I write about wild horses because last year the National Academies of Science issued a report scathing in its criticism of the Bureau of Land Management's scientific approach to the herds. Before the report was issued, federal officials assured advocates that its conclusions would be respected (or at least publicly discussed). But it's been seven months now since the report was issued and federal officials have done almost nothing about it. That's just not unjust to the horses, and unfair to their human advocates, and perhaps a violation of federal law, it's also terrible policy, as a general rule, for bureaucrats to ignore the findings of a report they themselves commissioned and paid for.
I write about wild horses because the last Secretary of the Interior was a rancher who did not even try to conceal his disdain for federal obligations to the horses and because the current Secretary of the Interior, herself a former engineer, has shown no interest in the herds or in addressing the concerns raised by the NAS report. Only the Interior Department, the backwater of all Washington beats, could engender so little muckracking when so much money, and so much else, is on the line. I write about wild horses because their story is the story of every other small interest without political power in Washington or the statehouses of this nation.