Horse News

Letter to Editor: Leave our Wild Horses and Burros Alone

Open Letter Written by Robert C. Bauer, Biologist

“Removing our native equine from their legally designated areas has and will continue to have a reverse and detrimental effect on our western rangelands…”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Letter to the Editor

Wyoming Livestock Roundup

P.O. Box 850

Casper, Wyoming 82602



Dear editor,

Last year on Nov. 4 a letter was submitted to Neil Kornze , director of the BLM from 20 U.S. Senators and Representatives. This was in reference to the present management program of the BLM concerning this nations wild horses and wild burros, a letter also published in Wyoming Livestock Roundup Magazine. In response to this letter, I would like to point out several points of incongruity and misinformation that the Senate, House of Representatives, and BLM have, in reference to these wild equine. These are issues that will determine whether the wild horses remain in the wild, in the numbers that nature dictates, or whether they are managed to extinction. This latter is something being carried out by our own government, through the Bureau of Land Management, and the Department of Interior, via the Wild Horse and Burro Program, as we speak. I have, as a biologist, been documenting the wild horses and burros for years, along with other ecologists. Due to overwhelming evidence, the preservation of these wild equine is imperative, as the native wildlife species that they truly are. They are, however, more than just a native wildlife species. They are vital components to ecological balance in conjunction with all other competing wildlife species, serving to help maintain and preserve our western rangelands.

The Bureau of Land Management, however, has turned a blind side to the solid science that opposes the idea that these creatures are a detriment to the ecosystems they exist in. Just as much, this same science is opposed so to the myth that there is over population of our wild equine. The ludicrous concept of the “Appropriate Management Level”, of wild horses in any area out west is a lie concocted by the bureau. This is based upon how much forage that the BLM allows the mustangs, as opposed to how much they would actually consume. Cattle and other competing ruminants, on the other hand, in these same areas, are allocated by this same bureau, the major percentage of the forage. From this concept of the “Appropriate Management Level” comes the propaganda that there exists overpopulation of wild Equids, and the subsequent removal of them in mass, from their legally designated lands. This, the bureau does regardless of the fact that our wild horses and burros, by law, are to be considered as the principle species in a multi-use situation, by the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. Because of the falsehoods of our government about wild horse overpopulation, many have succumbed to a feeling that the PZP contraceptive is necessary, even though the mustang herds are already at numbers where genetic viability has been compromised. Those remaining in the wild are not the 20,000 to 30,000 that many are asserting. In truth the number of our wild ones are not even in the teens of thousands anymore. This has its basis upon the liberal use of PZP, the thousands of wild horses and burros already removed, and the adjustment of sex ratios. Added to this, are mortality rates in the wild that range between 19% to 75% annually, both first year and adult. More so, they have falsely come to the belief that permanent sterilization methods are a must also. This too, is being carried out as this letter is being written, along with the concept of a one shot permanent sterilization, that can be delivered remotely. Tactics still continue, to reduce their numbers regardless of the science that opposes this lie.

If allowed so much science could be shared supporting the free existence of our wild horses. All need to come to realize that our wild horses and burros, existing in the wild, are a benefit to all aspects of the balance of our western rangelands. The free roaming habits and social behavior they display, allow them to harmoniously coexist with every competing ruminant. Their physiological makeup coupled with continual movements have a revitalizing effect on soil and vegetation. Cattle, however, have been documented in every instance as the perpetrators of erosion and breakdown of riparian areas along with general loss of vegetation. The effects of wild horses and burros, however, positively impacts other grazers, and subsequently, predators as well, who prey upon them. The presence of wild equine in a multitude of ecosystems has proven to result in a beneficial cascade effect, rejuvenating entire areas where wild equine had been reintroduced, both in terms of flora and fauna. This has been documented in multiple regions throughout the world. Noting these indisputable facts, the wild horses and burros can without question be considered a keystone species. Removing our native equine from their legally designated areas has and will continue to have a reverse and detrimental effect on our western rangelands. The answer to ecological balance in our western ranges lies in the termination of all roundups and a release of the wild horses and burros, in holding facilities, back into the areas from where they were taken. This must be followed by an elimination of the Wild Horse and Burro Program of the BLM, which has proven to be unscientific and unethical in its pursuits.

The wild horses and burros will continue as the vital components of ecological balance if, and only if, we allow nature alone, through its own dynamic methods, to dictate the numbers in the wild that are to exist, at any given time, without manmade restrictions. The wild horses and burros are not just a true native American species, historically existing here before the Spanish, but even more so, they exist as a necessary keystone species to our western rangelands.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert C. Bauer


17 replies »

  1. Great letter!! Just excellent! We should circulate this letter with a petition signed by supporters indicating our support for this scientific information. This man should head the BLM instead if those Knuckle Heads who have been appointed! Fire them all and dismantle this corrupt arm of our government!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great letter! And from someone who is educated, experienced & knowledgeable in the reality of our wild horses & burros. Now to get someone in “power” to LISTEN!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LOUD applause to you, Robert C. Bauer!

    A “Thriving Natural Ecological Balance” in the West cannot be done without allowing the wild horses and wild burros to realize their natural place in the ecosystem. We must require the BLM provide to the American public, scientific monitoring data and reports for all previous captures and removals of all wild horses and wild burros that verifies any previous wild horse and burro removals contributed to range health improvement SOLELY due to the removal of wild horses and wild burros. They cannot … but we must demand it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You mean paste it into the comment section? They require not only your name but your phone number (if that’s where it has to be put)


      • AND – Mr. Bauer’s letter was to the editor – wouldn’t it have been printed somewhere – possibly in a section for letters to the editor? Or possibly not on this site!!


  4. I almost don’t know what to do anymore to help these horses and burros escape becoming just a memory in the future. I pray every day and sign petitions all the time, yet the BLM is not listening to us as we mourn these beautiful creatures, our equine friends, as they make their way toward first endangered then to extinct. The Government has to wake up and smell the manure. I am also surprised that not one of our presidential candidates has said anything about these animals. Nothing. Like they are meaningless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like the ranchers have the same notion they did back then! Their wants & needs come before anyone else.



    There’s the confinement itself. Imagine how stressful confinement in an unfamiliar
    place must be to a species who depends on running for survival and who instinctively
    avoids places where they might get trapped.

    On top of that, there’s the social unrest from confinement in close quarters with unfamiliar horses. And don’t overlook the importance of such things as the loss of or separation from lifelong herd mates … companions and family. It is egocentric to think such things are only important to our species.

    Then, there’s the boredom that goes along with captivity. Again, it causes
    the same bodily changes as the ‘chase.’ But, physiological changes that were
    designed to maximize physical capabilities do little to help horses deal with the boredom and inactivity that goes along with confinement in paddocks

    A loss of control also goes along with captivity. Freedom of choice is merely something to dream about. I know, some of you are skeptical about this one, right?
    Consider this. Horses attain social order within a herd by forming a dominance hierarchy. But they don’t all go to the town hall and vote to decide the rank order; it’s the outcome of agonistic encounters—contests to see who can intimidate or out fight

    Have you ever wondered why horses fight to attain social order? It doesn’t make
    sense. Think about it. It’s like making a house messy so you can put it back in order.
    Why not leave well enough alone … everyone just mind their own business. Well, the
    truth is, a horse doesn’t strive to outrank another horse because he or she anticipates
    that it will lead to social order. That’s not it; social order is merely a byproduct. Horses
    strive for a high rank because high ranking horses go where they want to go and do
    what they want to do—Freedom of Choice—to horses, it’s worth fighting for.

    Along the way, there are also transfers from one paddock and group to another, and
    transportation in trailers from here to there for one reason or another. And so on and so on. To these wild horses, the sources of stress must seem endless. Everything is foreign… truly disturbing for a species that depends on familiarity for safety and comfort.

    So, the gather is just the beginning. And, I’ve only touch on some of the more
    obvious stressors gathered horses subsequently face.

    I’m 63 years old. There was a time when I was very proud of my generation.
    During the years of the Viet Nam war, we took a stand … spoke out against the war,
    civil injustices and so on. We protested, marched and preached peace, love and
    kindness. We condemned apathy.
    It’s now thirty five plus years later. Perhaps we can step forward again and leave
    our mark on history. We started out passionate about making things right, why not
    make some noise on the way out too. What our government is doing to the wild horses of the western US and the way it is being done is an atrocity. It is an injustice against nature. Even the horses left behind or turned back out suffer from the social disorder gathers cause.

    We have had people from 15 different countries come to our Liberated
    Horsemanship clinics here in Warrenton, MO. We also traveled to Italy and British
    Columbia for clinics in 2009. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people from
    other countries ask something like, “What’s wrong with people who allow an icon of
    their country to be unnecessarily brutalized and exterminated by their government?”
    It’s an embarrassment and I don’t have a good answer. Apathy and self-indulgence?
    Maybe. But I believe it is more likely just too few people are aware of what is being
    done and its short and long-term consequences … for the horses themselves and for our country. Mahatma Ghandi once said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” For me, and many others that includes animals.


    • He sure says it all! The way we treat our weakest (?) members is shameful. A nation certainly should be judged by the way we treat other species!


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