Tag Archives: Bureau of Land Management

TCF & AWHC Threatening Legal Action over Upcoming BLM Meeting

An attorney representing The Cloud Foundation and the American Wild Horse Campaign sent a formal letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Acting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Deputy Director Brian Steed, and Fred Woehl, Chair of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, threatening legal action over an illegally scheduled National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting.

The March 27-28 meeting clearly violates the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requiring 30 days of public notice prior to public meetings.

Read the Press Release & Letter

We are hopeful you will share this information with your networks. As always, we will inform you of any updates regarding this situation. If the meeting does proceed in spite of this obvious violation of FACA, we hope that you will consider attending or tuning in to the livestream. You can learn more about the meeting schedule and attending here.

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Utah Wild Horses Need Your Help

As you may have heard, the BLM is proposing a roundup of over 325 horses from the Onaqui HMA in Utah. This potentially devastating proposal would deplete the 450-member herd to low AML, a 72% decrease in herd size. It will wreak havoc on the herd, which will no longer be genetically viable, and it would be a tragic loss for the public who carefully follows this popular herd.

This is where you come in. The public comment period is open until next Tuesday! We need you to submit your comments on this roundup by 10/31/2017. Some of our coalition partners have talked with BLM employees in Utah who say the plans are not yet set in stone, and they’re looking for public input. This is a huge advantage in our favor – we need to speak up for the Onaqui mustangs!

Here are some suggested topics you can use, and instructions for submitting your comments:

  • Do not permanently remove 325 horses (72%) as they might be killed in holding, per the most recent recommendation of the BLM National Advisory Board.
  • Removing these horses will render the herd genetically non-viable per equine geneticist, Dr. Gus Cothran. He advises at least 150-200 horses must remain in the herd to ensure genetic viability.
  • The BLM cites the preservation of sage grouse territory as a reason for removing these horses. Yet, there are only a few places where wild horses and sage grouse live together in the HMA. In those places fencing can mitigate the potential harm to sage grouse in lieu of permanent removal.
  • The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service released a study in 2012 that did not cite wild horses as one of the top five threats to sage grouse. Instead, it cites energy development, transmission right of ways, fire, invasive species, and commercial development as the top threats.
  • BLM must focus on fertility control. Their plan to treat 60 mares in FY2018 is not adequate to slow reproduction. Volunteers with the Wild Horses of America Foundation are ready and able to implement a larger population control program.
  • To send your comments:

o Put this in the subject line: “Population Control, Gather, and Research for the Onaqui Mountain Wild Horse Herd Management Area Project”

o Email: blm_ut_cedarmt_onaqui@blm.gov

o Mail: Bureau of Land Management

Salt Lake Field Office
2370 South Decker Lake Boulevard
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

As always, be respectful in your comments. This helps us maintain credibility as supporters of these beautiful animals, but be honest and speak your mind. You can read more about the proposal here:


Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Thank you for your support of our wild horses and burros!

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation

BLM Plotting War on America’s Wild Horses and Burros

Photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

“Turning to mass slaughter would mark a U-turn on the government’s response to wild horse management programs…”

The Department of the Interior, under the leadership of Secretary Ryan Zinke, has signaled its intention to strip decades-old federal protections for wild horses and burros and to allow them to be shipped to slaughter by the tens of thousands. Public comments and Congressional testimony from Zinke and other high-ranking government officials represents the most severe threat to wild horses since the ghastly and cruel killing practices of the 1960s prompted Congress to adopt the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

Turning to mass slaughter would mark a U-turn on the government’s response to wild horse management programs. It was only in April that Congress passed a spending bill with sensible wild horse provisions for the remainder of 2017. That bill included language preventing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and its contractors from sending wild horses to slaughter for human consumption. It further directed the BLM to create a plan to maintain long-term, sustainable populations on the range in a humane manner.

Now, just two months after President Trump signed the 2017 Omnibus spending bill into law, the Department of the Interior is saying it is going to default to slaughter because it’s possessed with no other options. In the president’s budget request for 2018, the department has asked for the ability to maintain wild horse and burro populations at dramatically reduced levels and to get there by slaughtering the animals.

While there are always going to be major challenges in managing wild horses and burros on our western public lands and in satisfying the diverse stakeholders in the debate, there are certain options that should never even be considered because they are simply outside the bounds of how animals should be treated. Mass slaughter is one of those dreadful ideas, an action that flies in the face of the now longstanding prohibition on slaughter and of the instincts of millions of Americans to protect these magnificent symbols of the American West.

The BLM has never been exemplary at managing horses. Far from it. For 20 years, the agency’s primary strategy for wild horse and burro populations has largely consisted of rounding up and removing the animals from our public lands – an effort that has resulted in tens of thousands of wild horses and burros being kept in holding facilities at a cost now approaching $50 million a year — more than half of the BLM’s annual budget for the entire wild horse and burro program. Partly because the costs of caring for so many captive horses are undermining the larger program, the agency has failed to commit any additional money to implement sufficient fertility control programs, which have been long recommended by The HSUS and the National Academies of Sciences.

The aggressive and widespread use of fertility control is the only way to confront this crisis in the long term. The horses need to be managed, but in a humane manner. Fertility control works, but only if there’s a serious investment in the enterprise on the ground. By preventing the birth of foals, the agency will find itself under less pressure to round up so many horses. Fewer round-ups mean substantial cost savings, since not as many animals need to be pastured and fed in short-term and long-term holding facilities. A capture-and-kill strategy, on the other hand, will only make matters worse, because it will cause the horses to compensate by reproducing at a higher rate on the range.

We cannot readily resolve the politics of managing the captive and free-roaming wild horse populations without a struggle. It won’t be easy to get a handle on this. But one thing is for sure: sanctioning the slaughter of tens of thousands of horses is a disgraceful, shameful idea. It is an unacceptable idea that will produce protests in the streets, from Reno to Washington, D.C. Mass slaughter will happen only over the cries, protests, and interventions of the American people.

Tell Secretary Zinke that you do not support the slaughter of America’s wild horses by calling 202-208-7351.

By Wayne Pacelle as posted on Humane Nation


Wild Horse Overpopulation Is Fake News

Americans are outraged and want a real head count

San Francisco, CA. (February 19, 2017) — According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), there is no evidence of wild horse overpopulation on public land. Deadly roundups continue based on sloppy Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates and fake news. A petition to investigate the wild horse & burro count in captivity and in freedom calls for immediate head counts. (https://www.change.org/p/u-s-senate-investigate-the-wild-horse-burro-count-in-captivity-and-freedom) BLM avoids head counts because it would expose the truth.

“Why spend millions to billions on roundups, population control and hoarding wild horses in government pens when a real head count of wild horses is needed first?” explains Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “The public and our elected officials deserve to know how many wild horses are left in America today. Wild horse and burro overpopulation is fake news used to fear monger Congress into giving a rotten federal agency more money to spend.”

Read more here: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=10149.

Protect Mustangs

79 3-Strike Wild Horses and Burros Will Be SOLD!

Jul 9, 2016 — Dear Friends of Wild Horses & Burros,

Defund the Roundups! After 3 Strikes Native Wild Horses can be SOLD!

All of the wild horses and burros known as the #Nevada79 have received 3-Strikes and are now considered Sale Eligible thus losing their protections. 12 are located at the Palomino Valley Center outside Reno, Nevada and 67 are located at the facility in Fallon, Nevada known as Indian Lakes. Go here to see the list: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=9201.

Let’s make sure none of them go to kill buyers signing on the dotted line and lying to BLM.

Most of these wild horses and burros will be put on the Internet Adoption for Sale starting next week here: www.blm.gov/adoptahorse.

Let’s get them into loving homes in pairs. Let’s get all of them to safety!

With devotion,
Anne Novak
Executive Director
Protect Mustangs

Protect Mustangs is an organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses. We are a member of the Alliance for Wild Horses and Burros – https://www.facebook.com/Alliance-for-Wild-Horses-and-Burros-282933648725820/.

BLM explains how they create 3-Strike wild horses: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=2811.

Sign and share the petition for Shade & Shelter: https://www.change.org/p/bring-emergency-shelter-and-shade-to-captive-wild-horses-and-burros.

And let’s double the numbers here: https://www.change.org/p/defund-and-stop-the-wild-horse-burro-roundups.

Burrowing to the Truth in Arizona

BLM prisoner – photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Burros have long endured lack of respect from humans, but lately the barbs have become mean as well as misguided. Mojave County Supervisor called for shooting wild burros, later explaining he simply wanted to pressure the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to take action. Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake called for a Congressional hearing, saying burros’ “out of control” population growth burdens taxpayers. Arizona Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) Chair Kurt Davis proclaimed they do untold harm to “native wildlife and communities” and that AGFC should round up these trespassing “invasives.”

The facts beg to differ.

Burros first arrived in the Americas centuries before the USA was born. They packed along southwestern trails beginning in the late 1700s. They transported goods and firewood, and helped open new, previously inaccessible towns. They hauled prospectors’ equipment to remote mines. Some became blinded from working underground. Eventually, they were turned loose to fend for themselves.

These wily, sure-footed animals adapted to the stark landscape. They became one with the desert and canyons, their mournful cries echoing at night through the wilds. They graze on lower quality forage, and dig deep water holes that benefit bighorn sheep, mule deer and other species. Although cattle and other livestock vastly outnumber wild burros on public lands, the long-eared equines are scapegoated for range degradation. Not one validated study has demonstrated that wild burros destroy fragile habitat. The myth persists, because it suits a certain political narrative.

Under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act, wild burros and mustangs are to be protected on the lands where they roamed as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” that “contribute to the diversity of life forms… and enrich the lives of the American people.” The BLM’s first count in 1974 showed an estimated 15,000 burros in the West. Today, fewer than 11,000 remain in government-managed herd management areas (HMAs). 1,314 captured burros are incarcerated in dismal, costly government holding corrals.

The Black Mountain HMA, Arizona’s largest, contains over one million acres. In 2013 the BLM stated there were 700 wild burros in this herd area. Today, the Agency claims there are over 1500. And they want that number reduced to a population target (appropriate management level or AML) of 478, or one burro per 2000 acres. At this reported growth rate, the Black Mountain burros would be miraculously fertile. Yet the BLM has never conducted an accurate, credible census. In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) urged the BLM to revise all its AMLs based on rigorous, up-to-date population statistics and genetic testing to assure viability of the herds.

This was not done.

The BLM is not the main culprit. Livestock ranchers, trophy hunters, oil and mining company owners often view public lands as their private domain. Many commercial interests fight reform and pressure the Agency to get wild equines out of the way. In contrast, local communities and tourists appreciate the burros. It’s time for stakeholders to defend the public interest and preserve these long-eared equines that are living legends of the West. There’s a better way to coexist:

  • Conduct an accurate population count of HMAs based on scientific census techniques, not random flyovers.
  • Halt the roundups. BLM helicopter “gathers” harm burros and waste taxpayer money. Post-roundup, foalings increase sharply in a biological response called “compensatory reproduction.” Keeping a burro in the wild costs nothing. Roundups cost $600 per equine, and keeping a burro in permanent holding costs $50,000.
  • Prevent road accidents by reducing speed limits in areas where burros cross the highway; use signage and night lighting similar to that provided for species such as elk.
  • Designate a Black Mountain Wild Burro Range, a call recently made by The Cloud Foundation. Retiring livestock from this range and allowing the return of predators would enable natural controls on herd size. It would promote wildlife diversity and restore these desert rangelands for generations to come.

By CHARLOTTE ROE as published on The Desert Independent

BLM Ends Nevada Wild Horse Fertility Project

Wild horses are seen accessing a water hole during a Bureau of Land Management tour in the Pine Nut Mountains. (Photo: Jason Bean, Reno Gazette-Journal)

RENO, Nev. – Under the threat of another legal battle, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has pulled the plug on a public-private partnership in northern Nevada aimed at shrinking the size of a wild horse herd through the use of contraceptives, according to documents The Associated Press obtained on Tuesday.

BLM officials confirmed they have suspended the pilot fertility-control project southeast of Carson City pending completion of additional environmental analysis.

Unlike most conflicts over mustangs that pit protection groups against ranchers, the dispute in Nevada’s Pine Nut Mountains has divided horse advocates themselves over the appropriate use of fertility-control drugs on the range.

The federal agency approved the pilot project in 2014 working with the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and the Gardnerville-based Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates to treat a herd that a federal judge in Reno has forbidden the agency from gathering.

BLM suspended the project Monday after Friends of Animals threatened to sue based on claims the drug, PZP, harms horses and violates the judge’s order, according to an internal email obtained by AP.

“Administration of PZP to these wild horses is hereby suspended, pending further review,” BLM Sierra Front Field Manager Bryant D. Smith wrote in informing his staff he had revoked the decision record for the Fish Springs Wild Horses PZP Pilot Project.

While some groups advocate fertility control as a preferred alternative to government roundups, others say scientific research suggests PZP can have long-lasting physical, behavioral and social effects on wild horses. Among other things, they say mares that cannot get pregnant choose to leave their bands, creating instability that affects the health of the entire herd.

“We are extremely happy to have killed the pilot project and to put a stop to the forced drugging of Pine Nut mares with the fertility control pesticide PZP for a second time,” said Pricilla Feral, president of the Connecticut-based Friends of Animals, an international advocacy group founded in 1957.

The BLM maintains the Pine Nut herd is seriously overpopulated, and it intended to round up more than 300 horses last year before U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks sided with wild horse advocates and blocked the effort. He ruled the BLM failed to conduct the necessary analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act, and soon after the agency voluntarily withdrew its roundup plan….

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/state/idaho/article76772797.html#storylink=cpy.

Source: Scott Sonner – AP Reporter

Stop the Adobe Town Roundup and Radio Collar Study

The Bureau of Land Management has announced plans to round up and remove wild horses from the Adobe Town Herd Management Area in the Red Desert of Wyoming. This roundup is in addition to the BLM’s proposed roundup of 500 wild horses from the Checkerboard portions of the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas.

In the flyover subsidized by the Rock Springs Grazing Association in April 2015, which conveniently did not include photographs because “the survey lead indicated his reluctance to use photography, as it requires additional circling around groups that could cause air sickness”, there were reported to be 858 wild horses. Somehow the population in Adobe Town jumped from 519 wild horses in October 2014 after the Checkerboard Roundup to in April 2015, 858 wild horses, no doubt the result of every mare and stallion on the range giving birth. Although the dubious count of 858 is only 58 more wild horses than the 610-800 Appropriate Management Level allows, the BLM is determined to do a roundup because of pressure from the powerful Rock Springs Grazing Association.  The members of that organization view the public land in Wyoming as its own private domain. They receive millions of dollars in subsidies from our government for grazing their livestock on our public lands. They would like to see all of the wild horses removed from the area. The BLM has not said how many horses it plans to remove, but the usual practice is to remove down to the low side of AML, so at least 258 wild horses will lose their homes and their freedom.

Scoping Document Details can be found here: http://bit.ly/AdobeTownGather.

In addition to this, the BLM is proposing to do a “research study” where they will put radio collars on 15-40 wild mares that have been rounded up and separated from their families. They will return the mares to the range to study “habitat selection, seasonal use and movement between habitats, and migration patterns with and outside of the HMA.”

The research will be done with the University of Wyoming and “an animal care and use protocol for collaring would be submitted to the University of Wyoming Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for review by a panel of veterinarians and animal welfare officials.”

Radio collaring is a very dangerous practice for wild horses. In the past, wild horses have been seriously injured, suffered and died because of collars becoming too tight, and getting hung up on fences and brush. They are not considering doing this to the stallions but apparently it is acceptable to use risky and life-threatening procedures on wild mares. If they really want to study behavior of wild mares, do not round them up and remove them from their families – this will completely disrupt the social bonds of the wild horses as well as their behavior. A real research study would study wild horses as they are now found. Hire some interns to go out and actually observe the horses in the wild. If you must use a tracking device, use the tags that you are planning to use with the stallions, not the dangerous and life threatening radio collars. If it is so hard to find and track the horses in this area, then there is no way you will be able to find and help alleviate the suffering of any wild mare who is in trouble with her collar.

This “radio collar research” is clearly a precursor to what the BLM has planned to do with the White Mountain Herd in Wyoming this year – round them up and study them with radio collars for a year, then spay the mares in the field and continue to study them with radio collars the next year. Perhaps the BLM thinks that by not including the part about their ultimate goal being the cruel and dangerous spaying of wild mares in the field that they will have less controversy for this Environmental Assessment.

There is no overpopulation of wild horses in Adobe Town. Stop the BLM from rounding up the Adobe Town wild horses and stop them from conducting dangerous and life-threatening “radio collar research” on wild mares. Tell them to conduct a study with observers in the field without a roundup. And tell them to stop livestock grazing in wild horse herd management areas.

Regarding conflicts between livestock grazing and wild horse use of lands in Wild Horse Management Areas:

  • 4710.5 Closure to livestock grazing.

(a) If necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury, the authorized officer may close appropriate areas of the public lands to grazing use by all or a particular kind of livestock.

(b) All public lands inhabited by wild horses or burros shall be closed to grazing under permit or lease by domestic horses and burros.

(c) Closure may be temporary or permanent. After appropriate public consultation, a Notice of Closure shall be issued to affected and interested parties.

Please send your comments by email and by mail by May 6. If you really want to help the horses, please send individual emails and letters using your own words – the form emails are all only counted as 1 by the BLM. Feel free to use any information from this post.

Written comments should be received by May 6, 2016, and should be emailed only to blm_wy_adobetown_hma@blm.gov (please include “Adobe Town Scoping Statement Comments” in the subject line), mailed or hand-delivered during regular business hours (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) to: Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, BLM Rawlins Field Office, 1300 North 3rd Street, Rawlins, WY 82301. Fax: 307-324-4224.

Urgent: Stop Wild Horse Experiments

Your action is urgently needed to prevent the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plans to conduct cruel and unethical sterilization experiments on wild horses this spring, including painful and life-threatening surgeries on pregnant mares and young fillies in non-sterile environments.

The timing is critical. BLM will publish its Decision Record and Finding of No Significant Impact on the first of these proposed research projects on Friday April 22, which ironically happens to be Earth Day. The agency will use what it calls “population suppression research” as a model for sterilizing wild horses and burros in corrals and on the range going forward.

The first sterilization experiments are slated to occur in partnership with Oregon State University. Unless halted, experiments will begin in May. 225 mares and young fillies, some barely over 8 month old, are already being held at BLM’s short-term holding corral in Hines, Oregon. The surgeries will be overseen by the University’s Veterinary School.

If we all act immediately, there is a fair chance of persuading Oregon State University to back out of participation in these barbaric procedures. Just days ago, the University’s Vice President for Community Relations, Steve Clark, stated that the University has “not determined whether we will proceed with this research.” This week, the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee will decide whether to go ahead or not.

Click here to take action.

By Lisa Levinson

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031

Stop Wild Horse Wipeout in Wyoming

The existence of wild horses in the US is in jeopardy. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is at it again, continuing to support the interests of ranchers, and its latest plans involve rounding up horses in Wyoming’s Checkerboard lands.

The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act requires that the BLM remove wild horses from private land, if requested by the land owner. However, the BLM is perverting the Act to remove wild horses from not only private lands, but also from public lands.

If a round up goes forward in Wyoming’s Checkerboard lands, the BLM could argue that it should be able to round up wild horses anywhere, when it is absolutely illegal to do so!

Once captured, horses can suffer greatly in the confinements of the BLM. In the past several years “at least 100 horses were killed during the roundup itself or in the months following their capture in the BLM’s holding pens,” according to American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

Along with the cruelty and threat to the makeup of the US wild, there is a huge financial burden to taxpayers for the program. It has been stated that, “Congress appropriated more than $77.2 million to the Wild Horse and Burro Program in fiscal year 2015. Of the total $75.1 million spent, holding costs accounted for $49 million. Roundups and removals cost $1.8 million. Adoption events cost $6.3 million.” You can read more about the atrocities happening in Wyoming here.

This simply cannot go on.

Click here to take action.

By Ryan Murphy

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031