Bill Allows Tribes to Manage Wild Horse Herds from Federal Land
It sounds like a wonderful idea. Let the Native Americans manage the wild horses of the West. Except not all the tribes revere the survival of the Wild Horses and Burros. Recently Navajo tribes promised to protect them, but they are only one tribe. Many who are interested in the fate of the wild horses, remember Tom Davis – a Colorado livestock hauler – who bought horses the BLM had round up only to have them sent to slaughter. From an article about Mr. Davis:
"But Davis is a longtime advocate of horse slaughter. By his own account, he has ducked Colorado law to move animals across state lines and will not say where they end up. He continues to buy wild horses for slaughter from Indian reservations, which are not protected by the same laws. And since 2010, he has been seeking investors for a slaughterhouse of his own. 'Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt,' he said. 'What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?'"
The BLM’s management of the wild horses and burros has certainly been found wanting. Too many family herds torn apart, too many horses round up and then sent to live in too small of pens. All that being said, placing the fate of these “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” in the hands of administrators who want more cattle or to obtain large land fees from frackers would be irresponsible at best. ~ HfH
A new bill allows tribes and states to take over management of wild horses and burros from the Bureau of Land Management.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) introduced H.R.5058, the Wild Horse Oversight Act, last week. He said tribes and states can do a better job than BLM at managing the herds.
“States and tribes already successfully manage large quantities of wildlife within their borders,” Stewart said in a press release. “If horses and burros were under that same jurisdiction, I’m confident that new ideas and opportunities would be developed to manage the herds more successfully than the federal government.”
Several tribes have complained about large wild horse populations on lands within reservation borders. The bill could help address some of their concerns.