Horse News

Welfare Ranchers Escalate War on Wild Horses

by Tracie Sullivan, less headline and byline, as published in The Spectrum

Federally Subsidized Cattlemen Want Exclusive Use of Public Land for Personal Profit

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat  ~  photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

In an effort to gather support for recent legislation introduced by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT Iron County), Iron County Commissioner Dave Miller pushed a resolution through last week at the National Association of Counties that sends a resounding message back to Congress — let the states manage their own wild horses.

The resolution, which was also carried by County Commissioner Mark Whitney, Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock and Piute County Commissioner Darin Bushman, was unanimously passed by all 3,069 county members of NACo.

“It went through with very little to no debate,” Bushman said. “It was amazing.”

Stewart recently introduced the Wild Horse Oversight Act of 2014, H.R. 5058, that if passed would take jurisdiction from the Bureau of Land Management and give it to the states and Indian Tribes to implement their own management plans for the wild horses and burros according to their specific needs.

In an interview with The Spectrum and Daily News Monday, Stewart said NACo’s resolution will go far to help him in getting H.R. 5058 through Congress.

“It clearly helps us. This resolution was passed unanimously,” Stewart said. “We’re not talking about all conservative Republican counties here that passed it either but many political philosophies, and they all agreed that the states have the right to manage their own wild horses. Some of these counties are controlled by independents and Democrats, so this will help us to build a broad coalition of supporters. I’m very grateful for that.”

The resolution lends support for Stewart’s legislation, calling for the federal government to “give individual states exclusive authority to appropriate herd management levels and dispose of animals that exceed AMLs at state’s discretion, just like States do now for other wildlife species.”

Stewart said while it’s still early in the process, he hasn’t run into any issues with the Congressional delegation. He feels he may even have the support of Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, long a Democratic stalwart.

“I can’t speak for Sen. Harry Reid but the reality is his state has a much bigger problem with the wild horses and even he has expressed frustration with the BLM’s management of the wild horses,” Stewart said.

While at the NACo conference in New Orleans, Miller said he spent time with a few congressional leaders including Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu — who he believes will support efforts to turn the management of the wild horses over to the states.

Still, wild horse advocates argue the bill was introduced on behalf of “extremists” and believe they have the numbers to stop the legislation…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the story in it’s entirety

24 replies »

  1. This is a bad idea States are even more corrupt then our federal government and the BLM. These wild horses belong to the American people not to the People of each state individually. And what happens to the horse’s when that happens, the thousands in holding will be shipped to states that are not equipped to handle them, sounds like a convent way for

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    • For them to end up in the slaughter pipiline. Will make it hard for advocates to work for all federally owned hoses because they will now be governed by states and not all states will have the dedicated advocates that we have here. There is so much that is wrong with this idea that I can’t put it into words.

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  2. All this clearly shows us is there are some very ignorant and greedy people, perhaps extremely uneducaed, who are in posiitions they should NOT be in.

    It may be good to look into your own County Commissioner and see how the board has been populated. Here in California, we have supervisors who are elected and hold regular weekly public meetings.

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  3. I’m fairly familiar with New Mexico Government and I’ve never HEARD of the National Association of Counties! How many people were actually at the Conference, and from which states? Do county residents even know they’re being represented, or agree with the decisions being made in their names?

    There are 3069 counties in the National Association and 374 in the 10 states with HMAs (12%). The resolution passed unanimously with “very little or no debate” (which was it?). Was the topic included in a Workshop? To use the words on their FB page, the conference was “jam packed with activities”. With so much on their plates (including socializing?) and what I assume was little knowledge of the actual situation, I doubt the resolution was a priority.

    How was the argument couched? States’ Rights and disdain for “big government” is pretty appealing overall. If I were researching what actually happened, I’d ask attendees from East of the Mississippi.

    And if I were a betting woman, my money would be on: “Pass it, and move on!”

    Website: http://www.naco.org/Pages/default.aspx
    Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NACoDC
    The article is posted on the Facebook page of the woman who wrote it: https://www.facebook.com/TracieSullivan

    If you choose to comment on FB, please get your FACTS organized, and be respectful!

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      • Thanks for that informatin, Linda. There is a California State Association of Conuties! Its mission is to advocate and accompany interests of counties through the legislative process. Some of the issues being championed at this time in my state are Medical Marijuana, a new acknowldgement process for designating Indian tribes (which is unabashably associated with new gaming venues).

        This association is paid to lobby for special interests under the mission of furthering the economic interests of the state they are domociled in. I haven’t checked the other states but think they all must have the same mission.

        They act with impunity – challenging federal agencies and law by backdoor manuervering. It is surprising that Reid’s name would be dropped as a supporter of their laughable attempt to override Public Law and take over a public resource in an obvious attempt to return to the days of the real mustangers (the brutality only touched upon by Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits). This association appears to be nother batch of mercenaries with a fancy name.

        Fortunately, their dirty work has been spotted and is on the radar of higher thinkers.

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      • hey jan this regime is a scary one that is in office now ,and they have pull some really underhanded stuff . the last few years – not much acknowledging from any and all representives here in tx. other then a letter that looks like the last. this whole thing stinks to high heaven !!! have no idea how this will play out . but am pray each and every day they will work with .but if i hold my breathe i turn blue .

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  4. Well, this probably won’t post but I have to ask, how can assets owned by ALL US citizens legally be managed only by states to suit their own ends and purposes? While I understand the reasons for state rule, this seems an absolute recipe to ensure the demise of America’s wild herds, one by one under the guise of “needed management” without any citizen oversight.

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  5. Your tax dollars at work, mismanaging our uniquely American heritage, wild horses.

    Just finished a book, “The Horse Lover: A Cowboy’s Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs,” written by H. Alan Day. In it, he explains how he set up a wild horse sanctuary, to accept all the “unwanted” BLM mustangs that had been removed from their lands. Late 1980s to early 1990s, he operated Mustang Meadows Ranch in S. Dakota. He had talked with Dayton Hyde, who also accepted “unwanted” BLM mustangs.

    If you love horses, I guarantee you will get very, very angry at how Day was treated, using tax dollars. He promised to keep the horses, got paid by the Feds for taking care of them. Then, the reader learns that after a few years, the BLM comes in and asks him to separate half his herd. 800 of the fattest ones, it is important they be the biggest and best fed ones. Day never finds out what happened to them.

    A beautiful black and white stallion is removed to a remote island; Day never follows up on where he went. Day is finally requested by the Feds to roundup 25 of the oldest horses. He does so; the BLM comes in and tells him they must be euthanized. With little complaint, he shoots them all, one by one, after having earned their trust.

    I was disgusted that Day didn’t (at least) try to hide or place those old horses. BLM had already broken their part of his agreement/contract; I most certainly would not have killed them.

    A true horse lover must read this book. I am enraged, once again, at how humans treat our friends, the equine.

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    • Ciivil servants out of control.

      How many employees in BLM? How about USFWS? And vendors? And their friends? That is an approximate number of corrupt people handling the horses and burros. Someone said, “our horses are in the hands of the enemy. Seriously. “

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    • Sue, did read this book – the part about the old horses really tore me up. The whole description of the BLM’s actions was telling – sounded like the bureaucrats in DC got a wild hair – decided they were in charge – and passed the edict on! Does seem as tho something could have been done somehow. But on the other hand – look at how things are going today! Nothings changed – at all.
      Honestly, as hard as it was to read – we all have to realize THIS is the way this bureaucracy handles everything! Maybe that’s what Mr. Day was trying to make us aware of? The thing is: the light of day NEEDS to be shone on exactly how these people are screwing with OUR natural resources (and the horses & burros are part of that).

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      • I have adopted two seniors, so was really upset about this guy SHOOTING 26 of them, simply because (1) he was told to; and (2) they were old. Personally, there is no way I would have done that.

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  6. We Are at War Here
    We need to assemble our own Army of Counter Fighters
    We cannot let Ignorance, and Injustice to proceed
    We need to Unite and Start
    kicking some major Cattle Rancher Ass
    Our Future, and the Future of all Animals ~ Starts Here
    We Make a Line and No One Passes
    Cliven Bundy and his Goons, should be in Federal Prison for Years
    Why were they allowed to Bare Arms against Fed Agents ?
    With no Repercussions ?
    Look for the Money
    He needs to Go Away @ any cost
    What Happened to our Collective ~ Cohones ?
    `QUESTION AUTHORITY !
    THEN CRUSH IT !
    iTS ~ GO TIME !

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  7. These are just a few excerpts from a very long and VERY informative article about OUR Public Lands. Much of it focuses on Utah.

    http://prospect.org/article/land-was-your-land

    The federal public land that Utah is claiming for itself is owned by you and me and some 300 million other Americans. It is a peculiar property right we each have to this commons, as we acquire it simply by dint of citizenship, and what we own is spectacular. The BLM and Forest Service lands, which include almost 300 million acres in 11 Western states and Alaska, make up some of the nation’s wildest deserts, forests, rivers, mountains, and canyons: places not touted for tourism; places where big mammals and ferocious carnivores roam unhindered; where a citizen with an interest in such things can hike, bike, camp, fish, hunt, raft, ride horseback, carry a pistol, fire a Kalashnikov, sling an arrow, get as lost as a pioneer.

    The marvel of the federal public-lands system is that it exists at all.

    During the 19th century and into the early 20th, much of the land was leased and sold off in a frenzy of corrupt dealings. Railroads, corporations, land speculators, mining interests, and livestock barons gorged on the public domain, helped along by the spectacularly pliable General Land Office, which from 1812 until its closure in 1946 privatized more than one billion acres, roughly half the landmass of the nation.

    We can thank the first generation of American conservationists—think John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt—for persuading Congress to set aside a portion of America’s forests in federal reserves,

    the BLM was from the start a creature of local interests. It was formed out of the U.S. Grazing Service, which traditionally had been run at the local and state level by “grazing advisory boards,” which largely consisted of ranchers, bankers, lawyers, real-estate dealers, and mining magnates. With this model of decentralized, business-friendly management imported to the BLM—the grazing boards even at one time paid the salaries of BLM employees—the agency’s officers were recruited from the counties they were meant to regulate. Range enforcers tasked to restrict grazing were the sons of ranchers, and watchdogs of mining and drilling had brothers and uncles and cousins who ran oil and gas and hard-rock companies. The BLM came to be mocked as the Bureau of Livestock and Mining, and by 1961 President John F. Kennedy would note that “much of this public domain suffers from uncontrolled use and a lack of proper management.”

    “There is pressure to not regulate, to not do your job,” Dennis Willis, a retired BLM range conservationist and recreation manager who worked for the agency for 34 years, told me when I met him at his home in Price, a hundred miles west of the Book Cliffs-East Tavaputs. He wanted to show me the result of the lack of regulation on bureau land around Price. We drove in his truck out of town and up a winding road onto a sun-crushed expanse of pygmy pines and sagebrush scrub known as Wood Hill. We stopped at a well, one of dozens in a complex on BLM land leased to the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, a $52 billion Texas-based energy company with operations on five continents. His long beard and hair whipping about in the desert wind, Willis brandished a Bic lighter and joked that I should spark the flint to see if the site was leaking natural gas. The explosion, he said, would send us and the wellhead to hell and back.

    The Utah BLM, according to Willis, has a habit of not monitoring leaks from wells. On some oil and gas fields, he told me, there was no monitoring for groundwater and surface-water contamination. The BLM, he said, had in many instances failed to probe for subsoil leakage from oil and gas drill sites; had failed to provide enough “sniffer trucks” to look for contamination of the air; and, in his view, hadn’t conducted the proper environmental assessments of roads that had fragmented the habitat for wildlife. Where we stood amid the labyrinth of drill sites and earth pounded flat by Caterpillar trucks, the wind threw up dust from soil that had been disturbed. Few of the plants around the extraction sites on Wood Hill were native. Mostly we saw invasive cheatgrass and Russian thistle. Oil and gas drill pads were supposed to be managed by the agency in accordance with the environmental protection mandates of FLPMA, so that native vegetation could reclaim the soil, prevent erosion, and preserve the ecosystem against invasives that profit from disturbed ground. “My big issue with oil and gas on public lands is that industry is like Vikings approaching a coastal village,” Willis said. “It’s rape and pillage.”

    When I called up retired BLM archaeologist Blaine Miller, who worked in the Price office as a specialist in Native American rock art, he told me that he had been punished for opposing energy development in the Price area. He had warned as early as 2002 about the probability of dust and vibration from oil and gas traffic ruining thousand-year-old petroglyphs in Nine Mile Canyon, a gorge near Price sometimes called the world’s longest art gallery. Miller told me that he had drafted “letters of consultation” to be added to the environmental assessments his bosses in Price required for the approval of energy leases in and around Nine Mile Canyon. “Those letters never left the office,” Miller says. “They were thrown away. My boss called me in and said he was told that the state office is going to lease these parcels no matter what, and you’re going to rewrite your analysis so they can do that.

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  8. UTAH
    From PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

    PROBE INTO MISAPPROPRIATION OF DESERT TORTOISE MONEY
    Former Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Administrator Charges Utah County Commission
    http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2009/12/03/probe-into-misappropriation-of-desert-tortoise-money/

    Federal funds to protect the Mojave Desert tortoise in Utah were misused by local Utah officials to plan a freeway and construct a building, according to a former top county employee. Those charges, detailed in correspondence released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), are under federal investigation.

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  9. $450 Million in Bank Loans to Public Lands Ranchers Guaranteed With National Forest Grazing Permits
    http://www.publiclandsranching.org/htmlres/plr_escwaiver.htm

    SANTA FE, NM • Hundreds of local, regional and national banks have issued more than $450 million in loans to western public lands ranchers who rely on national forest grazing permits as collateral, according to information released today by Forest Guardians. The information was provided as a result of a more than four-year effort by Forest Guardians, including a three-year Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, to obtain information about the financial scope of the U.S. Forest Service’s escrow waivers policy, which enables national forest ranchers to utilize grazing permits to secure loans.

    Among the bank and insurance companies that have issued loans to western ranchers based on grazing permits are some of the largest financial institutions in the world, including Metropolitan Life Insurance, Mutual Life Insurance, and Prudential Life Insurance. The majority of the ‘escrow waiver’ agreements though, are held by federal and quasi-federal lending entities such as the Federal Land Banks, the Farmers Home Administration and the Farm Service Agency.
    Forest Guardians claims the ‘escrow waiver’ policy, established first in 1938 in the midst of the economic collapse of the dust-bowl era, has enabled banks to become a silent player in the subsidized destruction of western public lands, and has called on the Forest Service to abolish the policy. By making loans based on cattle numbers identified in grazing permits, banks have become powerful advocates for the maintenance of environmentally damaging grazing numbers. The 1938 policy, which was updated in 1990, is actually a memorandum of understanding between numerous agricultural banks including foremost the Farm Credits Banks and the U.S. Forest Service.

    “It’s no surprise that the ranchers and the banks fought us tooth and nail to prevent the disclosure of the fact that $450 million in bankers’ money is invested in an activity that pollutes streams, endangers fish and wildlife and alters natural fire ecology,” said John Horning, Director of Forest Guardians, referencing the fact that various banks and livestock interest groups intervened in the groups Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. “We believe that as more of the public learns that our national forests are being used as collateral to sustain environmentally damaging livestock grazing that they will demand the policy be abolished.”

    According to the information released today, the Rocky Mountain Region of the Forest Service, with more than $131.5 million, followed by the Intermountain ($122.8 million) and Southwest Regions ($103.9 million) have the greatest amount of financial capital tied up in grazing permits. A map highlighting regional amounts is available at: http://www.fguardians.org/maps/escrow_map2.jpg. Although the information released by the Forest Service does not include the individual areas of national forest that are encumbered by escrow waiver agreements, the group estimates that at least 20 million acres of western national forests are effected by escrow waiver agreements.

    The information was provided pursuant to a settlement agreement between Forest Guardians and the U.S. Forest Service approved by U.S. District Court Judge Edwin Mechem on 7-28-01. Forest Guardians had originally filed its information request in November, 1998 and filed suit in June 1999.

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    • Louie, thanks for everything you’ve found! It’s going a while to read through it.Three YEAR Freedom of Information Act lawsuit??? You’d think this was the NSA!!!

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    • Yep. They have THEIR priorities straight, and they sure ain’t ours or those of anyone else who cares about the natural world.

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  10. PUBLIC LAND AND RESOURCES LAW REVIEW
    http://scholarship.law.umt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1074&context=plrlr

    Straying Wild Horses and the Range Landowner:

    In 1971 Congress passed Public Law 92-195, the Wild Free-Roaming
    Horses and -Burros Act,’ to preserve a vanishing symbol of American
    pioneer heritage.’ Before this statute was enacted, wild horses and burross
    were in danger of extinction.4 Today the success of the Act has prompted
    much controversy as to whether wild horses overpopulate the public
    rangelands6 in the Western United States.6 Private landowners adjacent to
    federal regions often complain that wild horses “stray” onto their parcels
    and consume their forage and water.7 While owners have the right to use
    and enjoy their property free from incursions,8 Congress intended protection
    of a living emblem of the Nation’s spirit to be of paramount
    importance. 9

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