As Wild Horse Advocates Escalate Pressure on Congress, FOIA Document Shows BLM Continues “Business As Usual” Approach to Wild Horse Program
WASHINGTON -- A new document obtained by wild horse advocates through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request shows the Bureau of Land Management made no headway in reforming its wild horse program in FY 2013 despite years of promises to do so and an independent scientific review which warned that the “continuation of 'business as usual' practices will be expensive and unproductive for BLM and the public it serves.”
The document, a breakdown of the BLM’s FY 2013 budget for its wild horse program, shows the Agency spent 0% on fertility control, which lets wild horses stay wild and reduces the need for an expensive and unsustainable roundup and stockpiling system.
“The BLM has for years promised reforms, but has consistently failed to follow through,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. “Now even the agency admits that its budget and holding space are maxed out, yet it continues to delay implementing reforms that would ease that pressure. The only explanation at this point is that the BLM is creating a crisis where slaughter of America’s wild horses is the only solution. But slaughter is strongly opposed by the American public. It is not an answer to the BLM’s mismanagement woes.”
Here’s an abbreviated history of the Interior Department and BLM’s broken promises to step up its use of fertility control:
- In February 2011, a former BLM director pledged to “broaden the use of fertility control” in the program.
- In May 2013, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the Denver Post that she would use the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report to guide her approach the program. The report, which was funded by the BLM to a tune of more than $1 million and published in June 2013, encouraged the BLM to expand its use of available fertility control options.
- In February 2014, Secretary Jewell said the BLM was looking to launch “an ‘X-Prize’ type of thing” to encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop an “effective birth control method for horses” despite of the NAS findings that such drugs “already exist.”
The release of the BLM’s FY 2013 budget document comes on the same day AWHPC announces the launch of a new effort to pressure members of Congress to take a stand in the fight. Beginning today, AWHPC supporters -- 100,000 strong in all 50 states -- will ask their representatives in Washington, D.C. to sign a pledge committing them to opposing any initiatives that result in the slaughter of federally-protected wild horses and supporting the NAS reforms to the BLM program.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) was the first member to sign the pledge. The full pledge is available to read here.
The pledge will built on a previous AWHPC initiative from June 2013 when 30 members of Congres signed a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell urging her to embrace the NAS reforms to make the BLM's program more sustainable fiscally and logistically.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 60 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. AWHPC’s founding organization, Return to Freedom (RTF), a national non-profit dedicated to wild horse preservation through sanctuary, education and conservation, also operates the American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA.
# # #