By purest coincidence, Tucker Carlson had a segment on Fox New last night about the federal government’s wild horse fiasco (I didn’t see it), a topic I’ve had on the Ethics Alarms issue runway for the better part of a month.
The Bureau of Land Management is charged with the care of the nation’s wild horses and burros. These once numbered in the millions in North America, but after the Western settlement and the diminishing of the open range after the 19 century, the beasts were widely hunted and turned into fertilizer and dog food. By 1971, when they were finally given protection by law, there were fewer than 20,000 left. But freed from predators (like man) wild horse herds increase by about 20% a year. The herds started growing faster than the government had planned or budgeted for.
About 3,500 mustangs and burros a year are rounded up and resettled into a network of government storage pastures and corrals known the holding system. The 51,000 animals in the system cost taxpayers $60 million a year, leaving little in the budget to protect the rest of the wild mustangs running free. Legislators and regulators are afraid of the wrath of PETA and voters who would he horrified at the government killing these symbols of the old West and wild America, so the country is stuck. What to do?
Well, some genius came up with the Adoption Incentive Program in 2019, which was supposed to move wild mustangs and burros out of government corrals into what dog rescue groups call “forever homes.” Horse-lovers were paid a cool $1,000 for each equine friend they adopted, a good deal for Uncle Sam, who has to pay an average of $24,000 during the lifetime of each wild horse. Thousands of alleged wild horse enthusiasts signed up to get their horses and checks. The number of horses leaving the holding system more than doubled. The Bureau of Land Management pronounced it “a win for all involved” that was helping “animals find homes with families who will care for and enjoy them for years to come.”
OK, now, you’re smart. What is the obvious flaw in this plan? Come on. Fredo Corleone could figure it out with a little effort.
The rest of his family would know what to do the second they heard about it. Have you figured it out yet?
Records show that instead of going to “good homes,” truckloads of horses went to the dog food manufacturers after they were sold at slaughter auctions shortly after their loving adopters got their $1000 per horse. “This is the government laundering horses,” said Brieanah Schwartz, a lawyer for the advocacy group American Wild Horse Campaign, which has exposed the scam, told the New York Times ( Horse photographer and advocate Carol Walker told Carlson the same thing last night). “They call it adoptions, knowing the horses are going to slaughter. But this way the B.L.M. won’t get its fingerprints on it.”
Nice. The bureau denies the allegations, so we know it’s telling the truth. Why, the government insists that all adopters sign affidavits promising not to resell the horses to slaughterhouses or their middlemen! The bureau, however, has no authority to enforce the agreements or to track the horses. Not only that, the entrepreneurs who dump mustangs at auctions are free to adopt and get paid again. For some families, this is a lucrative business.
1. Mark this down as one more glaring, if relatively obscure, example of why the accelerating movement to make the government responsible for more and more of our lives is delusional and irresponsible. Bureaucracies are incompetent and usually corrupt, and the bigger they are, the less trustworthy they are. (The CDC is a more high profile example that we are beginning to learn about.)
2. It is also an example of what happens when the government pays no attention to budget deficits in the aggregate and lacks the courage to cut the big expenses that are out of control (like entitlements and social programs). Instead, the government lies around the edges, pretending to do things like saving wild horses while they are really posturing, cutting corners and selling the horses to be sold again for dog food.
3. As for the fake “adopters,” they prove, once again, that if you leave a huge loophole in a system that allows people to cheat for their own benefit and there is no way to keep them honest, they will cheat. In fact, you can assume massive cheating is going on.
4. Those who deny #3 in any context are either lying, covering-up, corrupt or stupid.
5. Nah, there was no ballot fraud during the 2020 election…there’s no need to even check.
Source: New York Times