Letter: BLM not treating horses humanely

The wild horses are gone again, and with them goes another piece of Nevada history, a piece of our hearts. Nevada is not as free as we think and not as spacious as we would like to believe.

This morning my wife and I stood in our Fish Springs home in a valley near Gardnerville and watched as a Bureau of Land Management helicopter harassed and chased the wild horse herd through the valley, running them until a less than week old colt dropped to the ground unable to run anymore. The colt was thrown bodily into a waiting trailer and separated from her mom, maybe for good. The BLM employees, working for us, the taxpayers, used trucks, trailers, horses and the helicopter to push the rest of this peaceful herd of beautiful animals out of our valley to the waiting traps. Those that escape will hide out in the hills for awhile and then venture back into the valley they love and live with the people who love them until another person complains that his lawn was walked on, or his sprinkler head was broken off, or the horses ate his hay, left out in an unfenced field.

While I left with other neighbors to watch the capture, my wife called the BLM to complain and was told her complaint did not matter. That galls us a lot. The vast majority of people living with the wild horse herds love the horses, but their voices don't matter. Petitions to the BLM and meetings with them over the years have failed to resolve this problem because the BLM does not listen to the majority of taxpayers, but is guided instead by the minority who express the opinion the BLM themselves express. The BLM does not want a wild horse to be left in Nevada, and a systematic plan is under way to remove or destroy them all.

Some of the horses captured will be placed in an adoption program. Many will be killed. Those not adopted after the round-up will be "humanely euthanized." Animals that are too sick or lame to be adopted are euthanizeed also. Many of these beautiful animals won't be adopted because even at 2 or 3 years old, they are just too hard to train for riding and driving. So they must die.

Have you ever looked into adopting a wild horse? I have. The $125 fee isn't the hard part. You have to be approved by an adopting committee and you have to put the animal into an area with a barn and surrounded by an approved 6-foot high fence. Do you see many farmers, ranchers and animal owners with a six foot fence? I don't either. But the rules of adoption reduce the number of adoptions and allow more animals to be slaughtered.

I was turned down after the inspection because my horse fence, electrified and made of standard ranch materials, wasn't high enough. For nine years my fence has kept the wild horses out and my horses in, but common sense doesn't matter either.

At my house in Fish Springs, we have watched this process repeated. We have lots of photos of the wild horses on our property and walking through the valley. Many of us moved out here to be closer to nature and away from the restrictive rules and regulations of the city. We didn't know the BLM was going to save us from ourselves when we moved here. So for another year or so we won't have any horses to watch because the BLM took them to kill some of them and find some of them "a more suitable home."

My wife thinks that we should start complaining to the BLM about the rabbits. After all, we have been fighting with them for years. They come to our six acres each night by the hundreds, eating our grass, the shrubs, our drip system and even the trees we plant. They leave rabbit droppings all over the ground, and their population has grown to such extremes we may not now be able to euthanize them fast enough to rid Nevada of them. And I'm just tired of seeing them splattered all over the roads of Nevada. Aren't you?

Maybe we should all call the BLM and complain about the rabbits. Remember too that it just takes one call of complaint to start spending millions of your tax dollars on some foolish program because the BLM doesn't govern our lands with a democratic system where the majority opinion matters. And what about the deer, the cougars, the eagles, the hawks and those noisy killer coyotes? If we "euthanize" them all, Nevada would be so much safer and quieter. What a pleasure that would be!

If we don't stand up to the little abuses and erosions of our liberty, will we stand up to the bigger abuses and losses of freedom? By the way, today's BLM roundup started on private property. It began because four of the hundreds of neighbors out here complained. Couldn't these people have just fenced in their yards and hay? How many tax dollars would that have saved without taking away the horses, some of which we have been born? Hey neighbor, I hear that California has some nice fenced-in housing tracts where your association takes care of any and all problems including any stray animals that might wander in to upset the balance of people and people and people and people....




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