By Suzanne Roy, Letter to the Editor of Elko Daily Free Press
Editor: Thank you for your coverage of the wild horse issue. I wanted to clarify the position of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign with regard to issue of “ecosanctuaries” proposed by the Bureau of Land Management for storage of captured mustangs. One of these, as your article of Feb. 25 points out, is Mustang Monument Wild Horse Eco-Resort, proposed by philanthropist Madeleine Pickens and located south of Wells.
The American Wild Horse Preservation campaign is a national coalition of more than 50 organizations, proudly including Mrs. Pickens and her Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation. We consider Mrs. Pickens to be an effective and dedicated wild horse advocate and we support her intent to use her public grazing allotment to the benefit of wild horses instead of cattle.
We further support her goal of taking captured mustangs out of BLM short-term holding facilities, where they live in feedlot conditions, returning them to a more natural setting, and saving tax dollars in the process. We have written to the BLM in support of a plan to achieve Mrs. Pickens’ worthy goals while preserving and protecting the thriving wild horse populations that live on the public lands surrounding her ranches.
We do not believe, however, that the BLM’s proposed “ecosanctuaries” are the solution to the BLM’s problems when it comes to wild horse management. If the BLM continues to remove thousands of wild horses annually from public lands, these ecosanctuaries — like BLM’s other long-term holding facilities — will soon be filled and the problem will continue.
Until the agency begins to humanely manage wild horses on the range this federal program will continue to be mired in the same inhumane and fiscally unsustainable cycle of roundups, removal and stockpiling of horses.
Fortunately, birth control provides an excellent cost-effective option for managing wild horse populations humanely while preserving the mustangs’ wild and free-roaming behaviors, but inexplicably, the BLM is under-utilizing this proven technology. For the interests of taxpayers and our federally protected wild horses, this situation must change.
Suzanne Roy, Director
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign