Horse News

Wild Horse Controversy in Kansas?

Unedited transcript from, NBC Channel 3 Wichita Kansas

BLM Creates Fiscal Disaster While Complaining About Wild Horse and Burro Upkeep

WICHITA, Kansas — Deep in the heart of The Flint Hills, the ground gives warning of what is coming; thousands of horses, more wild than their name could ever suggest, thundering across Kansas in a spectacle many don’t even know exists.

“A lot of people are surprised to learn that there are many thousands of wild horses in Kansas,” said Bureau of Land Management spokesman, Paul McGuire.

Once roaming open ranges in The West, these American Mustangs have been transported to Kansas as part of the federal government’s Wild Horse Program.

Today 9,593 Mustangs call Kansas home, occupying almost 77,000 acres of the Sunflower State.

“It may not appear to be ideal pasture but for these wild horses it is,” said McGuire.

In the 1970’s, The Bureau of Land Management was charged with preserving the animal, many feared was at risk of disappearing. Before long, the BLM’s task evolved.

“The issue that we have now is not one of the animals being at risk of vanishing. It’s quite the opposite. It’s that they’re overpopulating the areas that they inhabit,” said McGuire.

Its overpopulation, according to the BLM, that if not managed would threaten the land, other wildlife, even energy resource development.

“The public lands are managed for a wide variety of purposes and it’s a delicate balancing act. BLM has to manage the interests and concerns and values of 300 million Americans and that’s a very daunting task,” said McGuire.

Also daunting is the program’s cost, billed to the American taxpayer.

Last year, The Wild Horse and Burro Program cost $75 million. Some goes to horse adoption programs, research and range monitoring but a lot goes to the ranchers, who provide the land and food for these transplanted horses to live.

They’re paid about $1.30 per horse, per day. At one Kansas ranch, where there are 4,400 Mustangs, that equals a paycheck of over $2million each year.

“So it is a pretty expensive proposition. Keeping horses in holding is not the ideal situation. The ideal situation is to find homes for animals that are removed from range. Beyond that, the ideal situation is to get the populations on the range in balance with the numbers that can be placed for adoption,” said McGuire.

The BLM acknowledges it is always trying to improve its wild horse program and no one can deny its incredible cost but the alternatives proposed couldn’t be any more different.

A short drive south through The Flint Hills, lives Trixie; a rescued Mustang who now calls The Rainbow Meadows Equine Rescue and Retirement home, along with dozens of other horses.

Animal Welfarist Karen Everhardt is adamant that the BLM’s program is not only broken, but abusive. Not all BLM horses end up running free on Kansas land.

“Some of those horses remain in those intermediate holding facilities for a long, long time and they’re nothing more than a feedlot. Nothing more. In the mud, with no protection, out in the deserts,” said Everhardt.

Everhardt maintains the program has turned into an issue of greed and cheap grazing units. She says all the BLM has to do is let the horses go back to where they came from and instead focus on birth control and creating water and food for them in the wild.

“What motivates us as human beings to think that we are so omnipotent that we know how to do it better than they know how to do it themselves? They’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. We’ve been doing it for 30,” said Everhardt.

Not far from Rainbow Meadows, Carl Thurow’s prized Paint Horses devour their afternoon treat.

”Horses are my life,” said Thurow.

Thurow says he loves horses but his answer to the wild horse issue is very different.

“The taxpayer is just paying to keep horses alive, for what?” said Thurow.

He agrees with the BLM, that if left in the wild, the overpopulation would be devastating. Thurow believes it only makes sense to re-open horse slaughter plants.

“Those excess animals, the old animals that they call off, we take them to the horse slaughter and then they create good for somebody. You know, there’s somebody that benefits from those horses and it’s not a drain on our national economy taking care of these things,” said Thurow.

Back in the hills, a new heard of Mustangs have been dropped off and are now exploring their new home.

Little do they know the debate that rages around them, as wild as their western spirit.

Click (HERE) to comment at KSN


18 replies »

  1. Pretty easy to go to this news site and comment folks. I just did that and Jerry Finch beat me to it. It would be nice to see a bunch of Kansans there commenting. So if you know any tell them.


  2. Can anyone prove 9593 actually exist there? How many have been hijacked to Mexico??? Yes they are in danger of disappearing because these are not wild free-roaming mustangs with intact stallions. Does anyone else get mad about tax dollars supporting these salazoos while on the range, these horses cost taxpayer zero? Not that I suggest we stop paying for their care, but they shouldn’t be there in the first place. These horses were stolen from their legal domain and need to be returned. F the BLM and their “delicate balancing act” of lies and theft. The only place mustangs are “overpopulated” is in government concentration camps. Nothing they do or say is based on factual data or science, they pull numbers out of their asses, kill wildlife, add more cows, steal more land. Taxpayer funded organized crime agency, that’s what they are.


    • So well said, Lisa! I agree with you 100%. That is exactly right, our wild horses, including those “thousands” roaming “wild & free” in Kansas, will disappear because they’re mostly sterilized & can’t reproduce, therefore, they CAN’T “over-populate”, except as you said, in the over-crowded BLM horse concentration camps!!


  3. Why am I not surprised of the blm complaining of the care for the horses they have taken from the range. What else is new!! What is the logic of slaughtering a horse if it can not be or should not be eaten? It has been proven time and time again the drugs given even our mustangs is not safe. If they are old or sick, put them down humanely, NOT TO BE EATENED. Slaughter houses don’t want them any way, so they linger to just die of hunger and no care. Blm just don’t get it. How many yrs has this been going on? (Too Long) I agree with Everhardt, all it is greed and cheap grazing, definitly NOT the horse.


  4. Can anyone prove the 9000+ is an accurate head count on this facility? How many are hijacked to Mexico? “A lot of people are surprised to learn that there are many thousands of wild horses in Kansas,” Of course they are because the American people are mostly unaware that they are funding the BLM eradication of wild horses/burros from their LEGAL DOMAIN on PUBLIC lands. These horses were stolen from their legal domain and should be returned yesterday. Yes these horses are in danger of disappearing because the thousands in government concentration camps are not free-roaming wild herds with intact stallions. Populations left in the wild are at genetically viable tipping point and meet criteria for endangered species. The BLM does not deal with factual data or science. They pull numbers out of their asses, kill wildlife, spin propaganda, and steal land. Taxpayer funded organized criminal agency and it should be dismantled, investigated, and prosecuted along with the snake’s head, Salazar. Their budget and spending habits are wasteful because wild horses in the wild cost the taxpayer zero and are beneficial to the land, free of charge. $41 million for “fertility control research” on an endangered & allegedly protected species is preposterous. Cattle overgrazing the horses legal domain cost the taxpayer $500 million annually. Preposterous. Roundups cost millions EACH. Preposterous.


  5. Lisa;
    I am in total agreement with you. No one is doing actual head counts, and I strongly suspect that many of these horses that are supposed to be there aren’t. I also suspect that many are supposedly routed there, but end up in slaughter!

    If the government wasn’t so corrupt there would have been a congressional investigation in corraboration with the GAO long ago. How many of these so called santuaries filter out horses to slaughter? Where is the blood money? And how many of the horses that so call exisit there aren’t there at all.

    So many of our wild horses end up in slaughter… the ‘estrays’, the ones stampeded from the dept of AG and fish and wild life, those that are supposed to be on santuaries…. and riddle me this Batman, if those horses that go to the santuaries come from BLM stampedes, they geld every single stallion that comes in…so how are they reproducing? NOPE if they are over populated then they are because BLM put them there in the first place.

    Another issue, is why is there 9,000 horses on 77,000 acres and BLM has to do a two year range assesment for Madelaine Pickens to get the 177,000 additional grazing rights for a projected head count of 1200?

    It’s as corrupt as it can possibly be! I demand an actual head count for EVERY horse and burro on the range through out the entire US and on santuaries…then lets do from there….and lets have the head count done by a outside source that is not in the good ol boy circle!


  6. BLM answers to ranchers. They gather horses so domestic sheep and cattle can devour the landscape. It was totally predictable that BLM should complain about the cost of holding our mustangs. Now they think they have an excuse to restart horse slaughter. Shame on them. These mustangs belong on the range where they can live out their natural lives. Welfare ranching has to go.


  7. All we DO know is that they are NO LONGER on their LEGALLY DESIGNATED Herd Management Areas on the western ranges, WHERE THEY BELONG and the taxpaying Public can no longer see them in the wild.


  8. YOU CAN BET THEY ARE SLAUGHTERING THEM AS WE SPEAK !!! BLM< Lieing their A== es off ………….. as usual……. And we are paying for the round up slaughter !!!! of our Precious Wild Mustangs !!!!!!!


  9. I am so incensed with the BLM and Dept of the Interior for allowing it to happen! Been watching this fiasco for over 40 years and it just gets worse. Just recently horses were removed from Utah and Nevada only to see tens of thousands of SHEEP on that land less than a week later. Horses do not ruin the landscape, sheep do! Someone spoke in 2012 about where BLM have their heads. It’s gotten worse. I surely though Deb Haaland would make it a priority–sadly I don’t see she has done and thing and shes Native American. Idea: take those helicopters and round up the idiots mass killing American humans. (That makes about as much sense as McGuire in BLM spouts.)

    Liked by 1 person

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