Horse News

Anti-Wild Horse Bill Passes Nevada Senate Committee

I-Team Report by George Knapp of Las Vegas Channel 8 News

Committee Nixes WH Sanctuary without Hearing from Investors

Wild Horse under attack by BLM helicopter near Pickens property during recent Antelope Complex Stampede ~ photo by Terry Fitch

LAS VEGAS — With all the financial trouble Nevada is in, you might think state lawmakers would welcome a project that will bring millions of dollars to the state and attract tourists from around the world.

But a panel in the Nevada State Senate has turned thumbs down to a planned wild horse sanctuary without even hearing from the investors who are backing it.

Senate Joint Resolution 5, which was rubber stamped by the Senate Natural Resources Committee, has no power to do anything about wild horses, as the state has no say over what happens on federal, Bureau of Land Management controlled land.

But the resolution could be a huge problem for a proposed horse sanctuary that is already creating jobs and economic benefits. If the bill moves forward, it would tell the BLM and the world that Nevada likes the wild horse situation just as it is.

In 2008, the I-Team tagged along as philanthropist Madeleine Pickens began her search for ranch property in northern Nevada, the potential site for a sprawling sanctuary for wild mustangs.

The idea would be to take horses that have already been gathered and are warehoused in BLM holding facilities in the Midwest, off limits to the public, and allow them to roam free in their natural environment in a large fenced facility. Pickens planned to create a learning center that would also be a major tourist attraction for Elko County.

Since that first scouting trip, Pickens put her money where her mouth is. She ponied up $6 million to purchase two ranches and is spending plenty to build her dream project, to the benefit of towns like Wells, Nevada, which is still recovering from a terrible earthquake

“She spent $100,000 last month in 30 days alone in labor and materials in Elko County in the City of Wells. So it’s already happening. It’s real. The investment is already there,” said wild horse advocate Jerry Reynoldson.

Reynoldson spent more than two years working to get BLM approval for the Pickens plan. The Bureau admitted from the start that this approach would be far more cost effective than feeding horses in government pens for the rest of their lives and would save taxpayers tens of millions.

In February, BLM Director Bob Abbey admitted that the approach of rounding up then warehousing mustangs simply isn’t working. BLM just announced that it is actively seeking proposals to partner with private entities, just like Pickens’ plan. That’s why the timing of Senate Joint Resolution 5 could not be worse. It expresses opposition to any wild horse preserve on public land in Nevada.

“For the Nevada Legislature to say we’re not going to let you build a sanctuary or go on the record against it is simply saying we want more of the same, we want the status quo, and for ranchers, that’s what they want, just gather them and get them out of here,” said Reynoldson.

The resolution was approved by the Senate Natural Resources Committee, largely because it was backed by the longest serving member, Senator Dean Rhoads of Elko. Rhoads, a lifelong cattle rancher, leases tens of thousands of acres of public land for his cows.The hearing took all of 10 minutes.

Senators disregarded hundreds of emails sent by horse advocates and heard no testimony at all about the Pickens plan or its economic benefits. Rhoads is now trying to get the assembly to follow his lead.

Pickens and her allies hope lawmakers get an earful from the public about economic benefits.

“Nevada needs tourism. You can’t stop tourism from coming to northern Nevada. Get over it guys,” said Pickens.

“This joint resolution is bad because it will stop progress on an issue everyone agrees has gone nowhere for years,” said Reynoldson.

Reynoldson says he has been speaking with lawmakers in the assembly to make sure that if the bill gets a hearing, proponents of the sanctuary at least get to tell their side of it.

SJR 5 also contains what amounts to an outright falsehood — the statement that mustangs are an invasive species and don’t belong here. Scientists have established beyond any doubt that the very first horses were born right here, that they evolved for millions of years in the Great Basin, were wiped out then got reintroduced. But no one bothered to point it out before the committee voted.

Contact Senator Mark Manendo, the chairman of Senate Natural Resources Committee, to voice your opinion. He can be reached at (775) 684-6503 or by email. You can also contact Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, the chairperson of the Natural Resources Committee, at (775) 684-8597 or by email.

Click (HERE) to view Video Report

40 replies »

  1. Sounds like it might be time for Nevada to start scrapin’ Wild Horses off the state Quarters. And stop issuing vanity plates honoring Mustangs.
    Also sounds like it might be time for the Senator from Elko to ‘pony up’ and get his damn cattle off my damn land; if he can’t afford to run them on his own property, with his own resources, maybe he shouldn’t be in the cattle business at all. Cattle are also a non-native, invasive species.
    Dean Rhoads is representing only that portion of Nevada he finds appealing, and not necessarily what’s in the best interest of the entire state, you know, like what lies beyond Elko? If he can’t do both, maybe he oughta step off.
    If not for Wild Horses, wildlife, sagebrush, casinos & ladies of the evening, Nevada might simply be a long, lonely drive in any direction through the desert. With a record bad economy and little relief in sight, Sen. Rhoads might want to take the blinders off; agriculture and livestock alone are not going to bring Nevada back to her former glory.
    And what hateful, childish legislation.


    • Lisa, youhave a good point there–maybe we should be targeting some of these welfare ranchers who think they own the federal lands. A whole lot of bad publicity would be a good thing. There are ranchers who are decent and not hateful but there are many like this Senator who are definitely asking for some trouble. How can he even vote on something like this bill? Isn’t it an ethical violation?


      • They already feel targeted by us and what they have been doing with this bill and with the Feral Horse Committee is reacting to their fear we will get established and actually change the status quo. Which is what we Are trying to do. So they hate us sight unseen. The rumor of us angers these guys, believe me. It is not the horses it is the threat of change… and the horses simply represent this. The horses have lots of friends and they just do not want us around. mar


    • Maybe Nevada legislators should consider this:

      Fact: Out of 5 designs submitted for the Nevada state quarter, 32% of about 60,000 votes cast were for “Morning in Nevada” – the design with the wild horses. 14% of that 32% were from children – the FUTURE of Nevada. Some adults scoffed that the kids voted for the horses, because they like animals. What’s not to like? Even the State Treasurer praised the design!

      From the article:

      Wild horse advocate Jerry Reynoldson said, “It is a big deal because I think it sends the message that there are a lot of people in Nevada that care about the wild horses.”

      For Jerry Reynoldson, this decision sends a positive message to the rest of the country as local lawmakers fight for money to protect the animals. “I view these things as building blocks in our efforts to try and generate futher support to protect the horses. Hopefully now that Nevadans have said we love these horses and we want them on the quarter, others will say, ‘Wow, maybe we’re missing something here.’ And it will draw the kind of attention that it needs for us to take steps forward.”

      “Wow, maybe we’re missing something here.” Da ya think?


  2. I find it distressing that the citizens of Nevada allow a handful of egocentric Senators to ruin the chance to improve the economy of the state and many small towns. It shows that many residents really do not understand the concept behind what is being offered by Madeleine and others that may come in behind her. Perhaps they are being exposed to too much methane gas from all those cows.
    I tried to comment at channel 8 by hitting the link above but the link did not work.


      • Darcy, Nevada Government should be embarrassed. Like Wyoming the state promotes the image of wild herds while politicians rail about the ‘Wild Horse Problem’ which they have nearly ‘solved’ through BLM decimation… mar


  3. Nothing but a good-old boy jackass commission–pardon me for offending the burro population with my comment. How can they tell the rest of us what we can and can’t do with OUR federal lands?


  4. Once again, the knuckle-head mentality of Nevada good ol’boys have proven their ineptness and plain out stupidity. Overlooking the true facts, conveniently to suit their agenda and blowing off all common sense that would not just benefit the mustangs, but the very state itself – is it time for a small revolution there ?
    Nevadans, wake up !! This pride driven cattle boys are afraid to lose control and feel threatened by a joined effort of a true eco-sanctuary. How they can be so backwards and ignorant is beyond me – seems the state is in dire need of education and getting rid of those morons who run the show. I am just simply amazed at the regression that is taking place in this country… it has become a congleration of greedy and sabotaging lying bastards who think they own the rest of the place with their tunnel vision – it is time to expose these idiots, since diplomacy leads nowhere !!!


  5. In February, BLM Director Bob Abbey admitted that the approach of rounding up then warehousing mustangs simply isn’t working. BLM just announced that it is actively seeking proposals to partner with private entities, just like Pickens’ plan…

    In February, BLM Director Bob Abbey admitted that the approach of rounding up then warehousing mustangs simply isn’t working. Well the bureaucracy has finally awakened, how long have advocates been after the BLM to stop chasing
    wild horses and burros via helicopters even during the most inclement weather, some to the point that defenceless horses and burros have died, mostly because of plague welfare so-called ranchers !!


  6. Many of us Nevadans are working every day to try and get these idiots to listen. We email, call and write day after day and get nothing but BS letters in response… fact, I received a letter in the mail today from Harry Reid, same old crap, guess he felt I might listen if he sent it to my house, since I ignore his lame emails and keep writing! Still not giving up!!


    • Take it to the streets, like in the good ol’days. The canned BS pacifying replies are all another marketing PR gig. I am just shocked at the fact such morons make it into office.


      • Doesn’t say much for the intelligence level of those who elected or appointed them and allow them to remain in office does it? I agree with all your posts on this one Monika.
        It could not be more obvious that this SNR Committee is in the pocket of the “welfare ranchers.” For the head of the committee who apparently stands to benefit financially by having the wild horses and/or burros removed from land that is owned by US so he can run his own stock on it for practically nothing is a despicable conflict of interest and may even cross over the line to being criminal. Too many people in Nevada must have their heads where the sun never shines to allow this sort of thing to stand.


  7. Last Spring, while driving through one HMA after another in Northwest Nevada, Craig Downer pointed out range after range devoid of wild horses as they had already been systematically removed since he was younger. These ranges are fine places for the wild herds and they have thrived there. I happen to love the mountains and rivers in Nevada. It is always hard for me to leave there. It is beautiful horse range, all across the North. These ranchers will soon be up against more water loss and more private industry given the go ahead to be on the HMAs. The cows and sheep will be moved off next. mar


  8. You know it is clear that these people have lost the ability to see beauty and the wonderful gifts that nature has provided in this country – they are so caught up in their profit driven agendas, they can’t see anything else. They brainwash everyone and rather spread lies than the truth, because it serves them better. But that is just it, how THEY define the West… as if it was theirs for the taking… when they seem to forget WHY they are even there… they are there because this country was built on horseback and they ought to be ashamed to simply dismiss it all – I do hope Madeleine will do anything in her power to pursue her plan. The abuse of power by these self-serving twisted minds must stop. Reform in this country comes in form of regressing to irreparable damage – it is most appalling.


  9. There are so many stockmen in Nevada – shoot, all OVER the West – who have their own little private parcels of land with their homes & outbuildings and their stock, happily munchin’ forage these fellas planted, right there in the (really big) front yard. These families know their stock; their herds are small but fat and well cared for. They have dug their own wells or tapped springs or use municipal water. They work, HARD. They accept their losses and celebrate their successes and are entirely worthy of respect. They are a struggling species, and things are made harder on them than is necessary because, apparently, they have chosen to NOT place themselves in an Entitlement Program.
    A fact many people don’t recognize is that not every stockman chooses Public Lands Ranching – too few to wield the sort of power they enjoy. Public Lands Ranching, you should pardon the term, is for Weenies. When land is cleared off of competing animals, predators are killed to ensure your stock survive and you are rebated for every death, all your water needs are provided, you don’t even see your stock for months on end and it costs less than a good cup o’ coffee per animal, that ain’t ranchin’ – it’s a Federal Boarding Facility.


    • Teenie Weenies I might add…and as a male, I reserve the right to call it as I see it!

      As I stated at the Rally Press Conference, I am from Texas and my neighbors are cattle ranchers, we drive green and yellow John Deere tractors, cavort about in 1 ton 6 tire 4X4s, buy our feed in the same feed store and wear the same sweat stained straw hats but they are not the Teenie Weenies that are the welfare ranchers. My Texas neighbors bought their land, pay taxes on their land, fence their land and maintain their land while even rescuing a horse/burro or two on the way. They produce some of the best beef in the U.S. and I am proud to have them as neighbors, but the Teenie Weenies of the west don’t hold a candle to hard these working cattlemen and women. They are as bad as the welfare recipients in the city and those who fraudulently get food stamps, they are trash and parasites that live off the backs of we hard working American tax payers. They are the scum of the earth.

      In a real pissing contest none of these Teenie Weenies could cut the grade, I’ll bet money on it.


  10. Just don’t get it!!! How can the people in Nevada HATE these horses so much? What gets me is that there are wild horses running across their quarter. What hypocrites!


    • It’s a combination of hating wild horses and loving other “multiple uses”, which may bring short-term gains, but will eventually turn Nevada into a polluted wasteland.


      • Yeah and NO water! It will be come a dust bowl. And all those houses they just had to build with be occupied by the snakes and scorpions. At least they will have some wildlife in the future.


  11. The Truth is Nevada is in such peril because they are denouncing the very Animal who has equaled the ecosystem, by removing horses they have signed their own far as their land is concerned ………….To have the Land in Nevada flourish they must remove the animals that are responsible for its land devastation it is not the horses people wake up ………………. also to kill all the predictors is also big time Mistake People of Nevada………………………. Nature is pretty good at equalizing the balance she should be left to what she is the expert on…………………. Its not nice to try and fool Mother Nature……………………………


  12. You guys, I live in Nevada & have for all of my 52 years, we are not all like that & there are so many of us that write, call, protest, meet with our reps & Senators, work our asses off to try to keep our wild horses roaming free. It is NOT the PEOPLE of NEVADA doing this, it is the BLM & the fricken government. Sorry, but we have people just like all of you in this State & I absolutely love living here, our mountains are majestic, the wide open spaces are breathtaking. Please don’t lump us all into one, as we have the same as all of you, families…churches…libraries…history….communities…..


    • So true, Darcy, thanks for saying this. So many strong advocates are from Nevada…
      including you, Laura and Craig… Arlene. Many more and all those people over the decades who moved to communities to be near wild horses and many are now devoid of them… mar


    • Darcy, I know there are lots of good folks in Nevada who are enraged about what’s happening to your state and our country. I see their names on every one of the petions I’ve signed opposing reckless and irresponsible actions by the Nevada and Federal governments, as well as numerous corporations. We’re in the fight of our lives to save not only the wild ones, but also everything and every place we hold dear. If we don’t stand together (RIGHT NOW!) there will be little left for future generations.


  13. I have a question. Since I don’t live in NV would these “lawmakers” even listen to me? Do I have a right to speak up and be heard? I travel right through this part of NV EVERY year. Granted I don’t spend any time there and try to pay as little money as I can to NV economy for personal reasons.


    If Madeleine’s sanctuary was approved by these “lawmakers” I would rethink my position and spend more time in Wells on my travels.

    How rich is this Dean Rhoads guy anyway? If he runs so much cattle–at 1.35 per cow/calf combo–he might be a richy rich guy. So Madeleine’s sanctuary or others might be of some threat to him–land wise.

    Yesterday, someone sent me a link (maybe I found wandering through advocates pages) and there was a video by the Watersheds people. That land was picked to the ground by cattle. No horses. Cattle. Bare to the bones.


  14. & you can bet your ass I will be writing AGAIN, it’s like a weekly chore, ALL of our REPS, SENATORS,etc & saying exactly just that….WTF we have OUR WILD HORSES on license plates & our STATE QUARTER, why if you are going to let them all get removed & not try to work on keeping them.


  15. @Margaret….I don’t know but I write, email, call all Senators & Congress in other states regarding the slaughter issues & I don’t live there….the more the merrier I believe & you can use my zip 89108 if you need to.


  16. Welfare Ranchers are in cahoots with corrupt gov’t officials. But we do have some power. The law. Mail petitions.
    ____________The Petition to Mail All Members of Congress_____________
    Open Letter concerning reintroduction of S.727/503 and S.1018 and taxes.

    Dear Honorable ___________________________________________________,

    It is a disgrace that in 2007, America closed the last horse slaughterhouse, yet we ship over 100,000 to other countries for horrific deaths. Reintroduce and support S.727/H.R.503, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, along with S. 1018, Restoring Our American Mustangs Act. Also, consider treating America’s horses, respectively, as National Treasure with new tax laws. Small animals have county support systems. Horses do not. Fair taxing would fund Committees in horse industry while creating registry of horses.

    Major horse breeders ‘play the sports of Kings’ and send more horses to slaughter than any other group. The Kings of horse breeding make fortunes while sending low performance, injured and confirmation defective horses for horrific deaths in slaughterhouses, then write off their loses. Don’t enable the Kings. The Kings are financially able to buy more insurance. (1) Omit tax write-offs on dead horses and breeding incentives for breeders. (2) Apply a luxury tax of 4% for all horse owners and (3) equal or larger foal impact fee. Exclude taxing horses while under care of 501(c)3. Over-population will cease as horses increase in value. With 9.2 million horses, revenue will be vast. This is a logical solution to slaughter.

    Adhere strict allocation of horse taxes to: Create committees to (1) oversee BLM’s wild equine program. (1a.) Remove cattle from Mustangs’ lands. Cattle owners can afford rent on OUR land, so, they can afford to buy their own land. (3) Restore 1964 Wilderness Act.

    (1) Train armed county officials by Licensed Veterinarians to humanely euthanize privately owned horses when horse owners cannot place horses and do not have funds for humane euthanization by a licensed veterinarian. (2) Create committees for each county to oversee America’s horses and fund county sanctuaries. Committees create employment.

    Phenylbutazone, routinely used in horses, is banned for use in all animals intended for human consumption because it causes serious and lethal idiosyncratic adverse effects in humans, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. In this lies the merit for a serious lawsuit against our government.

    Visit the kill floor of one of the horse slaughter plants in Mexico. If you cannot support the above bills afterwards, and take steps to make major horse breeders responsible, please, send me a letter explaining ‘your’ logic. Reconsider your position as a supporter of the King’s men.

    Most Sincerely,

    _________________________________________________________________signature and date

    ____________________________________________printed name_____________________phone




    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.


    • We could use New legislation. We are here for the long haul. Why not do right all around for the wild ones. First address the issue of transparency which is non existant;
      Wild Horse and Burro Transparency for Safety Act. Because this would not need a budget it is actually possible to do this. It is something to open up all the records in BLM on the WH&Bs. This would lead to change… then we could write something that covers ALL our wild horses and not just BLM horses and burros. It is worth a try because what we would gain is open book. Knowledge is power. mar


  17. @ Mar, I totally agree that Nevada’s Government should be embarassed & should be put out on the street bare assed to be whipped. Sorry I took it so personal, but I just mainly wanted it on the record that it is not the majority of the people of Nevada that are doing this 🙂


    • Hey Darcy, we know there are many good people in Nevada who are working to save the wild ones. We sometimes just talk in general terms. As for contacting other states congressmen/women sending emails works best for many of us and if we can’t email them it makes it hard for us and I’m sure the other side knows that. Many of us do try to call when we can but getting zips codes does help. After all we are all in this together and our goal is to save the wild horses and burros. Lets just hope we can find some Congressmen/women who have the good sense to see the value of these animals.


  18. Maybe we can have a horse safari like in Africa, where tourists come and take pictures of horses in the wild. We are one of the last countries that has these wild horse herds, and soon they may be wiped of the map here in the US. Will help the tourist industry in NV, and put some much needed money back into the local NV community.


  19. Mark Manendo
    (Leg. Bldg.) 775-684-6503
    (Leg. Bldg. Room) 2127
    (Fax) 702-451-9060

    Maggie Carlton
    (Wk) 702-452-3619
    (Leg. Bldg.) 775-684-8597


  20. Just a little food for thought but maybe, just maybe there has been a change away from the sanctuary idea now because of what happened in Japan, our government has wanted the horses off the land, and wanted to open slaughter houses, and with Japan now needing food, they may see that as a way to kill 2 birds with one stone. Our government is selling off our resources at an alarming rate, after the horses are gone I wonder whats next. The other day on our 9 news, they had a call in to raise money for Japan and in 2 hours they had raised $34,000, I turned the TV off in discust, there we are trying to save our horses from slaughter and people are sending them thousands of dollars ( to do what buy horses meat for their starving people?) If you have a twang in your heart and feel you have to give, give a donation to your cat, dog, or horse rescue, not to the biggest horse eating country we know. The American people never cease to amaise me they give money to countries that will never do a thing for us and who hate us and what we stand for, but they will not fight for their own recourses. Do you know what the difference is between Hitler, Stalin, and the BLM? It’s the uniforms they wear. When you are ready to ratchet it up a notch, and I agree we are at a critical point now for our horses, just let us know, because we are long over do~~~~~to draw a line in the sand.


  21. I emailed State Senator Mark Manendo on the Natural Resources committee and was very impressed when he personally returned my email. So email him and let him know your feelings on the matter. He is only at the state level, not the federal.


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