Horse News

WY Gov Continues War on Wild Horses

Source: Multiple

“Welfare Ranchers” Root Cause of Wild Horse Court Case

Gov Matt MeadWyoming Gov. Matt Mead is appealing a federal judge’s recent dismissal of a lawsuit the state filed seeking to force the federal government to remove more wild horses from public lands in the state.

“The situation has not changed,” Mead said Friday in announcing the state’s appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

“The (U.S) Bureau of Land Management has still not properly managed the wild horse population in Wyoming,” Mead said. “Mismanagement of the herds can have adverse consequences for the range and other species which share that habitat. The BLM’s approach fails to comply with the applicable law.”

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal of Cheyenne in April granted requests from the Interior Department and wild horse advocacy groups to dismiss the state’s lawsuit. She ruled the BLM wasn’t required to remove wild horses from areas where it had determined they were overpopulated.

In asking Freudenthal to dismiss the state’s case, the federal government and animal protection groups pointed out that the BLM may consider several factors before it decides to proceed with roundups under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

“If wild horse management could be distilled to a numerical calculation, there would be no reason for Congress to have specified the various factors for consideration in the determination that an overpopulation exists and that action is necessary to remove excess animals,” Freudenthal wrote.

The ruling was a setback to Wyoming ranchers concerned that too many wild horses are harming grazing lands. The Wyoming Stock Growers Association had filed a friend of the court brief on the state’s side.

During the case, lawyers for the state had reported to Freudenthal that seven of Wyoming’s 16 wild horse herd management areas were overpopulated by anywhere from 4 percent to 106 percent.

Earlier this spring, Freudenthal upheld a BLM roundup of about 1,300 wild horses east and south of Rock Springs last fall that had been contested by horse advocates.

Michael Harris is legal director for the group Friends of Animals in Colorado, a group that entered the state’s lawsuit against the BLM to argue against the state’s push to round up more horses.

“We’re sort of shocked,” Harris said Friday of Mead’s decision to appeal. “I think the case that he brought was a long shot, and it was easily shot down by the district court. And we think that the governor should instead work with the Bureau of Land Management to better protect wild horses.”

Harris said he believes Wyoming needs to realize that wild horses belong to all everyone.

“Americans want to see places for wild horse in the West, and all states in the West need to share in and contribute to providing land for a species that Americans dearly love,” Harris said.

Recent Wyoming Stampede of Wild Horses – photos by Carol Walker

15 replies »

    • Sounds like there need to be strong regulations regarding running cattle & sheep near any creek, river, etc. Some of the ranchers “aren’t interested” in looking into this? That’s a shame – so they just continue to pollute the water? Considering that these rancher’s livestock are the primary polluters – 80 to 90%? This is ridiculous. As are so many problems concerning a lot of these ranchers.


  1. I cannot understand this. These horses are now part of America’s wildlife. The money and other resources they spend chasing them can be invested in safer cities and education. God knows what interests hide behind this.


  2. Thanks, geri, for that info.
    The greedy WY gov evidently doesn’t know or care that tourists come to WY to see wild horses. Wonder what financial interests he has in getting rid of our wild horses?


  3. One question you should be asking is why Govenor Mead sees nothing wrong with using Tax payer monies to both prosecute AND defend in a suit against Americas Wild horses.
    The majority the the HMAs in Wyoming are within the maximum animal unit. When you consider that in 2014, twenty six hundred horses were REMOVED under a concent decree, Wyoming has removed over four thousand horses in the past five years.
    There simply is no satisfying this Governor nor his insatiable desire to see Ever wild horse removed from the Public Lands of Wyoming. And he is using our TAX money to do it!



    Ever since the Legislature and Governor enacted the infamous and unconstitutional Senate File 104, by which the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction was usurped and its duties reassigned to a lapdog of the Governor, Wyoming’s grassroots has reacted in outrage, eventually coalescing into a formidable political force. Prevailing against enormous odds, the opponents of SF 104 actually succeeded in bringing to the convention floor a resolution to censure the Governor. This unprecedented act highlighted the degree of anger among the common citizenry, and threatened to affirm the precept that those in power must be bound by the Constitution and the law, and will be held accountable to it if they abuse their positions.

    Several underhanded tactics were attempted during the debate with hopes of preventing an up or down vote on the resolution, including a move for premature adjournment, but all were defeated. Finally, the back-room cabal landed on a simple scheme of intimidation, demanding a roll-call vote requiring convention delegates go to a microphone and voice support or opposition to the measure. In the end, the effort to censure Mead narrowly failed with a final tally of 132 supporting, and 145 opposed.

    Nevertheless, Governor Mead can hardly hold his head high or claim vindication from this outcome. Clearly, the effort was made by the party “Establishment” to circle the wagons around him and thus protect him from a day of reckoning for his many unscrupulous official actions.


  5. Corruption for the sake of greed … no doubt about it … don’t you just wish you could listen in on some of the “deals” that go on and find out just who is pulling the strings … Cattlemen’s Association and big oil/gas companies and doesn’t big mining have a hold on Wyoming also?


  6. Well return the horses to the checkerboard that BLM took last fall. Not every horse was on private property. BLM did a wide spread round of the whole checkerboard. Good grief Governor Mead is a cows rear end. He’s worse than Kennie Slaughterczar. He’s worse than Sue Walrus. He ranks up there with Dylann Roof…worthless scumbag governor.



    Katherine A. Meyer
    Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal
    1601 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
    Suite 700
    Washington, D.C. 20009
    (202) 588-5206
    Timothy Kingston
    408 West 23rd Street, Suite 1
    Cheyenne, WY 82001-3519
    (WY Bar No. 6-2720)
    (307) 638-8885
    Attorneys for Defendant-Intervenors
    Rock Springs Grazing Association, Case No. 2:11-cv-00263-NDF
    Ken Salazar, et al.,

    I, Lloyd Eisenhauer, declare as follows:

    1. I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I am a former Bureau of Land Management
    (“BLM”) official with extensive experience in the Rawlins and Rock Springs Districts in Wyoming and intimate familiarity with the public lands under BLM management in those areas. I have reviewed the consent decree proposed by BLM and the Rock Springs Grazing Association (“RSGA”) in this case and provide this declaration based on my longstanding knowledge of, and management of, wild horses and livestock grazing in the Rock Springs and Rawlins Districts.

    2. I grew up in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming with a livestock and farming background, served in the Marines for four years, and then owned a livestock business from 1952-1958. I enrolled in college in 1958, studying range management. From 1960-1961, BLM hired me to assist with collecting field data for vegetation assessments and carrying capacity surveys related to livestock and wild horses. These surveys were conducted in the Lander, Kemmerer, and Rawlins Districts. When I graduated in 1962, BLM hired me full-time to serve in the Rawlins District in Wyoming, where most of my work focused on grazing management involving sheep, cattle, and wild horses. From 1968-1972, I was Area Manager of the Baggs-Great Divide Resource Area in the Rawlins District. In 1971, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was enacted, and in the spring of 1972, on behalf of BLM, I conducted the first aerial survey of wild horses in Wyoming, recording the number of horses and designating the Herd Management Areas (“HMAs”) for the Rawlins District. After a stint as an Area Manager with BLM’s Albuquerque, New Mexico office, in 1975 I took over as the Chief of Planning and Environmental Analysis in BLM’s Rock Springs District for three years. I was the lead on all planning and environmental assessments. During that time, I also served as the Acting Area Manager of the Salt Wells Resource Area, which is located in the Rock Springs District. In 1979, BLM transferred me to its Denver Service Center to serve as the Team Leader in creating the agency’s automated process for data collection. I received an excellence of service award from the Secretary of the Interior commending me for my work as a Team Leader. In 1982, I became the Head of Automation in BLM’s Cheyenne office, where I managed and implemented the data collection and processing of various systems related to BLM programs. I retired from BLM in 1986, and have stayed very involved in the issue of wild horse and livestock management on BLM lands in Wyoming, and have written articles about the issue in local and other newspaper outlets. I have won various journalistic awards, including a Presidential award, for my coverage of conservation districts in Wyoming. Along with a partner, I operated a tour business (called Backcountry Tours) for six years, taking various groups into wild places in Wyoming – without a doubt wild horses were the most popular thing to see on a tour, in large part due to their cultural and historical value. I also served six years on the governor’s non-point source water quality task force.

    3. Based on my longstanding knowledge of wild horse and livestock management in the Rawlins and Rock Springs Districts, and in the Wyoming Checkerboard in particular, I am very concerned about BLM’s agreement with RSGA, embodied in the proposed Consent Decree they have filed in this case, under which BLM would remove all wild horses located on RSGA’s private lands on the Wyoming Checkerboard.

    4. The Checkerboard is governed by an exchange of use agreement between the federal government and private parties such as RSGA. However, due to state laws, property lines, and intermingled lands, it is impossible to fence the lands of the Wyoming Checkerboard, which means that both the wild horses and the livestock that graze there roam freely between public and private lands on the Checkerboard without any physical barriers. For this reason, it is illogical for BLM to commit to removing wild horses that are on the “private” lands RSGA owns or leases because those same horses are likely to be on public BLM lands (for example, the Salt Wells, Adobe Town, Great Divide, and White Mountains HMAs) earlier in that same day or later that same evening. Essentially, in contrast to other areas of the country where wild horses still exist, on the Wyoming Checkerborad there is no way to distinguish between horses on “private” lands and those on public lands, and therefore it would be unprecedented, and indeed impossible for BLM to contend that it is removing all horses on RSGA’s “private” lands at any given time of the year, month, or day, considering that those horses would only be on the strictly “private” lands very temporarily and intermittently on any particular day .

    5. Another major concern with BLM’s agreement to remove all horses from the private lands of the Wyoming Checkerboard is that BLM is undermining the laws that apply to the Checkerboard, and wild horse management in general, which I implemented during my time as a BLM official. Traditionally, BLM officials (myself included) have understood that, pursuant to the Wild Horse Act, wild horses have a right to use BLM lands, so long as their population numbers do not cause unacceptable damage to vegetation or other resources. In stark contrast, however, livestock (sheep and cattle) have no similar right to use BLM lands; rather, livestock owners may be granted the privilege of using BLM lands for livestock grazing pursuant to a grazing permit that is granted by BLM under the Taylor Grazing Act, but that privilege can be revoked, modified, or amended by BLM for various reasons, including for damage to vegetation or other resources caused by livestock, or due to sparse forage available to sustain livestock after wild horses are accounted for. BLM’s tentative agreement here does the opposite and instead prioritizes livestock over wild horses, by proposing to remove hundreds of wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard without reducing livestock numbers – which, in my view, is contrary to the laws governing BLM’s actions as those mandates were explained to me and administered during the decades that I was a BLM official.

    6. While I do not agree with every management action taken by BLM over the years in the Rock Springs District, I can attest – based on my longstanding employment with BLM and my active monitoring of the agency’s activities during retirement – that BLM has generally proven capable of removing wild horses in the Rock Springs District, including by responding to emergency situations when needed and removing horses when necessary due to resource damage.

    7. Considering that wild horses exhibit different foraging patterns and movement patterns than sheep and cattle, and also than big game such as antelope and elk, no sound biological basis exists for permanently removing wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard at this time. In particular, wild horses tend to hang out in the uplands at a greater distance from water sources until they come to briefly drink water every day or two, whereas livestock congregate near water sources and riparian habitat causing concentrated damage to vegetation and soil. For this reason, the impacts of wild horses are far less noticeable on the Checkerboard than impacts from livestock.

    8. In addition, because livestock tend to eat somewhat different forage than wild horses (horses tend to eat coarser vegetation such as Canadian wild rye and other bunch grasses, whereas cattle and sheep mostly eat softer grasses), there is no justification to remove wild horses on the basis that insufficient forage exists to support the current population of wild horses. Also, because cattle and sheep have no front teeth on the front part of their upper jaws, they tend to pull and tear grasses or other forage out by the root causing some long-term damage to vegetation, whereas wild horses, which have front teeth on both their front upper and lower jaws, act more like a lawnmower and just clip the grass or forage (leaving the root uninjured), allowing the vegetation to quickly grow back. These differences are extremely significant because if there were a need to reduce the use of these BLM lands by animals to preserve these public lands, it might be cattle and sheep – not wild horses – that should be reduced to gain the most benefit for the lands, and which is why BLM, during my time as an agency official, focused on reducing livestock grazing.

    9. BLM’s agreement with RSGA states that RSGA’s conservation plan limited livestock grazing, primarily by sheep, to the winter months to provide sufficient winter forage. This is a good example of “multiple use” management, since wild horses and sheep have very little competition for the forage they consume and the seasons during which they use parts of the Checkerboard. During winter, sheep use the high deserts and horses utilize the uplands and breaks (i.e., different locations) for forage and protection. During the summer, when sheep are not present, wild horses use various landscapes on the Checkerboard. This multiple use should continue for the benefit of the livestock, the wild horses, and the public and private lands involved.

    10. I am also very concerned about BLM’s agreement with RSGA to permanently zero out the Salt Wells HMA and the Divide Basin HMA, leaving no wild horses in those areas that have long contained wild horses. I have been to fifteen of the sixteen HMAs in Wyoming, and to my knowledge none has ever been zeroed out by BLM. It is my view, based on everything I know about these areas and the way these public lands are used by wild horses and livestock, that BLM has no biological or ecological basis for zeroing out a herd of wild horses in an HMA that existed at the time the wild horse statute was passed in 1971, as is the case with both the Salt Wells and Divide Basin HMAs. And, again, because the wild horses have a statutory right to be there, whereas livestock only have a privilege that can be revoked at any time by BLM, there also is no authority or precedent, to my knowledge, for the agency to zero out these two longstanding wild horse herds simply to appease private livestock grazers.

    11. The zeroing out of wild horses in the Salt Wells and Divide Basin HMAs is also concerning because it would mean that, in those two longstanding HMAs, there would no longer be the “multiple use” of these public lands as required by both the Wild Horse Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Currently, while there are other uses of this public land, such as by wildlife, hunters, and recreational users, the two primary uses in those HMAs are by wild horses and livestock. If BLM proceeds with its agreement with RSGA to zero out wild horses in those HMAs, the only major use remaining would be livestock use, meaning that there would be no multiple use of those BLM lands. Not only will that potentially undermine the laws that BLM officials must implement here, but it has practical adverse effects on the resources – multiple use is very beneficial for the environment, and particularly for sensitive vegetation, because different users (e.g., livestock, wild horses) use the lands and vegetation in different ways. When that is eliminated, the resources are subjected to an unnatural use of the lands which can cause severe long-term damage to the vegetation. As a result, zeroing out these herds would likely bedevastating for the vegetation in these two HMAs, because livestock would be by far the predominant use in this area.

    12. Turning the White Mountain HMA into a non-reproducing herd, as the agreement between BLM and RSGA proposes to do, is also a farce, and violates the meaning of a wild and free-roaming animal. This is essentially a slow-motion zeroing out of this HMA, and is inconsistent with any wild horse management approach I am familiar with that BLM has implemented on public lands.
    Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

    Lloyd Eisenhauer


  8. I went to school in Spearfish, S.D. and we used to say ” wild, wonderful Wyoming, where men are men and sheep are afraid!” I guess hoeses need to fear as well. What kind of people elect jerks like this governor…self-centered, greedy..what can possibly motivate attitudes like the ones displayed?


  9. “Mismanagement of the [[[CATTLE]]] herds can have adverse consequences for the range and other species which share that habitat. The BLM’s approach fails to comply with the applicable law.”


  10. This is their land, once again they are being pushed out,by government, why it’s all about the greedy money hungry people, this was there land long before you me a lot of people where here an they ran free no problem till now, there is so much scamming going on with all these animals, they been in slavery far to long an that goes back to greedy money hungry people, please leave them alone


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