I wanted to share an interesting letter written by Cindy MacDonald to Madeline Pickens, regarding her recent proposal to possibly rescue the "excessive" horses. Now, for the record, I do not always agree with Cindy MacDonald and her opinions posted on her blog. I just thought that this viewpoint may interest some of my readers and wanted to throw it out there for you to draw your own conclusions.
November 21, 2008
Dear Ms. Pickens:
I am writing to you today to address an issue that is very near and dear to both our hearts; the preservation and protection of America’s wild horses and burros.
You have graciously and generously stepped up to the plate to attempt negotiating a rescue for over 30,000 animals BLM has deemed “excessive”; the aftermath and consequence of aggressive management tactics strategically targeted at America’s herds that have now placed their very lives in peril.
While I commend your willingness and commitment to finding creative and humane solutions for those now captured and waiting to die, after deep contemplation of your proposal, conscience compels me to ask you to re-think your plan.
I was at the National Wild Horse & Burro Summit when you entered the room and announced your stunning proposal. You said you had just “jotted it down on the plane flight over” and from here, your idea has taken root.
Since then, newspaper articles have reported on your progress and details have begun to emerge as to where our wild horses may be headed under your wing.
They have reported you:
“want to create a permanent retirement ranch for the horses that could be open to the public.”
“[you are] negotiating to win control of more than a million acres of grassland in the West….”
“[planning] to acquire part of the land through private sale and the rest through a lease with the federal government”
“[looking at] several pieces of land costing $10 million to $50 million”
Retirement Ranch Planned for Wild Horses
November 19, 2008
“plan[s] to sterilize the horses on [your] land and will take any additional horses the federal government wants to cull from the wild herd”
New York Times ~ Editorial
November 20, 2008
Since your concern has focused so strongly on helping save our wild ones, perhaps there are some issues you have failed to consider.
Therefore, as a member of the public these majestic icons are held in trust for and who has been intimately involved in many of BLMs proposals that landed these wild horses and burros on “death row”, I am humbly asking you to expand your considerations to include very important issues that effect us and the continuation of our wild herds on public lands.
*Over the years, the herds and their lands have been stolen from us. Your generosity is legitimizing their theft and bailing BLM out from accountability.
*There are serious, serious questions that must be addressed nationally about the Wild Horse & Burro Program. Your proposal will allow long-standing management issues to continue to be postponed, ignored and buried that may very well decimate the long-term viability of America’s free-roaming herds if they are allowed to continue unchallenged.
*In this deal, you want to gain control of over 1 million acres of lands you may allow the public on. In other words, you become the “middle man” for what once use to be ours anyway. Have you considered how this may not help the American people or our children who were suppose to have the right to experience them wild and free too?
*The Washington Post reported your ranch could be open to the public. Could be? Are you negotiating the right to operate your ranch and their lives behind closed doors?
*Your proposal to take all the wild horses BLM “culls” forevermore will allow them to continue to take off an endless stream without question. When you take them in, do you plan to question or challenge why BLM authorized taking them from us to begin with?
*You plan to sterilize every single wild horse that comes through your gates. What will you do with your million acres when these non-reproducing herds grow old and die and cannot be replenished? Now BLM is planning on sterilizing almost every wild horse still left standing on public lands after their recent full-scale assaults to remove them. In ten years, how many wild horses do you think are going to be left to cull to add to your collection?
*How is it you plan to sterilize the mares? A lifetime contract with the United States Humane Society for their PZP? About how much would that be worth on an annual basis to them? Or are you planning to attempt to spay the mares instead? Do you know how invasive, traumatic, and expensive that is per mare? Do you know the percentage of mares that die from this procedure? If you don’t, you should look into what this would do to those in your care before rushing into this “option”?
*As time passes and the “Pickens Trust Fund” passes to other hands, will their new custodians choose to save them too or will the temptation to lease it back out to ranchers, oil, gas, mining or selling it to developers be their primary concern?
*Where are the wild burros in all this? Their populations and habitat have been decimated over the years under BLMs “care” who openly posts a population management objective that qualifies them for Threatened and Endangered Species Status. Will they be forsaken again? How will you sterilize them as PZP does not apply?
*Have you considered investing in public lands instead of moving our resources to your sole control? With the money you are willing to shell out for this project, have you looked into how many wells, water developments, grazing leases in already publicly established Herd Management Areas this could buy and be returned back to the American people instead?
*Do you know how many successful lawsuits could be filed against the BLM if there were only money available for good lawyers, money the average citizen does not have – but you do.
Do you really want to help the American people and our wild horses and burros? Do you really want to save them, to preserve them and protect them for future generations? To leave a truly philanthropic American legacy for years to come?
If so, PLEASE do not take your involvement lightly! Let more than your heart rule your actions by carefully considering what you may be doing ~ as once done, it cannot be undone.
There is no doubt you have the power to make a profound difference at this critical crossroads for our wild herds. Please use your power wisely.
Preserve The Herds