I.G.H.A. / HorseAid's Bureau of
Land Management News
The BLM Looking for An "Easy Way Out" in Utah?
Source for some of the following article (by e-mail)
Ginger Kathrens (Wild Horse and Burro
UTAH -- The BLM, under the direction
of the state vet in Utah is in the early stages of bringing in over 500
wild horses to test them for EIA because 28 Native American owned horses
on the Ute Reservation tested positive for EIA at the end of April. At
a meeting with the Director of the BLM, Pat Shea, on April 23, the Wild
Horse and Burro Freedom Alliance (WHBFA) was assured that no action would
occur at the height of the foaling season, however, the BLM is still proceeding
with the roundup.
Since the first 31 BLM wild horses tested negative to EIA last week,
the WHBFA assumed that there would be an end to the BLM directed roundup
action. On the contrary -- the BLM is still continuing with its
A number of humane organizations
are protesting this action, including; the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the
Doris Day Animal League, the Fund for
Animals, etc.The WHBFA is currently preparing a court challenge to put
an end to this roundup by the BLM. HorseAid is joining in this action,
and has made available one of its consulting veterinarians (an acknowledged expert
in EIA transmission and quarantine protocol) to be used as an "expert
witness" by the WHBFA in its action against the BLM.
Since Pat Shea is from
Utah (and has indicated he would like to return there after his stint as
the political appointed Director of the BLM),
one can only wonder how much of the current wild horse "roundup"
in Utah is really political, and how much of it truly "medicinal"?
Source for the following (by e-mail) courtesy of: Toni
Moore from the Colorado Wild Horses and Burro Coalition:
- No State of emergency/alert/or concern has been issued by the Utah
state veterinarian concerning equine infectious anemia (EIA).
- No testing, quarantine or limiting of movement of privately owned horses
has been issued for the Uintah Basin or Utah or N.W. Colorado.
- Only one "BLM" wild
horse has ever tested positive for EIA
in that area.
- The boundaries of the
disease "outbreak" have never been
identified. We know from conversations with the Assistant State Veterinarian,
Earl Rodgers acknowledged that EIA was first noticed in this area for well
over 20 years and crops up occasionally. (The vector is most likely the
horse fly and that it only has a range of 200 yards). Dr. Ed Oscarson,
longtime Utah veterinarian, states the disease is probably confined to
a 10 square mile area. What/where/and when were other cases of EIA defined
in this state, how were they handled--any precedents around other wild
horse areas in Utah?
- BLM has no documentation to confirm that wild horse movement within
these areas would place them in contact with possibly affected Ute tribal
horses. (The only thing they have is one aerial flyover for March 1997).
- There has been no information forthcoming from the Ute tribe on the
movement of their horses either within or out of tribal lands.
- The environmental assessment states the decision is in accordance with
43 CFR 4720.1 (from my 1991 book). This deals with excess wild horse and
burros and the methods of how they may be dealt with.
- The E.A. also uses 43
CFR 4730 which deals with old, sick, and lame wild horses. Has BLM established
these horses are sick? Has BLM established
these horses pose a threat to themselves as stated in the law (if aerial
census and data show an increase -- which I am sure they do--how can they
be "sick"). It appears to me that BLM and/or Dr. Michael Marshall,
Utah State Veterinarian are arbitrarily and capriciously selecting wild
horses in the Uintah Basin for an experimental protocol and have no scientific
method that this is for the wild horse's good or that this disease is "highly" contagious.
Because they have completely avoided the privately, domesticated horses in the
basin and the rest of Utah. BLM is out of compliance with
the least feasible management clause of the Wild Horse and Burro Act. Since
wild horses and burros are protected animals, BLM will be completely destroying
bands upon roundup (conversation with Dave Howell on 5/13/98 states they
will separate mares and stallions). It appears the state veterinarian has
a vast amount of discretionary power since he is not asking, cautioning,
or otherwise involving privately owned domestic stock to be tested. There
is no livestock check point or port of entry at the N.W. Colorado and N.E.
Utah border--there hasn't been for at least as long as I've lived here
since 1976. There has been no effort to stop domestic horses from entering
the wild horse herd use areas.
- Somehow, the Advisory Board recommendations/position should have some
weight. This board was authorized under FACA--if Director Shea chooses to
ignore their recommendations isn't this similar to the requirements set
forth in NEPA ? Basically he must respond to their comment.
- Another thing, this EA was signed on May 8th. It was not sent out to
the public. I had to ask for it then they have not sent the gather plan
as I requested (only Robin Lohnes has a copy). Isn't that out of compliance
- They are supposed to have hearings for the use of helicopters in the
gather of wild horses--no notice that I could find published in the Federal
Register or notices sent to anyone.
- The rationale for decision does not state anything about wild horses
only wilderness characteristics for WSA's (am checking coordinates of trap
sites to see if they are located in the WSA's because we've got them to
move the trap sites out of WSA's).
- I believe the regulations from the state of Utah concerning infectious
diseases and the authority would be beneficial. Where is the authority
lie in BLM or the Federal government. If there is an infectious disease
problem with wild horses that are not to be moved out of their original
herd use areas. BLM did not consult with U.S. Fish and Wildlife or at least
it wasn't stated in the EA they did.
- This district planned to zero out the Bonanza horses in their 1985
RMP. I advised Mr. Howell not to revisit those plans during this little
crisis. There have been removals without benefit of determining excess
(we especially do not want to see AML set here but monitoring and inventorying
done so we can accurately determine excess).
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