Mustang advocates want 30 days notice for public hearings on use of Helicopters at roundups
for immediate release:
RENO (May 28, 2012)—Protect Mustangs has discovered that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) scheduled an important public hearing for 10 a.m. the morning after Memorial Day weekend without adequately notifying the public. The hearing is scheduled for 10-11 a.m., at the BLM Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, in Carson City, Nevada. The wild horse preservation group is requesting the BLM reschedule the public hearing—regarding the use of helicopters and other motorized vehicles for roundups and management—in order to give the public at least 30 days notice.
“What happened to government transparency and public process?” asks Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “With 80% of America’s federally protected indigenous wild horses and burros living on public land in Nevada, the whole country should be given adequate notice to participate in person as well as via email. Most members of the public are against helicopter roundups. Is BLM trying to sneak this by without public input?”
On Saturday, the preservation group’s website alerted the public about the hearing, after they saw it posted in the Mesquite News online.”Through our social media channels the public began to hear about the public hearing that no one knew about,” said Novak. “Even horse advocates in Carson City hadn’t heard about the hearing.”
“I live in Carson City and never heard a thing about a public hearing regarding helicopters and motorized vehicles for roundups and management,” says photographer and wild horse advocate Cat Kindsfather. “People would like to come to the hearing from around the country but they need proper notice.”
“I live in the Carson area and just found out about the Helicopter hearing,” says Craig Downer, author and wildlife biologist. “These hearings are mandated by the law so why aren’t we being informed about them?”
“I live in Reno and only heard about the hearing today when a friend called,” says Terri Farley, author and wild horse and burro advocate. “Mustangs are the people’s horses, but BLM’s stealth meetings make it impossible for us to stand up for their welfare.”
Advocates, as well as members of the public nationwide, would like to attend the hearing but they need 30 days notice to make arrangements.
“I live in Oakland, California and I would like to speak against the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles,” says Kerry Becklund, Outreach Director for Protect Mustangs. “But I need to give my day job notice to take a vacation day.”
“I live in Houston, Texas and work overseas,” says R.T. Fitch, volunteer president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, “Hearing about an important BLM meeting—only a day before it occurs—continues to stack the deck against the horses and burros as our collective voices cannot possibly be present to speak to the issue.”
“I live in Richmond, Virginia and would like to speak at the public hearing against using helicopters but I need adequate notice to make travel plans,” says wild horse advocate Lisa Friday. “30 days notice is standard. Why doesn’t the BLM notify us properly? Is this against the law?”
“I live in New York City and would like to speak at the meeting against helicopter roundups,” says Hope Smith who loves wild horses. “I want to be part of the public process but I need more notice to get out West.”
“I live on 36 acres at the base of the mountains in Arizona and would like to come to the hearing,” says Michael Blake, Academy Award-winner and author of Dances with Wolves. “Helicopter roundups are nothing but incessant warfare against life on earth . . . for money.”
The group is collecting comments against helicopter roundups to take to Tuesday morning’s hearing. Members of the public may email them to Contact@ProtectMustangs.org
In the letter addressed to The BLM, Novak states, “The requirement for the public hearing was set in place to protect the public’s rights to participate in government and this must not be ignored.”
The BLM press release reads:
Before helicopters or motorized vehicles can be used, a public hearing is required in order to comply with Section 404 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The BLM proposes to use a helicopter, fixed wing aircraft and other motorized vehicles to estimate population numbers and obtain seasonal distribution information for wild horse and burro herds throughout Nevada. Also proposed is using a helicopter to assist in gathering excess wild horses and burros on gathers and complexes throughout the state during the coming year. The actual number of areas where gathers will be conducted or inventoried will depend on a number of factors including funding.
Members of the public can fax the BLM head office in Washington DC to request the helicopter hearing be rescheduled with a 30 day notice given to the public. The fax number is: 202-208-5242
Controversial helicopter roundups harass and stress wild horses and burros—stampeding them for miles, often resulting in lameness and sometimes in death.
Besides being concerned about animal cruelty at helicopter roundups, Protect Mustangs believes that helicopters flying in the desert for days or weeks emit pollution that harms the environment and contributes to global warming. The group believes motorized vehicles damage the ecosystem—hurting many forms of wildlife, such as sage grouse, and other endangered species on the range as well.
The group opposes the use of helicopter and motorized vehicles (except in a state of emergency or for an accurate population head count—not an estimate.)
“If wild horses and burros are facing a water or food emergency then bring aid out to them, but roundups, they must stop now,” states Novak. “A drought isn’t an excuse for roundups to zero out indigenous wild horses and remove them from their home on public land forever . . .”
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Anne Novak, 415-531-8454 Anne@ProtectMustangs.org
Kerry Becklund, 510-502-1913 Kerry@ProtectMustangs.org
Contact Protect Mustangs for interviews, photos or video
Protect Mustangs is a Bay Area-based preservation group whose mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.