Horse News

Obama Administration Refuses to Raise Paltry Fee for Destructive Cattle Grazing on 258 Million Acres of Public Land

Press Release from the Center for Biological Diversity

Private Cattle Can Stay While Public Wild Horses Are Removed Forever

Public lands grazing (which produces about 3% of the beef consumed in the US) equates to around a net loss of $123 million annually to American taxpayers and the livestock do upwards of 500 million to 1 billion in estimated damages annually. Wild horse and burros are often FAR outnumbered by livestock… Thank you to the Center for Biological research for this press release.” – The Cloud Foundation

Private cattle graze freely on Public Land while Obama's BLM Helicopter attacks protected, public, native, wild Horse 31 Jan. 2011 ~ Photo by Laura Leigh/Grass Roots Horse

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management on Monday announced that in 2011 they will not increase the paltry $1.35 monthly fee charged for each cow and calf grazed by the livestock industry on western public land. The fee remains far below what the agencies spend to administer grazing permits, far below market rates, and far short of providing revenue needed to correct the severe ecological damage caused by grazing. Habitat destruction caused by livestock is a primary factor in the decline of dozens of rare and endangered species including the desert tortoise, Mexican spotted owl, southwestern willow flycatcher, least Bell’s vireo, Mexican gray wolf, Oregon spotted frog and Chiricahua leopard frog. Grazing is also a primary cause of unnaturally severe western wildfires, watershed degradation, soil loss and the spread of invasive plants.

“Livestock grazing destroys western public land and the habitat that species need to survive,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The federal grazing program makes the public subsidize public-land destruction and species endangerment. That the Obama administration continues such an antiquated, destructive and costly use of Americans’ public lands is the exact opposite of change.”

The fees apply to livestock grazing across 258 million acres of western public land run by the Forest Service and BLM — 81 percent of the land administered by the two agencies in the 11 western states. There are about 23,600 public-lands ranchers, representing roughly 6 percent of all livestock producers west of the Mississippi River.

A 1986 executive order and 1978’s Public Rangelands Improvement Act prohibit the fee from falling below $1.35 per animal unit month, which is only 12 cents more than monthly rates charged in 1966.

A 2005 Government Accountability Office report found that BLM and Forest Service grazing receipts fail to recover even 15 percent of administrative costs and are much lower than fees charged by other federal agencies, states and private ranchers. The GAO found that the BLM and Forest Service grazing fee decreased by 40 percent from 1980 to 2004, while grazing fees charged by private ranchers increased by 78 percent for the same period. To recover expenditures, the BLM and Forest Service would have had to charge $7.64 and $12.26 per animal unit month, respectively.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned the government in 2005 to revisit its grazing fee and were compelled to sue to get the agencies to respond to their petition. The agencies finally responded in January 2011, refusing to reconsider their outdated grazing-fee formula.

30 replies »

  1. Change…. is yet to come. The Fuehrer cleverly misled millions of Americans who now regret voting for the self-appointed prophet who is a ghost. A man without a trace, without a paper trail. Is is a wonder… ?
    I wish the man had some integrity other than demonstrating such ignorance to this country and blatantly dismiss any reasonable solutions or actions.
    He ignores a nationwide call for a moratorium, the important long-term ramifications for the future of our wild horses and burros, the agency who is out of control and responsible for the destruction of the West and refuses to restore the natural balance of the land and fails to address failed BLM management strategies… Some day Obama will have to answer to these fundamental flaws in his administration.
    Maybe if his daughters saw a herd of wild mustangs or burros in their original habitat, he would change his tune. Maybe the pencil pushers in DC, him in charge, ought to take a field trip to see the real world of our West, our legacy, so ruthfully destroyed by their propaganda.


    • Having read numerous of your very astute comments in the past, I must again say “AMEN!” You have nailed it again.


  2. Gee – I wonder how livestock fellas who graze their animals on their own land and with their own water might feel about this?
    Or what fellas in Texas or Oklahoma, who pay $7 – $12 a HEAD for grazing on private pasture might say?
    Seems some of these Western fellas not only get their cake, but all the ingredients to make it, too.
    Why on God’s green and precious Earth would anyone be involved in an industry where the product exceeds it’s OWN resources?
    Welcome to government-subsidized ranching – the Wall Street of the West: Too big to fail, too wimpy to stand on it’s own.
    Send Western livestock to Midwest pastures – I hear the grazing is MUCH better there!


    • Livestock should not be raised on arid Western lands where water is a precious commodity and the land is not suitable. The Midwest is perfect for livestock. Just as anti-horse people say we are all just too emotional about the rounding up, removal and planned extinction of the wild horses, I say the cowboy rancher is far too emotional about his romantic notions of being allowed to raise his cattle on subsidized public lands for pennies forever. This entitlement program needs serious reform (and these are probably the same people that bitch about other entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare).

      I am tired of the overly emotional ranchers always crying about the wild horses, wolves and other wild life. What is it they always tell us? What do we know, we probably live in New York City? I say, if you can’t handle the wildlife, time to move to the city, cowboys. And next time you hear a rancher complain, please say, yes, I understand it is an emotional issue for you. Just like they always say so condescendingly to us about the wild horses.

      Stop subsidizing the destruction of our world, Mr. President. Sorry, but 3% of our beef isn’t worth the removal of every last wild thing. We will survive without a Big Mac. We won’t without the wildlife and wild places.


      • “… the cowboy rancher is far too emotional about his romantic notions of being allowed to raise his cattle on subsidized public lands for pennies forever”. Your entire take on the issues are spot on! Well done – Thank you!


  3. Somebody ought to invite Anderson Cooper 360 to a roundup and tour some holding pens, so he can try to talk to a few BLMers we could introduce him to. He doesn’t have to go to Egypt to find a deadly struggle for democracy. All he has to do is visit the DOI building in Washington or go out to the Ameican West. Heck, he could get to ride a horse here, too. Can’t do that in Cairo.

    Anderson, Cairo’s an easy story. You are always running off to the easy stories. Why don’t you cowboy up and come visit us? Come see the struggle for democracy where it was born, and where it is dying?


    • Yeah, and lets remind him..Paul Revere didn’t walk thru the countryside hollering the British are coming-or he would have been overtaken and shot…


    • Very good, Rob….but it is more glamorous and adventurous to the uninformed to trip the light fantastic (especially when someone else pays for it) viewing and easier to put on the screen, get “experts” that will talk for 5 minutes (divided) than deal with the complexities of the finacial corruption, health care travesty and the rape that is our natural resources (Katrina, Gulf disaster, wild equines, etc)….just doesn’t seem to fit the media slugs time slot. Thank you to Ms. Velez-Mitchell though and others like GK. Ain’t nobody else paying attention.


    • Sadly, all the big news people seem to only be interested in people issues. As a species we seem to have totally forsworn our animal brothers. I have already posted emails to AC360, Bill Maher and Oprah. One email won’t get anywhere, but not a hint of response. Huzzah for News 4 in Las Vegas, and George Knapp, they seem to be the only ones who keep the issue alive. This Jane Velez-Mitchell on HLN is a joke, she is only about sensationalism. She acts like a Glen Beck type of person.


  4. I think the scientific facts, photos, videos and communications accumulated by wild equine and eco advocates should be sent to the Wikileaks organization….maybe they can get a USDA/DOI mole to help.


  5. Another thing that makes you bang your head against a wall. I would love to hear their reasoning and what data they used to make this assinine decision. If they feel it would raise the price of meat then we all know that raising the costs of a product that only feeds 3% of our market doesn’t cut it. Although the BLM is running around with diarrhea of the mouth complaining about the costs of the wild horse program you don’t see anyone talking about the costs of the welfare ranching program. It’s a dirty little secret. When I speak to people they seem to believe that the government is rounding up the wild horses because there is too many of them. Very few if any know how much beef really costs the American public. I will be adding this article to the packet I keep in my car ready to hand out to people I talk to.


    • The reason people believe that wildlife is overpopulated is because that is what the BLM tells them. Their propaganda campaign has been very successful, which is why they are so afraid of the internet, people at round ups, reporters who are not carefully controlled, and any rich woman who wants to open an eco-sanctuary to educate the public.


  6. Do we know approximately how many cattle are on the grazing allotments?

    That picture of the horse being attacked by the helicopter still horrifies me. Did anyone notice the horse or colt several yards behind him???


    • The bulk of beef producers in the US (not including the corporate trash that counts horses for meat export as beef “varieties”) are basically getting screwed! They got EPA (maybe rightfully so) down their throats regarding raparian areas and eColi run off in my neck of the woods. Why, just exactly are the creeps in the public domain freeloading off the public lands in the West getting a HUGE, taxpayer funded pass and the wild equines getting all the attention????? WTH is going on here?

      Still hoping Craig and Cindy can devise a very short, fact based with money points letter we can send to Boehner, Cantor, Pelosi, McConnel, Reid and the Pres.

      Wanna save big cash….stop rounding up and long term holding of wild equines (they are sterilized….PUT ‘EM BACK!!!!) barring selling them to slaughter because they don’t want to pay for holding…NUMBER ONE? STOP THE ROUNDUPs aka STAMPEDES!!!!!


  7. Whoopee! I hit the “moderation” lottery…still can’t figure why, especially because of the pornography that the Feds and states allow to go unchecked, albeit documented by our advocates. We ought to start calling the obscene images DOI/USDA (whether photo or video) captured by advocates “snuff” stuff . The highest order of pornography for human kind wherein living beings are tortured, butchered and paid for…by the public.

    Sorry for the graphic verbology (lexicon)….that’s the way I see it.


  8. Re: Obama. He came into office so ill-prepared on so many issues that he believes anything from a power-broker – no matter what the agenda! He has NO HAT and NO CATTLE, but has a cronie with a BIG hat and plenty of pals with cattle, so NO WORRIES!

    From the January 22 Bismark Tribune – “Markets mean moooo-ney: Cattle prices setting all-time records”

    If the ranchers are getting so much for their beef and the market is projected to be strong for the foreseable future, why isn’t some of that “mooooney” lightening the load on taxpayers or bringing down the deficit? Wassamadda U, Welfare Ranchers? Greedy? Unpatriotic? Stop “debting it forward” to your (and MY) kids and grandkids!


      • apparently not smart enough to figure out it isn’t the wild horses who are causing any problem. I voted for him so I have earned the right to critisize him..there are smart criminals and dumb criminals..doesn’t make it any less life threatening to their victims


  9. All I know is the beef producers outside of the wild equines states have a situation that does not give them the “perks” those on public lands in the West are getting…and many of them are better stewards of the land and business savy than than the wild equine whackin’ crew.

    Just one livin’ and sharin’ in a big cow/calf operating state.


  10. War on Trees: Harry Reid, Ag Extension Agents, and Chinese biomass companies promote liquidation of old growth forests……. in Nevada
    January 18, 2011 — Ken Cole
    Pinyon and juniper trees, demonized by ranchers, miners and water mining entities, are being eyed by Chinese “biomass” companies with the backing of politicians.
    o Barbara Steele
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 19:36:01


    • Excellent posts Louie! Check the weeds for the pandemic that becomes disaster for the environment AND eventually, all of us.



      • 3 chinese chicken ranches have the strain of bird flu(PBS) something the mainstream doesn’t report as they are tied up with prince Williams-wedding..I expect to find out we are importing chickens from china..the chicken ranch in Nevada and the mustang all means -lets replace the symbol of freedom-the mustang-with chickens from appropriate


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