STOP the Kiger/Riddle wild herds round up now!

  • by: Val Hogsett
  • recipient: Neil Kornze -Director BLM, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Ron Wyden, Congressman Peter DeFazio, Congressman Kurt Schrader, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Congressman Greg Walden, Congressman Earl Blumenauer

PLEASE SIGN this letter for Oregon Kiger and Riddle wild horses.

The round up is scheduled for August 31 or September 1. We need to act NOW!

We cannot allow this round up. The BLM has no justification to take 80 (half) of the horses in these 2 herds off a range that is fine and from herds that are so dangerously walking a line of genetic damage and maybe even irreparable, loss of the bloodline, none of which is reversible! 

There are 50,000 wild horses in holding pens that need homes. There is no reason to remove 80 from these 2 herds just to satisfy the wants of private breeders of these unique Kiger Mustangs. This is a 'puppy mill' mentality for our wild horses and must be stopped!

Please sign to send a letter to the Oregon Senators and Congress members listed!

Dear Senator, Crongressman or Congresswoman,

I am writing to ask you to stop the planned round up of the Kiger and Riddle wild horses.
According to the BLM Report titled "Riddle Mountain and Kiger Horse Herd Management Area Plan" the BLM states the following:
"Appropriate Management Levels and Thriving Natural Ecological Balance
The Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Riddle Mountain HMA is a horse population whose numbers are within the range of 33 and 56 animals. The Kiger HMA's AML is a population of horses ranging from 51 to 82 animals."
This is in direct conflict with leader in the field of equine population genetics Dr. Gus Cothran, Director of the Equine Blood Typing Research Laboratory at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Cothran suggests that managing wild horses at low population levels leaves them vulnerable to a long range loss of genetic diversity. How small is too small? At what point do wild horse populations suffer the risk of irreparable genetic damage?
Based on his DNA analysis, Dr. Cothran now believes that the minimum wild horse and burro herd size is 150-200 animals. Numbers lower than this will increase the occurrence of inbreeding and loss of genetics. He is quoted on…/388-judge-orders-answer… as saying of the last round up in 2011 “The numbers of wild horses left in these two herds, even combined, will result in inbreeding over time. It’s a situation you want to avoid if possible. I don’t understand BLM’s reasoning on this.”
In some cases, BLM has introduced horses from other herd areas to try to offset extremely low AML's (i.e. Kiger and Riddle Herds), overlooking the unique characteristics which a herd originally exhibited or developed over years, if not centuries, of natural selection—i.e., the Spanish genetics of the Kiger and Riddle herds, the unusual color genetics in some herd areas, the survival adaptations of most individual herds, etc. The original Kiger Mustangs had dna testing done that showed a close link to the Spanish Mustangs from the 1600's. When BLM introduces mares from outside herds, based on the physical characteristics that LOOK like Kiger, they are diluting that unique bloodline.
If the horses are gathered every 5 or even 6 years, with observation of what foals are from new genetic lines, that would also allow the gene pool to recover. But gathering on the 4th year is detrimental as the mares that would foal in the following spring would be the ones with the highest chance of new genetics.
28,021-acre Riddle Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) with proposed gather leaving 51 wild horses out of a total AUM (Animal Unit Month) of 672. Also, 36,618-acre Kiger HMA leaving only 33 horses there out of a total AUM of 984. That would be 1 horse per 769.5 acres. That is an allowable total number of animals for both HMA's of 1,656 and in that only 84 wild horses will remain. That is 19.7 percent horses on the designated land for horses. How much of the other 80.3 percent are livestock, who give nothing back to the American people but line the pockets of ranchers and corporations. This is not the vision of the 1971 law either.
The numbers of horses currently on the HMA's stated above are from the BLM, and those numbers are based on historic calculations, not observed actual numbers in the herds. It is believed that there are actually far less on the range than this. The range is in good condition with plenty of forage and water to support the horses there now. And in the past the Riddle HMA had numbers as high as 250 horses living very well on the HMA. So why is the AML set so low?
The Wild and Free-Roaming Act stipulates that rangeland conditions shall be carefully monitored to allow optimal viable herds of wild horses and burros in a non-prejudicial fashion. This clearly makes it illegal for the BLM to set the arbitrary, population-crippling Appropriate Management Levels (AML's) it has.
There are other HMA's that need help, and other horses in holding facilities that need homes. Why take 80 horses off a range that can support them and take 80 potential homes from horses already in holding?
So what is the justification for this round up really? It is the high demand for the breeders of these Kiger horses due to their unique bloodline. Making the Kiger herd a more than minimally managed herd for the purpose of continuing to make available these highly sought after Kiger Mustangs is criminal . And if this is allowed for one herd, why are they not doing it for ALL the wild horse herds?
And as with the recent unrest over the Salt River Herd proposed gather in Arizona, the American People want our wild horses on the range. We cannot continue to allow the BLM to run our wild horses into extinction or only have them in zoo like holding facilities. They need to be doing what the law of 1971 intended them to do and what they do naturally: living free, roaming free for all of us to be able to enjoy.

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