Horse News

Horseback Protest Targets BLM, but Environmentalists Say Whoa

as published in the LA Times

“The sneering whine of self-serving profiteering is heard across the plains as a band of welfare ranchers plods along a trail to D.C. to protest an attempt to save the public land on which their private cattle graze at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.  Please excuse me for feeling no sympathy as I think of all the native wild horses that had been pulled from the same land while we shouted, ‘What about the damn cows?!?!’  The time to reconsider the practice of private individuals profiting from exploiting public lands is long over due.” ~ R.T.

Environmentalists defend BLM order to remove livestock on public lands in Nevada amid drought”

Photo: WWP. Grazing damage from welfare ranching on the Argenta allotment, July 2014.

They’re a dozen men and women riding horseback on a modern-day cross-country cattle drive, but with fistfuls of petitions instead of a herd of steers. Their wide-brimmed hats tipped low against the sun’s glare, they’re riding from Bodega Bay, Calif., to Washington.

They call themselves the “Grass March Cowboy Express” and they want the Bureau of Land Management to remove “an abusive federal employee” and “end BLM tyranny.”

The group contends that Doug Furtado, manager of the bureau’s Battle Mountain District, has unfairly blocked their legal right to graze their cattle on public land in central Nevada.

But environmentalists have lashed out at protesters as a selfish, entitled group with no business running private cattle on public lands, especially during years of prolonged drought.

Six months after Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s well-publicized face-off with bureau officials over grazing rights on public lands north of Las Vegas, tension still exists between many cattlemen and the federal government.

Bundy in April attracted an army of self-proclaimed citizen militia members, many of them with semiautomatic weapons, who challenged officials who had moved in to remove hundreds of cattle from federally administered land. The bureau later called off the roundup, but federal officials promise that Bundy could be held accountable in the courts for more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.

Organizers of the Cowboy Express, which started in Bodega Bay in Northern California on Sept. 26, say they have no connection to Bundy. They just want the Bureau of Land Management off their backs.

But in a message to supporters, one nonprofit criticized the riders for singling out Furtado because he had “the temerity to order drought-induced reductions in commercial grazing.”

The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility also mocked the protesters for their use of the hard-bitten cowboy image often seen in cigarette commercials.

“The Marlboro Man evoked iconic cowboy imagery to sell cancer sticks,” it said in a news release. The “stunt called the ‘Cowboy Express’ also seeks to harness this romantic image to mask deeply selfish and destructive ends.”…(CONTINUED)

23 replies »


    Corporations have their lobbyists in Washington, D.C. The people need advocates too.
    Public Citizen serves as the people’s voice in the nation’s capital. Since our founding in 1971, we have delved into an array of areas, but our work on each issue shares an overarching goal: To ensure that all citizens are represented in the halls of power.

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  2. Commentary: BLM selling out ranchers to make way for Big Oil?


    With varying allotments budgeted by BLM, I have grave concerns during these drought times for BLM’ s priorities. Are our permitted grazing allotments being tagged as potential oil exploration allotments? Is BLM seeing $$$ signs for the oil and gas competitive lease sales? Currently competitive BLM lease sales numbered 44 parcels in Elko County and 102 parcels or 174,021.36 acres in Battle Mountain.

    Since quantities of water are needed for both grazing allotments and oil exploration allotments, I wonder if pushing cattle off allotments clears the way for better lease sales to oil companies who will need large quantities of water?

    I was told that the oil company would drill their own well. Yes, and how far down will that draw the water table and springs in the area? They couldn’t tell me how many gallons of water they would require. We need information for a better understanding of the risks involved in fracking. Will our sage grouse habitat be compromised by the installation of drilling pads and heavy traffic of the oil trucks? A well pad of 4.7 acres will be cleared and graveled and approximately 30 acres will be required for roads.

    Flying out of Texas recently I photographed a disturbing site of pocked-marked landscape around Ft Worth, Texas. This was once lush and green with stands of trees and grassland for the quarter horses. Acres of graveled oil pads were close to housing and more disturbing, next to the schools.


  3. First the Wild Horses & Burros….
    AND THEN the cattle

    Commentary: BLM selling out ranchers to make way for Big Oil?

    It could very well be that the Dept. of the Interior is actually very happy that cattle ranchers and wild horse advocates are pointing fingers at each other.

    With all the controversy going on, it would be much easier to remove wild horses, reduce the land alloted to cattle – all so Big Oil can do more fracking.
    Our government makes millions from these permits. And politicians campaign budgets are lined with Big Oil money. Water needed to frack oil from the ground would come from the surrounding region – water used by cattle ranchers and wild horses mind you. And it takes a great deal of water to frack and the full range of environmental concerns are only just now being understood. Do we want to kill off our wild horses, create worse drought conditions – all so Big Oil can make more money? ~ HfH


  4. Wild horse and burro advocates have long ago seen the big picture. The cattlemen aren’t stupid either. They all know the public grasslands are overgrazd and will desertify in the coming decade, unable to support the diverse life we John Q Public expect to see out there. The oil and gas are now hand in hand with the domestic grazers (RSGA newsletters convey a happy atmosphere of potential wind and solar energy projects on the “Big Empty”) to show a continued controlling interest. No one is going to go broke out there. The subsidies will just come from a different account. The wildlife on our public land will move on or die.

    And by the way, environmentalists just revealed a discovery of a fracking company here in California who was caught pumping their effluent – not through taxed waste receivers – but sidelined into an aquifer serving thousands of wells.


  5. “They’ve declared war on ranchers,” she said. “In the 1990s, there used to be 52 ranchers in Clark County, for example. Now, there’s just one: Cliven Bundy.” So Clive bellows, because he can only have 1,500 head of cattle instead of 3,000 at taxpayer expense?


    • It isn’t JUST, that, chris…there are cattle on Bundy’s allotment that have been out there, unattended, for so long they’ve gone wild, and there is so little forage left after years of Bundy’s inattention, the cattle BLM tried to bring in were thin and unhealthy.

      Now these guys want to try an experiment to see if their livestock can live on sand, weeds and air…

      Yep; Public Lands ranchers are certainly ‘good stewards’, aren’t they?


      • Lisa, I wasn’t there (and have no vested interest) but the photos I saw didn’t show thin cattle… sounds like the same argument used against Wild Horses and Burros. One has to consider, too, that old cows will slowly lose their teeth and then lose weight. If Bundy’s brood cows were left out there year on end and only their calves removed, it makes sense they would lose weight.

        This week I came across an older proposal with a similar take on WHBs, since in the wild (the author argued) their teeth wear down faster than they do in captivity and they would thus die sooner on the range than live unnaturally longer in captivity. His proposal was to turn them loose to save taxpayers the expense of long-term care.


  6. Sustainability of private livestock is not the goal of the Bureau of Land Management and private livestock are not authorized on any public land – they are “permitted”. Use by “permitted” livestock must be adjusted due to a number of factors, including rangeland health or drought conditions. Managing by reduction or removal of private livestock greatly contributes with short and long-term health of the public lands.

    The “private domestic livestock for private/corporate profit” mentality is illegal when used in conjunction with publicly owned land and it must be stopped. Privately owned livestock for private profit domestic livestock management is an inappropriate part of the BLM’s mission to protect the American public’s land and resources. BLM is not in the cattle and sheep business and is not authorized to be promoting private for-profit ranchers. 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 a deficient ranch manager and he deserves the results of his bad management.

    What can be done to address the problems associated with public lands livestock grazing? There is a simple answer: end it. Get the cows and sheep off, let the wild creatures reclaim their native habitat, and send the ranchers a bill for the cost of restoration!

    More information:


  7. There is something else going on here, too.
    We need to be careful to not be maneuvered into the “bait trap” that has been so cleverly set.
    Ranchers have been used to remove Federally Protected Wild Horses and Burros from Public Lands….no getting away from that fact
    Now, there is a Public backlash
    It works so beautifully to have the WH&B Advocates and the ranchers at each others’ throats,while in the shadows, there lurks an even bigger threat.
    Multi-national corporations and International Trade Agreements are a serious threat to everything that we think of as American Freedom
    If they get their way, Public Lands will be nothing more than a giant industrial complex, and the resources extracted will go into the coffers of some of the wealthiest pirates on the planet.


  8. Here was my comment at the L.A. Times : The welfare cattlemen who have overgrazed our public land for private profit are now whining that their days of welfare checks are running out. This is not the result of the BLM who have been historically their cohorts. It is the result of drought plain and simple ! The cattlemen’s undue political influence in Wyoming has just caused all of the wild horses there basically to be rounded up and sent to slaughter feedlots.Nevada is next on their hit list for wild horses. Can you guess what their fate will be now ? No sympathy should be given to these pseudo-cowboys who ride horses whom they have just betrayed to slaughter ! No tears should be shed for those who have just betrayed the symbol of American freedom, our wild horses, by sending them to slavery then slaughter in order to take over all public land and benefit themselves ! Judas has earned his silver coin. Now he should just find his hanging tree – for he fashioned the noose himself by his betrayal of what the cowboy once stood for- freedom not profiteering.


  9. A bunch of wannabe cowboys trying to convince Washington that they have some God given right to public lands and taxpayers money…..they are doing what we talked annoy doing only guess who has the money and free time to do it…these where recipients should be cut off…dammit.


  10. From PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

    Click to access public_trust_betrayed.pdf

    This document was painstakingly prepared by over a dozen current Bureau of Land Management employees in the inter-mountain west. They are district managers, fisheries and wildlife biologists, and range conservationists who passionately care about the ecological health of the public lands they administer. Their report has also been peer reviewed by over thirty other grazing specialists and scientists in other federal and state land management agencies, academia, and other knowledgeable people in the private sector.

    The authors of this white paper merely want to communicate that the BLM’s oft-repeated claim that public rangelands are in better condition now than they have ever been is a myth, and that decisive action must be taken immediately in order to end the deterioration of these lands.

    They have had to stay anonymous in order to avoid the inevitable retaliation that would be taken against them by their supervisors in the Bureau, local grazing permitees, and state and local legislators. In the BLM and in the west, the status quo if still to “kill the messenger” who tries to speak to the continued overgrazing crises and the need to drastically reduce the stocking levels and change the grazing management practices on public rangelands.

    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is proud to be able to serve the brave few in the BLM who produced this report by being the intermediary in its distribution.


    • I didn’t catch the year. I’ve saved it and will read it later. I really appreciate PEER, so very thankful for their work. I will read this later.

      The subterfuge continues today. In the May 2014 EA for Murderer’s Creek, the range summary plainly states the public land is overgrazed, the riparian systems have been damaged, and the prospective of compliance is not expected any time soon due to overgrazing by domestic grazers.

      Media published BLM’s press releases targeting wild horses as over populated and noticing a bait and trap for the horses. An analysis of the estimated horses caught, and billed and delivered to Prineville revealed a missing body of horses totalling almost 20. A cold awareness sinks in that it is possible those horses died after capture inasmuch as BLM aparently paid for them without bodies. But the truth has not been rEvealed yet. The facts are that if the horses did die, they died because domestic grazers depleted the range so badly, that the capture became a sure thing.

      And lest people blame the BLM scientists – don’t. They are getting their information into the reports. But how it is skewed when the report is compiled and reported to the public are where the lies are found. The writers can say, “I included the findings!”, but the presentation of the findings is where the creative writing skills come, playing with the numbers and dates cattle are on.

      I think a book could be written on how one thing can be named – well just about anything a number of times. Sort of like the wild horses still free being named by every one who sees them, so we have one horse with 4 or 5 names. So it is so much fun figuring out what the names given to everything on the range mean — I’ve found names are given to gates, NE corners or SWW corners etc, the bubble up creek, the dry creek, the blade of grass over there, oh and don’t forget we have to name that big rock over there and every dusty trail. These names are tossed around the EA to provide confusion and a bit of leeway should domestic grazing be found to be overpermitted. Names for locations and landmarks, given out like free passes at a carnival show, allow the grazers and BLM to claim “mistake.”.

      Sort of like this, 100 cattle grazed the PigsEar NE pasture for 62 days and trailed for 20 days through SilkPurse to graze Tumbleweed for 35 days before pick up. Inspection reveals the cattlle should have grazed CryingsNotForMe pasture for 62 days, trailed through Whatsmyline pasture for 20 days and grazed the HarveytheRabbit pasture while waiting for pick up for 10 days. Well, who knew! In the meantme, the cows and sheep graze wherever the owners want them to for however long they want to and try to prove it.

      The EAs are a jig saw puzzle and a little bit of the cup game mixed in for good measure. Fodder for every science fiction reader out there.

      I used to get confused and think I lost my comprehension somewhere, I now see reading the EAs, RMPs, RODs (somebody studied the art of slapstick) and of course, the SONI (Statement of No Impact on their paycheck, might even get a raise) as a way to sharpen my powers of intuition and concentration, and appreciation for the ultimate con game – stealing from the taxpayer right under their nose and calling it something else – permitted use.

      As usual, Louie, your provision of documented analyses is outstanding. Everyone interested MUST read these references and support PEER who have done some of the most revealing work ever in this deadly game of cat and mouse.
      Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


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