Horse News

Stand-in BLM boss: Solving wild horse problem will take $5 billion, 15 years

By Scott Sonner
Source: multiple and unedited

William Perry Pendley says the agency adopted out more than 7,000 mustangs and burros captured last year — the most in 15 years

Current Fifiteenmile roundup taking place in Wyoming. Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

It will take $5 billion and 15 years to get an overpopulation of wild horses under control on federal lands across the West, the acting head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday, adding that several developments have made him more optimistic about his agency’s ability to get the job done.

William Perry Pendley said the agency adopted out more than 7,000 mustangs and burros captured last year — the most in 15 years and a 54% increase from the previous year.

He said that helps clear space in government holding pens, so they can accelerate roundups while scientists develop new fertility-control drugs to eventually shrink the size of the herds from 88,000 to the 27,000 he says the range can sustain. He said a new coalition of animal welfare advocates and ranchers is helping promote solutions and Congress appears willing to help.

Pendley, who is awaiting Senate confirmation as director, said the agency is in the process of hiring additional staff to speed roundups in Nevada, the state with the most horses.

“I’m not going to speculate on what Congress is going to do about money,” Pendley said. “But I know there is a sense of sincerity on the Hill about this issue. They get it.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $35 million last month for a new package of mustang proposals supported by an unprecedented alliance including the Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and American Farm Bureau Federation.

They say it would eliminate the threat of slaughter for thousands of free-roaming horses and shrink the size of herds primarily through expanded fertility controls on the range and increased roundups in certain areas.

The proposal has been condemned by the largest and oldest mustang protection groups in the West, including the American Wild Horse Campaign and Friends of Animals.

“This proposal, which is really a betrayal by so-called wild horse advocates who are in bed with the meat industry, is management for extinction and putting money toward it is a step toward eradicating these iconic animals from our public lands,” Friends of Animals President Priscilla Feral said in a statement Wednesday.

In July, then-Acting BLM Director Casey Hammond said the Trump administration won’t pursue lethal measures such as euthanasia or selling horses for slaughter.

But critics say the new plan could allow for sterilization of mares. They argue the animals must be permitted to roam the range in federally protected management areas established under the Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. They say BLM’s population quotas are often outdated and lack scientific data to support roundups to cull herd sizes.

The $35 million the Senate committee approved is part of the $35.8 billion Interior Department appropriation bill. It’s not clear when the full Senate will consider the measure.

Pendley said the agency is spending $50 million a year to house 50,000 captured horses in government corals and another $30 million in associated costs.

Alan Shepherd, the head of the bureau’s wild horse and burro program in Nevada, planned to join members of the new coalition at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno Wednesday night for the screening of a documentary that blames horses for severe degradation of federal rangeland.

Doug Busselman, executive director of the Nevada Farm Bureau, said his group still wants Congress to allow the government to sell excess horses without the current ban on their resale for slaughter.

“As long as the numbers are so far above appropriate management levels, the tools of fertility control and adoption don’t accomplish the needs for having wild horse and burro populations match the carrying capacity of the herd management levels and the destruction of the habitat will continue,” he said in a statement.

Conservationists say more damage is caused by the cattle and sheep that graze on public lands at a ratio of 15-to-1 mustangs.

“This film is a propaganda piece … that scapegoats relatively rare wild horses for problems that in truth are caused by the domestic cattle that are widespread environmental problems across the West,” said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist for the Western Watersheds Project.

41 replies »

    • The Farm Bureau…the word “Bureau” should be a warning


      How the F a r m Bureau Is Reaping Profits at the Expense of America’s Family Far m e r s , Taxpayers and the E n v i r onment

      April, 2000

      T h e re ’s never been a farmer put out of business by e n v i ronmental laws. They’re put out of business by f a c t o ry farms that skew markets and deflate prices


      This report is dedicated to the memory of Joseph Y. Resnick, the two-term congressman from New York who first exposed the Farm Bureau as not being the organization of farmers it claims to be. Resnick launched an investigation of the Farm Bureau in 1967 and resumed it after leaving politics in1969. He died later that year, but the probe he initiated and funded continued, culminating two years later in the publication of the book Dollar Harvest, a major exposé about the Farm Bureau by former Resnick aide Samuel R. Berger. This report builds on the foundation laid by Resnick and resurrects his call for the dealings of the Farm Bureau to be closely examined on Capitol Hill.

      Click to access amber_waves_of_gain.pdf

      Liked by 3 people

      • “Stand-in bosses” are expendable. We’ve already seen many of them either be fired or “retire”. We have to drill down deeper to get to the organizations that fund them and their agendas
        The people in those groups like to remain safely under the radar while the expendable “stand-in-bosses” (with thick skins and big egos) take the heat.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Certainly sounds like the “Farm Bureau” needs some light shown on its practices – against the clean air & water acts – THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT – global warming information – how can it even be legal for an organization like this – tax exempt status. Just because it has the word farm in its title? And to think it all started about 20 miles from me here in NYS!!! Very educational. Seems to be yet another anti-wild horse organization, doesnt it?

        Liked by 2 people

      • It was the Farm Bureau that was in charge (and paid a LOT) to “manage” the wild horses of the Devil’s Garden disaster. You may wish to look at those stories and although many advocates fought for them (at many levels) there is no doubt in my mind that many “disappeared”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Published by the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation

        Amendment prohibiting horse slaughter inspection funds will impact humane horse care

        June 19, 2012
        Prohibiting the Department of Agriculture from spending federal dollars to provide inspection for the slaughter of horses would materially contribute to the increasing number of abandoned and neglected horses in the United States, the American Farm Bureau Federation told the House Appropriations Committee on June19.
        During mark up of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies FY 2013 Appropriations Bill, members of the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment that prohibits funding for horse slaughter inspection.

        “Farm Bureau opposes any amendment which precludes the Department of Agriculture from spending federal dollars to provide inspection for the slaughter of horses for human consumption,”
        Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, wrote. Farm Bureau pointed out that abandoned and neglected horses in the U.S. now number in excess of 100,000, not counting Bureau of Land Management animals. “Prohibiting horse slaughter infringes on the legal property rights of horse owners and represents interference by Congress in the harvesting of livestock for reasons unrelated to safety,” Stallman continued. Farm Bureau will continue working on this issue as the debate moves to the fl oor of the House. “We oppose the amendment that passed the House Appropriations Committee in June,”

        Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President, said. “We certainly support efforts to allow the possible continuation of horse slaughter to humanely address issues associated with unwanted horses.” “Our members have witnessed firsthand how an emotional response on the part of some of our policy makers has resulted in unwarranted suffering for unwanted horses,” Hamilton concluded.

        Click to access JulyAug2012WyomingAgriculture.pdf


        POLITICAL NEWS April 21, 2017

        How long one asks are our nation’s family farmers and the organizations they belong to going to allow the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) to push them around, dictate farm policy and intimidate other farm groups to which they may belong ???

        Claiming that they are the “voice of American agriculture” the AFBF leadership are in fact nothing more than highly paid corporate agribusiness lobbyists !!! When the nation numbers barely two million farmers and the AFBF claims over five million members one can rightfully question who it truly represents — financial institutions such as insurance companies and corporate agribusiness or family farming interests?

        Yet for over three quarters of a century the AFBF has been allowed to represent itself to lawmakers and the public as a “farm organization” when in fact from its very origins it was designed to be a mouthpiece for corporate agribusiness, of corporate agribusiness and by corporate agribusiness.

        Two recent examples of its blatant bias toward corporate interests and its willingness to intimidate grass roots farm groups are evidenced in the two stories which appear below.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I see this a bit differently. The past three years we have seen a succession of “acting” agency heads emplaced as a way to avoid confirmation through Congress, and therefore any accountability to the public. Many of these are former (and probably current) lobbyists with obvious conflicts of interest and most either have zero relevant experience or are in fact hell bent on destroying the very departments they are temporarily in charge of. It remains unclear to me if any of their decisions can sustain a legal review, but in the meanwhile they are capable (and culpable) of causing lasting harm.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are probably right on IcySpots and “they” do seem to be in an awful hurry right now.
        Legal review as well as legal consequences is exactly what is needed.

        rom PPJ GAZETTE
        Radio Show is archived


        We live in a time of mind-boggling corruption. We also live in a golden age of whistleblowing. Over the past two decades, the brave insiders who act to expose wrongdoing have gained unprecedented legal and social stature, emerging as the government’s best weapon against corporate misconduct–and the citizenry’s best defense against government gone bad. Whistleblowers force us to confront fundamental questions about balance between free speech and state secrecy, and between individual rights and corporate power.
        In Crisis of Conscience, Tom Mueller traces the rise of whistleblowing through a series of riveting cases drawn from the worlds of Big Pharma and health care, the military, finance, and government. Drawing on in-depth interviews with more than two hundred whistleblowers and the trailblazing lawyers who arm them for battle–plus politicians, intelligence analysts, government watchdogs, cognitive scientists, and other experts–he anatomizes what inspires some to speak out while the rest of us avert our eyes. Whistleblowers, we come to see, are the freethinking citizens on whom our republic was conceived. And they are the models we must emulate if our democracy is to survive.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting the “documentary” isn’t named but I think it’s the latest short work from Ben Masters.

      Folks, this huge cost is intended to scare enough of Congress to vote to kill or sterilize our remaining wild horses. Nobody is asking how any of this follows either the intent or letter of the law requiring “minimal feasible management” nor the fabricated magical AML target of 27,000 animals throughout the West (now down to ten states). Ask yourself if you’ve seen any innovative or science-based proposals come from them lately, and why the answer is always killkillkill?

      Congress also needs to be asking why the BLM is still in charge after nearly 50 years of management by manufactured crisis after manufactured crisis, with ever-increasing costs and ever-shrinking accountability. They should be fired, not granted blanket authority to be endlessly paid to work against the best interest of those they supposedly serve, and those helpless animals we placed under their “care” decades ago.

      Yes, there are management problems, but no, the BLM does not have any credibility in solving them responsibly. It’s on us if we allow them to continue down this “shining path” in our names. It is literally a dead end for our wild horses and burros.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Ben Masters lines right up with Lucas & Protect the Harvest. And the Horse Rich film doesnt think the AWHC has “relevant” issues so their information was not approved?

    Liked by 3 people


    From AWHC

    As we speak, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is forcibly reducing the population of wild horses in Wyoming’s Fifteenmile Herd Management Area (HMA) by 86% through a helicopter stampede.

    So far, they’ve removed 558 wild horses from the area – With the goal of capturing nearly 700 wild horses before the end of the month.
    This week, our observer was in Wyoming’s Fifteenmile HMA, where the BLM is currently rounding up the entirety of the wild horse population there from our public lands.

    At least 8 horses have died in the week since the roundup began, including:

    One horse succumbed to a neck injury during the helicopter stampede while two others were euthanized;
    Another died as a result of a strike to the head by another wild horse on the way to the trap;
    One mare had a major cut and was taken to Rock Springs for treatment;

    Despite BLM reports that wild horses are “starving” to justify these roundups, the wild horses being removed are in good body condition and sound health.


  3. The Revelator

    The William Perry Pendley Rehabilitation Tour (excerpts)
    October 15, 2019 – by John R. Platt

    The ethically challenged acting director of the Bureau of Land Management made a tense appearance at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference last week to discuss his radical record

    William Perry Pendley wants you think that what he thinks doesn’t matter.
    Pendley spent four decades advocating for the corporate exploitation of U.S. public lands. He now serves the Trump administration as the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, the agency responsible for much of those same public lands.
    That appearance represented just one part of what appears to be a broader media strategy to rehabilitate Pendley’s image, including softball interviews for multiple publications and an op-ed for The Denver Post on the eve of the conference.

    So what dominates Pendley’s opinions now? Well, he thinks the worst thing facing America’s public lands right now isn’t climate change — it is, in his opinion, wild horses.

    Pendley, you see, has a 17-page list of ethical recusals — nearly 60 companies and groups that he used to represent in his role as president of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, an organization “dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited government, and free enterprise” which the Center for Media and Democracy calls “a training ground for a number of attorneys most active in the anti-environmental movement.”

    These recusals include oil companies, energy companies and the National Mining Association, among many others. According to BLM ethical guidelines, Pendley is restricted from actions at the agency that would overlap with the interests of his prior clients, usually for a period of two years.

    In other words, he’s not being educated about the issues that define his roles and responsibilities as head of the BLM, and he’s not ethically allowed to do much of that job anyway.
    He didn’t seem too concerned, though. After all, he’s got horses to worry about – not to mention oil companies.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hopefully, the Senate will do the right thing with this Act – at least the house is trying!

      “Yesterday, October 23rd, the House Natural Resources Committee voted to advance the Hardrock Mining Reform Act, an amendment to the extremely outdated laws that have controlled hardrock mining. This Act completely replaces the current laws, an action that was sorely needed in the effort to find some semblance of modern context to venerable legislation.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Need some independent verification of Pendley’s numbers.

    “Pendley said the agency is spending $50 million a year to house 50,000 captured horses in government corals and another $30 million in associated costs.”

    My calculator says 50M divided by 12, then divided by 30 comes to around $1,000/year, $83/month, or $2.70/day/horse, which comports with various published sources elsewhere.

    But how do they then claim another $30M in related costs? This nearly doubles their expenses so a public cost breakdown is in order. It may be the “housing” in shelterless corrals costs only include hay and water, and the related costs are staffing and paperwork, but we also know most holding situations have severe staff shortages (and most are low paid), while the long term contracts are generous, long term, and veiled from the public as far as actual access to horses and paperwork.

    An independent audit is in order before anyone can swallow whole any financial information from the BLM. Congress should demand this before approving any new funding (approved now through Nov. 21 only).

    Liked by 3 people

      • GG, yes I was perhaps oversimplifying, but my point was we need more than just claims of costs, we need an independent audit that backs up these assertions, and the numbers of animals actually alive and in holding. Today we have neither.

        Also note: Pendley’s fear mongering about $5B and 15 years has also somehow slipped the agency past the “10 years to AML” claims, and extended the funding demands for another 5 years (at least).

        The House passed a $6M funding bill, and the Senate passed a $35M bill so far, and these are based on the “10 years to AML” dogma. $5B and 15 years is a MAJOR unsubstantiated demand, perhaps aimed at moving the dial on both funding and duration of funding.

        If they remove and sterilize all they state they intend to, it is hard to imagine how costs could rise so sharply when in 15 years they will all be gone, or dying off.

        Liked by 1 person

      • GG, thanks for the White Paper link again. I’ve seen and read it in the past, what we need is to get this information to Congress and into the hands of those who will vote to appropriate funding or not for the current “path over the cliff” being pushed through DC right now. It’s clear there is a massive, many-tentacled spin campaign underway that was surely planned ahead and is well funded. We have a splintered advocacy and a very distracted Congress, neither bodes well for the public interest or our public lands, including our protected wild horses and burros.


      • I know the white paper was printed out and put into a booklet form and hand delivered to Senator Feinstein (D-CA) and others as well as being emailed to many too. But you’re correct … it needs to be sent in its entirety and/or quoted and sent in any way possible to as many members of our government and to the public as we can. The truth and proof of BLM’s fraud is the only thing that is going to stop the lousy corruption that goes on and that WE pay for. There is too much at stake for us to NOT speak up.


  5. 2009
    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    Where does all the $$$ go? Time for an Audit of the BLM

    A little while ago, the Senate voted to pass HR 2918, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act. This $3 billion bill contains, among many other things, provisions for GAO audits on certain agencies. What say we petition the govt to audit the BLM?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1990
    RANGELAND MANAGEMENT Improvements Needed in Federal Wild Horse Program
    Results in Brief

    GAO found that despite congressional direction, BLM’S decisions on how many wild horses to remove from federal rangelands have not been based on direct evidence that existing wild populations exceed what the range can support. Moreover, wild horse removals often have not been accompanied by reductions in authorized livestock grazing levels or effective range management to increase the land’s capacity. As a result, range conditions have not demonstrably improved, and the number of wild horses removed has exceeded the capacity of the Adopt-A-Horse program. These conditions, in turn, led BLM to implement two mass disposal options that have resulted in either inhumane treatment and commercial exploitation of the horses or committed the government to longterm financial responsibility for the removed horses’ welfare. BLM’S halter training and gentling program also has not been as cost-effective as it could be. Many horses remain at prison training facilities much longer than necessary resulting in increased program costs and lost adoption opportunities.

    Click to access 149472.pdf

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 1990
    RANGELAND MANAGEMENT Improvements Needed in Federal Wild Horse Program
    Results in Brief

    Wild Horse Removals Are Not Linked to Rangeland Conditions

    GAO found that existing information is insufficient to determine how many wild horses the range can support, the extent of degradation caused by wild horses, or consequently the number of wild horses that should appropriately be removed from individual herd areas. For example, for the five BLM areas GAO visited (covering 46 wild horse herd areas), BLM had not assessed the land’s carrying capacities in over 20 years in three cases and in over 10 years in another case. The one resource area with data less than 10 years old did not use it to set target wild horse population levels and removal objectives. Despite the lack of data, BLM has proceeded with horse removals using targets based on perceived population levels dating back to 197 1 and/or recommendations from BLM advisory groups comprised largely of livestock permittees. BLM could not provide GAO with any information demonstrating that federal rangeland conditions have significantly improved because of wild horse removals. This lack of impact has occurred largely because BLM has not reduced authorized grazing by domestic livestock, which because of their vastly larger numbers consume 20 times more forage than wild horses, or improved the management of livestock to give the native vegetation more opportunity to grow. In some areas, GAO found that BLM increased authorized livestock grazing levels after it had removed wild horses, thereby negating any reduction in total forage consumption and potential for range improvement. According to BLM range managers, BLM has not acted to reduce authorized grazing levels primarily because it believed it did not have sufficient range condition data to justify the reductions.

    Click to access 149472.pdf

    Liked by 2 people


    William Perry Pendley was “dismissed” from Reagan Administration’s Department of Interior after having “led the charge” for the highly-controversial Powder River Basin coal lease sale. The sale, then the largest sale of federal leases for coal, was marred by the leak of a confidential memo with information about bid amounts that ended up in unknown hands. Pendley was later criticized by the commission assigned to study the sale for sending a “clear signal” to potential lessees that DOI would accept low bids.
    Pendley was serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energies and Minerals when 32,000 acres in the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming went up for bidding on April 28th, 1982, marking it as the largest sale of federal leases for coal at that time. In May 1982, it was reported that a confidential memo was leaked with information about bid amounts although it was unknown who had received the data or had released the information.

    In 1983, William Perry Pendley’s nomination as DOI’s Assistant Secretary for Energy and Minerals failed after Pendley was questioned in his nomination hearing about DOI politically screening scientists advising the department about oil and gas drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.

    According to, on August 4th the confirmation was reported as failed for confirmation under “paragraph 6 of Rule XXXI of the Standing Rules of the Senate.” Rule XXXI is “EXECUTIVE SESSION – PROCEEDINGS ON NOMINATIONS” and paragraph 6 states that should the Senate take a recess of more than 30 days then any pending nominations that were not acted upon at the time of adjournment would be returned to the President. The nomination was returned on August 8th, 1983. Pendley left Interior in March 1984.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Just a reminder about their once again funny math. The 5 Billion in 15 years is showing up in news such as the Washington Post etc, along with the current years budget of 35 million. I wonder if they really think no one knows how to do 6th grade division. …. 5B/15yrs is 333M.At 35M or even 50M as also mentioned 5 billion would lost 100 years.


    • Marylaine, they are asking for $35M MORE than their annual budget, for a period of years, to reach their Unholy Grail of “Ten Years to Arbitrary Management Level.” Rest assured this is only the begining of the “needed” funding, which never seems to be needed to keep accurate inventories, perform actual credible scientific research and data collection, allow an interested public to assist and adopt without obfuscation, or capture and jail criminals who kill and sell the public’s wild horses to slaughter illegally (aka Salazar).


Leave a Reply to IcySpots Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your 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.