Horse News

Do Wild Horses Need Endangered Species Protection?

by as publisched on Care2

“Sadly, the BLM has failed, and continues to fail, to uphold its duties and continues to remove and warehouse thousands upon thousands of wild horses.”

BLM's war on America's wild horses and burros ` photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM’s war on America’s wild horses and burros ` photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Equine advocates are taking a new approach to get wild horses much-needed protection by petitioning the Department of the Interior to have horses who roam on federal public lands listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The petition was filed by Friends of Animals (FoA) and the Cloud Foundation over concerns that if the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) doesn’t change the course its on soon, the agency will mismanage these American icons into extinction.

In 1971, Congress recognized the value of wild horses as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” who “contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.” It enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which was intended to protect wild horses from “capture, branding, harassment, or death.”

Sadly, the BLM has failed, and continues to fail, to uphold its duties and continues to remove and warehouse thousands upon thousands of wild horses. According to FoA, more than 200,000 horses have been driven off of public land since the Act was passed, while thousands more still face the threat of removal.

Wild horses have already disappeared from Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and things are getting ugly in other states, including Utah and Nevada. Now there are believed to be fewer than 33,000 horses live on 26 million acres of BLM lands, while almost twice as many are in BLM holding facilities as the government continues to pointlessly spend millions of dollars every year on more gathers and holding costs.

Yet the agency still wants to reduce their numbers by another 30 percent and will continue to subject them to terrifying, incredibly inhumane and indiscriminate roundups where the young, old and pregnant are forced to run for their lives as they’re chased by helicopters.

FoA and the Cloud Foundation cite these excessive roundups and removals as a major threats to their populations, thanks mainly to private livestock grazing, in addition to habitat loss (they’ve already lost 22 million acres) and inadequate regulation.

Now concerns continue to be raised about how these threats will continue to hurt them and whether the small herds that are left in the wild will be able to survive, while further fears have been raised that the government will open the door to legally allow horses in holding to be sold for slaughter.

“The tragedy of horse roundups exists because the BLM appears devoted to turning arid western public lands into feedlots for cows and sheep to appease cattle producers,” said Priscilla Feral, president of FoA. “Friends of Animals finds this morally and ecologically reprehensible, as wild horses are driven off lands to leave the bulk of water, forage and space for two domestic animals owned by ranchers.”

Even though they’re legally protected, the BLM treats wild horses like an invasive species who have no right to the land, but scientific research based on fossil records and DNA evidence has proven that they did originate here. The belief that they’re a native species was also upheld last month by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals during a lawsuit that argued the BLM was breaking the law by rounding up too many horses.

“Misclassification of wild horses as a non-native species is politically, not scientifically driven,” said Ginger Kathrens, executive director of The Cloud Foundation. “Wild horses are severely endangered but without recognition of current scientific evidence of their native status, they could become extinct.”

Wild Horse Freedom Federation fully endorses the efforts of TCF and FoA

Click (HERE) to take ACTION NOW

22 replies »

  1. Beef prices are through the roof. And with greed at an all time high and with gag laws protrcting how beef cattle are abused then Yes wild horses require endangered species status. Ive said for 20 plus years the AQHA wants to force the removal of wild horses along w the ranchers. Two reasons….one because AQHA cant stand a free animal it cant make cash for at slaughter. Free wow what a lie. Next because horse overbreeders want to replace the wild mustangs on the cattle grazing rights to free graze their purebred horses. Removal of private bred horses has infuriated these people because like leachman many overbred and overran the BLM grazing. This is talked about nearly zero. The fact that our tax dollars are paying for freedom for Mustangs kept in a holding instead of where they are paid to roam so the employees of blm can collect their checks is ludicris and then mybtax dollars once again funding beef we should All get for free because we are Paying the government for the BLM to allow this fgrazing scheme to continue and im still infuriated about Utah having the Worst humane laws proving they dont give a hoot aboutvany animals except the clear profits. This is the reason wild horses should be protected. The proslaughtervpropaganda of abuse caused closure should actually read abuse caused by cattle barons overrunning United States Mustangs and sucking American tax payers wallets dry. When do Americas tax payers quit paying the tab for cattlemen? I think they owe some money back in tge form of a refund or some damn beef for all the starving families the farm bill punished by taking more tax dollars and reducing families snap benefits. Can u imagine the arrogance to demandcreduction of the childrens food income and STILL increase the amount of land that cattlemen get to throw beef on at the BLM while removing horses. Sadly people Farm Aid was to lift people higher so they would Help people with less. In reality it made these people cattle barons on your dime and their idea of giving back is to accept snap or link cards at Farmers Markets. Oooh wow that really doesnt help give back….watching thst announcement on the news madevme wonder what people recieving benefits must be thinking……by the way if you pay attention it says no discounts and no meats….so really they arent Giving anything. So the little Mustangs suffer due to these horrific people who want them not only removed but actually dead AT slaughter. So power forward amd protect this brave little horse and its herds because this travesty should never have occurred. The BLM should get tge golden hammer for mismanagement wasteful government spending.


  2. Darn right the Mustangs need Protection , and the BLM needs to be dismantled , and arrests and convictions need to be applied…………… The Blm is a disgrace to America ……………………..and all it Stands for !!!! A promise and a Law set by Congress in 1971 was unnanimously PASSED for the Mustangs !!!! Congress was so intuned to the Mustangs as being depermental to America not only as the Royal America Ambassadors of Freedom , but also for their continual contributions to the the Building of the West, and their ecological perfection, Congress completely understood their importance…………………..BLM not only disrespects The Congress , but each and every living thing, and America and its people !!!! This Agency is no longer needed and have committed Crimes of Horror to the very Mustangs they are paid to protect by the Americans who love them ……………. We must find a way to exclude them from our Taxes in no uncertain terms………………….. The BLM has tortured and embarrassed America and Our treasured Mustangs long enough !!!!!


  3. When the agency’s that are in place to up hold the laws and protections are breaking those laws then they must be held accountable for their actions.
    The meat grower industry must be stopped by the Citizens of this country.
    When one group of people can dictate the killing of anything owned by the Citizens of the U S A then there is a real problem.Those are our Lands, Our wild life,forest, streams, the air we breathe and what is put into our bodies thru the food we consume .No agency or group can be allowed the dictate anything about this to us.This is suppose to be a Goverment by,for and of the people.Not special interest groups and little Napolean complex agencies that have taken the power granted to us by our Constitution and run rough shod over us.
    Time for millions fo us to stand together as one Voice of( We the People) and demand OUR VOICES be heard and acted upon as we decide..
    The citizens of this country are no longer involved in what actions are taken by our Government agency’s they ask for our comments,then ignore them.
    Come together peacefully as One and demand our RIGHTS.
    We need to stop preaching to the choir and let the entire country know what is actually happening to our land,oceans,air and all creatures that are trying to live upon it.You would be sursprised at the number of people who have no idea what is going on with these agency’s and how it effects them as citizens.


  4. Recently when returning to Oregon from my visit in Nevada, I saw something that turned my stomach, across the façade of an overpass , running free, were wild horses, every where I looked were these icons of our past……and yet , they portray a big lie ! Roads named pinto, wild stallion, palomino, and such in areas where they are rounding them up like sheep and incarcerating them !!!! These horses BELONG on this land, they hurt no one !!!! The BLM and CONGRESS need to get a clue !I look out on the vastness of this land and don’t comprehend how any one can say there is no room for them !!!! SET THEM FREE !!!!! I see fences blocking off every entry to water for them, Every entry to grass, I hear of people blatantly shooting them and nothing being done about it even though they know who did it ! I know that people have been marching, fighting for their freedom and no one listens ! BLM is out of control as far as the wild ones are concerned , This is a land that is slowly losing its freedom of choice, my choice is to save the wild ones while there are still wild ones to show my grand children To often have I looked out where wild herds roamed and now, nothing but hoof prints in the hard earth, the ghosts of Bandit, Oreo, and many others……………………bring them home !


    • Dear Alice, you are so right, we both know the Land , all wildlife calls out to them……the wind also calls out to them by each ones name, to see those fences keeping the Mustangs from the water and forage is a horror of such magnitude that it is now a Sin against man and all things sacred………………………….and most of all Our treasured Icons the Mustangs………………………..


  5. I would love to see the wild horses out west some day. My nephew sent me pictures of a small band that he saw when he visited. It seems to me that more people would be interested in seeing wild horses and burros when they visit western states than a bunch of sheep or cattle destroying the range. I’m all for making wild horses and burros endangered species. Seems unlikely though since it is the very agency entrusted with their protection that is destroying them. There is no need for the BLM to be in charge of managing the wild horses because they have neither the interest nor the capability to do this. Do away with the BLM.


  6. Again the BLM is working the “system” like the VA. Job security and likely performance bonuses or other incentives. As long as they round up too many the horses reproduce too many giving the BLM “cause” to keep rounding up year after year. It also helps them justify their data for public propaganda. Could it be the ranchers are falling victim? Who’s to say that once they have played the victim and all the horses are gone the BLM won’t kick them to the curb in favor of oil & gas, or mining? They make the perfect ‘mark’ after all it’s an easy sale to the general public to “protect the family farmers and ranchers”. Protect the ‘traditional’ ways of generations.
    It’s not hard to imagine all the possibilities. With that said listing wild horses and burros as endangered is going to be a tough hill to climb.
    As I said in an earlier post too many people can’t see the differences between wild and domestic. Other than those that live in major metropolitan areas many see horses in pastures, boarding and training facilities, in some folks backyards. How could the species be endangered? They’re everywhere.
    The government needs to investigate the BLM and we have to educate the public. After all Cloud is not Trigger… They are as different as night and day!


  7. Hell YES we need to put the wild horses and burros on the endangered spieces list- if we don’t Our Government and The cattle ranchers and the BLM will have killed them all off!!!!!!


  8. Endangered? If a woolly mammoth, a saber tooth tiger, or dodo bird were to appear people wouldn’t pause to ask if they were native to any specific country. There a protected fish and fishing quotas in the oceans. American Wild Mustangs could have originated on the moon for all I care they belong to this place more then all of those they say otherwise.


  9. The Mustangs need not prove anything , they already have ……Mother Nature gave them all they need to survive and so did Congress unnanimously no question in my mind, except one DOES THE BLM BELONG HELL NO !!!!!!!


  10. I like what horsedrag said, they could have originated on the moon and what does it matter, they have been here longer than our ancestors have in any case! If you are born in America you are an American, if you are a horse or burro and you are born in the wild, you are a wild horse or burro. It has never even been proven 100% that they actually did go extinct. Evidence has not been found, but when you are wild your bones return to dust within two months so that explains that. But even that doesnt matter, its a silly detail, however its the different attitude towards them that we need. If our government needs them to have a certain status before they are willing to treat them with a minimum amount of respect, then so be it, this is what needs to be done. If it is successful it will make all the difference in the world.


    • Simone, there is recorded fossil and DNA evidence spreading from 11,000 years ago to around 600 years ago, published in peer-reviewed work by Craig Downer for one.

      Your comment about bones disappearing in two months, however, doesn’t fit what I know of archaeology. Can you cite a reference for this assertion?

      The status of wild horses was supposed to have been determined long ago, when they were given federal protection. What is broken now is the result of tampering with that law and with the backhanded, undocumented labeling of them as an invasive species.


  11. Zebra mussels are an invasive species. The Carry Institute in Millbrook studies such things. They arrived from ship bottoms to the Hudson River and overwhelmed native species. Scientists are up in arms about it, forgetting that all native specie are full of PCB’s and are sick in vastly reduced numbers, but most important is the invasive species ability to completely cleane every single drop of water in the Hudson River and Long Island each and very weak. Thank goodness I say for the water would full of filth without them. Who cares if they are a menace to municipal waste intake pipes and boat bottoms? Nature has a way t correct itself. The one invasive species that needs displacing is the sick BLM.


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