Horse News

“Special Interest” Advisory Board to BLM: Private Cattle and Sheep Stay, Wild Horse Ovaries Gotta Go

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ volunteer president/co-founder Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Board recommends removing Wild Horse ovaries ‘in the field’

It’s over and the fat mare has sung; one and a half days of butt hurting, ear numbing, mind bending postulating and deliberation by the BLM’s “Special Interests” Advisory Board Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT with the heaviest “take away” being the board’s recommendation that the BLM remove the ovaries of wild mares in the field to head off the “bus going off the cliff.”  That ain’t going to be pretty, folks (the ovary thing not the bus scenario)

If this were the first time someone ever attended such a meeting and were a relative newbie to the whimsical and whacky world of BLM wild horse and burro mismanagement they would have been out on the range, Tuesday afternoon, helping the BLM “gather” up every remaining wild horse and burro, as they waded through private cattle, because the wild horses, if you could find them, are all about to die from lack of water, forage and sore feet.

According to the BLM there is no food, no water and the poor horses can’t even take care of their own personal health so it is incumbent upon humans to “Manage” animals on the range, they have been doing fine on their own for hundreds of years, and the way to manage wild horses and burros is to remove them from their natural habitat and either warehouse them in holding facilities, at tax payer expense, or sell them off to kill buyers for slaughter while feigning ignorance.  Now don’t forget the millions of privately owned, tax payer subsidized cattle and sheep can stay and the huntable critters are maintained so that the boys have something to shoot at with their big guns; it’s only the federally protected horses and burros that have to go.

The only bright shining moment came when a handful of persistent advocates had an opportunity to speak at the meeting, for a whopping three minutes, on Monday and I read so fast that there was smoke rising off from my bald spot.  (We had to hold our own press conference to get our message out in an attempt to clear away the smoke and mirrors.)

But overall the highlights from the grazing, hunting and slaughterfest break down into the following, simple bullet points:

  •  The world is coming to an end with a massive drought that will require the BLM to remove all the wild horses and burros for their own good even though the BLM brought in a professional climatologist who clearly demonstrated at the meeting, with data, that droughts are cyclictic and have been going on for thousands of years with many being far worse than the one we are experiencing now.  As usual, the science was ignored and trumped up panic was spread.  I guess the board didn’t take any notes or failed to pay attention, we did.
  • Board member Jim Stephenson wants to slaughter horses to solve the  entire wild horse “issue”. Coming from Jimbo it is not new news but interesting that he was politically incorrect enough to blurt out his bloody and inappropriate opinion right when the BLM is getting beat up over being caught with their pants down selling 1,700 horses out the back door to Ken Salazar’s next door neighbor for slaughter.  Ole Jim claims that his employers at the Yakima Indian reservation have 10,000 – 15,000 horses running wild on the reservation and the only way to manage them is to eat them.  What Jim is not telling you is that his reservation turned down help from government agencies and the HSUS to aid in managing their alleged situation several years ago.  Perhaps the prospect of selling these equine off to slaughter was, and still is, a major driver in their so called out of control problem.
  •  Callie Hendrickson waited through the entire meeting only to interject, at the very end, the concept that to avoid the impending doom of having too many horses in holding it was high time to start selling off horses so as to relieve the pressure.  We knew that she was going to do it, it was only a question of when and she tried to sneak it in at the very last second.  Uncle Kenny was very proud of her. We have been writing about Callie’s slaughter agenda ever since her unbelievable Salazar selection and we even warned the press about her plans to sell horses off to slaughter using the “sale authority” concept the day before at our press conference.  Several members of the press were tweeting me as she began her windup “Here it comes….” and zingo, she did it.  Saving grace is that her idea didn’t fly with the rest of the board, Jimbo smiled, and her idea died, for now, with Cattle Baron Ken Salazar’s glowing fingerprints all over it.
  •  The board doesn’t feel that using dartable, chemical contraceptives are a permanent enough solution to ending the reign of wild horses on the western planes so they want to rip out the ovaries of wild mares, IN THE FIELD, in a procedure called a Ovariectomy.  I have a suggestion, how about we do a great big “Cattlectomy” and rip about half the private, welfare cattle off from public lands before we start mutilating natural occurring wild horses?  No cows will be prone to invasive procedures and not a single cow will get an infection by cutting grazing permits in half.  That’s pretty humane, don’t you think?  And if that is effective we could proceed with conducting a few “Sheepoctomies” and reduce a few more grazing permits….wow, what a GREAT idea and I didn’t even have to draw upon my medical knowledge to come up with it.  Is it just me?
  • New director of the wild horse program, Joan Guilfoyle, doesn’t like you to question anything about her department, she takes it reeeeaaaal personal.  Joan was defensive from beginning to end and spent the closing moments going through a punch list of issues that have been highlighted by the public in an effort to defend not only the board’s actions but those of the big, bad BLM.  In the end, we were told that she was hired to be a “change agent” and this ain’t the same old rodeo that we are used to, but it takes a little while to get all the ole cowboys in line.  Nice try Joan, we aren’t buying it and incase you have forgotten, you work for US not the other way around.

So those are the big take-aways, folks; a mix-mash of trumped up rescue, mutilation and consumption of wild horses. Ain’t America great?

At the conclusion of the meeting I walked away feeling a little queasy and dizzy; thought at first that it might have been because I skipped breakfast but under closer reflection it turned out that my brain was strained, confused and bruised from attempting to wrap itself around the concepts that stupid is a virtue and cruelty is the norm.

Sorry, I just don’t have the mental capacity to go there nor never will.

50 replies »

  1. This is insanity at its worst. I don’t know what to say because I don’t know where to start. Who is the very top of the food chain here? Is there anyone sane in the picture? At this point I am just so scared for and sad for those beautiful animals that will suffer through the proposteous ideas of these people who were intrusted with their safety. It’s just appalling.


  2. We all knew this is what they would end up allowing, though we know they have already been sending them to slaughter, gee could that be why the locations of all the LTH were never disclosed to any who asked over and over, where are all these LTH-ing. This is so so sad and I try not to imagine those trucks now pulling in to now take them all away. Hmmmm, I have no doubt they will be cramming them in like sardines like the rest who bring the horses to Mexico and Canada. I am so disgusted dealing with a Gov;t that is more like an under world of black hearts and green eyes with $$$$ signs. Will they then still collect all that $$$ claiming that there are still horses in LTH when they have been sent to slaughter, will it now be the Gov’t lieing to the Gov’t, sure, why not….it is second nature to them


  3. R.T., do you have a link or scan of the BLM PR of the request by the Yakima and several other tribes? If not, do you have a date? I think the Navajo asked for assistance as well and I’d like to do some “reverse math”. IMO, there wouldn’t be 60,000 loose horses on the Navajo Rez has they taken full advantage of the program. It would be best if I had a hard copy as evidence and a link to the PR as confirmation.


  4. I think somehow the plight of the mustangs needs to get national attention. Unfortunately, it’s a “get in line” proposition what with the economy, debt, hurricane issues, etc. and a President preoccupied with the election, debt issues, congress, etc., etc. Sadly, the mustangs diminish in priority in the midst of all these crisis issues. What is needed is either a champion in a position to move this to the top of the heap or some other very public way of getting the attention of the American people, who will put their collective feet down in a big way to oppose roundups, sterilization in the field, and slaughter. There is also a group called ALDF that is headed up by lawyers who take on the cause of abuse to animals. Perhaps one way to put a stop to this insanity is to group together with various organizations outside the horse community. Strength in numbers…


  5. R.T., the treatment of our wild horses is one more reason why I don’t eat beef. In addition to speaking out and keeping the pressure on politically, I think that a sustained boycott of the cattle industry is one of the best ways to get the message across. Hit them in the one place they care about: the wallet.


    • Wayne Pacelle and his staff of “gather watchers” are too busy raking in money on the heartrending Hurricane Sandy debacle to be bothered with the continued mischief of their partners-in-crime—-the BLM. Stephanie Boyles told me they “speak to BLM almost daily”. Such access just affirms the collusive nature of the plans they harbor for wild horses. The truth is, they tip-toe around the agency and its bad boys with amazing timidity for such a huge, wealthy animal welfare group. Pacelle claims they wield the threat of exposing the poor behavior and cruelty of the stampedes, but NO ONE has EVER seen this threat employed. One can only assume the crimes of BLM don’t pass the test for exposure, eh? HSUS won’t even post information of the BLM depredations on the weekly newsletter that goes to supposedly 11 million members—no photos, no descriptions, and certainly no news of sales of mustangs to killer buyers. Now, if there were puppy mill dogs being shipped to Asia for consumption, that would merit full court press from “Humane Society” The hypocrisy of their organization is shocking


      • What outrageous action would need to take place to get the attention of all America? So far, the decisions of the BLM are heart wrenching and comments are cathartic but the situation is still grave. What would have to happen to get the attention of everyone and have this insanity stop? I’m only asking.


  6. An advisory board is just that – they don’t have the final say. The BLM can either choose to take recommendations or not. Of course, that being said, they probably will take the advice. The next question is who will take litigation against this decision based on the 1971 legislation?


    • Of course the BLM will take the advice, they already had this planned out, as they stated in the previous Live Stream meeting that I watched, they stated that the LTH is just not working……As far as I am concerned those that will allow this to happen are a bunch of heartless Idiots


  7. I have a suggestion for the branch of the BLM that goes under the misleading title of “Advisory Board”–disband the entire panel. It is only a masqueraded show of listening to the people. They show complete disdain for the speakers and the horses they are supposed to be protecting. Why spend money that isn’t there continuing this show? If BLM is going to do what it darn well pleases then at least let them take credit/blame for the decisions from beginning to end.


  8. To the advocates…thank you for being there. Thank you for being a thorn in the killers and mutilators sides. Thank you for NOT giving the creeps a “cake walk”.

    Thank you.

    Now…back to the battle for our US Equines, wild and domestic.


    • BTW….opposition got 3 minutes?????!!!!!! Is that total?…or per person????

      Haven’t listened/watched yet, but how many folks in opposition to the cattle and extraction cartel got to speak?

      These trolls get to speak, unchallenged ad naseum…and the people for the land and wildlife get what amount of time?????

      Just another WTF moment…..lesson learned here is to never put the fox in charge of the henhouse.


  9. It would seem the BLM agenda was written by Mary Shelly. Many of us watched the procedings over R.T.’s shoulder and it didn’t take long for the epidemic of insanity to become apparent. I guess the only folks crazier are We The People who pay them for their incompetency.


  10. There is absolutely only one reason the BLM is considering this. Someone wants to buy those overies and the eggs. Equine assistive reproduction and equine cloning is big business, and they must be willing to pay top dolllar for this.

    This is not about holding down population numbers. This is to fill a black market need for ovaries. Something I learned during horse slaughter research is that when veterinarians and researchers were first working on cloning and assisted equine reproduction, they got their eyes from freshly slaughtered mares.

    This unnecessary cruelty is not about controlling wild horse population. Good grief, if they can get close enough to a mare to remove her ovaries, they can sure give her a shot of PZP;

    If there were every any doubt about how dark and sinister, how devoid of compassion this agency is, the doubt is no longer there.

    Those people who are trying to breed better quarter horses or better cuttin horses are gong to take this oocytes, fire them up with some hormones to get them to mature at an earlier rate, inseminate with the sperm of their best studs, and deposit them in their recipient herds.

    This is not minimal management on the land. This is the most invasive management possible. It is totally unethical, amoral, and a violation of any number of federal laws.

    Secretary Ken Salazar has been of the opinion that he is God. He feels that he has the right to determine that an entire group of horses that lived in the Great Basin for millions of years, age after age, do not belong there. Where, Secretary Salazar, this shows just exactly how little science you know. These horses prefer these areas because they prefer low nutrient rich grazing grasses. That is how they evolved to survive. But I wouldn’t expect either you or anyone else on your educationally challenged staff to understand this.

    When I got out of college and was in my first jobs working with severely disabled people trying to help them restore physical and mental function through activities such as aquatics, I knew a lot about acquatics, and I knew a little about some disabilities, but I went from one staff development course to the next; some weeks I took 2 at a time. We learned sign language, how to manage uncontrollable epileptic seizures, how to work with brain injured clients. If you don’t know something about an area of your job, you get training and you get it from an expert, not a cow man.

    With the popularity of natural horsemanship trainers such as Monty Roberts, Clinton Anderson, Buck Brannaman, Pat and Linda Parelli, John Lyons, and the many who have studied their methods and principles as well as what we understand about horse physiology and psychology, there is no excuse for filling a board with a bunch of cruel neanderthalls. Remember with scholar Jim Stephens said at the last meeting that he didn’t understand why genetic viability was such an issue. All assets on this group need to be frozen immediately if not sooner.

    The cruelty to horses will not stop until the organization is stopped in its tracks.


  11. The problem about trying to get anyone to understand how devoid of common sense this group is by asking someone to watch a portion of the meeting is that is so painful to watch. That is why I appreciate so much that you all went. This agency is an anachronism.


  12. RT, Thank you for writing of the climatologist, Jim Curtis, who spoke for almost 2 hours, 1st thing in the morning, 1st day of the board meeting. From the beginning, it was obvious he was there as a set up to back up the BLM….but it backfired. I too took copious notes on all he said. His talk was very interesting and very detailed. He made sure he had all is data and *scientific research. He said, yes, there is drought as there has been drought before, but the range and animals are highly adaptable. That there are a lot of variables affecting the range and grasses. Utah and mountains will be ok, it is the the desert and (the West) Nevada, that might have problems. He said we will have an average winter, which is good for water and grass growth. That spring is the important time and we do not yet know of the precipitation, of course. Climatologist; The way land heals itself is the way it is treated. If treated right, you get the land (grasses) back. …………………………..Very importantly, he emphasized overgrazing (!!): “THERE ARE OVERGRAZED LAMBS AND SHEEP AND RANCHERS NEED TO MOVE **CATTLE TO OTHER AREAS TO RECOVER GRASSES.” AS FOR WILD HORSES, HE WOULD ((NOT)) GO AGAINST THEM. HE SAID IT TAKES A LOT TO DISRUPT THEIR OVERGRAZING! WILD HORSES AND BURROS ARE REMARKABLE IN ADAPTING. DO NOT OVERGRAZE……………………………………………………………. And at the end, he was clearly uncomfortable because he knew the BLM wanted him to predict total disaster for the wild horses, and HE DID NOT! It was so obvious the Board was not pleased. The vet, DR. Boyd Spratllng stated, “I was hoping you would tie this all together.” (Duh) The Board then proceeded for the rest of the morning, to predict disaster for the range and wild horses due to severe drought. The need to round-up, round-up…………………………….. And in the afternoon, how to get rid of the wild horses. One suggestion was unrestricted sale, with an emphasis on selling down Mexico way and Texas…as they do buy horses. Next, placing wild horses in eco-sanctuaries. And this discussion was a controversial mess. And mixed in with all the talk of wild horses, was the safety and protection of the sage grouse… Yes, the wild horses causing damage. (There are books written about how the cattle destroy sage grouse habitat!) ……………………….Importantly, was the discussion of fertility control with drugs; PZP and SpayVac. How unreliable and NOT long term. For this is not good at all with all the excess wild horses in holding and more to round-up due to drought and whatever… Then the advocates 3 minute talks wherein THEY brought up the important issues, with data and scientific research. End day one……………. Day two, with NO advocate comment period. Main subject? CRISIS! CRISIS! Too many wild horses! What to do/ What to do? Ah ha! Dr. Boyd Spratling had it. Remove ovaries of mares in the field. No problem~ Laparoscopy…(so he say)…and mare back with herd in-the-field in 24-48 hours…to romp & play & roll in dirt…& hopefully NOT a nursing mare! After that, no watch mares. Um, I wonder if the operating area will look like this, in-the-field:


  13. What I find interesting on the BLM website is there section on Myths and Facts. They are justifying all the “myths” that have been leveled upon the department.


  14. A couple of points to share…

    USGS has an entire section on their web site devoted to watersheds. They have drought indices and percentages of how low precipitation totals are and, for example, Nevada’s got some water worries (she always does) but there is no mention of an Extinction Level Event on the horizon as of yet; the pretty pictures indicate ‘moderate’ rather than’severe’. I think it’s possible this is a pre-emptive strike, like the one the BLM DIDN’T do last year in limiting livestock on Nevada ranges, so’s when and if the rains come, there IS more for livestock with the absence of pesky horses and burros.

    Last year WAS a fairly dry winter, however, the two years prior were gullywashers, with winter snows and rains lasting into early summer. Part of living in the desert is perhaps planning ahead a little – because these winters are difficult to predict.

    This – the management of wild equines and this dumbass advisory board – has an uneasy feeling of finality about it. So many ’emergency’ removals in the works, and ‘bait trapping’ looming large as a collection vehicle with no limits or oversight. It’s…troubling, in a big way.

    And yet, there’s that other elephant in the room – the inability or unwillingness of the Bureau to prove, beyond a doubt, that an ‘excess’ of wild equines actually exists. Every couple of years, they manage to drop the mythical ‘AML’, the fantasy number of wild equines the ranges can safely support. And every year, more mares and jennies learn to reproduce by cellular division and herds just run willy-nilly with full grown equines springing out of the earth. Puh-leeze!

    Not tryin’ to be snotty here, but only about 50% of these herds can make a baby. And it is simply not possible that EVERY female in any given year will make a baby. So…hmmm…where are these thundering hordes supposedly coming from???

    We are working against a belief system that routinely villifies wild horses and burros and cannot see past that belief for any reason. And this board and the agents that attended are the proof.


  15. Call for Congressional investigation into conflict of interest on anti-wild horse advisory board
    November 1, 2012 by ppjg
    Protect Mustangs is a California-based preservation group whose mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.
    For immediate release
    Media Contacts:
    Anne Novak, 415-531-8454,
    Kerry Becklund, 510-502-1913,
    Breaking News:
    Outrage over advisory board proposing to sterilize wild mustangs Call for Congressional investigation into conflict of interest on anti-wild horse advisory board catering to livestock and extractive industries
    WASHINGTON (October 31, 2012)–Protect Mustangs strongly opposes the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board’s proposal to spay wild mustangs due to health risks including death and because no accurate independent headcount has been provided to prove alleged overpopulation is an issue despite multiple requests for such evidence. “This cruel plan could kill many federally protected wild horses,” explains Anne Novak executive director for Protect Mustangs. “We oppose spaying wild mares in the field because it’s a high risk procedure. The BLM is charged with protecting wild horses not putting their lives in jeopardy. ”
    Protect Mustangs is also calling for an independent audit to determine the number of mustangs in the wild and in holding facilities.
    “Show us an independent headcount and then let’s talk about overpopulation–if it’s a realistic concern,” continues Novak.
    “Right now we see the BLM inflating the population numbers to justify rampant million dollar roundups, money dumped into fertility research and funds spent to warehouse 50,000 captive wild horses. Today maybe 17,000 are left in all ten western states. This could be the end for America’s indigenous free roaming wild horse.”
    “We are concerned the anti-mustang advisory board is spreading disinformation about reproduction rates,” says Novak.


  16. Sounds so comforting, doesnt it, the kind hearted BLM moving these poor starving horses to the lush grassy land farther to the east! Too bad none of them EVER had physically cared for a horse or horses – or they might possibly realize that these horses are used to the desert & the grasses that exist where they are. Remembering how quite a few horses that I used to know couldnt handle the lush sugary grass out here – especially in the spring. It would be quite a shock to the wild horses digestive systems to yank them out of their natural environment & throw them into a field of lush rich grass. But then its like everything else – these morons know what they WANT to do & nothing – no common sense or science is going to change their tiny little minds.
    This so called advisory board is beyond belief & you can bet the climatologist (?) wont be called on by any of them again – he actually knew what he was talking about.
    We all owe thanks to RT & Ginger & Simone & any other advocates that made the trip to this broohaha.


  17. Jay Kilpatrick’s Birth Control for Horses should have been pitched with a strong support and media there to cover his humane alternative to any nightmarish decision BLM makes This is so against a reasonable man’s standards of our civil rights to have our sensibilities attacked with such horror inflicted on our precious, highly intelligent, highly sensitive and spiritual horses, I believe the tax payer Horse lovers need to file a class action against BLM…


  18. For “ONCE”, All Organizations like : The Humane Socciety, PETA, PCRM, ..NAVS, .. Farm Sanctuary,,.WSPA,…, ASPCA’S, .and so many more, too many to name. Organizations,,who are working against Cruelty, Abuse,. Neglect ,..Ignorence, done to the Animals. , why not for “ONCE” get together, and for “ONCE” help to end this injustice, done to the Wild Horses and Burrows. To help, “to Stop the Roundups”, all done by the so called “Stewards”, the BLM, the Brutal Lawbraking Management. When all these Organizations ALERT their Activist’s, their Members, about what is going on, what is beeing done to the Wild Horses and Burrows , the symbol of “Freedom of this Country” , then we can create an OUTCRY of the People, so strong, that Congress HAS to HEAR us. Just ‘ONCE”, go under ONE umbrella.. So please,for us us to do, Call as many Organizations as possible and ask them these questions. We HAVE to get an OUTCRY of the American people. Congress can not IGNORE us.


  19. So, what are we doing? Do you think we are unable to counteract this constant mismanagement? Do you think BLM will just keep on and we will not be able to stop this? If we continue as we are we may never change this. Look at who and what has been going on for the past 3 years. We have great researchers and we have determined folks who have stayed on this all this time. But we are still not listening to each other or attempting to become a larger force and a more goal oriented campaign. I see more people working together again and I believe it is time to get BIG and sassy and louder. I will have something to offer soon as a way to create a new umbrella group that can do what we have not been able to so far. I think the advocates need to build this themselves for it to happen and to work. Do you want an advocate driven organization that will become a real force for the future and emphasize science and independent study? Some of us think this is the way to go. I do hope we will all give this a shot. We have everything to gain and everything to lose!


    • I don’t know who posted it, but it is important to reference….something to do with “polite opposition” and then when they continue to ignore and dismiss the facts and opposition….nonviolent protestation…..

      I think we are there now folks.

      Who’s got the manual?????


      • Yes I would think that there is a lawyer somewhere who clearly views this as we do , but where is he????????????????????????????????


      • We have that qualified lawyer…but, funds fuel legal action, no escaping that and the defendants have very deep pockets full of YOUR money.  It is a very perverse and viscous circle.



  20. Human parasites, blood-suckers!!!! I try very hard to stay positive, but its getting harder & harder to not become negative. I fear we are out-numbered, wild equines are numbered for total extinction in the wild, & that try as we might, evil is winning, we are losing our battle to save what we so love & cherish, our beautiful wild horses & burros! When that horrible thing happens, the world as we know it will cease to exist, forever changed, & by losing these creatures, we lose our freedom. God help the world, & Your creations!


Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.