Horse News

Burrowing in on Wild Horse and Burro Management

By Wayne Pacelle as published on Humane Nation

“…allow the transport of 100 burros to residents in Guatemala, for use as working animals?”

wild burro captured by BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

wild burro captured by BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Burros are among my favorite of the animals residing at our Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, with their long ears and friendly stares. We have a couple hundred of rescued burros there, and visitors seem to have a special fascination with them, too. As with all of the animals at the ranch, they’ve landed there because of some tale of woe – in most instances, because the burros have gotten a raw deal from the federal government, which manages, or mismanages, their populations on the vast reaches of public lands in the West.

Under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the federal government, through the Bureau of Land Management, is mandated to maintain populations of wild horses and burros in the 11 western states where they live. There are only about 40,000 wild horses and only 8,000 burros, and three quarters of the horses are in just two states – Nevada and Wyoming. The remaining states have relatively small populations, typically with 3,000 or fewer animals.  There are millions of cattle and sheep on those federal lands, yet ranchers complain of too many wild equids.

The government has been rounding up and removing horses and burros, ostensibly to control these wild populations and minimize their ecological impact.  In the process, the feds have been building a captive equine population now in the tens of thousands, at short-term and long-term holding facilities. Just last week, the BLM released new information that its personnel and contractors would round up nearly 2,400 more wild horses and burros this year. The cost of the round ups and housing and feeding the animals is now cannibalizing about two-thirds of the budget for the program, which has been widely regarded through the years as a case study of mismanagement.

For years, we have pressed the Bureau of Land Management, which runs the program, to focus instead on fertility programs to manage populations – a solution that the National Academy of Sciences also recommended in a report commissioned by the BLM. The BLM has been slow to implement the recommendations of the NAS.

Now, in what can only be described as a case example of poor decision-making, BLM is undertaking a pilot program with the Department of Defense and Heifer International and intends to allow the transport of 100 burros to residents in Guatemala, for use as working animals. While burros have been traditionally used for this purpose, this use is at odds with the provisions of WFHBA, which requires that the BLM’s first priority has to be the humane treatment of wild burros in their care.

We are not insensitive to the difficult and challenging lives of people and animals in Guatemala and other developing countries, and we acknowledge the value and importance of working animals worldwide. Through Humane Society International (HSI) and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Program (HSVMA) affiliates, we have a robust and proactive assistance program that helps provide veterinary care and other resources in these countries. But Guatemala has burros of its own, and does not need shipments of burros compliments of the BLM – a practice that simply relieves pressure on BLM to revamp its program and protect our nation’s heritage of responsibly managing wild horses and burros…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read more at Humane Nation

22 replies »

  1. No.

    Its just not acceptable. The farmers of that country have not demonstraed any concern for their work animals, buy them a motorcycle. Its bad enough BLM sell them to cowboys for roping target practice, now they want to consign shipments to utTer slavery. I’m disgusted.

    Not our burros!!!


  2. Our government just is not concerned about animal welfare at all, they just don’t, or will not, get it. Trying to put a positive spin on ‘getting rid of’ our wild horses and burros.


  3. The BLM just wants to get rid of them and doesn’t care what happens to them. This is just sending them to their abuse and/or death . How can this be stopped?


  4. like i wrote on the other page, that country has all sorts of people coming across the border in record amounts : who are they really sending these burro’s to ? this is a war torn country and civil unrest , have all their working animals been shot that they would need to send more ? or will these burro’s be carrying ammo to who ever ? these people in this office have never had an orginal thought as to the welfare of our equids always the talking heads , i just can’t believe these people.


  5. This needs to stopped. These are Federally Protected Wild Burros that belong to the American People. They belong back on their Legal Herd Management Areas.


  6. These animals horses and donkeys belong to the American people and to America. they are not a commodity to be shipped to another country for their use, they are protected under the wild horse and burro act of – this country. their ancestors fought for our country side by side with our ancestors and they do not deserve to be sold our given into slavery in another country. for the BLM this is just a back door to slaughter in Mexico – our horses will be next.
    the article below shows that they do not have the same love and respect for animals that our country does.


  7. HSUS has a letter to BLM but it is promoting fertility control which is certainly not needed . If you sign on please delete that part and add your own comments. Yes, Louie, they need to be returned to their HMA’s along with our wild horses in holding .. Thanks, Geri, for the info also. No wonder children are leaving there.


  8. HSUS has been on my list of ethically and morally compromised outfits for some years now.
    So, this is what it takes for the esteemed Mr Pacelle to respond to the plight of the wild burros and their brothers, the wild mustangs?? How about a few photos and videos posted on his blog of the round-up mayhem? The skeletal foals, the sweat steaming horses in winter, driven immediately into trailers and driven down the road at high speed with minus degrees windchill, the violations of the BLM’s own “humane handling” rules, the horses up to the hocks in mud and standing in all weather unprotected—meanwhile, all Christmas season, I am pummeled on dozens of websites by images of the scooter-bound dauchsund and pleas for money to save similar dogs and cats. If he loves burros so much, how is it that the well-known video Carl Mozak posted of the helicopter knocking over the little burro with the skids has NEVER run on the blog or anywhere on the HSUS website?? The “Humane Society” regularly violates it own welfare clauses and the words of the founder, Mr Chenoweth copied here–

    Robert Chenoweth, then chairman of the board, said at The HSUS’s first annual meeting in 1955, the humane movement “needed a national society that would stand, absolutely, on humane moral principles—an organization that would unequivocally, vigorously, adamantly oppose any and every kind of cruelty, no matter by whom committed and without concern for who might be offended or alienated.”

    The point being, the BLM and its destructive machinations NEVER come under scrutiny and exposure to the members of the HSUS. NO postings ever show the photos and videos available all over the Web. Mr Pacelle tells me he is too busy fighting all the other fights to have time to reveal these horrors.
    HMMMM—sounds like a hollow excuse and a disingenuous ruse to avoid accountability. The Humane Society is a conflicted, administration heavy, org. with a wiley, photogenic lawyer at its head. Ask Pricilla Feral, of Friends of Animals, about her lifelong interactions with Pacelle. ‘taint a pretty picture.


    • Well said, Susan. And don’t forget HSUS hired Heidi Hazard , former BLM agent who was over an HMA where wild horses were found without water. HSUS also partnered with BLM with a roundup in CO where some wild horses died to study PZP. I think Heidi was in charge of this also ,


      • Actually, I think you mean Heidi Hopkins—Holly Hazard is a different agent. But it is easy to get their names mixed together with all those “H’s”
        I had also been told, through reputable sources, that the relationship between Cleveland Armory and Mr Pacelle was not very felicitous. Armory was NOT keen to have the Black Beauty Ranch become a shill for the HSUS way of doing things, i.e. big time, incessant fundraising.
        The simple act of putting up photographic evidence of the BLM malfeasance is not done—HSUS writes this— because the Humane Society says they have THE only line on bringing the agency to heel—everyone else is just a “hysterical advocate” (this is a quote from a letter I got from Miss Hazard) It is pretty hard for me to align the “humane” in their name with this attitude and code of silence.


      • Many thanks for the correction on names, Susan. Old age. Both of them don’t seem to be humane.


  9. There is something more ominous behind this and WE, the American People, had better find out…ASAP.
    Children being sent here…..America’s Federally Protected Wild Burros to be sent there?

    With Drug Cartels Encroaching, Life Has Hardened On The Mexico-Guatemala Border

    The War on Cartels
    On the other side of the border, the situation is less tranquil. During a shootout in early 2013, Guatemalan soldiers killed four men riding in a bulletproof truck. At the time, local media quoted Guatemala’s Interior Minister as confirming that Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán was killed in the firefight. It turned out to be an unconfirmed report.

    Members of the Zetas, another powerful Mexican cartel, have pushed southward and are now working alongside Mara Salvatrucha gang members and other criminal organizations in Guatemala and the rest of Central America.

    Mexican and U.S. forces successfully closed off many air and sea routes for cocaine traffic, and as a result smugglers have turned to land routes. According to some estimates, cocaine worth as much as $350 billion at the street level in the U.S. treks north through the Guatemalan-Mexican border every year.


  10. Thanks Wayne–please continue to speak for our wild burros. Please send the whole BLM agency to Guatemala to help the people there breed their own burros and livestock. Do not further dis-place USA wild life. This idea is simply another cop-out by BLM to exterminate MY wild horses and burros. My taxes pay for the land and horses/burros –under the 1971 WFRH&B Act.


    • I totally agree with you and many other comments here!! Let us prevail & be a voice for the innocent ones here!!!! Never Give Up!!!



    “BLM is undertaking a pilot program with the Department of Defense and
    Heifer International”

    In 2012, Heifer International spent more than a million dollars on professional fundraising fees. That figure jumps to more than $22 million when printing, distribution, processing, and other fundraising-related costs are included. According to Heifer International’s most recent 990 public tax form, they spent $22,359,441 on fundraising alone in one year.

    GiveWell charity rating organization deemed in their evaluation of Heifer International that the organization lacked sufficient transparency and priority programming to secure GiveWell recommendations or funding. Quoted from the GiveWell website are concerns about animal gifting in general.

    Former Indian minister for social welfare and animal protection, Maneka Gandhi, stated: “Nothing irritates me more than charities abroad that collect money and purport to give it to women or children or for animals in Asia or Africa. Very little reaches the country or the cause for which it is meant. Most of it goes toward their own ‘infrastructure,’ which means rent, staff, travel and ‘investigation’… This is cynical exploitation of animals and poor people.”


  12. It always bothers me, that in their promotional literature, the smiling children are shown holding or cuddling the animals like a pet whose life will be revered. The truth is, the animal is destined for the stew pot and will not be doted on in a way that many children don’t experience either. Much of the industrialized world, through the Agriculture departments’ Foreign Ag services , are pushing a model of meat based eating and protein consumption and factory farming methodologies that these countries are ill equipped to capitalize. As well, the health fall out is that even people in China and India are having obesity problems in much of the sedentary, middle class population.


  13. Burros and Bio-Diversity: The Rest of the Story

    The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has slated wild burros for eradication at Big Bend Ranch State Park, as part of a general program to remove all “exotics” from all state-owned land it manages in far-West Texas, under the belief that burros and several other species:(1) do not “belong” in our far-West Texas deserts since they are not “natives,” (2) are bad for other wild animals including Desert Bighorn Sheep, and, (3) harm habitats, i.e. plants and water. This burro eradication effort is supported by the Texas Bighorn Society, and Texas Wildlife Association.

    This program is a wildlife, range, and social mistake of great proportions.

    Big Bend Ranch State Park was once a productive grassland, and could be so again. It sits within 5,000,000-acres in Texas and Mexico held in an international biosphere reserve. With its protection from subdivision, wealth of water, vast area and varied terrain, there is probably no place in the Chihuahuan Desert with more potential to restore a natural system. How is this to be accomplished? By removing entire animal species, or by restoring animal diversity?


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