KBR Wild Horse and Burro News
VRWPA Agreement with Dept. of Agriculture Terminated
The Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association (VRWPA) is an all-volunteer non-profit group organized to protect wildlife in the Virginia Highlands of Storey County, Nevada.
For years the VRWPA managed and protected the wild horses throughout the County, and served
as an agent to rescue and rehabilitate injured animals and serve as an adoption agent
for excess or problem animals. VRWPA served as a benchmark organization; the "how to" model
for public - private partnerships in wildlife management.
All that came to an end in the fall of 2001.
The VRWPA, among others, began investigating mysterious disappearances of wild horses. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported the discovery of a horse trapping operation in adjacent Washoe County. (Horse trappers typically bait trap wild horses and then secretly ship them off to the meat packers.) The Nevada Dept. of Agriculture (NDoA) took what appeared to most to be a nonresponsive approach to the problem. Coincidentally the State Attorney General researched and voided the horse management agreement between NDoA and Storey County. Without an agreement authorizing the County to manage the wild horses, NDoA was again directly in charge of free-roaming horses found on private lands.
Something was going on here and it wasn't good for the horses. There are powerful special interests in Nevada who don't want the horses on the range and it appears that they are starting to get their way.
In 2003, after much public protest about NDoA failing to replace the voided agreement, serious discussions have been undertaken that are intended to produce a new agreement directly between NDoA and VRWPA. In the meanwhile VRWPA has been informally resuming its management of the Virginia Range wild horse herd. This new agreement needs to be signed, sealed and delivered.
What can you do? You can write Governor Kenny Guinn to protest the voiding of the Storey County wild horse management agreement and urge for quick passage of a new agreement. You can also pass around the URL of this news report to everyone you know who is interested in the welfare of wild horses and encourage them to get involved. This is a key battle with respect to sensible management of wild horses. Our leverage involves tourism; the allure of wild horses to us as tourists and our lack of enthusiasm for visiting Nevada if they are abandoning their duty to their wild horses through bureaucratic maneuvers. A significant volume of letters, emails and telephone calls do get some notice.
Here are some additional links and information to assist you.
I would also recommend cc'ing the State Attorney General's Office.
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All images © KBR Horse Net and/or VRWPA.