Horse News

DOI/BLM Dupe Public and Congress in Covert Wild Horse Land Grab Scheme

Press Release from Grass Roots Horse

Plan to Finish Off Wild Horses Buried in Budget

Same Gender Herd at BLM Long Term Holding Facility ~ Photo by Terry Fitch

During a Grass Roots Horse research project looking into the FY2011 Budget for the Department of Interior which oversees the Bureau of Land Management, the agency entrusted with the management and protection of America’s wild horses and burros, it was discovered that the Interior has received 445.4 million dollars which is an increase of 106 million dollars for federal land acquisition through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In 2011 the Interior is proposing a list of land acquisitions to advance their projects. The BLM’s request of 83.7 million dollars includes 42.5 million for the proposed planning and acquisition of a Wild Horse Preserve, which is part of the Department’s Wild Horse and Burro National Management Strategy.

These wild horse preserves are not slated for family bands of wild horses but for non-reproducing herds. What will they use the “treasured lands” for in 20 years when the non-reproducing herds die?  The plan mentions alleviating the numbers of wild horses in short term holding but what about the horses in long term holding? As BLM continues to remove wild horses at an alarming rate, they estimates the number of captured wild horses in government holding will be 45,955 by the end of FY2011 and the holding costs are expected to be 47.8 million dollars.

In the Wild Horse and Burro Program overview in the FY2011 Budget Justification, among the program components list, one of the BLM’s responsibilities is stated as “Determining whether AML (appropriate management levels) should be achieved by removal or destruction of excess animals, or other options such as sterilization or natural controls of population levels”

It is noticeable that in the 2007 – 2012 Strategic Plan for the Department of Interior there is no mention of the wild horses or burros at all, even where the plan lists specific programs administered by the BLM. This carries on throughout the Strategic Plan for 2011 – 2016 where the only mention of the Wild Horse and Burro Program is on page 8, under BLM programs, listed after Renewable and Conventional Energy and Mineral Development, Forestry Management and Timber and Biomass Production.

“I was thinking of all the places BLM/DOI could hide things in a budget and of course the management of lands and resources came to mind.” said Maureen VanDerStad of Grass Roots Horse. “Hidden within 600 pages of the FY 2011 DOI Budget Justifications were clues hidden among the layers of what I would call deliberate and willful actions by these agencies to mislead Congress and the American people as to their true intentions, which is to get what they want at all costs.”

Within the FY2011 Budget Justification set forth by DOI/BLM, regarding the Wild Horse and Burro Program and statistics there are many fallacies and untruths, many of which are found, not in the section called Reforming the Wild Horse and Burro Program but in the Management of Lands and Resources, in various sub activity sections.

In Section DH-38 of DOI budget 2011 in a segment called Treasured Landscapes, is the news that Ken Salazar has achieved his goal of getting millions of dollars to fund what is known as his “Salazoo Plan” created ostensibly to bring relief to the BLM’s failed Wild Horse and Burro Program.

The wild horse preserve plan refers to “partners”. Who are these “partners exactly ? Foreign countries ?

“The program has failed and continues to fail not because of the reasons stated by BLM or DOI but when looked at in terms of the plans DOI has for public lands, the wild horses and burros who have a Congressional right to live free roaming on those lands, just don’t fit in to the plan. A great many things do not add up in the budget justification that DOI/BLM has set forth. Statements presented as fact by DOI/BLM to Congress are not even matching up with the DOI/BLM’s own previous statements or actions. The ramifications of this apparent mismanagement of both public lands and a federally protected American icon are mind blowing” concluded VanDerStad.

23 replies »

  1. Maureen, This is an example of the kind of digging into their shenagagins that must be done in order to expose the can of worms they have created around themselves with their deceptions and lies, All their current and future operations and contracts should be rescinded until all the dirt can be excavated. I am quite sure the horses would be just fine with out the BLM’s careful attention for however long it took to get it all ironed out so this fine government agency could put in place a proper plan that truly had the goal of preservation in their natural habitat with minimal human interference. Was that stipulation of minimal interference just tossed in the law as a joke? If not then why on earth were these plans for massive removal of tens of thousands them from their home ranges and and putting them in holding facilities hundreds of miles away that are so counter to their very nature ever dreamed up to begin with? Who was it that decided that maintaining family groups and bands meant nothing when that shows a very low level of understanding of the animals they are ‘managing’ without concern for the damage being done to them, Perhaps I am dense but I fail to see how creating herds that cannot reproduce in its natural patterns would be conducive to healthy populations when due to natural attrition would soon decimate them to extinction. It does appear that is where the BLM is currently aiming to take OUR herds, Then ranchers and mining interests can have at it whole hog. Hopefully there are some there who could adjust to actually integrating some horse sense into the ways they handle their duties or go find other work more suited to their capabilities.


  2. You nailed that research Maureen. Do we have any knowledge of who would manage these Salazoos? Nice fat contracts for ranchers? or blm personnel? No wonder that Salazar and ilk are stalling on the Pickens plan, they already got their way probably figure they don’t need her. They want to make sure that contracts are awarded to the chosen few friends and I doubt they see Madeleine as a friend. That and their contrived boards shows they are sneaky lil slimeballs, but slimeballs they are. Next time I hear someone trying to defend DOI/BLM to me I just might be tempted to pop them in the nose.


    • What I saw states that all decisions on location and management of “preserves” is at the “discretion” of the DOI Secretary. BLM will continue to manage them and will create 2 full time jobs. Frightening. Now the research is on what we can do to reverse or mitigate further damage ! I discovered quite a bit more and will get that out ASAP.


  3. Renewable and Conventional Energy and Mineral Development, Forestry Management and Timber and Biomass Production, and only then Wild Horse and Burros. These proposals aren’t crafted willy-nilly. They’re intentionally listed by priority, and will be considered as such by Congress.

    The priorities of the government and the vast majority of over 300,000,000 American citizens and taxpayers (vs. how many advocates?) are clear, and they don’t include wild horses and burros when the animals hinder “multiple use” activities like clean, renewable (especially geothermal) energy, mining (not only for gold, silver and coal, but also for lesser minerals like lithium and “rare earths” used in electric vehicle batteries). Then there’s jobs, jobs, jobs. And let’s not forget what may be the most important of all – WATER!


  4. Thank You Maureen !!!!!!! NOW RIGHT HERE IS FRONT PAGE NEWS for All The People of America !!!!! We need TV coverage , Newspaper Coverage……………. Lets set the BLM in the HOT SIT they so very well deserve………………………….. This is Big !!!!!!! Take the Ball and run with it……………………


  5. Thank you Grass Roots Horse. Thank you everyone who is spending time and money on this issue.

    Perhaps the Secretary and the President think that because this potential for extinction will happen 20 or 30 years from now they will not be discredited, but make no mistake about it. If we can not stop this, this will be President Obama’s halocaust.

    This action is a direct violation of the existing 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act. It is illegal, not to mention unethical. For a moment or two last week, I thought I saw evidence that our President actually has a beating heart, something that was certainly lacking when he was seen walking on the Louisianna coast and talking with Louisianna citizens. Nor was it evident when he forced people with expertise in Louisianna to defer to clueless bureaucrats at Interior for direction during the spill.

    This press release needs to go virile. Pick a state, google for their news organizations, and send this out to as many of them as you possibly can. Some of these sites will only give you a complete list if you pay a fee. But we need to see that this hits everywhere we can get it. Then, if you you know a barn or a feed store that will let you post this, post it. Post it at your vets, if they will let you. Take it to your local rescues—the people who are most likely to get active about this.

    I have been suspicious that this might be the long arch of the Salazar Plan, and each emerging detail seemed to support this. However, I appreciate that we now have evidence that supports our suspicions. Thanks again, Grass Roots Horse.


  6. “In the Wild Horse and Burro Program overview in the FY2011 Budget Justification, among the program components list, one of the BLM’s responsibilities is stated as “Determining whether AML (appropriate management levels) should be achieved by removal or destruction of excess animals, or other options such as sterilization or natural controls of population levels”

    And not a word about maybe increasing the land of the AML’s#%^*
    This is sickening.


  7. I think this is what the BLM had in mind all along when they talked of taking the WH&B program in a “new direction” – completely out of the west, it looks like.

    Great research, Maureen!


  8. In 1971, an unprecedented public outcry moved Congress to unanimously pass the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, granting federal protection to America’s wild horses and burros as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West […] that […] contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.”


  9. Great job, Maureen! The thought of our wild ones becoming extinct would be extremely unfortunate and we simply cannot allow this to happen! Justice MUST prevail for the American people and the future of these majestic icons. The compassion and commitment by you and so many others is appreciated and needed at this time of so much injustice. Thank you.


  10. Thank you everyone for such supportive words, they mean more than you can know to all the “regular people” of Grass Roots Horse. I learned alot of valuable info in that research and another press release will be out shortly. Take heart as l also learned alot in statutes and citations to use for help. The research now is on how to leverage this info of their underhanded methods and false testimony to congress to reverse or mitigate damage. Lots of valuable information was gained and it will be expanded and used to its fullest. Our lawsuit is active and headed where it needs to go, I hope you will support this work however you can, with time, financial support or encouragement. The months of March, April and May will be important for field work and some field work can be done from your computer ! They have not beaten us and they will not take our wild horses. add HW in subject line if that’s your interest. I am grateful that Horse Advisory and Dream Catcher’s lawsuits are still active as well. We are not going away !


    • Yes, the HfH Advisory Council’s suit for the North Piscance herd is under appeal and the zeroing out of the West Douglas herd is active and working with some potentially favorable results for the horses.


    • Dear Maureen, Your research and all at Grassrootshorse is awesome, Our Wild Mustangs could not be in better hands, All of the efforts of all the people here and many others are so appreciated………………I know The Mustangs will be saved ………………..Because I know we all have the Backing of the one who created them for us as a gift of Love…………………. He powers us all, we cant lose for the Mustangs………………………………… Again Maureen a Huge Bravo for You!!!!


  11. Maureen, great work. I hope that you can compile this in such a manner and get it to: all the members of Congress, all the TV stations, and papers. Then, how about CNN, and Anderson Cooper. There are a great viewership with Anderson and I think this might put us over the top for bad publicity for the BLM and the agricultural agencies. These are bastards for what they are comtemplating and doing to our wild horses and burros. They they die in hell for what they are doing. I wish them that end.


  12. Of Additional Note: The info stated is supported by the current posted DOI budget information and public law info and this line item is not being contested in the current CR. The NPS who administers the LWCF has just told me via phone that “the funds for DOI have not been released yet but that the funding (LWCF funding) is not being contested in the CR continuing resolution”
    Can this avenue of funding to be used for a wild horse preserve still be contested ? I have contacted my senators for clarification on what can be done and to clarify what seems to be some government double talk regarding this use of LWCF funding. I also have mentioned the case in 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as to the legality of removing horses from their home ranges.


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