to Eliminate Livestock Grazing and Prioritize Wild Horse Protection and Preservation
More than 70 organizations and 60 Individuals Join Effort in Letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland
Washington, D.C. – This week a coalition of more than seventy equine protection, animal welfare, and environmental groups, as well as numerous wild-horse and ecotourism businesses, called on newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, to halt livestock grazing and revoke grazing permits on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Herd Management Area (HMA) lands in an open letter to the Secretary.
In 2018, Haaland was elected as one of the two first female Native Americans in Congress, and recently served as the Vice-Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, and Chair of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands where she frequently sided with wild horse protection advocates over Big Ag, Big Oil, and Big Animal groups who’ve sought to round-up and eradicate wild horse and burro populations on federal lands with a maniacal scheme known as the “Path Forward.” Haaland’s confirmation to lead the Interior Department was considered a tremendous victory for wild horse, animal protection, wildlife, and environmental advocates, and Indigenous leaders who campaigned to elevate one of their own to the powerful federal seat that oversees natural resources, public lands, Indian affairs, and the BLM.
The coalition letter dated April 9, 2021, went further to advocate for:
• Management of horses on all BLM HMAs to retain horse population sizes that will maintain TNEB [(Thriving Natural Ecological Balance )(where TNEB already exists)] or promote rapid progress toward TNEB (where TNEB does not currently exist). Management should prioritize keeping horses on designated HMA lands, within ecological parameters that maintain or promote continued progress toward TNEB.
• Immediate commencement of a NEPA-conforming BLM Resource Management Plan (RMP) Amendment processes for all BLM Districts that have contained (both historically and currently) legally-demarcated horse-related BLM HMAs (pursuant to the 1971 Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act) to bring about the TNEB-associated outcomes articulated above.
• Preparation of a robust, broad-based scientific assessment of the baseline ecological conditions that have been adversely impacted by livestock grazing (and associated infrastructure) to serve as the basis for determination of sustainable wild horse numbers and use, and for determining HMA restoration/recovery/sustainability actions.
“The mass roundup and surgical sterilization of our iconic American equines to pad the pockets of industrial agriculture and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is an affront to wild horse advocates and the American taxpayer,” said Marty Irby executive director at Animal Wellness Action and a member of the board of Equine Collaborative International. “Secretary Haaland should immediately freeze grazing permits, stop the mass helicopter roundups and direct the BLM to base decisions on science over political circumstance.”
“No matter how damaged our public lands are, BLM continues to do the livestock industry's bidding. This must be ended. In an especially egregious example, BLM recently found innumerable land health violations on the Wilson Creek livestock grazing allotment in Nevada and also admitted that it could not distinguish adverse livestock impacts from wild horse impacts,” said Katie Fite, Public Lands Director of Wildlands Defense. “Yet BLM still issued new decisions that enable more livestock grazing in the future, while at the same time it continued with the removal of nearly 1100 horses from the associated Eagle HMA Complex horse populations."
“It’s time for the Bureau of Land Management to uphold their mandate to preserve and protect wild horses and burros on America’s public lands," said Allondra Stevens, founder of Horses For Life Foundation. “The era of the agency prioritizing livestock grazing must come to a hard stop. Under the looming demands of climate change, removing livestock on HMA’s will help restore the health of ecosystems and allow for our wild equids and other wildlife to safely thrive throughout the Western states.”
“The American people cherish our wild horses and burros as living treasures, and iconic reminders of the essential role horses have played in American history and culture,” said Scott Beckstead, director of campaigns for the Center for A Humane Economy. “Sadly, the Bureau of Land Management takes its cues from the beef and resource extraction industries, rather than the taxpayers. Secretary Haaland should immediately halt the mass roundups and removals by the BLM and direct the agency to manage our wild herds humanely in a way that allows them to live wild and free on our public rangelands where they belong.”
The full letter to Haaland can be found here signed by the following organizations: Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Defense, WildEarth Guardians, The Cloud Foundation,Wasteful Unreasonable Use, Coloradans Against Horse Slaughter, The Daily Pitchfork, Living Images, Friends of Animals, Wild Horse Education, In Defense of Animals, Kimerlee Curyl Fine Art, Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation, American Horse Protection Society, Center for a Humane Economy, Sequoia ForestKeeper, High Noon Horse Farm, Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition, Fleet of Angels, Wyoming Untrapped, Mary Hone Fine Art, Yellowstone to Uintas Connection, Horses for Life Foundation, League of Humane Voters, Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation, Western Wildlife Conservancy, Safe Haven Equine Warriors, Sand Wash Advocate Team, Equine Collaborative International, Running Horses Studio, Colorado Wolf Alliance, Rob Lee Photography, Stop Wild Horse Roundups Coalition, Water for Western Wildlife ENI, World Park Educational Institute, Western Montana Equine Rescue, Wyoming Mustang Institute, Sandy Sharkey Photography, Al Hone Fine Art, Skydog Sanctuary, WindDancer Foundation, Predator Defense, Citizens for a Humane Los Angeles, Grazing Reform Project, The Two Suite Ltd., Love Wild Horses, American Equine Awareness, Friends of Animals, Native American Church of the Ghostdancers, Wild Equid League of Colorado, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Conservation Congress, Lynne Pomeranz Photographer, Wild Horse Tourist, Wild Horse Photography Collective, Chief’s Old Friend Inc., Wager Counseling, Habitat for Horses, Horses Happily Ever After, Equine Advocates, John Muir Project, Animals’Angels, Carter Reservoir Mustangs, Northern Colorado Wild Horse & Burro Partners, Devils Garden Wild Horse Emergency Rescue, Larimer Co. Horsemens’Assoc./BCHA, Wild Mustang Community, Serengeti Foundation, Adobe Mtn. Equine, Friends of the Bitterroot, and the Gila Herd Foundation of Arizona.
Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies, and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.
Horses For Life Foundation is an advocacy and education group dedicated to ending the slaughter of American horses, protecting wild horses and burros on public lands, and ending equine abuse and neglect through advocacy, public education, and legislative reform.
The Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.
The Center for a Humane Economy (“the Center”) is a non-profit organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.
WildLands Defense works to inspire and empower the preservation of wild lands and wildlife in the West. WildLands Defense’s activists’ and supporters’ on-the-ground presence, extensive experience enforcing existing statutory and regulatory regimes, and the group’s unparalleled conviction provide managers and policy-makers a clear and competent picture of the conditions of our public lands and wildlife communities on the ground as they exist, as well as lend decision-makers the sense of informed urgency as to the need for policy changes into the future.
All the best,
Animal Wellness Action
611 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E. #136
Washington, D.C. 20003