Which Way Is Best?
by Mar Wargo
Wild Horse groups and individuals are making deals with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) behind the US Publics’ back and each others’. Just like BLM, they do not adhere to the Wild Free Roaming Horse & Burro (WFRH&B) Act of 1971. Rather they do as BLM and they ignore the science; they break the 1971 Act for personal gain and to fulfill the Salazar Plan which did not release enough educational info to be debated with the public as is law. Public involvement is needed for this is Public Lands and Public wild horses at stake. This country loves these entities and wants them safe. Competition for programs, $$, credit and influence between wild horse .orgs has simply become unprofessional.
We began by fighting the Salazar Plan in 2009. Now the goal to defeat this plan has ended and turned much of the advocacy away from either stopping the roundups or to actively administering drugs not designed for use on wild horses. Our wild horses are not cattle to be abused with the trauma of roundups for administering a drug BLM has not been using correctly from the get go. There is a booster they just do not bother with. How has this omission of part of BLM’s failed-so-far program actually affected BLM’s data on the use of PZP? I have to wonder. It sounds rather sinister to be using only part of a drug. I hear it is because they cannot or will not hold the mares for the full time period so they can receive the booster.
Save our wild horses and wild burros in the wild.
Today I find people who were once adamantly against PZP have either followed their personal mentors as they changed their minds and took up the PZP banner and dealt with BLM and made deals and I bet, just my opinion, got some money too. But they are no longer fighting the fight I came back to in 2007. They are no longer attempting to protect the Public lands the wild ones were given. They will break down family behaviors and we will not see wild natural behavior ever again when people select stallions and which mares will reproduce. This is a domestic endeavor. Our horses and burros have legal lands and laws that need to shear off the BLM Amendments and develop science in the field as the law intended.
We now have several or more versions of advocacy; PZP and no roundups (and no horses very soon in small HMAs). This is what I have referred to as a “Stop Gap” and also for wild horses on sanctuaries. In captivity this drug may have been of good use or not. I know those who will never use PZP again! Then we have the PZP AND Round Ups?! Business as usual. You Have to wonder what this is all about! Are folks just tired of this after only 5 years? Velma Johnston did not tire after a mere 5 years. I find this outlook arrogant as it is the BLM outlook and advocates in good faith have been taken down the wrong paths by trusted mentors. Non-Horse Professionals continue to ignore the lack of science and the needed use of it to actually create good holistic management. I guess they are worn out? This is little different than joining BLM. I am ashamed to realize I supported organizations who could betray our wild ones so casually and without actually ever explaining to their donating public what they were doing behind everyones’ back with their money. They are supporting what we know are destructive BLM policies and continue to ignore the 1971 WFRH&B Act just like BLM. Why not get a job with them? Because supporting BLM is going to be responsible for further destruction of our wild herds.
PZP and roundups. Have we all been standing still while particular orgnizations make a living off the wild horses? Well, yes, we have.
Last but not least are the NO PZP folks, science oriented, eager to see creative management get on the land with our wild ones- people I work with. Come join us at Protect Mustangs. Find the Face Book page, visit the website, READ and be amazed at what is really going on with your wild horses. Celebrate the wild horse and wild burro. Keep them free and safe from all harm. Join the real deal. We need people and funds for the programs already in the works with adopted BLM wild mustangs, their care and use as ambassadors to the American public.
We are also in need of a 10 year Moratorium to create and administer holistic and science based management. Our wild ones face a very hostile environment in many places now. Removals must end and good MANAGEMENT WITHOUT BLM is the best future we can give them on their own lands. If no one talks with anyone and everything is a secret, how can we progress?
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Ken Salazar’s Wild Horse Plan Fuels Accusations That He’s In The Pocket Of Ranchers, Associated Press, 2010: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/17/ken-salazars-wild-horse-p_n_324799.html
“Wildlife ecologist Craig Downer of Nevada accused Salazar, a former rancher, of acting on behalf of those who view mustangs as taking scarce forage away from their cattle herds. Downer contends cattle are more destructive to the range because they concentrate in high numbers around water sources instead of grazing over a wider area as wild horses do.
“Both the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have the right to remove livestock to ensure viable, healthy populations of wild horses. But they refuse to exercise that,” Downer said. “Their master is primarily these traditional ranching interests.”
Opposition grows to Salazar’s plan to move wild horses to Midwest preserves, Associated Press 2009: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/12/opposition_grows_to_salazars_p.html
“Horse defenders have stepped up their efforts in recent weeks, suing to block a proposed roundup of 2,700 horses in northern Nevada and lining up the support of celebrities such as Sheryl Crow, Lily Tomlin, Bill Maher and Ed Harris.
Crow took her concerns directly to Salazar in a telephone call this past week.
“One of the first things he said was something must be done because the horses are starving. We (advocates) don’t believe it,” Crow said in an interview with The Associated Press.”
7 Preserves Envisioned to Manage Wild Horses, New York Times, 2009: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/us/08horses.html?_r=0
“HELENA, Mont. — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday that he was proposing to create seven new wild-horse preserves, including one in the East and one in the Midwest, to address the problem of a growing population crowding the Western range.
The program, which also applies to wild burros, would expand the use of contraceptives and would geld more herds on public lands in the West, Mr. Salazar said.”
. . . ”
Yet the proposal quickly drew criticism from wild-horse advocates. Ginger Kathrens of Colorado Springs, a maker of documentary films who has chronicled the lives of a wild-horse herd in Montana, said that blocking reproduction could alter the animals’ behavior.
“It takes the wild out of wild-horse herds,” she said. “They’re families in sophisticated societies. Creating gelding herds and preventing them from reproducing is managing them toward extinction.”
But ranchers, who see wild horses as competing with cattle for grasses and water, welcomed the proposal. Jeff Eisenberg, executive director for the Public Lands Council, a group that works on public lands issues for ranchers, said Mr. Salazar’s proposal was a big step toward a solution.”
Sheryl Crow Slams Salazar’s Wild Horse Plan, Huffington Post 2010: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/22/sheryl-crow-slams-salazar_n_366809.html
“With one voice we are insisting that our government stop managing these beautiful and important animals to extinction,” Crow said in a statement released by the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based horse advocacy group”. . .
“It’s time for all of us to speak up for our wild horses and burros so we do not lose these living legends and inspiring symbols of our freedom in America,” she said.
Madeleine Pickens praises Salazar wild horse plan, Horsetalk, 2009: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/2009/10/077.shtml#axzz3HKN0uSuY
“Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced wide-ranging proposals this week in which horses taken from the Western rangelands would be relocated to new preservation areas further east, utilising better quality grassland.
His plan includes the aggressive use of reproduction controls to manage numbers. Salazar hoped the new herd areas would provide tourism opportunities for nearby communities” . . .
“Pickens said she would support Secretary Salazar’s efforts, and would gladly compete to offer the wild horse sanctuary that she has planned to the bureau as one of the facilities proposed by Secretary Salazar.”
MANAGEMENT OF WILD HORSES WITH PORCINEZONA PELLUCIDA: HISTORY, CONSEQUENCES, AND FUTURE STRATEGIES, Cassandra M.V. Nuñez, Princeton: http://bit.ly/1rJywKl
“However, recent research in other populations has revealed behavioral and physiological side effects of long-term PZP use.”
Injection-Site Reactions in Wild Horses (Equus caballus) Receiving an Immunocontraceptive Vaccine, By James E. Roelle and Jason I. Ransom, http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2009/5038/
“Abnormal dart trauma included cases where the dart hit bone or the needle broke off. We found strong evidence (odds ratio = 5.023, P = 0.001) for a higher probability of occurrence of swelling when darts were delivered by blowgun. We found some evidence (odds ratio = 8.729, P = 0.07) that abnormal dart trauma led to a higher frequency of nodule formation. Nodules were the most common reactions observed and often persisted for a year or more, but in our observations they did not appear to change any animal’s range of movement or locomotor patterns and in most cases did not appear to differ in magnitude from naturally occurring injuries or scars. We were unable to perform histological examinations of these nodules, but they may be similar to granulomas reported by other investigators following administration of Freund’s adjuvant.”
Ecologist Craig Downer speaks out against using PZP in the Pryors http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4178
Why end natural selection in the Pryors? Should humans run a wild horse breeding program or does nature know best? http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4941
The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America, Craig Downer http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo.aspx?journalid=118&doi=10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12 2014
Mar Wargo is an environmentalist and artist.