Ever seen wild horses roaming the range? Peaceful, majestic beings, gracefully gliding through space doing their best to survive available habitat and constant human surveillance and violent disruption.
Yet the horse ‘origin story’ is contentious. The stronger weight is that horses originated in North America, migrated (during the ice age) to Asia and were re-introduced in the 1600’s. Creating division on if the current horses are ‘native’, ‘wild’ or ‘feral’. But these arguments are made about many species, including Euro-‘Americans’, - as the 'colonizing, invasive mutt’ species. Right?, so who are we to judge, as we are all now here sharing the land, water and air by the grace of the earth's life support that sustains us all.
And, yes, our ‘best thinking’ got us here, as we continue to make even more human laws on how to best manage yet another being of nature who has a right to be here, unless more 'powerful' interests say otherwise.
While Wildlife Advocate groups do not always agree, they all want horses and burros healthy and free to roam the places they call home. And on the other end of the spectrum: ‘why can’t we hunt them?’ (yes…an actual request from a young Paiute).
The justification for the current, controversial, heated, and entrenched BLM/ Bureau of Land Management program is: 1) "Capture, contain and sterilize is the humane way to balance their existence" 2) "Horses are destroying habitat for other species" 3) "The are not native" ...what?
The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board was to provide updated recommendations on 'Wild Horse and Burro' management to the BLM / Bureau of Land Management. This annual national meeting was held in Reno. The NWHBAB spent the week compiling recommendations for the BLM Bureau of Land Management, and since the meeting was public - the public, via zoom and in-person could provide their 3-minute 'comment'.
Joined by; Craig Downer, Reserve Design Project, Randal Massaro, Union Members for the Preservation of Wildlife, Roger Dobson, Wolf Sanctuary, Devine Green and Tom Parker, Animal Consciousness, all standing for the horses..., the following was my '3 minute' public comment:
"While I feel you all do care about wildlife, your legal limitations and outside pressures confine your options, and, after 50 years, I’m just not seeing a success story here: 50 years of Capture, Contain, Sterilize, Transport, Sell or Kill.
Public Money, Public Lands... Public Confidence is LOW
Your justification: ‘Overcrowding’, yet news coverage couldn’t find a photo with over 3 horses in it?
ut you know what is overcrowded? BLM Capture Compounds, Documents, Laws and Thinking in BOXES!
After 50 years what do you need? More Public $$, more containers, more boxes…Ever see a Square or box in Nature? 50 years doing the same thing – is this insanity? or just rearranging deck chairs on a titanic of in-a-box-thinking?
And when is human Law appropriate for wildlife? Just because we now determine women’s birth rates, it's ok to control birth rates of any life form?
Earth runs on Natural Law and the Earth and Nature do not belong to us, (although that hasn’t stopped us from trying to put it in a Box).
BTW…What’s the Win Rate on Human Intervention or human law for improving Natures Forest, Oceans or Wildlife Habitat?
Maybe the Best Way Forward is to Look Around First...
You spoke of collaboration, (mostly to find more funding and with agencies closer to the ground) – but NOT with NGO’s or the hundreds of Advocacy Groups- WHY NOT?
You mentioned the opportunity to train 4H Clubs in hope they may uncover 'some better solutions for the future'…
OK, so if you’re serious about giving the future a chance to change why not have the 4H clubs do some Recon on Solutions that are actually working…WITH Nature
1. Partner with NGO’s/Advocacy Groups – Bring them into this Circle or on the BOARD
2. TRANSPARENCY: Bring the Public in through stewardship courses and demos in the field
3. Bring Keystone Predators Back (like wolves)
4. Stop killing Cougars (use Human Law to make killing cougars illegal)
5. STOP public Subsidies for: Livestock, Mining, Hunting, and Development
6. Subsidize Wildlife Preserves and you know who will sustain it? Wildlife Viewing Tourism!
7. Support Fire Brigade Programs proven to work and create green jobs for riders, trainers and docents.
What you need to make a different decision to leave a 50yr trail of blood? Best way forward…is look around
8. Hold meetings in Nature with Nature and Horses. Let Natural Law Lead us all Out of confinement, out of the BOX."
References: Why Wolves Matter: https://www.livingwithwolves.org/about-wolves/why-wolves-matter/
How We Saved Wild Horses: https://www.thedodo.com/how-1483878250.html
Fight Wildfires with Wild Horses: https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2017/07/08/fighting-fires-wild-horses/
Wild Horse Tours: https://corollawildhorsetours.com/
Legends of the Valley: https://visitcarsonvalley.org/legends-of-the-valley-jt/