This page looks different to our usual site because it is from our back catalogue. More recent articles are here.


Madeleine Pickens to speak about horse plans

January 20, 2010

Madeleine Pickens will speak about her plans to manage America's wild horses in New York on Wednesday (US time).

The breakfast meeting will be held at the Union League Club at 38 East 37th Street at 8.30am.

Pickens believes the current eight-week wild horse muster unfolding in the Calico complex in northern Nevada, in which the Bureau of Land Management is hoping to remove around 2700 animals, needs to be placed in context with the overall Wild Horse and Burro Programme run by the agency.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's is calling for major geographic relocation of wild horses further east, and reforms to the programme.

There is no proposed reform for day-to-day management of wild horses, except to broaden the use of sterilisation to control herd size, she says.

"Sterilising thousands of mares will not bring short-term relief ... rather, it raises serious questions on the intent of the Secretaries' reform," she says.

"If the bureau continues to gather horses at this frightening and unprecedented rate, while dramatically reducing acreage for these protected animals while increasing sterilisation, the genetic viability of our wild horse population will surely be at risk.

"Will the ability of the remaining wild horses to survive after having been so drastically 'managed' still be plausible?

"Is the current agency's approach based on scientific methods that will guarantee the wild horses will survive, as well as their genetic health? Or, are we on a path to witness the extinction of our nation's last wild horses?"

Pickens points out that the bureau's current projections are to gather 10,000 to 13,000 horses this year.

"These gathers will take place while the BLM has over 33,000 wild horses in captivity awaiting adoption or disposal to clear out the holding facilities which are needed for this year's horse gathers.

"Where will the agency put 46,000 captive horses, and at what cost to horses and taxpayers? Common sense begs us to consider leaving the wild horses on their designated rangelands, as opposed to stuffing them into unsanitary, overcrowded feedlots until a practical and humane alternative is operational."

The so-called Pickens plans is a co-operative agreement for private/public land, involving wild horse sanctuaries which would provide open space and protection for the thousands of warehoused wild horses.

The horses would be relocated to their native rangelands in their native western states. The bureau would pay non-profit foundations a stipend to cover annual operational cost.

"These co-operative sanctuaries over the next 20 years will save hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars."

To help implement this alternative, a foundation was created by Pickens, whereby she would buy a large ranch controlling about half a million acres in northern Nevada, using private dollars for the purchase. Her offer is still being evaluated by the bureau.

Pickens went to northern Nevada last week to tour the Calico gather and holding facilities.



Affiliate disclaimer