This week the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) announced that it cancelled the long fought for Cooperative Agreement to manage the wild horses of the Virginia Range. The agreement had been signed by American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), a national organization based in California. The scope of the agreement focused on several different areas of responsibility including fertility control, on the range management of horses, and the adoption of wild ones removed from the range.
While the NDA did cancel the current Cooperative Agreement with AWHC, it did NOT cancel Cooperative Agreements. This is a very encouraging and positive position for our wild horses as well as our local non-profit organizations. The NDA has announced publicly that it is looking for an organization to manage the wild horses. This leaves open the door for local organizations willing to step up to the challenge of partnering effectively and productively with the NDA to make a difference for the wild ones and for our communities.
Unfortunately, the original intent of the Cooperative Agreement that was just cancelled had become diluted and lost its original focus. Is it realistic to expect an organization that is neither boots on the ground nor ‘on the range management’ savvy to provide effective and productive management results? Or is it more realistic to expect a successful outcome for the wild horses if that role takes a supportive position based in the background while local organizations develop the skills, resources, and knowledge needed to provide an effective management program designed for growth and results. The latter plan reflects the original intent of the Cooperative Agreement as it was written by representatives of various local wild horse advocacy groups in 2014-2015.
Bringing the Cooperative Agreement back in the hands of qualified local wild horse advocates makes good sense for the wild ones, for those who are working on the range, and the communities where wild horses are found. Maintaining focus on the ultimate goal of the Agreement, building positive relations, creating a strong framework and powerful outreach programs, as well as embracing the contributions of all participants are some of the elements necessary to develop a successful public / private partnership benefiting the beautiful creatures we are all very passionate about.
Positive steps have already been implemented regarding fertility control of the Virginia Range mustangs through the Cooperative Agreement. And there should be no reason to believe that this cannot or will not continue. However, it is evident that additional measures are necessary to establish a well thought out, comprehensive fertility control management plan. There is no reason to believe that the activities resulting from a successful Cooperative Agreement for the humane management of the Virginia Range horses should not become a model for the rest of Nevada and other Western States.
Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund will continue to move forward, taking a positive path that does embrace our community, does promote public safety, protects the wild ones, and is progressive and result oriented. So let’s get the Cooperative Agreement back on track!! Will you join us? Growing pains can be difficult but are easily overcome and outgrown, especially through transparency, communication, and collaboration. We know there are many good people out there who agree with this position and are interested in participating to benefit the wild ones. Contact us at
and join in.