Letter from Anne announcing Rally to Stop the Roundups & Slaughter on Flag Day, June 14th

Anne Novak with friendly wild horses. (Photo © Irma Novak)

Anne Novak with friendly wild horses. (Photo © Irma Novak)

Dear Friends,

Due to public outrage, over the cruel helicopter roundups and stockpiling of wild horses, 54 members of Congress cared and requested the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study the broken Wild Horse & Burro Program.

We are grateful the NAS report, released yesterday, suggests stopping the fiscally irresponsible roundups that force the herds to populate in order to avoid extinction.

According to a press release from NAS released Wednesday, “The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) current practice of removing free-ranging horses from public lands promotes a high population growth rate, and maintaining them in long-term holding facilities is both economically unsustainable and incongruent with public expectations, says a new report by the National Research Council.”

We regret the BLM took charge of the close to $1.5 million study and appeared to avoid analyzing the effects of livestock permittees on public land. If livestock damage could have been studied then solutions could be found.

We are concerned there is a conflict of interest with several parties involved in the study including the BLM, fertility control scientists and lobbyists, as well as members of the committee such as:

  • One member of the committee with ties to the Nevada Cattleman’s Association–an obvious conflict of interest.
  • Two provisional committee members with ties to the Wildlife Society, an organization that has openly opposed wild horses.
  • Some members of the committee are supportive of the drug GonaCon®, a contraceptive drug that has raised serious health/side-effect concerns if used on wild horses.
  • There is no one on the provisional committee who recognizes the scientific evidence that supports wild horses as a returned native species.

Protect Mustangs is against using PZP and GonaCon@ on a return-native species. The fertility control drugs never passed the FDA but were approved by the EPA as a ‘restricted use pesticide’ only. Native wild horses are not pests. If this drug is so safe then why isn’t it approved for domestic horses?

We believe survival of the fittest is essential and that man must not domesticate native wild horses. Treating wild horses with fertility control puts them at risk of loosing their wild status.

Left alone, mustangs will fill their niche, benefit the ecosystem while helping to reverse desertification in the wild.

When facing extinction, species often increase breeding to survive. With the majority of wild horses removed, this what’s going on now. The birth rate cannot determine the size of population.

BLM’s inflated population “estimates” were used to justify roundups. Air and ground census by citizens are revealing drastically lower numbers.

I have been requesting an accurate census since 2009. Nothing has happened except roundups and removals. A flimsy modeling program for estimates is not enough. It’s too easy to mistake cows for horses from the air as well as to double count horses because they move around so much.

We face a crisis now with advocates estimating only 18,000 wild horses are left on all public land and less than 50,000 stockpiled in government holding–unless some have been sold into the slaughter pipeline. Either way, there are no “excess” wild horses and never were.

This spring we called for a freeze on roundups and for all wild horses to be returned to the herd management areas due to the Sequester. This would cut spending and let them fill their place in the ecosystem at zero cost to the taxpayer after transport. We are waiting to hear back from Secretary Jewell now that the NAS report is out and making a compelling case to stop the roundups and showing all the flaws in “the program”.

The energy and water public land grab is the primary reason for wild horse roundups and removals. It has nothing to do with animal welfare.

It’s been proven and well documented that the majority of wild horses removed are healthy and thriving–not starving as BLM was telling the press and public for decades.

It’s also been proven that old school livestock grazing causes range damage. The BLM looked the other way and tried to blame wild horses until that myth was busted with the PEER Report.

Reports come in of sales to slaughter. What did happen to the 1,700 wild horses Tom Davis bought? Why did the BLM quickly sell Davis more than 90 California native wild horses from the High Rock Range who were fit and majestic?

We are concerned the value of America’s wild horses has not been understood on Wall Street. Politics is a dirty business–especially at the dawn of the New Energy Frontier–the next gold rush. The environment must not suffer when creating an export zone  for renewables. Will America sacrifice it’s land, water, air and native species to sell natural gas to Asia?

We’d like to see some common sense for land management so we don’t turn it into an industrial wasteland.

Today our icons of freedom–our native horses–need your help. If there is one thing we can all agree upon it’s to stop the roundups and stop the slaughter.

Organize in your communities to make the change you want to see, visit your elected officials and join the national rally to Stop the Roundups & Slaughter on Flag Day, June 14th.

We thank you for taking action because you care about America’s wild horses and burros!

All my best wishes,

Anne Novak

Executive Director for Protect Mustangs