Wild horse & burro advocate Bonnie Kohleriter gives her opinion below about an article in Range Magazine written by Rachel Dahl, a sixth generation Nevadan. Dahl worked as a campaign manager for the former Sen. John Ensign and served on his Senate staff by managing his Carson City office. (Sen. John Ensign later resigned after an ethics investigation.)
The Queen of Fake News in Nevada
by Bonnie Kohleriter
Rachel Dahl is a writer for the Range magazine in Nevada, a pro cattle magazine, and is a resident in Mesquite, Nevada.
Grabbing a twisted tidbit from here and a twisted bit from there, Rachel Dahl attempts to impress her readers as a journalist. Having read her winter rant in the Range magazine, I feel compelled to retort with the following comments.
As Ms. Dahl reported, in the fall of 2016, at the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting, the Board did not vote to remove excess horses nor did it vote to sell the animals with no limitations or to euthanize the sick and the aged. The Board, on the other hand, voted to euthanize 47,000 wild horses and burros in holdings off the range.
The horses, according to Ms. Dahl, are to blame for the ruinous condition of our public lands. All hope is rested in removing them. Or is all hope rested in removing cattle from the 27 M acres where the horses only are able to be and allowing cattle to be on the other 155 M acres of our public lands where they are currently. It is understood cattle grazing on our public lands is a privilege and not a right as some ranchers want the public to believe. Then, in addition, perhaps all hope is rested in the ranchers not being allowed to divert and cut off water from the horses. Oh, horrors, Ms. Dahl, that there should be another way to look at managing our resources.
Again as Ms. Dahl reported, in the fall of 1916, the Board spent the day viewing where horses forage and viewing dead horses. The Board spent the day viewing no dead horses and viewing where horses drink. Dead horses were dramatically reported by Goicoechea who is a known horse hater and multi-generational cattle rancher. The devastated land, according to the permittee, was done when overgrazing was done by animals other than horses and burros and not by the horses themselves.
According to Ms. Dahl, Ben Masters, a member of the Board, said the viewing that day was “one of the worst disasters he had ever seen.” Ben is a young man who made a “movie” using Mustangs who were abused in the movie. It is an absurdity that Ms. Dahl should use him as a source to substantiate her argument that horses have devastated our public lands. Masters is no expert on our public lands. He is also new to the wild horse and burro issues on our public lands.
Then Ms. Dahl brought up the name of Boyd Spratling to substantiate her argument as well. Boyd Spratling had been on the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board and is from Elko, where the Board was currently conferring. Boyd is primarily a cattle veterinarian, represents cattlemen on the State Agricultural Board, promotes harvesting our wild horses, and presents falsified pictures to tug at the heartstrings to convince the public of those poor, poor horses on the range. But he can’t tell you where he gets his pictures and the dates they were taken. Boyd Spratling is a traitor to wild horses and burros. He does not have their best interests in mind.
Ms. Dahl sounds the alarm wild horses and burros are dying everywhere on the range and in private sanctuaries in Nevada and even in WOW! South Dakota. Wild animals die in times of environmental disaster just as humans are dying due drought and famine in Kenya, South Sudan, and Niger. Is the answer to kill them?
Ms. Dahl has pulled out all stops to degrade horses using Mrs. Pickens and Mrs. Sussman, who have taken care of wild horses, but have nothing to do with our herd management areas for wild horse and burros on our public lands. Can she find any other areas in which to attack horses or the people who have and/or care for horses. Her article is like “Let’s talk about dinner foods, now think about Cheerios.”
“Every ranch kid learns you are responsible for taking care of an animal when you take custody of them,” says Ms. Dahl. So Ms. Dahl, you are a part of the public who by law, has custody of our wild horses and burros? Are you simply going to kill them for meat because some ranchers and politicians have manipulated their allowable numbers on the range to be less than genetically viable numbers for perpetuity? Or are you going to try to come up with solutions for them to keep them on the range as healthy horses, celebrating their place on our public lands as part of our cultural, historical heritage?