Horse News

Lawmakers Press for Changes to Broken Wild Horse & Burro Program

Source: Multiple, written by Scott Sonner

“This is an untenable situation, both for America’s wild horses and for American taxpayers.”
Former Wild Horses at feeding time in private long term holding facility outside Oklahoma City ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Former Wild Horses at feeding time in private long term holding facility outside Oklahoma City ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

RENO — Thirty U.S. representatives urged new U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Thursday to make a priority out of reforming the government’s wild horse management program and its spiraling budget that they say has created an “untenable situation” for both the mustangs and taxpayers.

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and environmental regulation, wrote the letter appealing to Jewell “as a conservationist and outdoor enthusiast” to help bring “long overdue” changes at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management charged with protecting the horses.

“Given the importance of wild horses to the American people and considering the ever-tightening budget situation, we believe that this is a problem that demands your urgent attention,” he wrote.

Florida Rep. C.W. Young, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, was the lone Republican to sign the letter.

The majority of the co-signers were from states in the East and South, but several joined from states that are home to some of the estimated 37,000 free-roaming wild horses and burros on federal land in the West, including Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., five representatives from California and three from Oregon.

Grijalva said they’re asking for renewed attention to the program after an independent scientific review of horse roundups. The review, which was released last month, recommended that the government invest in widespread fertility control of the mustangs and let nature cull any excess herds instead of spending millions to house them in overflowing holding pens.

The 14-member panel assembled by the National Science Academy’s National Research Council and Management concluded BLM’s removal of nearly 100,000 horses from the Western range over the past decade is probably having the opposite effect of its intention to ease ecological damage and reduce overpopulated herds.

By stepping in prematurely when food and water supplies remain adequate, BLM is producing artificial conditions that ultimately serve to perpetuate population growth, the committee stated.

BLM spokesman Tom Gorey referred inquiries Thursday to Jewell’s office where a spokeswoman said press secretary Jessica Kershaw was not immediately available to comment.

Grijalva said BLM’s wild horse budget has doubled since 2009 as the agency “escalated its unsustainable roundup-remove-and-stockpile approach to wild horse management.” Last year, BLM spent 60 percent of its wild horse budget on holding facilities alone, more than $40 million.

“In fact, the U.S. government today maintains more wild horses in captivity than remain in the wild,” Grijalva said. “This is an untenable situation, both for America’s wild horses and for American taxpayers.”

17 replies »

  1. Put Mustangs back on their native land, the land that is rightfully theirs to roam free on – remove all cattle and make the ranchers use their own land to graze on,not the land that belongs to the Mustangs – Problem solved.


  2. My question is why does the BLM not sell the 30,000 or so wild mustangs to Mrs. Pickens who has ask and ask. She has offer to take these horses and care for them but the BLM has yet to sale her one horse. Do they fear that she will show them just how to manage a large herd and prove that the BLM is a joke lining their pockets by selling to know kill buyers and shipping Mustangs to SD which does not recognize the BLM freeze brand and does not note it on any paper work for any of the mustangs they ship… Makes me wonder just how many wild Mustangs have ended up in the slaughter pipe line because of it.


    • Seriously????

      Many horse advocates will SCREAM!!!…. American’s do not want all of our Wild Mustangs gelded and living out their lives half starved on her land…………..


      • Thank you, Robyn……..keep them out of Pickens hands. If it means going to war over this, we won’t stop until our wild horses are free and returned to their rightful legal lands.


  3. GOOD! Cows and sheep are SO Very much more destructive to “Public Lands”.. That is a PROVEN Fact! Big Ranchers are Lobbying for the BLM to push Wild Horses & Burros to extinction! This is not only BARBARIC, It is INSANE and the Corrupt Ken Salazar @ DOI, is Literally Lining his pockets w/ the $$$$ in Bribes from these Big Ranchers. We do NOT NEED More Cows and sheep! Period! RE: Penned/Warehoused Wild Horses and Burros; They are secretly shipped in COMPLETELY INHUMANE Conditions to Mexico where Slaughtering begins BEFORE the horse is even DEAD! This MUST Stop!! and ALL of the Wild Horses that are Penned up in HORRIBLE conditions MUST be released back to the wild!


  4. This is just another case of Government Fraud, Money Laundering, and Corruption at it’s finest.. The same Government Agency, we as American Taxpayers have put to save them, the Agency has taken that same money to run them off of cliffs…. What has our Government Become… Lord, Help Us!


    • That’s about the size of it, deb!! It’s very sad this has been going on for far too long and it’s got to come to an end! Our horses are NOT destroying the land….they know that, but are avoiding the facts, for reasons mentioned. We are so lacking in respect, dignity and responsibility from some of our leaders, it’s very concerning. Let’s hope Secretary Jewell will look at the facts, as brought forth by the National Science Academy’s National Research Council and draw the conclusion to return our American wild horses and burros back to the wild,where they belong. Considering too, the fact there were two million mustangs roaming the range one hundred years ago. As of early 2011 there were only 21,354 wild horses and burros left on the public land promised to them by Congressional Act…..the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. Surely our wild horses and burros that exist now can be maintained and managed effectively. Many thanks to those who are speaking out for their protection, while securing their future for generations to come. I believe it’s their right to exist, as it is our right to protect them.


  5. Let the horses GO HOME, PLEASE use your common sense and SEE this has been a travesty from the get go.. NO excuses anymore, that Land I believe is ALL of OUR LAND and we have voiced our opinion’s to deaf ears it is the HORSES HOME, WE ALL WANT THEM SET FREE…………….


  6. Positive sign. Pray for enlightenment and getting with the true and magnificent spirit of the wild and free horses and burros who can do so much to save this rapidly perishing life on Earth — because of human self-centeredness and greed!


  7. Wanted to put in my two cents by ditto-ing Ricky, Robyn, Sarah, Deb, Debbie, and Craig.

    Yes, Barbara, that is surprising about horse advocate Ed Whitfield; I think your assumption as to why he didn’t sign is sound.

    Yay Raul — and yay lone Republican Young.


  8. This should prove to be interesting. I wish i could sewer the outcome but it looks like I’ll have to wait and seeder like everybody else. Smile.


  9. I’ve written to Senators & Governors here in Idaho. They all believe that Slaughter is the best way to go. Hope none of them are on that comity.


  10. Natural management of horses is especially important during rehabilitation of health problems at hoof (founder, navicular, poor horn quality), musculo- sceletal system (arthrosis) or bronchial problems.


  11. i think the truth is coming out.thats a good thing.the devil takes many shapes and forms.dont be fooled.fitch is one of the good gyes.he states the truth.gets fast updated correct info and puts it out there.thank you mr fitch.


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