Horse News

BLM Poised to Eradicate Last Large Wild Horse Herds in Wyoming

US Congressman, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), supports listing of wild horses as endangered species

Mares rounded up in Salt Wells Creek in December 2013 – photo by Carol Walker

ROCK SPRINGS, WY (July 23, 2014) – The Cloud Foundation (TCF) with 280,000 followers, as well as numerous wild horse and animal advocacy groups, condemns the Bureau of Land Management’s scheduled roundup which will eliminate all wild horses on 1.2 million acre checkerboard land (alternating one mile square sections of private and public land for 20 miles on either side of Interstate 80) within the Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek Herd Management Areas (HMA).  The roundup of 946 wild horses is the first step in the planned total elimination of all wild horses in Great Divide Basin and Salt Wells Creek. 

“Adobe Town, Salt Wells and Great Divide Basin are home to the largest free-roaming wild horse herds left in Wyoming,” states Carol Walker, renowned equine photographer and Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) Board member (Listen to Carol Walker TONIGHT on Wild Horse and Burro Radio, see below). Walker has photographed the unique southwestern Wyoming herds for 10 years. “Genetic tests link the Adobe Town herd to horses re-introduced to the America’s by the Spanish in the 1500s. Great Divide Basin wild horses are descended from Calvary remounts,” she continues.  “To lose the wild horses in this vast landscape known by local residents as the ‘Big Empty’ would be to lose touch with our western history, heritage, and the untamed spirit of the West.”

The roundups, aimed at appeasing the powerful Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA), are in compliance with a Consent Decree between the BLM and RSGA, a back door deal allegedly encouraged by then-Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar. According to the Consent Decree the BLM agrees to zero out Divide Basin and Salt Wells, arguing that these unfenced wild lands allow mustangs to freely roam into private land in the checkerboard areas. Yet even in the Adobe Town HMA, which contains only a small portion of land within the checkerboard, the BLM intends to slash the herd by 100% leaving only 500 horses on over 400,000 acres of federal lands.

While BLM and RSGA contend that 1,912 wild horses overpopulate the 2.4 million acres within the HMA’s, TCF and WHFF research reveals that 356,222 cattle and 45,206 sheep graze the same lands under federally subsidized grazing leases. While cattle and sheep are not on the range year round like wild horses, the monthly average of 68,740 cattle and 10,741 sheep is staggering compared to fewer than 2,000 wild horses.  Livestock, not wild horses overpopulate and degrade the rangelands

TCF and other advocate groups question the legality of BLM’s Decision to reduce herd levels far below Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) set in their own Resource Management Plans, and without an Environmental Assessment as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“Wild horse and burro herds and the federal lands on which they roam are under fire from those seeking to control land currently owned by the American public,” states Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of TCF.  Since 1971 wild horses and burros have lost over 20 million acres of habitat. 339 wild horse herds were designated for protection on western ranges when the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed. Today only 179 herds remain. 70% of the remaining herds are no longer genetically viable due to their small herd sizes. The intent of the forward thinking, environmentally sound and unanimously passed 1971 Act has been totally ignored by the agency charged with protecting wild horses and burros. 

As recently as July 10, Utah Representative Chris Stewart introduced HR 5058, The Wild Horse Oversight Act of 2014 which, according to a Salt Lake Tribune article,could allow states to sell wild horses to slaughter.”  

“Apparently, Congressman Stewart is not satisfied with the sweetheart deal welfare ranchers have had for decades, in which they pay virtually nothing to run their cattle and sheep on land owned by the American public,”  Kathrens says. She also attributes the dire situation to BLM’s bungling of the Wild Horse and Burro Program. “BLM has turned their back on management practices that would allow for the animals to live out their lives in freedom, rather than languishing in costly holding pens and pastures.”

“Wild horses are between a rock and a hard place.  The BLM wants to eliminate them in Wyoming, and Utah Congressman Stewart wants states to have the authority to eliminate them on federal rangeland,” states Paula Todd King, TCF Director of Communications. “This is why The Cloud Foundation joined Friends of Animals in filing a Petition to List North American Wild Horses under the Endangered Species Act.”

“With the myriad of threats posed to the remaining wild horse herds in America, it is past time that we look to science to guide their management on our public lands,” states US Representative Raul Grijalva (AZ).  “I support The Cloud Foundation’s call for wild horses to be federally protected under the ESA.”

The ESA petition’s introduction states:

The primary threats to wild horses on federal public land are habitat loss, inadequate regulation, and excessive round-ups and removals. Overall, wild horses on federal public lands face the threat of extinction due to at least four factors identified in the ESA. First, habitat loss, particularly from cattle grazing, mining, energy exploration, and urban expansion, endangers the distinct population segment (“DPS”). Second, human utilization threatens the species, specifically removal and sterilization to reduce the population and allow commercial grazing. Third, existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to manage the threats that face wild horses and may, in fact, constitute an independent threat to their survival. Finally, other natural and manmade factors also threaten the continued existence of wild horses in the United States, including their artificially fragmented range and small population size. Thus, it is vital to the survival of this population segment of wild horses that it becomes federally protected under the ESA

Livestock vs WH



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Our guest is CAROL WALKER, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation, talking about the DIRE SITUATION for Wyoming wild horses: the decimation and ZEROING OUT of Herd Management Areas next month in Wyoming.

27 replies »

  1. Grijalva needs to kick it in gear. The wild horses and burros obviously qualify for ESA status. What ever we can do to ‘push’ this agenda forward we need to do soon. I’m calling all my gov. reps and a few others to make our wishes known.


    • Grijalvahas been kicking this up for years,(if only he would have been appointed instead of Sally Jewel ) he needs all the Backing he can get from us !!!!!!


  2. How can the BLM do that, since the Petition has been filed!! This makes one ill and angry!! There is plenty of room for these precious horses. Raul…. get with it…. The State of Wyoming, is shameful!! Will also phone my reps.


  3. Just a reminder……protest scheduled for Aug. at Rock Springs BLM field office. Time to show some strength!!!


  4. sorry for the short notice but this crossed my computer this morning and for those of you in Montana, here is a link to an auction where they are selling an outfitting company and a lot of their horses are going to be sold so, if there are some rescues around this may be an opportunity to save these horses. click on the catalog to see the horses.


  5. INTERESTING information in the LAST paragraph
    (Rachel’s comment in answer to a question from one of her readers):

    Rachel Reeves Photography

    An Open Letter to the BLM Regarding their Consent Decree with the RSGA

    reevesimagery says:

    This particular area is a little different than other herd management areas. In the mid-1800s the government came up with this bass ackwards plan to give the Union Pacific every other square mile of land for 20 miles north and south of railroad. So half of the land these horses/livestock graze on public and the other half is private.You would think that this would balance out since neither side can keep their animals out and they all freely wander between the public and private.

    The RSGA agreed during their first lawsuit against the wild horses in the 1981 to allow a number of wild horses in this region. They are now withdrawing that agreement, saying the BLM hasn’t held up their end of the bargain because the BLM has not removed enough wild horses to keep them satisfied.

    This may not sound unreasonable to the non-wild horse fan *but* there is one other interesting aspect of this. Very little of the land in this area is owned by members of the RSGA. Most of it is owned by the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. So even the private land is land that the RSGA members lease. It doesn’t belong to them. They just think that it does.


    • Louie, do you already have info on the company involved in the Joint Venture with ANDARCO and the RSGA? Interesting stuff.


  6. There is plenty evidence of cruelty to WH&B during and after roundups….MORE than enough.
    What is needed is a JUDGE willing to enforce the LAW
    Success! S.C. Dog Dragger is Convicted of Felony Animal Cruelty, Gets 10+ Years
    by Susan Bird
    July 21, 2014

    “This is one of the cruelest things that I’ve seen since I’ve been on the bench,” said Judge Verdin. She then handed down the sentence, which demonstrated she was serious as a heart attack.


  7. Gee, it would be a swift kick in the Cattlemans ass of all their leases were canceled if this crap goes through.. Don’t let these ranchers off the hook..


  8. I’d like to add that the complete lack of verifiable information regarding even a nodding acquaintance with the realities of wild horse and burro populations or field studies continues to contribute to the dearth of misinformation coming from BLM field offices…
    Despite hundreds of non-government, independent studies from the interested Public, the Bureau refuses to stop and take an honest look at what’s being done to these animals on the range or even consider a reformation of current ‘management’ methods.
    The Wild Horse and Burro Program IS ‘untenable’. Continuing or escalating along the same 40 year old line of crap will NOT make it any better. But perhaps the collapse of the Program is exactly what the BLM is working towards. Thing is – what happens – to the horses and burros, the Public lands livestock, the BLM – when it does? Will the BLM and Public lands ranchers finally have to take responsibility for their own self-serving actions?


  9. Thank you Carol, RT, Debbie, Marti and Rachel for very informative although devastating insights regarding the future of our wild horses. I’ll be writing as I’ve been doing for quite a while. But short of a miracle I don’t know how this stampede of our innocents can be stopped. Thanks for the reminder to fax instead of e-mail.


  10. Terry Watt wants to know how a consent degree can trump a federal law like the WFRHB Act ? It does sound legal . Where is a lawsuit ?


  11. Yes a huge Bravo for last nites informative Radio show, Thank You Carol RT, Marti and Rachel, all who commented last Nite, Bottomline We Dont want to attend a Round up WE WANT TO STOP the ROUND UP !!!!!!


  12. I have been in this for the Mustangs and Burros for 20 years , nothing so far has done one bit of good for their suffering, talk is cheap, action speaks volumes, i do not have the answers here , but i am not willing to see Our mustangs be eradicated, we are at the point of no return now , this serious !!!!!!!!! What it looks like now is WE NEED A MAJOR LAW SUIT IMMEDIATELY!!!!! Talking about it is Preaching to the CHOIR PEOPLE ACTION ACTION ACTION !!!!!!!!!!! I HAVE NOT BEEN HERE FOR 20 YEARS TO TAKE THE ERADICATION OF THE MUSTANGS AND BURROS DEMISE !!!!!! It is Time to PUT UP or SHUT UP !!!!!!!!!


    • Amen – Arlene, I have been here 10 years if I’ve been here a day and I agree day after day the same old, same old. most of the time I don’t even have to post, you say just what I’m you I’m at a loss I don’t know what to do anymore and pretty soon it will be all over for the wild horses. I try to find videos to post that are positive, but even that it’s getting harder and harder. we are here day after day preaching to the choir, and how’s that working for us.


      • Thank You Geri, I had to say it, it is how i feel , I have so much respect and admiration for the mustangs and Burros……………………. It tears me apart inside that they are ,through no fault of their own are suffering, and this is being done because they cannot speak for themselves, they have Land, they were given rights , what the heck darn it , we provided for them and they are not getting the protection from our tax dollars!!!!!!! THIS IS CRIMINAL, , this rogue agency of bafoons needs to be dismantled !!!!!!!!!


  13. I’ve had to leave wild horse FB groups, unfriend and block people today because they claim this is all a lie. WTH? As a long time Wyoming resident, Adobe Town mustang owner and advocate what can I say to those people to get it through their thick heads that our horses are being driven from their homes by special interests? I guess there are none so blind.
    Enjoyed the program last night and thanks again for taking my call.


  14. we have a big horse park here In Arvada Colorado – I have found that people really don’t care, they only want to have fun and play.we had an anti – amnesty rally on Saturday and it had a dismal showing.but just a mile up the road they had drag racing and thousands showed up, little farther up the road they had dirt bike races where at least a thousand people showed up there.
    history reported that Nero fiddeled while Rome burned. our history will say that Americans played – while they lost their country and everything American.


    • Dear Geri, peoples lives are so filled with the stress of life, the are always looking for outlets to relieve the stress, we can all atest to that reality !!!!! The Passion of the love of, has to be there , knowing thay most all people do have this passion for the Mustangs, the BLM propaganda and lies have given them false security that they are doing the very best for the Mustangs, what we have to do is figure out how to reach these people !!!!!then we have it, time is running out and not on the side of the Mustangs and Burros, this task is a huge one !!!!!anything short of a all out demonstration of magnatude is in order , what that is is a huge task for all of us !!!!!! i think what we need is a huge Celebritywith huge media attension is in order !!!!!This needs to happen NOW……………………………………………We cannot lose our Precious Mustangs !!!!!!!!


  15. “[T] he creation of a grazing district or the issuance of a permit pursuant to the provisions of [Subchapter I of the Taylor Grazing Act] shall NOT create any right, title, interest, or estate in or to the [public] lands.” 43 U.S.C. § 315b (1976).

    Leasing arrangements do not alter the public ownership of the range, 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.

    Section 1334 makes no distinction between the checkerboard lands and other lands. Certainly, the checkerboard lands are not uncommon in the West…. Presumably, Congress was aware of the problems with the checkerboard lands by at least 1978 … if not when the Wild Horses Act became law in 1971. Nevertheless, at the time Congress amended the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse Act in October of 1978, it made no amendment of Section 1334 to consider the problems of the checkerboard lands. Therefore, this matter is within the province of Congress and not the district court. According to this interpretation, it would be inappropriate to apply § 1334 to public property within the checkerboard lands, absent congressional modification of the Act.

    Within the context of statutes aspiring to balance multiple uses and attain maximum productivity from all environmental amenities, a decision which so obviously favors one particular value over another reduces the goals of FLPMA, PRIA and the Wild Horses Act to mere “lip-service.”


  16. Update on protests: WY is Aug 12 1PM MDT at Rock Springs BLM field office. Another is at Reno BLM on Aug 15 7-9PM (candle light vigil for all the horses we’ve already lost to BLM). I’m on FB……blpaints…..Barbara Leonard.


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