The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has issued the following statement in response to the release of a Department of Interior Office of Inspector General Report on the Wild Horse and Burro Management Program:
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is extremely disappointed in the superficial, inadequate and biased report issued today by the Interior Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program.
The OIG report is further evidence that the Interior Department is incapable of monitoring or reforming itself, and unable to conduct an impartial internal audit.
The report simply regurgitates the same rhetoric that BLM has been using for years. Without addressing viable humane alternatives to the rising costs and casualties, it merely supports the push to reach an arbitrary and controversial wild horse population management level (Appropriate Management Level). The report does not critically examine the fundamental policies which have continued for over 35 years. At the very least, we expect investigation into less traumatic gather methods and revised long term holding concepts.
Once again, the fundamental issues remain unaddressed, including the lack of scientific rationale for the program, misallocation of public resources for private commercial interests, including livestock grazing, and the failure of the BLM to implement effective on-the-range management strategies.
The shortcomings of this report are evidenced by the fact that the OIG, by its own admission, “did not examine the science behind” the justifications for wild horse roundups. Rather, the OIG accepted BLM’s claims of wild horse overpopulation and reproduction rates without independent assessment or validation.
Further the OIG mischaracterized the debate over the humane aspects of wild horse roundups, finding that BLM did not “mistreat” horses. The OIG failed entirely to consider, address or evaluate the humane implications of the roundups themselves, during which horses are stampeded via helicopter out of their homelands, forced to run for their lives over miles of rough terrain, separated by gender from their family members, and warehoused in pens and pastures under unnatural conditions for the remainder of their lives.
Clearly this report, with its blatant shortcomings, is timed to convince Congress to continue funding this broken federal program. Congress should not give this biased report credibility and must instead step in to reform this wasteful and inhumane government program.