Press Release from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

“The Blogosphere is still roiling over the New York Time’s article, written by Dave Philipps, dissing wild equines and cozening up to federally subsidized welfare ranchers who feel they are ‘entitled’ to turn a profit with their private cows on your public lands. I penned my thoughts on the subject, yesterday, and strongly encourage you to contact the Senior Editor at the NYTs and share your disdain by writing to

But we are NOT off the subject of whining welfare ranchers yet as we would like to share a Press Release from that puts into the perspective the ranchers riding across the country to make their point that they have a right to destroy your public lands and to take the wild equines down with it all.  They feel they are above the law and unethical does not even begin to describe their ways.  Thanks to PEER for keeping the heat on this spoiled adult brats!!!  It’s a rare day, indeed, when you see me on the same side of the fence with a BLM Manager but in this case, I agree wholeheartedly, read on and see why.  Keep the faith, my friends.” ~ R.T.

Photo: WWP. Grazing damage on the Argenta allotment, July 2014.

Washington, DC — A U.S. Bureau of Land Management District Manager from Nevada targeted by angry Nevada ranchers was more than justified in removing cattle from drought-stricken public rangeland, according to data released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Tomorrow, protesting ranchers start a “Cowboy Express” ride to Washington demanding removal of BLM Battle Mountain District Manager Douglas Furtado as an “abusive federal employee” even as conservation groups urge that Furtado be commended not condemned for his actions.

Like much of the West, Nevada has been in the grips of persistent drought, with nearly 90% of the state under “severe to exceptional” drought for three consecutive years. This, in turn, causes greater conflict over dwindling water and forage. Not surprisingly, Nevada has also become Ground Zero for rising tensions on range management as illustrated by this spring’s armed standoff with renegade rancher Cliven Bundy who has been illegally grazing his cattle in southern Nevada for more than a decade.

“We all know about climate deniers, but this is the first we’ve heard of drought deniers,” stated PEER Advocacy Director Kirsten Stade, pointing out that much of Furtado’s Battle Mountain District has been among the hardest hit by drought in Nevada. “If we are to believe the ranchers, an extreme, multiyear, regionwide drought has magically spared only their allotments.”

In July, Battle Mountain District Manager Furtado ordered livestock removed from parched range on the sprawling 332,000-acre Argenta allotment in northern Nevada after conditions fell below thresholds that ranchers and BLM had previously agreed would trigger removal. The ranchers contend that Furtado’s actions were arbitrary but an analysis of Geographic Information Systems and BLM data reveal range in terrible ecological shape:

  • Nearly every Battle Mountain allotment evaluated failed range health standards for wildlife and water quality, largely due to livestock grazing;
  • Half of the Argenta Allotment, and roughly 30% of the Battle Mountain District is habitat for sage grouse, a species being reviewed for listing under the Endangered Species Act. BLM has been directed to protect the species’ habitat but 90% of assessed sage grouse habitat was in Battle Mountain allotments failing standards due to livestock; and
  • Fence line contrasts visible in satellite imagery show that public lands in the checkerboarded allotment are far more heavily grazed than private lands, suggesting that ranchers are more protective of their own lands than they are of publicly-owned range.

“Doug Furtado should be praised, not pilloried, for doing his job,” Stade added, noting a letter of support sent today from PEER and Western Watersheds Project urging that BLM as an agency to do more to stand up for its employees when they attempt to protect public resources. “The Cowboy Express is actually a cynical attempt to use iconic imagery to mask selfish abuse of public lands. If ranchers will not be responsible stewards then conscientious land managers have to make hard decisions, as Doug Furtado has done.”

Western Watersheds Project intervened in the Argenta case when ranchers initially refused to remove their cattle despite their previous agreement. Even after an order from an Interior Department administrative law judge affirmed the BLM’s authority to remove the livestock, as many as 100 cattle remain on the Argenta allotment to this day.

“The rancher resistance to drought protections in Battle Mountain is aimed at preventing effective protection of public lands and sage-grouse habitats across the West,” said Katie Fite, Western Watersheds Project’s Biodiversity Director. “It is meant to intimidate other federal agency managers so that they turn a blind eye to habitat degradation.”

The records for all roughly 20,000 BLM allotments across the West, many of which show similar overgrazed conditions, will be displayed next month in a new PEER website documenting longstanding and serious ecological impacts caused by ongoing livestock overgrazing.

Opinion: Newbie NYT Reporter Suffers Chronic Attack of Hoof in Mouth Disease, AGAIN!

“In my most OUTRAGED Opinion” by R.T. Fitch ~ co-founder/president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“If Dumb and Dumber had kids, this boy would be their prodigal son!”

A new journalistic approach to reporting on the status of wild horses & burros on federal lands; scientifically referred to as the Cranial Rectal Entanglement Syndrome

A new journalistic approach to reporting on the status of wild horses & burros on federal lands; scientifically referred to as the Cranial Rectal Entanglement Syndrome

There’s an age old adage that says, “Even a fool is considered a wise man, until he speaks” or in this situation, writes; and in the case of freshman New York Times reporter David Philipps it couldn’t be more crystal clear than just that!!

You remember ole ‘wet behind the ears’ Philipps when two years ago he slithered onto the horse slaughter scene by publishing a story in ProPublica on Tom Davis who just happened to casually buy 1,700 wild mustangs from our own lovely Bureau of Land (Mis)Management and then just kind of lost all of them somewhere while extoling on the virtue of eating baby horse steaks, you ‘member, right? Duhhhhh? It didn’t take a Scientific Rocket to figure out that ole Tom was sending our national icons across the border to be slaughtered for palates across the seas.

But Funky Philipps prematurely published the story thereby destroying an ongoing investigation while never exercising due diligence to complete and verify his look into the dark and unsavory world of the BLM selling horses off to kill buyers. Davis got off, the BLM promptly swept their alleged investigation under the rug while Philipps and his bumbling side-kick horse (advocate?) got a few moments of fame and someone probably got a few more donated dollars to support their/her lifestyle. Only good thing about it was that it pissed off the then Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, so much that he lost his cookies and threatened bodily harm to Phillips in public; which probably helped to hasten the demise of the cattle rancher Secretary but it sure would have been slick if he had hauled off and decked dopey Dave right there on the spot. That would have been great fodder for a few more OpEds, but Salazar wimped out and slunk away with his tail between his legs, which was his standard operating procedure (SOP) anyway.

But now ‘HE’S BACK’ (Phillips) with a half-baked, bought out, one sided article called (BARF ALERT) ‘As Wild Horses Overrun the West, Ranchers Fear Land Will Be Gobbled Up…arrgghhh, give me a friggen break. Even I, an aging amateur with no opinions, could have come up with something better than that tripe.

The blatant, unsubstantiated and glaringly obvious lie that Wild Equines (oops, big word) are in high numbers in our western states is simply bad enough in it’s own right but to follow it with the corny, ridicules line that ranchers are worried about land being gobbled up…well listen to this Davey, “IT AIN’T THEIR FLIPPING LAND, IT”S PUBLIC LAND” and they are by no means good ole Texas type ranchers who buy their land, pay taxes on it, improve it and care for it, they…your buddies who you went to for this stupid story…are federally subsidized WELFARE Ranchers. Don’t you EVER do any research?

Of all the people to go to for a story on wild horses this misguided misfit went to the most contemptuous, handful of the biggest parasites in the west and asked their opinion on the status of the few remaining wild horses that live on public land that they consider to be THEIRS through entitlement for their personal profit!  Is he CRAZY or is it just me?

Here’s the facts on these political poachers and their lies about the horses…we published an article on the shameful Utah good ole boys complete with graphs from data obtained from their own BLM bedfellows that shows their low, range quality cows and sheep can outnumber the horses in the counties in question as much as 10 to 1…what gives?

Facts don’t lie, only welfare ranchers and biased reporters do!

And, once again, Philipps goes to the darkside without getting the entire story, without researching the facts and publishes an article that is totally 180 degrees out from the reality of the situation. And someone PAYS him to do this? Is it just the New York Times or are there other fiscal motivators at foot, here? It sure seems like it to me and it should certainly appear to seem so to you; the tax paying public that is being ripped off by the welfare ranchers that Dandy Dave prefers to quote and embellish while giving noted equine advocate Ginger Katherns only a single line quote and I am certain that even that representation has been taken out of context or somehow twisted to fit the purpose of this propaganda piece of crap.

“Oh, woe is the welfare rancher and poo-poo on the tree hugging, tax paying American citizens who are outraged by the BLM’s efforts to manage our wild equines into extinction to the benefit of the BLM’s special interest cohorts in crime.” To hell with ya’all!!!

I have the right to my opinion and on this blog I have no inhibitions about voicing it; David Philipps is a horse hating hack and his amateurish style and special interest slant towards journalism buys him no kudos from mainstream Americans; not you, not me, not anybody.

I won’t sink so low as to state what he has really professionally become but it is glaringly obvious that this misguided truth twister is now a full fledged member of the oldest profession in the world and the primary pressing and most obvious question, on the minds of educated and compassionate Americans, is ‘Who is his Pimp?”

My rant has concluded (for the time being).

Keep the faith; we are their voice.

Judge Rules BLM Violated Grazing Laws in South-Central Idaho

Sources: Multiple/Story by

BLM Breaks the Law for Benefit of Bedfellow Welfare Ranchers

BLM destroying the last of Wyoming's Wild Horses for the benefit of Welfare Ranchers ~ photo taken last week by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM destroying the last of Wyoming’s Wild Horses for the benefit of Welfare Ranchers ~ photo taken last week by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BOISE IDAHO – A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management once again violated federal laws when it issued grazing permits instead of analyzing how grazing could harm sage grouse in four allotments in south-central Idaho.

In a ruling released Monday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill found that the BLM failed to consider stopping grazing in any of the proposed management plans in the agency’s Burley Field Office.

The decision is round two of a lawsuit led by conservation group Western Watersheds Project that is challenging nearly 600 BLM grazing allotments spread across southern Idaho.

Winmill agreed that the BLM is allowed to automatically renew grazing permits without conducting lengthy environmental reviews.

However, it must still comply with federal laws requiring the agency to study rangeland degradation.

Latest Roundup in Wyoming Exposes Flaws, Failures in BLM’s Wild Horse Program

by Wayne Pacelle as published on Humane Nation

“As most of you are aware, our Wild Horse Freedom Federation‘s Director of Field Documentation, Carol Walker, has spent the last several weeks observing the destruction of Wyoming’s last wild horse herds at the hands of the BLM.  None of it was, or is, pretty…’disgusting’ is perhaps a better word.  Although no prominent HSUS observers were noted at the roundup the following article by Wayne Pacelle does have some very salient points and is well worth the read.  We concur with the bulk of what is stated…the time for the brutality to stop has long past.” ~ R.T.

BLM terrorizing what's left of Wyoming's wild horses. ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM terrorizing what’s left of Wyoming’s wild horses. ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

At least 10 animals, including four yearlings, are dead after a poorly conducted and strategically suspect government roundup of approximately 800 wild horses in Wyoming. This loss of life, and the stress and trauma for the survivors, could have been avoided had the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) put in place a more humane and economically viable management plan for wild horses throughout the West.

The current roundup is being conducted in the Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Herd Management Areas in Wyoming. The BLM’s records show that one yearling was found dead in a holding pen having suffered an acute neck injury, a three-and-a-half month old filly was found dead in a holding pen of unknown causes, and a six-month-old colt died in a horse trailer from pre-existing lung injuries that were exacerbated by the helicopter drive gather.

The HSUS has long argued that the BLM, which conducts these round-ups, should be working with the humane community to manage wild horses using fertility control methods. The broader implementation of this strategy would come with some costs, but those would be offset and then some by reducing the need for removals and the housing and feeding of tens of thousands of horses in short-term and long-term holding facilities. Implementing aggressive fertility programs is a solution supported by most stakeholders and the National Academy of Sciences. It would be much more humane for the horses if the government opted for this strategy.

It is a well-known fact that the BLM’s wild horse roundup program is a case study in mismanagement. There are now more than 40,000 free-roaming wild horses in the United States, most of them in Wyoming and Nevada, and the government has been rounding up and removing them, ostensibly to control these wild populations and minimize their ecological impact. Over the years, they have built up a captive horse population that now numbers in the tens of thousands, at short-term and long-term holding facilities. The cost of the roundups and housing and feeding the animals is now cannibalizing about two-thirds of the budget for the entire program…(CONTINUED)

National group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, has doubts about BLM study on Wild Horses and Burros


“…more than 95 percent of the negative impact on the bird’s habitat would have been caused by grazing compared to the wild animals.”

wild burro captured by BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

wild burro captured by BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A Washington D.C.-based nonprofit on Tuesday released an analysis of Bureau of Land Management data that calls into question the agency’s study of the relative habitat impacts of wild horse and burros, and cattle grazing.

The organization, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, argued that the methods the BLM used to study Western range conditions overstates the role that burros and wild horses have on habitat destruction, while understating the impacts of cattle grazing.

“The implication is that if the agency tells us the wild horses and burros have larger impact, they can argue roundups (of horses and burros) will have positive impacts on… habitat and livestock grazing can go unchanged,” the nonprofit’s advocacy director Kirsten Stade said.

Peter Lattin, who used to work as a contractor with BLM but moved to PEER after disagreements with the agency’s methods, said he and the organization have put together a database of BLM grazing allotments by pulling together hundreds records from a Freedom of Information Act request.

The analysis dealt primarily with habitat of the sage-grouse, a ground-dwelling chicken located largely in Nevada that is under consideration for endangered species status, but the organization has compiled data on BLM land management throughout the West. The BLM does not manage for sage-grouse habitat in Arizona.

In the BLM’s study of impacts on sage-grouse habitat, they measured all acres that had burros and wild horses but only the grazing allotments that had scored poorly on habitat health assessments, Lattin said. As a result the BLM reported nearly twice as much of the sage-grouse habitat is negatively impacted by burros and wild horses as by livestock grazing.

“They used the same term but treated them with entirely different methods,” he said.

Lattin said that if BLM had used the same methods, more than 95 percent of the negative impact on the bird’s habitat would have been caused by grazing compared to the wild animals.

Stade said that by downplaying impact that cattle grazing has on sage-grouse habitat the BLM makes it more difficult that the species could become listed and distorts policymaking as land managers set out to protect the species…(CONTINUED)

Video: Kitten and Donkey Smooch on Camera

Video by Johnny Bomblast

“I have to confess, I am caught between a crazy Cat Lady (Terry, my wife), who is about only one horse away from being called the Nutty Horse Woman and a Donkey/Burro Advocate (Marjorie Farabee) who both of which are always after me about saying ‘Wild Horses AND Burros’ instead of just Wild Horses.  Well, in an effort to satisfy both camps I render, this day, a video that pulls both the feline and equine souls together…please enjoy our ‘Feel Good Sunday’ installment and enjoy your day of peace, relaxation and renewal.  To all my friends; Keep the Faith!’ ~ R.T.

Pictorial: Day 12 Wild Horse Checkerboard Roundup ~ Lost Freedoms, Families and Futures

Eye Witness Observations by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Today was a very tough day for me for a number of reasons. But no matter how tough it was for me, I always keep in mind, it is a thousand times tougher for these horses who lose everything dear to them, their families, their homes and their freedom all at once.”

Waiting to head out to the next observation point for the Checkerboard Roundup. It is a little later in the morning. I will be posting updates if I have cell service out there.

We have been waiting for almost 2 hours at the Point of Rocks exit for the Cattoors to come and set up the next trap site. Now we moved to Bitter Creek Road and the helicopters are looking for a trap site for the last few horses in the Great Divide Basin Checkerboard area. I was told they are waiting for an archeologist to come and clear the site and it may be another 2 hours before the helicopters fly driving the horses into the trap. We are headed to a coal mine where apparently about 16 horses have been living for many years within the fenced area around it. Why on earth I wonder, do they have to remove these horses? How are they disturbing the operation of the mine? It is a huge area.

The BLM vehicle speeds up Bitter Creek road so fast that dust billows up in spots, because it is so dry here. Several times I slow, and fall way behind the vehicle in front so that I can see. The road is so dusty following the BLM to the trap. I am concerned I might lose them because I have no idea where we are going, but I am more concerned that I do not fly off the road into the steep ditch next to it because I cannot see it. At one point I could not see anything at all except the boiling dust, so I stopped because I was afraid of going off the road into the ditch, and suddenly there is a bang, and the Ranger’s truck behind me rear ends my car. We stop and get out to see the damage. We keep going to a junction in the road where we still have cell service and then wait for the county sheriff to come and file a report on the accident. This was not at all how I thought this day would go.

We headed finally to the trap in the mine area. We missed 4 horses coming in while meeting with the county sheriff but there are at least 12 more they are trying to get. It is wild and beautiful and quiet out here with gorgeous view of Black Rock and the surrounding mountains.

After we arrived to our observation point a half mile way but with a view of the trap for a change, I observed the longest chase I have ever seen, over an hour, of 8 wild horses by the helicopter in the coal mine area. These eight wild horses including a foal were running up and down steep hills and ridges in the hottest part of the day. They finally went into the trap with lots of close pressure from the helicopter at the very end. He had to circle back to get a line black horse trotting slowly who almost ran back out but finally went into the trap. By this time I was pulling for the horses to finally be caught and end this for the sake of their health. Never before in all my years as an advocate and in the 10 years I have been observing roundups have I been pulling for the horses to go INTO a trap, just to make it stop.

There seems to be a major problem with this trap, despite the fact that the archeologist Ok’d it, the Cattoors don’t seem to have selected it wisely to conform to the landscape and make it easy for the horses to enter as they usually do. The hills are so very steep, and the horses are heading up this one ridge which overlooks the trap, and naturally when they see the trap, they do not want to go in, they run off, and then the helicopter has to chase and chase and chase to get them to approach it and go in.

Helicopter just drove in a family of 6 the brave red stallion in front who kept looking back at his family and three foals and two mares came in after going up hills down in the mine up ridges down valleys and up on a really scary ridge where luckily they stopped then turned around. The red stallion finally led his family into the trap and I sighed with relief I did not want to see them run any more when the intention is to get them all.

We are told they are leaving the two horses who are still in the mine there, and we think they might be done for the day.

But suddenly the helicopter flies out in a direction I have not seen him head, behind us, and we see a family of four pop up over the ridge. The bay stallion is in the back, sorrel mare and foal in the middle, with a black mare leading, and they are running very fast. They fly across the terrain. They are finally driven on top of the ridge near the trap, and they run right by it. The helicopter chases them around the ridge and finally at the top of the ridge they wheel and turn, the helicopter wheels too and from our angle it looks as though it might hit them, but our perspective is distorted, and it is hard to see in the dust. It looks as though they were all going in the trap, but it is only the elegant black mare, who trips somehow and flips over. She gets up and continues into the pen at the end of the trap. On the other side of the hill the foal pops out, and I wonder if he has become separated from his family, but no his mother joins him. The stallion runs as fast as he can in the opposite direction, and I hear that they are letting him go. The helicopter pulls up and flies off, and the exhausted mare and foal slow to a walk, and we wonder, is it really over? Can they actually go free? Down below the Cattoors are packing up the trap, which seems to be answer enough. We watch the bay stallion top a ridge, and pause, looking down, as if he is wondering if it is safe. He trots down to his mare and foal, and they trot up to join him. It is such a very bittersweet moment. I am feeling joy for this small family, that at least the three of them are reunited and will live at least for now in their home in Great Divide Basin. But it is a harsh and cruel reminder of all the horses like the black mare in their family who will never roam free there again.

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