Horse News

BLM Helicopter Roundups Continue to Destroy Wild Horse Herds

The Cloud Foundation and Wild Horse Freedom Federation Ask Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to end the Abuse

ROCK SPRINGS, WY. (Nov. 26, 2013) – The Cloud Foundation (TCF) along with Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) adamantly oppose the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) continuing policy of rounding up wild horses in brutal weather conditions as witnessed by humane observers at the Adobe Town/ Salt Wells roundup in southern Wyoming this week. TCF calls on Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, to step in and put an end to what the Colorado non-profit characterizes as “taxpayer funded animal abuse.”

Temperatures in the low teens in the Adobe Town/Salt Wells Complex (ATSW) did not stop the BLM from running wild horses, including small foals only a few months of age, to trap sites miles away from where the mustangs were attempting to survive wintry conditions. At least one small foal was unable to keep up with its mother according to humane observers of the operation. They also reported adult horses coming into the trap site wet from sweat, a formula for respiratory complications.

BLM announced the roundup start date less than 36 hours before the helicopters took to the air on November 21st, despite calls from the public asking the agency for an estimate of when the roundup was to begin. “I have been calling the Rock Springs BLM office every two weeks since August requesting a start date,” states Carol Walker, noted equine photographer, author, and wild horse advocate. “They started this operation without any reasonable public notification in horrible conditions right before Thanksgiving.”  Ms. Walker plans on being “on the ground” in Rock Springs this weekend as the eyes and ears of  WHFF.

The last minute notification flies in the face of recommendations to BLM in the National Academy of Sciences Report calling for improved transparency, as well as better, more meaningful communication with the interested public.

The roundup conforms to the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RGSA) Consent Decree issued on July 17, 2013 requiring removal of all wild horses from private lands within the checkerboard portion (a two million acre swath of public, state and private land in Sweetwater and Carbon counties) of the ATSW complex by the end of 2013. Rather than proceeding in favorable weather, the decision to begin appears to be based on the availability of the roundup contractor, Cattoor Livestock.

Helicopter roundups are inherently cruel under the best of circumstances,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of TCF.  “Add to this the terror of being chased over snow-covered terrain in the bitter cold and wind. What happened to considering first and foremost the welfare of these wild horse families, some with tiny foals? This is nothing more than taxpayer funded animal abuse.”

“The BLM is wiping out Wyoming’s wild horses at the behest of the private ranching interests that enjoy taxpayer-subsidized grazing on the public lands where the mustangs live,” states Suzanne Roy, Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, a coalition of more than 50 organizations, including The Cloud Foundation. ”The agency had the discretion to delay this removal and instead started in treacherous conditions and unacceptably cold temperatures.”

BLM’s Jan. 23, 2013 Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy states, “the BLM is committed to the well-being and responsible care of WH&B we manage.  At all times, the care and treatment provided by the BLM and our contractors will be characterized by compassion and concern for the animal’s well-being and welfare needs.”

The BLM memorandum specifically states that the BLM will insure every effort is made to prevent foals from being left behind; that whenever extreme environmental conditions exist (such as temperature) the overall health and well-being of the animals will be monitored …that the lead person will adjust gather operations as necessary to protect the animals.  But the policy fails to designate appropriate temperature ranges for humane roundups.  According to Temple Grandin, PhD, doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, roundups should not be conducted when temperatures are below 20 degrees. The Humane Society of the United States recommends a minimum temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interior Secretary Jewell has not addressed the broken BLM Wild Horse and Burro program in any substantive way, even after the National Academy of Science Report issued in June criticized the BLM program for massive roundups that only trigger higher reproduction rates on the range.

The mustangs are just trying to avoid extinction,” Kathrens concludes. “Meanwhile, business as usual for the BLM continues, wasting millions of taxpayer dollars each year, destroying protected wild horses herds, and ‘cow towing’ to the demands of livestock associations like the RSGA and other consumptive users of lands that are owned by the American public.”


Wyoming Wild Horse Herds in Jeopardy

Federal Court Sanctions Government Plans to Eliminate Wild Free-Roaming Horses from Wyoming Checkerboard

Recommendations on the BLM’s Standard Operating Procedures for Wild Horse and Burro Gather Operations, by the Humane Society

Wild Horse and Burro Gathers: Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy

BLM Daily Gather Reports, Adobe Town/Salt Wells

BLM Issues Adobe Town/Salt Wells Creek Wild Horse Gather

Adobe Town & Salt Wells Gather

31 replies »

  1. Control to eradication. Fraudulent, debunked alien, invasive species $$$$$ faux science. 1997 IPPC in force October 2, 2005. Burns Amendment in effect first day of 2005 fiscal year—willfully, deceitfully, and very deliberately circumvented Congressional scrutiny and the American people to repeal the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act through provisions in international treaties and executive order 13112.


  2. In the above “Gather Report” there is a link to “Get Involved.” There you find a link to RAC (Resource Advisory ) They are accepting NOMINATIONS to an Advisory Board Position. The Category 2 post is for Environmental or Horse/Burro person. Nominee must be a Wyoming resident. Deadline is Dec. 13, 2013 ! is this slipping by?


  3. Everyone, everyone, everyone knows the horses are being eradicated. Its like a child’s game where everyone in the room agrees to pretend that someone or something that is in plain sight is not there.
    I believe that the reason for this is that it is Obama’s will…particularly in light of recent statements out of the administration about its desire to see the west turned into a solar farm (despite strong opposition from Biologicaldiversity and others due to the existance of a multitude of choices that better respect the land and sensitive species it supports)!
    And how about that Grazing Bill! I feel like a fool and I’ll straight up admit it. I was literally on the telephone with one of Senator’s Wyden’s aids on Friday discussing S258 Grazing Improvement as Senator Wyden was in committee where he chose to pass the bill up to the full senate…. The fact is (I think everyone realizes this) that despite his politics, Wyden lives in a cattle ranching demography and will support their interests any time he can do it without drawing too much heat.
    I am just so disgusted and unhappy. I wish I’d win the lotto so i could buy us our own senator….


  4. Everyone should appeal to Congress. We spent millions for this study. BLM is using a court order to instigate a dangerous deep freeze winter roundup. Just when did BLM expect to implement the guidelines the study proposed? It doesn’t take long to produce a roundup when they want to, why does it take years to produce a policy, which they don’t want to? It doesn’t, you know. We are witnessing a government agency tthat is not run “by” or “for” the people, not even “of”. A special class of “shareholders” are benefitting and that is illegal. It runs contrary to state law and federal law providing for consideration of the wishes of a majority of citizens. It is clear from the state of the holding facilities that these decisions to take them off the public land is not about the welfare of the horses.


  5. This time, I believe it is not about grazing more cattle. I think the ranchers want the horses off THEIR land along with public lands so they can lease to oil and gas fracking companies that will bring in MILLIONS…while destroy the land AND the water…but what the heck…all they care about is money, right? It’s all about $$$. I’m sick to death of corruption in government!!! After the Burns’ Amendment, there have been several bills to restore the 1971 protection for the wild horses that passed the House…but NOT the Senate. Until we get campaign reform, these people will listen to the lobbyists representing their special interest groups (cattle ranchers, oil and gas fracking companies, etc.) and NOT their constituents. They don’t give a hoot about what we want. Write letters…let them know how unhappy you are…then Vote them OUT if they don’t listen and take action!!! Time they started listening to the people who put them in office. Time for them to do the right thing or get the hell out!!!


    • One of the largest “private” landowners there is Anadarko:

      Adobe Town/Salt Wells Creek Herd Management Area Land Ownership

      Table 1. Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek HMAs
      • Two major landowners are within the ATSW complex. They are Rock Springs Grazing Association and Union Pacific Land Resources doing business as Anadarko E&P Company LLP
      • There are approximately 20 other landowners that have less than 10,000 acres each.


      Click to access at-swa-additional-info.pdf



    UPDATE: Fish & Wildlife Service Holds Special Briefing for Hill Staff
    Thank you to everyone who voiced outrage over the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS’s) dumping of 250 wild horses captured from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada on a slaughter middleman in Mississippi.

    Due to thousands of calls and emails from AWHPC supporters to Senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has oversight over federal wildlife refuges, the FWS scheduled a special briefing for Capitol Hill staff specifically on this issue earlier this month

    Last week the FWS was scheduled to conduct an on-site inspection of the middleman, Stan Palmer of J&S Associates, and our allies on Capitol Hill are pressing the agency to 1) visually confirm the current location of all horses sent to Palmer; 2) positively confirm, via microchips, the identify of all Sheldon horses placed by Palmer; 3) establish third party oversight by bona fide rescue groups over J&S placement of all remaining Sheldon horses
    We will keep you posted on this developing situation, but wanted to thank you for helping us elevate this to the attention of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee. This attention will help us in our longer-term effort to stop Sheldon from eradicating all of the historic wild horses and burros on refuge lands.


    • Louie, great but we have seen photos of horses heading down the highway in trailer loads, leaving Stan’s “care” apparently with no questions asked and there will of course be no paper trail. I doubt anyone will be able to trace them now.


  7. Has anyone reviewed this document?

    The Public Land & Resources Law Review

    Horses on the contiguous public portions of the checkerboard are not
    subject to the provision. 61 Landowners could exploit this precedent and §
    1334 to coerce the BLM into gathering wild horses from all public and
    private plots in an entire region to eliminate forage competition with
    However, the BLM’s “ministerial duty” does not apply to public
    lands, even if private interests hold grazing permits and leases to use
    certain federal tracts.62 Leasing arrangements do not alter the public
    ownership of the range,63 so wild horse management on federal sections
    should conform to the purposes pervasive throughout the Act, as well as to
    PRIA and FLPMA’s “multiple use-sustained yield” concepts. The court
    improperly ordered removal of the horses from the public lands in the


  8. There’s something else about this that should be brought out and seriously questioned.
    The Rock Springs Grazing Association used the argument that it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to fence off their own private lands because…..

    “Federal Law expressly prohibits fencing on Public Lands”….



  9. Louie, if they have private lands within the checkerboard, why the heck are they not being required to FENCE OUT as the law intended?

    Also found this on The Cloud Foundation article published earlier this year about the Checkerboard situation:

    “Scoping meetings will provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions with BLM specialists and view maps and posters detailing the RMP revision process. Written comments may be submitted until Sept. 27.”


    However, I posted elsewhere on this site the actual consent document which was signed on April 3, 2013, which indicated all comments had been reviewed and considered, or words to that effect.

    What, if anything, happened at the scoping meeting held in Sept. in Rock Springs? Did anyone attend? Any press releases or information available from that meeting? Anyone?

    There seems to be an enormous discrepancy here, and it seems the decision was taken prior to public comment, which if ever received was already pointless.


    • What is the reasoning for “these animals are not part of the contract” & will not be counted!!!! So why are they rounding them up? Why are they not counted? Or is this the usual BLM BS when it comes to quantity of horses?


      • Maggie, I think that refers to horses previously captured, who are being hauled to Canon City to make room for the ones they are rounding up now. So they are not being counted as part of this current roundup contract.


  10. I am really unhappy with BLM right now. Their own employee told RSGA to sue for removal of the horses. The judge that heard this was the spouse of the former governor. Kinda seemed a no brainer how they one would go.

    As someone who goes to WY every year I have problems giving my tourism dollars to the state. I wonder if I can file a state tax return so all taxes I pay can be returned since I didn’t earn a wage in WY. Happily I’ve taken the pledge to not eat red meat till ranchers start sharing resources.

    I have to continue working on veggies if I want to go vegetarian.

    I love WY. I love the Tetons and the National Park. Not everyone who works for the park is a jerk but BLM is whole nother story. I pledge to do my best to not RS any funds (such as hotel, food, gas)that I can possibly avoid.

    My neighbor who has cows OWNS all his property he runs his cows on. And that’s expensive CA real estate! His cows are beginning to recognize me! I call hello and they now raise their heads and look over to me. Before I got ignored!

    I want to know one thing. How come Obama gets to pardon the turkey but we can’t seem to get him to care one iota for the horses?


    • Margaret, you have maybe hit on something good here… what if we petitioned for national recognition on a certain day for our wild horses and burros? Like maybe the day the 1971 law was enacted, or Wild Horse Annie’s birth or death day? On that day, the President could step in and “pardon” one HERD, not one horse. Might be able to make a small difference and get these issues into the mainstream media in a more positive light as well. We could get horses on the White House lawn once again on that day, as a dear friend did years ago when lobbying for some horse legislation.


  11. Thanks IcySpots (above answer). I must be really thick & slow – BUT cannot understand HOW the BLM can continually just ignore all laws or regulations and do exactly what they want to! To top it off, they apparently fire anyone who questions the way they treat the horses & burros.
    I just do not understand….and it really ticks me off. What makes me the maddest is that we don’t seem to be able to “make a difference’!


  12. FOUND THIS TODAY (AP put out a very small and sparse announcement so I went looking for more information, still hunting for any photos of horses available)

    Some of these horses are probably what’s left of the Thanksgiving roundup, but there still no mention anywhere of the foals we saw photos of in the teeth of that blizzard.

    Release Date: 03/31/14
    Contacts: Shelley Gregory

    Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility Reopens with Adoption Event

    The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility will reopen with an adoption event on May 2 and 3 featuring wild horses gathered from the Salt Wells Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) in Wyoming.

    “We have a lot of wild horses in need of a good home,” states BLM Adoption Coordinator Kathi Fine. “Folks who put in the time and effort to adopt and train a wild horse are rewarded with a sensible, alert, loyal, surefooted and hardy animal.”

    From 12 to 3 p.m. on Friday, May 2, wild horses will be available for preview and adoption. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, untrained weanlings, geldings and mares from Salt Wells Creek will be showcased for adoption. On both days, BLM specialists will be on hand to answer questions and assist with adoption applications. All horses will be available on a first come, first served basis for the standard adoption fee of $125.

    More information about the adoption event, some of the available wild horses and the adoption application and requirements is available at

    The facility was closed for public tours and adoptions to allow newly arrived wild horses from the Salt Wells Creek gather to settle into their new environment. After the horses were settled, the corrals underwent a spring cleaning in preparation for reopening. Approximately 800 wild horses from the North Lander and Red Desert complexes and Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin, White Mountain and Little Colorado HMAs are housed at the facility; all are available for adoption.

    To learn more about BLM Wyoming’s wild horse program, please visit or call Fine at 307-352-0292.

    The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
    High Desert District 280 Highway 191 North Rock Springs, WY 82901

    Last updated: 03-31-2014


Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your 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.