Once again we are confronted by Welfare Ranchers attempting to rid our public lands of wild horses! This is frustrating, as these same people are adamant in regard to city folks in ghettos and the like, to get off welfare, but Welfare Ranchers do not see themselves as leaches upon our land and using taxpayer money irresponsibly. Yes, hypocrisy is alive and well with these people, who obviously have contacts, other ranchers appointed to offices within “Our” government, that take special care of their friends; Ironically, at the expense of our nations wild horse herds, America’s horses! And their attitude is “To hell with everyone else!” This needs to STOP!
Many American’s, including this American, demands that the government look into, that is a thorough investigation, of the vented and bias interests these welfare ranchers receive from those in government office, or friends in “High Places”.
This is nothing more, nor nothing less, than theft of not only our public lands and taxpayer money, but our Wild Horse Herds as well. And for What? 1% to 2% of our nations beef? This is way out of proportion with reality!
Yes, allotments and special interest situations such as Welfare Ranching, and in the previous decades, demonstrate beyond a doubt the unfair and out of proportion circumstances that are now out-dated and suspect of having no further use to the American public, the common folks of this land. It is nothing more than “Taking Advantage” of an already bad situation, and ripping off in a disrespectful and ugly way, 99% of the common folks in America.
Why are we writing about ranchers and cattle that use Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, America’s Lands, to graze? Allow this Journalist to get something straight right now: No one, at least within my articles and many others, are attacking the honest ranchers of this nation, or the farmers, as we all have a continued and healthy respect for those men and women who remain a significant part of America’s food chain.
No, this goes further, and strikes the hearts and emotions of those who own horses, admire, or are dedicated American’s that want the Wild Horse Herds to remain part of our natural resource and our heritage. This heritage is being taken away from American’s in such an abrupt and abusive manner, promoted by nothing more than outright lies, political agendas, profiteering at taxpayer expense, and rounding up and killing “Our” Wild Horses for no purpose other than. . . Well, no one knows for sure the why, other than there is no valid reason at all.
On the other hand there is a segment of the ranching community called “Welfare Ranching.” This is a BLM program that costs taxpayers several millions of dollars per year, with no significant return what so ever.
“The federal grazing program doesn’t pay for itself-not by a long-shot,” said Greta Anderson, Arizona Director for Western Watersheds Project. “It’s effectively a hand-out for a special interest group.”
BLM and Wild Horse Herd Roundups
We then assimilate the BLM’s Wild Horse Herd Program and discover yet another useless and profoundly awkward program, started under false pretense. Yes, it is simply designed, for a lack of better understanding, to assume profit for the same “Welfare Ranchers” at taxpayer expense, and also in the millions of dollars per year. Also a critical and outright disgusting note: At the unneeded elimination of America’s Wild Horse Herds, with many “healthy” horses and burros often taken to Slaughter.
BLM’s Misinformed and Erroneous Research
The best example is that of BLM spending in excess of $40 million dollars on “Research” but Scientists specifically told by BLM managers to “Not Consider Grazing Due to Fear of Lawsuits and Data Gaps.” Since when does legal action trump a truthful assessment of Public Lands? And the effect of grazing, which in this case are the “Data Gaps”, are of real concern, since the very premise of the Wild Horse Herd Roundups (also costing taxpayers millions of dollars yearly) are predicated on Grasslands Data that supposedly exists, which now we find out doesn’t exist at all, and never has existed! A situation rather reminiscent of the 15 minute gap in the Nixon Tapes, and which later we find was filled with conclusive evidence of illegal activity.
Going from Bad to Worse – The BLM Decision Process
Worse, after getting caught in this lie, the BLM is essentially saying, “Please don’t say anything about cattle grazing, as it ruins the Public Lands and it may get the “Welfare Ranchers” pissed off, and they may sue us.” Huh? Quite a Pandora’s Box the BLM and the Department of the Interior has accomplished here, and obviously difficult to rid themselves of. But oh, it does get far worse, especially at the expense of the taxpayer. Arrogance is blissful too but a few, as others pay the price!
“Livestock grazing is permitted on two-thirds of all BLM lands, with 21,000 grazing allotments covering 157 million acres across the West.” In order to “cover their tracks” the BLM deferred: “In the face of this reaction, BLM initially deferred a decision but ultimately opted to –
- Remove livestock grazing from all eco – regional assessments, citing insufficient data. As a result, the assessments do not consider massive grazing impacts even though trivial disturbance factors such as rock hounding are included; and
- Limit consideration of grazing-related information only when combined in an undifferentiated lump with other native and introduced ungulates (such as deer, elk, wild horses and feral donkeys).”
“This is one of the oddest things I have ever heard of. BLM is taking the peculiar position that it can no longer distinguish the landscape imprint of antelope from that of herds of cattle,” remarked PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting BLM has far more data on grazing than it does on other change agents, such as climate change or urban sprawl, that it chose to follow. “Grazing is one of the few ‘change agents’ within the agency’s mandate to manage, suggesting that BLM only wants analysis on what it cannot control.”
Department of the Interior Flawed With Lies
Ironically, “. . . earlier this year, the Interior Department, parent agency for BLM, adopted its first scientific integrity policies prohibiting political interference with, or manipulation of, scientific work.” A double “Huh”, as this is what writer’s call a “paradox” within fictional dramatic structure. The problem here, folks, is this is not a fictional story, but true. This can perhaps be compared to the old Indian man saying in the movie Kalifornia, when observing the actions of the psychotic character Brad Pitt played in the movie, “. . . that boy’s watched too much television.”
Thereby, their definition of “Research” is not only politically driven, and meant not to “Offend” the ever-present and drain to taxpayer money, the “Welfare Ranchers”, but BLM Administrators want to manipulate the research as well, to make sure the data is enriched with self-promotion and profitable to a specific group of people, and certainly not the taxpayers. They as well as the BLM say, “To hell with the Taxpayers! To Hell with American’s!”
After all, the BLM Administrators have already spent several billions of taxpayer’s money on specifically the Wild Horse Herd Roundups, both via questionable budgets and theft. And this must be covered up somehow. One has got to wonder first, 1. How in the hell did these people get hired within a government agency, and; 2. How in the hell do they keep their jobs when obviously there is so much corruption happening here.
Yet more obvious, the BLM having any type of responsible conduct is non-existent. These government employees can be compared to the worthless gunslinger hired by the ruthless and dishonest rancher, as in the old westerns of years ago, that attempt to “Steal” the honest folk’s lands and animals for profit.
Extrapolate of the Burns (Reid) Amendment
We can also portray those who originated the Burns (Reid) Amendment, which it has been stated time and again unethically, and those that remain supporting that same amendment as those “pulling the strings” so to speak for all the other questionable and illegal activity – portrayed in old western movies as the dishonest rancher who hired all the gunslingers. We as Americans need to understand who it is we vote for, and what their potential toward abuse of our laws they can pose within the future, and especially contrary to what the majority of American’s want; after all they are there to represent the people, or American’s as a whole, not specific special interest groups that place money into the politician’s pocket.
Grazing Fees for Welfare Ranchers
BLM’s annual grazing fee since the 1980’s $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM), which was recently increased to $2.35 AUM, the minimum fee allowed under current law. The fee, which is charged on most Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service grazing allotments, does not come close to recouping the costs of the federal grazing program. In comparison, the average grazing fee on equivalent, non-irrigated private lands in the West was $15.90 per AUM in 2007, and remains profitable for those ranchers who pay that price. Assuredly that figure has probably increased in the past 5 years.
“Given the massive budget shortfall our country is facing, we can no longer afford to subsidize a small group of ranchers to pursue their preferred lifestyle on public lands at public expense,” said Mark Salvo, Director of the Sagebrush Sea Campaign for WildEarth Guardians.
[Journalist Note: This Journalist is a Vietnam Veteran, and I also take note, with disgust, that Veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan do not receive appropriate care, and this is due to lack of funds at the VA, and “Welfare Ranching” is simply one of many government programs that consumes taxpayer money uselessly, which can be directed toward assisting those war Veterans needs, rather than giving taxpayer money to a small special interest group who are as well involved in highly questionable activity, and I must say — quite a lot of taxpayer money.]
“Welfare Ranchers” produce and contribute less than 1% (some estimate an inconsistent 3%, but unsure and the less than 1% appears more accurate) of food product to the public. The reality is the public pays twice for this small amount of product supplied to America’s food chain, in millions of tax dollars spent to support these ranches, and also at the markets that sell at standard and often above market prices. The margin, or profit base, simply goes into the “Welfare Ranchers” pockets, which receive a profit anyway, but with taxpayer’s assistance receive much more profit. Then add stolen horse (i.e. stolen government property) storage paid to these same “Welfare Ranchers” until moving the horses to slaughter, which taxpayers also pay for, and subject of a later article, and this special interest group makes a lot of money.
“. . . the GAO reported in 2005 that the BLM would need to charge $7.64 per AUM to recoup grazing program expenses, and the Forest Service would need to charge $12.26/AUM.” Obviously those figures over the past few years have increased as well.
Legislators and Laws
In 2005 conservation organizations submitted a petition for rule making to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior to update the fee formula to produce fees that cover the costs of the federal grazing program. Under the Administrative Procedures Act, the agencies are supposed to respond within a “reasonable period” of time. One has got to wonder what our legislative people assume to be a “reasonable period” as it has not been accomplished yet.
“The Obama Administration needs to respond now to the grazing fee petition to comply with the law,” said Jon Marvel, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project. The $1.00 increase applied last month simply does not cover the situation within a responsible manner. As well, why has the Administration not reacted to the illegal schemes ongoing for so many years?
Bad Conduct, The Horse, and BLM
Apparently, taxpayers have succumbed once again, being subordinate, to someone’s political agenda; perhaps the same someone who stopped the Federal Grand Jury investigations and indictment of BLM employees for theft and misuse of government money from the 1990’s onward.
The continued conduct and irresponsible acts by government employees must stop. As the old westerns use of drama, it is time for the hard-working ranch hand whose past gave him the ability to fight the bad guys, to step forward and cleanup the BLM, and then place America’s Wild Horse Herds back onto America’s lands, and manage them appropriately.
It is simply time to take into consideration the contemptible and incompetence of BLM employees in managing our public lands. This particular incompetence has been quite costly, in the billions of dollars, to the taxpayers of this nation, and done repeatedly over the years. Decisions based on bad science, bad research, covering up illegal activities, make-believe posturing of land-management principles, costs of unnecessary wild horse herd roundups and storage, and just plain ignorance of terrestrial science has caused this glut of irresponsibility to explode into unbelievable proportions — yet obvious even to the children of our nation.
Welfare Ranching has got to stop as well. These ranchers need to pull their own weight on our Public Lands, and pay the correct price to do so. Gone is the era of putting to pasture 1% of the beef cattle for this nation, to actually sacrifice so much to do so little, and sacrifices by so many.
This being a good excuse to charge only $2.35 per AUM is ridiculous in todays markets. It is no longer feasible to do so, and the taxpayers are paying the price directly, as food on our tables essentially disappears due to not having the ability to afford the cost of the food. Then we are told by our government agencies that sacrifices must be made! And yet, the Welfare Ranchers, with no sacrifice what so ever, sustain a rich and profitable environment, taking from War Veterans, taking from impoverished families, taking from the common folks where a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk now costs in total $7.00 or more!
Make no doubt — Pandora’s Box has been opened. What an opportunity for a politician to become the man or woman in the white hat. To actually save America’s Wild Horse Herds, become a hero and obtain a unique value of accomplishment as well as that of being a true American. This is what makes the common-folks heroes, and then placed into the annals of history for protecting one of America’s true resources, meaning people, and those animals who worked alongside many Americans in the past to make our country stable, The Horse. It is quite apparent, certain government agencies and Welfare Ranchers consider people and horses secondary to their own needs and their own greed!