Horse News

Federal Judge Orders Welfare Ranchers Off from BLM Public Lands

(The News as We See It) by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council

BLM Welfare Ranching Program Suffers Setback

Private "Welfare" Cattle being herded onto BLM Antelope Complex WHILE BLM was removing native wild horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Recently a federal judge dealt another blow to “welfare” ranchers by reaffirming his late-February decision to halt grazing of private cattle on 17 Bureau of Land Management allotments covering some 450,000 acres in southern Idaho.

Wednesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered that cattle be removed from the allotments by May 3.  The disproportionate number of private cattle allowed to graze on public lands versus the number of native wild horses to be present has been a sticking point with equine advocates for decades.

Western Watersheds Project director Jon Marvel said Winmill’s decision will protect thousands of acres of critical sage grouse habitat from livestock grazing.

Marvel’s group aims to shut down grazing on public land in the West.

This decision is the latest development in Western Watersheds’ 2005 lawsuit contending the BLM violated federal law by authorizing private cattle grazing in the midst of southern Idaho’s sage grouse country that’s been hard hit by wildfire in recent years.

23 replies »

  1. Wow, I thought I was dreaming when I read the headline…..if only this could be made true in Nevada and the other western states still harboring a few wild horses!


  2. Kaie Fite and Jon Marvel are great and so are the WWP lawyers. This is helping our wild horses indirectly. BTW they have a band of wild horses at the WWP preserve and had to make the BLM return them a few years ago. The BLM chased the horses off the preserve and captured them.


    • Barbara, if WWP prefers horses to cattle on their property, have they had an scientific research conducted to prove the horses less damaging? I don’t know what Fite or Marvel’s backgrounds are….but this is wonderful news.


  3. Well the horses finally won one. Too bad we couldn’t get Congress to stop giving the BLM horse killers more money to continue their work to get rid of our American Wild Mustangs. But this does eliminate one more excuse for them to remove the horses. Maybe another state court will take notice. We can dream you know! And I’m sure Congress has not read the whole Budget bill as they don’t’ read much of what they sign. We need to stay on Congress and tell them they must read these bills and stop putting stuff in them that is hidden away from view. congress needs to get some back bone and stop pushing their own agenda. They need to be pushing the peoples agenda and I’m sure that does not include killing off all wildlife. Like I’ve said before this will be a very sad and dark world when there is no wildlife and the only things we see are other humans. It will be a very sad day!


  4. It is called “karma”, what goes around , comes around. Now the cattlemen are going to see how it feels to be kicked off grazing lands, only the cattle never belonged there, the Wild Mustangs & Burros do, that is THEIR land, paid for by us the American Tax Payers.


  5. Why are we no copying their lawsuits for wild horses? Wild horses are protected as much as the sage grouse. Plus HMAs were created specifically for wild horses.

    Jon Marvel is a marvel. Love WWP.


  6. I am working on something that will help our cause further, but need access to Federal Register entries from 1986. If I find what I am looking for we may be able to get all HMA management “devoted principally but not necessarily exclusively to their (the wild ones) welfare” as it was supposed to be. BLM claims that wording only applies to “sanctuaries” but they are wrong and I can prove it.

    Anyone have access to Federal Register from 1986. Law library with Lexis or HeinOnline access?


  7. Finally the horses win this week.

    Totally off subject here…for those that know about Old Friends in Kentucky they could really use A LOT of help right now. You can find them at


  8. I’ve been busy with tax prep, but I always check the headlines here. GREAT news! Made my day a little happier! Winning small battles will help win the big war! Remember we hold the high ground, moral or otherwise. Kudos to the Honorable Judge B. Lynn Winmill. I humbly thank you.


  9. Happy Dance! Hallelujah!!!
    Bring it to Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Montana ~ all the Western states.


  10. . Happy Dance! Hallelujah!!!
    Bring it to Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Montana ~ all the Western states


  11. YEE HAW! Great news for public lands … and the poor little sage grouse 😉
    I am very pro ranching…but NOT pro-ripping off of our Public!
    All the time those goldbricking welfare ranchers spent lobbying against our innocent wild horses……could have been spent learning good cattle management. Their vendetta against the mustangs is finally coming back to bite ’em! Now, I guess they’ll have to put down their beer, get their rearends up off of the porch and do some REAL ranchin’ … like good honest American Cattlemen!


  12. We can use this same strategy if we want to… BLM has been putting too many cattle on allotments inside HMAs in order to reduce the wild herd’s AML. The removal of horses and burros from artificially manipulated HMA/cattle allotments where the water and browse has been given predominantly to cattle on horse range is illegal and cannot be made a ‘policy’ by BLM to favor cattle. Multiple use BS or not. mar


  13. Way to go WWS and the people working on this! You have found success using BLM against itself. We are learning from this. mar


  14. R.T. your photo of the cattle saids it all! A simple, yet powerful tale it tells! A BIG THANK YOU to those whose’s hard work made this victory happen! Keep them coming!


  15. IMO WWP did not sell out to Ruby Pipeline. They got the route moved where it wouldn’t cause as much damage or harm as many wildlife species. I don’t remember the exact details but I think they did the best they could .


Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.