Horse News

Ranchers Scapegoat Horses, Plan Roundups

By Nicole Rivard as published in the North Country Gazette

“The situation of lacking forage started years ago with continual overuse of forage resources by livestock”

Adobe Town Herd running for their lives during 2010 roundup ~ photo by Carol Walker

Recently Equine Welfare Alliance, The Cloud Foundation and Wild Horse Freedom Federation released Bureau of Land Management livestock data for Beaver County and Iron County, Utah, showing that despite a chorus of demands from ranchers for the removal of wild horses from the over-grazed range; the data shows cows and sheep outnumber wild horses 10.6:1 in these areas.

“It is irresponsible and false for Iron County commissioners or anyone to claim that the wild horses in that area are having a significant negative impact on livestock and wildlife as some local news releases have indicated,” said Bob Edwards, range scientist and 30-year veteran of the BLM. “Having been well acquainted with these areas for over 25 years as a BLM employee, it is obvious that resource degradation has been and presently is mostly caused by livestock, which have been historically allowed on these areas in excess numbers and duration.

The release of this data comes on the heels of Friends of Animals and The Cloud Foundation filing a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list North American wild horses on public lands as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WHBA), which was passed in 1971, has failed to protect our wild horses. Six states have already lost their wild horse populations—Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

“The situation of lacking forage started years ago with continual overuse of forage resources by livestock. The practice still occurs. To now use the wild horses as a scapegoat because livestock numbers must be reduced is totally unfair and unacceptable,” Edwards continued. “The rationale for this is not and cannot be based on scientific data. The BLM and Iron County commissioners must step up and deal with the real problem on the landscape: allowing livestock to graze public lands.”

Angry ranchers began demanding the removal of the wild horses shortly after the BLM requested them to reduce their own cow and sheep grazing. The ongoing drought has forced the move.

“Faced with the loss of cheap forage for their cattle and sheep, the ranchers found a way to deflect the blame and economic burden,” said Vickery Eckhoff, an AlterNet writer who was fired by Forbes after writing an article critical of welfare ranching.

“When the BLM refers to wild horses as ‘overpopulated’ they must have their tongues firmly in their cheeks,” said Ginger Kathrens, director of The Cloud Foundation.  “The only reason they characterize wild horses as overpopulated is because they allocate the lions’ share of forage to livestock.”

“The BLM is correct on one point,” said R.T. Fitch, president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation. “Public lands are overgrazed; but the villains are not wild horses, burros and wildlife. The destruction comes from privately owned, BLM-approved, tax-payer subsidized, welfare cattle and sheep”.

Despite the BLM’s lies, it has permission to remove 200 horses from Beaver and Iron Counties, 140 of which will be removed from the Blawn Wash Herd Area. The BLM’s 2014 wild horse and burro removal schedule is going to be particularly devastating to Red Desert wild horses in Wyoming, says equine photographer, and director of field documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Carol Walker.

She points out three specific roundups: Adobe Town 8/20 – 8/24, plan to remove 177 wild horses; Salt Wells Creek 8/24 – 8-28, plan to remove 228 wild horses; and Great Divide Basin 8/28 – 9/10,  plan to remove 541 wild horses. These roundups are planned despite having removed 586 wild horses from Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town in December 2013.

“Looking at the numbers provided by the BLM, Great Divide Basin will be virtually zeroed out after this roundup and removal,” Walker said on her blog, “The appropriate management level (AML) for the area is 415-600 wild horses. At their May 2013 count they said there were 439 horses and they estimated that there would be 579 in the summer of 2014.  Removing 541 would be almost all, if not all, of them.”…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story at the Gazette

Facts Don't Lie, Welfare Ranchers Do! (Click Image to Enlarge)

Facts Don’t Lie, Welfare Ranchers Do! (Click Image to Enlarge)

Livestock vs WH

14 replies »

  1. i’m telling you right now the blm have an other angenda they are expediting this to a speed that is totally unreal . i don’t know about anyone else but i really think everything we do is to no avail ,we are not being heard or listened to by anyone . don’t get me wrong i’m not giving up the fight by a long shot but we have to get their attention some how . what do we do . help.


  2. How can the BLM go thru with the August round up if a Law Suit has been filed against them to halt?

    The only one that can call this off, that I can see, is a Judge in that jurisdiction

    Go to the Judge and ask him/her for a cease


  3. From Habitat for Horses

    Video – Gus Warr of the BLM explains Blawn Wash Round Up
    Utah Bureau of Land Management specialist explains wild horse roundup
    The Utah Bureau of Land Management began rounding up wild horses on July 28 from the Blawn Wash Herd Management Area. BLM helicopters were used to coerce the horses to a trap site where they were then moved to a holding facility. The Spectrum & Daily News staff


  4. Public Lands and Banks…

    In Supreme Court documents, the State Bank of Southern Utah confirmed that
    financial institutions hold an estimated $10 billion in loans and related credit
    transactions to thepublic land ranching industry, with the grazing privileges alone worth
    approximately $1 billion.


  5. Good God- we are talking the total animation of a species’, you mean to tell me that not one person in this whole government – not one of these animal rights groups (that we hear about that pilage, burn, and set other animals free) has come to the aid of the wild horses. I have always thought there was more to this than meets the eye – but to sit by and watch wild horses go extinct In the wild !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  6. Cattlemen want profits. Period. They do Not care how they make them. The Environment WillNOT improve when you have methane producing masses of cattle choking the ozygen that the Same plants need to grow. They also are one main issue in the grinding off of blades of grass. Horses replinish the grasses by not over digesting and actually reseeding and moving on from spot to spot. Even a first grader understands if there are2 beaver at a stream the stream can be dammed up but 2 beaver in an ocean cannot dam the ocean. So to say horses in such a minimum…dimished capacity are the issue while they replinish instead of destroy is such a crock of manure. Every decade the sheer number of raised cattle has went up nearly 23% according to a study with one decade double herd sizes. So the SHEER number of cattle….methane gas….destructive grazing….and constant activity on the same location is revealing the cattle are Solely responsible.


    • Yes, horses maintain the ranges and spread and replenish the seeds dropped to the ground safely surrounded by a little green apple full of fertilizer.

      There was once a man, and I am unsure of his spelled name, but he developed the Hoxsy protocol and he did it by following horses around in the wild and compiling records of what the wild horses ate. He developed lists of plants that horses chose for healing, strength, and nutrition. What is significant here is that the cloven hooved livestock ruin the water holes where they hang out and they destroy the grasses and herbs. Horses on the other hand have flat feet, do not destroy the water holes, are nomadic, eat the specialty plants and spread their seeds along with the grasses far and wide.

      Horses also eat the lower brush which stokes wildfires.

      Cattle and sheep destroy the plains while the wild horses maintain those plains and have done so continuously, until ranching raised its ugly head, for between 38 and 55 million years as Native North Americans.


  7. I do think the cattle are the ones and sheep on the range are the problem to many of hem and yet they keep taking the horses off their land and put more live stock on, you know by now the government is doing nothing to help the horses, they just look the other way . We jus have to keep o fighting and try our best to et listened too .


  8. Seems to me this headline could have been written in any of the past ten decades, sadly. We have to find a way to break this pattern.


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