Horse News

Protestors claim BLM Wild Horse policies are wrong because cattle ranchers are favored

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“Older horses are the Encyclopedia Britannica of the herds and they keep the stallions from breeding when conditions are not good.”

Marjorie Farabee and Simone Netherlands were two of the protesters at the BLM Wild Horse Advisory Board meeting today at CWC. (Ernie Over photo)

Marjorie Farabee and Simone Netherlands were two of the protesters at the BLM Wild Horse Advisory Board meeting today at CWC. (Ernie Over photo)

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Wild Horse advocates gathered outside of the student center building at Central Wyoming College to protest the Bureau of Land Management’s treatment of and plans for Wild Horses across the West. Simone Netherlands, representing Respect 4 Horses, said she attends every BLM Advisory Board meeting on Wild Horses held twice a year around the region.

“There is no overpopulation of wild horses, we’ve gone from over two million wild horses to just 30,000 in the wild,” she said. “but they complain that they’re overrun with wild horses.”

In prepared remarks delivered at noon, Netherlands said, “we now have over 50,000 wild horses and burros stuffed in holding facilities. Broken wild horses, without their families, some in feedlot like conditions, with no protection from the elements.” She also said the current horses in the wild have less than 26 million-acres in which they are allowed to live while cattle are allowed on 160-million acres.

Netherlands said the BLM is advancing policies that are directly opposed to their mission. “Their mandate is to protect wild horses, not do pest control for cattle ranchers. I’t’s not fair to wild horses, and it’s because they don’t make anybody any money,” she said. She said wild horses “are only allocated 18 percent of the forage in wild horse management areas while cattle get the rest.”

Marjorie Farabee, with the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, said the BLM is also collecting the older horses, “breaking up families and losing the knowledge of the herd, like where to find water and shade in the desert. Older horses are the Encyclopedia Britannica of the herds and they keep the stallions from breeding when conditions are not good. They’re upsetting the balance.”

“Every wild horse we have today is a survivor of two centuries of persecution by ranchers and our government,” Netherlands said. “It’s a very sad and scary state of affairs, that just like the rainforest of the Amazon, our own government is exploiting and using up our public lands for the benefit of profit driven businesses. It’s time someone steps up and fixes this very very broken program. It is unsustainable, unscientific, inhumane and a despicable waste of our taxpayer dollars.”

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12 replies »

  1. Why would any one not think that the cattle are favored ? BLM is pulling the horses off their land to let the cattle and sheep on the land, they can no say the aren’t> biggest bunch of liars who work for the government.


  2. Agree Daryl. This whole thing sickens my heart. It’s about money. Period. I am a cattle rancher. BUT, we own our land and pay the taxes (which I think is stinking high) on that land. What a freebee cattle people get by leasing for cheap prices and not having to pay taxes etc….and the wild horses suffer for it. It’s hard to fight big bucks. I think all those cattle people should go find their own land and purchase it, give the land back to the horses.


    • Vicki, what was your take on the fellow who pointed out how many improvements ranchers make on their allotments – his example was that he had just spent $70,000 on a piped water system in one of his which would benefit all wildlife. His intent was to point out that these investments should be weighed against the laughably low AUM fees.

      My take on it was that he freely chose to spend this to support his for-profit business, it is very likely at least partly funded with matching grants etc., and certainly is (wait for it!) A TAX WRITEOFF. Any benefits to wildlife and wild horses are provisional (recall the BLM destroyed Cliven Bundy’s water improvements as their first target).


      • And how much would he have paid for each acre he leases from the government? If he only had access to private grazing leases he would pay about $10 more per acre. That means his water improvements would cost him ten dollars an acre if he leases 7,000 acres same as he would pay if it were private land – and we have no idea how many cattle/sheep he grazes or how much acreage he leases from us. And often times these water holes are fenced in such a way as to eliminate the horses from the water.

        Ass. Prof. Steven Petersen indicated that horses do not move more than a few miles daily with a special little map. At the end of the spiel he admitted that this map was devised via a herd of horses that only had access to one waterhole. He also emphasized how much destruction the horses did to the range and deliberately refrained from doing the same for cattle and sheep. It was a dog and pony show.


  3. BLM is not in the cattle and sheep business and is NOT authorized to be promoting private for-profit ranchers. Sustainability of private livestock is not the goal of the Bureau of Land Management and private livestock are not authorized on wild horse herd areas or any public land – they are only “permitted”. If a ranch owner cannot manage his own land and livestock sufficiently enough to provide the lifestyle he wants, then that is proof that he is an incompetent ranch manager and he deserves the results of his deficient management.

    The 1971 Congressional Wild Horse and Burro Act states that the land where wild horses and burros were found at the time of the passing of the Act, is to be devoted “PRINCIPALLY” but not exclusively to the wild horses’ and wild burros’ welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands. As made clear by the Wild Horse and Burro Act’s implementing regulations, the BLM “may close appropriate areas of the public lands to grazing use by all or a particular kind of livestock . . . if necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury.” 43 C.F.R. § 4710.5(a).


  4. THANK YOU to all who attended and to those who spoke up for our WH&B. You were Eloquent, especially considering the fact that you had only 2 minutes to speak.


  5. Is blm going to leave 1800+ mares in that feedlot in Scott City, KS with no shade/shelter? What happened to the 400-600 geldings that shipped from the same LTH faciltiy all these mares came from? Have the 75 dead horses been “witnessed” or are we just supposed believe that they died (and not shipped you-know-where)? Is shelter being provided for incarcerated wild horses at PVC and Fallon?


  6. If the mares in Scott City were previously on pasture in LTH, why were they 3’s when they shipped? Why were they in such bad shape? Why isn’t anyone ever charged for mistreatment, neglect, abuse, cruelty? “According to WFRHBA and its own regulations, BLM must protect wild horses and burros from unauthorized capture, branding, harassment or death and provide these animals with humane care and treatment. 43 C.F.R. § 4700. “Humane treatment means handling compatible with animal husbandry practices accepted in the veterinary community, without causing unnecessary stress or suffering to a wild horse or burro.” 43 CFR 4700.0-5(e)”


  7. Well, all we tend to hear about the Bureau of Land Management is like the stand-off at the Bundy ranch, but I was wondering what these guys’ actual legal brief was. Wonder whether this is not always what happens when you set up such institutions: they invent more and more work for themselves, initiate “regulation creep” and by virtue of fulfiilling a mandate, they HAVE to meddle with everything unregulated. And wild horses are just that or they ain’t “wild”.


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