Horse News

Speak Up Against BLM’s Plans to Decimate Wyoming’s Red Desert Wild Horse Herds

by Carol Walker as published on Wild Hoofbeats

“The BLM should raise the Appropriate Management Level for the Red Desert Complex wild horse populations…”

Red Desert Wild Horses at Risk of Removal and Slaughter

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning a massive roundup and removal of 2,096 horses, or 80% of the 2,620 horses in the Red Desert Complex that includes Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek, and Stewart Creek Herd Management Areas.  BLM wants to end up with a  low Appropriate Management Level of only 524 wild horses on 753,000 acres of public land.

Please also consider that any horses currently in short and long term holding, as well as any removed from their homes on public lands this year will be in jeopardy of being sold without limitation and may end up at slaughter if the Trump Budget is passed.

There is no question that these horses will be better off left on the range. Not only will they continue to live out their lives free with their families as wild horses should, but they will not become a further burden on taxpayers who are paying to warehouse 45,000 wild horses currently. This roundup is senseless, cruel, and may result ultimately in the deaths of thousands of these wild horses.

Please write a letter to the BLM asking them to NOT roundup and remove over 2000 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex. If they need to control the numbers on the range, there are methods of birth control that can be used, but only if the herd size is in the genetically viable range of 150-200 adult wild horses. The Bureau of Land Management is accepting comments on a revised Environmental Assessment for a proposed helicopter roundup and removal of most of the wild horses living in Wyoming’s Red Desert Complex despite the thousands of public comments made on this plan in 2015 calling for the more humane method of bait trapping be used if horses were to be removed.

In order to reach the low Appropriate Management Level of 524 wild horses, the Proposed Action would remove approximately 80% of the horses, or about 2,096 horses, in the Complex – about 1,518 horses within the HMAs and 578 horses outside of the HMAs.  If any mares older than one year old are released back into the HMAs, they would be treated with PZP. This would reduce the size of the herds in the complex to dangerously low numbers, especially if the aerial census counts performed by the BLM which use outdated statistical models to “estimate” and pad herd numbers are wrong. Three out of five of these herds would be reduced to numbers below those needed to maintain genetic viability.

The BLM should raise the Appropriate Management Level for the Red Desert Complex wild horse populations. The BLM must also fairly allocate range resources to ensure that wildlife – including wild horses – have a fair share of the forage on our public lands, rather than giving exorbitant resources to the privately owned cattle and sheep operations. 7-11 times as much forage is allocated to privately owned livestock over wild horses. These numbers should be changed – decrease livestock grazing in these wild horse management areas by retiring grazing leases.


Please make your comments in your own words – the online form letters are only counted as one – so you need to write your own comments.

Please send them in by June 5 by email or mail to the addresses below:

Comments may be emailed to

Please include “Red Desert Gather EA Comments” in the subject line.


Tim Novotny
BLM Rawlins Field Office
1300 N. 3rd Street
Rawlins, WY 82301
Clay Stott
BLM Lander Field Office
1335 Main Street
Lander, Wyoming 82520

13 replies »

  1. This photo shows three appaloosas – now rare in our wild herds and their genetics, so these especially should NOT be removed.

    This area also provides one of the strongest private wild horse tourism venues in the U.S. and Wyoming’s economy needs all the help it can get!

    It’s also clear the roundup-removal-warehousing model is by FAR the most expensive and least sustainable management course the BLM could choose to pursue. In this era of cutting agency budgets, including a proposed $10M cut to the BLM, this policy makes no sense or cents. A few contractors and lessees get rich while taxpayers foot the bill. On-range management is proven effective and much more cost-effective but the BLM only allocates around 1% of its budget pursuing this option. Why?


  2. The BLM needs to be stopped ! They are out of control with there roundups. Running them to extreme lengths some to exhaustion and even death. Then ripped apart from there bands they cannot get to shelter and crowded conditions young foals taken from there mothers. Our Government should be ashamed for letting such an act of cruelty happen to these amazing horse’s over and over again. Thete are ways of birth control methods they can humanly use but don’t. There suffering needs to stop our Government needs to listen to the voices of the people and advocates and not to the shady corrupt BLM


  3. Please say NO !! To reducing the Wild Horse population in Wyoming!! These herds should be left to graze and end the leases for privately owned cattle to roam. The use of birth control would help the population from growing.


  4. Leave these animals alone Thats why we go to see the west is for the wild horses. There’s no need to kill them introduce the cycle of life back there like the wolves and other large game not the cow ranchers


  5. – THE HORSE –

    Where in this wide world can man find
    nobility without pride, friendship without
    envy or beauty without vanity? Here,
    where grace is laced with muscle, and
    strength by gentleness confined.
    He serves without servility; he has
    fought without enmity. There is nothing
    so powerful, nothing less violent, there
    is so quick, nothing more patient.
    All our history, our past has been borne
    on his back. The past is his industry;
    we are his heirs, he our inheritance.

    I changed the words a little. This was
    written for the Horse of the Year Show by

    Of course I would include in this all horses,
    donkeys, mules & every beast of
    burden from the beginning of time!!!


  6. This is ridiculous. We should never have gotten so involved in the mustangs’ lives. They’ve been doing just fine on their own for a long time now. All we’ve done is hurt them and spent millions and millions while doing it. It would be one thing if the herd numbers were out of control, but that is not the case, and isn’t likely to ever be. LEAVE THE MUSTANGS ALONE. Stop pretending to “help” them. BLM is helping no one – not the mustangs and not the taxpayers. If this keeps up, America will lose one of its most precious symbols of freedom – the wild mustangs.


  7. Leave the horses alone!
    Let them live out there lives free!
    I am sure President Trump does not know what is happening to these horses!


    • Linda, do you have links to sources showing DJT doesn’t know what is happening to our wild horses? Everything I see indicates something quite different, and his proposed budget means certain death for thousands of them, and is an intentional part of the plan.


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