Horse News

Advocates Outraged at Texas Shooting of Wild Burros

Story by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of Horseback Magazine

Presentation at IEC in D.C. Shocks Crowd

Targeted by Texas ~ photo by Terry Fitch

WASHINGTON, DC – More than 3,500 people in one week have joined a rapidly developing campaign on created by an animal advocates calling on Texas Parks and Wildlife to stop killing wild burros.

Karen VA Luce launched the campaign on to prevent the slaughter of the wild burros remaining in Big Bend Ranch, the largest state park in Texas. Although fewer than 300 burros remain, activists say the parks and wildlife agency continues to shoot them to make room for bighorn sheep, a high-profile species prized by big game hunters.

“This atrocity has gone on far too long,” said Karen VA Luce, who launched the campaign , working with the Wild Burro Protection League. “I am thoroughly convinced that the people of Texas have not been given an opportunity to voice their sentiments. I believe the campaign will reveal that Texans everywhere love the wild burros; full extermination robs the public of these incredible living assets.”

“The American people assume that a state park would work to preserve the wildlife such as wild burros in their natural habitat,” said Laura Allen, founder and executive director of Animal Law Coalition, in support of Luce’s campaign on “Instead, the parks department is systematically killing these animals to ensure a supply of bighorn sheep for trophy hunters. They are simply eliminating wild burros in yet another giveaway of America’s protected natural resources to special interests; it is an abuse of power and animal cruelty.”

News of the online petition campaign ’s success is likely to increase pressure on Texas Parks and Wildlife. Within the first day of the campaign ’s launch, Karen VA Luce had recruited over a thousand supporters on, the world’s fastest growing platform for social change, and the number of petition signers continues to climb.

“It is truly remarkable how this campaign has caught the attention of the public,” said Organizer Pamela Black. “In just one week, thousands of supporters have joined Karen’s petition to save the wild burros of Texas. is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch Karen’s campaign take off.”

Meanwhile, at the International Equine Conference being held in D.C., this week, Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro Affairs for the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, presented an informative program on the shooting of the last remaining Texas wild burros to a packed house on Monday.  Equine advocates from across the country were shocked and stunned by the Texas State Parks and Wildlife service total disregard for federal protection awarded these burros whose only guilty is their inability to read a map.

“It’s a blatant issue of dollars and lack of sense.” says Farabee, “Texas is shooting native wild burros on sight to make room for the import of Big Horn Sheep that the state can charge between $75,000.00 to $150,000.00 for a single hunting permit for the sheep.  Through their green money tinted glasses the native species have to go.”

44 replies »

  1. I am so proud to know Karen Luce. She and Marjorie are such great advocates for the burros. Keep up the great work ladies! God bless.


    • Diana the whole idea was to get our organization the Wild Burro Protection League on the petition. I am the founder and president, and Karen is the VP and head of research. I asked her to get the petition going for our group. A mistake was made, her name was put up, and now we live with it. But, are very happy that the burros are getting much needed attention.

      Marjorie Farabee, founder of Wild Burro Protection League and Director of Wild Burro Affairs with Wild Horse Freedom Federation.


      • That being said, Karen does a heck of a lot more than research! She writes letters, looks into policy which is carefully scrutinized by her from her environmental science background.


  2. I wrote a questioning letter to Kevin Good (Special Assistant to the Office of the Director, Big Bend State Park), whose uniformed compatriots are shooting the burros ‘on sight’. In answer to my request for a copy of any environmental impact study that has been done to determine whether or not the park is being damaged by the wild burros, he responded in part with, “An environmental impact study has not been conducted, as none is required.” The blatant absence of research and scientific data confirms that the decision to shoot the burros was based on nothing more than than the whim of the director. All of Mr. Good’s other answers were equally shallow and dodgy. We’re looking at this case as the possible focus of a national news story, utilizing top media outlets to pressure Big Bend officials into rethinking their stance on the Big Bend State Park burro ‘problem’.

    Marjorie and Karen are certainly worthy advocates for the longears. Bravo to them both! I’m pleased to say that the Celebrate the Horse Network raised funds from within our own membership and have funded more of Marjorie’s work than any other organization other than Johnny Straitz, her wonderful employer and co-rescuer of donkeys. We love burros, Marjorie, Karen, and Johnny- who’s an amazing advocate who works quietly behind the scenes to provide over 100 rescued burros with lifelong, loving homes- and that number continues to grow in burro leaps and donkey bounds as the economy slides ever deeper into the brink. I hope others will keep these warriors and the burros they’re fighting for in mind when donating to animal causes*. *Laura’s battle to help the wild horses under BLM’s deadly control will also help the BLM wild burros ‘by default’. The Big Bend State Park burros however, are NOT under the ‘management’ of BLM, and so are not effected by BLM-related court rulings, political shuffling, or HMA assessments, and are a separate mess of laws/lawlessness entirely.

    Viiva la Longears!


    • Any way you can provide an update with contact information for Mr. Good and who is actually authorizing this slaughter of burros? And who did authorize it?


    • Wow, Elaine… I do hope we can get national coverage! They do deserve it. It is the attitude of relegating them to the back seat by advocates that is getting them shot. Officials believe that people do not care. Saying that they will be helped by default has not worked too well for them so far has it? It is my deepest hope that people will be more conscientious of their great danger and near extinction and SAY burro whenever they can.


      • I want to further add, that had it not been for the Celebrate the Horse organization, Karen and I would not have met. Celebrate the Horse gave us the platform to get started. We are in your debt. And, we deeply appreciate the fund raising and cheer leading you have done for us. Thank you, Elaine Nash.

        And, I cannot say how much I appreciate R.T.’s faith in me. By naming me the Director of Wild Burro Affairs, he has given Wild Burro Protection League a big boost which both Karen I greatly appreciate.


  3. Please contact Black Beauty Ranch on what they are doing (or not doing in this case) about these burros. They were started by Cleveland Amory years ago when he organized an airlift of 500 wild burros out of the Grand Canyon that the Park Service was going to shoot on site, just like this park. He wrote a great book about it – Ranch of Dreams. They are located in Murchison, TX. They need to be involved. They can’t just let this happen in their backyard.


      • There is NO PETITION to stop the roundups and have a moratorium on the capture and removal of Wild Horses and Burros at the White House site. I have tried to get into it and to start a Petition…

        NO WAY does an anti slaughter petition have anything to do with saving our wild horses and burros on their ranges!!!!

        Please, if anyone can get into the White House petition site we need to get a
        petition going for the Wild Ones!!!!!

        Please help!


    • I thought Black Beauty Ranch was part of HSUS now?…maybe it’s a partnership?

      Also, isn’t Mark Myers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue of CA and TX doing doing something?


      • Black Beauty ranch is accepting a large number of the burros being brought from Hawaii, and some are going to CA under PVDR (Mark Meyers) Although they are in Texas, they have not worked on this issue yet. Yes they are a associated with HSUS, and as a result of this conference are now possibly working on this issue. We will see. They want to go through the steps Karen and I have already gone through by offering to help etc. I HOPE they are not going to offer to remove them. Their removal could cause the crash of other species in the park. Remember they have been there 500 years, and without studies they do not know what other species they support through their behaviors. It would be a huge mistake. The locals would suffer also, from the loss of an attraction used to bring in tourism dollars.


  4. I too sent an email to Mr Good. In one of his emails he indicated that the poor burros could carry back a disease which could efffect Texas equines. I proceeded to ask him what disease he was talking about. I also asked him if any of the burros that they found were ill with this unknown disease. First, he could not tell me what disease he was talking about and secondly, he said they
    never found any with this disease. It sounds to me like he has been kabuzing with the employees of the BLM. Out of sight, out of mind. I can’t believe the attitudes of these people. He also makes mention of the sheep. He said they were not removed because of this. Hello….how soon are the trophies going to aappear? I am certainly going to go to and sign the petition. I will send to my friends too to keep the ball rolling. Thank you, Karen.


  5. Texas seems to have a “We love it, now we hate it!” attitude toward big game animals. A number of exotic species were introduced to West Texas in the 1940’s to satisfy hunters, including the Auodad (Barbary Sheep), a native of North Africa. The are now considered a “native species” by hunters (although not by Texas Parks & Wildlife), because they’ve been there for OVER 60 YEARS! How long has the lowly burros been there? Can we put a 1 in front of that 60?

    Now hunters want Aoudad (and other “exotics”) completely eradicated from Big Bend and other areas, so they won’t compete with Desert Big Horn. TP&WL has been shooting Aoudad from helicopters, and leaving the carcasses. They are even chasing them from private ranches (including hunting ranches) onto state park land, so they can shoot them legally. I’d say Texas has a bad case of species schizophrenia!

    So, by all means, “MESS WITH TEXAS!”, ’cause they’ve been messin’ with everything else!


  6. Thank you for your story R.T. we hope things will change for the wild burros in Texas and across the nation thanks to the forum of the International Equine Conference and your article today and the others you’ve done.

    Elaine Nash is absolutely right when she points out how meaningful the support and resources of Celebrate the Horse Network has been! We love the horses too, but the wild burros are in far greater risk of extinction than even the wild horses are. There are thousands of advocates and many groups for horses but few are dedicated solely for the burros, without proper scrutiny the government has allowed many more infringements on their range and distribution. Zeroing out many herds and using killing instead of gather in too many incidences, including this glaring and on-going killing of the tiny relic herd in Texas.

    Thank you all for the support and in answer to the questions above, in a short while I will post links to contacts I’m compiling for those at the conference. The most worrisome thing here that any horse advocate should fear is that where wild horses are found in state or other land that falls in this loophole, they too could be shot as they peacefully graze. Wherever your readers reside, I hope they will scrutinize their own state parks system to uncover any other states that are robbing the public and future generations of the chance to see, learn about and experience these amazing wild burros and horses that are, in fact afforded protection under the Public Trust Doctrine.


    • See why I love her?

      Marjorie Farabee, Executive Director Wild Burro Protection League
      Hugs to Karen Luce, Director Wild Burro Protection League

      In case anyone who follows us is wondering why the titles changed Karen and I talked about pres, an vp but we both have decided it sounds too corporate and directors are usually used with organizations. We operate under Johnny Straitz rescue TMR Rescue where I am the equine manager.


  7. If Mr. Good says the burros have diseases, couldn’t the supposed disease be transferred to big horn sheep? I hope someone can track this down and find out specifically WHAT DISEASE the burros might have, and ask him who was the veterinarian who diagnosed this disease? Was it USDA’s APHIS?


  8. “There isn’t any disease. He’s talking out of his burro.”
    Love that statement,
    The Texas Parks and Wildlife commission is a joke to anyone who cares about Wildlife. I heard Marjorie speak at the yearly meeting, and you could tell they weren’t too interested in the burros. I thought there would be discussions, but I guess I just didn’t understand how these meetings were run (with their three minute time allowance for comments)


  9. I talked with Mr. Good. He told me: There are no known diseases. There is a quarantine because this area is near the border. Animals may or may not have diseases when they wander in and out of the quarantine area. If an animal disease were to be diagnosed, it would have something to do with Public Health dept.
    He told me the burros were “feral” or “exotic” and had mostly been showing up the past 10 years in this area. They may have been domesticated or wandered over from Mexico. He said the Big Horn Sheep had been there 50-60 years and were “native.”
    If anyone has any information about burros in this area that would prove they’re native to the area, please send it to Mr. Good.
    His e-mail is:


  10. Well if the Auodad (Barbary Sheep) are classed as native to North America after only 60 years, what does that make the wild horses and burros then???? They are keep saying that the horses are not native. He IS obviously talking out of the burros as ‘savewildhorses’ said. What is wrong with these people, they seem to have a hate relationship with anything equine or anything that cannot be legally hunted. I don’t understand how anyone can justify shooting these delightful burros. It is equine genocide.


  11. There is NO PETITION to stop the roundups and have a moratorium on the capture and removal of Wild Horses and Burros at the White House site. I have tried to get into it and to start a Petition…

    NO WAY does an anti slaughter petition have anything to do with saving our wild horses and burros on their ranges!!!!

    Please, if anyone can get into the White House petition site we need to get a
    petition going for the Wild Ones!!!!!

    Please help!


    • Mar we totally, I mean totally agree with you. However, it would be bad if there is redundancy of petitions. We need one for the burros and will start one. Since I am technically challenged I will get Karen to start one that states we want them to stop shooting them in National Parks, and provide them protections deserved by them under the public trust doctrine, and by USDA. These burros are critically endangered and are genetically bound to Equus Africanus, and must be preserved. Equus Africanus is almost extinct! These burros may save an entire species. This makes this a global issue.


  12. Mr. Good (wrong name) sounds clueless about horses and burros. another mouth off. the least he could do is have facts available. the FACT is ranchers want to wild horses gone, hunters want the burros gone (maybe they eat sheep) and what’s next? Oh, yes, don’t forget the poor horses being bought by kill buyers to serve the earning some people have for equine steak! does the white house care? proably not!


  13. Governor’s office:Information and Referral Hotline [for Texas callers] :
    (800) 843-5789
    Citizen’s Opinion Hotline [for Texas callers] :
    (800) 252-9600
    Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline [for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers] :
    (512) 463-1782
    Office of the Governor Main Switchboard :
    (512) 463-2000
    Citizen’s Assistance Telecommunications Device
    If you are using a telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD),
    call 711 to reach Relay Texas
    Office of the Governor Fax:
    (512) 463-1849
    Mailing Address
    Office of the Governor
    P.O. Box 12428
    Austin, Texas 78711-2428

    FB addy for Rick Perry:

    Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners page link:
    Executive Director, Carter Smith
    State Parks Division Director,Brent Leisure
    (512) 389-4866
    State Parks Division Deputy Director, Dan Sholly
    (512) 389-8440
    Operations Scott Boruff

    Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administrative Resources
    Michael J. Jensen
    (512) 389-8802
    Parks Division, Spec. Asst. to the Director
    Kevin Good

    Texas Wildlife Commission Chairman (T. Dan Friedkin)dan.friedkin@tpwd.state.tx.usFAX – (713) 580-5220

    Reported Numbers of burros killed since the moratorium ended.
    4 burros on 8/17/2010, Fresno Canyon
    2 burros on 10/7/2010, Guale Mesa
    6 burros on 1/2/2011, Rancherias Canyon
    4 burros on 1/22/2011, Rancherias Canyon
    5 burros on 3/15/2011, Guale Mesa
    7 burros on 4/16/2011, La Cuesta
    6 burros on 6/18/2011, Rancherias Loop
    6 burros on 6/22/2011, Rancherias Loop
    4 burros on 7/4/2011, Tapado Canyon
    1 burro on 7/10/2011, Grassy Banks
    1 burro on 7/10/2011, Lower Madera
    This is in addition to those taken in 2006.

    Control of Exotic, Feral and Nuisance Terrestrial and Aquatic Animals on Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Lands
    Policy Number: OP-08-01
    Type of Policy: Operations
    Date: December 3, 2008

    Population Goal. In keeping with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Policy to conserve and manage agency natural resources for the highest and best purpose, all species of exotic and feral animals on TPWD lands will be eliminated to the extent possible.


  14. IN-freaking-CREDIBLE!!! Whwhwhat?? Did *I
    Totally MISS* the ‘carpet ride’? & Fail to
    Realize…that *We are IN
    freaking-AFGHANISTAN now* ??
    [Did They ‘win’ after All that ?!?] And–
    -now WE get to -PAY Them-?to (so-called
    “work”)for Our state/fed Governments,too!?!
    ? Some-1 said, “Its a blatant issue of
    dollars & lack of Sense.”——NO!–no
    offense, but, You are Completely WRONG–
    *this* is nothing even so ridiculous as
    that.—> *this* IS
    definite, absolute, text-book PSYCHOPATHIC
    and/or TERRORIST BEHAVIOR* !! These “Park
    Employees” need to be Hospitalized {or re-
    Patriated to Venus or home-Terrorist-co},
    Immediately! (Seriously, I find this Absurd
    Event chain to be…*truly Horrifying &
    Dangerous*…it SCARES me!–& should scare
    U-all). & WHAT exactly are these “TROPHY
    Hunters”??–& What could such “person? It?”
    WANT with a dead Sheep, anyway?? (yet
    another scary thought)….
    IF this is -How TX state Parks- work (?),
    then..Here is The *Solution* : SHOOT ALL
    the Sheep! SHOOT All Birds, Deer, Snakes,
    Burros (if Not gone/rescued)….then
    PAVE-Over the -Whole place-!!! [*this* is
    Not a PARK, where humans come from, or Go
    TO!, sorry]…after Paving, line up as many
    Trophies as TX can Buy from Mexico/China…
    USE those to lure & catch both ‘T-hunters +
    park staff’, to Haul them away for
    *treatment! (or just Away*)..!perhaps, some
    of my Texas friends will be Safer??
    —& surely, surely, NOBody GOES to, or
    subjects Children to, such a Park??
    @ least, *promise* that you never Will
    ~~ABSURD, Nauseating, Unbelievable (if not
    known who’s reporting), Scary, & Dangerous~
    ~certainly not Only for sake of the *Poor
    innocent, defenseless *Burros 😦
    (sick sick sick sick, tell-me-it’s-Not-in-
    America!, INSANE). I hope to read that
    *this park* is Closed-down + caged, b4 staff
    got Out, by Tomorrow. ?


    • I could not have said it better my self. I’m saving this one to my notes. Thanks I needed that. As an organization, we have to be more metered in what we say, so we DO appreciate this. THANK YOU. By the way CEMIX is located at the National park next door.


  15. This is unforgiveable. Burros are so loving. I volunteer at a sanctuary where I keep three horses, soon to be five, and the sanctuary has a mother and son donkey/burro and they love to follow me around when I’m mucking their corral. They love hugs and kisses. These are adorable animals. Just as our beloved horses are. These Texans need to be caged and dumped in their favorite park with their prize wanta be big horn sheep.

    I too have tried to sign the petition at the WHite House and couldn’t get in to sign it. Has it been sabotaged too? Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. What is this country becoming? It seems that all the “nuts”, insane idiots, are trying to get in place to stop any human being that loves our gorgeous wild horses, domesticated horses, and donkeys/burros, It’s about time we demand they all be rounded up and deposited in the middle of Death Valley. This would be even to good for them.. What a disgusting development this is.

    If anyone can let us know how to get into the White House petition for the Wild Horses and BUrros and the petition to stop shipment of our horses across our borders to slaughter, please let me know. I’ll gladly sign it.


  16. Tried to sign the petition at the White House, apparently the page ‘has been removed or renamed’ – whatever that means in govt speak!


  17. absolutely OUTRAGEOUS< Whats wrong with these people , have they all lost there Minds and their Brains???? OMG Our horses and our Burros are important to our environment, ????????? They are living breathing Legends !!!!!!! These people must be stopped like YESTERDAY !!!!!!!


  18. Something to REALLY question is HOW MUCH these people are paid..WHO sets the salaries…WHO puts them in these positions? Too much DEAD WOOD at the top of the heap.


  19. Tonight I was listening to a CD of Mindy Jostyn singing David Olney’s song “Brays,” and it reminded me of the beautiful burros in Texas and throughout the West. Regardless of whether one believes that Jesus lived and rode a donkey, the words are so moving I just had to share them here:

    None is more proud than the stallion
    None is more feared than the lion
    None is more free than the eagle
    But who is more blessed than I am?

    I was never what you could call noble
    Beauty and grace I lack
    Only a poor beast of burden
    But once I bore a king upon my back

    Blessed am I of all creatures
    Blessed am I of all beasts
    I have heard the cries of Hosanna
    Palm leaves were laid at my feet

    Tethered to a tree at the crossroad
    Two men appeared at my side
    They led me away to their master
    And upon my back he did ride

    We entered the city in triumph
    Every man’s heart filled with joy
    I raised my ears at their shouting
    And added my own humble voice

    Before you would taunt me with your laughter
    A favor of you I would ask
    Remember the king that I once carried
    And let your mockery pass

    Blessed am I of all creatures
    Blessed am I of all beasts
    I heard the cries of Hosanna
    Palm trees were laid at my feet

    None is more proud than the stallion
    None is more feared than the lion
    None is more free than the eagle
    But who is more blessed than I am?

    (c) 1994 Bug Music, BMI/David Olney

    If you would like to hear the haunting tune, David sings “Brays” here: (between the 2:15 and the 7:25 minute marks)


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