Back a year or so ago, when the BLM was threatning to euthanize the 33,000 wild horses and burros they had crammed into long-term holding facilities, Madeline Pickins, wife of BP Oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, came to the fore and offered to save these wild equines. The "Pickins Plan" was for her to purchase a million acres "out west somewhere" upon which to place the 33,000 so that she could start a wild horse preserve that would be open to the public. For her efforts, the media deemed her the "Wild Horse Heroine of the Year." In the course of negotiations, according to the BLM, it was alleged that there was a huge obsticle to over-come if the plan was to be realized. The BLM told Mrs. Pickins that in order for her to take these wild horses from the BLM and still keep them "protected under the 1971 Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971,".... that the WFH&B Act would have to be amended to allow such a transition. Personally I do not see why it would take an amendement to the Act to allow Mrs. Pickins to take custody of the animals. The BLM could have just "adopted" them to her straight out as the current law allows under special circumstance, or contracted them out to her by private treaty....whatever, they could have found a way to give her those horses without an amendment, but she was asking for stipends too, so the deal fell through. BLM did not want to pay Mrs. Pickins anything to take the horses. They wanted her to take them "straight out" and she says she cant afford that on her own,.....So, the "excuse" for the amendment was to allow the transfer of these equines into (her) private hands without the BLM having to expend any monies from its current budget. What started out as an amendment to the WFH&B Act of 1971 wound up being a whole new act in itself taking away some "old (and major) provisions" of the WFH&B Act and calling for and/or allowing or mandating alot of new (mysterious & strange) different things. After four different versions and several amendments that werent even discussed in the public domain (what else is new in politics and other bureaucracies?) the ROAM Act was born.
One of the first things the ROAM Act calls for is the "striking out" of the provision of the WFH&B Act which stipulates that the wild herds are to be protected upon the lands they were known to roam in 1971. In effect, it is a taking away of their statutorily protected right to stay and remain on their traditional ranges...and we think this is a good thing for them?
If the purpose of the ROAM Act is to allow some of our wild equines to be moved off of their traditional lands but to still enjoy the protections of the WFH&B Act,...all that really needed to be done was to insert a simple provision into the WFH&B Act to allow for such a thing. There was no need to remove the "historical rangelands" protections at all - unless of course, the (long-term and hidden) idea is/was to eventually remove all WFH&Bs off of their traditional lands altogether, and that is precisely what it appears the intent of the ROAM Act is, particularly since the ROAM Act calls for the sterilization of the mares and the gelding of most of the stallions - even the ones lucky enough to "be allowed" to remain on their traditional lands!! With the AMUs already set too low to maintain viable herds, is this not a sure fire way to guarantee their eventual extinction off of both public and private lands?
If the intent of the ROAM Act is truely to protect our National Herds and keep them wild and free forever on their traditional lands (such as was the intent of the WFH&B Act of 1971) allowing the herds to be declimated, removed from the historic rangelands, surgically altered and managed by private individuals in "zoo-like" settings is NOT the way to go about it.
The wiser and simpler course, if indeed PRESERVATION & PROTECTION of our National Herds is the main objective,..would have been to simply amend the WFH&B Act of 1971 to;
1. STRIKE-OUT the Burns/Reid Ryder that allows the "unadoptables" to be killed outright or sold without limitations,...and to replace it with a "Pickins Plan" Amendment that would allow for EXCESS wild equines to be transfered over by private contract to other parties who will extend the protections to the equines while keeping them in "park like settings" and/or sanctuaries. This would be an ok thing to do, as long as the MAIN HERDS remain "forever free and wild" on their traditional rangelands. The ROAM Act IN NO WAY guarantees this,...but would allow for the NON-return to freedom of any and all equines gathered. In other words, once removed from their traditional rangelands,...they would never be returned but instead will be (surgically altered) and turned over to private (and/or public) contractors who will place them into private rescues and/or sancuaries.
2. ADD an amendment that would include protections for ALL of Americas Wild Equines roaming on ALL federal lands under the jurisdiction of the DOI,...and not just those on USDA, Forest Service or BLM lands. Click on title above to see a petition calling for just such an amendment....
Support these amendments to the WFH&B Act of 1971 and tell your reps to throw the ROAM Act in the garbage where it rightfully belongs. The ROAM Act was made to benefit the BLM and NOT our Wild Equines; It does nothing to keep our National Herds "forever wild and free" and UNMOLESTED upon their traditional rangelands.
NOTE: There should be NO NEED for artificial birth-control with proper management.