Horse News

Wyoming sues feds, claiming too many wild horses

Photo by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
CHEYENNE — Wyoming filed a federal lawsuit Monday seeking to force the federal government to reduce the number of wild horses that roam the state.

Wyoming claims the U.S. Department of Interior has failed to follow federal law in controlling wild horse populations.

Gov. Matt Mead said too many wild horses can harm habitat used by other wildlife species, including sage grouse, deer and elk. He says overgrazing by horses can even threaten the horses themselves.

“It is my belief, and the belief of other western governors, that the BLM does not have the resources to manage wild horses effectively,” Mead said. “By filing suit, it sends a message that wild horse management is a priority and the BLM must be provided the funding necessary to manage them.”

The Western Governors’ Association passed a resolution last weekend at its meeting in Las Vegas stating that federal agencies’ inability to rein in rising wild horse and burro populations is an urgent concern.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management earlier this year estimated there were 3,771 wild horses in Wyoming. In its lawsuit, Wyoming claims the horse population exceeds appropriate levels in seven herd management areas by about 475 total horses while populations are constantly increasing.

An attempt to reach a BLM spokeswoman for comment on the state’s lawsuit wasn’t immediately successful Monday afternoon.

While Wyoming is complaining that the federal government isn’t doing enough to reduce wild horse populations, the federal agency is also under fire from wild horse advocates who claim it’s doing too much.

Horse advocate groups sued the BLM this year in an unsuccessful effort to stop the agency from rounding up wild horses from herd management areas around Rock Springs. The agency announced in October that it had rounded up 1,263 wild horses in the Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek herd management areas.

Although the BLM makes wild horses available for adoption, the supply greatly exceeds the demand and thousands of horses are kept in federal holding facilities.

The Friends of Animals group held protests at the BLM’s Rock Springs office this fall to protest the roundups. The group is petitioning the U.S. Department of Interior to grant wild horses and burros federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. It’s also pressing a federal lawsuit charging that the BLM failed to follow environmental laws in approving this fall’s roundups.

Although Wyoming is suing the Department of Interior in this newest lawsuit seeking to reduce the wild horse population, the state has entered the lawsuit filed by Friends of Animals to argue with the federal government that the roundups conducted this fall were proper.

Edita Birnkrant, spokeswoman for Friends of Animals, said Monday she was shocked by Wyoming’s lawsuit seeking to remove more wild horses from the state.

“It’s just mind-boggling, after the egregious roundup that just happened a few months ago, the idea that Wyoming thinks that they’re not doing enough to roundup wild horses, is just nothing short of insanity,” Birnkrant said.

“They’re so out of touch with the residents of Wyoming, and of states all across the country that treasure and want protection for wild horses,” Birnkrant said. “And here we have these out-of-control states with the mentality that says wild horses should be wiped out. There’s no other way to read what’s going on here.”

9 replies »

  1. There are so few wild horses left in the wild, how can ANYONE say ther are too many ? !!! This is insanity. We must leave the remaining wild horses in the wild, or there won’t be ANY left !!!


  2. This is sheer stupidity. And, we elect these people to office. Where are all the smart people. They don’t appear to be in our government offices.


  3. Completely rediculous, Where do these elected idiots come from???? and worse yet how do they get elected ????????? He should crawl Back under the rock he crawled out of<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< and stop making a stupid specticacle of himself and the people he represents, what a total embarrassment for WYOMING !!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Quick math to give us some perspective about our wild horses in Wyoming:
    Per the BLM HA/HMA WH&B stats, as of March 1, 2014:

    The wild horse estimated population was 3,771 BEFORE the recent Checkerboard capture of 1,263 wild horses.

    The “Appropriate Management Level” (AML) is stated as 3,725 wild horses for the entire state of Wyoming.

    The wild horse legal Herd Area (HA) land is 10,344,424 acres.

    The wild horse legal Herd Management Areas (HMA) land is 4,768,682 acres.

    The HA acreage could support about 43,102 wild horses.

    The HMA acreage could support about 19,870 horses.

    Click to access HMAs%20and%20HAs%20March%202014.pdf

    The once beautiful and wild state of Wyoming clearly appears to be lost to corruption and greed and a fat wallet without any concern for the Congressional law or concern of the American citizens who own millions of acres in Wyoming or concern for the land and wildlife – and especially no concern for our wild horses.


  5. It appears the only things Wyoming cares about is drilling the crap out of its state and livestock grazing for the welfare ranchers. And certainly not wildlife of any kind that isn’t hunted.

    So how about filing a lawsuit against Wyoming for filing frivolous lawsuits?


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