Horse News

Lawmakers Urge Action Over Wild Horses


Lawmakers urge action over wild horses

Raúl Grijalva

Raúl Grijalva

A letter from 30 lawmakers is urging US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to reform the Bureau of Land Management’s controversial wild horse and burro management program.

It follows a recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review, which criticised the bureau’s program as being costly, unsustainable, and employing strategies which encouraged high population growth among wild horses across the western rangelands.

Arizona representative Raúl Grijalva wrote the letter, co-signed by a bipartisan group of 29 other House members, asking Jewell to make the reforms a priority.

An identical letter signed by more than 30,000 Americans, including celebrities such as Robert Redford, Carole King, Ali MacGraw, Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Noah Wylie, Wendie Malick, Betty White and Valerie Bertinelli, has also been sent to Jewell.

“I’ve been asking for changes for years, and NAS has confirmed that we can save taxpayer money and horses’ lives at the same time by improving this program,” Grijalva said. “We have the information we need. Now it’s time to do something with it.”

Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and environmental regulation, said Jewell had shown a true commitment to the conservation of America’s unique natural heritage, and he hoped she would give America’s wild horses the attention they deserved.

“Congress had the wisdom to pass the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971. We can’t let mismanagement and waste be the only legacy of that far-sighted decision.”

Grijalva wrote that the bureau had pursued an unsustainable and highly controversial approach to wild horse management.

“In fact, the US Government today maintains more wild horses in captivity than remain free in the wild.

“This is an untenable situation, both for America’s wild horses and for American taxpayers.

“Since 2009, the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program budget has doubled as the agency escalated its unsustainable roundup-remove-and-stockpile approach to wild horse management.

“Meanwhile, the BLM has grossly underutilized proven, cost-effective and humane alternatives, such as fertility control, that keep wild horses on the range and avert the need for roundups and removals.

“We are hopeful that your appreciation of the outdoors will lead you to embrace and appreciate the iconic wild horses and burros of the American West and share the commitment of the majority of Americans to protecting them.

“This is a solvable problem, but it requires a commitment to fixing what is not working,” he wrote.

Florida Representative C.W. Bill Young, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, was the only Republican to sign the letter.

The full letter can be read here.

24 replies »

  1. Hopefully Sally Jewel will have the sense to STOP the Wild Horse & Burro “Round-ups” now that the HUGE Farm bill aid has been voted down. Praying VERY HARD that the ” OVERCROWDED Holding Facilities” aka Auschwitz .. Re-Release the captured Horses & Burros to the Wild, where they BELONG!!
    Under Ken Salazar and the “Contributions” to him by “Big Ranchers” via their Lobbyists, the conditions the Captured Horses are being held in HORRIBLE & Barbaric, Untenable and CRUEL conditions…Especially when there is Documented FILM Footage of Horses standing in Dung & Mud, Foaling with NOWHERE to lay down, where the Foals almost ALWAYS Die, No clean water and not much to eat..It’s a NATIONAL DISGRACE!!
    These same Horses, in Holding Pens that Salazar lets be shipped, CRAMMED into Overcrowded trucks to Mexico, where they are Slaughtered while still ALIVE! Barbaric, Inhumane, & Cruel doesn’t EVEN begin to cover it!
    When this Country has such a BUDGET Problem, cannot “afford” Decent Healthcare for the Poor and Seniors, and 1 in 7 People in the USA Have to try & Live on Food Stamps, Wasting the 70 + MILLION Dollars of TAXPAYERS Money to Hold these Horses and even MORE to STAMPEDE them into traps, where many are SEVERELY Injured and Die, Foals running their Hooves off, Pregnant Mares, FORCED into Foaling among TERRIFIED Tightly packed Chutes and the Foals being Trampled to Death, Horses Breaking their necks, legs and backs; to escape.. Maybe… PLEASE GOD! Let these Horses GO!! These Holding Pens have NO Shade, Poor Food, Little water is an Auschwitz for those Poor Horses!! Let them get back on their Ranges!! NOW!! Ms. Jewel, PLEASE!! Bring some SANITY to this Situation!!


    • Excellent said Sarah……This is a National Disgrace………

      Our Wild Mustangs should be Free’d Immediately!!!


    • Sarah, well said and true. Please Sally Jewell let these poor horses be free again. The Bureau of Land Management is out of control and do not know what they are doing to these beautiful wild horses. The BLM are killing these horses in their holding pens.


      • Thanks Patty,
        Call, Email, skype, do what EVER it takes! The Present Situation CANNOT be TOLERATED ANY LONGER! It is a NATIONAL Disgrace!.. No! Make that INTERNATIONAL Disgrace!


  2. C.W. Bill Young from FL, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, was the only Republican to sign the letter. Important to take note of that not only as a supporter of our cause but, the fact that he was the only Republican to sign the letter. I feel that we need to become familiarized with all of our legislators so we can ascertain and begin to formulate plans for change at the next elections. After all of the events of late, that is certainly where I have placed my focus and intentions.


    • maybe I’m wrong, but I believe Young also the co-creator of the amendment to Farm, Bill to ban horse slaughterhouses as well. The only republican huh? In 2004 the republican senator from Montana slipped through the elder and injured wild horse sales into the wild horse act (sneaky) and George W Bush signed it. Who are the 30 senators who sent the letter, I want to see if my senator is among them? Thanks Sarah, well put!


      • The Horses & Burros Thank you, Heather! Senators, Congressmen & Women, Representatives are PUBLIC SERVANTS.. and if they Worked at McDonalds the way they are in DC, they would be FIRED on the Spot!


    • The House of Representatives has voted three times to pass wild horse and burro legislation. The House passed ROAM in 2009, passed the Corolla Wild Horse Protection Act, 2012, Passed the Corolla Wild Horse Protection Act. The performance enhancing drug ban amendment to the Horse Protection Act is bi-partisan. However, the lead sponsor of all of these Acts has been a Republican.

      Since we do not know who is circulating this letter, how it is being circulated, when it was circulated or how the information was presented to the Representatives, I would be very careful to put too much stock into who is sponsoring or co-sponsoring a bill that never gets further than signatures of support and co-sponsorship.

      While words may precede actions, when it comes down to it, getting any legislative action of appropriates withhead requires a lot more than letter writing and co-signing to sponsor a bill. Passing a bill is hard work and requires that a member of Congress spend some of their political chips as well as their time.

      There are a lot of political games being played right now, and one of them is for Democrats to sign onto pro-animal legislation and then do nothing to build support for their bill. While Congressman Grijvala appears sincere and does not appear to be receiving funding from the same sources that many Dems in Congress are (multinational energy production companies working for global governance, genetically modified food products, cloned animal products, etc.), there is more to this game than readily meets the eye.

      It may be helpful to keep track of who is voting which way on different bills, but it is far more informative to use the public domain to find out which corporations and non-governmental organizations are supporting which political campaigns. Following the money, though you may have to navigate through the masks, is a much better indicator of who will vote for what.


    • Susan, You are 100% Correct. VOTE and KNOW HOW your Candidates are Voting.. I don’t care if Dems or Repubs or Green Party or ALIENS! The Elected PUBLIC SERVANTS are Killing off all of these Wild Horses, Salazars Hand is “in the Cookie jar” of Big Ranching..Now Obama has signed an “Open Season on ALL Wolves. Gah This country is getting SO disgusting.. if WE do NOT stop the Politicos we will be “Living” on what looks like the Surface of the moon!


  3. I see in a recent post that my Colorado senator signed the letter, good for you Jared Polis D-Colorado, way to go. I guess all those letters I (and many others) kept writing to him have paid off.


  4. I find the 2009 date very indicative of the real purpose of why they are over budget and having issues managing the horses. Any sane person realizes the end of horse slaughter US plants naturally inflamed the political argument of the cattlemen who felt as though their last chance to slip through to slaughter was gone, they arrived at the conclusive decision that by presenting the angry tax payers with a reason to re-open the doors and allow the slaughter to begin with the wild horses first on the platter. What happened was many watchdogs like yourselves opened the eyes to something amiss. We are a people who love to watch the family units, herds running free and wild. (Any longer to characterize the feral from the wild is truly oversimplifying the issue, when in fact, they are un-owned and live on their own together.) The plan that we monitored was to build and over run the numbers of horses while claiming drought, erosion by horse, and natural plant life devastation being key factors for the reason for placing them on the gotta go list. We know this was a planned event. Any one of any age can clearly ascertain that horses held in close captive surroundings will require more care. We know that if you board a horse in your stalls, the costs are higher-feed, sawdust, and basic healthcare increases so when we watched them stockpile these animals and allow them the ability to cross breed repeatedly we knew the BLM NOT the horses were out of control. The first person that we need to track down and ultimately publicly name is the actual person who came up with the stockpile the horses to obliterate the numbers and scream foul loudly as so to act as though they didn’t know the horses would multiply. That person whether within or outside the BLM is acting as the ACTUAL mouthpiece for this broken organization. They are making fools out of the Federal Government by mismanaging the money and animals they are entrusting to the BLM. They are making fools out of themselves by mismanaging the most easily managed herd animal on the planet. They are attempting to make fools out of the general public by telling the public this YOUR tax dollars we are wasting, when in reality it has just revealed to the public that is intelligent and quickly coming to the realization the facts and figures supplied by the BLM are outrageous mismanagement and NOT the fault or actions of the actual horses themselves. I am proud of ANY and ALL who stand up and SHOUT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Because, IT IS! Pay cuts, hiring real horse people and rescuers experienced in Mustangs, getting people who have various backgrounds to bring the different trades to the table to cut costs and bring the herds into a better light for all would really help balance the budget. Exposure to the reality of mismanagement has destroyed many industries, we have to be the change in order for change to occur. As for those who don’t like the Mustang, that’s a personal decision based on misinformation I am certain-take a cruise out to where the animals live, see them in action, and understand what they didn’t tell you about the horses that we admire and love!


    • You need to start pointing at the World Bank, its partner Bank of the Netherlands, Vice-President Al Gore, President Clinton, the IUCN, The Nature Conservancy, the 1992 Conventon for Biological Diversity and a couple of pseudo American scientists who are still keeping a lid on the science that the horse is a native North American species who evolved here. Getting rid of our wild horses is just another way to get human beings off our public lands like declaring areas a National Monument, National Historic Site, Wilderness Area, or reserved for endangered species restoration. The idea is that human beings are removed from the land so we do not see foreign companies mining our natural resources.

      There is the use of the word feral as it appeared in federal policy before 1993 and the use of feral after it appears in interagency government policy since 1993.


  5. This is not a next month, next week issue. The horses are at Critical Point. Vesicular Stomatis is breaking out in NM and other diseases that compound with stress. This is an Emergency situation, NOW.


    • Susan, AGAIN You Hit the Nail on the Head!! Overcrowding ANY Species breeds Disease. The way The American Wild Horse & Burros are Treated is BEYOND abominable, It is a INTER NATIONAL DISGRACE!!! It is a DANGEROUS Breeding Ground for Potentially LETHAL Diseases!! Then WHAT?? Get the Politicos in DC @ DOI/ BLM and FORCE them to STOP this and return these Wonderful Wild Horses & Burros to the Wild!.. ( The DOI/ BLM AND even the President of the United States are Nothing BUT PUBLIC SERVANTS)! and they are NOT Serving us Or the Horses & Burros Well, in ANY Capacity!!


  6. OLE! Raul! As an Arizona resident, I am proud of you and the stance you have taken! I’ll be sending an email or letter to everyone who signed the letter with you.

    Muchas Gracias!


  7. It is a SURE Bet, that the Wildlife Destruction; INCLUDING Wild Horse & Burros and Open Season on ALL Wolves Everywhere; along with these HORRIBLE Pipelines ( which PERMANENTLY RUIN The ENTIRE Eco-System) Continue..This ENTIRE Planet is DOOMED! Along with EVERYTHING LIVING THING ON IT!
    WE MUST have Public SERVANTS that work FOR us Not AGAINST all Living things!! The Clock is TICKING!!! Zero Hour approaches. We MUST Take a Stand!! What Canada ( where Wild Horses are ALSO Shipped for Slaughter) and the US Government are doing Is CRIMINAL!!! Crimes against Humanity..DEPRIVING WE, The Public from being able to enjoy Nature at it’s Finest!!
    I am a Citizen and those Are PUBLIC LANDS!! WE ARE The PUBLIC!! WE MUST BE HEARD!!! NOW! not in 4 years! The Time has Come to STAND UP!


  8. Thank You Raul Grijlva , you have been a awesome friend to Our mustangs for many years Kudos to you for realizing the Great Importance of Our mustangs to our land and Wildlife , And Bravo for all the times you stepped up in their behalf !!! I am proud of you and all the Huge Actions you have taken to protect and preserve the Mustang Americas Icons and treasures !!!!


  9. Sarah: Can you place your comments on Facebook. Does our Government actually believe that no one pays attention to their GROSS PRACTICES!! The Wolf complete delisting, is open for comments! What/who is behind these mistreatments of our wolves wild horses, burrows!! Da!! The ranchers, livestock industry, etc. Keep fighting!


    • YES!! I Share All of this on FB! I Believe “our” Govt. Knows exactly what it’s doin re: Wild Horse & Burro ERADICATION Program.. which is what it IS! Big Rancher Lobbyists and Big OIL and the Morons and their gas drilling & Fracking Lobbyists are PORING Money into ALL of these via Their Lobbyists.. @ this Point all I can say is IDLE NO MORE! About ALL of these Issues, because they are ALL Tied together. 😦


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