Horse News

BLM May Consider Pickens Wild Horse Plan

The News As We See It by R.T. Fitch ~ President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Welfare Ranchers Oppose Wild Horse Eco-Sanctuary

Madeleine Pickens at the recent International Equine Conference ~ photo by Terry Fitch

In a recent report, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made public that it is considering a proposal from Billionaires Madeleine Pickens to establish a Wild Horse eco-sanctuary on the two ranches that she purchased for that specific purpose in Elko County, Nevada.

Ms. Pickens has made her intentions clear to both the public and the agency for several years and has been thwarted at every possible turn by the bureaucracy of the BLM and it’s parent Department of the Interior.

Elko BLM District Manager Ken Miller spoke before a meeting of the Legislative Committee on Public Lands last Friday.  Miller explained that after years of consideration, if the Pickens proposal is viable the next step would be to enter into a public review.

“The BLM realizes it needs to entertain unique, out-of-the-box programs. There is no doubt about it,” Miller quipped but the comment is an understatement at the very best.

The BLM claims that there are an estimated 38,000 native wild horses and burros on the millions of western public lands allocated to them by Congress yet the number never changes as the agency rips tens of thousands of the wild equines off from their rightful land every year using cruel and often times deadly helicopter stampedes.  Respected equine professionals and wild horse advocates put the number in the wild closer to 18,000 and are calling for a moratorium so that an accurate accounting can take place.  The BLM does admit that it has in excess of 45,000+ in both long-term and short-term concentration camps and the target for Mrs. Pickens is to release the gender altered short-term horses onto her property.

At first glance it does not appear that the local, rural politicians are in favor of wild horses running free, even if on private land, as Demar Dahl, Elko County Commission Chairman, stated that his county opposes the progressive concept of horse refuges in general as the solution to the undefined problem is not to “stockpile” horses.

Representing grazing and welfare ranching interests, Jerrie Tipton of the Nevada Association of Counties threatened to sue the BLM if they didn’t continue to unlawfully remove the wild horses from their rightful home.

In a burst of  mid-evil mediocrity Tipton said, “How do we make healthy, functional land as sexy as feral horses?”

She said people question why not remove livestock and turn the land over to horses, but counties receive very little revenue from “people looking at wild horses” and they do get money when beef is sold.

Miller commented that the BLM stampeded and trapped 4,025 horses in Nevada in 2011 and plans to rip between 3,800 and 4,000 horses from their freedom in the state next year, but the ability to conduct the “gathers” in 2012 is dependent upon receiving adequate funding from Congress and the availability of space in short and long-term holding facilities,” Miller said.

Miller was asked by Sen. Mark Manendo if horses in long-term holding were sold to slaughter and Miller quickly denied it despite recent press coverage of a semi-tractor trailer seized full of BLM branded wild horses heading to Mexico for bloody butchering.

Likewise when queried about humane treatment of the wild horses in the stampede and trapping process Miller again denied any cruelty despite a recent Reno Federal Judge ordering a Temporary Restraining order on the BLM for cruelty with a major “Humane Care” case coming up for judicial review in the next 30 days.

Jim Baumann, Chairman of the Eureka County Natural Resources Advisory Commission testified to the panel that the few wild horses left on the mega-range were destroying the eco-system while the privately owned, public subsidized welfare rancher’s cattle, out numbering the horses 150 to one, were not the source of the degradation.

There was no representation of Mrs. Pickens “Saving America’s Mustangs” organization present for the meeting but from the general ambiance exuded by the cow committee it appears that the native wild horses are going to have a rough row to hoe against the tight-knit good-ole-boy politics of a narrow mindset firmly frozen back in the 1800’s.

29 replies »

  1. I’m alway amazed at the fact I can have 3 horses on just over 2 acres and my pastures are thick and lush. Where do they get their math and the idea that it’s the horses destroying the ecosystem? Dummies.


  2. When are these self-anointed, sucking off the government teat multi-generational livestock (and now resource) coots gonna start using a new line?

    Yeah, right…wild equines are devastating the eco-system and livestock are planting flowers, f*rting gold and purifying water sources with every step of their sweet, little hooves.

    It just gets sooooooo tiresome.

    Odd how Ms Pickens has to jump through multiple hoops to keep equines on land, but anyone that wants to get wild equines off the land are but on the super highway to approval.


  3. I am sick and tired of hearing unsubstantiated reports that our Wild Mustangs are feral , it has been proved time after time this is a fallacy, and the other crock they are harmful to the eco-system????? It is fact that they truly help the eco – system and are departmental to it …………… Geez get it right or we will……………………………..


  4. I say go Madeleine go. This could be a major breakthrough to help protect these horses. I know she is fighting with all her might to get something done. I also credit Larua Leigh, Carol Walker, The Cloud Foundation, RT Fitch and many others that are also fighting equally hard on various issues to help protect thes amazing beautiful wild horses.


  5. ” Miller explained that after years of consideration, if the Pickens proposal is viable…”

    Ya think they would have figured this out by now. Emptying long term storage to make room for more? Grrrrrrrrr…. The whole program is so screwed up you couldn’t fix it with the current department if you wanted to, and they don’t.


  6. I doubt if Mrs. Pickens will be having 4th of July fireworks parties close to the wild horses, as LTH facility operator Ladd Drummond does…and the BLM seems to have absolutely no qualms about that.




  8. ….” it appears that the native wild horses are going to have a rough row to hoe against the tight-knit good-ole-boy politics of a narrow mindset firmly frozen back in the 1800′s.” …. No Truer Words Were Ever Spoken.


  9. It looks as though Wild Horses are the LEAST of Nevada’s problems;
    Wells, Nevada..A slice of life in our neck of the woods
    May 17, 2011 by ppjg
    Gary Jacobucci / Guest Author
    This is a repsonse from a reader in Nevada who watches what is happening there and records his observations. This letter was in response to the article: “Treasured Landscapes…An Act….to steal land from the states”.
    Re: ‘Treasured Landscapes: An Act…to steal land from the states’
    As for the BLM… I live in rural NE Nevada – an area whose economy is anchored in ranching and mining.
    I sit on the Wells, Nevada planning and zoning committee and also represent Wells on the Elko County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Wells has a population of around 1,400.
    In the Wells P&Z, once a year we look out within a 30-miles circle surrounding us – called the ‘sphere of influence’ – on how we will impact the area and how it will impact us going into the future.
    Economically, the housing bubble came and went without affecting us much here and people wondered when we were ever going to be affected by the economic boom taking place the rest of the country.
    That began to change a couple of years ago when gold was discovered in the Pequop Mountain Range 20 miles to our East and various exploratory companies began drilling to find that the mountain was one of the richest deposits of gold ever found in the U.S..
    The primary companies doing the exploration were Frontier on the east and AuEx on the west side of the mountain. Frontier made a deal to buy the AuEx and recently sold their holdings to Newmont Gold. Frontier, like Barrack Gold – the largest gold mining corporation in the world – presents itself as a Canadian company.


  10. This battle between the ranchers vs. horses has been going on since the days of the early settlers. Its time to STOP THE KILLING. I cannot believe the state of Nevada’s BS. Do they use a shovel to feed it to everyone or anyone who will swallow it? The worst part is no matter what this continues to go on and on. Money, gold, cattle, pipelines for natural gas… on and on, and anything they can think of to make life, or the lack of it, difficult for the horses. I wish Ken Salazar would just hurry up and resign, maybe his successor will have more of a heart and less of a cash register clinking in his chest.


  11. Well I have the earthquakes to thank for making me think about emergency food supplies. With that thought in mind I ordered up some tvp. I admit tvp meat is not as good as the real thing–it needs some work to improve the taste. But I’m committed to trying to make this work.
    TVP is textured vegetable protein–soybeans. So you can go vegan and still have meat dishes. It may need some extra doctoring.
    The more the ranchers complain about the horses the more committed it makes me to not eat red meat. I happen to LOVE almond milk so that’s another step in moving away from meat.
    Cheese–I LOVE cheese. Not the indigestion, but I love cheese.

    I really can’t figure out what the rancher’s problems are…First they gripe about the horses. They want them all gone. And then Madeleine steps in, buys up PRIVATE LAND to give the horses room to roam. And there still complaining. I fear the horses can’t win for losing. We just aren’t going to make cattle ranchers happy no matter what we do.

    Me?, I never thought I’d say this but I’m moving towards becoming a vegetarian. I actually have Judge McKibben to thank for this. It was his ruling in July when he said that BLM could go ahead and round the horses in the blistering heat that started this for me.

    So what happens when the horses win this battle…? I honestly don’t know for myself. I’ll have to see. It’s one step at a time. Just like the lawsuits…


    • I think you’d like the Tofurky roast for Thanksgiving, Margaret. It’s at Whole Foods (on sale for the holidays). Then there’s Lightlife brand “Smart Dogs” (with the fixings, they taste and smell and feel almost like hotdogs). You can get $1.00 coupons if you write to Lightlife. And bacon … and chicken nuggets … and riblets. And that’s just the tip of the veg-burg.

      As for cheese, well, I can’t tell much difference in taste and texture between dairy cheese and Galaxy Nutritional Food’s soy or rice American and cheddar cheese slices/blocks/shreds. It melts in sandwiches, too.

      I love almond milk, too — especially Silk’s dark chocolate almond flavor.

      Sorry to be a bit off-topic — though, considering what the cattlemen are doing to “our” horses and burros….


  12. Has something happened that we should know about with Madeleine and BLM? This was just Miller making a statement at this meeting? hmmmmm


    • When I spoke with Madeleine in D.C., at the IEC, she was very excited about acquiring a great deal of historical documentation on the BLM and their early activities, official docs. So it would be my assumption that with knowledge, facts and proper documentation comes power as there is no way for the BLM to wiggle away from the truth so perhaps, just perhaps, they are now listening to her out of fear. And they should be very, very afraid…


      • Ms Pickens has been featuring the documentation on her “Save Our Mustangs” (is that the site?)….she has reams and reams (sp?) of it and was featuring big chunks of it there. I have been back in many weeks. What I read sure was interesting though.


      • Yes, the power of information is what we all have tried to use. I still think we need a little bill to get ALL of BLM/DOI etc, info on the wild horses and burros and the land and the interlopers on it. This secrecy and denial to public interest is out of line and UNAMERICAN!


  13. “She said people question why not remove livestock and turn the land over to horses, but counties receive very little revenue from “people looking at wild horses” and they do get money when beef is sold.”
    Has this person done any basic second grade math that clearly states that we (you and I) are paying big time out of our pockets though the welfare ranching system ($1.35 per per cow on OUR public land vs more than ten times that much +/- for that same cow on private land) … not to mention the federal subsidies? Who is she kidding? It COSTS me out of my hard earned tax money for that cow to live on MY land!
    PS How much do these people get paid per month to make these lies over and over? Do they really believe their own BS? How do I get a job lying every day and getting paid big bucks for lying like this person has? Grrrrrrrrrrrr…..


    • Remove the livestock! Save some of this land from cattle, mining and pipelines. They behave as if the whole shebang has to go now because every acre is needed to be exploited NOW!


      • But you see, all that beef/lamb on public lands is EXPORTED! Less than 3% stays in the US as most Americans eat Ka-Rap meat products, prepared, fast-food, etc as our mainstays. It costs big bucks for most to buy GOOD meat products; factor in all the freaking treaties and walk to your Wal-Mart (or whatever), look at the labels and say, “what the H*LL is going on here).

        Americans are cutting back on beef in the old sense (choice cuts, beef 5 times a week, etc).

        And in the end, it is some livestock issues on public lands but the bigger problem is extraction of minerals, energy AND WATER!


  14. So if/when they remove all the horses from the public lands I pay for , can I stop paying for those lands? Do I have to pay for land where oil (profit) is being extracted? They’re making all that money,yet I’ll still have to pay for land I no longer wish to visit (no horses)? Can I shift my tax dollar to MP ? or some other horse sanctuary? I want the horses managed on (simple word ON) the ranges guaranteed them in the WFRH&B Act. That I pay for…..


  15. They certainly seem to be generating a lot of income for some of ranchers in the midwest….the ones that have them in long term holding. What was that one that was going to have the cooking show?


  16. You Can Now See Our Wild Horses In Long Term Holding
    August 22, 2011
    Story by Debbie Coffey as it appears in the PPJ Gazette
    • Drummond Land and Cattle’s BLM contract is for about $1.30 per head per day, so using Debbie Collins number of 3,400 horses, that adds up to about $1,613,300 a year. And that’s for just one year.
    • It seems that Drummond Land and Cattle may have had BLM long term holding contracts since 2003 or 2004.
    • Ladd, Tim and Charles Drummond, partners in Drummond Land and Cattle, are listed as key personnel on the BLM contract.
    • It appears that from 1995-2010, Ladd Drummond received $106,707 in USDA farm subsidies ($66,707 since 2005).
    • It appears that his brother, Tim, received about $75,644 in USDA farm subsidies


  17. Though I pray that Pickens will be allowed to take some of the horses that are suffering in holding pens and they may once again roam free. I have a bigger concern. The horses they are considering letting her take are altered. So as they continue to gather OUR herds and alter them, we will wake up to no viable Mustangs left to breed and keep the herds going. The broken bands hurt their genetic pool. BLM has one direction, along with the greed filled livestock folks and that is extinction. They must be stopped from breaking our laws. Thank you R.T., Terri & Laura Leigh for all you do! You all and our Mustangs remain in my daily prayers.


  18. The BLM s plan is to [n 10 yrs zero out all the Mustangs ,………………….It would be a good thing to know how many Stallions and mares are left in the Wild to reproduce, who are untouched by gelding and PZP or PZP 20………. This is a figure we must find out !!!!! This is the answer to their future !!!!!!! This will tell us there is no time to waste to stop this insidious horror………………….. I am hoping we are not to late !!!!!!


  19. If the Wild horse and Burro act is the Law , Why can no one enforce it ??????? Time is of the essence, if we are not already to LATE, The BLM made plans to ZERO THEM in 10 YRS, I want to figure out if they have already accomplished this !!!!! We must find out how many of our Mustangs , are not gelded and how many mares are not PZP, I think they are very close to accomplishing this , that is why we must know !!!!! They are hoping that it will take so long through the Courts and other methods that there well thought out plan will be unstoppable no matter if we get The ROAM ACT enforced , it wont matter they will have already set their plan …………….Checkmate……………. Not only is the BLM the enemy but time is also…………………………………… Can we risk this , without knowing how many are able to procreate???????


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