TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED LIVESTOCK GRAZING RESPONSIBLE FOR DESTRUCTION OF PUBLIC LANDS
PROTECTED WILD HORSE HERDS VICTIMS OF ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION
COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. (Nov. 12, 2015) - The Cloud Foundation (TCF) applauds Vickery Eckhoff’s article, “Livestock Data Fills Gap in Ongoing Wild Horse Debate,” a statistical analysis of livestock grazing in comparison with wild horse use on public lands in the West.
The well-documented article, published in The Daily Pitchfork makes clear that our public lands are being over-run by welfare livestock at the expense of wild horses and burros and other wildlife species. Points made in the article include:
- 2.1 million cattle graze on public lands -- 37 times greater than the 56,656 free-roaming wild horses and burros
- Privately-owned livestock are allocated 97 percent of the forage across 251 million acres of BLM and USFS managed lands.
- Wild horse and burros inhabit 12 percent of that land and are allocated 3 percent of forage overall.
"The media has taken the BLM and ranchers' word that wild horses are the cause of overgrazing and overpopulating of our western public rangelands for too long,” states Ms. Eckhoff. “How can one horse out-graze 37 cattle? It's simply impossible; the livestock figures show it. It's time the media reported the numbers, to get at the truth."
“Ms Eckhoff’s analysis highlights the injustice of the roundup going on right now in southeast Oregon’s Beaty Butte wild horse herd,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Beatys Butte is a classic example of wild horses serving as scapegoats for welfare ranchers.”
The roundup of 1500 wild horses at Beatys Butte which began Nov. 4 and continues through the month, will leave a genetically non-viable herd of only 100 on 400,000 acres of public land compared to thousands of head of cattle. Kathrens attended Oregon meetings in 2014 with other advocates and stakeholders to negotiate for an equitable number of wild horses and other wildlife compared to livestock in the area. “Those meetings were disappointingly unproductive and appear to be a smoke-screen for the pre-ordained raping of one of the largest wild horse herds in the West,” she concludes.
The article comes on the heels of Presidential Memorandum: Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment, which states, “We all have a moral obligation to the next generation to leave America's natural resources in better condition than when we inherited them. It is this same obligation that contributes to the strength of our economy and quality of life today. American ingenuity has provided the tools that we need to avoid damage to the most special places in our Nation and to find new ways to restore areas that have been degraded.”
“We hope the President’s Memorandum and fact-based reporting like Eckhoff’s will help enlighten the media and inform the public of the true threats to our public lands system,” concludes Kathrens.