Horse News

Action Alert for Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Hearing to Examine BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program


The hearing will be webcast live on the committee’s website, and an archived video will be available shortly after the hearing concludes.

Source:  U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Jul 16 2019

02:30 PM – 04:30 PM  Eastern time

Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Hearing to Examine BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program

366 Dirksen Senate Office Building 02:30 PM

The Subcommittee hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. EDT in Room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

The purpose of the hearing is to examine long-term management options for the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.

The hearing will be webcast live on the committee’s website, and an archived video will be available shortly after the hearing concludes. Witness testimony will be available on the website at the start of the hearing.

Opening Remarks

  • Sen. Mike Lee
    Subcommittee Chairman
    Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • Sen. Ron Wyden
    Subcommittee Ranking Member
    Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Witness Panel 1

  • Mr. Steve Tryon
    Deputy Assistant Director, Resources and Planning
    Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • The Honorable J.J. Goicoechea
    Eureka County (Nevada) Board of Commissioners
  • Mr. Ethan Lane
    National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition
  • Ms. Nancy Perry
    Senior Vice President of Government Affairs
    American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Dr. Eric Thacker
    Associate Professor, Wildland Resources
    Utah State University

8 replies »

  1. The “witness list” is very short and packed with anti wild horse interests. They can’t even pretend this will be an unbiased hearing since there are zero pro-wild horse, in the wild “witnesses” and no public representation, either. Those on the list are selected to “witness” the extermination of thousands of our wild horses and burros, without the public in the room or even in their policies.

    Pay attention folks, and next year vote out those who push forward this “path” to extinction.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. From The Wild Horse Conspiracy

    Letter to Senator Mike Lee, R-UT, chair of Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands – Regarding hearing on wild horses and burros on disastrous BLM proposal called A Way Forward

    Honorable Senator Lee:

    I just spoke with your staff member Alex and gave a message urging you and other members of the Subcommittee on Public Lands, etc., to reject the plan that will be presented tomorrow before your subcommittee concerning the wild horses and burros and their legal BLM & USFS administered lands. I urge you to reject this plan, called “A Way Forward ,..” as it is in fact a way backward and would be a gross betrayal of America’s last remaining free and naturally living horses and burros. This plan would subvert the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act’s true intent buy further reducing populations that are already marginal as far as genetic viability and that are thwarted in their ability to adapt harmoniously to the ecosystems they inhabit. Do you realize that on average the land managers in BLM and USFS allocated 80 to 90% of the forage to livestock WITHIN the legal areas of the wild horses and burros and in spite of Section 2 C of the Act that mandates that the wild horse and burros receive the principal resources within their legal areas, while still accommodating multiple uses. It is wrong to be always over magnifying the impacts of the wild horses and spinning them in a negative way, when in fact they contribute so much of a positive nature, like balancing all the ruminant herbivores that are so majorly promoted on the public lands, like catastrophic wildfire mitigation and even prevention, like soil building because equids’ droppings are less degraded than ruminants’, like more intact seed dispersal capable of germination and of a greater variety of plants when compared with ruminants. I have done recent reports on a true “way forward” that would benefit everyone. All that is required is a willingness to share and an open mind to the greater truth and justice concerning these highly evolved animals who have done so much for us humans. Now is’nt it high time we do something truly good for them … like allowing them to be themselves, to realize their true place in the natural world, where they originated and evolved for many millions of years and have a great healing and restorative role to play. If we could cut back on livestock and other conflictive monopolizers of the public lands and allow viable thriving populations, they we humans would for sure be taking a “giant step forward” for everyone concerned: horses, people, and all the great Rest of Life that together supports us all.

    Please indicate an email address where I can send some recent reports I have done giving the greater picture concerning the value and plight of America’s last naturally living equids and their legitimate habitats. I have indicated my number and email above and am willing to testify before Congress on this issue, with which I have been involved all my life.

    Sincerely, Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Horse Slaughter – Fact & Fiction 7-23-15

    Horse Abuse, Part 7
    Horse Slaughter – Facts and Fiction
    From A Risk Analyst’s View Point

    By Rick Dennis
    July 23, 2015

    As a federal- and state-trained criminal investigator serving 16 years in Drug Enforcement, I was trained to deal with facts – just the facts. I was also taught to ignore hypothetical, suppositional, non-relevant, incomplete, alleged or unproven facts in a case. Therefore, I adhere to a black-and-white principle. It either is or it isn’t. Before a case can be successfully prosecuted, it must contain well-documented relevant facts and supporting documentation specific to the crime committed and nothing more. Since 1984, I’ve entwined my law enforcement training with my private security entrepreneurship to identify, enhance and resolve corporate security risks specific to a particular target, as well as adding complementary features to an existing risk management program.

    The three top-tier-ranked horse slaughter advocates are:

    · The American Quarter Horse Association.

    · Protect The Harvest.

    · Veterinary Advocacy Groups.


    On the Protect The Harvest website, it states, “Forrest Lucas is the Founder and Chair of Lucas Oil and Protect the Harvest, a group he started in 2011 to assist in the fight for the rights of America’s farmers, ranchers, animal owners and sportsmen/sportswomen. The bio further states Mr. Lucas is a resident of the state of Indiana. Born and raised in Ramsey, Indiana as the oldest of four, he comes from humble beginnings. In his teens, Forrest went to work on a cattle farm in Harrison County, Indiana, to support his family.

    In the menu section of Protect The Harvest website is an article entitled “Horses In Crisis,” that states in the first paragraph, “American wild horses are in peril due to overcrowding, which has led to starvation and death. We have the opportunity and the obligation to protect them from long and painful suffering by controlling their numbers. Radical animal groups would have you believe that these horses are thriving in the wild and that they should be left untouched. The sad truth is that there are far too many of them, and having no natural predators, their numbers have outpaced the food available to them.”

    There’s a short film attached to this segment, made up primarily of ranchers and one veterinarian promoting humane end-of-life options – slaughter – as a viable means of promoting horse slaughter to control wild-mustang populations. The film has been orchestrated to depict a dismal existence of the feral or wild horse and suggests this option is necessary to bring their numbers back in balance with nature but fails to provide the true factors contributing to the overpopulation tragedy that positions the wild horse in this dismal existence.

    In analyzing Protect The Harvest’s presentation, I found it lacking in a number of legitimate facts: 1) The root-cause analysis of the contributory factors establishing the overpopulation of wild horses in a specific geographical area of the U.S., such as beef production by ranchers encroaching on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or public lands forcing the existing wildlife to compete for necessary forage to sustain existence, etc., 2) horses and wild burros being restricted to certain areas of a geographical location in order to promote and enhance cattle production and 3) their statement, “The sad truth is that there are far too many of them and having no natural predators, their numbers have outpaced the food available to them.”

    With all due respect to Mr. Lucas as well as clarification, I would like to inform Protect The Harvest that herbivores like horses living on public lands definitely have natural predators such as mountain lions, bears, wolves, bob cats, coyotes and wolverines. In fact, anything that walks, crawls, swims in water, runs on four legs or flies in a natural wild forest setting is eligible prey to a carnivore. As an avid outdoorsman and avid hunter, hunting in the West for 18 years, I’ve personally witnessed a bear, mountain lion and wolves taking down horses in the wild. The only time this factor is removed from the equation is when carnivores are removed from a specific area due to lobbying by cattlemen or other lobbying groups. Predators generally take old, sick or crippled animals, or foals of a specific class to bring the herbivore groups in balance.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Horse Slaughter – Fact & Fiction 7-23-15 (continued)

    From A Risk Analyst’s View Point

    By Rick Dennis
    July 23, 2015

    Public lands grazers are a minority of livestock producers in the West and throughout the country.
    Number of livestock producers with federal grazing permits: 27,000.
    Percentage of livestock producers with federal grazing permits in the United States: 3%.
    Percentage of livestock producers with federal grazing permits in eleven Western states: 22%.
    Number of livestock producers without federal grazing permits: 880,000.

    An article published by The Daily Pitchfork entitled “Sustainable Cowboys or Welfare Ranchers of the American West,” contains many more interesting statistics, including the fact that 21,000 ranchers who graze their livestock on Western rangelands are estimated to have cost the taxpayers $500 million in 2014 – and every year for the past decade and that a large number of them are millionaires, billionaires and multi-billion-dollar corporations.

    The fee that livestock operators paid a month for an AUM (animal unit month) in 2014 was $1.35 – the lowest price that can legally be charged. The market price to graze on private land is $21.60. Fees set by other federal agencies and individual states on public property are also significantly higher. The majority of this money is spent on range rehabilitation, leaving only approximately $7.9 million going into the Treasury.

    It also costs the BLM over $80 million a year to kill predators, that’s $380 per rancher and 10 times that much ($3,809) to get rid of wild horses and burros – with most of them going to slaughter. In the end, special interest welfare (money going to ranchers, EPA, USDA, Dept of Justice and US Army Corp of Engineers) is estimated between $500 million and $1 billion a year.

    In 2014, BLM and USFS permit holders paid an estimated $18.5 million in fees to graze 1.14 million livestock units on the 229 million acres of federal land used for grazing. But only a fraction (between 1/3 and ¼) of that actually went into the Treasury. In other words, 2/3 to ¾ of the low fees ranchers pay go back into their pockets. Public land ranchers were paid $376 for what cost taxpayers $6,838 last year.

    Click for Daily Pitchfork article>>

    Subsidized by taxpayers, public lands grazers pay far less than market value for federal forage and grazing fees on comparable state and private lands. Fee to graze one cow and calf for one month (AUM) on federal public lands (2003): $1.43.

    Average fee per AUM on state lands in the West (excluding Texas) (1998): $12.30.

    Average fee per AUM on private lands in eleven Western states (1999): $11.10.

    The forage provided, and the beef produced from federal public lands is insignificant. Percentage of total feed for livestock (cattle and sheep) in the United States supplied from federal lands: 2%.

    Percentage of American beef produced from federal rangelands: less than 3 percent.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Horse Slaughter – Fact & Fiction 7-23-15 (continued)

    From A Risk Analyst’s View Point

    By Rick Dennis


    Alternative uses of federal public lands contribute much more income to local and regional economies than livestock grazing. In the Central Winter Ecosystem Management Area in the Kaibab Plateau, Arizona, dispersed recreation is worth $200,000 annually to the local and regional economies; fuel wood is worth $48,984; livestock grazing is worth $45,988; and deer and turkey hunting is worth $1,324,259.

    October 2004: for the first time in the history of the agency, the Bureau of Land Management collected more revenue in recreational fees than annual grazing fees. This despite the fact that recreational fees are often collected through voluntary pay stations, while grazing fees are mandatory and enforced, and BLM does not charge fees for many recreational offerings on BLM lands.
    Click for more information>>

    From this public land-use study, it’s clear that ranchers using public land for cattle production is, percentage wise, paltry in respect to the over-all beef producers in the U.S. However, the introduction of a non-indigenous species, i.e., cattle on public grazing lands wrecks havoc on the existing wild populous, thereby significantly reducing or limiting access to sustainable life sources such as water and forage.

    For example, indigenous wildlife species such as: elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, moose, antelope, sheep, goats, wild burros and horses require expanded ranges to sustainable life sources in order to exist. Equally, weather conditions play a significant role in animal survival. We see this in nature as winter and summer feeding grounds. Wild animals migrate to specific geographical feeding locations when sustainable life sources are either depleted in an area or predicated by seasonal changes.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Just found this (copied in full in case it disappears). How telling in the very first paragraph he lauds the “multitude of activist groups… coming to the table” yet only a few were invited or involved, and some of these few seem to have financial incentives:

    A Practical Path Forward?
    Pete’s Comments: No more horsin’ around

    By Pete Crow, Publisher Jul 18, 2019 Updated Jul 19, 2019

    Feral horses are back in the news, not that they ever left, but there appears to be an honest effort to get the volume of feral horses in line with appropriate management levels (AMLs). We’ve talked about the feral horse situation for years and it finally seems that we might be getting somewhere. The multitude of activist groups that have hamstrung the issue for years have come to the table. There are over 88,000 feral horses out on Western rangeland today and that is sounding the alarm to act.

    Last week a Senate subcommittee held a hearing on the horse problem. This was an effort to register the issue and put forth a proposal to implement a solution. The amazing thing to me was that this proposal—The Path Forward for Management of BLM’s Wild Horses & Burros—was agreed to by 13 groups including the Humane Society of the U.S., the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and NCBA. They all agreed that we must do something now to save the horses and burros, and the landscape itself, from self-destruction. This is an environmental, ecological issue that should have been dealt with years ago and finally all of the stakeholders agreed on how and when to manage the problem. This is remarkable.

    There were five testimonies delivered to a very thinly attended hearing where everyone in attendance supported the proposal. JJ Goicoechea, Nevada state vet; Ethan Lane, Public Lands Council; Nancy Perry with ASPCA; Steve Tryon, BLM; and Dr. Eric Thacker from Utah State University all gave riveting testimony about the problem and the solution.

    The solution is to gather horses and burros and place them in long-term pastures in the eastern part of the U.S. and begin a very aggressive anti-fertility program using spaying techniques and fertility drugs. The plan calls for increasing adoption levels from the current 4,500 head a year. So, gather, hold, fertility control and adoption. They think they can get to appropriate management levels in about 10 years, which is a tall order in this political world we live.

    The BLM already spends about $80 million a year on the current horse management plan. These folks were essentially asking the Senate for more money and a congressional directive to start the enhanced program over the next few years to finally get the population under control. I can certainly see the need to double the funding and get this problem behind us so the multi-use of BLM lands can be productive again.

    This is a bold plan and every step is essential. Perhaps the most challenging part will be administering fertility drugs on range animals which require repeat treatments to be effective. That aspect of the plan drew the most controversy with Perry claiming that the fertility drug PZP is wildly effective and its widespread use could solve the reproduction problem and defer the use of surgical sterilization. They also said that the window of opportunity for surgical sterilization on mares was narrow and we would have to be concerned about unborn foals. This effectively threw an abortion card on the table, potentially creating another emotional hurdle for the effort.

    Nobody in the room mentioned the word “euthanasia” during the hearing, which tells me that that was a huge compromise these stakeholder groups had to make. Just how long can the BLM afford to keep an animal that has been passed over several times for adoption in long-term care? The BLM just started offering a $1,000 incentive for folks to adopt one of these horses or burros. One thing I learned was that burros are more adoptable than the horses. If you have seen some of the horses they gather, you would know why no one wants them.

    The dark corner of this issue that nobody wants to talk about is that euthanasia and unrestricted sale of these horses is political suicide for politicians. This plan boils down to getting the horses off the range into long-term pasture situations and making them somebody else’s problem or someone’s gold mine. BLM is currently paying $2 a day for pasture and $5 a day for short-term, feedlot-type housing. I’ve seen feedlots with up to 1,500 horses, and it’s not a pretty picture.

    In 2004 there were 31,000 horses on the range, close to the national AML of 27,500. There are now 88,000 on the range and another 50,000 in holding facilities. This is just the BLM’s portion of the problem. Then you have tribal land, U.S. Forest Service land, state lands which also have wildhorse problems. This issue is much bigger than most people think. It’s ready to explode and ruin these Western landscapes for good. — PETE CROW


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