Tag Archives: BLM

Take Action for the Nevada Range Wild Horses

Last week we alerted you to the BLM’s plan to capture and remove all of the wild burros and over half of the wild horses in the Nevada Wild Horse Range (NWHR).

They’re doing this despite the fact that it is a specially designated sanctuary like the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.

If you’ve already taken action, thank you!

If you didn’t have time before, please take a minute today to speak up for the wild horses and burros of the Nevada Range. We’ve made it easy to click and send your comments.

Our government must hear from US, the American people. It’s the only way that things have ever changed.

Tell BLM today that you want our wild herds humanely managed on the range where they belong – not rounded up and imprisoned!

**Comments are due June 29th – don’t delay!**

The Cloud Foundation

BLM Plans Roundup in Nevada Wild Horse Range

Sadly, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seems hell-bent on destroying our few remaining wild horse and burro herds.

The agency now proposes to round up and remove the majority of wild horses and ALL the wild burros in the Nevada Wild Horse Range (NWHR) on Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada – 1 of only 4 designated sanctuaries for wild equids in the country.

This 10-year destruction-plan spells out the capture of 500-600 horses and burros, destruction of natural wild behaviors and the use of dangerous surgical fertility control. To add insult to injury, the local BLM has failed year after year to develop sufficient, year-round water sources for the horses and burros living on this rugged desert range.

Please, take just a moment to raise your voice. Tell the BLM they MUST listen to Americans who want their wild herds humanely managed and protected on the range where they belong!

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Ginger Speaks Out about BLM’s Wild Horse Disaster Plan

Our nation is in upheaval.

People suffer, communities grieve, and many of us are isolated and alone.

We want to take a moment and recognize that pain. There is no quick fix, but we are always stronger when we take time to connect and walk through these things together.

We know that the hearts of wild horse lovers are heavy right now too.

The BLM’s intent to capture and imprison more than 200,000 of America’s wild horses and burros in the next decade feels like a purposeful plan for the extinction of these magnificent animals.

We wouldn’t blame you for feeling hopeless and helpless.

But now is not the time to be timid.

Now is the time to dig in, reach deep, and raise our voices – before it is too late.

You may never have signed a petition or taken action before, and that’s OK!

All that matters is that you’re willing to take action NOW.

Ginger has made a short, informative video to explain the urgency of this action. Please take just a few minutes to watch it, and then – if you haven’t done so already – click here to protect America’s wild horses and burros.

Let your representatives in government hear your voice, loud and clear. And please, share the alert far and wide.

Thank you all so much for your support,

Ginger, Jesse, Dana, and Deniz
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Stop BLM’s Plans to Wipe Out 40% of Wyoming’s Wild Horses

The BLM wants to remove 4,000 wild horses from four Herd Management Areas in Wyoming, which would mean removing 40% of all of the wild horses in Wyoming.

Please comment on a new Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Resource Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed changes to the management of four wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Wyoming: Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin, and White Mountain.

Please urge the BLM to select Alternative A, which would manage wild horses in their respective 4 herds at the current Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) for each herd with a total AML 1481-2065.  Wild horses are already currently far outnumbered by privately owned livestock on public lands on these Herd Management Areas.

The BLM certainly seems to be violating the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) by favoring some “uses” (livestock grazing) over other “uses” (wild horses).  FLPMA stipulates that the BLM take into account the “coordinated management of the various resources without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment with consideration being given to the relative values of the resources and not necessarily to the combination of uses that will give the greatest economic return or the greatest unit output.”

If the BLM even took this into account, they ignored it.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) issued “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” a report that is an in-depth assessment of the various significant impacts of the world’s livestock sector on the environment.

The Center for Biological Diversity has noted that “Cattle destroy native vegetation, damage soils and stream banks, and contaminate waterways with fecal waste. After decades of livestock grazing, once-lush streams and riparian forests have been reduced to flat, dry wastelands; once-rich topsoil has been turned to dust, causing soil erosion, stream sedimentation and wholesale elimination of some aquatic habitats; overgrazing of native fire-carrying grasses has starved some western forests of fire, making them overly dense and prone to unnaturally severe fires.”

The BLM’s “Preferred Alternative” would be to remove 4000 wild horses from the four Herd Management Areas, and to reduce the AML for Adobe Town HMA to only 259-536 wild horses (while allowing over 13,000 privately owned sheep to graze many months of the year), and then to use barbaric and archaic procedures for the spaying of wild mares, gelding of stallions, skewing of sex ratios, helicopter roundups, and other cruel methods on the remaining wild horses.

Apparently, the BLM is good with the high numbers of privately owned livestock grazing on these public lands, and plans to continue to let cattle and sheep run rampant.

As it is, the BLM can’t find enough good homes for the wild horses that it has already removed public lands and holds in captivity, so many of these Wyoming wild horses will most likely eventually end up in the slaughter pipeline.

Please request that the BLM select Alternative A.  Use your own words.  You might suggest that the BLM prepare an EIS to reduce livestock grazing on Wyoming HMAs.  If you sign onto a comment form instead of commenting yourself, 2000 comments just get read as only 1 comment.  It only takes a few minutes to get onto the BLM site and submit comments online.  Your comments will make a difference.  Thank you for caring about our wild horses.

Here is the link to submit your comments by April 30th, 2020:


Click on the link above, and look down to the first line that says “Wild Horse Amendment” – on the right there is a button that says “Comment on Document.”  Press this and you will go to the online comment form. You do not need to fill in the “Chapter Reference” or “Section Reference” fields. If you have trouble submitting your comments, contact the Rock Springs Field Office Manager, Kimberlee Foster: kfoster@blm.gov 307-352-0201.

by Debbie Coffey
Wild Hoofbeats

Stop Wild Horse Eradication Plan in Caliente Complex

The Cloud Foundation is fighting hard in federal court to stop BLM from zeroing out — or permanently removing — ALL wild horses in the remaining 6 HMAs of the Caliente Complex of eastern Nevada. While BLM claims the horses are destroying the range, they continue to permit thousands of cattle to graze in the same area.

Last month, a federal judge issued a ruling against us and the 1700+ wild horses who live in Caliente. Now the Cloud Foundation, along with Western Watershed Projects, is preparing to fight this bad ruling.

Our legal team is getting ready to file the appeal. We cannot concede defeat. If we do, these horses will lose their freedom forever — 1,700 more victims of the BLM’s sick system of wild horse imprisonment.

Lawsuits are expensive and we need your help. Thousands of wild horses are slated for removal if we don’t prevail.

We know this is a big ask in these unprecedented times. But without your help, these magnificent animals will lose their families and their freedom, and some will likely lose their lives. Please donate if you can to this worthy cause. Together, we will fight with everything we’ve got to keep them free. That’s our promise to you, and to them.

No donation is too small (or too big!). We know these are extraordinary times, but YOU are extraordinary people. Thank you for everything you do, for how much you care, and for your support of our work.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

What Makes a Wild Horse Wild?

By Ginger Kathrens

In 1994 I saw my first wild horses in the Pryor Mountains of Montana. A black stallion was eating snow at the base of a red butte. When he noticed my sister who had on a bright white golf jacket, he pranced toward her and snorted. His mares, yearling, and newborn foal responded to his warning, dashing from the shadows of the butte to the safety of nearby hills.

Captivated by the striking stallion named Raven and the spectacular wild horse range they call home; I began documenting their lives in the wild. On May 29, 1995 they brought their newborn colt out of the forest right in front of my camera. I named him Cloud and his life is the subject of three PBS Nature series documentaries.

The assertion that same sex herds of horses in captivity are the equivalent of wild horse families in the wild is ludicrous. A single-sex group of geldings or mares in a pasture bears no resemblance to the intricate and dynamic society of a wild horse herd.

In the wild, the horses make all the decisions, decisions that often make the difference between life and death. Where to go when a storm comes, where to find water in a drought, when to run and when to stand their ground — these are decisions shared by the band stallion and often a strong lead mare. Cloud was lucky to have Sitka for a time, a strong female who could even tell the powerful and impetuous Cloud where to go and when.

I documented Cloud from the day he was born to the time, 20 years later, when he disappeared. His body was never found, but that is not unusual. Many wild horses decide to isolate themselves at the end of their lives. And this is an important word to remember: decide.

Mustangs in captivity do not have the ability to decide much of anything. They are fed, they are restrained in pastures or dirt paddocks, and they are in a same-sex herd of all geldings (castrated males) or all mares.

The horses on my small Colorado ranch have more of a society than any same-sex herd in a BLM corral or sanctuary.  Flint is the leader of my little band which includes Cloud’s birth sisters Mahogany (Flint’s lead mare) and Smokey. The other four geldings, Sky, Sax (Cloud’s youngest brother), BJ, and Swasey, take their lead from Flint and, to a lesser extent, Mahogany. But I would never pretend that they have the social intricacies or intense behaviors of a real wild horse family.

Wild horse social structure is complex and fascinating. It is essential to their survival in the wild. In many ways wild horses are like wolves. There is a dominant male, often a powerful female, and there are subordinate members of the family, including other females. Young males are asked to leave the family by their fathers, and young females get a wandering eye around two years of age. Only bachelor stallions that are skilled fighters and have a strong desire to procreate can win and keep mares.

It is disingenuous of BLM – and others seeking to rid the range of these magnificent animals – to tell the public they can see “wild horses” in “public off-range pastures.” None of the captivating natural behaviors just described are seen among geldings or mares in a man-made, fenced environment.

What the public is seeing are human-influenced, same-sex pastured horses, who bear little resemblance to their friends and families still lucky enough to be running wild and free on our open ranges.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Misguided Management Plan Threatens Beloved Wild Herds

Since the recent announcement of a new management proposal for America’s wild horses and burros, The Cloud Foundation has been working hard behind the scenes to craft a measured, science-based response. We know that you rely on us for accurate, actionable information rather than reactionary rhetoric, and thoughtful commentary takes time.

TCF supports the Unified Statement, which outlines a humane, cost-effective plan for on-the-range management and is signed by over 100 wild horse and animal advocacy groups. It is our opinion that the proposal supported by ASPCA, HSUS, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, et al. presents a danger to our wild herds in its current form. This proposal does not provide for any meaningful accountability on the part of the BLM to follow through on its responsibilities and we can find no scientific backing for its claims.

We agree that change is needed. Our western rangelands are suffering from the effects of climate change and overuse by multiple interests, including energy development and livestock grazing. We are at a tipping point and a new path forward needs to be blazed.

This is an opportunity to alter the course of a broken system and affect meaningful change for the betterment of all. We need to look at not just what is convenient for the BLM or the private interests, but also consider what is right for the land, for our wild horses and burros, and for the American people who love them.

Let’s not forget – these are not “the BLM’s wild horses.” These are America’s wild horses. They belong to each citizen of the United States, and they are beloved symbols of freedom. Americans do not want to see or pay for their wild mustangs to be rounded up by the tens of thousands and incarcerated for the rest of their natural lives.

Collaboration between groups of stakeholders is needed, and compromise will likely be required – but it should happen across the board. If everyone comes to the table willing to talk with an open mind we can come up with a solution and plan for the future that will truly serve our nation, its ecosystems, natural resources, and wildlife.

Sadly, no wild horse advocate groups with nothing to gain from this proposal were included in its formative stages. Our wild horses and burros deserve a seat at the table, and not one group with knowledge of the complexities of the on-range management issue was invited to speak for them as this plan was being drafted. That fact speaks for itself.

The Cloud Foundation always has been and will continue to be a thoughtful, passionate voice for safe, humane, cost-effective on-the-range management of our wild horses and burros. We are very willing to lend our 25 years of experience to a rational and open-minded discussion in order to build a logistically and fiscally sustainable strategy for management of these incredible animals.

We are fighting for the lives and future of our wild herds right now. There are some government and private interests that would wash their hands of them, given the chance. We know that we can count on you to lend your voice, as needed, to champion our wild families, who cannot speak for themselves.

Thank you for all you’ve done and will continue to do for these majestic animals.

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

Lawsuit Filed to Stop “Barbaric” BLM Wild Horse Sterilization Experiments

Citing violations of the U.S. Constitution and three federal laws, an alliance of wild horse protection and animal welfare advocates filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Portland. The groups seek to enjoin the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from proceeding with controversial and dangerous surgical experiments to remove the ovaries of wild mares at BLM’s Wild Horse Corrals in Hines, Oregon.

The complaint was filed on behalf of The Cloud Foundation (TCF) and its executive director Ginger Kathrens, who is also the Humane Advocate on the BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board; the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC); the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI); and wildlife photographer Carol Walker, who is also a Director of Field Documentation for the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, by Nick Lawton of the public interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks LLP.

A key demand of the legal action is the right to meaningful public observation and video recording of the experiments to improve public awareness of how the BLM is treating these federally protected wild horses and help the public inform BLM that this inhumane form of sterilization is not socially acceptable.

“To date, the BLM has refused to allow a meaningful opportunity for media or the public to observe and record these procedures,” said Nick Lawton of Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks. “The BLM’s refusal to allow meaningful access to observe and record these experiments thwarts the important newsgathering objectives that Plaintiffs aim to achieve by observing and documenting the BLM’s treatment of wild horses, and thus violates Plaintiffs’ rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

The legal action also alleges that the experiments, which involve performing an outdated surgical procedure called ovariectomy via colpotomy (a blind surgery in which a veterinarian inserts his arm into a mares’ abdominal cavity through an incision in the vaginal wall, manually locates the ovaries, then twists, severs and removes them using a rod like tool with a chain on the end) are unscientific, inhumane, and dangerous, and will result in pain, suffering, and potentially life-threatening complications for wild mares.

Video of the procedure, which has been called “barbaric” by equine veterinarians, can be seen here.

This is the BLM’s second attempt to conduct research on the surgical removal of the ovaries of wild mares. In 2016, AWHC and TCF sued to uphold their First Amendment right to observe the experiments, a major objective of which was to determine the social acceptability of the procedure. The BLM cancelled the experiments, which it intended to conduct in partnership with Oregon State University — instead of providing public observation.

In its renewed attempt to conduct the research this year, the BLM dropped the objective of determining social acceptability in order to avoid providing meaningful observation. Instead, the BLM is offering limited observation through the doorway of a room adjacent to the surgical suite on a first-come, first-served basis with no independent veterinary observation provided.

When the agency re-released the sterilization research proposal, the BLM announced that it would be conducting the experiments in conjunction with Colorado State University (CSU). The University was to provide expertise in monitoring and assessing the welfare impacts of the surgeries on the wild mares. However, in August, CSU withdrew from the project. Instead of finding another academic institution with expertise in animal welfare monitoring and assessment, the BLM dropped CSU’s scientific observation of animal welfare from its study design.

Then, on September 13, 2018, the BLM announced that it was moving forward with the spay feasibility study despite opposition from the public and veterinarians, a warning from the National Academy of Sciences that the procedure was “inadvisable” due to health risks, and after two major research institutions – CSU and OSU – ended their affiliations with the project.

As soon as next month, the BLM plans to start rounding up 100 percent of the wild horses in the Warm Springs Herd Management Area in southeastern Oregon. An estimated 685 horses will be permanently removed and another 100 mares will be surgically sterilized. The experiments carry a high risk of mortality from bleeding, infection and evisceration (fatal protrusion of bowel through the surgical incision) and will subject pregnant mares to risk of miscarriage and associated complications. (More details on the BLM’s plan can be found here.)

“It is unconscionable to conduct invasive and dangerous surgeries on wild mares, ripping their ovaries out with a chain, destroying their fetus, then returning them out into a dirt corral with little to zero pain management before releasing them into the wild,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation and the Humane Advisor on the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. “This is a rare, last ditch operation in the world of domestic mares. I would hope we, as a society, are beyond this kind of cruelty, particularly when humane, safe, and scientific alternatives to control wild horse reproduction have existed for decades.”

Contact: Lisa Friday, Director of Communications
lisa@thecloudfoundation.org| 804-389-8218

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Council to Meet Oct. 9-11 in Salt Lake City

Photo: Ginger Kathrens – Humane Advocate on National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board.

Come Out and Show Your Support for Our Wild Horses and Burros

BLM has announced that the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will be meeting October 9-11 at the Courtyard Marriott in Salt Lake City Downtown. As a member of the board, TCF’s Executive Director Ginger Kathrens will be in attendance. Please consider attending this meeting if you can to show your support for our wild horses and burros as well as for Ginger as she does her best to stand up for them in her capacity as the Humane Advocate on the board.

Even if you can’t attend, BLM will be accepting written public comment until October 2nd. Written comments and statements must be mailed to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, National Wild Horse and Burro Program, Attention: Dorothea Boothe WO-260, 20 M Street SE, Room 2134LM, Washington, DC 20003, or emailed to: whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov by October 2, 2018, in order for the Board to consider them at the October meeting. Please include “Advisory Board Comment” in the subject line of the email.

A public comment period will be held on Thursday, October 11, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (MDT). There will also be a field tour from 7am to noon on Tuesday, October 9th of the Onaqui Horse Herd Management Area. (The field tour is open to limited public attendance with advanced sign-up on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees must provide for their own transportation (high-clearance vehicle recommended) and personal needs. Field tour attendees will depart from the Courtyard Marriott at 7:00 a.m. To sign up, contact Dorothea Boothe by email at dboothe@blm.gov by September 28, 2018.)

For more details on the meeting, please refer to the full BLM notice linked here.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

BLM Backs Down on Removing Horses from Pryor Mountain

Thank you from Rio (left) (Garay & Jacinta), Quahneah (right) (Baja & Washakie).

There will be no removal of young wild horses from the West’s most famous wild horse herd this year!  Like Cloud, we did not back down. He would have been proud of all of you who contributed to this victory. So, thank you from some of the horses whose freedom you protected.

Your donations made it possible for us to hire an outstanding law firm and to make a compelling case. (Read Ginger’s declaration.) And it didn’t hurt to have the expertise of those of you who read the documents and pointed out deficiencies in BLM’s Environmental Assessment and Record of Decision. Thanks to you all!

We hope that this victory for the Pryor Wild Horse Herd (read judge’s ruling) might help to protect other small herds in the West, many of whom are managed at disastrously low levels — below the genetic minimums of 150-200 animals.
Happy Trails!

The Cloud Foundation is represented in the lawsuit by Katherine A. Meyer and Elizabeth Lewis of the Washington DC public interest firm Meyer, Glitzenstein, and Eubanks.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905