The Obama administration is going forward with a contentious plan to round up thousands of wild horses in Nevada and other western states which will lead to mass euthanizations and slaughter.

Secretary Salazar, the slaughter czar,  has proposed a plan to remove most of the Wild Horses from the West, despite the House having recently passed the “Restore Our American Mustangs Act” (ROAM Act), which would direct the BLM to restore the wild horses to the wild and onto 20 million acres of rangeland. The same amount of BLM lands that a GAO Report admits has been taken from them.

Succinctly stated: 4 Million Cattle on public lands are causing mismanagement and slaughter of American Wildlife across the west, including; Bison, Wolves, and Wild Horses.

Sheryl Crow, advocate for the wild horses, summed up the urgency of the moment, “33,000 horses are being held right now by the BLM and due to budgetary problems, they’re saying now they can’t afford to feed them, which is kind of a great excuse to exterminate them.”

This week, a report from the GAO provided new impetus for mass euthanizations of captured horses, as well as the sale of the herds to foreign slaughterhouses. GAO says the BLM simply can’t afford to keep feeding so many horses. Like other wild horse advocates, Crow isn’t buying it, “Like a lot of big organizations that are steeped in red tape, the Bureau of Land Management has taken the path of least resistance — whatever is quick and can be brushed under the rug, and that’s to exterminate.”

Recently Secretary Salazar requisitioned $68 million from Congress which included an additional $30 million or so to solve the “so called” Wild Horse Problem. Even so, he has published his next plan to round up another 12,000 horses in 2010; these horses may go into long term holding facilities at significant cost to taxpayers. Meanwhile 4,000,000 Cattle will remain on public lands.

Mustang advocates had sued to block the roundup, saying that use of the helicopters is inhumane because some of the animals are traumatized, injured or killed. Opponents also contend that the bureau is grossly inflating horse numbers to justify their removal from the range. The lawsuit says wild horses are an integral part of the natural ecosystem and should remain on rangeland throughout the West rather than be herded into long-term holding pens.

William Spriggs, a lawyer who argued against the roundup on behalf of California-based In Defense of Animals, said  “The BLM’s policy of stockpiling tens of thousands of horses in the Midwest – off their rightful Western ranges – is contrary to law, the intent of Congress and the will of the American people,” Spriggs said.

As Congressman Raul Grijalva stated regarding the ROAM Act “We must not lose these majestic icons of the West.” AP NEWS