RENO, Nevada (August 29, 2013)…. The American Wild Horse Preservation (AWHPC), a national coalition, and its founding organization, Return to Freedom (RTF), will hold a press conference on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the Palomino Valley National Adoption Center near Reno, Nevada to spotlight the need for reforms to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse and burro program.
The Palomino facility, where over 1,000 captured wild horses are stockpiled, dramatically illustrates the failures of the federal wild horse program. The horses, once living wild and free, were removed from public lands in roundups and are now held in feedlot conditions – sometimes for years – at a cost to taxpayers of $5.75 per horse per day.
In all, 50,000 wild horses are held at facilities like these across the country costing taxpayers at least $120,000 a day.
Actress Wendie Malick and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) will headline the event after taking a tour of the BLM’s facility. They will be joined by Neda DeMayo, CEO of Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary and founder of AWHPC, and Deniz Bolbol, AWHPC’s Communications Director.
The press conference comes 91 days after the release of a scathing review of the BLM’s program by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). After a nearly two-year investigation that the BLM itself commissioned and funded, the NAS warned that continuing “business as usual” for the program would be "expensive and unproductive for the BLM and the public it serves." The NAS recommended that BLM manage wild horses on the range with fertility control instead of continuing to round up and stockpile them en masse.
Despite these findings, the BLM announced plans in July to remove 1,300 wild horses from rangelands across the West before September.
In May, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the Denver Post that she would look to the NAS report to guide her approach to reforming the BLM program. Since then, the only public statement Jewell has made about the NAS report came during Congressional testimony on July 18 in which she said the Interior Department and BLM are “reviewing the report in detail.”
“I’ve been asking for changes for years, and NAS has confirmed that we can save taxpayer money and horses’ lives at the same time by improving this program,” Grijalva said. “We have the information we need. Now it’s time to do something with it.”
“The NAS has provided Secretary Jewell with a clear roadmap for a fiscally responsible and transparent program that will ensure our wild horses and burros remain on their rangelands, ” said DeMayo. “We are grateful to Rep. Grijalva for his leadership on this issue, as only pressure from Congress and the Administration will bring necessary changes to the federal wild horse program. The BLM has proven time and time again that it is not an agency that is capable of reforming itself.”
In June, Malick, Grijalva, AWHPC and RTF joined 30,000 Americans -- including 30 members of Congress and celebrities -- to call on Jewell to implement the NAS recommendations.
Additionally, a recent poll on the issue showed that 72 percent of Americans support protecting wild horses and burros, and that support cuts across party and gender lines.
To get to the press conference
The facility is located approximately 20 miles north of Reno/Sparks. From Interstate 80, take Exit 18 (Pyramid Way/State Road 445) – PVC is north about 20 miles. Turn east on Ironwood Road to reach the facility.
The press conference will begin at 2:45pm PDT on Sept. 4th.
Congressman Grijalva’s press release on the event: http://wildhor.se/1a3pOD3