The Bureau of Land Management’s management, or dare I say mismanagement, of our wild horse and burros foments the illegitimate suffering of these animals by helicopter gathers, by cruelly depriving them of water and forage on public lands mandated for their protection, by cruel transportation to subsidized slaughter through an Adoption Incentive Program, and by cruel warehousing in feedlot-like settings ripe for disease and death.

And all this is performed at taxpayer expense without regulatory oversight while falsely blaming wild horses and burros for the destruction of public lands.

There are documented issues of discrepancies in the BLM’s numbers of animals moving through the Wild Horse and Burro Program and many situations in which, per BLM’s own statistics, the BLM’s growth rates and corollary population estimates are scientifically and biologically impossible, skewing the basis for the removal of wild equines from the range, and jeopardizing the Program at multiple levels.

Truthfully, there is no wild horse and burro population problem on federal lands; the issue is the greed of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other livestock interests who want no competitors for the grass that grows on our public lands. There are now more than 4.3 million cattle and sheep on our western lands — 30 of these domesticated ruminants for every wild horse. These ranchers have long wanted to exterminate the wild equines, who eons ago occupied a central role in the North American ecosystem, or these ranchers want to reduce them to remnant populations that are the equivalent of functional extinction. We are asking for an immediate moratorium.

Rick Karcich