Monday, August 30, 2010

Who is the BLM Kidding?

The BLM has just announced that it intends to pay $1.5 million to the National Academy of Sciences for a two-year study that would purportedly determine how best to count, control, collect, and ultimately manage America's wild horses. The agency claims it wants to use "the best science available" in managing wild horses and burros on public lands. Who are they kidding?

How can we possibly take this initiative seriously while the BLM is moving at literally breakneck speed to round up every wild horse it can find? It doesn't want a study, it wants a mandate. I don't buy it, and neither should anyone who truly cares about the future of the wild horses who are still roaming free on their appointed ranges.

The BLM's sudden interest in science is nothing more than an attempt to placate the Inspector General, whose office recently reported that the Department of Interior "has no comprehensive scientific integrity policy." Heck, wild horse advocates could have told them that.

Calls for a comprehensive scientific review are meaningless in the absence of a concurrent agreement to suspend the wild horse roundups pending the results of the investigation. If the BLM is so concerned about the need for an updated evaluation of how it calculates wild horse numbers and determines herd management areas, why is it in such a hurry to grab every horse in sight before such a study is even conducted, much less made available?

But if the National Academy of Sciences is to conduct a review, it should seek the answers to some hard questions. For example. . .

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