On October 7, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a plan that included an additional $12 million in 2011 for the Wild Horse and Burro program. Ken Salazar's so called "Wild Horse and Burro Initiative" sounds good when you first hear about it, until you realize the "facts" that he uses are not facts and the full impact of what he proposes. It seems to me that Secretarey Salazar is trying to "pull the wool" over the eyes of the American public and our elected officials.
"To advance the Secretary’s efforts toward program sustainability, the President’s FY 2011 BLM budget proposal requests $75.7 million for the wild horse and burro program, a $12 million increase over the FY 2010 level of $64 million." PLUS "The budget proposal makes a separate, but related land-acquisition funding request of $42.5 million for the purchase of land for one wild horse preserve."
We've already learned that the BLM hires contractors who illegally rounded up and sold our wild horses to slaughter-houses, now we learn that the "Wild Horse and Burro Initiative" proposes to spend $42.5 MILLION of our hard earned tax dollars to purchase land for ONE (1) wild horse preserve in the MidWest or the East. This preserve "will be located on lands acquired by BLM or partners, and would be home to non-reproducing herds of wild horses".
Ok, stop right there, who the heck are these "partners" and why in the heck am I going to spend my tax dollars for an entity other than the USA to own the land? Sounds fishy to me!
From a monetary standpoint purchasing land in the east is ridiculous, I think we all know that land in the east is a lot more expensive than land in the west. Why do we need to purchase land when we already own "31.8 million acres of western rangeland, including 26.6 million acres of BLM-managed land."
From a horse health standpoint, this just doesn't make sense. Horses digestive systems are very delicate, ask anyone who has had a horse colic or founder, and the change in diet alone would in all likelhood result in health issues and possibly death for the horses.
The initiative states the number of wild horses rounded up and held as "32,000 held in expensive short-term corrals and long-term pastures", yet on page three (3) of the BLM’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2011 Budget the number is up to 34,000. They state that "BLM each year moves thousands of wild horses to short-term corrals and long-term pastures." With 26.6 million acres of BLM-managed land, why are we moving the horses off of rangeland where the cost is minimal to corrals where the cost of maintenance is high?
The initiative states they are conducting the roundups "To prevent starvation of animals and to protect the lands from over-grazing". Below are some photos from the BLM's own website of horses rounded up from various locations. Do they look like they are starving to you? They look pretty healthy to me, actually much healthier than I would have expected for a wild horse!
The above photo is from the BLM Facility in Burns, OR
The above photo is from the BLM Facility in Palomino Valley NV
<Wild Horses in Rock Springs WY
Wild Horses in Salt Lake City, UT>
The BLM 2011 Budget Justifications include more details. I think that there a more humane and cheaper alternatives than what the BLM proposes. But that will be the topic of another blog post.