Horse News

Alleged Humane Coalition Crawls Into Bed With BLM and Welfare Ranchers to Eradicate Wild Horses & Burros From Public Lands

A biased Press Release from Return to Freedom (in my opinion)

“Read it and weep, unproven fertility control, increased “gathers”, etc..  Circumventing ALL other Wild Horse & Burro advocacy groups these masters of donations have decided to team up with the welfare ranchers and BLM to wipe out the last of the wild ones on their rightful land.  These groups are driven by money and donations, EXCLUSIVELY, and have no regard for the future of our wild herds.  They have shown their true colors and it is sickening.  The propaganda is posted, below.!” ~ R.T.

A HUMANE “gather” (stampede) by the BLM’s contractors ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2019 –The ASPCA®(The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Humane Society Legislative Fundin concert with rangeland management stakeholders, today announced their support for a proposal on the care of wild horses and burros on U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public rangelands. The proposal offers a humane, non-lethal path forward to sustainably manage wild horses and burros in the American West.

Wild horses and burros are federally protected under the landmark 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and such pivotal legal protections remain a critical component of a sustainable wild horse program. But without an effective management strategy, the number of wild horses and burros on public rangelands has continued to grow and threats to these populations have emerged both on the range and also in legislative arenas.

Robust rangeland fertility control program: Comprehensive large-scale application of proven, safe and humane population growth control strategies to help stabilize wild horse and burro populations on the range and achieve a better balance in herd numbers where necessary.

Strategic gathering: Targeted gathers of horses and burros in densely populated Herd Management Areas that cannot sustain large numbers of animals to protect them from forage and water shortages and facilitate non-lethal fertility control efforts.

Rehoming horses: Relocate horses and burros lingering in holding facilities, and those taken off the range, to large, cost-effective, humane pasture facilities that provide a free-roaming environment for wild horses and burros.

Increased adoptions: Promote the adoption of wild horses and burros into good homes to improve the lives of horses and burros in holding pastures, reduce the total cost of the program, and redirect funds to long-term strategies for the care and sustainability of horse and burro populations. Provide handling and training that will dramatically improve the adoptability of rehomed horses and burros.

The four tiers of the proposal–gathers, strategic and robust fertility control on range, public-private partnerships for off-range holding, and enhanced adoptions–are each crucial to the ultimate success of the program. Failure to effectively implement any part of this proposal jeopardizes the success of the program. However, if employed correctly, this proposal will result in a more sustainable wild horse and burro program over the next decade, and thereafter will eliminate the need for large-scale removals of wild horses.Most importantly, a fundamental aspect of the proposal is that it will prohibit the killing of healthy wild horses and burros or their sale to slaughter.

“For more than a decade, the future of our wild mustangs has been under serious threat, but we are now on the verge of converting what has been considered by many to be a lost cause into a success story.” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA’s goal has been to find a humane way forward for our nation’s iconic wild horses and burros, and to ensure these herds will roam our West well into the future,”

“For more than 20 years Return to Freedom has focused and modeled minimally intrusive management methods that could be implemented on the range as an alternative to roundups,” said Neda DeMayo, President of Return to Freedom. “We realize that to move forward with any long term sustainable solutions that would truly protect wild horses and burros on their ranges – we need to work together with other stakeholders who have diverse interests.While horses continue to be removed from the range, this proposal ensures non-lethal management methods and the robust use of fertility control to minimize or eliminate roundups in the future.”

““We are proud that as a result of the many years of work by varied stakeholders across the country, we are finally moving to non-lethal solutions and away from slaughter” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

“The political conflicts surrounding the wild horse and burro program have been increasing dramatically in recent years, and federal and state legislators have been looking for a non-lethal solution that will humanely lower wild horse and burro populations. This proposal is the result of compromises on all sides.” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We are committed to presenting Congress and the BLM with a pathway towards healthy horses, and rangelands to sustain these American icons. We urge the Administration to adopt the proposal, and urge Congress to fund its implementation.”

With this plan, wild horses and burros will be managed humanely, the government’s costs will decrease over time, and federal public lands will be managed effectively. Experts from all corners– rangeland management, wild horse advocacy, equine welfare and wildlife conservation– have put aside differences to unite under one effective, humane, plan to move the Wild Horse and Burro Program forward on a sustainable and non-lethal trajectory.



52 replies »

  1. I am shocked and beyond sickened that these groups, some of who I have donated to in the past, are partnering with the BLM and calling it a “partnership”! I’m especially angered that Return to Freedom’s president has sided with these monsters. I feel like this is a betrayal of the worst and most hideous kind. How dare these groups get to say what is best for our wild horses, while in bed with the likes of the BLM. There is something ominous and that stinks to high heaven behind this sentence ““We are proud that as a result of the many years of work by varied stakeholders across the country,” “Stakeholders”?? I feel these groups have all sold out and the wild horses and burros will suffer so they can benefit financially.

    Liked by 1 person


    JACKSON MT. WILD HORSES (excerpts)

    As for what happened to those involved in the Jackson Mountains tragedy?

    Though what happened to the Jackson Mountains wild horses and the months leading up to their deaths was one of the worst cases of wild horse “mismanagement” ever documented, not a single animal welfare group or humane advocacy organization expressed interest in legally challenging BLM’s actions or demanded accountability for what was done.

    As for BLM’s Winnemucca WH&B Specialist, Heidi Hopkins, it is unclear if BLM merely hung her out to dry for what was ultimately the Wild Horse and Burro Program’s more experienced supervisors responsibility or if BLM merely cut a deal to buy loyalty and continue the cover ups.

    According to Quarter Horse News, Heidi Hopkins left BLM after the Jackson Mountains round up to
    “take a position with Humane Society of the United States in its quest to find reliable
    IMMUNOCONTRACEPTIVES for wild horses

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This plan includes removals of 15,000 – 20,000 wild horses and burros a year – a quick path to eradication of our wild Equids on our public lands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol you are leaving out a few pertinent pieces of information in your statement. Like the fact that this whole process is to get herds down to sustainable levels that is not decimating the Herd Management Areas. For those of you who are not well informed, most herds gathered over the past 2 years have been either grossly over AML or the herd has been in trouble and required an emergency gather to keep the horses alive. Fall gathers that the horses are body score 3 means in blunt terms that many of the mares would die off did to starvation during the winter. To allow that in my opinion would be the ultimate in inhumane management. Interestingly you never see Mr Fitch showing mares that were gathered and are in such poor condition that they don’t have milk after foaling or too little to raise a foal. Nor does the groups he supports EVER step up and support things like orphan and rejected foal fostering. There is no perfect world, but supporting humane and well thought out management is necessary to the survival of the herds managed by both the BLM and USFS.


      • THEN using contraceptives on NINETY PER CENT of the mares on the range! Odd that all of a sudden the BLM is FINALLY on board with using volunteers to dart them – after all these years of so many advocates pushing for this. I am surprised at Return to Freedom – really thought they were a real advocacy for our wild horses.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Seems like there’s some confusion. This isn’t BLM’s proposal. Its about BLM, not by BLM. BLM has not agreed to it.


      • Dee, you also are leaving out pertinent information in your statement. For starters, the AMLs are highly questionable and not based on international standards for ensuring genetic viability, but in many (if not most) remaining herds they are set so low as to ensure fragility and inbreeding. Were the AMLs not so “arbitrary” your comments would carry more weight, but as it is they must be questioned. Sustainable populations means more than simple numbers.

        You also don’t address that the legal areas have been and continue to be consistently reduced, which necessarily means even low populations will have more impact, by design. How does this constitute “sustainable” managment that ensures as the law requires “minimal feasible management” intended to ensure a “thriving natural ecological balance” of which wild horses and burros are an integral component? Further, it was abundantly clear in the original law that wild horses would be expected to die naturally for all sorts of reasons on the range. A heart-tugging comment about thin mares not making milk who might die in winter is within the range of natural selection pressure, and those horses lucky enough to die of old age will slowly lose their teeth and ability to forage effectively. So unless you have evidence of mass or entire herds of horses starving, that argument falls flat. Worse, if those few thin horses are competing with livestock for limited resources, why do you blame the horses?

        Continual depression of genetic vigor, combined with repeated roundups that remove entire genetic lines, along with large scale contraception and concomitant reductions in legal areas is a perfect recipe for extinction.

        You also fail to mention that in all or nearly all remaining legal areas within which our wild horses and burros are protected and can exist, they are required by “managers” to compete for limited seasonal forage with introduced, privately owned livestock, at great public and ecosystem expense.

        Extreme views and actions from all quarters don’t help our wild horses or our public lands. They have a legal right to exist as naturally as we can manage, within the areas defined by law. Nearly 50 years of paid professional management have brought us to crisis after crisis, all harmful and all expensive, and all evidently with no end but a slow squeeze to extincion. Why don’t you question this?

        I agree with your last line: “…supporting humane and well thought out management is necessary to the survival of the herds managed by both the BLM and USFS.” Your other comments, however, don’t lead to that result.

        We all can and must do better than this. Can we drop the finger pointing and start investing in newer strategies that lead to truly ethical and sustainable management practices?

        Liked by 2 people

      • This proposal does not exclude confronting BLM, suing BLM, or other methods of debating HML numbers with BLM. It could actually provide some leverage in negotiating those numbers.

        Has a better long term, data-based proposal been made that includes permanent prohibiting of slaughter like this one does? Would like to be able to compare all formal proposals to see if there’s a better one out there.


      • I think that anyone who wants to create proposals can do so, whether individuals, orgs, or a combination of those. If there is a better way to protect our mustangs- that stands any chance of being accepted by BLM, it should be put on the table, too. It’s extremely important to be realistic and think very long term though, and not just wishful thinking like we all tend to do. And, maybe really look at this group’s ideas. The point is to save all of our mustangs, and reduce the numbers born with no mustangs lost being the number one goal. This is about preventing BLM from killing horses, not helping them.


      • This plan will lead to extinction of wild horses and burros. We sent our recommendations to hundreds of members of Congress.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Bs. Pzp kills. They dont need management. They need a moratorium. Blm us shootung horses so is fws! You traitor!


      • Dee, I’m curious about your equivalent opinion about the documented negligence and disposal by the BLM of foals born in captivity? The public is shielded from almost all awareness of orphans and foals who died or were killed under BLM “management.” Plenty of rescues have stepped up to take orphans but I’ve heard of exactly no efforts from the BLM to do the same. Quite the contrary in fact, it took FOIAs by some on the STFF board to obtain records of numerous unreported foal deaths in holding pens. Why doesn’t the BLM seek foster homes for these foals, or even better, allow people who volunteered their expertise to photograph and post online information about horses lately removed, including pregnant mares, in order to help them find caring homes? This overt policy is as near the opposite of “humane and well thought out management” I can imagine. Why are you fingering the public, who are purposely kept as far from the truth as possible, yet place no equivalent scrutiny on those whose wages are paid by that very same public?


    • Speaking of Oregon…
      BLM’ has issued a decision on the Warm Spring HMA

      April 12, 2019

      The proposed action of DNA was selected

      779 horses, 3 mules and 56 burros gathered in October 2018 should be PERMANENTLY REMOVED from the Warm Springs HMA
      The treatment of the mares returned to the HMA with PZP

      Signed Holly Orr//Acting District Manager


  4. Yes a total sell out! We all must reject this! The Welfare Ranchers seem to win the skirmish but not the war! WE MUST elect a new President who is compassionate about our Wild Horses and Burros! We must educate our Congressional members on what is really going on! Fire the whole BLM! NO ONE is entitled to take over our public lands! This but pittens for these animals! And what protection? I will refuse to give them one cent! And if the Safe Act passed they would NOT be allowed to send them to slaughter anyway! The 2020 elections are CRITICAL to everyone and everything in our country! It sickens me and I will call them tomorrow!! Make those calls Horse Warriors!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Let’s stay in the here & now, as to what is going on. Horses live in the present moment in life. It serves no purpose to blame previous & past presidents. At least Nixon signed the bill to protect the innocent ones, until the added addendum that Conrad Burns proposed was introduced & accepted. Let’s stay in the present & do all that we can to save the innocent ones who deserve to live in peace on their OWN LAND!!


  5. How does this constitute both “minimal feasible” management as well as ensuring a “thriving natural ecological balance” with what appears to be indiscriminate contracepting of already imperiled genetic viability? Do they propose random darting or will they take the needed time to document and analyze what interference can be ethically justified to keep the herds viable and able to continue to evolve in these, their ancestral homelands, and in accordance with our exising laws?

    Where is their parallel effort to reduce livestock competition and to return horses to legal areas from which they have been forcibly removed?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pig slaughter is horrific as is horse slaughter, so it’s hard to understand how an animal welfare organization would sanction the use of PZP, which is derived from the ovaries of slaughtered pigs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, totally insane & such a horrific coflict of interest regarding the humane treatment of ALL innocent animals.


  7. It is so sad that all these vicious attacks are being made before really understanding the purpose and scope of the proposal. This is a big picture, lifesaving proposal. Please take the time to learn all the facts before lighting your torches.


  8. MORE taxpayer funded experiments on our wild horses…and “the mares were chemically restrained”

    UC Agriculture & Natural Resources
    Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference

    Long-Term Efficacy of Three Contraceptive Approaches for Population
    Control of Wild Horses

    Gary Killian
    Nancy K. Diehl
    J. O. Almquist Research Center, The Pennsylvania St
    ate University, University Park, Pennsylvania
    Lowell Miller
    Jack Rhyan
    USDA APHIS National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, Colorado
    David Thain

    Division of Animal Industry, Nevada Dept. of Agriculture, Reno, Nevada

    The Nevada Department of Agriculture provided 53
    mares and 3 stallions for use in the project. The
    mares weighed 225-360 kg and ranged in age from 18 months
    to 12 years at treatment. The horses were previously
    gathered from state lands and brought to the Nevada State
    Penitentiary, Carson City facility, where the study was
    conducted. All horses were given annual health vaccinations and dewormed routinely.
    To handle feral mares for jugular blood sampling and
    vaccinations, they were run into a hydraulic chute and
    haltered. Contraceptive vaccines were given intramuscularly in the left lateral neck. For pregnancy evaluations
    by ultrasound or palpation, or IUD placement, the mares were chemically restrained.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That seems to be tranquilizers — pretty standard practice for invasive procedures in domestic mares. I doubt a wild mare would stand still even in stocks for similar “evaluations.” Still fails the “minimal feasible” management required by law, though.


    • We have now learned that nv ag is in bed w kill buyers and thousands are flat out stolen. Shipped to slaughter along w other grouos. We need to call police on all transport trucks. 395 needs qatchers. Shame on wheeler miller et al. Its a meat mafia that never ends. Dont give to politicians. Give to save equines so innicent. To think they use pzp on elephants in africa and deer..sux.hunters will be poisoned and elles are already like horses about extinct.where are you @#VernBuchanan @#NancyPelosi???


  9. Letter to the Editor of Mesquite Local News

    BLM’s Big Lie: The “overpopulation” of wild horses is a concocted “crisis”. The government doesn’t have a wild-horse problem — wild horses have a government problem.

    Fraudulent figures off the range: A comprehensive report was recently issued following a 5-year investigation by Wild Horse Freedom Federation. It revealed that BLM has been publishing fictitious figures regarding the number of wild horses removed from the range and now supposedly boarded in private pastures. BLM is paying, but where are the horses?
    No to birth control, no to euthanasia, no to slaughter: The population-explosion exists only on BLM’s falsified spreadsheets.
    Marybeth Devlin


  10. From a comment posted by grandmagregg in an earlier article:

    Question: Since when does 175 minus 80 = 635?
    Answer: When BLM does the math.

    BLM’s Estimated Pre-Gather Population 175
    BLM states Number of Animals Removed 80
    BLM’s Estimated Post Gather Population 635

    BLM’s methods are to lie until they get what they want, by which point it will be too late for our wild horses and burros and what once were OUR public lands.

    This is only ONE of many examples of BLM’s corrupt mathematics.

    Reference- Completed FY 10 Gathers (per BLM) proving BLM lies:
    Black Mt Wild Burro Herd Management Area Arizona

    Click to access wildhorse_quickfacts_doc9.pdf

    Liked by 2 people

    BY R.T. FITCH ON MAY 30, 2018

    By Grandma Gregg
    “BLM states biologically and mathematically impossible annual wild horse population rates…”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. How many decades have the same people on BLM boards of management been making our choices? Young, new, open minded people need to take their place. They are not capable of seeing their wrongs. Or admitting they are still in the same rut of doing harm.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This from the American Wild Horse Campaign: “On Monday, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the ASPCA and Return to Freedom announced a deal with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, rancher lobbyists, and Rep. Chris Stewart, the leading advocate in Congress for the mass destruction of wild horses.” So it’s revealed exactly who the HSUS, ASPCA and Return to Freedom are in bed with. These groups who have chosen to partner with the ranchers and Cattlemen’s association can spin this by saying that they are doing this for the good for our wild horses and burros, but I don’t believe one word of it. I’m sure it comes down to money, as it always does, and “donations” being made in exchange for selling out. There are so few wild horses left that rounding up 15,000-20,000 will put them on the verge of extinction, and that’s exactly what the ranchers and BLM want…that’s always been their goal. I”m sick to death of the the Cattlemen’s association and ranchers continued battle against wild horses and burros in their greed to control public lands for livestock grazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could be wrong, but isn’t AWHC directly affiliated with, or even a subsidiary of, Return to Freedom? If so, then its criticism of Return to Freedom’s sell-out seems disingenuous.


  14. Has is not bothered anyone that Return to Freedom is named in this collaboration of money suckers and horse haters? It bothers the hell out of me! I hope RT Fitch has decent answer to the main questions: Why RTF, are you involved in this disgrace? Why would you betray OUR HORSES! I want answers and I want them now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • How is RT Fitch involved? Read his outraged comments preceding the article. You may be confusing his personal name and initials with a separate organization called Return To Freedom? If not, please share your direct evidence RT Fitch is collaborating in any fashion. I’m sure all who read this would also like to know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am confused here also. RTF has spoken out in a HUGE way to protect our Wild Horses & Burros. Also Ginger Kathrens, TCF. Also AWHPC, who I support with donations. So, at the present time & all of the conflicting information, I am sticking with WWHF & Habitat For Horses for my donations, bcuz I truly know their devotion to save the INNOCENT ONES. Also the Cloud Foundation, as we all need to be on the same page here. Many Ugghhs!


  15. On re-reading this, the proposal does NOT represent the majority of American taxpayers, nor even of those who support following our laws and keeping our wild horses wild. It isn’t clear if this proposal will be presented to Congress, nor what any of the proposed costs will be. It seems a “robust” public response is in order, and it must be large and insistent, and directed at Congress. It also must include more than just a “no” but provide alternative strategies that make fiscal and ethical sense.

    I am dismayed to see the ASPCA involved at last, for so many years and so many roundups they have been utterly silent as far as I could tell. Where were they when Salazar and Davis shipped nearly 2,000 horses to certain slaughter, with a nudge and a wink? Where were they when the BLM without notice shipped all those WY horses off to Bruneau, never to be identified or given any time in the public eye that might find them “forever” homes? Where was the ASPCA during those multiple efforts to surgically rip out mare’s ovaries under the ruse of “science” ?

    That they weigh in only now, on what includes a mass extermination effort is heartbreaking, disturbing, and disgusting, especially when other ideas with better outcomes are routinely ignored by the BLM in particular.

    Since the 2020 election is heating up the fate of our wild horses and burros should and must be broached by everyone running for office. It is up to we, the people, to press them and hold them accountable for their actions, or nonactions.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. … It does appear to be a massive push for “business as usual” for the BLM etc., albeit with a free license to INCREASE the round ups, the sterilization, and (this is what gets me the most), the “rehoming” … could this be rehoming to Siberia or Guyana or WTF???
    There is no guarantee of thousands left in holding not being shipped to slaughter BEFORE or AFTER this ‘deal with the devil’ would take effect.
    It is essentially a clever plan to streamline the suffering extinction of our Wild Horses, and shame on the ASPCA and “Return to Freedom” (yeah, right!) for being suckered into this absolutely bogus unholy “coalition” !
    Who actually authored this proposal ???
    And what did David Bernhardt have to do with it ???

    Liked by 1 person

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