Ginger Kathrens' Salt Lake City "Slaughter Summit" Protest Speech

Ginger Kathrens
Director of the Cloud Foundation
Remarks August 23, 2017
Salt Lake City

“It’s no secret that behind me, a so-called Summit is underway. It is designed to eliminate America’s wild horses and burros. From the disgusting portrayal of a skinny horse and a skinny burro on their logo to the elimination of any active wild horse Advocate from attending, it is a sham. And likely illegal–violating Utah’ s sunshine laws; creating policy recommendations about the public’s horses and burros but without the public’s participation.

So who is attending this conference? They are supporters of slaughter and the killing of our wild horses. They do not represent wild horse advocates or the  American public—80% of which do not support slaughter in a national poll of Americans.  Our wild horses do not belong to the Utah Congressional Delegation, the Farm Bureau, the NRA, the Safari Club, or the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, or any other self-serving group in the building behind me. They belong to the American public and the American public is locked out of this sinister event.

And the attendees of this slaughter summit certainly do not represent the TRUTH. Show us the starving horses? Oh yes, I forgot—here they are? (hold up skinny horse and burro logo)

Starving horses were alleged to be in Southern Utah but OOPS. The recent roundup of sleek, beautiful wild horses in southern Utah flies in the face of these baseless rants by a Utah Congressman who had the unmitigated gall to hold up a 2 year old a picture taken in of an old mare and her foal in NV two years ago. You know, when horses get old and their teeth wear out, they get thin and then they die. The Congressman does not speak the truth when he intimates that wild horses are dying on their home ranges from starvation and in need of a humane ending! How incredibly disingenuous.

(Picture NV wild horses) Jeanne Nations is out on the ranges in NV right now and she is sending us pictures and here is what the horses look like—right now! Her remarkable video of elk and wild horses walking and drinking together completely dispels the idea that wild horses drive wildlife from water.

(Picture-WY) I was in the Red Desert in Wyoming this summer and this is what the horses look like there. Starving, I think not!!! This is what a lie looks like.

Speaking of lies. Let’s look at the lie of over population. BLM estimates 73,000 horses live on 32.6 million acres, which is only 11% of all BLM lands by the way. Wouldn’t you have thought that wild horses were on more than 11% of BLM lands??—I mean to hear the rhetoric flying around the Slaughter Summit, wouldn’t you think wild horses are everywhere– Invading schoolyards, taking over small western towns, and trampling children.

I mean cattle are on almost all BLM lands and there are millions of them.

There are an estimated 1 million elk, 750,00 Pronghorn, millions of mule deer and only 73,000 wild horses. Wild horses should be considered a threatened species.

If we do the math, horses are on only 11% of BLM lands with an estimated population of 73,000 works out only one horse every 433 acres on designated ranges where they are to be the managed “principally but not exclusively” for them. Despite their limited numbers they are accused of being the damagers of their lands by those assembled at this Summit. Cattle and sheep are almost everywhere but gosh, who does the damage? Wild horses? Doubtful.

So, anyway, BLM came up with this number a couple of years ago: 26,710 horses should be allowed on their home ranges? Who came up with this half-baked number anyway? It is ridiculous. Over ¾ of our herds are already managed below the levels to maintain genetic diversity—a minimum of 150 – 200 adult horses. Now BLM is aiming to make it even worse and their buddies at the summit are loving it.

And how did they arrive at only 26,710 horses in the West anyway?  BLM sets the numbers so low as to be laughable if it weren’t so sad. As few as 60 horses are to be allowed in the Silver King herd in NV—600,000 Acres! This is 1 wild horse for every 6,000 acres. Or, 1 horse for every thousand acres in the Red Desert where it is like horse heaven with wonderful range conditions. But again, only 26,710 horses are allowed on a paltry 11% of BLM lands.

 (Picture 2-Red Desert) These horses in Wyoming’s Red Desert will likely lose their freedom this fall unless the roundup cycle can be broken—a roundup cycle that stimulates higher birth rates according to the million dollar 2013 National Academy of Sciences report to BLM. What a waste of a million dollars. BLM has ignored nearly everything in the report.

But horses have to be removed to get closer to the magic 26,710. And if slaughter is on the table, with mass killing in the offing, BLM has a chance to reach their magic number of only 26,710 horses and burros on the range. This is not what the American public want. And it is not what the wild horses and burros of America deserve.

Solutions have been on the table for decades but they have gone largely ignored.

Birth control vaccines have NEVER been used to any extent. The current BLM budget for fertility control is 0% on their budget pie chart. $164,740 to be precise. BLM and those in this summit say that PZP does not work. That is totally correct—It does not work if you do not give it to mares in the wild. In the few herds where fertility control is used, only small removals or no removals are needed. In those herds, if animals are removed, they actually have a great chance to be adopted.

Despite the obvious, BLM continues to opt for massive roundups that stimulate reproduction rates, again according to the National Academy of Science.

But Science is ignored. Helicopter company owners are made millionaires. And warehoused wild horses ware are  now under threat of death.

For those in holding a solution is to release the wild horses into some of the 22 million acres designated for them but where zero wild horses currently roam. All the stallions would be gelded so these would be non-reproducing herds. Again this solution has been ignored with the answer that the lands are no longer available. Someone should have told BLM Director Bob Abbey that when I met with him in his office in 2012. He mentioned 5-7 million available acres.

Now, at this time, I believe it is only the American people who can save this spectacular, nativeNorth American wildlife species. We must speak up to protect them from the people attending this secret summit. If we speak up loudly and clearly to Congress and the Senate, I believe many generations to come will continue to be inspired by these remarkable animals. All of us must speak up for them— now!

Kayah Swanson