Horse News

Wild Horse Groups Win Another Round and Vow to Preserve Targeted West Douglas Herd

Press Release from HfH Advisory Council

Groups Warn that BLM Withdrawal of EA for Roundup Doesn’t Ensure Agency Won’t Try Again

HOUSTON  (HfHAC) – The Bureau of Land Management has officially withdrawn its 2011 plans to decimate the West Douglas Wild Horse herd, a small, isolated herd of wild horses in northwestern Colorado.  Plaintiffs in two lawsuits challenging the BLM’s long-held efforts are claiming a victory, but are concerned BLM will issue another decision to eliminate the herd in the future.  Therefore, plaintiffs have vowed to continue their work in the courts and through public campaigns to prevent BLM’s long-held plans to destroy this herd.

The battle over the West Douglas herd is nearly two decades old, and only through the efforts of concerned citizens and organizations have the horses been saved from the BLM’s desire to remove them all from their homelands.  “The BLM has long known their management practices put them on shaky legal grounds, and they are worried they will be prevented from zeroing out this herd, as they have done to so many others throughout the West,” stated Barbara Flores of the Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition. “It appears they are trying to find legal grounds for eradicating this herd through a temporary retreat and regrouping.”

In 2009, the individuals and organizations won the first case in the United States against BLM’s practices of eliminating wild horse herds when Judge Rosemary Collyer set aside BLM’s 2008 roundup plans.  When BLM announced in 2010 that it was going to try again, Habitat for Horses Advisory Council, Inc. joined the efforts.  R.T. Fitch of HFH Advisory Council explained, “BLM’s path of destroying wild horse herds has got to be stopped.  We have supported the recent litigation with extensive resources, and we do not intend to back down.”  Another suit was filed in 2010, and a motion to hold BLM in contempt of Judge Collyer’s order was filed.

“Experts have predicted that wild horses and burros will go extinct in eleven years if BLM continues with its present course of roundups and removals,” advised Ginger Kathrens, Voluntary Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation.

For now, the groups remain vigilant.  They have presented suggestions for just how to accomplish this by a range science expert and professor, but BLM has so far refused to implement them.  “BLM’s promise to take a comprehensive look at wild horse management in the White River Resource Area is just window-dressing unless BLM agrees to find ways to maintain the horses among other multiple uses,” explained Hilary Wood of Front Range Equine Rescue, a plaintiff in suits against BLM since 2006.

12 replies »

  1. I took in a young stallion from the Douglas herd when I had a large ranch near Santa Fe, NM. The Forest Service called me and said that you two year old stallion had been pushed out of the herd, and was not thriving on his own. I agreed to take him, so they captured him and had him in a round pen when we arrived- after a seven hour drive in a snow storm, taking along a horse for him to have a companion on the way home. We backed our two-horse trailer up to the opening we’d made in the round pen, and while we were trying to decide how to get him into the trailer, he walked up the ramp into the trailer and started munching hay beside his new buddy. Poco turned out to be a real ‘lap dog’, and became a wonderful, happy riding horse/pet for a friend. One happy ending. I’m SO happy that his herd is being left alone… for a while at least.


  2. A great deal of blood, sweat, tears and money were spent in order to gain this much ground. THANK YOU, to everyone that worked so hard for this and NO, we don’t dare let our guard down–not for even a minute.


  3. I don’t know if I’m remembering correctly, but wasn’t part of the issue a road that had been built across the HMA, cutting one part of the herd off from the other? If so, perhaps a solution would be to install a couple of large culverts under the road for the horses (and wildlife) to pass from one side to the other.

    When our city built a road across a wash people used to access riding trails, they put in a culvert for the safety of both riders and drivers. Before long, the local deer population decided it was a safer way to go as well. I don’t believe a single deer/vehicle accident has occurred in that area since the installation.


  4. There recently was aired some of the documentary and history of the SS concentration camp criminals and how they were tracked down and brought to justice, long after the Holocaust. In fact, there is one journalist that is still tracking them down. There are still a few left. The comparison is that this battle takes the same kind of tenacity.


    • Now that is an apt analogy if ever there was one! From the horses’ point of view what is being done to them by the Gestapo BLM and its SS contractors must feel something like the people back in the late 30’s up through WWII felt as they were helplessly rounded up by brutal thugs and put into concentration camps where they were starved not only of physical sustenance but also of the emotional and spiritual nourishment of freedom. And we all know what Hitler’s “Final Solution” was. Kill them by the millions as they are of no use or value. Too many parallels.

      However, at least this respite for the West Douglas herd is good news for now but the BLM cannot be trusted, as you all know.


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