falls squarely on their shoulders in my mind. The very people that claim to care the most about those horses were actually the ones driving the death nail in their coffin.”

While it is unclear what legal challenges Dr. Spratling is referring to here, as very few have been raised in the last several years and none have been successful trying to fight BLM, it is obvious this Advisory Board Member had little concern for the more than 700 wild horses BLM missed in their “in depth monitoring of the resources” that is the legal basis for their management or the fact that livestock authorizations dominate the Jackson Mountain HMA. (Click Here)

Dr. Spratling is also the lead author of BLMs new gelding policies, which includes “castration in the field” that approves turning them loose in as little as 24 hours and this plan was initially developed a few months back to incorporate in the newly approved Nevada Wild Horse Range Herd Management Plan. (Click Here for Board Recommendations & Gelding Policy)

Keep in mind as you read about how BLM is going to “monitor” this gelding study that will be used as the future basis for more approved gelding populations, that the NWHR is located in Nellis Air Force Base, a highly restrictive environment BLM has historically had extreme difficulty accessing.

You may also notice in the last page of their Recommendations, this same Board “advising” BLM on euthanizing our wild horses and burros, also recommended pursuing “Instant Title” (aka Instant Slaughter) and they asked BLM to explore ways on how to accomplish this and amending the Act again to officially allow wild horses and burros to be shipped straight to slaughter. (Well, okay, I concede there would be a middle man who gets the profits for the Mustang Meat Patties, so it’s not straight to slaughter by BLM so their hands won’t have to get bloody.)

Prior public input to the Advisory Board has included urging BLM to publish all public comments submitted to the Board so a public record is available for everyone to see if the Board or BLM is addressing suggestions or concerns. So far, it has been “affirmed” ~ this ain’t gonna happen anytime soon!

And why don’t they want public comments published?

Because then everyone would know how the Board has been urged to provide independent oversight and accountability of BLM and their proposals, proposals that zeroed out herds, eliminated habitat, reduced allowable management levels, removed water sources, added death trap fences for the sole benefit of livestock, required accountability for PZP monitoring and real data that would support its continued use, to verify range data was actually current instead of the countless approved “management” proposals that have had missing data, data that was decades old or didn’t provide any data at all to support those decisions!

If anyone takes the time to review the past Advisory Board Meeting Minutes, it’s easy to see their focus has been dominated by the cost of the Program and looking for ways to reduce it.

When it was publicly suggested to the Board that they actually look into the reasons why BLM was pulling all these wild horses and burros off the range, they failed to respond or even acknowledge this might be a significant contributing source of their financial woes, as these inappropriate management decisions are often at the root of the growing containment costs.

In my opinion, this Board should not have the right to “advise” BLM about anything, much less approving genocide for our now warehoused wild horses and burros, as one third of the Board’s terms have long since expired and they don’t even belong there anymore!
Many on this same Board actually cheered when BLM announced in December 2006 that they had “achieved AML”, aka, thousands of wild horses and burros now sitting in holding facilities versus out on the range. (Yet here we sit two years later despite a non-stop stream of continuous removals and somehow, BLM continues to report they are still “over AML” by thousands of animals.)

This Board has been a dismal failure in the issues of accountability, oversight, sincere concern for preserving our Living Legends and are in urgent need of replacement. Except the Secretary of the Interior wouldn’t want three new “wild cards” tipping the balance of all those pre-formulated strategies, now would he?

The Advisory Board will be accepting public comments through
Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Please include the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board in your subject line and send your concerns, suggestions and input to:

Ramona DeLorme at or

Or if you’d like to see CHANGE from the good-ole-boy-business-as-usual program, also consider submitting your comments to President Elect Obama by Clicking Here. You might even want to mention the dire need to appoint a legitimate Secretary of the Interior to oversee public resources!

Comments may also be mail to:
Bureau of Land Management
National Wild Horse & Burro Program
Attention: Ramona DeLorme
1340 Financial Boulevard, WO-260,
Reno, Nevada 89501-7141
Phone: 1-775-861-6583

The National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Meeting
will be held on
Monday ~November 17, 2008
Silver Legacy Resort and Casino ~ The Reno Ballroom
50 East Fourth Street - Reno, NV 89501


water_bearer said...

Hi. I wondered if you saw this?

By the way, keep up the good work. I'm sure it seems like you're shouting to the rafters and no one is listening sometimes, but that's not true. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Anonymous said...

Since 2004 I have commented to the Advisory Committee with INFO vital for restoration and maintenance of the Coyote Canyon Lost Herd, No action was ever taken. In fact BLM instsructed them to stay out of the issue. Isn't that what they are there for...wild horse Advocacy?? Based on Results???
Here are some more facts. Feral horse and burro herds evolved into distinctive populations of wild species over hundreds of years. Both ranching and wild herds are our cultural heritage. Yet the gov has rezoned and eliminated the use of grazing lands, herd areas, and allotments necessary and imperative to the conservation of our heritage. Millions of acres were transfered to National Parks, Wilderness, Monuments, etc. whose management plans violate pre existing cultural historical rights guaranteed by multiple congressional acts including National Historic Preservation Act, NEPA, FLPMA and ESA.
Congress has broken its promise to the American people that wild free-roaming horses and burros, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands would be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; on their 1971 ranges. Those 1971 ranges were covenants running with the land.
In the Nv Test Range Management plan BLM settled the native/feral argument stating "The issue of a wild horse as an invasive species is moot since the 1971 WHBA gave wild free-roaming horses "special" status based on their heritage of assisting man settle the "west
Significant data exists to support that distinct population segments (ESA) of wild horses and burros were removed from their cultural historic ranges in violation of NEPA . Data suggests THEY were not the cause of range depletion nor were they the EXCESS animals that required removal.
None the less the government has decided that euthanasia is a legal solution to dispose of healthy wild horses/burros now in holding pens. Historic grazing lands must be restored as areas of critical habitat for their survival.
The government is depriving me and my family of our heritage guaranteed by Congress as the trustor of our vested interest in public lands and appurtenances attached to it. The policies that wag the tail of our historic icons into extinction are politicaly motivated and fatally flawed.

intouchwithorses said...

I feel an outrage. I want to know what the plans are that the BLM has for the lands that will be vacated by the wild horse herds. If it is to lease them for oil and gas exploration then I feel that we have finally succumbed to the same behaviour that created the "trail of tears" for the Cherokee. Disgraceful, selfish and positively inhumane. If we keep tampering with wildlife we shall become subject to the wrath of wildlife.
If the good folks of the administration really believe in the wisdom of the ancient texts of the bible, then why are we trying to destroy the last remnants of Eden. We are here on earth to care for all things. "Go forth and multiply" does not only apply to humans. We are here to maintain the whole earth, not to destroy it for the purposes of gross wealth for those whom have not a hope of being able to spend it all in one lifetime. The lifestyle that we have created and are doomed to follow because of corporate manipulation where superstores have made the corner store extinct, will make all species extinct (including the human), because we must drive inefficient to supply us with food.
We need to slow down, walk to stores on the corner with a shopping cart, load up on supplies and push it home.We need to rely on agribusiness to supply the soil with the minerals, enzymes and microbiology that sustains the land and provide us with whole foods that boost our immune systems against disease. We need not to make medicines and supplements from petroleum products that I believe are poisonous in any form. And we need to leave wildlife alone to preserve life. Someone tell the BLM that all life is somewhere because it belongs there and it is providing an essential service to that place. If we continue to mess with the web it will come apaart.
Remeber the French revolution. If the people are treated badly they will act badly. If wildlife is treated badly then they will act badly. I am an advocate for fair treatment of all things great and small - I am capable of acting badly.
Please come to your senses and see what is happening to our planetary home. Let us become shepherds and not diseases.

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