Horse News

The BLM Censoring Wild Horse Roundups

Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp and Chief Photojournalist Matt Adams

Las Vegas CBS Channel 8

George Knapp Nails BLM and Dave Cattoor

LAS VEGAS — The Bureau of Land Management has suffered two defeats in federal court in recent weeks. One judge ordered BLM to make public the names of ranchers who lease public land for grazing, something BLM didn’t want to do. A second judge struck down a BLM plan to severely limit public input into how public lands are managed.

Click on Image to View Channel 8 video of David Cattor conspiring to hide killing horses from Horseback Magazine reporters, Laura Leigh, Terry Fitch and R.T. Fitch ~ Photo by Jim Wilson/NYT

BLM management has come under severe criticism from wild horse advocates who allege the agency seems to be morphing a public program into a private, off-limits undertaking.The BLM is in the middle of the most ambitious schedule of wild horse roundups in modern history, with some 10,000 mustangs from Nevada and other states in its crosshairs — meaning they will be captured and then shipped off to holding pens or long term warehousing at a cost of tens of millions of public dollars.

BLM says it values transparency, but has gone to great lengths to hide what it’s doing from the very taxpayers who foot the bill. It’s as if BLM is taking a lesson from other three-letter agencies, like CIA.

The 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act was passed with overwhelming support from the public for the preservation of wild herds on public ranges, but BLM has chafed under this edict ever since, despite P.R. statements to the contrary.

More than 20 million acres that were set aside for the herds have been zeroed out — wiped free of horses even though privately owned cattle still graze on the same acres.

BLM has apparently grown tired of being pummeled for the roundups, but when you chase wild animals with helicopters across miles of tough terrain, there will always be consequences and BLM no longer wants you to see them.

All of its most recent roundups have been headquartered on islands of private land located within the public acres. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but by putting their operations on private property, BLM managers get total control over who gets to see what they do.

At last winter’s Calico Roundup in Nevada, the bloodiest roundup in memory, observers from the public and media were invited to watch for only designated times and from a considerable distance.

Horse advocates didn’t see animals injured or killed, yet we know it happened, a lot, since more than 100 mustangs died either at the site or in holding pens later. It likewise didn’t want to see images on the evening news of the horses that keeled over dead during the Owyhee Roundup after being run for miles during the hottest month of the year.

BLM not only put roundup operations on private land, its holding pens are now private too. Horse advocates were previously able to visit the Fallon corrals to photograph the carnage, such as the colts whose hooves were literally ground off by the forced run over miles of sharp rock.

A few months ago, BLM decided it had had enough of those images, so it severely limited public access to holding facilities. It has even declared the air space off limits, a power it doesn’t have.

Horse advocates who tried to get in to see one recent roundup were threatened with arrest, even after a federal judge ordered BLM to allow them in.

What next, will they start stashing wild horses down in the bowels of Area 51, right there with the corpses of extraterrestrials? Will mustangs become the black budget equivalent of stealth drones and death rays?

The BLM doesn’t want the public to see the money shot — that is, a dead or dying horse or a cowboy kicking a colt in the head, so access is tightly controlled, you know, for our own protection.

The wild horse program isn’t part of the Pentagon’s black budget. National security is not at stake out on the range. Those are public dollars being spent on public lands by public employees. There is no room in those wide open spaces for secrecy and subterfuge.

Another roundup is set to begin this week in Nevada. BLM says it will arrange for at least one day for the public to observe the operation.

15 replies »

  1. Not only will Silver King begin this week but next Monday, and I wish I knew why, a contractor, you know who, will be rounding up Burros in Cibola-Trigo near Yuma, AR.
    They could bait trap. I have no idea how the burros of Twin Peaks fared. Burros many times are far more abused than the horses by the contractor. They are smart and they are not as fast. Elyse has a mule foal in her pics in a new blog. It was scared into standing still… then finally ran the rest of the way down the burlap. This violence is such that the people carrying this out are, to me, the worst criminals I have known of. They must be stopped. Please help us stop them. Please contribute to Herd Watch so we can attend the roundups still coming in Utah, Oregon, Colorado and Wyoming. mar


    • Yes, we need more video of the burros being rounded up. I can’t even picture a helicopter rounding up burros. It seems absurd. And with only 2000+ left in the wild, we shouldn’t be rounding up ANY!


      • The 2000 burro number was last years! But I have been told they reproduce faster than horses!! I wonder how they do that? Do they all have twins? They are going after ‘nuisance’ burros all over… meaning any who got away will be hunted down.

        BLM and their fancy PR company will be making the most of Madeleine’s sanctuary when it will do them the most good.

        If Western Watersheds Project, et al, can sue and beat BLM because they have not done studies to base their permanent, far reaching and damaging decisions upon, then we can sue and win, too. We know they are cranking these roundups into high gear to do the most lasting damage the fastest they can. Judges do not seem able to understand the real intricacies of this deceit so we must be very precise how we go at this so we can turn this around. mar


  2. Elyse’s blog has a lot of updates on the Twin Peaks round-up. One picture of a baby burro that was terrified of the helicopter and away from it’s mother.


  3. With both the Litchfield and Palomino Valley facilities supposedly filled to capacity, the run-off is being sent to Broken Arrow.
    A private party, in charge of Wild Equines that are STILL Public animals, I don’t care what the spinmeisters say.
    Damn this agency.
    If I can’t see those horses, I want them back where they belong. The Bureau made it perfectly clear they had no room for these animals on Public land. Who the Hell are they to give my Horses over to a private stockman, and not account to ANY of us the conditions of those animals or where they’ll be spending the rest of their lives??


  4. Still trying to track down the 682 horses rounded up out of the Seaman, White River, Golden Gate and Caliente Herds last year. Did a FOIA Request to Ely District and got unsatisfactory response so filed suit against them for failure to reply. Summons was served to DOJ just days ago. Follow Jubic v. BLM in the DC District Court, case # 101361 – assigned to Judge Roberts. It will be interesting to see their response as to what became of these horses. Register FREE with PACER (Public Access to Courts Electronic Records) to view the docs, but costs 8cents a page to view.


  5. Good luck, C.J. Please stay on the trail! Great article by George! By coincidence, I’ve started reading all BLM news and came across the article re their being barred from making grazing changes. I want to know EVERTYHING about the BLM’s moves and methods, the organizations that oppose them in our courts since this can only be ammo for the wild horses. There’s a similar M.O. here – the BLM refusing access and attempting to thwart the very people they serve.

    The judge stated that in pushing ahead with the grazing rules, the BLM offered no “reasoned analysis,” their environmental impact statement failed to address “concerns expressed by its own expert scientists,” and furthermore “never seriously considered the concerns of others” by all but ignoring the responses they got. Sound familiar? The Public Lands Council felt the environmental groups had no standing to sue under the Constitution unless “you can show how the regulations cause some concrete and particularized injury to you.” I am not an attorney but since this very reasoning was used to continue the Calico roundup, seems to me a very important precedent has been established by this judge who decided for the environmental groups.

    I have failed miserably thus far to get an audience with Senator Durbin. I guess he is busy with the “Dream Act.” Little does he know or care that we have our own “dream act” which cannot make it to the floor for a vote. Watching CNN yesterday a senator spoke about changing the commonplace practice of individual senators blocking bills and appointments. This spoke volumes to me about the problems our country is facing. If one senator can block a bill for “national security” or any other excuse and there is no reporting of this behavior, what useful purpose could the Senate possibly serve? Amen.


  6. And the main stream press, the White House continue the massacre of our wild ones.

    I appreciate Mr. Knapp’s efforts and his channel(s) that give him air time, but not one major network has picked this up….NOT ONE! And the sanctimonious “mainstream” press hasn’t either.

    Let’s take a stab at why. Think they are Obama sycophants? Think they don’t want to appear to be attacking Obama? Think some piece of human waste product sitting in the comfy confines of the WH are saying “ignore it…it will go away”?

    Nathan Lane hosted a Broadway review at the WH and was master of cermony….he wanted to make a joke about the Salahi’s, WH said don’t, he obliged.


    I know why. They are self-serving, spin-control, special interest beholden A**Holes that haven’t fed a horse, saved a cat or canine or planted a community garden for a stinkin’ tomato. Useless trolls!.


  7. Great broadcast from George.
    Public horses on Public lands–the minute those horses leave public lands they are “stolen”. BLM steals them from public land and puts them on private property?? No no. The private owner can not have them corraled on his/her property. No no that property owner is now an accomplice in that theft. The horses must be managed on public lands– every second of their lives must be on public land ! They can not be trucked away from their “home range”. They must remain on that public property–if there is an emergency, the livestock must be removed first! Hay and water must be brought in for the horses! If there is fire, the horses must be brought to a part of their range that is safe– and then returned to their area. Those horses are not the property of BLM–they belong to the public that pays for the land and pays the BLM to be guardians -to protect them from injury,harassment and disease. What is it BLM does not get about “These are your federal ……….”


    • Yes, Ann. This is an absolute. Taking the horses off their lands is what needs to be stopped. Now. The entire processing and transport has, in my opinion, become part of the control BLM refuses to contain where it all belongs. Changing them into what May be defined as non-wild, with brands and gelding is not cutting it. That is an extension of the crime to deliberately prevent the horses return. It all goes together. It is all wrong and needs to be defined and stopped ASAP. They know we are getting close. The escalation is criminal, too. It is all to keep them off their lands. mar


  8. Hi mar Problem defined–need a good process to solve it. Will continue to write/call/email/ride in to town with my guns——-whatever it takes.


Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your 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.