Horse News

OIG Joins BLM in Propaganda War Against Iconic Wild Horses and Burros

Press Release from the Cloud Foundation

Timing suspect as Congress considers budget increase for unwarranted and costly roundups

Washington D.C. (December 14, 2010)—Failing to look at the actual numbers of wild horses and burros left in the American West, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report yesterday condoning BLM’s documented abuse of America’s Wild horses and burros, even ignoring wild horse deaths at the roundups OIG attended. The BLM allows the destruction of public lands by millions of privately owned livestock, repeatedly blaming a few thousand wild horses and burros for the damage. 30 years ago there were three times more wild horses and burros in the wild than there are today.

“The BLM is getting away with murder and the American taxpayers are paying for it,” states Cloud Foundation Director, Ginger Kathrens. “Our government is letting down our wild horses and burros as well as the American public who want them preserved. This OIG report is clearly just a case of one government agency talking to another.”

Although the OIG report states “we found no evidence of BLM or its contractors mistreating the animals” one only has to look at photographic and video documentation of wild horses being abused and mishandled to see that the OIG apparently ignored the vast amount of evidence sent to them and the multitude of evidence readily available online. This is vividly documented in the Peabody award-winning CBS special “Stampede to Oblivion” which outlines gruesome Nevada roundups.

“The government must stop turning a blind eye to what is going on. There is miles of documentation readily available proving that the BLM’s roundups are unnecessary and inhumane” explains independent humane observer, Elyse Gardner, who has documented the majority of roundups over the past year.

The BLM, and now the OIG, ignored the fact that wild horses are a returned native wildlife species. The OIG accepted BLM’s inflated population estimate of 38,000 wild horses and burron on the range. They failed to investigate how the agency arrived at that number. Based on BLM’s own reported numbers and removals since 2007, only 17,900 wild horses and burros will remain on the range by February 2011. BLM’s “appropriate management level” for the ten western states where wild herds still roam is 26,600 but the roundups continue. In Nevada’s New Pass/Ravenswood herd management area, where the horses had not been manipulated for six years, the herd averaged a 7.6% annual population increase. Wrongly, BLM estimates 20% growth rate for all herds.

A newly released report to Congress by independent authors, C. Bowers, L. Peeples and C.R. MacDonald, cites University of Southern California economist and professor, Dr. Caroline Betts, who has determined that America’s wild herds will go extinct in 11 years if BLM continues on the current track of removals and elimination of entire herds. The Cloud Foundation joins the authors of this report and others in calling for the defunding of the ongoing roundups in order to formulate a sustainable and viable plan for wild horse and burro management. Report now available online.

Wild horses cost little on our public range lands, but BLM is requesting a budget of $47.8 million for fiscal year 2011 just for holding 45,000 captive wild horses and burros. Subsidized livestock grazing, covering the majority of the wild horse ranges, results in an annual loss of $123 million per year and the damage to ecosystems is incalculable. Restoring wild horses and burros to the more than 24 million acres removed from them over the past 40 years along with restoring at least 150 “zeroed out” herds and managing ranges “principally” for wild equids per the Wild Horse and Burro Act, would effectively solve the “wild horse issue” that BLM has created through decades of mismanagement.

As early as this week, the Senate will consider an increase of $12 million to the BLM budget which would allow the agency to remove and warehouse thousands more wild horses and burros. “Using BLM’s own statistics there will be less than 6,000 horses by 2013. We call on the Senate to restore America’s wild horses and the confidence we once had in our government,” concludes Kathrens.

Links of interest:

New York Times “Horses Die in Roundup”

Stampede to Oblivion: An Award Winning Investigative Report from CBS Las Vegas:

Independent Report to Defund Roundups:

Rebuttal to Salazar’s plan in LA Times:
French TV reports on WildHorses:

CNN Report on Nevada Roundup with Jane Valez-Mitchell:

American Herds – “What’s Left?”

Humane Observer blog:

Straight from the Horse’s Heart blog:

Wild Horse Predators:

Congress Sends Letter for Wild Herds to Secretary Salazar:

Roundup Schedule:

Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit.  America’s Disappearing Wild Horses – A History:

Short link to this release:

Past Cloud Foundation releases:

Photos, video and interviews available by request from the Cloud Foundation

The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.

107 S. 7th St. – Colorado Springs, CO 80905, p. 719-633-3842


28 replies »

  1. After reading this toilet paper I see many FOIA’s in my future. A LOT of questions on their observations and their interviews. Was any advocate on this blog interviewed? If so was the “interview” a casual conversation struck up at the “observed” gathers or was there an official interview format? You can email me at As has recently been suggested I’d like to keep things off blogs.


  2. This is disgusting. I just e-mailed Dianne Feinstein’s office regarding the additional funds for the BLM asking her to see that it’s stopped. I also said that it’s about time that Congress starts listening to its taxpayers and start to return all wild horses and burros to their natural ranges. In addition, I said Congress should pass a bill to prohibit any transportation of U.S. horses (of all kinds) across U.S. borders for slaughter. I said it’s about time that these monies be allocated to Madeleine Pickens idea and rescues to assisted to keep all horses needing homes until new ones can be found. I also told her the BLM are killers as evidenced by the destruction and horror they have exhibited in their roundups.


  3. We’ve got to flood our Senators with objections. This is so ridiculous. I thought sure the OIG would see straight,m but I guess they are all “hand in each others pockets”. I am sooo disallusioned.


  4. If BLM is defunded, what happens to the horses in feedlots and pastures? I know we’re talking about ‘defunding’ just the planned future round-ups, but if the funds for that were cut, wouldn’t BLM just do a round-about, and use whatever funds are allocated for more round-ups, and then slaughter or euthenize the feedlotted horses because “those crazy hippys” caused the Congress to cut the horses’ “lunch money”? How do we keep them from doing that?


    • By repatriating the wild horses back to their homes..we have p;enty of evidence they were doing just fine where they were..and given the fact we are having a wet and snowy winter out here-no chance whatso ever we are going to see a lack of forage or water..most likely see massive wildfires this sommer-with alot of Bar B Qued beef on the hoof out here..they had homes until the BLM forclosed on them to sell them out to corporate interests..there will only be a certain group that that can’t be done with..foals that were born in hilding, have no skills learned from their dams to be able to return,,there are thousands of gelded studs..they should go before a firing squad for that act alone..but we can get enough together from what we have saved as stallions so far to maintain bands(in the meantime..we need to save more..most of these long term holding horses are of the age that they can teach much to the younger horses..they after all have managed to survive all these years in spite of the brutality of mankind..they can comeback from the brink if we cut off the purse strings and eliminate the BLM from the picture..We donot want clean energy..if this is the price we have to is too much..and taken your toxic waste from your foreign owned mines and put it in politicians backyards..BLM is the protector of NOTHING


  5. The conclusions in this document have been drawn based on corruption and ignorance, or perhaps a combination of the two.

    I have a lot of people tell me that horses scare them because horses are so big. Yet, none of those people have ever stood next to one, looked it in the eye, and taken a decisive step towards one only to see it back up or trot away.

    I am tired of corrupt or ignorant people who work at Interior making decisions about things they know nothing about like this summer when Louisianna wanted to build to build a barrier island to protect its fragile coast. Someone who worked in Interior said no because the creation of such an island might, sometime in the future, harm a speciess of migratory birds. Imagine.

    This is the same type of ignorant/corrupt type of idea. All these bullies understand is force and power. If love and gentleness struck them in the face, they would not know it.

    How can Interior and the BLM possibly manage a species it does not understand? Horses are not cattle. They are not dogs. They are gentle, loving, and protective. And unlike anyone in the House of Slytherin’ (apologies to J. K. Rowling), they have and would die to please or protect their human. It appears that the Death Eaters and Dementors have taken over DC and parts of the West. Horses would give us our lives, and what do we do to them in return? We take theirs—almost as casually as swatting at flies.

    Abomination in Obamanation.


  6. Blatantly corrupt and hellbent on using every dime they can get their grubby hands on before the horses die out. The Heil (sp?) Trust fund in NV has just been drained..Demand Congressional hearings! BLM – get your hands off our horses and burros!! They will be returned to the land dedicated to them. This is what we want you to do. You don’t get to decide to do what YOU want to do and PS – BLM and its contractors are GUILTY of every animal cruelty law ON THE BOOKS in each state they have pursued our horses.


  7. See, I would assume that the term ‘investigation’ would entail some sort of, mmm, investigation, you know, not the announcement that ‘we’ll be there at such and such a time and we’d like some special access’.
    An ‘investigation’ would intimate showin’ up without showin’ yer ass, entourage and all, an anonymous presence whereby you yourself are treated to the “Misbehave and we’ll throw you out” speech so many of us have had to endure.
    Did they really believe that, by announcing their intent, they’d be witness to an unvarnished roundup?
    We were told the OIG had been there and was given special dispensation, probably replete with sunscreen and mojitos and baby wipes for sweaty faces, if they ‘d acquiesced to stay as the sun rose high. It’s truly unfortunate (though not suprising) they left before the REAL show began.
    For those who have flooded the internet with bloody video of bloody consequences of an unimaginable horror visited on these animals, apparently your internet is not THE internet, or OIG has no access. Or perhaps they want none, for the implied association with common folk like us.
    Two fer two; independent investigation is simply not possible by anyone hand chosen to do this work. And apparently, there is no one with the balls to simply show up, like regular citizenry, for an honest unembellished unguided look at what we’ve all seen to be true.
    I’m truly disheartened; of all the investigative bodies, I would have thought the OIG beyond reproach, especially after publishing the DOI’s lack of scientific follow-through, an investigation that took 9 years to complete, not 4 roundups and a dozen (pre-arranged) visits to holding facilities.


  8. I hand delivered a letter to Feinstein’s Los Angeles office yesterday, as well as conducted a public awareness campaign, (handing out literature, signs with roundup pictures, and talking to individuals) down on the street in front of her office building. My family and I handed out about 40-50 flyers with information on roundups and how to contact Feinstein, Obama, and Salazar. I had 5 conversations with individuals and my daughters and I can’t wait to go back again. Many people said that they would call or get involved in some way. I just pray that our momentum keeps building and a giant wave will come down on the BLM’s head and knock them out. I also asked to make an appointment to speak with Feinstein during her Christmas break and her aide Alex is supposed to help me arrange this. Keep fighting the good fight, everyone and thank you to Dr. Caroline Betts, C. Bowers, L. Peeples, C.R. McDonald and everyone at USC who researched this report. It is so well written and the truth is the ammunition we need to fight all the lies of the BLM.


  9. For me it is like “awakening to a nightmare” in communist Hungary! There they would always lie, the Government could do anything, people had NO RIGHTS! I keep pinching myself on a daily basis, to see if I am really in the USA!


  10. This does not add up. Just months ago, acting IG Mary Kendall writes Secretary Ken Salazar a memorandum accompanying a report on the lack of scientific integrity within the Department of Interior. There were no areas of scientific credibility in the May report, and now, today, DOI basically condones what BLM is doing regarding managing horses and how it handles round-ups. This does not add up to a rational number.

    This is the time for concerted action.


  11. It’s interesting that the BLM/DOI and administration is so oblivious to the public’s fasination with wild horses. If money talks, you think our government would hear the sounds from Madison Avenue. The September edition of ANTHROPOLOGIE is devoted to selling its toney, trendy, upscale fashions using young women perched bare back or standing next to horses in settings strongly suggestive of the romanticized West. Prairie grass, clumps of trees, and mountains in the distance. The marketing and sales saavy gurus know how to make their products appealing by posing classically beautiful women with classically beautiful horses in a classically American setting suggesting both relationship and adventure. If American’s did not have this archetypal relationship with horses, Madison Avenue wouldn’t be using it to try to sell products for the up and coming newly wealthy, young, and adventurous.

    It is disheartening to see how deep the disconnect is between this government and the people it seeks to govern.


  12. America is not what it used to be. I have never thought the decline of a country possible at the speed of light. A few morons in office, disconnected from the reality and with an agenda other than the people they serve – are ruining so much at such a level – it is shocking. The United States of Ignorance, Lies and Greed… They join forces and abuse their power – the destruction of other indigenous civilizations ought to have taught a lesson, but they don’t get it.
    They are all corrupt.

    Sent: 12/13/2010 11:21:06 A.M. Mountain Standard Time
    Subj: Re: (no subject)

    Dear Ms. Courtney:

    In response to your inquiry concerning the video, the American Horse Protection Association (AHPA) is opposed to utilizing helicopters to this extreme. When used correctly and judiciously, helicopters can be effective in moving horses toward trap sites and into corrals in a safe and humane manner taking into consideration factors such as pace, terrain, number of horses, number of foals, etc.

    Several complaints have been made to BLM concerning this issue. The AHPA Independent Designated Observer Pilot Program Final Report did not specifically reference this incident as neither Drs. Ralston nor Stull observed such action while they were present at the gather.

    AHPA did not ‘sanitize’ its report to BLM, as you suggest. The purpose of the Pilot Program from its inception was to establish independent science-based evidence on the care and handling of the animals during the gather process. The Report accurately reflects the findings made by the four individuals who observed the care and handling of the animals while they were in the field, and contains 18 recommendations.

    BLM’s press release dated 12-3-10 focused only on the positive findings contained in the Report exclusive of any of the 18 recommendations contained therein. In AHPA’s opinion, by giving only cursory reference to suggested changes for areas of improvement, the press release was misleading and served to undermine the recommendations set forth.

    While one may agree or disagree with the individual’s observations and findings contained in the Report, AHPA’s offer to create a pilot program was not intended to be used as ‘cover’ for a program that is struggling, but rather to offer a positive, constructive way to identify improvements needed in the area of equine welfare. It serves as only one of many efforts to implement an overall animal welfare strategy in the wild horse and burro program, and, as a pilot, is not intended to be a final thesis on the care and handling of animals during the gather process.

    I hope the above response addresses your concerns.

    Robin C. Lohnes
    Robin C. Lohnes, Executive Director
    American Horse Protection Association
    1000 29th Street, NW Suite T-100
    Washington, DC 20007
    (202) 965-0500
    (202) 965-9621 Fax


    • 12-16-2010 Folks, Know that Robin has never been a friend of the wild ones. She was a political appointee to the BLM Advisory Board (aka a secretary) as she has a fatal case of BLM encephalopathy. If she really knew the history and laws, particularly regarding helicopters captures, she would relate the fact that it was illegal for any helicopter to be lower than 150 feet above any wild ones when the these thugs stampede the wild ones at full speed into corrals where it is not uncommon for a poor wild one to break its neck trying to escape this terror, maiming and killing of these precious North American species by sociopathetic thugs.

      Betty Kelly
      Carson City NV 89704


  13. ——————————————————————————–
    Sent: 12/13/2010 9:15:26 A.M. Mountain Standard Time
    Subj: Re: (no subject)

    Dear Mrs. Lohnes,

    Yes I have an inquiry. I attended the meeting here in Denver. Please let me know what you think of the helicopter incident below. Surely, a complaint is deemed necessary to such violation, when it is in fact clear this is neither humane nor professional as described in your recent report. Or might these incidents as below be conveniently dismissed by your agency so as to publish an embellished report in order to get more funding by Congress ?
    I appreciate your time and hope to hear from you soon. Video of concern is highlighted in yellow below.


    Monika Courtney

    To whom it may concern:

    In light of recent events during gather operations, new concerns of the discussed animal welfare within your agency arose. I met most of you during the Nat’l BLM Advisory Board meeting here in Denver in June. The discussions on welfare and transparency seemed to be a new reached milestone of a proposed pro-active partnership, yet results remain to be seen. Whilst implementing a balance and progress on both fronts in a true manner is a goal that could be achieved – the lack of representation of wild horse groups within your Board impedes such said goal.
    You might not be aware of all that is going on out there. BLM is a big outfit and improvements can’t happen overnight. Yet, your Board requires the incorporation of at least one representative to wild horse groups, as we have plenty of experts available. If BLM’s pledges and public reports carry any weight, then incidents such as below can and must be prevented, see link of helicopter incident (highlighted in yellow). The danger and unprofessionalism did occur, and do not reflect the findings in your recent wild horse report, nor did it initiate filing a complaint with FAA.
    As the national pressure on your program has increased, a campaign to get a reprehension on the make up of your Board seems long overdue. As of now, it is representing special interests only, and your promises in Denver do not reflect the current situation. The devise for a safe future for America’s wild horses calls for a fair representation thereof. Improvement on animal welfare, prevention of incidents such as below and reform within your Board for the wild equid program are vital and necessary to bear fruit in reaching the goal discussed in Denver.
    The below thread contains links to cruel incidents, which must stop. These took place in other than the staged round ups you released within your wild horse report. They must not be dismissed or ignored as a routine of your program. The addition of a wild horse group Board member will ensure the pro-active partnership or the transparency the meeting in June discussed. With an allocated budget of $ 579,164, it seems very possible and giving the American public and advocates a voice to ensure and improve your program.


    Monika Courtney


  14. Monika, you are SO right. My own opinion is that the dismal situation we find ourselves in now is the product of an educational system that has been failing for so many years that the people in our government are a product of it themselves.

    I was born and raised in Dallas, TX, in a lower middle class inner city neighborhood and attended school inner city public schools. I started 1st grade in 1951, graduated HS in 1963. Of course, the “inner city” was very different then from what it is now, and I swear, I got a better education there than kids are getting in college now.

    I’m not sure when it really started, but social promotions, “feel good” classes instead of academics, political correctness – that has gotten to a totally absurd level now – etc. didn’t help. And now, the “No Child Left Behind” junk forces even good teachers to teach to that test and nothing else. No one is taught critical thinking skills anymore, do they can’t THINK. I don’t believe a lot of people even know what thinking is. The govt. AND the electorate are so dismally under educated and misinformed – or is that DISinformed? – that what can we expect? High school kids who can’t find the US on a world globe? People who have such poor thinking skills that they text while driving? Lord!

    Unfortunately, while I have all this opinion on the problem, I haven’t a clue as to how we pull ourselves back from the brink. I just know we ARE on the brink, and getting close and closer to the abyss.

    Sorry to be so negative, but I’ve felt this way for many years now and it’s only gotten worse and worse. Beyond sad…


    • This is something i have also been reflecting on with the passing of Richard Holbrook, someone whose whole life was about how he could serve his country-and It caused me to think about what it means to be apart of that “Kennedy Generation”….yes they call us the baby boomers, we were called hippies, flower children,rebels, druggies(the original) tree huggers, peace nics, love not war, and many of us are from that generation and influenced by “the I can make a difference” attitudes that surrounded us, think about what we did..we were-Nadars Raiders, we joined the peace corps, we marched and protested, to end a war (there is no more draft) but the rich still seldom serve their country, we changed the rights and the future for women, blacks and minorities-we brought attention to the destruction of our environment..We did not believe Money was the only goal worth attaining..We may not have been “the greatest generation” but we were surely the generation who marshaled its forces for the good of all..we did it once..we can do it again and leave a path for others to follow..I want to also point out Mr Holbrook was the negotiator of the ages..not by caving in as a “compramiser” which is what so many do today and why he was respected and yes feared by his adversarys across the table..being polite won’t even get you another bowl of mush..My point being..Do not negotiate away the future of wild horses to gain them 15 minutes more of don’t have to be rude and obnoxious but you have to know how to fight and win..President Obama needs to learn this lesson.


      • We did change the world. Some of us got our heads caved in during street demonstrations some of us went to jail. But we stood strong and we kept coming back and we refused to back down. We are still the same people and we can still change the world. We can still be the governments worst enemies as we continue to tear off their cloaks and expose them. Fighting the horse issue has been a better education in government than I could have ever learned in school. I used to know there was corruption in government, now I know how deeply engrained it is. But still I will fight and will expose not only the government but the traitorous consorts.


      • Yes, Holbrook was a statesman – and frankly, I don’t know of any others. I fear we may never see his like again. Statesmanship seems beyond the abilities of the negotiators we’ve had lately. Or anyone else in DC for that matter.


  15. @Sandra-that was an inspiring reminder to us all of who we are and what we stand for. And as generations said before, “…not on my watch!”. Thanks for your poetic and right on attitude!


  16. They are taking public comments on this report. Send comments to the same place as Robert Abbey would:
    Ms. Kimberly Elmore
    Assistant Inspector General for Audits, Inspections, and Evaluations
    U.S. Department of the Interior
    Office of Inspector General
    1849 C Street, NW, MS 4428
    Washington, DC 20240

    The report has a date stamp of Dec 13, 2010 and comments must be received within 30 days. If you have questions the number is 202-208-5745. I think the hardest part will be keeping the comment and facts that I send them somewhat short.


  17. The whole lot of them – BLM and the thugs they hire to do their dirty work, and OIG – all need to be arrested for intentional, premeditated criminal assault and abuse, as well as murder of the grand and amazing wild horses and burros.
    I’m am wondering if there is ANYONE in public office now days with a conscience or integrity?? If we don’t stop them from murdering and abusing the horses and burros today… people will be the next “round-up” or “gather” victims.
    Anyone who abuses, or condones animal abuse, will easily transfer their abusive attitudes and actions to humans. That’s a known fact. They have NO conscience, and place no value on life other than their own. Those animal terrorists need to be locked up, and throw away the key. How about giving them a heaping dose of their own medicine. Perhaps they would re-think their criminal actions against the innocent horses and burros. But, sadly it would be far too late.


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