Horse News

Video: Wild Horse Wars


“Of course there is a lot of stumbling and miss-information from D. Phillipps, whose milking of the advocacy and premature release of Tom Davis’ information has allowed the kill buyer of 1,700 wild horses to go free, but other than his poor performance it is an interesting report.” ~ R.T.

“The mustang, maybe more than any other animal in America, is a symbol…”

America has been fighting a war over wild horses since 1971, when Congress passed a landmark lawprotecting animals it called “living symbols of the historic and pioneer sprit of the West.”

The measure promised to end the widespread harassment and slaughter of mustangs and assure them a secure place on America’s public lands. But that’s not how things turned out.

What’s happened to the horses it saved?

“I think this whole thing is a train wreck that is maybe months away from coming off the rails,” said David Philipps, a reporter at the Colorado Springs Gazette, who has covered the subject extensively.

Wild horses descended from animals brought to North America by Spanish conquistadors. At the turn of the century, vast herds roamed the West—as many as a million by one estimate. But by 1970, that population had fallen to less than 18,000 — victim of a pet food industry hungry for cheap meat. And that outraged the public.

“The mustang, maybe more than any other animal in America, is a symbol,” said Philipps. “It means freedom, it means defiance. It means scrappy but noble. In a sense, it means us, right? It is the American. And to have something that we hold in such esteem, at the same time – not only abused, but turned intodog food – it was just something people could not deal with in their minds.”

In some ways, the spark behind the 1971 federal law to protect wild horses was Greg Gude, who was 11 years old then.

“Knowing that animals were being hunted down, slaughtered, butchered and sold as pet food just really burned me up,” he told Retro Report.

Gude lived in Maryland but discovered the plight of the mustang in the pages of an illustrated children’s book by Marguerite Higgins, “Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West.”  Its main character was based on a tenacious real-life activist in Nevada named Velma Johnston, who went by the nickname Wild Horse Annie.

She had been fighting for the protection of wild horses for decades but, in the early 1970s, she enlistedchildren in a national letter-writing campaign that flooded Congress.

But Gude didn’t need to write letters. His father, Gilbert Gude, held one of Maryland’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I lived with my Congressman,” Gude said.  “I could lobby at the dinner table.”

He did – and made the evening news.

“An 11-year-old boy persuaded his father, a Congressman, to introduce a bill to protect wild horses and burros on the western plains,” CBS’s Walter Cronkite reported at the time. “Then the boy, Greg Gude, of Maryland, appeared today to testify at the opening of House hearings on the legislation.”

President Richard Nixon signed the bill into law in December of 1971, making it a federal crime to kill mustangs on public lands. This largely halted the commercial capture and slaughter of wild horses roaming federal rangelands.

But it wasn’t long before mustangs were making news again.

“There has been, according to the Interior Department, a wild horse population explosion all over the west,” Fred Briggs reported in 1974 on NBC.

The rising horse population drew criticism from ranchers paying to graze sheep and cows on public lands. The cattlemen said unchecked mustangs were damaging the range, eating grass that ought to be feeding domestic stock.

“As soon as the law passed, there were essentially more horses than the government knew what to do with.” Phillips said.  “There’s only a certain amount of grass out there, especially in the West, and most of it’s already spoken for.”

For the past three decades, wherever the Bureau of Land Management decides horses are too numerous on the range, it sends in the helicopters. Like flying sheepdogs, the aircraft chase bands of horses out of the hills, herding them into funnel-shaped corrals. Whether the round-ups happen in the heat or in the snow, they end when cowboys on the ground release what’s called a Judas horse – a domestic animal trained to lead its wild disciples into captivity.

Wild horse advocates like filmmaker Ginger Kathrens monitor the roundups from the sidelines, watching for cruelty to horses. Kathrens doesn’t want to see helicopters chase mustangs at all. Before a recent roundup in Utah, she confronted the Bureau of Land Management directly.

“We want to go on record as saying that we don’t think that this roundup ought to start today,” Katherns told the agency’s incident commander. “We think it’s too dangerous, too cold and too risky.”

“Helicopter roundups are incredibly stressful on the animals,” she told Retro Report later in an interview. “If you’re wondering why our public lands are overgrazed or degraded, you need to look at the millions of head of livestock, cattle and sheep, that are permitted to graze out here.”

On the other side, ranchers stake their own claim to America’s Western past.

“There are people that think the wild horse is a symbol of the American West,” Utah rancher Bob Garrett told Retro Report. “I think every rancher will tell you that we’re riding the horses that built the American West.”

Garrett says activists have browbeaten the BLM into culling too few mustangs.

“I have a place in my heart for the wild horse,” Garrett said. “But there would be a lot of us out of business if we didn’t have public lands to graze on.”

“If you talk to the advocates, spend some time at a round up with them, eventually they’ll talk about how the BLM is in the pocket of big ranchers,” Philipps said. “And if you talk to the ranchers, if you spend any time at their ranches, they will talk to you about how the government, the BLM, is in the pocket of the advocates.”

At the end of a roundup Retro Report observed in February 2013, the BLM treated a few dozen mares with a birth-control drug and let them go. It also took another 160 horses off the range for good. Those animals joined the more than 7,000 mustangs removed from federal rangelands last year. But that raises a big question: what is the government supposed to do with all these horses?

While the goal is to find the horses permanent, adopted homes, periodic exposés over the years have revealed the animals sometimes met a different fate.

“The BLM sort of binges and purges when it comes to horses,” Philipps said. “They’ll ignore the problem of overpopulation until it gets really bad and they they’ll do something they regret. And so in the 80s they sold a bunch of horses to people that then slaughtered them. And then in the 90s they started doing the same thing again, sort of, but quietly.”

The BLM insists it does not knowingly sell horses to so-called kill buyers. And today fewer adoptions, and a growing number of horses have given rise to what may be the biggest unintended consequence of the 1971 law:

“The Bureau of Land Management is probably the largest horse owner in the United States,” said Gus Warr, the agency’s wild horse program manager in Utah. “Maybe the world.”

There are nearly 50,000 formerly wild horses and burros living in corrals and long-term holding pastures in the Midwest. They’re eating grass on the government dole. The BLM spends $43 million a year to board these captured animals. Five years ago, the Government Accountability Office warned that the ballooning holding costs will overwhelm the program.

“I mean we’re talking, you know, 40, 50, 60 percent of our budget is going to just holding and caring of animals,” Warr said.

Today, more American mustangs live in government pens or pastures than are estimated to live in the wild.

“We’re full up. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nowhere to go with them,” Warr said. “I really don’t know what to say other than it’s not sustainable.”

An independent scientific review recently found that the BLM’s current program is not controlling the population. The study recommended wider use of birth-control drugs but acknowledged there’s no easy way forward.

“It’s a problem – and not an easy way one to solve,” said Gude.

“They really made a mess of it,” said Garrett, the rancher. “Are they wild horses when they are in captivity?”

“It’s awful,” said Kathrens, the horse advocate. “We have to manage wild horses on the range.”

“I don’t think anybody likes it, but nobody can find a way out of it” Philipps said. “The law really did save the wild horse. The question is, what do we do with the horses we saved?”

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43 replies »

  1. I am sick to death of listening to everybody standing around scratching their heads – saying “I don’t know what to do.”

    Let’s say those horses were part of my business, let’s say I had a fresh crop of horses every year. Mind you, there are over 9.7 moillion horses in the US. Would I train them? Sell them? Or buy hay and feed them? Or would I do like everyother “livestock” expert, and send the to slaughter.

    If I wanted to stay in business, I’d train them and get them ito homes. But maybe I’m asking too much of an American agency to ask they use their God given intelligence to figure out their basic common sense responsibility.


  2. Who in the hell made Dave Phillipps a spokesman; he knows little and next to nothing while aligning himself with individuals of dubious intentions and documented shady backgrounds. It is such a shame…as Ginger says, the horses can and should be managed ON the range, full stop!


  3. I think this was an excellent presentation of the problem that our country has with the wild horses and burros. No one wants them slaughtered. No one wants them run into the ground by helicopters. No one wants to see thousands of them lanquishing in horse prisons. We must control the birth rate in order to allow a reasonable number of wild horses and burros to roam free.


    • With all due respect, there is plenty of forage. It is eaten by millions of cattle and sheep. Even the antelope, deer and elk are given AMLs. Get the livestock off the public land. Let the lan rejuvenate and support the animals who are meant to be there, wild horses included. There is no need to birth control them. With predation and harsh Mother Nature – the animals will rise to the challenge. That is the intent of the 1971Act – to protect them to live unharrassed.
      Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


      • Exactly, how freak’n simple could the solution be…..

        RETURN THE WILD ONES TO THEIR LAND !! Duh….43 million saved

        And, boohoo ranchers …’re going to have to exponentially remove those cattle and sheep because the American taxpayers aren’t going to support this tradgedy by paying your way anymore


    • It is not easy for a mare to have a foal , many are lost in the wild for several different reasons, Mother nature knows Best , Let her do her Job, ,the Job she knows so very well she is the expert here !!!!!!!!! STOP this Horrible INSANITY !!!!!!!!!!!Our Mustangs are so very precious to all Wildlife and to the Land and YES to us !!!!Let THEM GO BLM !!!!! REINSTATE the FULL ROAM ACT of 1971 !!!!!!!!!


  4. There are no “excess” wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. The American people are being “hood-winked” by our government agencies that are mandated by Congressional Law to protect these animals. The wild horses and burros ALREADY have a place to live and it is not in corrals or pastures owned by wealthy ranchers.
    BLM has estimated that it could take up to 240 acres of land per horse per year (that seems very high but will use it for this ESTIMATE) – so using that generalized number:
    In 1971 the wild horse and burro legally designated acreage was 53.8 million which would support AT LEAST 224,166 wild horses and burros. Because these agencies have been selling our land (as most of us know) as of 2013 there are only 31.6 million acres of public land legally designated for our wild horses and burros but even that amount of land could and would easily support AT LEAST 131,666 wild horses and burros!
    At this time the BLM and USFS have reduced the wild horses and burros down to about 20,000 on the land and are still removing them today. What does this tell us? Our government agencies (BLM and USFS) are truly managing them toward extinction.
    There are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. These animals and this land do NOT belong to the government … the wild horses and burros and the land belong to you and me.


  5. The FOIA request showed Tom Davis bought 1,700 wild horses for $10 each so he spent $17,000 for his little investment to sell or ship them for slaughter. Using average of 800 lbs a horse x 1700 wild horses = 1,360,000 lbs x the avg on the hoof slaughter rate of .30 cents/lb (mustangs sell for higher than this as they are considered “wild, untainted, meat”) = $408,000 total paid to DAVIS. Less his original $17,000 investment and maybe a few thousand for shipping costs, his gross profit was $391,000. THAT IS A FEDERAL CRIME and definitely documentable through a simple federal tax audit. Or if the feds have to actual investigate and use their brains, is quite traceable through cash transactions, auction/slaughter house records, border patrol records, horse shipping records. Come on, we, the people, demand answers. What? Feds are afraid to investigate or did they get paid off and fear the public will find the real records that show what happened to DAVIS’ 1700 BLM mustangs?


    • Yes, and by the way per you and I paid Cattoor and Orada (and others) thousands of more dollars to have the wild horses and burros hauled to Davis. And please don’t forget that BLM sold him some of our burros too!

      There is no doubt in my mind that this was arranged from the inside of BLM and “everyone” from the wranglers and office managers and holding facility managers clear through to the Washington DC staff knew what was going on and many of them participated and arranged for these sales to eventual slaughter. This was no “accident” or “oversight” on the part of BLM … this was deliberate.

      Do I think there is a cover up? Of course, because if a true investigation and prosecution did proceed the majority of the BLM WH&B staff would fall like dominoes and most would “fall” into prison.

      PS Can anyone tell me who Sally Spencer’s supervisor is?


      • I meant to delete the first post as I edited it a bit. Don’t know how to do that from my end. Thanks for commenting. Yes, we all know that there is enough evidence to blaze a trail from Palomino Valley to the hellish slaughter house. Let’s just dig a little deeper and force the government to take action, eat crow and stop abusing our mustangs like this! Showing the facts to the public ought to just about do it!


      • Not just Palomino Valley but Litchfield CA and Ridgecrest CA and Burns OR and Broken Arrow, NV and some were even shipped to him from long term holding.


      • Yes, I am aware of all BLM facilities being suspected of shipping wild horses for slaughter. The 3 strikes and can sell to any one adoption policy is the way they really can legally sell mustangs to kill buyers and that’s about as much blasphemy as I can handle. That policy is getting changed by Horse Warriors as it’s flawed. BLM posts 3 photos on-line of a horse and then it gets a U label/brand and just disappears from the holding pens to the nearest slaughter auction… Disgusting, greedy, corrupt SOB’s that work for and with the BLM to do this…. MADDDDDDD today and getting madder….


      • Dear Grandma this horrendous,isnt there some way to expose them for what they are ??????



    The FOIA request showed Tom Davis bought 1,700 wild horses for $10 each so he spent $17,000 for his little investment to sell or ship them for slaughter. Using average of 800 lbs a horse x 1700 wild horses = 1,360,000 lbs x the avg on the hoof slaughter rate of .30 cents/lb (mustangs sell for higher than this as they are considered “wild, untainted, meat”) = $408,000 total paid to DAVIS. Less his original $17,000 investment and maybe a few thousand for shipping costs, his gross profit was $391,000. THAT IS A FEDERAL CRIME and definitely documentable through a simple federal tax audit. Or if the feds have to actually investigate and use their brains, is quite traceable through cash transactions, auction/slaughter house records, border patrol records, horse shipping records. Come on, we, the people, demand answers. What? Feds are afraid to investigate or did they get paid off and fear the public will find the real records that show what happened to DAVIS’ 1700 BLM mustangs?


  7. So agreed with everyone… great comments… The Tom Davis issue on fraudulently disposing of our Mustangs makes my blood boil…..
    Our Mustangs need to be treated as the “ICON” they are. I won’t sleep until they are permanently saved from the Gross Neglect, Abuse, and Corrupt individuals who want them gone….


  8. What a shame that while bringing out the dilemna was so shallow in its depth. For example, to make no mention of the multi-million year origin and evolutionary ascent of the horses in their cradle of evolution North America! Also to make no mention of Reserve Design as a way to obtain naturally self-stabilizing populations in complete and viable year-round habitats for complete and long-term viable populations that become harmoniously adapted to each unique region. This is so wrong! Basically there is too much hyperbole in this take on the wild horse situationi and too little humility and a call for learning to share the land and freedom with these wonderful returned North American native species. I would challenge David Phillips, as anyone seeking the horse’s greater story and a true solution involving us humans, to read my book The Wild Horse Conspiracy, that is available either as an eBook or a printed book on The vested interests are so hypocritical and so smug. It takes real courage to stand up to the monsters that possessiveness and blind tradition have created within our own human race. But this we must do if the beautiful life, including the wild horses, is to have a chance!


  9. Some of the commenters at the RetroReport site are really baffled and uninformed, suggesting the BLM should “just approach large land owners” like Ted Turner for grazing space. Ms Diamond, a journalist, is one who seems very clueless. I wrote her back this reply considering she will spread her opinions far and wide on her forum—

    Ms Diamond—the resource wars–oil, gas, minerals, solar farms, wind turbines AND public lands grazing ranchers—are all arrayed against the wild horses and burros. The taxpayer is SUBSIDIZING public lands privately owned livestock grazing since the fee for a cow/calf pair to run on BLM administered land is $1.35 per month. The fee has not changed since 1936! This certainly is NOT a market based fee system, reflecting true costs and degradation of forage. The cattlemen’s and sheepmen’s lobbyists have fought any increase in the grazing fees, so the taxpayer picks up the tab. This is why 6 million private livestock graze while MAYBE 18,000 wild equines remain on their Congressionally designated herd areas. The imbalance is absurd.

    There is plenty that could be done, but the facts are not out in the open and Congress is corrupted by vested interests eager to make profits on Public Land for a pittance. The BLM is not going “to approach” anyone—they are a good ole boys club in the pockets of the resource and grazing lobbies, and the “official” advisory board to BLM —the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board—is stacked with pro-slaughter ranchers, hunters, and extractive resource representatives.
    Mr Ewing is spot-on in his analysis of RetroReports failings in covering this complex issue. The one thing the BLM really hates is the 40,000 or so activists working for the mustangs, filming the abusive stampedes, documenting the squalid holding warehouse pens with no shelter and inadequate vet care, writing exposes’ of the serious mismanagement and cruelty, and keeping up a strong presence in Washington and the media to hold a light to the millions of taxpayer dollars wasted to appease profiteers. The government did not “just…let the problem reach a breaking point” —it has been broken since the beginning with ceding authority to a agency bent on destroying the very animals it is charged with protecting.


    • Remember, this public lands grazing in the West is highly peculiar as most beef and sheep producers in non Western, US lands get no such access, In addition, the grazing permits are used and can be used as an asset in real estate sales, sub leases, businesses and loans…it is unfair to other meat and forage producers in the remainder of the US.


    • I have the 1976 publication called a status report…wild horses on the Natural Resource lands, dept of interior, BLM, wherein the fees for grazing cattle were increased from 1.00 per AUM to 1.51 per AUM and 1.61 on national forest land…Can you name one other commodity that has dropped in price over the course of 30 + years?..I think I was paying 30 cents a gallon for gas then.
      in this report from 1976, BLM claims there are …guess what??? 50,000 wild horses..and something has to be done..immediately or they will starve to death according to the forward 37 years..same BS and guess what- those horses never starved to who is telling tales here?
      In this report the BLM reduced and removed cattle from the HMA in Burns Oregon,..the BLM district manager stated he knew what local reaction was going to be from local ranchers but stated that he still had to manage the land according to THE LAW…when did that philosophy change? Mind you at this time the case of KLEPPE vs New Mexico, was being heard in the supreme court..a case that challenged the right of the federal government to manage the wild horses over the states right to do so. The Supreme Court decided that the 1971 law protecting the wild horses was constitutional, and they declared in their opinion “that wild horses are every bit as wild as Grizzly Bears”..they are wildlife.
      According to BLM in its own words in this report..””.Excess horses may be relocated on other areas of the pubic lands””…”””The WILD HORSE ACT provides three legal ways to control wild horse populations”””” this is the first on the list.. These are their words in their own report


  10. 1. Dave Phillips works for Propublica.
    2. Probulica is owned by the very people who have funded the Global Invasive Species Program under which our horses were classified a non-native, invasive, feral, pest, exotic, aliens.
    3. That program ended in 2009—perhaps because with the Salazar-Obama team, the group behind this had it under control.
    4. This is why there is no mention of the fact that these wild horses that were returned by the Spanish descend from the horses that evolved in North America for 55 million years. They are a native North American species. Currently, some of the international invasive species lists are under reconstruction so perhaps that listing will change, but the point is that it was fraudulent when the scientist who came up with this scheme originated it, and it continues to be fraudulent.
    5. Now that the powers that be cannot no longer deceive the international scientific community about the NATIVE status of America’s horses, burros, donkeys, and Plains zebra, we may not get a formal announcement that the horse is no longer considered non-native, but instead there is going to be a shift from its ALIEN-ness to the damage that horses do, and of course, that deck will be stacked against them as well..
    6. Our wild horse enemies have been at work since President Nixon’s signature dried on the 1971 bill to protect them. They want what is under the ground and they have already made inroads here. They are patient, determined, and funding is not an issue for them. In fact, our natural resources and access to them means that their funding has a perpetual source of income. Be prepared. If you own horses and you want to see that they get a fair shake start taking pictures of areas where there are horses, how many horses, how big the area is, what kind of forage there is, take pictures and date them. If you trail ride, take pictures of the trail area.
    7. The 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act’s effectiveness began to erode in 1976 with the FLMPA. At the same time efforts behind the scenes began to pressure President Jimmy Carter to create the Exotic Species Act through executive order. However, President Carter did not want to include any species already established in this country, so in the eyes of those who wanted horses listed as non-native exotics, this effort was a failure.
    8. Al Gore was elected to Congress in 1976. He had had the opportunity to know the scientist and perhaps a second scientist who began the new narrative of the American horse, not as a symbol of freedom, but as an ALIEN species.
    9. Unlike Dave Phillips, Al Gore’s scientist acknowledge that “domestic” stock are also non-native species, but because they are under human control and used for food, they are somehow OK even though the horse is native and they are non-native.
    10. Just suppose that there is some scientific truth (which I don’t because I think once you discover that part of a theory is false it makes the whole theory false) in the theory that ecosystems should only have native species that originated where they are currently found, or else you risk making other species in the ecosystem become extinct and therefore, destroy the entire ecosystem, this makes Al Gore the creator of his own inconvenient fraud. By removing a native species from the very area of the country where it evolved, he and his green team are essentially behind the destruction of the West through removing a member of the ecosystem that ate the older, more fibrous plants that have become kindling for wildfires. Removing the horse from ecosystems has also removed their soil enriching manure that may have prevented the desertification of much of the grassland. Private property owners in the West and in the East often graze complimentary species together because it makes the land healthier. So, if you want to blame someone for the current high temperatures, drought, desertification, wild fires and other unnecessary travesties, looking through the historical record at the people who have played a part in this and who have profited the most, the trail points directly at Vice-President Al Gore and his role in creating and perpetuating the global climate agenda to defraud America in order to fund international interests who will, in turn, fund people like Al Gore and our present crew. Unfortunately, our wild horses evolved for 55 million years in the same area that also formed the valuable natural resources that make other nations salivate with envy.
    11. We can end this, but we have to understand that although the ranchers are perfectly positioned to be the scapegoats in this scheme, they are facing the same pressure that the horses are. Federal laws about land management are no longer being followed because the Clinton Administration signed the 1992 UN Convention of Biological Diversity in 1993. Our horses fall under the Alien Species Provision Article 8 (h) as listed as law on USDA’s own page.
    12. If I am not mistaken, there have been large eradications of horses such as the wild horses and thoroughbred race horses in Canada. Andalusions in Spain and last year perhaps something in Itality. New Zealand shot a lot of their wild horses and the Austrailians killed a lot of their Brumbies. Internationally, it is now more expensive to own horses than ever before. USDA’s wasteful subsidies for ethanol. have made horse hay harder to find and more expensive and increased the price of livestock feed. These are not coincidences. They are part of an international treaty that requires countries to prevent, control, and irradicate non-native alien species.
    13. This practice is frowned upon in much of the scientific community because there is almost no real science (observable and quantifiable) behind it.


    • For the record, it is well known throughout the scientific community that horses and cattle DO NOT eat the same forage. Horses and cattle have different digestive systems, and cattle eat the newer, leafy, high protein forage that is closest to the ground while the horse naturally eats the older, more fibrous, “stick-like” forage. The Western grazing lands would be so much healthier if the ranching industry embraced our wild horses and us as partners in creating truly health grazing lands. There are scientists and agriculture experts across the country and the world that understand this, and could provide guidance, but until we can get the U. S. scientific community free of Al Gore’s chalatan scientist our federal agencies and scientists with integrity are hamstrung.


  11. I believe Phillips is a plant! He gave me the creeps the first time I laid eyes on him and heard that smarmy voice! Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up! …… Just sayin…..


    • Totally agree with you for the reasons listed above as well as others. But, he is attractive and he speaks with a lot of almost breath taking enthusiasm, doesn’t he. The camera likes him. It is too bad that some of the most dangerous people in the history of the world have been attractive and articulate. He is a tool. He and Salazar work for the same people. Salazar is now working for BP—When he signed the July 14, 2010, right-of-way for the El Paso Corp. to cut through five wild horse ranges instead of using the utilities corridor already built, he was paving the way for his future employer…this was not a coincidence.


  12. Good to see this video by the NY Times (which gives airtime to BLM’s wildhorses) and I’m glad that the intent behind the 1971 act was to ‘stop killing’ mustangs and protect them on the land that was set aside for them… too bad neither have been accomplished by the BLM.

    Too bad they only mentioned what the ranchers thought about the wildhorses damaging the rangeland and did not counter with it’s not the horses doing the damage since they don’t stay put all day like the cattle do…

    The most offensive statement made is “no one can find a way out of it” (relating to the problem the BLM created – too many in holding) Craig Downer has found a way: The Wildhorse Conspiracy has a plan that is being ignored…


    • Yes, we call it the BLM Mismanagement of Wild Horse’s and Burros. Or BLM Management to Extinction, which really, I believe is their goal. The BLM wants to slaughter the 50,000 in holding and make a big profit, not for the government but for their corrupt employees that have been caught, but not punished for major credit card abuse. Living it up on the BLM federally tax funds set aside to maybe actually listen to the NRA report and Craig Downer on more viable options that are far less destructive and less expensive by leaving the wild herds alone as much as possible. The adoption and sterilization experiments have destroyed the strong genetic backgrounds. Many of the strongest, most attractive horses get adopted. But all of the horses are ripped away from their family bands and then shipped far away from their native lands? WHY? Oklahoma has the largest percentage of wild horses in holding. Oklahoma is pushing for horse slaughter and regular shipments from OK go to Mexico. What about some accountability for the 1,700 wild horses that Tom Davis killed? Who the H is going to adopt 50,000 wild horses. Our domestic rescues are filled with our societies throw away horses, people have lost their jobs, ranches, houses. We don’t want to adopt mustangs to support for the rest of their lives on our dimes. We want them free. Why don’t they quit fooling with mother nature, quit killing off the bears, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions (horse predators), kick out the GD cattle and let mother nature do her work. Humans meddling, especially stupid corrupt government humans and the whole cottage industry that feeds off the BLM, is what keeps this rounding up of wild horses going. Even though our government is in debt, $6 million awarded to helicopter contractors alone and helicopter round ups are inhumane and should never be allowed. If u can’t find the wild horses or catch ’em on a horse then leave them alone.


  13. first off I want to thank Phillips for the story-he has put together much of the history of the situation we find ourselves in and poses some of the questions that have to be defined. We have been working very hard to get someone other than ourselves to tell this story-Lets not shoot the first person to do so.
    BLM has had 40 years to manipulate the facts of this conversation, and the ranchers have used this same line of BS for over 100 years, I have dug into the archives of publications from the late 1800s where ranchers made the same dire claims…well, the rumors of their demise….have been greatly exaggerated…they have thrived and gained more lands while the wild horses and burros lost theirs..Tthe reason we have a bureau to control public lands as defined by history, is in fact because the ranchers were abusing grazing on what are federal lands that time it was conservationists and early environmentalists who had absolutely nothing to do with the wild horses, who were fighting the ranchers to save the land..there have been volumes of books and articles you can google under public lands ranching that will inform you that it is not just a history of wild horses vs. ranching.
    The real issue that was not addressed, this “theory” of overpopulation-what is not being discussed are the amount of HMAs that have been stripped of wild horses and zeroed out..not over populated, but zero populations, and those zeroed out areas are responsible for thousands in holding, even those areas that still have wild horses are at a number that is genetically impossible for them to survive as a species..and what remain on that land is wild horses.when Joe Q Public hears 40,000 wild horses in holding they automatically assume that must mean with so many, that they are reproducing at the rate BLM says..That is absolutely not true, you only see these massive herds of horses in videos of them being rounded up and pushed together..but if you look at the bands in the videos you only see 1 or 2 foals in a band..they are not reproducing at a rate the land cannot handle..the youn g are in fact keeping pace with the elderly that die off..What Dave did not reference was the fact that the NAS pointed out…the roundups themselves create natures response to reproduce to compensate for the disruption of the band structure..All wildlife follows that cycle, be it rabbits coyotes and the is not unique to wild is so the species is instinct.
    As to that pot bellied rancher, claiming the horses they ride are the horse that made America..You are undoubtedly riding a quarter horse…and I happen to know the history of the QHs-the steeldusts crossed on mustang mares owned by the ranchers…you bonehead idiot..what you think the QHs just dropped out of the sky..The US calvary could not catch the Indians who were mounted on MUSTANGS..their thourbred eastern horses could not handle the rough terrain and had no US government gave papered studs to the ranchers across the west to cross on those wild mustang mares to get a horse capable of waging war against th Indians..putting your butt in a saddle-does not make you a just makes you a Butt in a saddle…


    • Very interesting especially the last paragraph. I do know ranchers who let their quarter horses loose to breed with the Mustang over the many years especially at the “little Book Cliff’s”.

      So great information from everybody Wow!….


    • Kudo’s to you for doing the research. Yes, the Dept of Interior’s, BLM was created specifically to address ranchers grazing rights, so u know, one didn’t get more than another and yes, so the ranchers cattle wouldn’t over graze EVERYTHING. At $1.35 per month for one cow/calf pair or 5 sheep, grazing permit program needs to get with the times and charge $135/month. Then maybe the BLM wouldn’t be 1.5 million dollars in the hole just to administer the grazing rights program and cattle ranchers wouldn’t be getting this federally subsidized grazing, which only produces 5% of nations beef and most ranches are corporate owned. So, who’s getting the benefit of our federal tax dollars, rich cattlemen and private corporations. I’ve also heard all the disgusting things those stuck up quarter horse people say about any other breed. Well, u r right many ranch horses are in the wild herds and the Spanish Kiger Mustangs are selling for over $10,000 as untrained yearlings. I have beat the pants off of QH team penners, with my Morgan and Arabians and plan to do some Cowboy Mounted Shooting on one of my 3 rescued wild mustangs. Loved it when a QH cowboy, was lookin’ at the muscled behind of my Arabian mare, after we did a smokin’ run. He actually asked me what kind of horse she was (which was a compliment as QH folks, most generally think ARABS are too hot to team pen), I looked him straight in the eye as I told him, while trying to stifle laughter and wached his eyes get big. LOL! A horse is a horse is a horse. There are no bad horses, just bad riders/owners. Mustangs can do it all and I know there is some Arabian and Mogan blood in the wild herds too from the Army
      sies Mounted Division’s Morgan breeding program during the wars!


    • I agree Sandra, I thought it was just me…… Love the backround , photos but it is hard for me also to read and comment !!!!!


  14. The reason all horses are said to be escaped desendants of domestic horses is because early.naturalists were clergy who believed all horses drowned in Noah’s flood, except those Noah had on the Ark. The Spanish reintroduction idea is disproved by hidtorical documents. All expedition horses were obtained in S. America and islands there. Horses disappear from human food refuse (the “fossil record”) not only here but all arpund the world


  15. R.T.**??     I do n0t get access to ANY “video” n0r “lead-in” by you; IS this post supposed to present this* WAY?? 
    (0r broken link, maybe?).      it goes DIRECTLY from headline pic TO the Comments_?! 
    {many of which are “realio, trulio” EXCELLENT*, btw! }.    
    • I especially Like the following closing*lines BY “our” unEqualed scientist, CRAIG DOWNER:    
     “The vested interests are so hypocritical and so smug. It takes real courage to stand up to the monsters that possessiveness and blind tradition have created within our own human race.  But this we must* do  if the beautiful life, including the wild horses, is to have a Chance! … ” 😀 

     ++ the “historical timeline” of the LAWS, BLM actions, courtcases – outlined BY Sandra Rogers Longley..and Susan Rudniki, as well. 
    ++ the 12* POINTS listed by HoofHugs!  (many I’ve n0t heard or thought about; ALL are articulated eXtremely well.)                   
    & also:    “..putting your butt in a saddle-does not make you a historian…it just makes you a Butt in a saddle…”
    {along with SO many more! }

    –this entire* exposé of The COMMENTS needs to be a Publication* of its own! 

    ••(additionally, — please ADD “The Wild Horse Conspiracy ” to your LIST of “books & writings” ? just noticed today; & I’m sure purely an understandable oversight..) 


  16. Another breed that probably contributed to the blood of the Mustang is the old-type East Friesian. For a period of over 10 years during the late 1800s and early 1900s about 150 stallions each year were purchased by the U.S. government from Germany. The old-style East Friesian of that time was a heavy warmblood or coach horse and was purchased to pull artillery or heavy wagons. So wherever the US calvary was found in battles in the west these horses were found, and undoubtedly some escaped and added their blood to that of the American Mustang. The large herds of wild horses did not pose a particular problem until the western United States became settled and cattle and other grazing animals were added to the native range. The arid lands of the west could not support a large population of grazing animals and on some ranches it became the policy to shoot Mustangs. The population of Mustangs at the beginning of the twentieth century is estimated at two million. By 1926 the population had been halved. The current population varies but is near 30,000. In 1971, Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act which protected these animals. The Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Agriculture, through the Forest Service, have the responsibility of administering this law.


    • Thank you for the information about the Friesian horses being used to pull heavy wagons in the west. Very interesting.

      As for the 1971 Congressional Act, we need to remember and remind our legislators and the BLM / USFS / USFW per the 1971 Congressional Act, the land was to be devoted PRINCIPALLY but not exclusively to the wild horses and wild burros welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands.

      Definition of “principally”: First, highest, foremost in importance, rank, worth or degree, chief, mainly, largely, chiefly, especially, particularly, mostly, primarily, above all, predominantly, in the main, for the most part, first and foremost.

      It is the LAW of the United States of America and any policy or regulation or memorandum of understanding that BLM / USFS / USFW writes or proposes that does not come under the umbrella of the law is illegal.


    • yes, a Unanimous Congress GAVE “the Responsibility” to BLM (n0t USFS) —the entire POINT is: They never ever TOOK it on*!! only “on-the-surface” and aLLways WITH malevolent intent* from the beginning! The “agencies” of BLM and almost the entirety of DEPT of INTERIOR above it –(including Ag* and its “Forest service” + “Fish & Wildlife”) — had/have SO many Conflicts* of Interest* between their “Responsibilities” & divisions: there’s little concevable Way these agencies COULD appropriately * administrate the WH&B ACT of 1971 … it’s quite difficult to imagine WHY these conflicts* were n0t NOTICED at /before the very start?! n0r WHY there have been ZER0 real attempts to “Rectify” this and REASSIGN these important responsibilities, once it WAS “Noticed”?? That is pure Negligence* (and obvious bribery Influence). . . 
      • interesting points about thé old Freisian breeds, though. 


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