Horse News

Eckhoff: Federal Grazing Program in Bundy Dispute Rips-Off Taxpayers, Wild Horses

by Vickery Eckhoff, as published at Forbes

The rangeland is certainly suffering, but the reason is a historically devastating drought exacerbated by the overgrazing of cows and sheep


Wild Horses under attack by BLM in Nevada~ Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Horses under attack by BLM in Nevada~ Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Sean Hannity defended Cliven Bundy as a patriot. Harry Reid called Bundy a terrorist. Jon Stewart called him a “welfare rancher trying to pull off the world’s largest dine and dash.”

Before his stand-off last week with the Federal Government—staged, aptly, during tax time—Bundy was a Nevada rancher who illegally grazed his cattle for 20 years on thousands of acres of public land, owing $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.

But when The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees the land, showed up to remove his 900 cattle, a modern-day whiskey rebellion broke out. Dozens of mounted Bundy supporters advanced on a handful of BLM agents in SUVs, guns at the ready, carrying banners. The BLM retreated and returned Bundy’s cattle, minus several killed during the round-up.

Dramatic as this was, the Bundy-BLM dustup shouldn’t obscure the underlying issue that’s at stake here for taxpayers: the huge costs of the grazing program into which Bundy refused to pay.

Across the west, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service manage 13.3 million AUMs (Animal Unit Months) on 250 million acres of public land. One month of grazing one cow/calf combination or five sheep (the definition of an AUM) costs $1.35—a fee that’s 92% below the present-day cost of $16.80 per month to graze livestock on private land. The direct loss to taxpayers, by contrast, is huge: at least $123 million a year. Indirect but related costs push the total to as much as $1 billion, all to produce less than 3% of the nation’s beef supply.

The ultimate losers in this equation are wild horses and the increasingly shrinking western lands they roam that belong to the public. To create space for this taxpayer-funded cattle program, the BLM deploys helicopters, rounding up 8,255 wild equines in 2012 and 4,288 in 2013. The roundups cost an average of $750 per head. Some equines are adopted out for $125; the others are warehoused at a cost of $1.35 a day. Total cost for last year’s Wild Horses and Burros program: $71.8 million…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at Forbes

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12 replies »

  1. What a wonderfully concise explanation of this situation…..I knew, that in time, ol’ Bundy would eventually stick his feet (both of them) in his mouth….Thanks to Vickery for putting it out there so well…as I have always said….”it is better to be thought of as a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”….and Bundy just removed all doubt…….


  2. Everytiime I see the 1.35 for Public land grazing, 16.20 for private grazing I have to chuckle. Horses grazing on pasture will cost between 100 to 350 depending on the area. The cost to taxpayers for this subsidized grazing is WAY off the scale.$

    It really is time to deal with reality.


  3. Excellent Article, well written, facts not wild west fantasy, which is where these ranchers mind sets are. They also believe they are “entitled” to use public land for their own purpose and profit. I might add that the Cows are the losers too, besides being brutally killed, they are being exploited and their life is only worth a hamburger or a steak, sad, they are sweet loving animals that care for each other, neither the ranchers or BLM care, they only care about the $$ by hijacking public land. I say it is time we reconstruct the whole public lands and park systems for Wildlife watching, which would earn the gov. 7-10x the income. Put it to a vote for the public to decide.


    • Unfortunately it’s not about the government making money. It’s about a select few special interests lining their pockets at taxpayer expense (the same ones who can now throw as much money as they want at their empty suits in politics so their own greedy agendas can continue). I wish this could be put on a ballot to be voted on by the American people. I would campaign like hell to get the word out to save the living symbol of our freedom. I even contacted Ford Motor Company to support this cause since this is the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang. No reply. Greed and corruption are running this country, and running it into the ground.


  4. I don’t call welfare ranching anything to be proud of. That just says your not smart. or successful enough to afford your own land. You’re a mooch off the government with a HIGH GREED FACTOR and serious ENTITLEMENT ISSUES.
    A WELFARE program for the cattlemen and some abusers of the system.
    Bundy you’re the WORST!!


  5. There is a common denominator in this and we’ve seen it over and over.
    For some reason, the brutal Wild Horse and Burro roundups, complete with armed guards, just haven’t drawn very much media attention.

    Marti Oakley is never one to mince words or sit on the fence. The following are a few excerpts from her most recent article on PPJ Gazette. (excerpts)
    Marti Oakley

    Prior to the attack on the Bundy ranch, the BLM, the same one that showed up dressed for war, has had a long running war against the wild horses, not only in Nevada, but also in virtually every other western state. Repeatedly violating the Wild Horse & Burro Act of 1971 by chasing, terrorizing, capturing, and sending to slaughter thousands of wild horses, the BLM has been held above the law (anarchism) by successive courts.

    When the smoke settled, politicians everywhere had run for cover. Most had remained silent during the government sponsored terrorism of the Bundy’s. Few had had the jewels to come out in defense of this family against government thugs. Those that had, quickly disappeared into the shadows.

    So let me get this right:

    The BLM has more than $27 million to pay its friends each year for long term holding for the wild horses that they illegally removed from the land set aside for them.

    The BLM has millions to pay private contractors to terrorize and round up the wild herds with helicopters and other equipment.

    The BLM has millions to spend rounding up the desert tortoise and to euthanize them just to make a point.

    The BLM can spend millions to protect the sage grouse, a bird they just “think” might be endangered, but have no actual evidence is. But this bird has facilitated the theft of millions of acres of otherwise private or publicly owned land.

    The BLM has millions to spend militarizing its employees and for war weaponry and gear.

    The BLM has millions more to blow on attacking one hold out rancher.
    (And the BLM is crying about their claimed 1.1 million in grazing fees they say Bundy owes them?)

    While the agency name is “The Bureau of Land Management”, one has to wonder at this point……management of what? To what end? For what purpose?

    It surely cannot be to protect any wild animal or bird what with its track record of killing off everything in its path.

    It cannot be to manage the land, because they have facilitated the massive destruction and devastation of land through their business contracts.

    They have facilitated the contamination of water through excessive mining, drilling and fracking contracts and used up valuable water supplies for these activities leaving many western state populations with water shortages.

    So what is it exactly that this agency is “managing”? And maybe the next question should be: Why do we allow them into our states?

    While you may or may not agree with the Bundy’s or their position, the larger issue is the growing threat of federal agencies with regards to the public. The siege of the

    Bundy ranch and the obvious intention to cause harm to this family should have had the hair on your head standing on end.

    Gives a whole new meaning to the term “homegrown terrorism”.


  6. A great article written by Vickery Eckhoff, which really addresses the wild horse, cattle and sheep issue… facts and numbers no one can deny. The truth is there, for those interested enough to right the wrong and manage our wildlife and land for the good of all.


  7. The truth is the BLM wants all the money they can get from the Cattlemen or any one else, so that they can use it to booster their Criminal Organization and use that money to illegally round up and kill our Wild Horses, Burros, Sheep, Mt. Goats, Wolves, Buffalo, Desert Tortoise, Ravens, and on and on. They are creating jobs at the expense of the animals and us. They need to be stopped. Their funding needs to be cut off and they need to let nature take care of the land as it has done for thousands of year. When there is a drought, the animals will migrate until they find water if they are not blocked by fences that are put up by the Government. We the People need to have the right to enjoy our public lands again with out the fear of oppression and jail. They are killing our Eco-System and Mother Earth. Man is his own worst enemy in this battle. Now we have wild fires where we never had wild fire because the foliage on the range is 6 feet tall and sucking up all the water that once was recycled by the animals. Get it! They are like a bunch of Robots. They have no feelings or compassion and they have no use for Animals because they get in the way of development. It’s all about money, not human life, plant life, or animal life. Bundy’s are just another victim in this just like the Animals. It’s the Animals today and us tomorrow. After all, it’s their Job and you pay them to do it. How stupid are we. So print this in Forbes if you dare be!


  8. Bye Bye to “Dirty Harry Reid and his Merry Mob of Government Thieves” from all over the America! I hear that he is going to have his Gavel removed for doing his dirty deeds! The American People have spoken and are finally being heard. The only “Weapon” Harry has left is” Racism.” The whole Reid Family has turned on their own brothers and sisters of their Mormon Church, all for the love of “Money”. They should be excommunicated and probably will be soon. They have finally been exposed by all of this. This is not about Mr. Bundy, this is about land, water rights, and money. Someone ask Mr. Bundy a question and he gave them an honest answer and a lesson in History, just the way we were all taught in school. In fact Mr. Bundy even elaborated on that question and he was right. Even the African Americans Leaders agree with him. At the least, be fair here and post both sides. If you don’t believe me than go to his Facebook and watch their videos for yourself so that you will know, of what you speak. Some one tried to set him up and that also, is back firing big time because Mr. Bundy is not a stupid man and he still has right to his “Freedom of Speech”. Allow though the BLM tried to take that away from him, too. Here comes the Government trying to use Oppression again. Think about it and ask yourself how many times you have been afraid to speak out and why. This should not be the case under the Constitution. Just remember that this Land is our Land and belongs to the People, not any Government Agency. This is why we have limited Government Rule under the Constitution, brought to you by some very wise old men that had lived through the worst of the worst and came to America to gain back their Freedom and yours, for all generation’s to come, forever. We can not allow a Fascist take over in America. We must stay alert and speak out in order to enjoy the rewards that we work so hard to earn. The pen is mightier than the Sword but not the gun. I am sure that you at least own a pen (Computer) so please write to all of your State Representatives and tell them to protect all of your Constitutional Rights, that allow you to protect your land, yourself and your family and most importantly get out to Vote and make your voices heard through the Ballot Box. United We will Stand!!! Let Freedom Ring!!!


  9. Place hoof to head and bang it vigorously. That appears to be what Bundy did…..Seems he rattled the tiny balls around in there like a pinball.machine and now Vickery explains what i have believed the invasive species is the Cattleman, hmhm, yes and their cattle….but mostly cattlemen.


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