Horse News

BLM’s Instruction Memorandum to transfer wild horses & burros to federal, state and local government agencies to use as work animals

When these “working” wild horses & burros “retire,” will they end up in the slaughter pipeline?  Will there be little oversight of the final disposition of these transferred wild horses and burros?

Source:  BLM

Transfer of Excess Wild Horses and Burros to Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies for Use as Work Animals.

IM 2018-052
Instruction Memorandum


April 9, 218

In Reply Refer To:
4750 (260) P

Instruction Memorandum No. 2018-052
Expires: 09/30/2021

To:        All Field Officials

From:        Assistant Director, Resources and Planning

Subject:    Transfer of Excess Wild Horses and Burros to Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies for Use as Work Animals.

Program Area:  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program (WH&B)

Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) establishes and outlines policy for exercising the authority conferred by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (HUMANE TRANSFER OF EXCESS ANIMALS SEC. 116) to transfer excess wild horses and burros currently in holding to other federal, state, and local government agencies for use as work animals.  The intent of this IM is to provide guidance on how the BLM should process requests from federal, state, and local government agencies to transfer excess wild horses and burros to their agencies.

Policy/Action:  When processing a transfer request from federal, state, or local government agencies, the BLM should implement the following steps:

  1. Upon being contacted by a federal, state and/or local government agency, the BLM Office of Jurisdiction (OOJ), is defined as either a state/district/field office or off-range corral, asks the requesting government agency to provide the following information in writing on official agency letterhead:
    1. Requesting agency’s name, address, email address, phone number, and primary point of contact.
    2. Address of the animals’ permanent location and description of the facility in which the animal(s) will be housed after the transfer, including, but not limited to, corral and shelter dimensions and materials.
    3. List age, species, sex, and number of animals requested and any special needs or concerns that should be considered if the BLM OOJ is asked to select the animal(s).
    4. Whether requesting trained (halter or saddle started) or untrained animals.
    5. Description of the type of work for which the animal(s) will be used by the federal, state, or local government agency.
    6. Statement certifying that the agency will not:  (i) destroy the animal(s) in a way that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products; (ii) sell or otherwise transfer the animal(s) in a way that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products; or (iii) euthanize the animal(s) except upon the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian, in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age.
    7. Arrange a date that the federal, state, or local government agency will select and pick up the animal(s) from the approved BLM location.  The selection and pick-up date is tentative until approved and coordinated by OOJ.  If an agency requests the BLM OOJ select the animals for the agency, they only need to provide a pick-up date.
  2. If the BLM approves a federal, state, and/or local government agency’s request, the BLM OOJ shall identify animals available for selection according to the agency’s request and engage the National Shipping Coordinator for assistance, if needed.
  3. The BLM OOJ shall contact the Wild Horse and Burro Program System (WHBPS) User Representative with the requesting agency’s information.  The WHBPS User Representative will then create necessary fields in WHBPS in preparation for the transfer.
  4. The BLM OOJ shall enter the appropriate information on each transferred animal into WHBPS.  The Animal Transfer Release Letter (Attachment 1) will be generated by WHBPS upon completion of data entry by BLM OOJ.
  5. BLM OOJ shall provide the Animal Transfer Release Letter to the agency at time of pick-up.
  6. The WHBPS User Representative will confirm the data entry has been completed correctly.
  7. The WHBPS will maintain the official record which includes the agency name, date of transfer and originating office for animals transferred to agencies.

Timeframe:  This IM and the policy set forth herein is effective immediately.

Budget Impact:  Based on FY 2017 data, cost savings of nearly $1,900 annually is achieved for each excess animal placed by transfer to federal, state, or local government agencies and not maintained at the BLM’s expense in off-range corrals.

Background:  Congress authorized the BLM to transfer excess wild horses and burros that have been removed from the public lands to federal, state, and local government agencies for use as work animals in Division G, Title I, Section 116 (HUMANE TRANSFER OF EXCESS ANIMALS) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, which states:  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior may transfer excess wild horses or burros that have been removed from the public lands to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals:  Provided, That the Secretary may make any such transfer immediately upon request of such Federal, State, or local government agency: Provided further, That any excess animal transferred under this provision shall lose its status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined in the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act: Provided further, That any Federal, State, or local government agency receiving excess wild horses or burros as authorized in this section shall not: destroy the horses or burros in a way that results in their destruction into commercial products; sell or otherwise transfer the horses or burros in a way that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products; or euthanize the horses or burros except upon the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian, in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected:  Manual Section 1203 – The Delegation of Authority will be updated for state directors to authorize the transfer of excess wild horses or burros that have been removed from the public lands to other federal, state, and local government agencies for use as work animals.  State directors may re-delegate that authority to the lowest organizational level possible in accordance with the directives in Manual Section 1203.

This IM supersedes the Adoption of Wild Horses and Burros Handbook, H 4750-2, Chapter 2 – General Adoption Requirements and Procedures, Section A – 3 (Adoption Application – Adoptions to Other Federal Agencies, States, Counties and Cities).

Coordination:  The transfer process shall be coordinated with the facility managers, WHB specialists, WHB Washington Office, and Program staff.

Contact:  Questions concerning this policy should be directed to Holle’ Waddell, Branch Chief, Wild Horse and Burro Program Off-Range at (405) 579-1860 or by email at

2 Attachments:
1 – Animal Transfer Release Letter Example (1p)
2 – Animal Transfer Release Letter Template (1p)

Signed by:                    Authenticated by:
Kristin Bail                    Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                Division of IT Policy and Planning,WO-870
Resources and Planning

17 replies »

    • As I read this, Congress (including both the House and Senate) passed this in 2017, so it seems pretty late to make any useful complaints.

      It is interesting I can’t get either of the example letter links to work in the BLM press release. Can anyone open these to see what they say?


  1. Ok so Nevada is screaming they cannot do anything with their horses already so this delusional proposition is to remove their WILD HORSE protections while stating they cannot be slaughtered so that States can then Individually argue they do not have the money or resources and they are unwanted. So Congress needs to wake up, unless there are proven requests for this many horses as Government work animals there’s something fishy about this idea. So then the States cannot destroy them via slaughter however they will make their own laws saying they can because it’s now a burden to them. We are really fighting a particularly strange battle, so it means Doinks involved, a plan this utterly complex and stupid requires ProSlaughter nuts. They figure they will break them into States then filter them down to just a few horses that survive per State. Remember there’s a law in Illinois banning sales to HORSE SLAUGHTER period and the Illinois State Park horses were shipped illegally to slaughter. So are they going to retire Government vehicles and have them all ride horses? Otherwise where are these creatures supposed to Go to Work?????


  2. This is just adding another shell to the shell game. Guess who pay sfor “federal, state, or local government?” WE DO. There is no savings here, only more costs and more shifting them around while still charging taxpayers. This $1900 surely must not account for costs of roundups, shipping, “processing,” warehousing, any training, any sales documents, any followup monitoring, or any returns of wild animals not fit for “work.” I further challenge anyone to provide evidence of any significant DEMAND for work animals from the BLM… that isn’t already being met by animals being trained by criminals and offered up for adoptions. FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    “Budget Impact: Based on FY 2017 data, cost savings of nearly $1,900 annually is achieved for each excess animal placed by transfer to federal, state, or local government agencies and not maintained at the BLM’s expense in off-range corrals.”


    • Agree plus where do we think any wild horses that have been sent to Boarder Patrol etc eventually go? Do these “other” government agencies then retire all those horses to a nice home or do they go to slaughter?

      From memory, a few years ago wasn’t it discovered that some (wild) horses that had been trained for work (boarder patrol or ?) were sent to slaughter and it was discovered and documented. Thinking this was in Texas.


  3. Hit the phones and faxes and don’t let up. The legislators that are behind this are already on their way out. Many of them couldn’t even face their own constituents at town hall meetings.

    A National Injustice: The Federal Government’s Systematic Removal and Eradication of an American Icon

    Under NEPA, any major federal action that significantly affects the quality of the human environment requires preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS).[25] Implementing regulations require any government agency considering a proposed action that falls within NEPA to first determine if the action is one that will normally require preparation of an EIS.[26] Agencies are tasked with ensuring that they utilize “high quality” information and making environmental information “available to public officials and citizens before decisions are made and before actions are taken.”[27] The agency can avoid issuing an EIS by issuing a finding of no significant impact only if the agency took a “hard look” at the problem and found the potential environmental impact to be insignificant.[28] The BLM has taken advantage of the statutory structure by assessing individual gathers separately, permitting the agency to issue a finding of no significant impact and avoid conducting an EIS.[29] NEPA’s implementing regulations also require the BLM to consider the cumulative impact of its actions.[30] However, there is no documented instance of the BLM assessing the cumulative impact of multiple gathers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know Im getting old, but I cant quite understand what to get a hold of in order to make a call. My US Senators dont give a hoot about wild horses or my opinions, but I generally give them anyway. Without really understanding this post, me calling to complain doesnt seem very useful. Id rather just scream at them anyway over BLM and every corrupt, welfare-rancher compact they have made. Im open to suggestions, helpful ones.


    • Let’s face it … the only persons that have worked for 47 plus years for the extinction of wild horses and burros are those with a financial interest.


  5. So the BLM will save $1,900.00 annually for each horse sent “away”. The receiving parties have a choice of either trained or untrained. What reason would any of these parties have for selecting an untrained wild horse? The rescues that I donate to figure they spend $1,000.00 per horse for medical checks, vaccinations, teeth, hooves, etc in order to get them ready for adoption – and these horses certainly would require some training for “work! So WHO will be paying for THESE horses in order to ready them for “work”? If its us, well, doesnt end up being much of a savings!! AND every one of these horses loses their wild status – which is supposed to protect them from slaughter. Supposed to!
    Just more of the same BLM bs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A far better and more cost-effective recommendation

    Reintroduce the wild horses & burros that are now in BLM off range facilities back to their historic ranges, where they can graze for free. When Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971 (16 U.S.C. §§ 1331–1340), the wild horses & burros were to be protected in their historic herd areas. In 1971, wild horses & burros occupied 53.8 million acres managed by the BLM, but the BLM now only allows wild horses & burros on half that original range area: on only 26.9 million acres. We recommend the reintroduction of wild horses & burros that are in BLM off range facilities back to their historic herd areas, and that the BLM use on-the-range management.


  7. From
    Photojournalist – Journalist

    Wild Horses, Bureau of Land Management Credibility, Cover Up, and Criminality

    Well, let’s check their history just within the past 8 months, well referenced via G.A.O. Reports (i.e. Government Accountability Office), and stick with the year 2015.
    Here we find the Government Accountability Office investigating or doing research on BLM employee’s misrepresenting situations quite often, not only in the Wild Horse and Burro Program but many energy situations – oil, gas, coal, solar, with mining, ranching / grazing permits, and recreational situations – it almost appears to be the Devil’s Playground in regard to our government, our taxpayer dollars, and exemplified by neither Oversight or Regulatory situations that could stop such activity . . .
    The summaries of BLM activity following found within GAO Reports – all within in 2015
    1. BLM employees outright caught in lies about situations on Public Lands, via Congressional Hearings and responses to Senator’s and Congressmen alike . . . as well as misrepresenting statistics, or using false statistics beneficial for research or budgetary concerns only, with no apparent resolution to the false representations of facts, which continues to cost taxpayers in the millions of dollars yearly;
    2. Missing pertinent application or permit paperwork or the total disregard of the regulatory or process guidelines for qualifications, in particular friends of friends motives of hiring private contractors, same church groups, et al;
    3. Essential paperwork being destroyed – ooops accidentally of course and by-golly with a shredder most often (gee wiz those damn shredders) it’s not the shredder it’s the person at the button – but entire packages of legal documents as well as other research pertinent to resolution of projects – gone and supposedly shredded accidentally;
    4. Inappropriate Bonds set underestimating procurement and monetary income for leasing of Public Lands to commercial businesses, or such items as Clean-up Bonds, etc., totally ignored and often missing from government paperwork, with no money – or money that mysteriously has disappeared from the Bond Payment Accounts;
    5. Inappropriate reports filed, by BLM employees, to cover up the misuse of America’s Public lands by commercial corporate and grazing situations, and mostly cattle, oil, and mining situations that had devastated or destroyed Public Lands, and Reports Filed, then lost or shredded accidentally—so the stories go to investigative panels;
    6. Regulatory standards and reports falsified continuously – found via investigators and other office personnel;
    7. Budgets further falsified with misinformation, lack of information, or information meant to cover up criminal or negligent activity, continually – also private contractor applications, vouchers, payment information, and inventory often lost or falsified, helicopter pilots found ineligible and documents falsified to make eligible, and on and on;
    8. Rangeland studies fail to include cattle, their habits and destructive manners to specific rangelands, with falsified cattle-counts abundant, or cattle placed onto Public lands with no Permits or paperwork showing them as counted or even permitted to graze on Public Lands – overage of cattle on Public Lands not reported, or covered up within weekly and monthly reports;
    9. False and outright fake Environmental Assessments, ironically left unsigned which means the situation cannot move forward legally, but projects go forward in abundance, with legal documents and permits simply ignored, then BLM employees pass off the questions as “Did Not Know” or “. . . Was not aware”;
    10. Missing Wild Horses from BLM Inventory sheets (right now estimated costing taxpayers in excess of $4.2 million in funds for capture paid to contractors, even though no horses to show for it – obvious is obvious, and yet there will be a BLM employee right there saying you are not seeing what your seeing – yes, a conundrum of irresponsibility and theft, and within the past two years;

    And the list goes on and on — at an estimated 4,984 + occasions this year alone of all sorts of questionable activities done by BLM Employees. .

    Liked by 1 person

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