Horse News

Humane Groups Urge Feds to Save Tax Dollars and Postpone Massive Wild Horse Roundup

Plan, likewise, endorsed by HfH Advisory Council

Washington, DC (January 11, 2011) . . . As Congress grapples with federal budget shortages, a group of prominent environmental, horse advocacy and humane organizations has joined forces to urge the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to postpone a large-scale wild horse roundup scheduled to begin next week in the Antelope Complex, a 1.3 million acre public lands area in northeastern Nevada.

In a sign on letter to BLM director Bob Abbey, the organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Western Watersheds Project, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), PBS wildlife filmmaker Ginger Kathrens and The Cloud Foundation, and others are urging the BLM instead to pursue a plan offered by businesswoman and philanthropist Madeleine Pickens to construct holding facilities for the horses on private lands adjacent to their home range. The proposal would prevent the waste of tax dollars incurred by shipping the horses thousands of miles to off-the-range holding facilities.

Send your own letter to BLM demanding postponement of the Antelope roundup here.

Mrs. Pickens’ proposal, made on behalf of her Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation, would save the government an estimated million dollars or more, while protecting the 2,000 wild horses scheduled for removal from the trauma of shipment to holding facilities far from their homeland. Mrs. Pickens is in the process of developing a wild horse eco-sanctuary in the Antelope Complex.

The letter urges the BLM to postpone the roundup for a few months while Saving America’s Mustangs builds state-of-the-art holding facilities for the horses. It states:

“The BLM’s plan to proceed with a late-January gather in the Antelope Complex makes no fiscal or operational sense. Antelope horses will be captured during treacherous winter conditions and shipped thousands of miles to the Midwest, instead of being gathered at a safer time of year and held on adjacent private lands that will eventually become part of larger wild horse eco-sanctuary.

The BLM’s refusal to postpone the roundup and pursue Mrs. Pickens’ alternative directly contradicts the agency’s stated commitment to pursuing public/private partnerships and alternatives to expensive off-the-range holding of wild horses.

The letter notes that any concerns about future emergency water sources should be eased by the fact that there has been no livestock grazing on the public grazing allotments associated with Mrs. Pickens’ ranches since June 2010.

In addition to the aforementioned, other groups signing the letter include: Return to Freedom, Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, In Defense of Animals, the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros and the Wyoming Wild Horse Coalition.

The sign on effort was spearheaded by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a coalition of more than 40 horse advocacy, conservation, animal welfare and public interest organizations. The coalition is calling for:

* A suspension of roundups in all but verifiable emergency situations while the entire BLM wild horse program undergoes objective and scientific review;

* Higher Appropriations Management Levels (AML) for wild horses on horse those rangelands designated for them;

* Implementation of in-the-wild management, which would keep wild horses on the range and save taxpayers millions annually by avoiding the mass removal and stockpiling wild horses in government holding facilities.

13 replies »

  1. I received a mail from Madeline’s website saying that her request had been denied:

    Dear Friends,

    So many of you often ask me what you can do to help the wild horses. Here is what you can do. The BLM has publicly stated in a press release that they have plans “to gather and remove approximately 1,917 to 2,278 excess wild horses from in and around the Antelope Complex.”

    I have previously submitted a proposal to Bob Abbey to postpone this gather that directly affects the wild horses on the future site of the eco-sanctuary that we are developing in Nevada and allow me to construct my own holding facilities on the private lands, that I have already purchased for the horses; which are adjacent to the Antelope Complex. This would also be a considerable savings to American taxpayers and the government in many ways.

    Unfortunately, the request was denied, and they will proceed with the gather, in late January 2011, unless we voice our opinions against this. Luckily, so many animal welfare groups have also spoken out on this issue and signed onto a letter, written and submitted to Bob Abbey, by the Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. Please read the letter and take action now by clicking the button below. This issue is time sensitive, so please take action today. Also, please ask all your friends to join in. Together, we can change the future of these mustangs.

    Madeleine Pickens & all the mustangs



  2. It is amazing that our congress and the BLM have elected to pursue the wasteful and cruel roundups when alternatives are being offered by people like Madeleine Pickens.
    They continue to whine about the expense involved but they continue to refuse to consider alternatives that would save money and be far more humane.
    I just don’t get it.


  3. This flies in the face of all logic. Leading one more and more towards the conclusion that mining and energy rule and that anything that stands on four legs in their way will be removed. It would behoove the cattlemen to see the bigger picture and work with us instead of against us. Litigation is expensive and by the cattlemen joining in with us now it would help ensure that more money is available to continue to fund the legal actions that are currently ongoing. Help now or be standing out there alone with no help later. Of course the those that are aligned with the Cattlemen’s Assoc have historically not been very forward thinking.


  4. Alternatives need to be explored and allowed. BLM continues to deny public involvement but for cattlemen, mining and energy projects. This blind side of BLM has
    been recognized for a long time. Changes for the better have got to include the public and the horses themselves. mar


  5. The very fact that the BLM has denied Madeleine Picken’s proposal, she so generously offered, speaks volumes. If they would agree, it would certainly be a win-win and of course, the most sensible approach to a very costly and destructive situation. I find it rather desturbing their reluctance to join the many that are trying to accommodate them, with this wonderful proposal, given by Madeleine Pickens. Please guys, man-up and do what’s right for the American people, if not for our wild ones. So much more can be accompolished when working together.


  6. What an AWESOME offer made to The BLM by Mrs. Pickens this denial reflects no respect for The Wild Mustangs, and no respect for The Citizens of America, also no respect for AMERICA……………… A clear and wonderful offer where everyone wins is denied, this is another abominable decision made by Bob Abbey and The BLM if they had any credibility it is now totally lost !!!! These people have no business making any further horrendous decisions that involve taxpayers money , clearly the American people have voiced there outcries for the lives of the American Wild Mustangs, which which are ignored and denied time and time again………….Clearly anyone who calls the Wild Mustangs Rats with hooves, has no further business in decision making on their behalf…………..


  7. Please send letters from both Madeleine’s SAM site and from the AWHPC site to the BLM and legislators. Both sites are easy to use and just sign on to the prepared letter and/or compose your own. Do it now! The horses do not have email and cannot send letters so it is all up to those of us who care. This Antelope Complex operation will proceed next week unless we can get it stopped from the highest levels. At this late date the ONLY chance for that is pressure from enough of the public. The little tin gods in the Interior and BLM seem simply unable to process the logic, good practical and fiscal sense, not to mention the incredible generosity of Madeleine’s offer because it doesn’t fit into their preconceived notions of “how we have always done it” so even when it will needlessly cost the taxpayers millions and untold trauma to the horses, they are unable to change course in mid stream. Add to that the pressure they get from the greedy ranchers and mining interests that want the land for their own exploitation and we have a combination of utter stupidity and greed in which the horses and the public are the big losers. The BLM is obviously not going to stop this madness unless they are inundated with public protest.
    This is one of my closing paragraphs in the letters I have sent:
    Cooperating fully with the very generous, humane, and fiscally sound offer made by Saving America’s Mustang Foundation in this instance will go far toward restoring the faded hope advocates for our wild horses and burros have dared to entertain that the BLM would finally hear what we have been telling them for years.


  8. It seems to me..that BLM has to sign that Long Term Holding contract between them and Madelines organization before they could release horses for LTH..does anyone see the irony besides myself? On the other hand..Madeline can probably pay $10 a head for the 2,000 horses. that would be around 20,000 and take them to her ranches with no the idea that there is only one erroneous..the difference in scenerios?- in one the government has to pay, in the other Madeline has to pay..however I see that there may be many grants and corporations as well as private citizens who would be willing to step up and support madeline in a strictly private it is high profile publicity for them…So whats the hold up????


    • Madeleine will be seen as a BLM contractor the moment she has short term holding facilities where wild horses taken off their very close by range will be castrated and then held in pastures the rest of their lives. You have to wonder why BLM had to ship horses off the range and create a huge needs budget when this could be done on the home range’s just as effectively! Not that I want this horrid outcome at all… I do not… but I would love to see Madeleine buy all the Antelope sale authority horses and adopt all those in that category and then put them right back out on the range…. and manage them as the principle species and then manage for all the other wild life and have no cattle there at all. If possible a policy change would be wonderful; allowing grazing allotments to include managed wild horses. Then these horses could have their full range back. Imagine not being allowed on a cattle allotment on your own HMA because you are a horse and not a cow!! That should change. It is a policy not a law and can be so easily changed. But oh, how controversial that would be!!

      Do not mistake that the present request from Madeleine is anything other than a savvy business maneuver on her part. Short Term Contracts are quite lucrative. She is a business woman. Advocates have hoped she would use her wealth to create true havens for wild horses to live in family bands as they always have, managed for the benefit of the horses and their ecology. She could do this by adopting and buying all these to be removed Antelope horses and putting them back, in tact, on their land and then managing them there.

      I am not dreaming… this would be Ideal. The horses would be privately owned (including the adoption horses after one year) and no longer under BLM management, but under the management of a foundation that should then be made public… by Madeleine. Talk about a win, win and win situation… wouldn’t it be nice? mar


  9. I agree with Sandra above. Why, since Madeleine has the $$$ does she not say she will take the 2000 horses and put them in temporary holding facilities where she will have the state of the art holding pens. This would save the horses the tramatic transfer, even though they have already been tramatized with the roundups, but at least they will not have to go through anymore horrendous acts by thoughtless, greedy sob’s paid by the BLM. If Madeleine eventually can create the same ranges in other states, why not do that. I’m sure all of us that love these animals would be willing to volunteer at the ranges she creates next to our homes to help in keeping them for our children to admire and love for years to come. Madeleine has the means, it seems all of us that keep sending letters achieve very little in change in attitude by the BLM so why not buy all the horses, buy the land next to each range or as close as possible, and distribute these horses close to their old home ranges for all of our American citizens and taxpayers to help care for, love, and admire for the future years to come.


  10. Maybe I missed it, but has Mrs. Pickens’ actually been qualified as a contractor and submitted a bid through the DOI contracting process?


    • No, she has not been approved… she came to them and had an offer for them. BLM puts out a call for LTH contracts and they have not had Madeleine apply as far as I know. So far she has submitted her own contracts and been in talks with BLM and they have not come to a conclusion yet… mar


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