10 Things You Should Know about Wild Horses & Burros AND the Bureau of Land Management

by Alicia Bayer as published on the Inquisitor

“Why stop at 10, there is so much, much more love to share about the BLM and their gross mismanagement of our wild horses and burros, so much more.!   We are not on board with 100% of what is written here but there are several poignant points worth noting.” ~ R.T.

“…the agency sold 1,794 wild horses for $10 each to a Colorado rancher who sent them to slaughter”

There has been a lot of frenzy about the news that the Bureau of Land Management’s advisory board voted to recommend euthanizing 45,000 wild horses. Rumors and contradictions have been flying since the announcement. Here are 10 things you should know about the issue.

1. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) itself did not vote to euthanize the horses. Its advisory board, the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, made the controversial decision. As the Inquisitr reported Wednesday, this board voted to recommend euthanizing the horses. At that time, the BLM had not commented on whether it would take their advice.

2. The BLM has now said that they will not euthanize the horses. WTTW reports that the bureau usually takes several months to respond to their advisory board’s recommendations, but they reacted quickly this time in response to the public uproar.

“The BLM will not euthanize or sell without limitation any healthy animals,” BLM spokesman Jason Lutterman told the press. “We’re going to continue caring for and seeking good homes for the un-adopted animals in our off-range corrals and pastures.”

3. The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (Public Law 92-195) put the Bureau of Land Management in charge of ensuring “the protection, management, and control of wild free- roaming horses and burros on public lands.”

“That Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene.”

The act further says that they must be “protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”

4. According to the act, wild horses may be removed if they are old, sick, or lame and destroyed in the most humane manner possible. Capture of excess wild horses is allowed under the act, provided there are suitable adoptions for them where they can be provided with adequate care. No more than four wild horses are to be adopted by any one individual in a year unless the person can prove that he or she can properly care for more. The act further says that if there are excess wild horses that cannot be adopted, they should “be destroyed in the most humane and cost efficient manner possible.”

5. The BLM has been in trouble for their treatment of wild horses in the past. The Washington Times reported in 2015 that the agency sold 1,794 wild horses for $10 each to a Colorado rancher who sent them to slaughter. An investigation revealed that the bureau did not follow their own rules to protect the wild horses, including limiting the number sold to each individual and ensuring that they were going to good homes and not to slaughter. (MORE)


Reports are also rampant of abuse of the horses during roundups and in their holding facilities. The Humane Society reports that they have witnessed abuses such as a BLM contractor who appeared to hogtie and leave a lost foal in the path of stampeding mustangs, for instance. The BLM publicly admitted to some abuses on its own website, such as using electrical prods on horses. There are also many concerns about the use of helicopters to round up wild horses and burros and the fact that long runs often permanently separate foals from their mothers.

6. Wild horses are allegedly not native to the United States, but neither are cattle. Proponents of euthanizing the horses are quick to point out that wild horses were brought to the United States by the Spanish in the 16th century and are not native to America. However, the lands where wild horses are being removed are often being used for grazing cattle, which are not native either.

Nature World News reports that the species that’s currently the most damaging to our ecosystems is cattle and that 41 percent of all land in the United States is now grazed by livestock.

“Livestock are one of the main drivers of ecological degradation globally, and the crisis is only becoming worse. Grazing has a place in just about every agricultural system, but introducing large numbers of grass-munching cattle into areas where cows were not previously found is rapidly wreaking havoc on native ecosystems – so much so that the practice can now be characterized as an ‘invasive species.’”

One Green Planet reports that cattle now outnumber wild horses 50 to one.

7. Fracking and other forms of Big Energy are also driving forces behind the removal of wild horses and the loss of resources that all wild animals depend on.

“It is very clear that the energy frontier has a significant impact on wild herds, as well as all other interests on western public land,” says Wild Horse Education.

They point out that energy projects are given special status and are exempt from many regulations on public land, and that processing like fracking require massive amounts of water in areas that are plagued with drought as it is.

8. Wild horses have been used to rehabilitate prison inmates since 1986 through the Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP). The program, which began in Colorado, now runs in five states. WHIP matches up wild horses and burros with inmates to receive “personal and extensive training as part of an inmate rehabilitative program.”

9. Some of these trained horses now work for the border patrol. The BLM sells some of the trained horses to work the Canadian and Mexican borders.

“All of our mustangs can move up a trail at a good pace. ATV’s can’t get up there. Trucks can’t get up there.” said U.S. Border Patrol ranger Bobby Traweek on the BLM website.

The bureau also points out that not only are the horses excellent at working the rough terrain and handling dangerous situations, but they cost the Border Patrol half of what they’re used to paying for trained horses.

10. Wild horses and burros are available for adoption, starting at only $125 each.

Click (HERE) to visit original article


  1. Natural Resource Committee hearing 9-14-16 Rep. Polis defending wh’s again and BLM lying about the population again. Thanks to Karen Sussman for posting


    • Although he likely gets his data from Bolstad et al, Kornze made a clear violation of title 18 – making a fraudulent statement and/or concealing information in a government document. Punishment is monetary fine and imprisonment.
      There are NOT 70,000 wild horses on the range today and the BLM has no proof of that number.
      Also disgusting that even the head of BLM didn’t even mention wild burros!!!

      Title 18 (18 U.S.C. § 1001). Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial 18 U.S. Code § 1519 – Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal
      investigations Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)
      US Code Per the US Department of Justice, the purpose of Section 1001 is “to protect the authorized functions of governmental departments and agencies from the perversion which might result from” concealment of material facts and from false material representations.


  2. It is worth reminding here that ALL our remaining wild horses and burros managed by the BLM exist on only 11 percent of BLM lands (and a look at any HA to HMA map will show these have been continuously decreased and emptied in past decades).

    “Since that time, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency charged with protecting wild horses and burros, has removed nearly 300,000 of these animals from their homes on our western public lands, and has “zeroed out” wild horses and burros from over 20 million acres of public land designated by Congress as habitat for these animals. The BLM, beholden to the livestock industry, removes wild horses and burros from public lands to make room for taxpayer-subsidized livestock grazing. Although wild horses and burros are restricted to just 11 percent of BLM lands, the agency routinely allocates the majority of forage resources in designated herd management areas to private livestock instead of federally-protected wild horses and burros. The BLM seeks to reduce the wild horse and burro population down to a number that is lower than the estimated population that existed in 1971, when Congress found that the animals were ‘fast disappearing.'”


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shame shame shame Rep Polis…who gets a Violation of Data protection laws and dissemination. While he, along with BLM gets the well deserved blame, both State and Federal Wildlife agencies are equally responsible. By law they are required to consult with BLM, In addition the Fed Fish and Wildlife denied the petition to include wild horses to the federally protected list…even though herds were protected in 1971, three years before the 1973 ESA. Meanwhile CA could re wild our own horse herds…its provided by state law: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/SSC/Mammals.


  4. I’d love to adopt one but I don’t have the room for one to run, plus I prefer that they be wild. That’s why I’d love for there to be a sactuary(ies) that the public could contribute to. $125 is peanuts to protect a national treasure. This is why I can’t understand the resistance to Madeleine Pickens’ ranch, and I wish there were more like her.


  5. How can the BLM be stopped? By proving their fraud – including their fraudulent wild horse and burro populations. Many people are already aware of the BLM’s fraudulent ANNUAL herd increases such as the Wheeler Pass herd area of 548% and the Big Sandy herd area increase of 202% and the Chemehuevi herd area increase of 240% and the Gold Field herd area increase of 186% but the one that takes the cake is the Lava Beds herd area increase of 700% followed in a few years by another annual increase of 775%!

    As incredible as these above counterfeit increases might be, perhaps the most despicable and obvious piece of evidence proving BLM’s fraud is the BLM chart for the Feb. 19, 2010 Wild Burro Gather in the Black Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) in northwestern Arizona. BLM states the following:

    175 Estimated pre-gather population
    84 Number of animals (burros) gathered
    80 Number of animals (burros) removed
    2 Number of animals (burros) that died
    635 Estimated post-gather population


    Because population estimates drive nearly all management decisions pertaining to wild horses and burros, accuracy is important. Given the demand for reliable information on which to base management decisions, wild horse and burro managers need standardized, tested, scientifically defensible, and credible population estimates for wild horse and burro herds. Even the NAS report stated, “KEY FINDINGS: Management of free-ranging horses and burros is NOT based on rigorous population-monitoring procedures.”


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