BLM horses will be expensive, hard on fences |

BLM horses will be expensive, hard on fences

(sent to S.D. Senators and Congresswoman in September)

We are a group of landowners and neighbors bordering the Wanless Ranch in Butte and Meade County, SD which is under and environmental assessment from the BLM as a relocation site for one thousand twenty-two head of horses. WE are opposed ot this plan and are asking you to get involved in this matter.

Our concerns are:

*The health and safety of the BLM horses. The area that these horses will be put in is used primarily for summer pasture. No on resides in or pastures livestock year-round in that area. Storm Atlas proved that this area is deadly in colder months. The BLM is assessing this land, but our assessment (based on decades of experience) is that it is unfit for year-round use.

* Damage to neighboring ranch properties. For most of us there is no way to check our summer pastures in winter because we simply can’t access the land due to snow and ice. There would be no way to know if horses broke the fence down and spent the winter on our property. That would cause us to be unable to use our own property for our livestock, not to mention the damage to the native grasses.

* Cost to neighboring horse operation. There is a long –established horse ranch bordering the area. Having a wild herd that close to stallions and other horses will cause problems and has the potential to result in a loss of livelihood for that operation. A stallion worth tens of thousands of dollars could be injured while jumping the fence to reach BLM mares. This situation would also result in unwanted foals.

* Damage to fences. A thousand head of wild horses who stampede during a storm will not stop for any fence. It is not a matter of if this will happen but when. Undoubtedly some of those animals would be seriously injured and killed form running through fences. That many runaway animals can cause a lot of damage. Replacing fence is costly and time-consuming.

*Cost to taxpayers. The 2016 price for horses per head per day is $4. Multiply that by 365 days in a year and for one thousand, twenty-two head of horses and that means $1,492,120 of our tax money will be going ot a project tha twill have negative consequences to everyone in the surrounding area.

The underlying problem is that the USA does not have a slaughter plan to properly dispose of live horses and to market horse byproducts. Lack of such a facility is causing horses across the country to suffer abuse and neglect because there is no viable way to dispose of them. Kicking them out to pasture sounds romantic, however it can be a horrific reality to see a horse waste away because of poor health. Their teeth fall out over time causing them to be unable to eat even if there is good grass, resulting in suffering and starvation. None of us want to see this happening in our own state, let along our backyard.

Because of these reasons we are deeply deeply concerned, and we ask you to do whatever you can to dissuade the BLM from moving forward with this plan. Should this plan move forward, we are prepared to take further action. We plan to document, photograph, and make public the damage to private property and native grasses that will happen, as well as the suffering and death of horses and livestock that will happen. We hope that you will join us now in keeping these tragic circumstances from becoming a reality.

We truly appreciate your time and consideration. We also look forward to your timely response.


Sharon Herron

Union Center, South Dakota

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