Rancher Kevin Borba & Eureka County Commissioners try to pull the wool over public’s eyes

CORRECTION:  When this article originally posted, the incorrect information that Kevin Borba owned 330,000 acres was quoted from the Elko Daily Free Press (Thomas Mitchell).  However, according to newly obtained information from the Eureka County Assessor, Kevin Borba owns 1,339.55 acres.  This article has been updated to include this correction. 

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Fish Creek HMA roundup (photo:  Bureau of Land Management)

Fish Creek HMA roundup (photo: Bureau of Land Management)

Rancher Kevin Borba and Eureka County Commissioners filed the appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals on Friday, opposing the return of any of the 424 wild horses recently rounded up to the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) near Eureka, Nevada.

The BLM planned to return 104 mares treated with fertility control (PZP) and 82 studs to the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) near Eureka on Friday.

New welfare rancher Kevin Borba, is being likened to Cliven Bundy and portrayed as trying to “eke out a living on dry, inhospitable rangeland.”  However, Borba is a 48-year-old cattleman from California, who bought a $1.5 million ranch in Eureka County in 2012.  Borba named his new 1,339.55-acre ranch the Borba Land and Cattle Co.  

A couple of years later, the BLM reduced the number of cattle on his grazing allotments.  The “news” reports that Borba originally grazed 415 head of cattle, but his grazing allotment was reduced to 140 cattle.

Hold your horses.  According to the BLM’s Rangeland Administration System, Borba has 2 grazing allotments in the BLM Ely District on the Little Smoky Valley pasture of the Duckwater Allotment (BLM authorization #2703864).  For one thing, the “reduced” number of 140 cows is a cow-calf pair, which means Borba can graze 280 cattle for 5 months each year (Oct. 15 – March 15) on 100% public lands.

Borba also has an active authorization to graze 1,000 sheep for 5 months of each year (Oct. 30 – March 31) on 100% public lands. But Borba decided that he didn’t want to raise and sell sheep, and also declined to sell his sheep allotment to sheep ranchers when they offered to buy it.

Borba also has 2 grazing allotments (BLM authorization #2703895) on the Antelope Valley pasture of the Fish Creek Ranch Allotment in the BLM Battle Mountain District, where he grazes 506 cattle (in reality, this could be 1,012 cattle if we count cow-calf pairs) for 5 months each year (Nov. 1 – March 31) on 100% public lands.

The 2015 Fish Creek Herd Management Area Wild Horse Gather Plan noted “In 2014, unauthorized livestock were documented grazing consistently for six months outside the permitted use within the Antelope Valley Use Area of the Fish Creek Ranch Allotment.”

Borba’s sense of entitlement was also evident when he told the Associated Press “We (ranchers) have a right to be here and we don’t want them to turn out the horses.

It’s important to focus on the fact that Borba’s authorized grazing allotments are on 100% PUBLIC LAND, not on the 1,339.55 acres he bought.

Why should taxpayers subsidize Borba’s poor business planning with his dependence on grazing his cattle on PUBLIC LANDS instead of his privately owned 1,339.55 acres?  Livestock grazing is a privilege, not a right.

Something else is fishy.  On the BLM’s website page for the Fish Creek HMA, today it states this about the wild horses: “The current population estimate for the HMA is 79 wild horses. Wild horses are known to move between the Fish Creek HMA and Seven Mile HMA, located south of the Fish Creek HMA.”

BUT, “news” reports just claimed the current population of wild horses in the Fish Creek HMA was estimated at 549 wild horses.

The BLM website currently states this about the Seven Mile HMA: “The current population is estimated to be 92 horses. An AML range of 60-100 wild horses has been established for both the USFS Butler Basin Wild Horse Territory and the Seven Mile HMA.”

And yet, in 2014, another source estimated that the 97,479 acre  Seven Mile HMA had an AML of 30-50 wild horses and it was estimated there were 154 wild horses.

This is confusing, isn’t it?  Just like numbers are being pulled out of a hat.

Could some of the 154 (or, 92) wild horses that are part of the Seven Mile HMA have wandered over and been counted as part of the 549 wild horses supposedly on Fish Creek HMA?
Out of the estimated 549 on the Fish Creek HMA, the BLM rounded up 424 (leaving 125), and was going to return about 186 (this is the 104 PZP treated mares and about 82 studs).
Until Kevin Borba and the Eureka County Commissioners threw a big hizzy fit.

But, since 125+186=311, does this mean there are now only about 311 wild horses (with 104 of the mares treated with the fertility control pesticide/”vaccine” PZP) on 2 HMAs, on over 350,292 acres?

While some wild horse advocates claim that 104 mares treated with PZP is “sane” or “fair” management of this wild horse herd, or that the BLM is doing the “right” thing, it seems they should do more research before giving quotes to the media, and before selling out the wild horses.  These groups do NOT speak for all of us.

The BLM continues to manage wild horses to extinction.  Period.

40 comments on “Rancher Kevin Borba & Eureka County Commissioners try to pull the wool over public’s eyes

  1. I agree with the majority of this, but find one thing confusing. Do you (and I assume R.T. and the Wild Horse Freedom Foundation) oppose the use of all forms of PZP everywhere, or just in certain instances? Please clarify in detail. Thanks!

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    • Linda, please take the time to listen to the last 2 radio shows on Wild Horse & Burro Radio for the details, including information about all types of PZP. I did a debate with Ginger Kathrens and my opinions should be clear. I have stated that my opinions are my own. This is a complex subject and I have also clearly stated that my fellow members of the Board of Directors of Wild Horse Freedom Federation may, or may not, agree with me on any particular aspect of the use of any type of PZP on our wild horses and burros.

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    • I oppose PZP. If it was and either or ( PZP or roundups ) then I would go with PZP,
      That is not or should not be the only 2 things on the table. BLM should be doing the job they are getting paid to due. They are supposed to be managing the lands the wild horses were on in 1971 under WHBA. In 1971 the wild horses were on 53.8 million acres. Today or in 2914 they are now on 26 million acres. WTH happened to the other 27 million acres? BLM was supposed to be managing these lands. BLM is supposed to protect the wild horses. Why is 50,000 wild horses being held in captivity without shelter. Why are our wild horses being injured and euthanized from helicopter roundups? Why are the stallions being castrated, why are the foals being auctioned off, why are the mares being drugged with the pesticide PZP, why are our wild horses ending up on trucks headed to slaughterhouses. Why because BLM isn’t doing what they get paid to do manage the lands and protect the wild horses.

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  2. I’d also like to know if those 186 mustangs that have NOT been freed are being shuttled to PV or some other BLM corrals and gelded and branded — without any legal stop-work order from the courts. Any news on that?

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  3. Greed and money. I’m stuck on the part of this rancher owning 330,000 acres to use for his cattle, but using land that is 100% public ground. Somebody’s pockets must be getting heavy.

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  4. Pzp as “alternative” is bs. First they intend to lower reproduction, then they will remove the few that are left. Just like the government of Canada just pulled off to stock their slaughter houses. I totally oppose the use of pzp. Chemical birth control is a ruse by the BLM.

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  5. It’s enlightening to see that the “grazing allotments” allow large herds of sheep and cattle on the Wild Horses Herd Management Areas during the winter months when wildlife is struggling to survive.
    Since Borba violated his grazing permits, they should be revoked and he should have no legal standing in this situation whatsoever.

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    • Lisa
      That would have been correct
      Protocol
      I do believe there is a possible
      Water rights issue here as well
      Its seems , all Laws set in place
      are dead
      Never thought id see a day when our country would
      Try to abolish
      The EPA
      In the end
      Freedom must Prevail
      For our few remaining
      Horses

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  6. Eureka County

    YUCCA MOUNTAIN
    Lessons Learned

    http://www.yuccamountain.org/lesson.htm
    federal nuclear waste repository program. The County’s effort was two-fold. With the assistance of its technical team, the County prepared a Lessons Learned Report [600 KB PDF] which was submitted to the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future in March 2011.

    Marie Boutte Dr. Boutte’ is a cultural anthropologist at University of Nevada Reno School of Community Health Sciences. She has studied the effects of nuclear testing on downwind communities in Nevada.
    Slit Throats — You should go out to Ely and look at all those slit throats . . . Well, I thought it might be mining violence, like young men in mining who got into altercations, you know, and cut each other up.

    You’re not from around here, are you?” And, I said, “Well, I’m from the University, and I’m out here because someone said I should come out and look at all the slit throats. Like, what is that?” And she said [lady at bar in Ruth Nevada], “Well, Honey, that’s from all those nuclear tests we had out here, and those are thyroid scars.” And, I said, “You’re kidding.” And, she said, “No, just walk around town and . . . “So, then, I started research out in these rural communities, initially on the effects of the atomic testing. And, I interviewed everybody, I mean, I covered every rural county that was downwind from the Nevada Test Site.”

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  7. So Eureka County Commissioners are targeting the few remaining Wild Horses?
    To protect one rancher’s grazing permits?
    Why?
    It does make one wonder

    Report: Yucca Mountain Project still alive
    http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/report-yucca-mountain-project-still-alive-0
    November 17, 2014 – 8:01pm

    The federal government has spent more than $14 billion studying the volcanic-ash mountain as a disposal site for 77,000 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel despite long-standing contentions by state experts that the site and repository design are flawed.

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  8. You are right L Norman and at the same time with all that land he own’s why can’t he keep his beef cows on that land and not public land. The Ranchers and the BLM are in bed with each other , and that’s fact….

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  9. This is Outright species Genocide
    Are we going to stand idly by
    While our extremely biased Govt enables these Welfare Ranchers ?
    This is Insanity
    It takes a Cliven Bundy to
    Illegally Stand w/ Arms
    against Fedreral Agents w/ o
    Constitutionsl Recourse ?
    Why did the Govt not file an injunction?
    How can a Citizen heavy w/ cash
    Be considered a Welfare Rancher ?
    Was his Grandad not there
    40 years ago doing the same thing ?
    Where are the Millions of dollars owed to the taxayers
    Or should I say Govt ?
    More Clivens will emerge and
    Given the opportunity
    Consume every acre of land
    meant for our Wild Horses .
    Cattle are Destroying our
    grazing lands
    Horses are active and add to soil nourishment by movement and fertilization
    Cows leave lands in disrepair
    and cause non growth of plant
    matter
    The Animal who
    Built the Nation
    Kept it in motion
    Saved our lives in Battle
    Delivered our Mail
    and Medications
    Be FORSAKEN !
    We Cannot
    Accept this as their Fate
    Im asking
    All Horse Advocates to
    Assemble –
    And Change the
    Course of Equid History ~
    PZP is not the answer

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  10. Debbie Coffey, thank you for this factual article, like a breath of fresh air.
    About time more realized that PZP is another BLM tool to pacify, while annilation is accelerated behind the scenes, and in public.
    Borba is a distraction, sponsored by pro slaughter horse eater kill buyers, to muddy more of the water, and is readily being used as a manipulation tool by the dark figures that profit from the death of America’s equines.

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  11. “We (ranchers) have a right to be here and we don’t want them to turn out the horses.” Well, I have a newsflash for you Borba: WE are the American taxpayers that are picking up the tab that YOU should be paying for not wanting these horses to be returned to the range even though are TRUELY entitled to the land. You sound like a spoiled child having temper tantrums when you don’t get what you want when you want it. You don’t know how to share or take responsibility for your actions.

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  12. The only reason I support the use of PZP is BLM will roundup if we don’t have something in between. I think of it as a “for now” kind of treatment. The idea being at some point Congress will again revisit this and put their foot down on BLM and come crashing down on the ranchers and tell them to knock their bullpatties off!

    I’m aware there is a risk of mares becoming infertile (as documented in the Pryors)but for instance little Encore who isn’t quite 2 is “most likely” pregnant after last years scuffle between Doc and Cloud. Encore somehow got kicked out of her band only to be picked up by the bachelor boys. At the time I think she was just turning 1. She has been seen being bred by three different studs.

    To be fair that first shot of PZP–which is referred as the primer–wouldn’t have kept her from getting pregnant had she received that before the scuffle. The PZP shot is delivered about two weeks after the primer.

    The Pryors are kinda unique in that you really can’t get to the horse range 6-8 months of the year without a good deal of hiking at elevation. And even though a lot of horses go down into the desert during winter finding them is a HUGE challenge.

    I saw ranchers last summer with cattle along I 80 just east of Elko–I think it was mile marker 339 heading towards Wells. They were there at the end of July and in the EXACT SAME SPOT 2 12 weeks later when I came back mid Aug. another rancher was hogging all the water. I feel justified bitching about it cause I no longer water my garden. I’m not losing my garden so some scuzzball rancher can hog water. I’ll share but I won’t go without.

    We all are hurting cause of this drought. It isn’t just the ranchers or the horses. I don’t get LONG showers everyday anymore. I don’t get to run my dishwasher anytime I want. Or do just a small load of clothes in my full size washer. We all make sacrifices. I have no sympathy for a rancher who won’t play fair and then complains about how we’re all being mean.

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  13. I made a proposal to the BLM to either make Borba and the commissioners pick up the tab as they’re supposed to or releasing them back as initially planned. Below is my own personal email except I withheld my real name. You may use it as a reference to create their own letter. I sent it to the same email address used to send suggestions to them this January: 2014FishCreekGather@blm.gov .

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I have read about the appeal of Kevin Borba and a group of welfare ranchers to have the 186 wild horses previously designated to be released back into the range to now be permanently removed instead. This comes at the expense of us, the American taxpayers.

    104 of those 186 horses are mares treated with PZP fertility control which means that those mares will not be able to reproduce while they’re treated. The majority of the horses rounded up were transferred to short-term holding facilities to be adopted out. Therefore, you were already doing Borba and the commissioners a favor and yet they were still ungrateful.

    Thus, I ask that you give some crucial consideration into enacting one of these two proposals:

    1. Make Kevin Borba and the Eureka County Commissioners responsible for the appeal pick up the tab for those 186 horses being removed instead of the American taxpayers.
    2. Release the 186 horses back into the range as initially planned.

    If this group succeeds, history will repeat itself and similar welfare ranchers will use the same exact “my way or the highway” tactics. America is already over eighteen-trillion dollars in debt and it’s illogical to add to it while letting a small minority of people exploit taxpayers and the wild horses that most of them are in favor of protecting.

    Thank you very much for your consideration.

    Regards, (I won’t disclose my real name publicly).

    P.S.: This is an open letter.

    I don’t typically go to this extent, but sometimes you just put your foot down and say to yourself, “Bad behavior cannot simply be ignored if you want it to subside. It will only get worse unless you have the guts to speak up.”

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  14. 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).

    Under the Taylor Grazing Act (“TGA”), 43 U.S.C. §§ 315-315r, the Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, is “authorized” to issue permits for the grazing of livestock on public lands “upon the payment of reasonable fees.” 43 U.S.C. § 315b. The statute further provides, however, that “the creation of a grazing district or the issuance of a [grazing] permit . . . shall NOT create any right, title, interest, or estate in or to the lands.” The TGA further provides that the Secretary “is authorized, in his discretion, to . . . classify any lands within a grazing district, which are . . . more valuable or suitable for any other use” than grazing, including use by wild horses.

    Removal or reduction of domestic livestock which provides financial gain for any private or corporate owned institution must be activated in favor of protecting the land and the wildlife and wild horses and wild burros and their habitat that belong to the American people. By law the BLM can and should close appropriate areas of public lands to grazing use by all domestic 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. It is the law.

    Wild horses and burros are legally DESIGNATED on the Herd Management Area (HMA) and livestock are only PERMITTED. Definition of the word “designated” is to “set aside for” or “assign” or “authorize”. Definition of “permit” is to “allow” or “let” or “tolerate”. The Wild Horse and Burro lands and resources are set aside for, and assigned and authorized for, the use of wild horses and burros whereas the livestock is only allowed and tolerated and let to use the public range resources. While commercial livestock grazing is permitted on public lands, it is not a requirement under the agency’s multiple use mandate as outlined in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). Public land grazing clearly is a privilege not a right, while the BLM is mandated by law to protect wild horses and burros.

    The “private domestic livestock for private/corporate profit” mentality is illegal when used in conjunction with legally designated wild horse and burro publicly owned land and it must be stopped. Privately owned livestock for private profit domestic livestock management is an inappropriate and insignificant 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.

    Sorry for the length of this comment – but it needs to be said and sent to our media and government officials.

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  15. There have been some comments on Facebook groups regarding the euth of three (?) elderly horses. The BLM vet did perform necropsies and reported the horses suffered from advanced liver failure. The probable cause was “cow tubs”.

    Cow tubs contain urea, which is toxic to horses. I learned that when the New Mexico Livestock Board seized 10 emaciated horses from Cuba, NM. The abuser bought cow tubs rather than horse tubs, because they’re cheaper. That was a big factor in the vet’s strong recommendation the horses be seized.

    Cow tubs shouldn’t be allowed ANYWHERE BLM/FS wild horses and burros roam. They violate “protection”.

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  16. UTAH
    BLM to capture and remove more Wild Horses from their Legal Herd Management Area.
    The taxpaying Public was not given the opportunity to comment on this decision

    http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html
    HWY 21/Sulphur Gather 2015
    Press Release (Issued 02/23/15)
    Sulphur 2015 Gather Information
    Sulphur HMA Public Health and Safety HWY 21 Nuisance Gather Decision Record

    https://www.blm.gov/ut/enbb/files/Sulphur_2015_DNA_&_DR.pdf

    BLM Announces Sulphur Wild Horse Gather to Start One Day Sooner Due to Weather Concerns
    http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/february/blm_announces_sulphur.html
    Release Date: 02/23/15
    Contacts: Lisa Reid , 435-743-3128

    Cedar City, Utah—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah Cedar City Field Office announced last week the gathering and removing of wild horses causing public health and safety concerns along Highway 21 near the Sulphur Herd Management Area (HMA). Due to inclement weather concerns, including high winds, the BLM will be starting gather operations on Feb. 25, 2015. Members of the public are still welcome to view the daily gather operations once they begin, provided the safety of the animals, staff and observers are not jeopardized and operations are not disrupted.

    Gather operations are now scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Gather updates and information will be posted as they become available at: http://blm.gov/h6ld or follow us on Twitter @BLMUtah using #SulphurGather2015.

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  17. Too bad the BLM doesn’t have the authority to manage population levels of predator species on federal lands. For some insane reason this is left up to state fish&game commissions. The result is that mountain lions and other mustang predator species are over hunted and BLM is left with either PZP or removal as population control options for mustangs. If BLM COULD manage predator species levels just like they do with prey species there would be no need for PZP OR Roundups long term.

    Like

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