International Conference Launches With Field Trip to Birthplace of Prehistoric Horses and Visit to Their Dwindling Offspring

Wild Horse Bands Vanishing Under BLM Extinction Efforts

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The leadership of the wild horse preservation movement in America got a VIP tour of  the Bureau of Land Management’s worst nightmare late Friday when they finished a jam packed day with dinner near the proposed Fossel Bed National Monument site. There, the bones of prehistoric rhinos and horses stick out of the Nevada landscape. The site, among others, is the birthplace of the horse as a species.

The site is 20 minutes from a herd management area the federal agency plans to clear of wild horses in its ongoing effort to rid the West of what many BLM land clients consider a nuisance and call the “cockroaches of the west”.

The occasion was a tour of the BLM’s Cold Creek, Wheeler Pass herd management area 40 minutes northwest of the Las Vegas strip. It ended with dinner near the prehistoric bone yard.

About 30 movers and shakers, arguably among the most influential wild horse advocates in the nation, broke away from the International Equine Conference for a trip to the field. They included Ginger Kathrens, PBS documentary filmmaker, John Holland, President of the Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance, author R.T. Fitch and wildlife photographer and Greater Houston Horse Council Board Member Terry Fitch, EWA Vice President Vicky Tobin, and wild horse advocate Garnet Pasquale as well as wild horse preservation and anti horse slaughter financial benefactors.

The advocates endured a tedious BLM permitting process, said field trip organizer Arlene Gawne, a Las Vegas realtor, and former wildlife photographer who spend decades in the African bush.

“We had great difficulty getting a permit from the BLM,” she said. The federal agency is notoriously secretive and takes great effort to prevent press and public from viewing the horses under its federal mandate.

“We saw nine bands of wild horses,” said nationally acclaimed true crime and animal welfare author Cathy Scott. “There was lots of feed and water at low elevations,” she said.

Scott is the bestselling author of The Millionaire’s Wife, and also writes for Forbes.

The BLM has claimed Nevada horses are suffering from drought conditions. Frequently, when advocates follow up on the agency’s claims the are found to be false.

Gawne complained BLM’s efforts to largely remove wild horses from their herd management areas and is depriving the state of a much needed revenue.

“They are going to take eco tourism jobs away from the local Las Vegas people,” she said.

Plenary sessions of the conference will work through a jam packed agenda Saturday as it continues on the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus.

4 comments for “International Conference Launches With Field Trip to Birthplace of Prehistoric Horses and Visit to Their Dwindling Offspring

  1. September 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I totally agree with Paul (who commented on here) What ever happened to the wild horse and burro act…???????? May God Bless OUR wild horses.. lies, cruel acts cannot go on… We WILL win this war on our horses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I pray.

  2. Lisa L.
    September 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    While I’m admittedly no fan of the Bureau of Land Management, there is at least some small measure of policy and mandate which enables the Public to participate in the processes utilized by the Bureau in their ‘management’ of wild equines. Apparently, the Bureau (and to an extremely lesser extent, the Forest Service) is the only agency under the umbrella of the Department of Interior that must adhere to, however loosely, the tennets of the Wild Horse and Burro Act.

    And while certain field offices and upper management of the BLM do seem to enjoy throwing muscle around their little fiefdoms by making things as difficult on wild equine supporters as possible, there are other agencies that simply and truly regard wild horses and burros as trash – and have no compunctions about treating them as such. Parks Services, Forest Services, Fish and Wildlife, Department of Agriculture – none of these agencies, under the same ruling body as the BLM, seem to be bound by the Wild Horse and Burro Act, and wild equines suffer greatly because of it.

    I realize this comment has little to do with the actual subject of the article, and for that, I apologize. But while we are so focused on the inequities routinely dealt by BLM, we remain only dimly aware of other devastation being leveled at wild horses and burros. Perhaps we should also include these other agencies – and their lack of ethics or accountability – when we defend free-roaming wild horses and burros. Because ALL wild horses and burros live their lives on land ostensibly owned by the American Public and we have the responsibility to ensure all wild equines receive fair treatment under the WH&B Act.

    We go at the BLM because we can, because they are the federal face of wild equine management, while other agencies ignore the Act as if it’s principals don’t apply to them. And I find it difficult to believe an Act of Congress can be ignored.

    • Paul Gomez
      September 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      I agree with above comments completely in that the above agencies that are under the BLM jurisdiction should also be held accountable for the mistreatment of wild horses/burros/animals and are in total violation of the law. As with other criminal acts by people in this country are held responsible and accountable for the illegal actions and failure to obey the law, so should all of these agencies working for the government to uphold the law and protect these beautiful wild animals.

      There is something terribly wrong with this behavior and it is our responsibility to advise the governor of each state of these actions and continue to bring litigation and hold them accountable.

  3. PattyM
    September 22, 2012 at 8:49 am

    They called the mustangs Cockroaches??? I would call the BLM “team” maggots.

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