Horse News

Wild horse and burro numbers must be SLASHED, BLM slaughter advisory board says

“Mainstream Media continues ‘Fake News’ campaign to further BLM’s special interests plan to destroy and slaughter the last few wild equines that grace America’s public lands…”

Unedited Fake News propaganda piece (a few good jabs delivered at the end):

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management must utilize adoption, sterilization and roundups to drastically reduce the number of wild horses and burros on public lands, an advisory panel suggests.

BLM Advisory Board’s Official Dress Shirt

The bureau’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, a citizen group of wild horse and burro stakeholders, met in Washington, D.C., last week, to advise the bureau on best practices.After multiple lawsuits and public outcry, the bureau’s horse management teams have been limited to emergency removal of horses and burros. The agency needs more tools to reduce the number of animals on public lands, said Fred Woehl, the board chairman.

Longtime wild horse advocates fear even the proposed steps might not be enough to slash the nation’s estimated 90,000 wild horses and burros to 26,715 — the number the bureau thinks is environmentally sustainable.

But activists worry federal agencies might loosen rules and allow horses to be sold for slaughter, as has happened in the past.

Wild mustangs and burros, the descendants of escaped horses from the U.S. pioneer era, range freely over 27 million acres of public lands in 10 states, protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

Agency officials say that with few natural predators, their population has exploded and that some herds can double in four years. The animals wander onto private lands, overgraze vegetation and deplete water resources. This leads to undernourishment and dehydration.

“These are tough situations that require tough choices to be made,” said board member Steven Yardley, a Utah cattle rancher. “We are facing an ecological disaster.”

In 2018, Congress blocked an agency proposal to sell captured wild horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Both countries sell horse meat to Asia. A year earlier, Congress blocked a proposal for “humane euthanization” of thousands of wild horses.

The Bureau of Land Management plans to ask Congress for $5 billion over the next 15 years, or about $3,750 per animal per year, to bring population levels down, said William Pendley, acting director of the agency.

A proposed compromise was crafted this spring with input from the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as well as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Gathering horses

Part of the plan includes strategic roundups in states like Nevada, where wild horse and burro populations have outgrown the environment’s capacity to support them, the Bureau of Land Management said.

In 2019, the bureau removed 7,276 horses and burros from rangelands according to a schedule published online. Most of the animals captured in roundups the bureau calls “gathers” are taken to long-term holding pastures in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Once captured on the range, a horse in long-term care costs taxpayers about $50,000 during its lifetime, panel members said. Some 50,000 off-range horses are in long-term care.

As part of the effort, the bureau has used helicopters to round up horses, which animal rights activists say is unnecessarily cruel. This month, the bureau plans to use helicopters to round up 365 horses in Idaho.

“You take a band of horses and run them for mile after mile with a helicopter where they’re driven into a [fenced] trap,” said former advisory board member Ginger Kathrens, a Colorado-based documentary filmmaker who has filmed the bureau’s horse-gathering operations. “Some of them break their legs, some are traumatized. It’s just inhumane.”

Adoption urged

Starting in March, a program to adopt horses and burros offered a $1,000 incentive to adopters. More than 7,000 horses and burros were adopted, the agency said.

Two veterinary groups — American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Veterinary Medical Association — have recommended “unrestricted sales” of horses that are over 10 years old or have failed to be adopted three times.

Animal rights groups quickly reacted, claiming this could result in slaughter of these horses. They worried that the bureau might use the veterinarian policy statement to push back against current rules that horses can’t be sold into the export market to Canada and Mexico.

Meanwhile, in an 8-1 vote, the panel agreed to recommend that the bureau continue a controversial plan to spay female horses on the rangelands. The “ovariectomy via colpotomy” procedure involves inserting a metal rod in the animal and severing the horse’s ovaries.

Last year, veterinary research partners at Colorado State University withdrew from a proposed mass-spaying event in Oregon’s Warm Springs horse colony, after outrage from animal right activists that the process was “barbaric.” The bureau plans to continue with the procedure, anyway.

A temporary contraceptive hormone, delivered by dart gun, must be repeated several times and has been deemed too complicated to be effective. However, the panel said it wanted the bureau to be able to use new technology as it develops that might lead to better fertility control.

Wild horses, however, might not be to blame for destruction of rangelands and don’t necessary need to be removed from them, some of those who commented at the meetings maintained.

“Wild horses are targets of a sophisticated propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the public that they are destroying public lands, even though 88 percent of BLM land has no wild horses on it,” statement released by the American Wild Horse Campaign said.

The group said the bureau sought to remove the horses and “replace them with commercial livestock.” It blamed oil and gas fracking, mining and livestock grazing for the degradation of public lands.

Kathrens, the documentary filmmaker, and her group, the Cloud Foundation, met with congressional staffers Thursday to discuss humane management of wild horses on public land.

“These mass removals they’re proposing leave the animals in a very vulnerable situation,” Kathrens said. “We’ve seen it before. It’s a scenario for slaughter.”

9 replies »

  1. Animal Advocates Radio “Voices Carry for Animals #240” Anthony Marr- Motorcade For Wild Horses

    Topic will be: The MARR PLAN MOTORCADE for WILD HORSES, 10:30 AM EST, November 16, Saturday, Washington DC to Richmond VA. All are invited to join – for the wild horses!
    An Unprecedented Problem Requires an Unprecedented Solution

    Liked by 1 person


    Well known real estate developer and Storey County Commissioner Lance Gilmanand Erik Molvar, Executive Director of the Western Watersheds Campaign, struckback forcefully against the scapegoating of wild horses and in favor of protecting these iconic animals on public lands in the West.

    Western Watershed’s Executive Director Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist and expert on sage grouse conservation, closed the press conference with a forceful argument against the scapegoating of wild horses. “From the perspective of Western Watersheds Project, the nation’s leading environmental conservation group working to solve the widespread problem of poor range health on western public lands, cattle — not wild horses — are the main problem causing overgrazing and damage to native habitats on western public lands,” he said. “As a wildlife biologist whose scientific findings on large herbivore ecology have been published in a number of peer-reviewed scientific journals, I believe the contention that wild horses are the major land health problem, rather than domestic livestock, is fake news.”

    The film screening that followed the press conference in another location was a lost opportunity for a true discussion of the issues facing wild horses and western public lands. The one-sided propaganda film was followed by a tightly controlled panel discussion, conducted under a format that prevented audience interaction, and carefully controlled the questions that were asked of panel members. Many audience members, sensing that nothing of importance was going to happen, left before the discussion was over.

    All in all, we were successful in countering the anti-wild horse messaging of this biased event in the media coverage that resulted the following day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What I’ve found is that many publications are now requiring that you subscribe in order to read or comment on their articles. I can understand the reason that they must stay in business doesn’t help their circulation on the web.


      • Yes, those firewalls are becoming too common, and pinching off the sharing of information in good ways. This particular one let me in on a second try without registering, for some reason, though.


      • IcySpot, did you find a way to comment? It just pulls up message box..and that’s all. No way that I could see to post a comment and it really does need some rebuttals


      • If I turn off my spamblocker I can get to a comment box, but have to post it using Facebook, which I do not use. So yet another “public” forum effectively closed to general public comment. The only comment showing up is spam, too. Emblematic of our times.


  3. Follow the water?

    “Interior Department proposes coveted water deal to ex-client of Secretary David Bernhardt

    Bernhardt — a Colorado native who used to work at a high-powered Denver lobbying firm — served as a lobbyist for Westlands until 2016, the year before he joined Interior, initially as deputy secretary.

    WASHINGTON — The Interior Department is proposing to award one of the first contracts for federal water in perpetuity to a powerful rural water district that had employed Secretary David Bernhardt as a lawyer and lobbyist.

    Environmental groups and a California Democratic lawmaker oppose giving the contract to the California’s Westlands Water District, the nation’s largest agricultural water supplier. The water supplier serves some of country’s wealthiest and most politically influential corporate farmers.

    Bernhardt served as a lobbyist for Westlands until 2016, the year before he joined Interior, initially as deputy secretary.”


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