Horse News

Up to 45,000 Wild Horses Face Slaughter by the U.S. Government

“The BLM has stacked the deck”
Thousands of America’s iconic wild horses may be headed to slaughter at the hands of the U.S. government; some herds may face extinction. Oil, mining and cattle interests are driving down the wild horse population and the space left for them to roam.

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According to Habitat for Horses’ Jerry Finch, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) may actually be warehousing as many as 45,000 wild horses. He writes an impassioned and often eloquent blog on the subject of horse abuse, and he is outraged that the government has taken countless healthy horses from the natural environment to benefit cattle ranchers and private industry.

“The BLM continues to decimate the last remaining herds beyond the point of viability. Gelded males, mares filled with PZP, yearlings being rounded up “because the land cannot handle the pressure horses place on it,” yet hours after the last BLM trailer leaves the welfare ranchers unload truckloads of cattle on the same land and remove the fences around the water holes.

The killing of American horses has increased by 38% in 2011 to 133,241. That’s 2,562 per week, 366 per day, 46 per hour – trucked to Canada and Mexico and slaughtered in the most inhumane way possible”

Finch explained to Digital Journal that “Ages ago, Senator Conrad Burns stuck a small amendment into an appropriations bill that gave the BLM authority to sell protected horses if they were offered for adoption three times without any takers (Called “Three Strike” horses).

Under this ruling, the horses are completely removed from the protection of the Wild Horse and Burro Act and placed ‘sale authority’ in the hands of the BLM.

It was proposed several years ago that excess horses be “euthanized.” The public raised such a stink about that proposal that it was removed.

About the same time, the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) said the captive bolt, as used in the slaughterhouses, was “humane euthanization.”

According to those terms, the BLM has the authority at this time to sell horses to operators to be euthanized. I think we can all read between the lines on that one.”

The BLM addresses the points brought up by horse advocates on their “Myths and Facts” page, but that information does little to reassure concerned citizens that the public lands are being fairly managed, since much of what the BLM states as fact is open to interpretation.

Those who believe that public lands should not be damaged by industry and those who consider the wild horses to be part of our heritage are disturbed by what they see as the government’s support of corporations instead of the public interest, as exemplified by the Ruby Pipeline project, completed in 2011 but with environmental mitigation measures just completed last week.

Two years ago construction was begun on the natural gas pipeline, which now snakes 675 miles through public lands from Wyoming to Oregon.

The route traverses pristine wilderness, cuts through old growth forests, and crosses over a thousand water bodies in 11 watersheds. In spite of protests, years of negotiations and court battles, and questionable removal of wild horses, the government permitted the project, and staged a massive horse roundup.

The Ruby Pipeline was given permission to draw 402 million gallons of water that is desperately needed by the horses in that arid region, and in their environmental impact statement (EIS) they admitted that “Impacts on groundwater could be significant because of the volume of water proposed for use and the limited availability of groundwater in the region”.

The BLM conducted a roundup of the wild horses in part of the Calico Mountain Range, removing almost 2,000 in 2009-2010 from the land destined to be utilized by the Pipeline. According to a news report at the time, “as of April 15, 2010, a total of 79 of the horses captured from Calico have died — some as a result of injuries suffered during the capture, such as a foal which literally ran its hoofs off. The rest because they could not adjust to eating the rich hay fed to them at a new holding facility in Fallon.

In addition, at least 40 mares suffered miscarriages during or after the roundup.” The Calico Roundup was repeated this year, and another 1,000 or so horses were removed:

Calico is known for beautiful horses and the approximately 75-80 horses who were captured today were no exception. Gorgeous family bands were rounded up one after another. As it is with all roundups, it was heart breaking to witness the tragedy beset on these tight-knit families – watching them spend their last minutes together after running for their lives and knowing that they will be forever separated from each other, their homes and freedom. As of Friday, January 6, 2012, the BLM reports that 1,203 horses and 10 burros have been captured since the Calico Complex roundup began on November 19, 2011. The BLM reports that 186 of the horses rounded up have been released to the Complex, releasing more stallions than mares to artificially skew the sex ratio to favor males 60 to 40 and administering the fertility-control drug PZP to all released mares.

While the BLM denies any relationship in the timing of removing the horses from the pipeline area, their track record shows improprieties, and the organization was involved in payoffs and other scandals during the period when the Ruby Pipeline was approved.

Also during this period the BLM was found to have “exceeded its authority” in another wild horse population, and the BLM was blocked by the courts from efforts to completely remove an entire herd from a Colorado range.

The Ruby Pipeline management denies that it has anything to do with the roundups.

The removal of wild horses/burros is not addressed in the Ruby Pipeline Final EIS, because it has nothing to do with the removal of wild horses or burros. Gathers such as the Calico Mountains Complex operation are conducted as part of the BLM land use management plans, and are conducted to remove excess animals, achieve Appropriate Management Levels, and achieve a thriving natural ecological balance in an effort to maintain healthy rangelands and ensure through our management practices that we have adequate food and water for the remaining wild horses and burros, wildlife and permitted livestock on the public lands.

Keeping their agreement to mitigate the environmental impact on the public lands, Ruby Pipeline hired Conservation Seeding and Restoration (CSR)to replant the entire length of the pipeline with native plants, which completed their contract on May 18th. However, according to BLM documents, the government’s only apparent consideration of the wild horses in this restoration was in how to keep them off the restored areas (BLM wild horse and burro resource specialists were consulted in developing this management approach):

POD Appendix K, Draft Restoration and Reclamation Plans for Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Oregon filed with FERC in July 2009, specifies actions to minimize wild horse and burro grazing “within the reclaimed ROW”: Ruby will work with the BLM to minimize wild horse and burro grazing along the “restored” ROW for three years. “Possible management actions would be to provide water sources away from the ROW, include low palatable plant species in the seed mix such as sagebrush, temporary fencing with gaps, and/or reduce wild horse populations following BLM policy in appropriate management areas.”

Wild horse advocate and author RT Fitch explained to Digital Journal that “The BLM has stacked the deck with their advisory board and filled it with only hunting, cattle and as of late slaughter interests. Without admitting it the BLM wants to deem all long term and “three strikes” horses as “sale authority” horses so that they could be sold off for as low as $25.00 each with no further inspection which would mean that some 45,000 held wild horses could be sold directly into the despicable slaughter pipeline. This, I am most certain, is a move the BLM will soon make while they continue to inhumanely pull thousands of native wild horses off from their rightful land.”

Meanwhile, the BLM continues to remove horses from the open range and pays ranchers to take care of them, hoping that 30,000 or more homes can be found for those once wild American icons, a tough sell in this economy.

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17 replies »

  1. Those filthy bastards (sorry but thats what they are) Are we seriously going to allow this to happen????? I am so sick of the Stinking lies that spew all over the darn place !!!!! I can not tell you the countless times I have cried for our horses ???? the countless times I have signed petitions in their Honor , the countless times I have called the Politicians, and the President !!!!!!The endless emails , there is no way I will sit on my behind as these Stunningly beautiful Faithful companions and ecologically needed horses are cruelty treacherously murdered and butchered for absolutely no viable reason…..If there ever was a time we _all need to stand up and do something it is now !!!! We are talkin lives here not just HMAs and the like , this is is Coming to a Horrible end here here My God DO SOMETHING ………………………….


    • Yes ~ we need to do something and NOW, Jerry may have and idea ( I hope so ) that we may all be able to get behind-because what we have been doing is not getting our governments attention.

      there is and Indian saying~~”Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money”.

      I would like to thank all our veterens both human and animal that have fought for our freedoms ~ for their service to our country today.

      And lets not forget that our wild mustangs are the decendents of the first hero’s horses to fight for the freedom of this country.


  2. In all my life , I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IN justice and Freedom for Our Horses Wild Mustangs, their beauty captured me from the very first time i layed eyes on them , They Have done everything they can for us, throughout History, They have Honored us with all of their attributes , have healed many many of our souls ,and minds, I have seen the children who have afflictions respond to a horse can we honestly just sit here and talk about something we obviously need to STOP without any further delay………….Talk so far has only produced nothing more then the continuous suffering for all the horses……. We have witnessed the senseless murdering of horses run off cliffs, the hoofs of foals run off ,stunned with stun guns for nothing, they were put in prisons when we all know how important their freedom is to them they needlessly subjected to diseases, castrated by people who know nothing about the proper way, Our mares dropping their foals from their bodies prematurely being stampeded down a treacherous mountain terrain the intentional helicopters chasing them for the Foley of demented minds of the pilots….. I remember the Black Horse we all named Freedom risk his life for Freedom and his family …… This what kind of stuff they are made of !!!!!!


  3. Author Unknown

    Colors Of The Wind Lyrics

    You think I’m just an ignorant savage
    And you’ve been so many places; I guess it must be so
    But still I cannot see, if the savage one is me
    How can there be so much that you don’t know?
    You don’t know…

    You think you own whatever land you land on
    The earth is just a dead thing you can claim
    But I know every rock and tree and creature
    Has a life, has a spirit, has a name.

    You think the only people who are people
    Are the people who look and think like you
    But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
    You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew
    Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
    Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned
    Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain
    Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
    Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

    Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
    Come taste the sun-sweet berries of the earth
    Come roll in all the riches all around you
    And for once never wonder what they’re worth

    The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
    The heron and the otter are my friends
    And we are all connected to each other
    In a circle in a hoop that never ends

    How high will a sycamore grow?
    If you cut it down then you’ll never know
    And you’ll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
    For whether we are white or copper skinned
    We need to sing with all the voices of the mountain
    We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

    You can own the earth and still
    All you’ll own is earth until
    You can paint with all the colors of the wind


  4. And when they are gone — we can all wonder what happened to our unique heritage and the freedom and spirit the wild horses represented. But maybe we will be TOO busy staring at our computers to see if our stocks have gone up or down. I am glad I will not be on the earth to witness what our children, and children’s children will have missed.


  5. Please note: In attempt to clarify whether it was the AVMA or the AAEP who initially said that horse slaughter is humane, I went first to the AVMA site today, May 28, 2012 @2:55 p.m. and this is what I found:

    Note that the AVMA does not equate horse slaughter with euthanasia. The Panel on Euthanasia that drafts the AVMA’s Guidelines on Euthanasia considers euthanasia, depopulation and slaughter to be different activities. All must be conducted as humanely as possible, but the circumstances surrounding them and the desired outcomes are sufficiently different that the Panel believes they need to be considered separately. Accordingly, during the next couple of years, the AVMA will be producing separate guidance documents on depopulation and humane slaughter to supplement its guidelines on euthanasia.

    This certainly puts the lie in the American Quarter Horse Association’s flyers regarding horse slaughter.

    This article has been posted to several sites and it should be noted where ever it has been found.


  6. Upon further reading of this page, it is clear that this AVMA is still talking out of both sides of its head. Momentarily jubilation too good to be true. Q and A is interesting—particularly the Q about whether anyone in the AVMA has been paid to oppose horse slaughter.

    I still think it was the AAEP that made the initial statement that horse slaughter is humane, and I think it is still significant that the AVMA does not consider horse slaughter euthanasia, but their rationale that horse slaughter should not be banned as a means of eliminating the so called “unwanted” population is fallacious. If the authors of this page can attribute horse welfare problems to over breeding and irresponsible ownership, they should be smart and honest enough to admit that neither of theses problems can possibly be solved by slaughter and should also be able to recognize that the failure to ban horse slaughter continues to contribute to the problem.

    Let’s do a little experiment and ban horse slaughter for ten years including the transportation of any U. S. horses out of the country for slaughter and prosecution with serious penalties (we used to hang them) for anyone who attempts to transport a horse or groups of horses for the possible intent of slaughter. Educate the public. Investigate anyone whose private ranch has been the site of a wild horse roundup or holding facility.


    • The experiment you propose is an excellent idea, Hoofhugs. Of course, the slaughter advocates would object, in part because they know what it would prove, and in part because their precious slaughter pipeline spigot would be shut off.


  7. I am feeling less and less confident about our Government and the Bureau of Land Management. What are they all about? To me it appears like corruption and greed without any regard to life. It appears to me this is very wrong taking the lives of Wild Horses so the Government can profit. Dear Uncle Sam – Please leave the Wild Horses wild and free. Do not harm our America’s Wild Horses.


    • One must read everthing that the BLM puts out to see that every step they take is to remove all wild horses, or at least most, and to get “rid” of them anyway they can. So they will round them up saying that they are starving or dieing of thirst and then put them with welfare ranchers, whom are paid by taxpayers, making millions, and then while they are out of sight of advocates, welfare ranchers will send them off to slaughter while the they make the additional monies on selling wild horses to slaughter. By stacking the Advisory Board with admitted pro-slaughter folks they have the OK that they want. Now they can blame it on the Advisory Board when us advocates find wild mustangs at Mexican and Canadian slaughter houses and the BLM can say they didn’t know.. Perfect storm for the BLM. But they don’t know that we are on to them and will fight for the lives of the wild ones.


  8. I cannot stress this enough:

    Holding facility reports – the most recent for April, 2012 – state there are 46,891 wild horses and burros in Federal custody, with 32,389 held in Long Term Pastures.

    Since 2001,approximately 104,781 wild horses and burros have been taken off their ranges, as of 2011.
    Since 2001, approximately 56,928 wild horses and burros have been adopted, as of 2011.
    Since 2001, approximately 47,853 wild horses and burros have been sent to Holding, as of 2011.

    Forget the differences in the two Holding facility numbers, a difference of 962 animals.

    But do give some consideration to this: Those in Holding are the culmination of animals collected over a decade. Is it truly credible that ALL these animals are actually still alive in some holding facility somewhere?

    These are NUMBERS ONLY, just as the population estimates for On the Range (based on questionable foaling rates and field office reports), and devoid of proof or verification available to the Public. Consider – how many animals will die in a year’s time in any holding facility, from injuries, disease, botched surgeries, in labor or simply an utter lack of explanation. Does foaling in captivity make up for mortality in captivity. Where is either the foaling data or the mortality data for animals in Holding.

    The more “numbers” in captivity, the more the Bureau can make their case for the excesssive costs of holding and ultimately, the necessity for sale without limitation. And really, all we have to base these statistics on is unverified data authored by the Bureau.

    This Program needs an in-depth, independent audit. Despite decades of experiments with infertility vaccines and the repetitious insanity of the annual roundup season, in-the-wild populations apparently continue to sky rocket, while the “numbers” in Holding now exceed those estimated to live on the range. There has been NO progress forward. If this Program has become, as Secretary Salazar has been preaching since his installation at the Interior Department, “unsustainable”, his “initiative” has rendered it more so.


  9. Obviously, this is already happening. We do know the BLM is surreptitiously sending wild horses to slaughter. And I always keep in mind the BLM’s “Secret Planning Documents” obtained under the FOIA in June 2009: “Alternative Management Options.” This highly descriptive plan was/is to euthanize…to KILL…all the wild horses in BLM holding. Knowing of the BLM’s corruption and NOT listening to the public, i believe this plan was not closed. And knowing the majority of the BLM’s Advisory Board is against the wild horses, even going around the country on the soap box pushing for killing wild horses, it appears this is the BLM’s main goal: to kill and NOT protect as the BLM was meant to. Lastly, with the ever-failing economy, killing, not decreasing and/or stopping the round-ups, appears more plausible with the BLM. Of course, the real answer to the “wild horse problem,” is to let them all go free, give back their land, take back the cattle grazing lands with an estimate of 8,000,000 cattle. Leave the estimated 18,000-25,000 wild horses stay FREE on the range and open the BLM gates to FREE the 45,000 in holding. Amen!


  10. When will it end…The suffering of the wild ones…I call this the inhumanity done by humans…These horses have all been rounded up by helicopters, babies run till their hoof’s fall off…Captured and separated from their family groups…The mares are given birth control if released…The BLM is destroying the whole family struture of the beautiful, noble Equines…And now to look at the HORRORS of SLAUGHTER for their future…


  11. How is it that the BLM does NOT have to abide by laws protecting our wild horses and burros? How did the government become so incredibly corrupt? And how the heck do we stop the s.o.b.s from continuing to decimate the wild herds? Letters, phone calls, emails, faxes seem to go unnoticed. As for me, I’ll not notice a request for my vote, but I don’t think this is enough. Continuing to educate the masses ~ so many have no idea. What next?


  12. Bullcrap! This is why the world would be much better off without tha desgusting plague that is humanity, i don’t want to live anymore the earth is crumbling. humans on this planet is like maggots on an apple


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