Horse News

Equine Rescue Group 
Tries to Block 
Wild Horse Roundups

By Charles Ashby as published in The Daily Sentinel

“The BLM is intent on removing an entire herd, but both the language and spirit of the Wild Horse Act protect wild horses from elimination…”

A Front Range horse rescue group is trying to block the Bureau of Land Management from doing any more horse gathers in the West Douglas Herd Area near Rangely, CO.

083015_They_Chute_Horses_600x400That group, Front Range Equine Rescue, filed an appeal with the U.S. Department of the Interior on Thursday, saying that a BLM decision in July ultimately calls for removing all horses in the 128,000-acre herd area.

The group’s main argument is that by removing horses from its land, the BLM is violating the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

“As a matter of legal principle, BLM’s plan to zero out the wild horse herd in the (west Douglas area) conflicts with the agency’s mandate to protect wild horses and manage them as a component of public lands under the wild horse act,” the appeal says. “If the horses are a component and they are to be managed on the land, they must be there on the land, and BLM’s intentional decimation of the herd from the area violates the plan language of the wild horse act.”

Last month, The Cloud Foundation and Wild Horse Freedom Federation filed suit to block the gathers, but lost in federal court.

“The BLM is intent on removing an entire herd, but both the language and spirit of the Wild Horse Act protect wild horses from elimination,” said Hilary Wood, the rescue’s president. “This irreversible action will permanently alter the natural diversity of the range and damage herd health in the adjacent areas that are also under the BLM’s management.”

BLM officials, however, say they are trying to manage the horse herds, but said their job goes far beyond that. They also have other plant and animal life that they have to think about.

Additionally, much of its responsibilities in dealing the horse herds are in designated horse management areas, and the West Douglas Herd Area isn’t one of them.

“A complete gather would be extremely difficult and we have no immediate plans for a future gather that I’m aware of,” said BLM spokesman Chris Joyner. “The issue isn’t West Douglas. The issue is (allegedly) excess horses. It’s an area that we feel like can only sustain about 30 horses.”

The real herd management area is adjacent to that, east of Douglas Creek and in the Piceance Basin, and it has an even alleged bigger problem with horse overpopulation, Joyner said.

Last month, the BLM gathered 167 horses from the West Douglas area, leaving about 200 still there, far more than the area can sustain, Joyner said. He said the larger herd management area has about 390 horses, about 150 more than the land can sustain.

“We’re following the act exactly as it’s written,” Joyner said. “We have to look at the sustainability of the ranges and having to help the ranges for every species that’s out there. During the gather I saw my first badger, I saw a bobcat and I saw a black-footed ferret. Those are animals that need that range, too, and we have to manage it for all those species.”

“How about all of the private, welfare cattle that outnumber the horses 4 to 1 out there, Mr. Joyner…are you taking them off from the public land, also?” (we all know the answer) ~ R.T.

13 replies »

  1. This is s prime example of all horse groups standing strong together… Did you hear me? ALL GROUPS!!! In order to be successful the has to be no showboating, no credit grabbing, and everybody must participate with the same goal in mind… To save these horses. Everybody knows the BLM agenda. Everybody knows that cattlemen have no business supervising horse management. Everybody knows that the BLM won’t stop until they are forced to stop. Everybody knows that they lie through their crooked teeth. Not everybody can drop what they are doing but they can send emails, make calls to appropriate people (supervising people. The ones that the BLM must answer to). There has to be an airtight case against to BLM in order for any success to be achieved. These aml figures seen to be the lowest numbers where the horses are concerned. These are NOT viable herds. We must do an updated accounting of the number of cattle versus horses because I believe that the ratio has changed since they gathered so many horses every year for so many years. An accounting must be done of the horses that why to slaughter. An shunting must be made of the number of horses that why you these private feedlots (and are ultimately going to slaughter right under out from said feedlots). Funds must be cut for the BLM program to gather and for management of these horses as there are not as many as they are claiming. Accounting of monies collected on the sale of speed horses, the amount collected on private contractor sales, on horses sent to slaughter, on hay and feed spent for horses in holding. We need to know how many are still alive and how many are dead already. I would bet money on the fact that horses that you think are still living are gone forever, dead at the hands of these private contractors who are still collecting money for them plus the money that they made selling to slaughter. There’s a lot of speculation being done by both the BLM and by us on what is actually true and what is another smoke screen to sick more money out of tax payers pockets. Need actual head counts of what is REALLY left of it mustangs, not what the BLM slid off the range and sent it the back door without any accounting being done. WHERE ARE THE BEAN COUNTERS WHEN WE NEED THEM. WHO’S MINDING THE STORE? Ok, I’m off my soap box now.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There has to be a point where enough is enough, there is no more of a reason,to remove anymore horses, now they just do it because they can.


  3. And while we’re at it..
    From PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

    Politicized, Misguided, and Shrouded Probes Should Disqualify Kendall
    Posted on Oct 15, 2015

    Washington, DC-The long-time Deputy Inspector General for the Department of Interior should not be confirmed for the top job, according to a letter of opposition filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Citing a variety of concerns and mishandled cases, the group contends that Mary Kendall “lacks the vision, integrity, and leadership skills to be an effective IG.”

    Read the PEER letter


    • Now THIS is something that needs emails & petitions! Possibly making enough fuss over this Mary Kendall might help to disqualify her! On the other hand – how can we be sure the next IG would be any more above board!!!


  4. No, Chris Joyner, the issue isnt excess horses, it’s excess BLM GREED and welfare cattle rancher GREED and oil and gas developer GREED.


  5. BLM is not really interested in range conditions. No one believes the wild horses and burros are being removed because of range conditions or lack of water – unless those equine have been “set up” by the BLM and ranchers who fence off or over consume the resources on purpose.

    The BLM has been trying to “zero out” (eliminate all wild horses from) the West Douglas HA for years and the agency makes it clear that energy development/oil drilling in the area and the desire to continue to allocate forage for livestock grazing are the reasons behind the agency’s desire to eliminate these horses.

    Those Americans that even KNOW they own WILD HORSES AND BURROS AND PUBLIC LANDS are aware that the BLM is not following the 1971 Congressional Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRHBA) passed to provide protections for wild horses and burros on public lands.

    The Court concluded [IBLA 89-33], to wit:
    “It would be anomalous to infer that by authorizing the custodian of the wild free roaming horses and burros to “manage” them, Congress intended to permit the animals’ custodian to subvert the primary policy of the statute by capturing and removing from the wild the very animals that Congress sought to protect from being captured and removed from the wild.”


  6. Interesting Joyner (Mr., Ms.?) observed other wildlife “for the first time” in an area which has been shared with horses for many decades.

    Badgers prey on Greater Sage Grouse and their eggs, and both Badgers and Bobcats are legally hunted species. Black Footed Ferrets have been reintroduced elsewhere to recover their populations and prey mostly on Prairie Dogs, a species we have tried ruthlessly to exterminate in most of CO. Habitat loss from Oil and gas drilling (increasing in NW CO) is directly correlated to negative impacts on Black Footed Ferret populations.

    One is left to wonder why the wild horses are demonized, while livestock (and, apparently, conservation biology) are excluded from consideration.

    The presence of these other species is a biological indicator wild horses may be benefitting, not harming them, as Joyner implies.


  7. From PEER ( Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

    Agency Sage Grouse Review Puts Thumb on Scale to Magnify Wild Horse and Burro Effects
    Posted on Sep 16, 2014

    Washington, DC – The method used by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to assess range conditions is seriously skewed toward minimizing impacts from domestic livestock and magnifying those from wild horses and burros, according to an appraisal by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). As a result, the BLM’s approach to range management targets scattered wild horses and burros while ignoring far more numerous cattle.

    “At BLM apparently not all hooves are created equal,” said PEER’s Advocacy Director Kirsten Stade, noting that the LHS evaluations cover more than 20,000 grazing allotments and examine whether a grazing allotment meets the agency’s standards for rangeland health with respect to several vegetation and habitat conditions. “This helps explain why wild horses are regularly removed from the range but livestock numbers are rarely reduced.”


  8. The horses need to be left alone as they are a part of our history if the BLM must round some of them up let them do in in a more humane way such as on horseback to safe the lives of these precious and beautiful animals. The cattlemen do not need to infer with the wild horses as they do not hurt anyone


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