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An immediate moratorium on all but emergency roundups is called for in this resolution. Please sign to help protect our remaining wild horses and burros on our western public lands.
We, the undersigned concerned citizens do hereby present this resolution:
TITLE: Moratorium on Wild Horse and Burro Gathers and for a Congressional Investigation into the Management of the Bureau of Land Management%u2019s Administration of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Program.
WHEREAS, we, the concerned citizens of the United States of America and the Save Our Wild Horses Coalition (SOWH), invoking the freedoms and rights conferred upon us as citizens, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the rights and privilege of preserving our public lands and the wild horses and burros residing on them as well as the welfare of the equine being held within the holding pens of the Bureau of Land Management, a government agency, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution.
WHEREAS, the advocates and citizens that study, care for, observe and enjoy the national treasure known as the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros have been doing so for over 40 years through a variety of organizations and groups with memberships that reach thousands of members nationwide; and
WHEREAS, these citizens have for many years spent countless man hours and funding, protecting and monitoring the nation%u2019s wild horse and burro herds; and
WHEREAS, the 16 USC %uFFFD1331, et seq. directs the protection of said Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros %u201Cas components of the public lands%u201D and that their management %u201Cshall be at the minimal feasible level%u201D; the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture is responsible for their management and the Bureau of Land Management is the agency that manages the program under their direction; and
WHEREAS, various political co-sponsors have introduced legislation into the House of Representatives (HR 1018) and Senate (S 1579) that would further strengthen the protections of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros by instructing the Bureau of Land Management to determine the populations of the nation%u2019s wild horses and burros and to work with the public in determining the Appropriate Management Level and managing these equine primarily on the range where they were found at the passage of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971; and
WHEREAS, the Government Accountability Office has issued many decisions (1980, 1990, 1991, 2008) that the Bureau of Land Management doesn%u2019t use appropriate methods to determine Appropriate Management Levels and rangeland conditions; the Concerned Citizens and SOWH agree; The Bureau acknowledges they are unsure of the number of wild horses and burros on public lands and that they can only estimate these numbers; A complete, correct and independent census of equine is needed before any decisions can be made about management of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros or any actions taken; and
WHEREAS, the Bureau of Land Management has instituted an aggressive gather plan to remove as many wild horses and burros before any such legislation or proper census can be conducted (FY 2010 estimates the removals will equal 12,000 animals), The Bureau also failed to consult or communicate with any groups, organizations or members of the SOWH prior to taking these actions; and
WHEREAS, seventy percent or more of all wild and free-roaming horse and burro areas are managed below the generally accepted and scientifically based genetic viability which is in violation of the law which states Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros must be managed as %u201Cself-sustaining%u201D herds on the lands where they were found at the time of passage of the law, and over 100 herds and over twenty million acres have been lost under the management of the Bureau; and
WHEREAS, in a civil suit filed against the Bureau, Civil Action 06-1609 (RMC), a federal judge has determined that the Bureau and the Secretary of the Interior has acted %u201Cin excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority or limitations or short of statutory right%u201D by completely removing herds from their range without justification or proof that they were %u201Cexcess%u201D; the Bureau is, as of October 2009, removing 12 herds and 1.6 million acres in the same way in defiance of the court decision; and
WHEREAS, the Bureau of Land Management%u2019s Advisory Board for the Wild Horse and Burro program has taken a position in support of the Bureau%u2019s actions; The members of this Advisory Board do not represent the public or the advocacy organizations that are active in monitoring or advocating for the wild horses and burros, instead they represent conflicting interests and most have sat there for several years despite having qualified nominations from those who have monitored, studied, and advocate for the wild horses and burros; and
WHEREAS, the costs of the aggressive removals and the long-term holding of wild and free-roaming horses and burros have escalated and reached the point where they cover the majority of the budget for the agency, and these costs may not be appropriate, if the Bureau is not using appropriate methods of determining rangeland capacity and Appropriate Management Levels, and it is appropriate that there be a full investigation into the administration of the free-roaming horses and burros program; and
WHEREAS, the Concerned Citizens and the Save Our Wild Horses Coalition (SOWH), a member driven coalition of major wild horse and burro advocacy groups, requests the Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management cease and desist with all planned gathers with the exception of true emergencies and ask the Congress to investigate fully the management of the Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management%u2019s administration of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro program.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this group of Concerned Citizens and SOWH supports a Congressional Investigation into the management of wild horses and burros under the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this group of Concerned Citizens and SOWH asks for Congress to direct the Bureau of Land Management to cease and desist with all proposed gathers/roundups, except those of a true emergency, until a complete and impartial census is done on the population of Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that these Concerned Citizens and SOWH calls on the Department of Interior and Congress to support our position by supporting legislation that would better protect the wild horses and burros, on their designated range as provided by law, such as HR 1018 and/or S 1579; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of SOWH until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.