Horse News

BLM Propaganda Alleges Wild Horse & Burro Population Exceeds Arbitrary AML by More than 40,000

Story by Craig Bennett, Reporter for Iron County Today

It pains me to share articles and news story (below) that are riddled with multiple inaccuracy’s and misinformation from the federal government’s rogue mismanagement agency, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), but it is important for everyone, worldwide, to be aware of the all out war that the BLM is waging against our federally protected wild horses and burros.  The current information pumped out by those who are in bed with special interest groups (BLM) states that wild horse populations are in excess by a number that we believe is higher than the actual sum total of all wild equines on our public lands.  These are lies, nothing short of stone cold, idiot lies…and we as taxpayers begrudgingly give up our hard earned cash, in the way of taxes, to pay these civil employees with cushy salaries to LIE to us.

Sorry, but my “Stupid Meter” is pegged on ‘full’ and it is by far long overdue for the public to say enough is enough and call out the Administration, the Department of Interior and the BLM on how the federal government is intentionally managing our wild horses and burros into extinction and are currently working on a ‘final solution’ to ensure that our protected equines on our western public lands are forever whipped out and gone…like dust in the wind, their days are numbers…unless we take action, form the plan, work the plan and stop the carnage.  Are you up to the challenge, my friends?” ~ R.T.

SOUTHERN UTAH – Controversy in Southern Utah, including here in Iron County, continues over the number of wild horses on public lands.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

According to the Bureau of Land Management website, the BLM manages, protects, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (as amended by Congress in 1976, 1978, 1996, and 2004). This law authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands.

To promote healthy conditions on the range, the BLM determines what it calls the Appropriate Management Level (AML), which is the number of wild horses and burros that can thrive in balance with other public land resources and uses. Wild horses and burros that exceed AML (currently 26,715) are to be removed from the range, in accordance with the 1971 law, as amended.

The current estimated on-range wild horse and burro population (as of March 1, 2016) is 67,027, a 15 percent increase over the 2015 estimate of 58,150. That means the current west-wide on-range population exceeds AML by more than 40,000. The BLM’s finding is that wild horse and burro herds double in size about every four years. Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators, thus the reason the herd continues to grow. The BLM states that the population of off-range (unadopted or unsold) wild horses and burros maintained in holding facilities is more than 45,000 as of May 2016.

The wild horses and burros compete with other wildlife and animals including deer, elk and cattle for the feed on these lands.

Typically for the cattle industry, BLM measures the amount of grass and feed on each range and determines and controls the number of cattle a rancher can keep grazing on the land permit. They are usually moved from summer to winter range to allow the feed to grow again.

Wild horses, on the other hand, are free to roam throughout the area, grazing virtually 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Ranchers are asking the government to apply the same regulations to the wild horses that pertain to cattle on the various ranches and open ranges.

The problem arises when there is not enough feed on certain ranges for the wild horses to survive. A video featuring Congressman Chris Stewart, (found at said it is a situation that needs to be addressed by both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans.

“We can’t just continue with what is happening here,” Stewart said in the video. “An estimate given to congress just in the last few days says it will cost 1 billion dollars to care for these animals in the next few years.”

Stewart went on to say, “We can just throw our hands up in the air and say it is just too hard, we can’t fix it, but that just seems unacceptable.”

There have been some population growth-suppression treatments introduced, but in a June 2013 report, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found that no highly effective, easily delivered, and affordable fertility-control methods were currently available to manage wild horse and burro population growth. The NAS also urged the BLM to use better research tools.

The currently available fertility control vaccine, known as porcine zona pellucida (PZP), is limited in the duration of its effectiveness – a one-year formulation (initially assumed to be 22 months) must be hand-injected into a captured wild horse.

A second formulation of PZP can be deployed via ground-darting, but is also effective for up to only one year. This dart-deployed formulation is not a viable fertility-control option for most wild horse herds because of the animals’ propensity to avoid human contact and the vast sizes of most herd ranges, which make it difficult to locate and track individual horses.

16 replies »

  1. Today, June 16, at 10:30 AM EST, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to hold a markup hearing on the 2017 Interior Appropriations bill. The bill may include, or be amended to include, language that allows the immediate transfer of wild horses and burros to state, local or federal agencies to be used as work and service animals. Wild horses and burros would immediately lose their federally protected status, making them even more vulnerable to suffering, abuse and disposal through slaughter.

    We believe this is the original Section 110 language, with a promise from BLM not to intentionally sell horses to an agency that intends to slaughter them….we all know how well that worked with Tom Davis.

    For a list of the Senate members on the hearing committee you can go to:

    You can watch the hearing at the link below.

    Markup of the FY2017 Interior Appropriations Bill and FY2017 Financial Services, General…
    United States Senate Committee on Appropriations


    • What government agencies are lobbying to use wild animals as work animals? There is surely ZERO demand for this insulting supposition, a classic ruse to solve a problem which does not exist by creating an imaginary demand. Shame on anyone who votes for this folly.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And they are deciding HOW they are going to spend OUR Tax Dollar$
      Do the Voters want them back in Congress..or not?


      When Congress sets the budgets for all the federal agencies every summer, there is no committee busier or more lobbied than House Appropriations. The committee does not just provide funding for lucrative government contracts, but is also famous for inserting last-minute riders blocking regulatory actions opposed by industry. Since the committee deals with funding for agencies that regulate a variety of issues, members attract donations from a wide spectrum of interests, including defense contractors, oil and gas companies and health services.

      Chris Stewart
      Representative (R – UT)
      Committee Assignments:
      Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky), Chair
      Rep. Nita M Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member

      Sectors Contributing to Members of this Committee, 2016 Election Cycle
      PACs Indivs
      Agribusiness $1,755,085 $755,989
      Communic/Electronics $1,023,242 $469,760
      Construction $802,465 $723,102
      Defense $2,227,177 $229,554
      Energy/Nat Resource $1,566,933 $418,361
      Finance/Insur/RealEst $2,774,750 $3,007,832
      Health $1,774,400 $910,667
      Lawyers & Lobbyists $661,084 $1,997,477
      Transportation $1,523,170 $456,704
      Misc Business $2,124,055 $1,988,249
      Labor $2,214,125 $3,000
      Ideology/Single-Issue $1,989,672 $667,574
      Other $80,250 $2,435,306

      Liked by 1 person

    • The House draft was passed yesterday and it didn’t include the offending language (Section 110).

      Click to access bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2017-interior-subcommitteedraft.pdf

      So, with a bit of luck, the Senate won’t include it, particularly when Udall sits in the Committee. However, you never now if there is a “sniper” hidden somewhere willing to tuck that language somewhere else like Burns did. But, again, if we manage to keep that offending amendment out of the bill draft passed by both chambers, chances of a new Burns amendment are low.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 24 further, That projects to be funded pursuant to a written
        25 commitment by a State government to provide an identi

        1 fied amount of money in support of the project may be
        2 carried out by the Bureau on a reimbursable basis. Appro-
        3 priations herein made shall not be available for the de-
        4 struction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros
        5 in the care of the Bureau or its contractors or for the
        6 sale of wild horses and burros that results in their destruc-
        7 tion for processing into commercial products:

        Daniel , this was at the bottom of page 7 and the top of page 8 in the link for house appropriations. What projects is this about I wonder. Do you knew ? These sentences were just in with other subjects .


      • Hi Barbara,

        Don’t worry about that. It is not related at all to wild horses; it is another unrelated provision that is actually included in all other past appropriations, e.g. last year’s one:

        Click to access PLAW-114publ113.pdf

        Page 129 STAT. 2528

        «Provided further, That projects to be funded pursuant to a written
        commitment by a State government to provide an identified amount
        of money in support of the project may be carried out by the
        Bureau on a reimbursable basis»

        Although it might give the impression that it is related to wild horses, it isn’t. They just put up several provisions together in the last “catch all” section of the title. Specifically, this is just a financial provision directing BLM to pay state monetary obligatons (debts, bills, contracts), with the condition that the state must later repay BLM that money. It is some sort of money lending / transfer.


  2. What they won’t tell you is that many AML’s are set below 150 animals, the MINIMUM number required to maintain a genetically healthy herd. Some say that that number should consist of breeding age adults, but even if you want to be conservative, each of the 165 remaining HMA’s (please correct me if the number of HMA’s has changed) should be able to accommodate about 162 horses under Congress’s set limit. Therefore, many, if not, the majority of these AML’s are not appropriate.


  3. AMLs are NOT the criteria to be used. This has been completely overlooked.
    Karen Sussman talked this about when she was interviewed on Wild Horse & Burro Radio Show in April.

    There is and never has been any proof that damage to the range is caused by the Wild Horses and/or Burros
    There is NO monitoring to prove otherwise. A few pictures (with no verifiable locations or dates) do not constitute evidence.
    Guest will be: Karen Sussman, President of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB).


    IBLA 89-285, 89-286 Decided October 16, 1990
    Appeals from decisions of the State Director, Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, approving final plans for removal of excess wild horses in the Carson City, Battle Mountain, and Winnemucca Districts,
    Nevada, Bureau of Land Management. NV 03337 and NV N6-


  4. Also stated in the NAS Study:


    FINDING: How AMLs are established, monitored, and adjusted is not transparent to
    stakeholders, supported by scientific information, or amenable to adaptation with new
    information and environmental and social change.

    AMLs are a focal point of controversy between BLM and the public. It is therefore
    necessary to develop and maintain standards for transparency, quality, and equity in AML establishment, adjustment, and monitoring.

    Research suggests that transparency is an important contributor to the development of trust between agencies and stakeholders. The public should be able to understand the methods used and how they are implemented and should be able to access the data used to make decisions.


  5. Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program:
    A Way Forward
    National Academy of Science

    Horse and burro management and control strategies cannot be based on biological or cost considerations alone; management should engage interested and affected parties and also be responsive to public attitudes and preferences. Three decades ago, the National Research Council reported that public opinion was the major reason that the Wild Horse and Burro Program existed and public opinion was a primary indicator of management success (NRC, 1982). The same holds true today.

    This report reviews the science that underpins the Bureau of Land Management’s oversight of free-ranging horses and burros on federal public lands in the western United States. The social impacts on the American public of destroying these Wild Horse Herd populations is overwhelmingly given the strong support the American public has to protect, preserve and view Wild Horses living naturally on protected public lands


  6. “The WFRHBA says that before removing wild horses and burros, a determination must be made that there is an overpopulation…”

    “WFRHBA authorizes only limited interference with wild horses and burros in herd areas where they were living in 1971. Nothing about removing wild horses and burros from herd areas where they lived in 1971 to allow multiple use such as cattle grazing, recreation for off road vehicles, mining or development.”

    “But 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.”

    “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.”


  7. “The test as to appropriate wild horse population levels is whether such levels will achieve and maintain a thriving ecological balance on the public lands. Nowhere in the law or regulations is the BLM required to maintain any specific number of animals or to maintain populations in the number of animals existing at any particular time Dahl v. Clark, supra, at 595. A determination that removal is warranted must be based on research and analysis, and on monitoring programs, which include studies of grazing utilization, trends in range conditions, actual use, and climactic factors”. Michael Blake, supra: Animal Protection Institute of America 109 IBLA 112, 120 (1989); see Craig C. Downer, 111 IBLA 339 (1989)


  8. A bit more about AML:

    As the district court explained in Dahl v. Clark, the test as to appropriate wild horse and burro population levels is whether such levels will achieve and maintain a thriving, ecological balance on the public lands. Nowhere in the law or regulations is the BLM required to maintain any specific numbers of animals or to maintain populations in the numbers of animals existing at any particular time. The only law that requires the BLM to maintain populations is the 1971 Congressional law. The law must be followed and the law states, “that wild free-roaming wild horses [and burros] are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural ecosystem of the public lands”.

    Thus, an AML established purely for BLM administrative reasons because it was the level of the wild horse and/or burro use at a particular point in time cannot be justified under statute. Where range studies or other quantifiable data have identified a need to begin monitoring studies with a specific number of wild horse [or burros] and those studies demonstrate that ONLY by reducing the number of wild horses or burros will a specific resource problem be corrected, the specified number of animals may be used.

    Additionally, the Secretary’s 1981 letter indicated that levels of wild horse [and burro] use were established by BLM only for administrative convenience, i.e. the absence of adequate “vegetation production data” to establish levels other than at current numbers, presumably because prior “one-point-in-time” vegetation inventory had been discredited.

    Although BLM is required to manage the public land, establishing appropriate levels [AML] of wild horse [and/or burro] use without adequate and current information to make the decision is illegal. Under section 3(b) of the Act, the term AML has a very particular meaning in the context of the actions required to be taken to remove wild horses [and/or burros] from the public range. It is synonymous with restoring the range to a thriving natural ecological balance and protecting the range from deterioration. Thus, the statute simply does not authorize the removal of more than the excess number of wild horses [and/or burros].

    Accordingly, the court concluded that section 3(b) of the Act does not authorize the removal of wild horses [or burros] in order to achieve an AML which has been established for administrative reasons, rather than in terms of the optimum number which results in a thriving natural ecological balance and avoids deterioration of the range. The AML’s were originally established (and this admitted to by BLM) for administrative convenience, rather than based on a determination of the optimum number of wild horses and/or burros that would maintain the range in a thriving natural ecological balance. There is no evidence that BLM has engaged in any current range assessments adequate to allow BLM to conclude that removing ONLY the proposed number of Wild Horses from these HMAs would achieve that optimum number and return and maintain the range to its natural ecological balance.


Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.