“The attempt by activists to discredit the new appointees to the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is a typical tactic employed by anti-BLM partisans to push their anti-management agenda by any means possible. Their apocalypse-now, sky-is-falling rhetoric is flagrantly dishonest and is clearly aimed at preventing the BLM from gathering horses from overpopulated herds on the range. The BLM is not ‘managing for extinction.’ There is no conspiracy to put down healthy horses that are in off-the-range holding facilities. Members on our board are qualified based on their knowledge of the law, current program actions, and their commitment to ensuring that healthy horses thrive in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses.” Tom Gory – Public Relations BLM (Feb. 2012) in response to complaints from the general public about mismanagement of Wild Horse Herds on BLM Land.
There comes a time when our government agencies are simply “out-of-hand” and irresponsive as well as irresponsible, especially toward the common folks, essentially the American Public. These agencies are simply Stewarts’ of our lands and animals (i.e. Constitution of the United States of America). This can be observed by how any particular government agency, in this article the BLM, responds to an “Open-Debate” circumstance, or to the general public — as a BLM Administrator responded above.
Do Legitimate Concerns Exist?
This article will answer, in fact, some of the outrageous statements made by Tom Gory, who is in a position to “know better” than state outlandish comments toward the public, whose lands he is nothing more than managing for us all. As a Veteran myself, I take his comments as an insult, and his attitude as disgraceful and disrespectful to every Veteran and to common folks and their families in America. To claim myself and others as dishonest, when we simply question their dishonesty is quite appalling, distasteful, and arrogant! Yet another government employee that should not be working for the government!
Because we, as Americans, attempt to generate an “Open Debate” situation, and through our Freedom of Speech capacity, does not make any of us less of a citizen here in America what so ever. As a matter of fact, I as well as other Veterans, would question directly any person within the government, in another words a government employee, their tenacity as well as their attitude, to question a taxpayers concerns; especially when a taxpayer is questioning obvious abuse, illegal activities, or ongoing ethics violations, all within this government agency.
What do the Taxpayers receive for their Money?
Frankly, there must be an end-result, a situation of benefit to the general American population, as prescribed by policy and in regard to benefits posed per taxpayer dollar spent. This is ignored most often, especially in this circumstance. Many times a small percentage, in this case .00001% is generating a profit from millions of dollars per taxpayer money spent, with no benefits to the taxpayer.
James Sebastian, accountant/CPA, generated the following from a perusal of BLM expenditure, precisely the Wild Horse Roundups, holding corrals, and shipping:
- $2.6 Billion Dollars BLM Horse Herd Management of Taxpayer Money Spent;
- Benefits to Taxpayers while spending taxpayer money = $0;
- Benefits to Local Area Ranchers/politicians/oil industry accumulative, pay-offs and continuing profit = $12.4 billion dollars and rising.
“This is significant,” Mr. Sebastian states, “. . . as this becomes, and has been, a slice of our public debt, and unfortunately hidden from the public at large. Taxpayers should know where their money is going, it should not be hidden. Right now it is hidden in the BLM, with no credibility or attempt to show the tax paying public the real figures and costs of the roundups. This compared to simply leaving the Wild Herds alone, at an approximate cost-field-management amount of perhaps $852,000.00 per year, for grassland management, horse management, and cattle grazing management.” (i.e. Grassland Management Principles) et al.
Our government agencies, whether they accept the fact or not, can either shine as a glowing example of taking care of the publics interest, or become a government agency that virtually remains at war with the American public at large; most often this is to cover up their questionable, and often unethical and illegal management methods. This is not a conspiracy principle, rather, an observation of how the BLM manages America’s Wild Horse Herds, and the BLM is mismanaging our horse herds, then lying about it to us all.
BLM and Questionable Payments to Contractors
Often money illegalities such as money skimming, laundering of money, and contractors lying in regard to daily hours worked, or in this case actual horse counts, often come into play. Padded accounts in government agencies, and the 10% contingency realm is not overlooked either, and many government employees derive a profitable margin while obtaining “under the table” wages.
As Mr. Gory, Public Relations of the Horse and Burro Program states in a matter of fact style when discussing the general publics’ complaint against horse slaughter and BLM’s management, he states “Their apocalypse-now, sky-is-falling rhetoric is flagrantly dishonest and is clearly aimed at preventing the BLM from gathering horses from overpopulated herds on the range.. . .” is a, well, dishonest statement, a flagrant lie by him and the BLM.
But allow me to further this debate, by giving you the actual BLM figures, the cost of one portion of the Roundups, the Private Contractors payment for the actual roundup work.
Examples of Payments to one Private Contractor
Here I will use the Sun J Livestock contractor. This Private Contractor uses Helicopter Roundup methods (abundant videos and information is available on the Internet showing extreme abuse, so no further reference given here due to space) which virtually “Kills” a large percentage of wild horses during the roundups.
This “Kill” percentage is extremely high for roundups in general, near the value of anywhere from 4% to 16% and left under a covered-up shroud of questionable conduct, with no excuse from the Private Contractor or BLM Supervisory staff, other than a “Go to Hell” attitude when questioned about the over-kill rates. To clarify the situation further as to why they hurry, it is to get the job done, at the horses’ expense or death, as they are paid per horse, and as shown further, incorrect horse counts in their favor. The faster they get done, the more profit they make.
February 23, 2011 – Sun J Livestock received $82,648.20 for not even an entire weeks worth of roundup;
September 13, 2010 — Sun J Livestock received $82,966.00 for a little short of a weeks worth of roundup;
December 6, 2010 — Sun J Livestock received $649,850.20 for a little over a weeks worth of roundup;
January 10, 2011 — Sun J Livestock received $1,221,767.90 for about two weeks, if that, of roundup; etc. . . .
I think you get the picture here, and keep in mind between the dates of September 13, 2010, and January 12, 2012 there were 24 Roundups and similar payments made to this Private Contractor in Nevada.
Many people attempted to obtain a proper horse count, but could not do so. This is because the BLM Management will not allow people into the holding corrals to obtain a proper count of horses. In this case it is the Private Contractor, Sun J Livestock, who on several occasions threatened and coerced people away from the holding sites during the roundups.
A proper evaluation could not be assimilated, in regard to Actual-Cost breakdowns, due to these reasons of questionable conduct. It is noted as well that often the BLM Supervisory Staff was nowhere to be found when problems arose between taxpayers attempting to stop abuse, or do legitimate head counts at the roundups.
The pay-outs to this Private Contractor listed here were minimums. Keep in mind also; this particular Contractor, as well as most others, has been linked to several Senators and Congressmen. Why the Congressional Ethics Committee has not looked into this situation is not known for sure.
What does the Rancher pay for using Public Lands, our lands, to graze? “The Federal grazing fee for 2012 will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM). . .” An animal unit is 2 cows and governed on the amount being a per year basis. Keep in mind this price for grazing on public lands has not been raised since 1978, even though BLM’s “rhetoric” labels this years grazing prices as $1.35, presenting it as the price for the past two years. When checked it was $1.35 from 1978 onward.
Using the same unit, the ranchers in Nevada has a maximum overhead, to include transportation to slaughtering facilities of their cattle of an estimated .08 cents per cow. Often this can generate a 284% profit margin, due to fluctuating sales prices in their market. This is a tremendous profit margin, and is not passed on to the taxpaying public what so ever.
At the taxpayer’s expense we not only pay a high price for beef at the market, but due to the useless current eradication of wild horse herds, rather than simple management techniques implimented, we also pay a high price for cattle to graze as well. Ironically, much of the grazing lands available is simply left unused, not overgrazed as we are led to believe by BLM staff. Often it is a rare occasion when small bands of horses are seen what so ever, even when the numbers were supposedly much larger. Again, looking at the BLM’s horse-count numbers, it becomes obvious, and they have lied about how many wild horses are on Federal lands.
So the question, “Is BLM being truthful about their grazing and public land use prices?” Here is what they say: “The annually determined grazing fee is computed by using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM/HM for livestock grazing on public lands in Western states. The figure is then calculated according to three factors – current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. In effect, the fee rises, falls, or stays the same based on market conditions, with livestock operators paying more when conditions are better and less when conditions have declined.”
If the $1.35 never changes, then how do they assume it is assimilated on a yearly basis? Their statements and the yearly figures of cattle sales, for example, simply do not add up correctly. Indeed, the market has changed since 1978, prices everywhere else have met the market standard, and businesses remain profitable. Ranchers in other areas, away from BLM lands remain profitable as well. There are many questions to be answered from this situation alone.
We must also look at how the horses are a danger to our Public Lands, and according to BLM staff are overgrazing these lands. The fact is they do not, and it is quite obvious. When perusing the BLM numbers, in support of overgrazing, the numbers appear bogus and certainly do not appear as legitimate figures to base an “overgrazing” decision upon what so ever.
Again, for the available lands we can peruse the BLM’s documents. “The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land — over 245 million surface acres — than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages approximately 193 million acres of Federal lands in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.” Both agencies have Wild Horse Herds within the boundaries of their land, our land.
If we add these together, horses basically have access to 438 million acres, of which in excess of 245 million acres that a horse can roam in the western states. The amount of cattle grazing these same acres is slight, estimated at an inconsistent figure of perhaps 32,000 cattle at any given time (i.e. per sales fluctuation) with “. . . 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and more than 8,000 permits administered by the Forest Service.” When investigated these permit numbers also become bogus, with no fluctuation in numbers from one year to the next. At best, accountablity toward a real “permits issued” situation would certainly fluctuate from year to year. This may be due to never updating their data to the public.
There exists no reason for the Wild Horse Roundups. So it becomes easy to conclude, without assuming a “. . . sky-is-falling. . .” attitude that there is simply no reason at all to thin out the Wild Horse Herds. We can use the BLM’s own figures and their rhetoric which is easily seen-through, to conclude this. Overgrazing as excuses to thin-out these horse herds, very profitable for a very few with no return to the taxpaying public, are simply unacceptable and non-extent, whether it be provided academically or ideologically, or by policy (no policy such as this exists) there is simply no reason to do so at this time.
Conclusively what is found within BLM documents is not any “Real” reason to gather Wild Horses through a roundup and management methodology, and then take them to holding corrals. The unneccessary cost, within a cavalier and frivolous spending frenzy of taxpayer money, becomes more obvious. Not included within this document are the theft/stealing of horses for slaughter and private use without adoption; although, it has been stated by several informants that every 6 out of 10, or 12 out of every twenty horses in holding corrals are stolen. This will be approached later and within another context.
For holding corrals there exist huge expenditures of taxpayer money, not so ironic is the fact many of these holding corrals are located in Nevada. To say these are questionable situations remains an understatement. Again, many of these holding corrals are directly or indirectly held by government entities and their friends, and even BLM employee’s families and friends.
One facility, for example, was paid $16, 683,991.00 for holding horses within their corrals, for only a short time period. A horse auction company was paid $15,069,135.00 for holding Wild Horses for auction, and for just a few days until sold. The pay-offs, or what are termed Contract Payments (i.e. a somewhat list of payments at this Internet site) are questionable. These are simply two examples of several hundred more holding-corrals, some legal, many not and holding horses for illegal or questionable activity. Yet the taxpayers still pay the facilities owners for the use of their corrals, whether legal or illegal.
This brings about yet another question, “Where does the money go for the sales of the horses?” There exist no records of payment to taxpayers of money made from these auctions. Even though wild horse herds are considered Federal Property, with laws and well established procedures available in selling Federal Property, it is ignored. It goes without saying here that illegal sales of horses, stolen horses, etc., are just as plentiful, and the same holding corrals for both legitimate horses and stolen horses are used togwther and at taxpayers expense.
This Journalist sees no extreme or overboard or superfluous activity within any of the Wild Horse Activist’s attitudes. There exist no “. . . sky is falling. . .” attitudes. On the contrary, there does exist beyond a doubt, legitimate concerns. The frivolous attitude toward spending a lot of taxpayer money is obvious, and for what? At this time it is unclear as to what or why, other than fictitious and erroneous information that is given to the public and by the BLM employees in general. The questionable roundups and extreme costs do exist, and despite name calling and cheap-shot condescending remarks said by BLM Administrators toward those who have done their research and found the entire situation questionable, is distasteful and arrogant.
Currently, we must keep in mind this is not a mere non-personal entity such as the generic function of the term BLM, rather these are government employees taking advantage of a particular situation, while making a profit for themselves, their friends, and other family members, and with those involved within our government at many different levels. It becomes apparent that the Wild Horse Herds, our Wild Horse Herds and the American Icon, is defenseless.
The common American is speaking, right now being ignored, but that will not last for long as Americans, together, become strong, and their strength is growing in voting numbers until politicians and the courts will no longer be able to ignore us all. Sustaining our Wild Horse Herds is an American promise to such an Icon, as to say thank you for helping us build America, and we indeed love and respect you all.
United StatesConstitution – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution
BLM and Forest Service Announce 2012 Grazing Fee, Release Date: 01/31/12 http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2012/january/NR_01_31_2012.html
Example list of Private Contractors Income/Payout for Roundups: https://www.fpds.gov/dbsight/fpdsportal?indexName=awardfull&templateName=1.4.2&s=FPDSNG.COM&q=support+activities+for+animal+production%2C+wild+horse+CONTRACTING_AGENCY_NAME%3A%22BUREAU+OF+LAND+MANAGEMENT%22+VENDOR_FULL_NAME%3A%22SUN+J+LIVESTOCK%22
February 16, 2012 at 10:59 pm
awesome, truthful, to the point, and revealing.
February 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm
I have suspected for years that mustangs in LTH disappear (or are neglected as in Jason Meduna’s case), I can totally picture trucks headed to slaughter in the middle of the night loaded with our treasured icons who have been betrayed. I would like to quote you on the numbers, 12 of every 20, in my advocacy work. Can these numbers be substantiated, how did you arrive at that figure. Also am very interested in exposing contractor’s association with congressional leaders. Please contact me email@example.com. Again, thank you for report, I hope this opens a lot of eyes and brings more Americans to the battle for our wild ones. I look forward to your next report on holding facilities.
Thank you for speaking out for the mustangs, they need all the voices they can get.
Jennie Barron (WILD HORSE HUB CENTRAL, ADM on facebook)
August 3, 2012 at 5:25 am
Thank you, John. Mary Berg on WHHC is looking for bloggers like you. I will message you in a few minutes. Thank you, and send this to my email, it is hard to find! j Keep me updated! Thank you for all of your hard work!
Jo Ann Porto
October 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm
Thank you for this in-depth article. How do we as citizens approach this horrendous problem? The BLM thinks its above the law. Who does this kind of investigating? The FBI? Has there ever been a government agency investigated on this magnitude? Have there ever been arrests and jail time when an agency is out of control? The BLM is using our tax dollars to hire a Public Relations firm. Why does a government agency need a Public Relations firm? We are all opening up our own wallets and paying for this Public Relations firm. We are paying for the lawyers the BLM hires to defend themselves. How do we fight this agency?