Horse News

Obama Spent Millions Chasing Wild Horses in 2009

Op-ed by R.T. Fitch, author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Cattoor Chopper chasing wild horses at Pryor Mt. Round-up - Photo by Terry Fitch

HOUSTON – (SFTHH)  While thousands of Americans lost their homes and tens of thousands lost their jobs the Obama administration was spending millions of dollars chasing wild horses, killing some and penning up the rest with no regard to science, proper research or the bottom line.

Last year Cattoor Livestock, a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contractor, was paid $2,547,995.20 to chase, trap, and imprison thousands of native wild horses who for hundreds of years have roamed free on our public lands. (figures supplied by BLM )   The Cattors are one of several such contractors that make their sole income by living off of unsuspecting tax payer’s money through exclusive contracts with the BLM.  The Cattoors utilize helicopters, in this commentator’s opinion, to terrify and traumatize wild horses into stampeding into their traps, often resulting in death and/or injury.

Despite the calls from millions of Americans the Obama administration pushes forward with an environmentally and fiscally dangerous plan of stripping our wild horses from Federal lands so that they can pave the way for more welfare ranching by private interests.  Last week the BLM postponed a plan to strip a public management area the size of Rhode Island of wild horses leaving only 100 while proposing that 2,700 private cattle would remain for just $1.35 a head per month (in comparison to $1.23 in 1966).  Public outcry may have influenced the decision to postpone that plan.

Terrorized and Frozen, the Horses of the Calico BLM Roundup - Photo by Kurt Golgart/Bureau of Land Management

Yet still the Obama Wild Horse Thrashing Machine moves forward with the BLM proposing to capture a total of 12,000 wild horses in 2010 while they didn’t even have the funds to feed and care for the 33,000 they had, and still retain, in captivity in 2008.

Despite pleas to halt the round-ups and investigate the BLM’s flawed math and bookkeeping the Mustang Mower charges forward without any direction, accountability or conscious.

With all due respect, it is time for the President to pull the cotton from his ears, listen to his constituents and validate several of the multiple promises that he made while campaigning.  It’s up to him to pull the plug on the out of control BLM and order a full investigation and accounting of their policies and procedures.  Otherwise, we will just keep counting the bodies of dead horses that his agency kills while he renders only lip service to the true desires of the American public.

In the meantime, wild horses die, contractors become millionaires and a few angered Americans affix bumper stickers on their vehicles which read:

“Honk if I paid for your Helicopter”

Video of Cattoor Helicopter chasing a defenseless foal plus footage of one dying in a BLM pen from the result of a Helicopter chase over numerous miles of volcanic rock, ice and snow

Call the White House Hot Line at:


Ask for the round-ups to stop while the BLM is investigated and a true accounting of Wild Horses can be taken both in captivity and in the wild!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Bookmark and Share

52 replies »

  1. Millions to contractors, even more millions to the BLM’s wild horse prisons, and MEGA MILLIONS for government pork. Hey, bureaucrats – want to see that number go down? Start with the BLM WH&BP and work your way up!

    $12,000,000.00 more for the BLM in 2011 on top of what they already get? Is that “fiscal responsibility”? It’s just more of our tax dollars disappearing down a black hole. Granted, it’s a small number compared to the overall federal budget, but who’s counting? NOBODY!

    Hey Congress, put $12 million in my pocket. I’ll buy a big ranch and stock it with wild horses!


    • The Pickens Sanctuary would need about $15 million per year to take care of the 30,000 horses. Let’s give her some and get these captive horses out of hell. We need a wild horse national park.

      And why is all the money going to rounds up and stockpiling and not being spent in enhancing and expanding areas in the wild and establishing good long term strategies?


      • your questions are very valid, and the same ones many of us have been asking for years. That is what makes BLM/DOI rogue agencies. They defy logic!


    • Wow! That’s wonderful! I found another one with same people, talking about horses helping the ecosystem:

      Good find! It’s nice that even on a small island like Great Britain or whatever they call it now there is room for these horses. In the video I have here (above) look at the numbers they maintain in Holland of these animals! It is awe-inspiring.

      Hope the “rest of the story” is that positive for these “Tarpan relatives!” I guess we don’t always see the whole picture, if you get my drift. . . .


    • I sent your video to Bryan K. Fuell, Manager, Wells Field Office of the BLM who I spoke with today. He said the Antelope Complex areas have plenty of food for the horses; it is the water that is the problem. He said the State of Nevada is the sole power in water distribution for all parties in the state; which I didn’t know.

      My “take away” from what he said was that even tho what is it 86% of Nevada is public lands; apparently 100% of all water is controlled solely by the State of Nevada. This is the alpha and the omega of my knowledge in this area.


      • Water, Water, Water – it’s the most precious resource on the planet and the most fought over, especially in the Western U.S. I live in Farmington, NM, in the San Juan Basin. The San Juan, Animas, and La Plata Rivers originate on the Eastern and Southern Slopes of the Rockies, join in Farmington, and flow westward as the San Juan River.

        Several years ago, I attended water-rights meetings that were some of the most contentious, uncivilized, and frightening events I’ve ever witnessed. Cooperation and compromise rapidly deteriorated into virtual warfare. Sound familiar?

        NM is committed to send the majority of San Juan Basin water to Lake Powell, which it releases as the Colorado River. Then it’s down the line to the Grand Canyon/Lake Mead (for Las Vegas)/Lake Havasu (for Phoenix?), and to the biggest guzzler of all – California’s Imperial Valley. And (in selected areas of course) THE DESERT BLOOMS!

        Want to learn about our government’s ecological vs. economic impact projections through 2040 for the Colorado & Virgin River watersheds? Stay tuned. I’m going to post something that may (or may not) shock you. It certainly got my attention!

        Water, land, oil & gas, mining, solar sites, wind farms, recreation, and so much more – everybody, everywhere, is demanding a bigger drink from the cup and a bigger slice of the pie. Human wants (frequently not needs) trump the environment, wildlife, and tragically, bringing up the rear, OUR WILD HORSES & BURROS!


      • Linda, Hello from upstream San Juan River… That is how we find ourselves, on watersheds and rivers and streams. Shares of water are bought and sold with the land. Sometimes you live in an old irrigation district and can flood your yard and flowers and kitchen garden, once a month. Water is central to everything and it is not being respected. Water fights over rights.. mar


  2. R.T. Very eloquent writing, it really fired up my motivation! This administration is out of control! The amount paid by (BLM) to Cattoor contractor, was paid $2,547,995.20. Is this figure on a government site somewhere so I can use it as a reference? I’m trying for an audience with a representative here in Ohio. I want to make sure I have FACTS & REFERENCES. A well prepared and heavily armed assault! May I quote and reprint portions of this post? Thanks-


  3. As if Obama really cared if mustangs should be caught or not! I would like to take him out to our local forest and show how it is done there (they bait and trap). If the mustang programs hadn’t languished with every other non-oil/gas BLM interest, BLM wouldn’t be trying to make such major changes to catch up with were they wanted to be. The worst thing you can do to get people to support you is to start attacking them for not helping you as much as you want them to. Try using positive reinforcement for people doing what you do like. It works better.


    • If you read through this website you will find some of the most POSITIVE PASSIONATE people posting here. We have not been “attacking” people for not helping us as much as we want them to, we are “attacking” people for not helping at all! “People” won’t even acknowledge there is a very big problem with the BLM and WH&B program. Its just that we all get angry and disappointed when NOTHING we do seems to be working, positive or not.


    • Patricia, Glad to see you here. We met last October at the pens by the Airstream in Farmington. We meant to get back but snow has had us up here all these months. There are many people who are doing all they can and for the most part we have been very good, polite and knowledgeable. We can blow off steam here and it is needed. Your videos on training are wonderful and I have put many up at my blog.

      Many ask if there are enough experienced wranglers to do these roundups without the helicopters. Maybe you would have an opinion about this. I know the Jicarilla horses are bait trapped and then trucked. That is much less traumatic than the helicopters. I am sure there are enough experienced wrangles to replace the machines. But even you described this as “Being kidnapped by Aliens and then taken away in an alien ship…” which is a fitting comparison. We want to have sound and humane alternatives to the loud monster flying machine. Mar


      • Wranglers on horseback are also killers. I witnessed their cruelty, as they played “cowboy”, on the Pryor Mountain horses in 1994. They loved “headin and heelin”, great fun for them but sure hell on the mustang that was caught by their ropes! NO ! I’ve watched the bait trapping and it’s my opinion, that is the way to go. It is quiet and easy on the horse. I would rather they didn’t take any off, but if need be, bait trapping is the most humane.It is also the best way to be selective. Instead of running all the horses in to the corrals and shipping them off willy nilly, with bait trapping a person can be selective. The calm curious about people two year old is adoptable and adaptable.


      • I realize that this stupid practice has come back and it would not be tolerated. I am not blaming Mexico but their resurgence of this cruelty has come across the border with many Mexicanos who Rodeo. There is no reason it would ever be allowed. Again, these are our horses and we do not want blood sport used on them ever. mar


    • Hi, Patricia. Linda Horn here. It’s hard not to vent and keep things positive when you’d like to throttle somebody, but you’re right. It’s the old flies/honey/vinegar thing. If I can figure out a way to ask without seeming to beg, and still get my point across, I’ll give it a try.

      As to Mar’s question about Vicky. Sounds like the young lady who helped out at FCER for several months. She left around the holidays, bound for Australia, I think.


  4. Ok guys check this out I think Obama just really hates Equines or something. Obama was born in Kenya right we all know that now check this link out.
    Ya think maybe Obama is the one selling horse meat he has lots of say so in Kenya too and can’t even prove he is a US citizen. I think he is just making money for his country. I bet the Obamas eat horse everynight for dinner.


    • Obama was born in Hawaii. PLEASE don’t start that stuff here. This is NOT the place. Besides that, it’s biased, ludicrous and insulting. I’m not pleased with the way things in DC are going either, but that’s NO reason to go rolling in the mud.

      You DO know one can’t buy horse meat in the US. Are you saying he has it shipped in…


      • You CAN buy black-market horsemeat in south Florida. Horses are being stolen, sold, “rescued”, and “adopted” for slaughter, mostly to satify the Cuban-American market. There even have been horses butchered in pens and stalls on their owner’s property!

        Think of the wider implications if slaughter comes back to this country!


  5. I’m sure all of you read in Horseback Magazine the HSUS – with which I’m not always in agreement – hired an economist who showed Bob Abbey how the BLM could save something like $123 million dollars over the next decade by using in the field management and contraceptives. Apparently the HSUS didn’t get any response either and suggested defunding the roundups.

    Sounds good to me. What sounds even better is defunding Sillyzar’s plan for using $42 million to purchase ONE feed lot, er, sanctuary. It’s in the proposed budget. Holy Guacamole!

    The House Natural Resources Committee was supposed to have a full committee hearing on this, but postponed because of snow. We must start writing/calling and ask them to pull this idiotic crap out – no funds for “sanctuaries” OR roundups!


    • Suzanne, Yes, We must express this strongly to all from here on out!!

      No money for Roundups!!
      No money for Eastern warehousing on ‘pastures’.
      No money for continued Long Term Holding.

      Return our horses to the wild and save money, save lives and save bloodlines. mar


    • Here, here! Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “easier said than done”. My husband suggests we unite under one banner – the “Hay Baggers”! LOL


  6. I do really like how you began this article. Millions of American are out of work, losing their homes, going without medical care, children are not getting enough daily food, the elderly are living in substandard care facilities and the American public education system is overburdened or broken. Police, fire, rescue and EMT stations are forced to cut back services or layoff workers leaving communities vulnerable. Social programs are bankrupt. Food pantries and homeless shelters are overflowing with needs that cannot be met. So, where is the federal government’s focus? Playing a ridiculous game of ‘shuffle the Mustangs’. All for the never ending cycle of greed, corruption and power in high places. I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard the aide being pledged to Haiti. NOT that America should not help out the Haitian people who are in desperate need, but, what about our domestic citizens?


    • Morgan my sentiments exactly!!! I was quite upset when they were bragging about that TV programme raising $50 million for Haiti, the second highest ever raised was the $38 million raised for Katrina!!!! Now that is just not right, there are still people suffering 3 years down the line from the after effects of Katrina!!!!! We can raise more for another nation than we can for our own people?? Just doesnt make sense.


  7. Suzanne, we must fund sanctuaries for the 40,000+ horses languishing in holding facilities by the end of this year’s round up schedule. They can’t remain how they are. Do you realize in Pickens’ plan, she would purchase the land for starting with 10,000 horses and room for 30,000. Salaczar, however won’t help with the ongoing care and feeding, preferring instead to foot 100% of the bill and have them suffer to boot. Out of the other side of his mouth, he calls for public/private partnerships.


    • These horses have their own land that BLM has been taking from them. There is room for all the holding horses born in the wild. They are gelded and pzp’d and so the majority of them will not be reproducing. But they need to be wild again regardless. Craig Downer says there is room for the 30,000 plus another 8,000. They will not be causing a population explosion but living out their lives as they should. mar


      • I would love them released back to the wild. i am just not optimistic about this at all. A national sanctuary, not BLM prison would be the best alternative, imo.


    • Save ~ I didn’t “accidentally” call them feed lots for nothing. The BLM’s stated plan is to siphon them off for slaughter.

      Besides, these horses couldn’t survive the rich grass in the Mid-West for a week. Look how many have already perished at Calico just from eating the HAY.

      This is a no-brainer. Salazar has no brain and he thinks we don’t either.


  8. In fairness to the Obama Administration, this massacre was orchestrated, plotted and funded before the election/taking office.

    Now, I’ll grant you that DOI/BLM has asked for an increase for round-up and warehouse funding and the administration AND Congress don’t seem to have a problem with it. Also, we have been bombarding Congress and the White House with commo re: the horrific implementation of Pryor, Calico, etc and no one there gives a dying mustang’s/burro’s butt worth of attention….but, Obama didn’t plan or fund this disaster. But he sure let it continue, even in the face of the devastation reports of the equines and the outrageous costs. Now his hands are bloddy too.


  9. D. Masters, you are entitled your opinion but I think Salazar made things a lot worse after his appointment by Obama. Then Salazar appointed Abbey–a long time BLM agent who’d been in charge of the BLM in NV. I don’t know if Obama knew what he was doing but he certainlty picked a real wild horse hater to oversee the DOI/BLM. Things are a lot worse now . It doesn’t seem to matter who’s in charge in D.C. since the corporations really are.


    • Salazar has made things worse, but it might have happened anyway. As D. Masters said, this was all planned out when Bush was in the White House.

      Whatever Obama did or didn’t know before, he should be getting a clue by now.


      • He (Obama) has no “getting a clue” rights in my book any longer. He is a culprit NOW, in addition to Bush/Cheney.

        But thanks for the support and understanding of the budgetary process. It’s tedious, lengthy and transpires well before the event.


    • Please reread my post. All I am saying is that this round-up and the ones before and pending post-Calico were already tagged and bagged into the FY 2009 budget…that’s Bush, not Obama. As I said, with the current revelations of the destruction, mortality and zeroed out herd areas prior to and concurrent with the Obama administration, his administration does certainly NOW have blood on its hands. He could have shut them down any time, Salazar, Abbey regardless.

      But they didn’t plot this out or fund it. And at the same time, the Obama administration has certainly allowed it. On that, we can agree.

      No, things are not alot worse now…..this has been going on for decades since the 1971 Act. We are only more cognizant of it and it’s being followed in the press and internet more acutely. Thank God for the internet.


  10. Every person that comments here must call the White House every day, and write their congressman. We vent here, but our actions must be on the phone and in writing to our elected officials. This is the most horrific, unjust policy I’ve seen in years, and it will stop if we all pitch in and take action by calls and letters. God save the Mustang.


    • Denise, believe me we do and any new advocates we can gather on the way are encouraged to do so too, one at a time. We are building momentum, it is just taking a long time and can be very frustrating and soul destroying.


  11. Hello, I’m a thirteen year old girl and I just recently heard about this and what Obama and his administration is doing. I HIGHLY disagree. These horses, from my reasearch, have been roaming this land for decades, and they shouldn’t be taken away from their home. They were causing no harm. Also, his thought of trying to decrease whaling by legalizing it is completely wrong, and not logical as well. I am in the process of writing him a letter, and sending it to the White House, in hopes that he will take action, and do what is right.


  12. Samantha, what an intelligent and caring young person you are. Thank you for helping our wild horses and whales. Your parents I am sure are very proud of you.


  13. Did you know about a 50 meter high horse being built in Ebbsfleet, Kent, United Kingdom (Taller than the Statue of Liberty). The plan is to spend upto £10m ($16m) to build the horse statue and put the newly built area and international railway station Ebbsfleet International station clearly on the map. The plans have started for the statue that will be visible from London City UK. The horse is replication of a peice of art 33 times life size horse.


Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.