The Force of the Horse

Nevada Struggles with Finding Equine Friendly Leaders

Guest OpEd by Arlene Gawne

Election D-Day is Coming and Few Choices in Nevada

Photog Terry Fitch and all of the "Happy" horses at BLM's Palomino Valley Concentration Camp ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

In Nevada, in just a few weeks’ time, we citizens have to choose between two Senatorial candidates – incumbent Senator Harry Reid or his challenger, Sharron Angle. Now if you are a wild horse advocate that is a rotten choice! Why you may ask? Let’s begin with Mrs. Angle. When I personally spoke to Sharron Angle months ago about the terrible demise of the wild herds in our state and the loss of potential eco-tourism jobs, she clenched her fists and said for the sake of full disclosure, her husband had worked for the BLM in Tonopah for many decades and that those horses were starving on that range, and it was a good thing that the BLM pulled them off. And if I wanted to see wild horses in good condition I should go to the Palomino adoption facility near Reno NV and see how much better off they were there. Well I have heard quite a few negative things about that facility and its’ care of wild horses, but Mrs. Angle closed the discussion by walking off, angry it seemed.

So Sharron Angle does not impartially relate to the various sides of the wild horse & burro issues such why our national heritage – those drastically reduced herds of wild horses and burros living on public land at less than 1 animal per 1,300 football fields – deserve a fair share of public land where they can live in natural family bands, move seasonally for appropriate forage and water without competing with private livestock, running into cattle fences or crossing unfenced horse management areas and thereby becoming “estray horses” to be sold to slaughterhouse buyers. Nor does Sharron Angle appear to realize that there is an international as well as national market of visitors prepared to pay good dollars to see free-roaming wild herds in the beautiful state of Nevada. Visitors will come to see wild horses but stay to enjoy our rural scenery, history, cafes, cowboy poets, to mention but a few things we have to offer. In other words, wild horse eco-tourism means desperately needed new jobs for rural and urban Nevada.

That leaves me to consider the incumbent Senator Harry Reid, and here I flounder. I and others have spoken at length to Senator Reid’s staff about ecotourism and a fair share of public range to no effect. I have spoken directly to Senator Reid about the extreme number of wild horses being removed from Nevada public land in 2010 alone. By BLM admission, at least 4,023 of Nevada’s horses will be removed and only 1,726 returned to the public land with all returning mares on contraceptives, at a skewed ratio of 40 mares to 60 stallions and not in pre-existing family bands with mature band stallions or lead mares knowledgeable in water, forage and safety on their range. Furthermore, in the very ranges were horses were deemed excessive in number or suffering without water, private livestock numbers have been increased e.g the Calico HMAs, NV and water was found in abundance e.g.Tuscarora HMAs, NV. After I mentioned that helicopter chases cost tens of millions to taxpayers and prove deadly to many horses, Senator Reid soothed me with statements that he too hates to see the wild horses in holding pens and he is working with Madeline Pickens to bring those horses back to Nevada. Well that will be news to her. Madeline Pickens has not benefited by his “co-operation” as the BLM has been procrastinating for over two years on her proposed wild horse sanctuary.  Crocodile tears do not impress me any longer, not in struggling Las Vegas where we need to diversify our tourism base so that jumbo jets from Europe and Asia will bring visitors who want to enjoy our Wild Herds Wild in our West. Senator Reid does not try to rein in the bloated and free-spending Dept. of the Interior bureaucracy or its leader, Secretary Ken Salazar.  Indeed, Senator Reid did not use his impressive power in the current administration to put a moratorium on costly roundups when we taxpayers lack the tax revenue to provide for those horses in captivity. That makes me wonder if there really is great truth in former Senator Burns declaration that Harry Reid helped him write the 2004 Amendment that gutted the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horses & Burros Act after it was slipped unnoticed into an appropriations bill just before midnight.

So can anyone suggest an intelligent, honest write-in candidate for Nevada Senatorial race this November? I am all ears.

Fortunately there is one Nevada candidate that has consistently stood up for potential wild horse eco-tourism jobs and the need to protect our vanishing wild horses & burros. That’s our incumbent Representative Dina Titus who is in a close race for Nevada’s Third Congressional Seat with Joe Heck. Dina has been a refreshing change from most Nevadan politicians and I am eager to cast my vote for her. I haven’t heard Joe Heck deliver any ideas for wild horse & burro protection.

If only Dina could be the write-in candidate for the Senate – that less than illustrious body that consistently stalls wild horse & burro protection bills and approves massive annual budget increases for BLM roundups and  incarceration of wild horses. Too bad senators weren’t limited to 2 year terms and had to face our public anger regularly. Please pass me the BIG bottle of aspirin.

Arlene Gawne

FAX: (702) 838-1009

31 replies »

  1. It’s the economy stupid. We hear the term JOBS time and time again but its a code name for consumption. The economy is based totally on consumption. Consumers like us to buy stuff the fodder of all corporations and the reason our American Mustangs are expendable. Mr. Fitch, your so right, all we get is the worse of two evils to vote for but all horse advocates need to make our issue the number one reason for voting for anyone. Can any one believe more jobs will make an already overcrowded country be a better place for everyone when all the beauty of the place vanishes in the name of jobs, growth and development? No this place is about the land, the mountains, rivers and most of all our Wild Mustangs. We the people must be the caretakers of that heritage why else would we want to be here? To shop at Walmart?


  2. Across the US, just as in Nevada, the American voting public really doesn’t have much of a choice. I don’t like that 6 year term thing either, Arlene. And 2 years in some ways is too short; reps get elected and immediately start running again via fundraising and posturing to get reelected.

    Thanks Arlene…so Angle has been sucking at the government teat?!? I’m shocked!!!!! 😉


  3. Politics is not my forte but Harry Reid is obviously a lost cause, but can we not find a way to change Angle’s mind with education. We have so many persistant, calm educators in this group, she may have been insistant on that meeting but all it takes is one thing to cast doubt and get people asking questions and finding out the truths. Just a thought, may be a stupid one but would it be worth trying without getting her hackles up?


    • If you look at, listen to, and read about Sharon Angle, I don’t see how you think you’re going to get to her and change her mind. She really has no mind to change! She will simply do what Sarah Palin and her Republican handlers tell her to do.

      The choice in Nevada is between a senior Senator with the ability to continue to fend off efforts to help the horses in any capacity and who will use his leadership position to stymie us at every turn, OR a freshman Senator who will have little clout or ability to influence the legislation. She is already a “no” vote if her husband works at the BLM and still doesn’t know the truth.

      Angle is the lesser of two evils. As hard as it would be to pull that lever in her favor, if I was a Nevada resident that is exactly what I would do.


  4. We face the same thing here in California and I think the scenario repeats itself another 48 times over. The wild spaces and wild things just lay there innocently and peacefully waiting to be raped and the governments chief occupation is finding ways to rape rapidly and efficiently–well I take that back, nothing the government has a hand in is done efficiently or even very well. Too bad Nature just bi*ch-slap the buzzards.


    • Morgan here’s an ugly truth for you to think about. Barbara Boxer may have signed onto HR503 and is “friendly” to other animal rights but the buck stops when your her pocketbook becomes involved.

      Carly on the other hand is equally as bad. I called her campaign headquarters not so long ago and asked them where Carly stood on horse slaughter. I was told in no uncertain terms that campaigns are busy and trying to “know” every issue just isn’t possible. This was early on with HoneyBandit’s story getting out.

      So unless Carly has somehow suddenly shifted gears she doesn’t know a thing about slaughter, the BLM or any of it. I have zero knowledge of where she would stand if she were in the know.

      Another Scwartzy in the making. God help us.


  5. Illinois will be filling one of its senate seats come November. We have two choices -both Chicagoans with shady backgrounds – one’s a crook and the other’s a liar. Not much of a choice, is it? There’s “hope” though. Heard recently they’ve discovered a moon with characteristics similar to Earth. Maybe the elite will become settlers there after they finish this planet with their greed. Obama, Salazar, Reid, there’s a long list. Too bad tickets aren’t available for purchase now, I’m certain the majority of Americans would contribute.


  6. Thanks Arlene. Good luck to Nevada. There are so many there who love the horses. It has been sad to watch the wild ones go. Harry likely should be voted out. So if this can happen, you Must overcome Angle’s prejudice. She has to represent wild horse lovers. Go to her and say “We would help you win if you will help us win, too.” mar


    • Given her statement and previous job with the BLM..I would suggest-she is a l;ost cause..the only advantage I can see to electing angle..she has NO power-will never have power, and Reid does- I think we have a better chance of influencing a power hungry politician..than a nut job…nut jobs are dangerous.


      • Whatever these people are we still need to have Real talks with them and then decide.
        If we do not bother covering our ass we may let opportunities go by. Just carefully choose who will do the formal talking. I am serious. Then you can tell the world what is said and allow voters to choose. I think it all sucks big time. But this is our system and we need to use it. Even when it seems the odds are stacked against us. How can talking hurt? It will make things clear. Even bad news should be challenged. I do not even know who could do this. Maybe someone from ASPCA? They are National.

        I have thought we need a very thorough questionaire for candidates so we can evaluate them and if they can get good marks we can recommend them or not. It could represent wild horse and burro advocates. Is that such a crazy idea?? They all want votes and we vote. mar


  7. Thank you for the insight. I had no idea Angle was on the BLM bandwagon. My nephew is in Nevada campaigning for Dina Titus. She’s a conservationist and is in favor of green energy. Though I believe she understands that horses can co-mingle with solar and wind projects, etc. I just don’t understand who is telling the BLM they have to be removed to make way for these type projects?


    • “I just don’t understand who is telling the BLM they have to be removed to make way for these type projects?”

      Yes, it was very puzzling to read the description of the Wind Energy project needed so many acres around it devoid of ANY growth.


      • This is puzzling to me too, since i have worked on construction of wind farms, and most of them are located in sage brush country, all the many miles of roads required into these sites have to be restored down to the last rock on private lands-and put back into an undisturbed state..Why the government thinks it would be necessary to destroy all the surrounding lands is mystifiying to me..Perhaps they need a non government consultant- to make a good business and environmental decision..but then they would have to slow down the fasttracking process and consider environmental concerns..and eliminating those concerns seems to be the only way they can figure out how to fast track..It took us years to bring about the regulations that held this very thing in check..and poof..its gone. And they still try to sell me the premise..its the wild horses who will destroy the land..yet they have lived on this land for hundreds of years in much larger numbers and thrived and so did the land.


  8. Don’t count on re-educating Sharron Angle – if you can accomplish that, we have a struggle in the Middle East we would like to recommend you to! But only after you convert Ken Salazar to limiting cattle leases and halting the Ruby pipeline construction. And stopping that little fence through the Pryor Wild Horse range.
    Either the corporations tell the BLM that horses should be removed in order to utilize (or over-utilize) the water rights on these land parcels or the BLM is offering to do so and using the corporations as the excuse. Currently at Primm, on the California/Nevada border (Highway I-15) endangered desert tortoises are being hand gathered to make way for heavy equipment that will build the Ivanpah Solar Electric “farm” subsidized by our government’s tax incentives. Sun’s rays will focus on the tops of 200-foot towers where WATER boilers will produce steam to run electric turbines – yes, scarce desert water. Biologists say tortoise relocation is “an experimental strategy with a dismal track record”. But US Fish and Wildlife and the BLM approved the plan. Who pressured them? Janine Blaeloc, director of the Western Lands Project, a nonprofit Seattle organization dedicated to preventing privitization of public lands was quoted as saying, “It is complete hubris for anyone to say you can save a species by removing it from its habitat…This is the beginning of the industrialization of this site, and the irreversible transformation of its ecosystem.” She could be speaking of wild horses and burros and their eco-system along the Ruby pipeline corridor that soon will be undergoing the same type of industrialization. It is pathetic but let us never give up our protest, our lobbying and our determination to save our magnificent heritage.


  9. How about everyone in Nevada stay home on election day–NO VOTES. Perhaps that’s what we all should do. NO CHOICE–NO VOTES


    • Gotta disagree on this. I don’t think anyone should ever stay home on Election Day. Even if you abstain from voting for the Senate seat, there are still many other candidates and issues that should be voted on. Voting is the only control we have over a government that is over bloated and getting bigger all the time on both the state and federal level. I like having my say. Even if you can’t take a stand on one issue, it’s improtant to stand for something.


  10. Arlene, I do agree. But with Angle I thought the game was played that way; we could scratch her back if she would scratch ours… she doesn’t have to agree if she would act on their behalf because we need an ally and she needs votes. It would take another meeting with her, sit down style so no one walks off, and see if we deliver can she?

    BLM/DOI make the wrong decisions and wrong moves all the time and do not want to undo them for their arrogance. Those who came to Nevada with projects had lawyers who may have said; “These wild horses and burros are protected… How do we deal with them?” BLM likely just said “Horses will be no problem, we have been working on that for years now and we almost got the ‘problem’ licked.” They just needed to have a little more push and then they got great inspiration when our campaign grew. Now they are racing to the extinction line to beat us out of any future for the wild herds while continuing the violence and land grabbing. mar


    • Problem: she will be elected by nevada voters..our input is meaningless..we have nothing to scratch her back with- but donations to her election campaign…and I will not donate to ANYONE not a verified supportor..I have plenty of places to put donations rather than sending it to mars..Why waste time and money on someone whos stated posistion is against the wild pretense at all as to where she stands and her background..There are candidates who are middle ground and undecided- we could perhaps persuade-this is not one of them.


      • I acquiesce to your argument. But she has not made a public statement against the horses. Her Husband was BLM, not her. I KNOW what you are saying. I would not give her money either but people will be voting for her because they are sick of Harry Reid. m


  11. What a dilema in Nevada. Reading both sides of your arguments it would be hard to decide. I haven’t liked Harry Reid since I saw him, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Shumer, Ben Bernake(sp?), and a couple of other people announce to the American people that economic situation was extremely dire. I happened to have CNN on during the live press conference. To me, true leaders inspire confidence. This is a serious situation, but together, as we always have, we will solve this problem. I thought their tone was so glass empty that it would cause the stock market to tank (which it did for a while), and cause the American people to lose faith in the economy which is exactly what happened.

    I get emails to send Sharon Angle money. I don’t know why I get these emails, but I do. If I had know her relationship with the BLM, I would have fired back a note. Maybe we should find her official web page and bombard it with email, and see what happens. Maybe we should do the same for Harry Reid. Harry Reid could be a game changer or the same old, same old.

    It should be pretty apparent by now to all of us who are really following this story that the President is in bed with energy. To the ninth ring of hell goes the environment. I hate to bring wives and children into anything, but has anyone tried writing to Michelle Obama about this?


  12. This press release contains some interesting data about mining claims, current and abondoned you might want to take a look at-for refrencing mining influence on public lands:

    IDing mine sites

    He said the agency has been using computerized land records and maps to identify abandoned mine sites.

    “We’re taking a proactive approach to warning active mining claimants whose mining claims include hazardous sites,” Abbey said in a media release.

    BLM spokesman Kevin Flynn said the agency’s Abandoned Mine Lands program has been actively engaged since 2009 in efforts to identify mine hazards on public lands, with help from mine claimants when possible.

    The BLM conducted a geospatial analysis using the agency’s abandoned mine database to inventory which mining claims on public lands may contain abandoned mine hazards.

    As of Jan. 1, the inventory contained nearly 25,280 sites, including 1,047 sites spread throughout Wyoming.

    About 20 percent of the sites have either been remediated, have reclamation actions planned or under way or do not require further action.

    Under the new initiative, the BLM plans to work with mine claimants, landowners, the mining industry and recreational user groups to reduce or remediate identified mine hazards.

    Flynn said nearly 4,000 holders of active mining claims located in 13 western states and Alaska will be contacted by the BLM to advise them of hazards that have been reported within or near the boundaries of their claims.


  13. Just my opinion, but I think it’s better to work on Harry Reid……beyond the fact that her husband worked for the BLM and she sounds like a strong supporter of the load of crap they try sell the public, but she has made some remarks that make her stand on other issues scare the hell out of me.

    As stated, Dina Titus is on our side, having signed the letter to Salazar demanding a moratorium….Shelley Berkeley also signed it.


  14. At least you got an answer! I am getting so sick of calling candidates and getting zero response back. The only think I have gotten for *any* candidate in Colorado was an email reply from someone in Ken Buck’s office (running for Senate) which said “Thank you for taking the time to contact is. In an answer to your question,
    what you are referring to is a state government issue, and because we are
    running for a national office Ken is not taking stances on any of these
    state issues. I recommend that you contact your local state representative
    or senator.”

    That was better the Perlmutter, though, who is running for re-election in the 7th district of Colorado. When I called them they told me they refused to take an official stance on anything until there was a specific piece of legislation associated with it. Hmmm, that’s funny, his website seems to take lots of stances on lots of issues and yet not one bill number is listed along with it… Not that the guy would have my vote anyway but it’s frustrating.

    To think I’m less than 10 miles out of Mike Coffman’s district. He was the only Congressman from Colorado to sign that letter to Pelosi and 1 of the only 2 Republicans in the House for Colorado.

    I have voted for both Dem’s and Republican’s based off which candidate I agree with. I think that wild horse advocates have to be very careful about being partisan. Both parties are completely out of control. Both sides have people that support wild horses. Both sides have people who want them all rounded up and gone. Burns was a Republican. Salazaar is a Democrat. Point being: they ALL suck.


    • I agree Rachel, some just suck more than others..but they have all contributed to this in some degree..Its only that they identify ‘themselves” by its hard to seperate the 2…I chose to go with the party I have most influence with and with canidates who most reflect my views..Altho there are many issues to consider-the wild horse issue is at the top of my agenda..i have donated to out of state elections due to a candidate supporting a better way for the wild horses and I have let my own in state candidates know that..I don’t ask for anything for myself, but I demand it for the wild horses, because if they cannot see that we have more to lose here than a 4 legged critter..they have no business wanting a job as a public servent.


  15. Rachael, I agree–we should vote on issues–and we should show up or send our votes in on election day–we just don’t HAVE to cast a vote for candidates when there are no choices except the lesser of two evils. Wouldn’t it be just perfect for there to be a good turn-out of voters and NO votes for candidates where there are no choices–NO VOTES AT ALL would send some sort of message.


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 )

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.