Per usual, the lack of compassion for America’s wild horses and their familial bonds and blatant disregard for what wild means was evident among high ranking Bureau of Land Management officials during the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting in Redmond, Oregon on April 13.
For the BLM it was an opportunity to tell the public that the spaying of wild mares in the field is of the utmost priority as the corrupt agency could only afford rounding up 3,500 wild horses this year.
Lee Folliard, acting deputy state director of the BLM in Oregon, described mare sterilization research, including slicing off their ovaries at Oregon’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, as an “exciting time” for the BLM’s management of wild horses, and bragged about the large roundup of more than 1,000 horses in the Beatty Butte Herd Management Area of Oregon, a sage brush focal area. “The thing to highlight there is we have had very good coordination with some of the local ranchers and stakeholders there,” he said. “And we are looking forward to further engagement with them as we get assistance with adoptions and potential future gathers.”
Folliard, admitting he was overall unfamiliar with the Wild Horse and Burro Program, didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with revealing he was wedded to welfare cattle and sheep ranchers in Oregon. Luckily Friends of Animals was there to let him know that the Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971 was passed to protect wild horses who are underpopulated on America’s public lands, not protect ranchers.
During the public comment period, Friends of Animals gave Folliard and the advisory board members a reality check.
“I respectfully disagree with Lee. Spay research does not make it an exciting time for wild horses. It’s a horrific time,” said Nicole Rivard, correspondent for Friends of Animals. “It’s not a great time for the public either as we seem to be treated more and more like pests too. The orange tape (we have to stand behind on the floor) feels a lot like an artificially low appropriate management level AML. Hopefully we all get out of here without being PZPed.”
“As members of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, we ask you to recommend the BLM get a complete overhaul, one that replaces decision makers with people who are not wedded to welfare cattle and sheep ranchers. We hope BLM’s extinction plan will be stopped before it’s too late. Six states have already lost their wild horse populations completely: Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. And from BLM’s latest proposals it looks like Montana and Wyoming are next.”
She went on to point out that the National Academy of Sciences recommended against spaying wild mares back in 2013 because they could be followed by prolonged bleeding and infection, which could be fatal.
Friends of Animals was not alone in its condemnation of spaying wild mares—many others talked about the dangers of ovariectomies and how the level of intervention is hardly the minimal level of wild horse management called for under the WHBA. And it was encouraging to hear people demand the BLM re-evaluate AMLS—since in some Herd Management Areas cattle and sheep are allotted forage at 400 times the rate allocated to wild horses. Giving back wild horses Herd Areas on federal Public lands that no longer exist is also something Friends of Animals applauded.
Friends of Animals’ Campaigns director Edita Birnkrant did not let the BLM get away with appointing Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation to the advisory board as window dressing to try and neutralize wild horse advocates. Once one of the harshest critics of the BLM, Kathrens is now an asset to the corrupt agency as she touts the fertility control drug PZP—a drug that the Humane Society of the United States holds the registration to. It was maddening to listen to so-called animal advocacy groups ignore the research about the negative effects of fertility control on wild horses. They seem not to be able to make the distinction betweeb dogs and cats and wild horses who are supposed to be protected on America’s public lands.
So Birnkrant set the record straight. Using her public comment period to address the Kathrens and HSUS’ betrayal of wild horses under pressure from the BLM, Campaigns Director Edita Birnkrant said:
“We are disgusted with sitting in these meetings year after year and hearing this nonsense. The BLM has neutralized The Cloud Foundation but it’s not going to neutralize Friends of Animals. We will continue fighting legally to challenge roundups, to challenge HSUS’ PZP Frankenstein monster show and we will continue and continue and continue to show up and we will not be silenced.”
Then she unfurled a banner that read “Wild Horses are Not Overpopulated, Extinction is forever, before country sheriffs surrounded her and physically removed her from the meeting, much like wild horses are rounded up and ripped from their homes on the range.
To see a video of Birnkrant’s testimony, click the video below: