COWSPIRACY: Take Action for Wild Horses and Burros
Action Alert from All-Creatures.org

FROM

COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret
December 2014

ACTION

There are now more horses in government holding facilities than there are free on the range...

wild horse roundup

1,500 head cattle could also be permitted to graze on the same acreage but the BLM will claim that the horses are the issue and need to be removed without ever addressing the environmental damage caused by extensive livestock grazing.

Thanks to this scapegoating, close to 300,000 wild horses and burros have been inhumanely rounded up and removed from our public lands since the passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. There are now more horses in government holding facilities than there are free on the range.

  1. Write a letter to your Senator on the Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining, and demand grazing reform on our public lands.
  2. Sign up for Western Watershed Project’s mailing list to stay up to date on ways you can take action.
  3. Ask your Congressmen to sign the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign’s “Keep Wild Horses Wild” pledge with an easy form here, and subscribe to their eNews for ways for you to help wild horses and burros.

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

[For videos, visit COWSPIRACY: Take Action for Wild Horses and Burros...]

The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees roughly 245 million acres of public land in 12 western states. BLM lands are used for multiple purposes, including mining leases, energy development, recreation, and the most widespread of commercial use - ranching. It is well documented that ranching is one of the most significant causes of native species endangerment, desertification and water pollution in the American West.

Welfare Ranching

Of the 245 million acres of public land being federally managed, the BLM authorizes privately-owned livestock grazing on 155 million acres, administering nearly 18,000 permits and leases on more than 21,000 grazing allotments.

To graze on our public lands, ranchers pay $1.35 per month for the equivalent of one cow and her calf which is the lowest allowable under law and is approximately 1/16th of market rate, thanks to our tax subsidies. As a comparison, the average monthly lease rate for grazing on private lands in 11 western states in 2011 was $16.80 per head, according to the Congressional Research Service. Direct government spending to administer public land grazing constitutes an annual net loss to the taxpayers of at least $123 million and costs the government, according to the Center of Biological Diversity, an approximately $500 million each year. The Western Watershed Project cites that 96% of these public dollars are spent to enhance livestock production in direct conflict with legal mandates to restore the health of public lands.

For all of the expense to the public, this type ranching fails to reveal any significant economic contributions to rural economies. According to the Public Land Research and Law Review, the largest amount of forage leased is controlled by a tiny minority of permit holders; 40 percent of the federal rangelands are controlled by 3% of the permittees. These permittees include no fewer than four oil and mining companies, two Forbes billionaires, and one national brewery. Not surprisingly, the wealth and political power of these large public lands ranching interests make achieving real reform extremely difficult.

Degradation of our Public Lands

Commercial livestock grazing takes a tremendous toll on native ecosystems, wildlife and wild horses and burros throughout the American West. It is a major contributing factor to the detriment of 22 percent of all federally listed threatened and endangered species, and a massive contributor to non-point source water pollution, and desertification. /p>

The BLM is required to monitor the impacts of all grazing on its lands. They conduct evaluations of whether the 21,000 grazing allotments meet “Land Health Standards” (LHS), but these evaluations have been mostly unobtainable to those outside the agency and their results have escaped independent review.

TThe group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) were able to obtain these records via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and has worked with a former BLM contractor to analyze what they say about the state of our public lands and BLM's discharge of its duties to safeguard them. According to the documents, BLM has conducted LHS evaluations on 72% of the grazing allotments. Of these, the agency claims that 55% have met standards, and that 16% of allotments (29% of total allotment area), have failed standards due to livestock grazing.

Wild Horses and Burros

When passed in 1971, the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act protected wild horses and burros living on public lands. As stated above, of the 245 million acres of public land, privately-owned livestock grazing is permitted to graze on 155 million acres, whereas federally protect wild horses and burros are restricted to just 26.6 million acres or a mere 11 percent of BLM lands. /p>

Even though wild horses are designated to live in environmentally arbitrary Herd Management Areas (HMA), the BLM still allows ranching within their habitat while authorizing anywhere from 3 to 20 times or more forage to private livestock than to wild horses and burros.

As a result of this unfair allocation of resources, the agency sets artificially low Allowable Management Levels (AMLs) -- the number of wild horses and burros which can graze without causing damage to the range -- and routinely make claims that horses are overpopulating if their numbers rise above these AMLs. As an example, an HMA can have an AML set of 100 horses with an estimated population of 300 horses on 150,000 acres. 1,500 head cattle could also be permitted to graze on the same acreage but the BLM will claim that the horses are the issue and need to be removed without ever addressing the environmental damage caused by extensive livestock grazing.

Thanks to this scapegoating, close to 300,000 wild horses and burros have been inhumanely rounded up and removed from our public lands since the passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. There are now more horses in government holding facilities than there are free on the range.


Thank you for everything you do for animals!


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