In a Q&A session today at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., Secretary Jewell refused to answer our simple question about the status of reforms to the Bureau of Land Management's wild horse program.
She didn't answer. Instead, she defended a failed policy and a bureaucracy that refuses to change.
She repeated BLM PR spin on the NAS report, and misrepresents its clear and strong recommendation that humane and cost-effective measures (fertility control) are available and must be implemented immediately as an alternative to further removals of horses.
She omitted the pertinent NAS finding that the BLM's own management practices are fueling high reproductive rates, and continues to fail to address the underlying issue: the BLM's unfair preferential treatment of privately-owned livestock over federally-protected wild horses in designated habitat areas. With more than 80 percent of forage in designated wild horse Herd Management Areas given to livestock, not wild horses, it's clear that our problem is not an overpopulation of wild horses on our public lands, it's an overpopulation of livestock!
This is very disappointing for a Secretary who has so much potential to bring real change and reform to this expensive, ineffective and inhumane federal program.
"The National Academy of Sciences released a review five months ago of the Bureau of Land Management's controversial wild horse program saying, "continuation of 'business as usual' practices will be expensive and unproductive for BLM and the public it serves." Does the Interior Department and BLM intend to embrace the reforms included in the report and, if so, when?"