Issue: Society for Range Management Conference on Wild Horses
(Archive of notes from the 2009 Reno meeting)
The Society for Range Management describes itself as, "a well-trained and highly motivated group of professionals and rangeland users working with productive, sustainable rangeland ecosystems." [Citation - www.rangelands.org]
While the Society clearly consists of individuals that hold advanced academic qualifications, the Society does at times appear to lean towards special interest public lands users, as evidenced in conferences that addres such issues as "Promoting Habitat Diversity While Supporting Livestock Production." [Citation - www.rangelands.org]
The same special interest trend appears to be behind the society's Wild & Feral Horse and Burro Management and Policy Workshop, described by the society as an "educational seminar."
Concerns raised by horse advocates in advance of this event involved the participation of the ranching, big game sports interests and academics that work with the public lands ranching industry, and the glaring absence of range ecologists and field personnel associated with the wild horse advocacy sector. Therefore it appears that this "educational seminar" will primarily consist of an informercial by BLM (who has yet to get their program anywhere close to being under control) and "advice" provided by selective special interests such as big game hunters and the welfare ranching industry.
The conference is scheduled for three days. The first day will consist of a tour of BLM's horse facility at Palomino Valley (Sparks, NV.) The second day will include various speakers. The third day will involve breakout sessions where groups will formulate strategies and recommendations.
Representatives from the AOWHA are attending this program and are submitting notes taken during presentations and Q&A sessions. These notes are intended to be literal transcripts (without editorial commentary) and will be posted on this web site as received. We will analyze and comment on the proceedings once the seminar has concluded and we can evaluate whether it was an objective event or a lobbying ploy. In addition, a reporter from Vanity Fair is attending the event who, according to some observers, was not treated very politely when he asked a few direct questions. It will be interesting to see what Vanity Fair's take on this event will be.
Please continue to Tuesday's session notes.
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