BLM Gives Inadequate Notice of Wild Horse Advisory Board Meeting
The Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday announced a National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting March 27-28. In doing so, the agency appears to have violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires that notices must be published in the Federal Register 30 days in advance of a meeting, 15 days in the case of an emergency.
Neither the announcement for the March 27-28 meeting in Salt Lake City nor a BLM press release referenced an emergency.
“Both the Bureau of Land Management and Advisory Board are acting in bad faith by apparently violating the law and, in so doing, diminishing the opportunity for increased public participation in the meeting,” said Cory Golden, advocacy and communications coordinator for Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation. “While this is disappointing, it’s hardly surprising. The majority of the board leans heavily toward ranching interests and has called for the agency to use taxpayer money to shoot healthy wild horses and burros – an inhumane action that would be in direct conflict with the wishes of the American people.”
At its last meeting, the independent Advisory Board recklessly voted to call on the BLM to shoot tens of thousands of healthy wild horses and burros while also phasing out the use of long-term holding facilities. If Congress allowed the agency to follow through on the board’s recommendations, that would mean the government shooting at least 90,000 healthy animals at taxpayer expense.
The board also called for allowing international adoptions and sales, which have not been allowed before. During its deliberations, the board repeatedly referenced a proposal made by a private party to have American taxpayers pay to ship upwards of 20,000 wild horses to Russia — where they would serve as prey animals for big cats.
The advisory board has no power to control policy, but is tasked with providing advice to BLM.
Board member and wild horse advocate Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation was the lone dissenting vote on recommendations that BLM achieve “Appropriate Management Level” of 26,715 in three years, close long-term holding in three years, and allow international sales and adoptions. Kathrens joined the others on the board in voting to recommend that BLM increase its funding for reversible fertility control.
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation is a national nonprofit dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity, and habitat of America’s wild horses and burros through sanctuary, education, advocacy and conservation, while enriching the human spirit through direct experience with the natural world.