Horse News

Update: American Public Speaks Out on Lack of BLM Transparency

Wild Horse and Burro advocates want 30 days notice for public hearings on use of Helicopters at roundups

RENO (May 28, 2012)—Protect Mustangs has discovered that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) scheduled an important public hearing for 10 a.m. the morning after Memorial Day weekend without adequately notifying the public. The hearing is scheduled for 10-11 a.m., at the BLM Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, in Carson City, Nev. The wild horse preservation group is requesting the BLM reschedule the public hearing—regarding the use of helicopters and other motorized vehicles for roundups and management—in order to give the public at least 30 days notice.

“What happened to government transparency and public process?” asks Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “With 80% of America’s federally protected indigenous wild horses and burros living on public land in Nevada, the whole country should be given adequate notice to participate in person as well as via email. Most members of the public are against helicopter roundups. Is BLM trying to sneak this by without public input?”

On Saturday, the preservation group’s website alerted the public about the hearing, after they saw it posted in the Mesquite News online.”Through our social media channels the public began to hear about the public hearing that no one knew about,” said Novak. “Even horse advocates in Carson City hadn’t heard about the hearing.”

“I live in Carson City and never heard a thing about a public hearing regarding helicopters and motorized vehicles for roundups and management,” says photographer and wild horse advocate Cat Kindsfather. “People would like to come to the hearing from around the country but they need proper notice.”

“I live in the Carson area and just found out about the Helicopter hearing,” says Craig Downer, author and wildlife biologist. “These hearings are mandated by the law so why aren’t we being informed out them?”

“I live in Reno and only heard about the hearing today when a friend called,” says Terri Farley, author and wild horse and burro advocate. “Mustangs are the people’s horses, but BLM’s stealth meetings make it impossible for us to stand up for their welfare.”

Advocates, as well as members of the public nationwide, would like to attend the hearing but they need 30 days notice to make arrangements.

“I live in Oakland, California and I would like to speak against the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles,” says Kerry Becklund, Outreach Director for Protect Mustangs. “But I need to give my day job notice to take a vacation day.”

“I live in Houston, Texas and work overseas,” says R.T. Fitch, volunteer president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, “Hearing about an important BLM meeting—only a day before it occurs—continues to stack the deck against the horses and burros as our collective voices cannot possibly be present to speak to the issue.”

“I live in Richmond, Virginia and would like to speak at the public hearing against using helicopters but I need adequate notice to make travel plans,” says wild horse advocate Lisa Friday. “30 days notice is standard. Why doesn’t the BLM notifying us properly? Is this against the law?”

“I live in New York City and would like to speak at the meeting against helicopter roundups,” says Hope Smith who loves wild horses. “I want to be part of the public process but I need more notice to get out West.”

“I live on 36 acres at the base of the mountains in Arizona,” says Michael Blake, Academy Award-winner and author of Dances with Wolves. “Helicopter roundups are nothing but incessant warfare against life on earth . . . for money.”

The group is collecting comments against helicopter roundups to take to Tuesday morning’s hearing. Members of the public may email them to

In the letter addressed to The BLM, Novak states, “The requirement for the public hearing was set in place to protect the public’s rights to participate in government and this must not be ignored.”

The BLM press release reads:

Before helicopters or motorized vehicles can be used, a public hearing is required in order to comply with Section 404 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The BLM proposes to use a helicopter, fixed wing aircraft and other motorized vehicles to estimate population numbers and obtain seasonal distribution information for wild horse and burro herds throughout Nevada. Also proposed is using a helicopter to assist in gathering excess wild horses and burros on gathers and complexes throughout the state during the coming year. The actual number of areas where gathers will be conducted or inventoried will depend on a number of factors including funding. 

Members of the public can fax the BLM head office in Washington DC to request the helicopter hearing be rescheduled with a 30 day notice given to the public. The fax number is: 202-208-5242

Controversial helicopter roundups have harassed wild horses and burros—stampeding them for miles, often resulting in lameness and sometimes in death.

Besides being concerned about animal cruelty at helicopter roundups, Protect Mustangs believes that helicopters flying in the desert for days or weeks emit pollution that harms the environment and contributes to global warming. The group believes motorized vehicles damage the ecosystem—hurting many forms of wildlife, such as sage grouse, and other endangered species on the range as well.

The group opposes the use of helicopter and motorized vehicles (except in a state of emergency or for an accurate population head count—not an estimate.)

“If wild horses and burros are facing a water or food emergency then bring it out there but roundups must stop now,” states Novak. “A drought isn’t an excuse for roundups to zero out indigenous wild horses and remove them from their home on public land forever . . .”

15 replies »

  1. BLM Nevada State Office
    State Director: Amy Lueders
    Phone: 775-861-6590
    Fax: 775-861-6601

    Winnemucca District Office
    Gene Seidlitz, District Manager
    Phone: 775-623-1500
    Fax: 775-623-1503


  2. Looks like a continuation of games they play to their advantage. It appears they show no respect for the American people’s interest in this matter, nor the wild horses that belong to them. This is a real tragedy and I hope one that can be settled in fairness to all. Our wild ones need to be managed, not managed to extinction.




  4. not only is it cruel to the horses to use helicopters when they adopt captured mustangs out to the public it risks public safety because the mustang is terrified of helicopters. I’ve heard a few stories of people getting killed when their mustang was spooked by helicopters.


  5. Cheap trick. It violates the spirit of the law. Didn’t I read about stuff like this stuff in the children’s book, Mustang, Spirit of the West? In all this time, they haven’t even come up with better tactics!


  6. Faxed Leuders and Gene Seidlitz, District Manager in Nevada as well as the office in D.C. Of course the D.C. office may unplug the fax machines, as they have done in the past. How anyone, anywhere can say the BLM is doing the right thing for our wh&b is simply ludicrous. This is a blatant attempt to once again hold a hearing with no one present, no one to speak up on behalf of our horses and burros.


  7. The Comment period was just extended:

    BLM Nevada is accepting Written comments about the use of Helicopters and motorized vehicles on wild horse Roundups until June 12th 2012.

    PLease send in your comments, letters, reports, fotos, footage, kids drawings, veterinary statements, eye witness statements etc.
    They need to hear from us about this more than anything.
    Lets ask them if there is anyone educated or not, who would chase their own horse with a helicopter for even a minute.

    Comments to the BLM must include your address phone number, email etc

    PLease send comments per email to: attention motorized hearing.

    PLease send your comments per fax to: 775-885-6147

    Or send comments by post to :
    Carson city district office
    5665 Morgan Mill Road
    Carson City, NV 89701


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