Comments Delivered at Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council Meeting Today at 1:30 p.m.
Ontario, Oregon (January 12, 2015) . . . Today at the meeting of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council (RAC), the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) will present comments endorsed by over 11,000 American citizens -- whose signatures were collected in just four days -- calling for humane reforms to the federal wild horse program. Specifically, AWHPC will ask the RAC to recommend that wild horses be given a fairer share of resources on the small amount of land in Oregon designated as their habitat, and that the BLM humanely manage the state’s wild horse population using the PZP birth control vaccine. The vaccine has proven to a scientifically-sound and humane alternative to cruel and costly roundups and removals of horses from the range.
“America’s public lands and the wild horses who inhabit them belong to all Americans, and all Americans should have a say in their management,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director. “We’re attending this RAC meeting today to ensure that the voice of Americans, who overwhelmingly support protection of our national icons, is heard.”
The Southeast Oregon RAC has in its jurisdiction 16 of 19 of the state’s wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs). Although some ranchers claim that wild horses are overpopulating, the reality is that just over 3,000 wild horses remain on 2.7 million acres of BLM land in the state – a density of one horse per 900 acres. By contrast, hundreds of thousands of livestock graze on 13.7 million acres of BLM land in Oregon.
“80 percent of BLM land grazed by livestock in Oregon is not inhabited by wild horses, so conflicts between ranchers and mustangs can be resolved,” Roy continued. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and work together on solutions, and we’re asking this RAC to take a leadership role in recommending humane and common sense reform.”
In October 2014, the BLM Northeastern Nevada RAC recommended that the BLM implement PZP fertility control on a wide scale in the state in an effort to reduce the roundup, removal and stockpiling of horses by the BLM. The agency currently warehouses more wild horses in holding facilities (nearly 50,000) than remain free on the range (under 40,000). The use of PZP fertility control as an alternative to continued removals was also endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences.
AWHPC’s comments and the 11,000+ signatures endorsing them will be presented today during the public comment period, which begins at 1:30 p.m. The meeting is being held at the Clarion Inn, 1249 Tapadera Ave., Ontario, OR 97914. Marika Ruppe of Equine Welfare Consulting Services will present the comments on behalf of AWHPC.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 70 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.
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