Something is Awry in Oregon

photo:  Protect the Harvest


Guest opinion by Bonnie Kohleriter

The Oregon Wild Horse and Burro Program seems to have gone afoul with abuse of America’s wild horses and burros, with lies and mismanagement.  It is time to express your concerns to Congressman Blumenauer, who is a co-chair of the Animal Caucus in Congress, and to Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon.


A few years ago the BLM quietly negotiated a “deal,” a so called “closed loop system,” wherein wild horses would be bait trapped and PZPed to stabilize the population and wherein 20 foals would be gathered yearly for training and adoption in a large taxpayer funded covered arena.  Initially, 1,000 horses were rounded up and removed with 100 to 250 remaining as Appropriate Management Level (AML).

Apparently, that was not good enough for the BLM.  The BLM sought to illegally remove all of the horses and put back only 100, the low AML, sex ratioed 60-40 and PZPed.  Then the BLM sought to remove 20 foals yearly for training and adoption, but oops, 20 would not to be available from Beatys Butte.  Hoping nobody would notice, the BLM would bring in foals from the outside to be trained and adopted jumping on their backs at age 1 and 2 to do cow work on the snow and icy range, even though their bones are not fused. Forget the closed loop system.  The ugly Medusa head rises.


Last year Rob Sharpe, the State Lead for Oregon, sold 12, two year old fillies in the remote Bend, Oregon corral to Dave Duquette and his calloused money grubbing dudes.  Dave, as we know, was the sidekick of Sue Wallis, now deceased, who tried to reopen slaughter houses in the United States.  Dave, who now works for Forrest Lucas’ Protect the Harvest, took the 12, two year old fillies and had them spayed by Leon Pielstick.

Following this, they sent them to Reno to be sold for training and showing in the 2018 Snaffle Bit Futurity Event titled “First Annual Wild Spayed Filly Futurity” with a purse of $25,000.  The Snaffle Bit Futurity Event has been going on for some 30 years with mainly quarter horses…stallions, geldings, mares.  So why now do entries have to be spayed?  Laura Norman on the organizing committee explained “They (?) don’t want the wild horses to go home and be bred.  There are already too many of them. If you want a wild horse, adopt one.”

So private horse owners can’t make their own decision to breed or not to breed.  Risk the health and the well-being of these fillies who are placed in this event, not to mention their bones also are not yet fused, to have a person on their backs doing the expected twists and turns.  And, of course, there are not too many quarter horses.  We don’t have to dictate to spay them and tell their private owners to breed or not to breed.

Forest Lucas’s money is behind this Wild Spayed Filly event.  Forrest says he hates “liars” and he is about “tradition.”

Lie Number One: Forrest, wild or domestic horses aren’t traditionally spayed unless they have a tumor or behavior issue.  Your promotion of spaying isn’t tradition.

Lie Number Two: Forrest, you did not get your way in Congress last year when you pushed for slaughter of wild horses.  Now you are pushing for sterilization and for mass extinction.  You are using your money in the Snaffle Bit Futurity to promote spaying for extinction so that the ranchers on our public lands have the forage and not the wild horses.  This move on your part is not about private breeding.  The Medusa head rises again.


The Oregon BLM wants to have a “control” group and a “studied” group.  The BLM geneticist says a “minimum” of 150-200 wild horses with 150 effective breeding animals is needed in a herd to have sufficient genetic diversity and variation for its continual health to prevent a lack of fecundity, abnormalities and collapse.  Warm Springs has an AML of 96-178 wild horses. Its low AML which is sought is already below acceptable genetic numbers.

In its last genetic evaluation in 2010 diversity had declined and a number of variants were at risk of loss.  The Oregon BLM through removals, sterilization and contraception wants to keep its number at 96. Then it wants to have 50 stallions and 50 mares but 24-38 will be sterilized no longer contributing to its gene pool.

So, in actuality, you have 50 stallions and 16 effective breeding animals or a low AML of 66, far short of the minimally recommended number for healthy horses.  Foals would be born.  Let’s say half colt and half filly and half will die.  Now you have 54 stallions and 20 mares.  With the disparity between the sexes the foals will likely be bred and will have difficulty carrying and caring for the offspring.  This part of the study does not appear on the USGS agenda and after all, it is done after 2.5 years.

The Oregon BLM speaks again and again in this document about “thriving, natural, ecological balance.”  However, let’s be clear, with this approach the wild horses will not be thriving or healthy as a herd.  Then the livestock on the range are not natural.  And the horses with 2424 AUMs and the livestock with 19,392 AUMs on 456,855 acres is certainly not balanced.  So cut the deceit with your “thriving, natural ecological balance.”  The Medusa head rises again.

In this EA, it states the BLM has an overall allowable number (AML) of 27,000, but currently has 82,000 on the range.  This is questionable when 50- 500% growth rates year to year are recorded.  This 27,000 is not historically authenticated and it is not based on scientific rangeland evaluation, according to the National Academy of Science.  At 27,000 AML, if achieved, 120 of the 151 horse herds and 30 of the 33 burro herds will have numbers below 150, most far below 150, severely risking sustainability over time.

It is time to redo the Land Use Plans (LUPs) and the Resource Management Plans (RMPs) to increase the number of the allowable wild horses and burros on the 27 million acres where the animals are only allowed to be and to decrease the number of allowable privately owned livestock in those acres.

The BLM needs to get honest if it is truly to have healthy horses on healthy rangelands and to forget sterilization, slaughter and euthanasia for those herds where their numbers are already at risk for continuance.  It is worthwhile to acknowledge livestock are on 238 million acres of our public land and wild horses and burros are only within 27 million acres.   A mere half of 1% of our meat is produced and where livestock are on 238 acres of public lands and a mere 3% of our meat is given us.


  1. Among so much obfuscation, there is also this: insisting “wild” mares should not be adopted then bred by their new owners, while simultaneously arguing these are not wild but domestic stock and therefore of no particular importance. Further, these young fillies once removed and trained, shown, and sold, are no longer “wild” in any real sense anyway. Can’t have it both ways, no matter how much horse hating flows in your veins. Nobody would subject domestic horses to the inhumane spaying methods being put forward, and any veterinarian doing so would be violating both their oath and animal welfare laws.

    Whatever happened to our nation of laws? Literally ripping out wild mare’s ovaries involves capture, harassment, high risk of a horrific death, and in all likelihood, branding too. This happens while roundups continue and public access continues to evaporate–reducing adoption prospects.

    “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 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. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall 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.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Burns, Oregon, Rob Sharp, BLM facility manager.

    “In January [2012], the manager of the agency’s corral in Burns, Oregon emailed superiors in Washington, D.C., [Sally Spencer] to ask what to do with 29 mares, almost all of which were pregnant. Spencer replied that [Tom] Davis would take them.”

    In addition, between 2010 and 2013, 199 Wild Horses died at the BLM’s Burns corral (per FOIA) and yet Rob Sharp says only 3 died. In my opinion, this confirms that Sharp authorized about 196 wild horses being sold to kill buyers.

    Rob Sharp is the Supervisory Wild Horse Management Specialist in the Burns, Oregon Wild Horse and Burro Program. Rob Sharp was the BLM’s Contracting Officers Representative (COR) for the trapping in Oregon where it is documented that about 50 of our Murderer’s Creek wild horses “disappeared” after being trapped.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Why is anyone surprised? I’m going to my House Rep and demand they rescind payment for these inhumane procedures! I thought the BLM was not complying. But I guess I was wrong! Next stop for these poor babies is the slaughter pen! Why isn’t anyone listening?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I learned the Snaffle Bit Futurity moved from Reno NV to Texas, but people within the Reno area wanted to have a Futurity event so looked for sponsors. Forrest Lucas appeared to step in to promote sterilization of wild horses. The trainers of the wild horses would likely not take them for breeding so it is nonsense they were spayed to discourage breeding once they were done with the event. For the Warm Springs HMA some vet will come from Colorado State University to do the spaying. Some will be put back on the HMA and others will just be looked at at the corral after the vet has figured out he can do this procedure without harm to the fetus and horse. Once done, the horse will need an outlet,,,the futurity event where the harm to the horses body will be
    put on the line. What is the deal Colorado State University seems to get the grants. Ask Paul Griffin to explain. Is this nepotism? This spaying for the Futurity and for Warm Springs to me is animal welfare abuse as it is
    unnecessary for the Futurity challenge and it is not in the interest of the Warm Springs herd when their HMA is low to begin with. It will only compromise the continuance of this herd and will do harm to the foals born subsequent to this spaying.

    Liked by 2 people

    • CSU is being duped into doing what Oregon State wouldn’t and a campaign is underway to expose this. Any veterinarian participating in this will be violating their oath and should be reported and removed from practice.

      Veterinarian’s Oath

      “Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

      I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

      I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. CSU is being duped into doing what Oregon State backed away from due to public pressure. Any veterinarian involved in this “research” should be reported and removed from practice as they are violaing their oath:

    Veterinarian’s Oath

    “Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

    I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

    I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.”


Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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.