Comments Needed to Oppose Triple B, Maverick Medicine Wild Horse Roundup

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Originally Posted: 29 Jan 2011

Comments Needed to Oppose Triple B, Maverick Medicine Wild Horse Roundup

FROM  In Defense of Animals (IDA)


Proposed action includes only removing wild horses; no reduction in sheep and cattle grazing is proposed.

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President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500
phone (202) 456-1111
fax (202) 456-2461
web email form

Interior Secretary Salazar
Ken Salazar
Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street N.W.
Washington DC 20240
phone (202) 208-3100
fax (202) 208-6950stop

BLM Director Abbey
web email form

BLM Nevada State Office
1340 Financial Boulevard
Reno NV 89502
phone (775) 861-6400

BLM Ely District Office
702 N. Industrial Way, HC 33, Box 33500
Ely NV 89301
phone (775) 289-1800


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting public comments on a Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) on a plan to roundup 1,726 wild horses from the Triple B, Maverick Medicine and Antelope Valley BLM Herd Management Areas and the Cherry Spring Wild Horse Territory, managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The roundup is scheduled for July 2011, in the heat of the desert summer.

The plan will leave behind as few as 472 wild horses in this vast, 1.7 million-acre public lands complex. Meanwhile, the BLM authorizes nine times that number of privately-held, farmed animals to graze the same area.

Thanks to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign for providing information used in this alert:

I oppose the waste of tax dollars to roundup up 1,726 wild horses, or approximately 78 percent of the estimated population in the Triple B, Medicine Maverick and Antelope Valley BLM Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and the Cherry Springs Forest Service Wild Horse Territory.

The management approach detailed in the EA continues the unsustainable cycle of roundups, removals and stockpiling of horses in long term holding facilities.

It also perpetuates the unfair allocation of resources within the HMAs to privately-held, farmed animals rather than federally-protected wild horses or other wildlife species. The BLM has set an artificially low Appropriate Management Level (AML) of just 472-889 wild horses for this 1.7 million-acre range, yet authorizes up to nine times that number of farmed animals to graze the same area.

The EA states that horses must be removed to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands" and to "restore a thriving natural ecological balance," However, no threat to the "thriving natural balance" is greater than the extensive grazing of sheep and cattle authorized by BLM in this federally-designated wild horse area. Yet the proposed action includes only removing wild horses; no reduction in sheep and cattle grazing is proposed.

The EA is deficient because it:

  • is devoid of monitoring data, including data that supports the claim that horses are overpopulating the range and/or causing damage for the range. The EA is further devoid of monitoring data that clearly separates the impacts of sheep and cattle grazing and wild horse use.
  • fails to consider the fact that horses utilize the environment, including stream riparian areas, very differently from cattle.
  • fails to provide adequate information about water sources on the range, including how fencing and engineering of wells and springs for grazing of farmed animals has impacted water availability for wild horses and other wildlife species.
  • omits any information about fencing within the HMAs, including of the impacts of existing fencing on wild horses.
  • fails to consider a reasonable range of alternative actions. Components of the alternatives examined are very similar. BLM discarded viable alternatives, and did not take the required "hard look" at those it did consider.
  • fails to adequately assess the harmful impacts of stampeding horses -- including the elderly, ailing and young foals -- in the heat of the summer in the desert. No alternative was considered for conducting the capture operation at a safer time of year, when temperatures are cooler and foals are older.
  • fails to provide any scientific justification for the plan to return horses to the range in a 60-40 male / female sex ratio, including analysis of the impacts on wild horse behavior, welfare and reproduction.

As a result, this EA should be scrapped in favor of a management plan that deals with today's fiscal realities and overwhelming public sentiment against the roundups and in favor of managing wild horses on the range where they belong. I urge the Ely District Office to avert the need for this costly roundup by:

Re-evaluating and increasing wild horse AMLs by reassessing and amending plans under BLM's Adaptive Management Policy (established by Interior Secretary Order N0. 3270, March 9, 2007);

  • Decreasing or eliminating sheep and cattle grazing in affected HMAs pursuant to 43 C.F.R. 4710.5(a); and
  • Designating such areas to be managed principally for wild horse herds under 43 C.F.R. 4710.3-2.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!