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Monthly Archives: August 2014

America’s Heritage: Wild Horse Herds Mismanaged – A White Paper Discussion

chumash horse pre-dating mexico and spainish horses by 2 centuries

“It is American’s that must make their government responsible. If not us, then there is nobody else that will.” — John Cox, American Heritage and Horse Advocate

Let’s pause for a moment and truthfully consider the upcoming elections in November 2014. First let’s consider our Wild Horse Herds, criminality, ignorance, incompetence, and just straight out irresponsible behavior by our government agencies – by the way these agencies and everyone who works for them, from the least paid janitor to the most paid Superintendent or Director, receives their pay from our tax paid dollars.

And at the present, apparently the taxpayers of America are the least represented entity in America right now, by those legislator’s that are running for office in November. Yes, even government agency personnel, who we pay, treat taxpayers as an ignorant step-child, and worse our current legislator’s disrespect taxpayer’s and the common-American almost daily. Then act as though what they are doing is so righteous that it saves all American’s from??? – well, we are unsure, as American’s what it is they are saving us from, but many of us acknowledge America is worse off now than ever before in history and with no one representing our behalf.

Government Agencies and America

Many research scientists I have spoken to of late, agree – they all asserted that the necessity for Wild Horse Herd Roundups, the Environmental Assessments that conclude the necessity, and all Administrative Assessments and Plans adopted by the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forestry as well as the Department of the Interior, lacks any scientific credibility.

98% of the Research Scientists and Terrestrial Biologists (corresponded with 12 Research Scientists and 23 Terrestrial Biologists, 12 of which currently work in government agencies – who perused 85 EA’s, 38 Technical Reports and Range Studies, numerous budgets, pre-plans for Public Land Management and implementation from both administrative and management plans, court documentation, legislative documents, et al) agreed with the statement that the authors of such material must go back to the drawing board and begin again.

Further, they contend that no valid scientific conclusions supporting the beneficial effects of administrative removal of wild horses off of Public Lands can be drawn from any of the studies or information distributed by these agencies mentioned. There was no scientific evidence presented that administrative removals achieved any of the stated goals (reduced complaints, livestock depredations or decreased competition for graze, and decreases shown in Public Land depredation or any biosphere improvements).

As fact just the opposite has occurred with the group, termed “Welfare Ranchers i.e. those who use America’s Public Lands for grazing of their cattle and sheep (mostly to obtain subsidies on the millions of dollars from taxpayer money) now over-reach to wanting Public Lands for themselves, rather than to just graze-by-permit their cattle upon. Science is clear, cattle destroys Public Lands. . .

100% are in complete agreement that taxpayer money has been spent frivolously for such misinformed, politically driven, and incompetent documentation and reference. For example, to literally make more room for cattle, by explaining the necessity to remove wild horses, is corrupt and misinformation, but is simply a political agenda decision. But this is what Legislator’s, both Senators and Congressmen read – more profound as you read this white paper further —

Furthermore, the suggestion by 72% of the above stated, “These agencies should consult with reputable wildlife scientists, terrestrial biologists, range management technicians as well as statisticians and editors to obtain a reliable experimental design, analysis, and develop further reports based on reality, not a narrow scope slanted toward special interest groups.”

The other 28% suggested that those involved in making these misrepresented reports should be replaced by more knowledgeable individuals, professionals rather than amateurs. They also strongly contended that future assessments of Range Management, Environmental Assessments, Scientific Technical Reports, and other information within the decision making process be outsourced, to independent contractors.

“What is needed currently is reliable information that prioritizes good policy, and fact based science that good and frugal decisions can be based upon. Innuendo and special agendas remain awkward at best, and certainly provide no quantitative information for taxpayers to spend millions, if not billions of dollars over time on something so frivolous and at the outset,” Clive Brown – PhD, Research Scientist, retired NSA.

The Bureau of Land Management (and the others mentioned) continues to ignore by choice, scientific concerns and criticisms toward and about all of the aforementioned studies and documents. Their population models, environmental assessments, and methodology often unanimously approved by BLM staff. Sadly, these documents have succeeded in a not so ironic and single focus: to advance the overwhelming destruction of America’s Public Lands on a much faster pace than years past. A simplified equation (one of numerous): More Cattle = Faster Public Lands Destruction.

Design and Analyses

The scientific design of many government agency studies was seriously flawed – there were no replications of treatments and controls and no accounting for competing hypotheses. The questions asked (effects of administrative removals on complaints, livestock depredations, or Public Lands improvements) could not be effectively answered with their prototype styled design, if any –

Note: most EA’s, for example, were copies from other EA’s previously completed, with the area names and distinctive locations changed. To further the example, many EA’s remain not signed, so legitimacy regarding the legality of many wild horse herd roundups remains questionable – but no response from the Department of Justice in this matter what so ever.

The analyses, in all of the subject documents, were entirely descriptive in nature – there was little or no use of statistical hypothesis testing to provide reliable tests and conclusions, especially on wild horse herd population and current herd size in a given area of concern. As a matter of fact, the BLM’s theory/conjecture objectively adverse in total to controlling wild horse herd population, and to those scientists as well as horse-people knowledgeable in breeding and study/observation of wild horse herds while in the wild.

Also quite obvious is the fact that the very fundamental basis for much of the research conducted by the above agencies, the base data erroneous, therefore the assimilation of further data remains erroneous.

Further, and extremely unfortunate – six biologists easily conducted tests on much of the BLM and Forestry data, randomly. Simple statistical tests refuted all of the descriptive conclusions based in all of the BLM and Forestry reports and research.

One Terrestrial Biologist pondered if the BLM and Forestry results were accumulated, then written by a grade school student – she then defined her comment as not being sarcasm, rather conveying the point of how awkwardly childish some of the government agencies work and references had been indeed conveyed and written. Worse yet, costly decisions and policies derived from such “unqualified drivel” (her words) that it was amazing no one noticed throughout the agencies approval process – if indeed a process even exists.

The claims made within much of the reports, whether administrative or management, seem to be based on pre-determined beliefs and philosophical positions – not scientific evidence. When we consider exactly what a report developed with a political agenda (or special interest groups) in mind, it is quite obvious many of these documents, if not all of them, fit the criteria.

Conclusion

The obvious benefit of developing a quality environment on our Public Lands is and remains questionable, at best; especially from those currently responsible for doing such and their ongoing incompetent and irresponsible behavior. As taxpayers we have a voice in this decision making process, despite the fact legislators and special interest groups would prefer the general public to “not” have a say in what these government agencies are doing with our Public Lands and America’s Heritage, the Wild Horse Herds! It is time for a change. . .

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References and Notes:

Keep in mind when reviewing the references below, from 2005, a yearly increase develops at 12.8% yearly; also, benefits to American’s ZERO — YET IT IS TAXPAYER MONEY SPENT TO SUPPORT THESE ENDEAVORS (mostly middle-class taxpayers); also, representation from our legislator’s toward this .0001% Special Interest population, in the continued $$$Billions of dollars from taxpayer money, is tremendous, with no representation whatsoever from the same legislators toward 99% of the American taxpaying Public and general population; also, keep in mind that this group of legislators suspended school-lunch programs in American schools, in order to support these endeavors of welfare ranching and sending their low-quality beef products to Japan and China! This is unacceptable.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported the federal government spends at least $294 million each year managing private livestock grazing on federal public lands, but collects only $21 million in grazing fees—for a net loss of at least $123 million per year.1

• The GAO reported that ten federal departments and agencies operate grazing programs on federal public lands: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), USDA-Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Energy, Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers, the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

• The GAO admits its report is incomplete because several agencies, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, which spend millions of dollars mitigating for grazing damage such as non-point source water pollution, did not provide estimates of their grazing related costs to the GAO.
Other programs that benefit both private and public lands ranchers, such as the “Livestock Compensation Program,”2 were also not included in the total subsidy to public lands ranchers.

• Considering the additional direct and indirect costs not included in the GAO report, economists have estimated that the federal public lands grazing on only BLM and Forest Service lands may cost as much as $500 million to $1 billion annually.

• The majority of BLM and Forest Service grazing fees are not deposited to the U.S. Treasury, but instead are diverted to the “Range Betterment Fund” to pay for fencing, water developments, and related infrastructure to support continued livestock grazing (see below).

• No legitimate report has ever fully analyzed the incredible environmental costs of livestock grazing on federal public lands (Big AG and Hunting groups stops any of these efforts via coercion, whether political or outright criminal corruption of government agencies).

♦ The BLM has documented more than $1.1 billion in liens on BLM grazing permits/leases in the eleven western states.

♦ Approximately 300 ranch operations have taken more than $450 million in loans on Forest Service grazing permits.

♦ In Supreme Court documents, the State Bank of Southern Utah confirmed that financial institutions hold an estimated $10 billion in loans and related credit transactions to the public land ranching industry, with the grazing privileges alone worth approximately $1 billion.

GAO. 2005. Livestock grazing: federal expenditures and receipts vary, depending on the agency and the purpose of the fee charged. GAO-05-869. Government Accountability Office. Washington, DC.

The Livestock Compensation Program was a huge boondoggle that paid farmers and ranchers $635 in 2002 and 2003. G. M. Gaul, D. Morgan, S. Cohen. No drought required for federal aid: livestock grazing program grew to cover any “disaster.” Washington Post (July 18, 2006).

Moscowitz, K. and C. Romaniello. 2002. Assessing the Full Cost of the Federal Grazing Program. Center for Biological Diversity. Tucson, AZ. The estimated cost of the federal grazing program at $500 million is consistent with estimates developed by other experts. K. Hess (former special advisor on policy to the Assistant Secretary for Program, Policy, and Budget of the Department of the Interior) and J. Wald (senior attorney and Land Program Director, Natural Resources Defense Council) estimated the annual cost of the federal grazing program to be
approximately $500 million.

Hess, K. and J. H. Wald. 1995. Grazing reform: here’s the answer. High Country News 27(18). The Economist magazine has also reported the annual cost of the federal grazing program to be $460 million. Subsidized cow chow. The Economist (Mar. 7, 2002): 39.

The Forest Service “escrow waiver” program is further described in M. Salvo. 2002. “Mortgaging Public Assets: How Ranchers Use Grazing Permits as Collateral.” Pages 271-273 in G. Wuerthner and M. Matteson (eds.). WELFARE RANCHING: THE SUBSIDIZED DESTRUCTION OF THE AMERICAN WEST. Island Press. Covelo, CA.

T. Jones and M. Salvo. 2006. “Mortgaging Our Natural Heritage: An Analysis of the Use of Bureau of Land Management Grazing Permits as Collateral for Private Loans.” Distributed report. Forest Guardians, Santa Fe, NM; Sagebrush Sea Campaign, Chandler, AZ.

Mortgaging Our Natural Heritage: 5.

Brief of Amici Curiae State Bank of Southern Utah in Support of Petitioner, Public Lands Council v. Babbitt, 529 U.S. 728 (2000).

Wildlife Services claimed to spend $5.1 million to protect domestic livestock from predators on federal public lands in FY 2004 ($5 million). GAO. 2005. Livestock grazing: federal expenditures and receipts vary, depending on the agency and the purpose of the fee charged. GAO-05-869. Government Accountability Office. Washington, DC: 6. However, this amount may be higher. The agency annually spends approximately $10.3 million on activities in the eleven western states, and it is estimated that 75 percent of this amount is used to control predators on public land ($8 million).

Data compiled by WildEarth Guardians from Wildlife Services data tables for FY 2007. Total count includes black bears, bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, northern gray wolves and Mexican gray wolves.

Wildilfe Services. 2008. Wildlife Services’ 2007 Annual Tables: Table A. Wildlife Services Federal and Cooperative Funding by Resource Category – FY 2007. USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services.

O’Toole, R. 1994. Audit of the USDA Animal Damage Control Program. Cascade Holistic Economic Consultants. Oak Grove, OR: 1.

Rogers, P. 1999. Cash cows. San Jose Mercury News (Nov. 7, 1999): 6S.

USDA-NASS. 2006. Cattle Death Loss. USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board. (May 2006). Domestic dogs kill as many livestock as mountain lions, bobcats, bears, and wolves, combined.

USDA-NASS. 2006. Cattle Death Loss. USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board. (May 2006)

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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Uncategorized