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Susan Rudnicki
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It is very interesting how so many groups allied with livestock grazing, making a profit on Public Lands at a tenth of the grazing rate of private land, parrot the BLM's 38,000 wild horses running in 10 Western States, but never seem to get around to mentioning the 6 million head of cattle and sheep on the same range.   Simple arithmetic, eh?   Who is eating the most forage, trampling the most riparian habitat and facilitating the most invasive weed intrusion?   Seems you never mention Western Watersheds Project,  another highly regarded and deeply authoritative compendium of data on this rangeland deterioration and assessment.  Maybe because they do not subscribe to your permanent scapegoating of wild equids as the problem, but have won numerous court cases proving private, taxpayer subsidized livestock are the culprits.
   If your group is so respectful of "science-based decision making" the inflammatory and unscientific hyperbole equating the Currituck herd...  "to invasive kudzu vine and Burmese pythons...the group said" certainly does not display such deference.  This comparison not only shows a lack of understanding of this botanical and reptilian invasion, but a tendency of the alliance to engage in its own brand of "raw emotions"   
    For the record, the latest study, (commissioned by the BLM, by the way) carried out by the National Academy of Sciences is in no way the first to recommend reforms and changes in operations that the BLM is obstinately decrying once the report has gone public.   Reports and studies done by Kearns and West and the US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution in 2010, the National Research Council in 1982, General Accounting Office 1990,  the Center for Biological Diversity ("Assessing the Full Cost of the Federal Grazing Program) 2002, and even more too numerous to mention, have all found livestock grazing to be THE MAIN CAUSE of rangeland and riparian habitat destruction. The impacts of all other grazers pale in comparison to these privately owned meat animals.  
   While your alliance declares it is eager to use the best science and data gathering methodologies, "BLM lacks a reputation as an organization that manages the Program based on high quality science and reliable, widely available data" and "BLM hiring and staffing for the Program does not reflect a priority on scientific expertise...and there exists a mutual lack of credibility and confidence in BLM" between the public and research institutions---from the Udall Foundation's contracted Federal report, United States Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, April 26, 2010.       
    The Interior Department's Office of Inspector General issued a report in April, 2010, #WR-EV-MOA-0014-2009 finding..."to date, Interior (BLM inclusive) has NEVER HAD a comprehensive scientific integrity policy" and highlighting "without sound policies to protet the scientific community and general public from potentially flawed scientific research, data and publications, Interior's reputation and its Public trust are at risk"  
   Finally, if your alliance seeks to balance the true costs of all users of the public lands you would be advised to consider the data of the General Accounting Office of September 2005 (eight year old data) showing the government lost a MINIMUM of 123 million dollars on the livestock grazing program, with 10 Federal agencies spending at least $144 million and collecting only $21 million in grazing fees in return.   The BLM and Forest Service manage more than 98% of the lands used for grazing and the two agencies lost almost $115 million on this program in FY 2004 alone.  These figures may actually be underestimates, as the study done by CBD in 2002 estimated the true cost of public lands ranching to taxpayer and to the environment at closer to $500 MILLION annually.   These figures do NOT include the millions of tax dollars annually spent on lethal predator control to primarily benefit private ranching operations (killing of mountain lions, wolves, bears, coyotes, crows, badgers and other varmints)  Ironically, these are the very animals some of your alliance members are most interested and organized to protect in a "balanced ecological system".   
   Sorenson-Groves says  “It’s a super-complex issue, and there’s no magic solution" but to read the description in this piece of wild horses and burros being the major cause of the range deterioration and the genesis for this alliance belies the complexity and seeks a narrow scapegoat not supported with rigorous scientific evidence.     
     

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Have any of you considered the scores of horses maimed or killed in practicing for the performance event??  How do these people learn the roping of a horse's running legs if not by bungling through the process of "mastering" this cruel event?   We seem to have evolved beyond bear baiting, and, at least in some states, cockfighting and dog fighting (all of it driven by gambling interests and money)    These Mexican "traditions" are aberrations of practices  that were never actually of much use.   What owner of fine horses or beef cattle wants their animals treated in such a manner?   These events must have grown out of a bored pretension by men to boast and gamble ---I grew up on  a ranch and never would the livestock have been subjected to such stupidity,

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Have any of you considered the scores of horses maimed or killed in practicing for the performance event??  How do these people learn the roping of a horse's running legs if not by bungling through the process of "mastering" this cruel event?   We seem to have evolved beyond bear baiting, and, at least in some states, cockfighting and dog fighting (all of it driven by gambling interests and money)    These Mexican "traditions" are aberrations of practices  that were never actually of much use.   What owner of fine horses or beef cattle wants their animals treated in such a manner?   These events must have grown out of a bored pretension by men to boast and gamble ---I grew up on  a ranch and never would the livestock have been subjected to such stupidity,

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Beekeeper Linda---read your article coverage in Org. Gardening, and wanted to send you this by way of introducing myself as a BackWardsBeekeeper here in Los Angeles!   We rescue and re-home honeybees deemed a problem by callers to our bee rescue hotline---www.backwardsbeekeepers.com---many are cutouts, some are swarms and trap-outs.   I have 4 hives at my home in Manhattan Beach, all are cutout hives and thriving.   Interesting reading on your blog about the varroa issue and the comments of hive microbial and arthropod balances.   My friend and I went to the Northeast Treatment Free beekeeping conference in late July in Mass. for a week and got a headful of new ideas and experiences.   Our wild, ferals do very well here, are of some Africanized genetics, but very good honey producers and disease and pest resistant.     This photo shoot is of a tree hive I took last Fall with my friend Ed  (the first shot is the homeowner)  I have done 6 treehives in just a year of keeping bees!   The wild bees are a much different experience with beekeeping that packages, and I highly recommend the interaction to all beekeepers        Susan Rudnicki
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September 14, 2012 (15 photos)
15 Photos - View album
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