Horse News


Forward by R.T. Fitch ~ Pres/Co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“For the past several days I have been in a tizzy over the glamorization of the abusive and destructive horse racing ‘industry’ and last night several advocates reined me in and headed me back towards to wild horses and burros.  Sorry, but when it comes to our equines I see no silos.

Crybaby, welfare, subsidized ranchers have been in the news, as of late, for suing the BLM for not, allegedly, upholding the letter of the law by stripping federally protected wild horses from their rightful public range.  It’s all about entitlement and greed and what do the likes of these ‘ranchers’ do when things don’t go their way…they break the very laws that they have pledged to uphold.

The two couples highlighted below are actually quoted in the posted TV interview, below, as stating that YOUR public land is their ‘Private Property, bought and paid for’.  They pay pennies on the dollar for the right to graze their private cattle on your public land and it is considered, by them, to be THEIR land.  And when they break the law and graze their welfare cattle on the land in question the BLM caves to them, comes crying to them on all fours and begs them not to sue them any further.  I am both disgusted and flabbergasted.  Where is that BLM that I witnessed in person back at the Twin Peaks stampede in 2011 where 20 armed BLM rangers and law enforcement circled myself and three women, yes…me and 3 women…who only wanted to watch the roundup on our public lands; where are they now?  Oh, I forgot, we were wild horse advocates and considered dangerous while welfare ranchers are in bed and in cahoots with the BLM and Department of Interior.  Forgive me, I lost my train of thought there for a moment.

Back to the point, this is documented proof of the collusion and divisiveness that is in control of your public lands and hence, the destruction of our native wild horses and burros continues.  I, for one, have had enough.” ~ R.T.



Rancher Rewarded for Defiant Trespass as BLM Avoids Enforcement at All Costs

Eddyanne and Dan Filippini stating that our Public Land, which is home to wild animals such as horses, is THEIR land now they have violated the law and continue to ravage it with their destructive lack of proper management.

Eddyanne and Dan Filippini stating that our Public Land, which is home to wild animals such as horses, is THEIR land now they have violated the law and continue to ravage it with their destructive lack of proper management.

Washington, D.C. — Illegal livestock grazing on drought-stricken northern Nevada rangeland has now received Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval, according to a settlement the agency reached with the ranchers. Western Watersheds Project and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) criticized the deal as encouraging more rogue grazing, and they have asked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to instead support closure decisions made by BLM district managers to protect public lands.

This week’s settlement agreement is the latest in the long-running dispute over drought closures in Battle Mountain, Nevada. The dry conditions prompted the BLM to close two grazing allotments (North Buffalo and Copper Canyon) in May 2013. Shortly thereafter, ranchers Dan and Eddyann Filippini appealed the closure decision, which was ultimately upheld by an Administrative Law Judge in the Department of Interior’s Office of Hearings and Appeals. Dissatisfied with the continued drought protective measures in place on these public lands, the ranchers escalated the situation last week by releasing livestock onto the North Buffalo allotment and publicly daring the BLM to act.

Rather than move to get the trespassing cows off, BLM acted quickly to reach a deal with the ranchers. In the settlement agreement dated June 5, 2015, the ranchers are allowed to leave their cattle on the disputed lands, but the Filippinis agree that they have committed a “willful” grazing trespass and will pay an enhanced grazing fee only for the period that their cattle were illegally turned out. The agreement also specifies that the ranchers will dismiss further litigation in the case.

The North Buffalo allotment is a 100,768 acre allotment which is a checkerboard mix of 55% public lands and 45% private lands and has no internal fencing to keep livestock off of public lands. The allotment also contains priority Greater Sage-grouse habitat as defined by the recently released Nevada and Northeastern California Greater Sage-Grouse Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment and Final Environmental Impact Statement.

“Just two weeks after the new Greater Sage-grouse land use plans were released, the BLM once again shows us how little commitment they have to protecting important land and wildlife habitat when pressured by industry,” said Ken Cole, Western Watersheds Project’s Idaho Director. “What good are the new plans if the agencies cave in to every whim of the ranchers?”

“These stretches of desert were closed because they are suffering from longstanding drought on top of decades of grazing abuse,” stated PEER Advocacy Director Kirsten Stade, pointing to satellite imagery showing clearly visible effects of overgrazing but noting that these lands at issue here have never undergone legally required official assessment of their ecological health. “The livestock industry enjoys heavily subsidized grazing privileges but acts as if it has an entitlement to the public’s lands.”

After last year’s Bundy debacle, local BLM managers in Nevada are under pressure from above to resolve any resource disputes regardless of the terms or the long-term effects on the health of the public lands. The groups today sent Interior Secretary Sally Jewell a letter asking her to support local BLM enforcement decisions and to develop an effective range enforcement strategy, rather than backing down like the agency did in the case of Cliven Bundy, or reaching new agreements with lawless ranchers, as they have now done at Battle Mountain.

In response to a request from U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, the Government Accountability Office is undertaking a review of the effectiveness of federal policies and practices “to detect and deter unauthorized livestock grazing on public range lands” in the words of a recent letter confirming the investigation.


Video courtesy of Reason.TV


View the settlement

Read letter calling for Secretary Jewell to start enforcing grazing limits

See satellite images of the North Buffalo allotment

See a map of the entire allotment showing Greater sage grouse habitat

Trace Battle Mountain conflict

See GAO agreement to review grazing enforcement

See Administrative Law Judge order upholding the drought closure

Look at prior violations by these ranchers

See the Greater Sage-Grouse Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment

Explore PEER database displaying conditions of Western range lands

12 replies »

  1. 43 C.F.R. § 4710.5(a). Under the Taylor Grazing Act (“TGA”), 43 U.S.C. §§ 315-315r, the Secretary of the Interior, 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.”


  2. Livestock are only PERMITTED on public lands. The definition of “permit” is to “allow” or “let” or “tolerate”. Therefore the livestock are only allowed and tolerated and let to use the public range resources at certain times and at certain locations and under certain restrictions. 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 private/corporate domestic livestock grazing clearly is a privilege not a right.


  3. Dan Filippini received $30,915 in livestock subsidies in 2002 and Filippini Ranching Co. received $200,229 between 1995 and 2012.
    Some of the Tomera ranchers in Nevada have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies.


  4. It’s doubtful that the Public Lands ranchers would have incurred the Public’s wrath had they left our Wild Horses and Burros alone and been willing to be fair and do the right thing.

    Same thing goes for the big hunting organizations that have driven them from their Herd Management Areas, as they did in the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge.

    It’s entirely possible that they have killed the proverbial goose that had provided them with so many golden eggs.

    The Declining Importance of Public Lands Ranching in the West
    Mark N Salvo


  5. It went by quickly in the video, but the 21″ tall grass they measured as evidence of healthy rangeland sure looked like Cheatgrass.


  6. Cattlemen who REFUSE to REMOVE cattle in drought region trespass knowingly to graze cattle. Illinois cattlemen would do the wise choice and sell cattle save the grazing and reinvest next year. Thats what I love about Illinois cattle growers they really know whats best for cattle and environment. Rotational and restricted grazing as well as water conservation and feed storage we have the best cattle growers. Willing to work on the best solution and still be profitable has made Illinois respected in Cattle and Horses. when it comes to Welfare ranchers pushing into public grazing also know as fly grazing they dont dismiss it lightly. One Illinois beef producers told me its in the best interest of public grazers to reduce herds and reinvest in 2016. The depletion of nutrients from the drought makes EVEN MORE FORAGE CONSUMPTION necessary for cattle to sustain themselves. Horses dont have to increase as much. Cattle . With calves will have to increase diet needs if the grasses are depleted by 60-70 percent more consumption. The need for good nutrient in grazing is different that from hay as the nutrients and fiber are locked into hay when its cut however in growing grasses during drought the necessary nutrient is robbed before consumption. The best option is reduction and try again next year. Free roaming horses store energy from what nutrients are in the plants and if free from parasites do far better. The story ofcthe ranchers raised concerns about the way the public views cattlemen believing that if these ranchers continue this they will Damage the ability for cattlemen to be taken seriously Nationwide. These frivilous lawsuits to demand rights to graze are distraction from the hard working cattlemen and conversations that are negative towards wild horses on obviously massive pieces of Government land may ruin what we have worked so hard as Beef Producers and Dairy to achieve. Theres no room for cattlemen to discuss a handful of nuisance horses to the point of utter destruction. I pray for the Sake of the Beef and Dairy Industry these people stop embarrassing Our Industry. Illinois cattle producers hope things improve for ranchers Nationwide however its time to stop damaging the industries image and reputation. Distancing ourselves from wild horse destruction and horse slaughter is the best option we have. Concentrate on beef and Dairy or find a new industry. (AND thats all folks!).


  7. The statement “its our personal private land” seems to refer to public land – sorry the PUBLIC land is OUR land! I’m sorry these ranchers are having a rough time – but it seems to me if their LEASED allotment is suffering from drought – I would think the smart thing would be to not use it. This BLM agent seems to have more sense than the upper echelon! Not that that is a surprise. The whole idea that the ranchers are so much more able to know how to take care of the land than anyone else is just laughable.


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