Horse News

Last Push: Please Comment Now to Stop BLM’s Plans to Wipe Out 40% of Wyoming’s Wild Horses

by Debbie Coffey as published on Wild Hoofbeats

Comments Are Due by April 30. Please Submit Your Comments Today.

Please Comment Today to Stop BLM’s Plans to Wipe Out 40% of Wyoming’s Wild Horses so Privately Owned Livestock Can Run Roughshod Over Public Lands

The BLM wants to remove 4,000 wild horses from four Herd Management Areas in Wyoming, which would mean removing 40% of all of the wild horses in Wyoming.

Please comment on a new Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Resource Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed changes to the management of four wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Wyoming: Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin and White Mountain.

Please urge the BLM to select Alternative A, which would manage wild horses in their respective 4 herds at the current Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) for each herd with a total AML 1481-2065.  As you can see on the graphs below, wild horses are already currently far outnumbered by privately owned livestock on public lands on these Herd Management Areas.

The BLM certainly seems to be violating the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) by favoring some “uses” (livestock grazing) over other “uses” (wild horses).  FLPMA stipulates that the BLM take into account the “coordinated management of the various resources without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment with consideration being given to the relative values of the resources and not necessarily to the combination of uses that will give the greatest economic return or the greatest unit output.”

If the BLM even took this into account, they ignored it.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) issued “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” a report that is an in-depth assessment of the various significant impacts of the world’s livestock sector on the environment.

The Center for Biological Diversity has noted that “Cattle destroy native vegetation, damage soils and stream banks, and contaminate waterways with fecal waste. After decades of livestock grazing, once-lush streams and riparian forests have been reduced to flat, dry wastelands; once-rich topsoil has been turned to dust, causing soil erosion, stream sedimentation and wholesale elimination of some aquatic habitats; overgrazing of native fire-carrying grasses has starved some western forests of fire, making them overly dense and prone to unnaturally severe fires.”

The BLM’s “Preferred Alternative” would be to remove 4000 wild horses from the four Herd Management Areas, and to reduce the AML for Adobe Town HMA to only 259 – 536 wild horses (while allowing over 13,000 privately owned sheep to graze many months of the year), and then to use barbaric and archaic procedures for the spaying of wild mares, gelding of stallions, skewing of sex ratios, helicopter roundups and other cruel methods on the remaining wild horses.

Apparently, the BLM is good with the high numbers of privately owned livestock grazing on these public lands, and plans to continue to let cattle and sheep run rampant.

The BLM counts a cow/calf pair (2 animals) as only 1 animal, so when looking at the graphs below, be aware that the numbers of cattle on public lands are actually double the numbers indicated on the brown lines on the graphs below.

Source for numbers of livestock:  BLM Rangeland Administration System

Source of high AML numbers of wild horses:  Salt Wells Creek HMA

Source of grazing allotments on Salt Wells HMA:  BLM Rock Springs RMP Revision

Source for numbers of livestock:  BLM Rangeland Administration System

Source of high AML numbers of wild horses:  Adobe Town HMA

Source of grazing allotments on Adobe Town HMA:  BLM Rock Springs RMP Revision

Source for numbers of livestock:  BLM Rangeland Administration System

Source of high AML numbers of wild horses: Divide Basin HMA

Source of Grazing Allotments on Divide Basin HMA:  BLM Rock Springs RMP Revision

Source for numbers of livestock:  BLM Rangeland Administration System

Source of high AML numbers of wild horses:  White Mountain HMA

Source of Grazing Allotments on White Mountain HMA:  BLM Rock Springs RMP Revision

The numbers of livestock and the percentage of the allotment on public lands are from the Authorization Use By Allotment Reports on the BLM Rangeland Administration System.  The numbers of animals were reduced based on the percentage of each grazing allotment on public lands.  The numbers of animals were again reduced by the percentage of each grazing allotment on the wild horse Herd Management Area (HMA).  The percentage of allotments on each HMA was from BLM Rock Springs RMP Revision.  Numbers of animals were rounded down.  For grazing periods that were 10 days or 20 days, the numbers of animals were reduced to reflect the shorter grazing period.  Grazing periods of 5 days or less were not included in the numbers in the graphs above.

As it is, the BLM can’t find enough good homes for the wild horses that it has already removed public lands and holds in captivity, so many of these Wyoming wild horses will most likely eventually end up in the slaughter pipeline.

Please request that the BLM select Alternative A.  Use your own words.  You might suggest that the BLM prepare an EIS to reduce livestock grazing on Wyoming HMAs.  If you sign onto a comment form instead of commenting yourself, 2000 comments just get read as only 1 comment.  It only takes a few minutes to get onto the BLM site and submit comments online.  Your comments will make a difference.  Thank you for caring about our wild horses.

Here is the link to submit your comments by April 30th, 2020:

Click on the link above, and look down to the first line that says “Wild Horse Amendment” – on the right there is a button that says “Comment on Document.”  Press this and you will go to the online comment form. You do not need to fill in the “Chapter Reference” or “Section Reference” fields. If you have trouble submitting your comments, contact the Rock Springs Field Office Manager, Kimberlee Foster: 307-352-0201.

32 replies »


      Liked by 2 people

    • Why are you do insistent on killing off part of our Countries History and Heritage? These horses deserve to live, just like you and I. They have run free for hundreds of years. They should be allowed to live. AND LIVE FREE!

      Liked by 2 people


      Liked by 2 people

    • Stop this absurd killing. We, as U.S. citizens, don’t condone what the BLM is doing to our wild horses. Stop bending over for the cattlemen. The wild horses live on public lands, and I am the public. I do not want the horses removed from their range. I do NOT WANT CATTLE RANGING ON PUBLIC LANDS.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Stop Destroying the beautiful Western Heritage.The BLM has NO Right to destroy the lands of these beautiful animals for what it is known for..To be WILD AND FREE. These Horses deserve to be free and FREED for forever.LEAVE THEM FREE

      Liked by 2 people

  1. These requests always are so confusing. Is the link provided, not a “comment form”? 2000 of these, registers as 1 comment? Or are you referring to another type of comment form?

    What would you put as subject?

    Please implement Alternative A, which would manage wild horses in their respective 4 herds at the current Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) for each herd with a total AML 1481-2065.

    It’s really hard to know what to say to these people!

    Thank you, Jill


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jill, the subject should be:

      When you click on the link provided, in the white box, first you’ll see Documents and reports, then the next category is Wild Horse Amendment…on the green line under this subtitle, on the right side, you’ll see Comment on document. Click on this.

      We were talking about form letters that organizations sometimes ask people to sign. (Where the language will be identical on each
      letter.). When a government agency receives 2000 form letters with the same language/comments, they count those as only 1 letter. That’s why we ask people to make comments using your own words. Our suggested comments are just a guideline to some of the main issues.

      Liked by 1 person

      • On Carol Walkers site – every time there is a request for comments – its depressing to see the number of people who COMMENT – ON CAROL’S SITE! She always puts the actual site name & instructions in the request then again & again thru the comments. Do NONE of these people ever look back & read the comments there? Honest – far too many seem to believe that all they have to do is click & write a short comment & that takes care of it – do none of them ever actually read the whole article & information that Carol always puts in there?
        I’ve added my comments several times too & there are a few others who do the same trying to EDUCATE! At this point not even sure any part of this government really takes into account what we, the people, think & believe. BUT if we ALL continue to protest & make public our feelings on this and other horrible things that are being perpetrated by this administration, maybe, just maybe, somewhere somebody will listen & realize! I honestly wonder anymore if there is any realization that we pay taxes and we vote! Doesnt seem like it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hi Maggie, Hopefully a lot of the people who are commenting on Carol’s blog will also
        send in a comment to the BLM. I think we continue to reach a lot of people who are new to wh&b issues,
        so I’m always happy to answer any of their questions (just like more experienced advocates answered ours when we were learning).
        By the way everyone, great researcher Cindy MacDonald maintains a website called AMERICAN HERDS with her research and articles. Although a little older,
        the same issues still apply today. GREAT RESOURCE:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for asking, Jill.
        I am sure other people are confused about this too. Thanks for helping us, Deb Coffey.

        One more idea for us all is that these EIS/EAs are often SO complicated that it is hard to know what to say. Suggestion: pick one (or more) specific subjects within the EIS/EA and concentrate your comment on THAT.

        Your comment WILL matter and our wild ones need YOUR help.


      • Thank you debbie coffee for clarifying this information! Individual comments on the BLM website directly with personal comments are much more effective. Forwarding a general response from advocates or signing a petition means nothing to the BLM. & THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SUPPORT OUR INNOCENT ONES!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it can be very confusing re: the detailed information. But read everyone else’s comments & info. It more important than you condense the facts & be honest about your opinion re: the welfare of the innocent ones. I was advised not to sound EXTREMELY angry, even though that is how I feel right now? Hard to do..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The law clearly states The United States of America Code of Federal Regulations states: § 4710.5 Closure to livestock grazing.
    (a) If necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury, the authorized officer may close appropriate areas of the public lands to grazing use by all or a particular kind of livestock.
    If the BLM were truly striving for a thriving natural ecological balance, this would be the very first and foremost alternative in the RMP amendment proposal and the logical, legal and fair decision to promote a thriving natural ecological balance on these public lands.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So…WHAT happened?

    Landscape Stewardship Certificates of Appreciation – 2008

    The BLM and RSGA have worked together for 74 years in managing resources associated with the checkerboard. The following are some examples of this cooperation.

    There are four wild horse management areas in the Rock Springs District that rely on the habitat found on the checkerboard. RSGA has always supported sound scientific management of wild horses and cooperated with interest groups to allow these herd areas on RSGA lands.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Something that has never been answered to my satisfaction..
    This legal document states that federal law prohibits fencing on public lands
    WHY, then, do we see so much of public land fenced?

    Read #28 pg 10 “…Federal Law expressly prohibits fencing on Public Lands….”

    Liked by 2 people

      • We could possibly get an answer in court Maggie. It would have to be tried in a courtroom and in a state east of the Rockies

        Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe some day, Louie! Court opinions in the wild horse favor are kind of few & far between and then there is no one in our present government that pays attention! Now they want to open up the parks! Considering the damage done to the parks & reserves before the virus hit us – that sounds depressing. What ever happened to good old common sense? Seems to have disappeared, doesnt it?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Stop the illegal roundups, they are federally protected that’s their land!! I and everyone that has payed taxes own and have a the rights to sue you for taking our horses to slaughter, be prepared for a mega fight!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Grandmagregg I want to thank you for putting that info where I was able to see it. I don’t the time to do as much research as I would like and in time for this deadline. Gave me more direction on what to bring up. These were all good comments and not the usually rant made by dreamers. We need maintained wild horses to stay and to end the surplus going to the slaughter pipeline.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stop the removal and destroying of our wild horses and burros!
    We all know there are ways around this horrific behavior of the BLM.
    The BLM needs to stop the greediness with our wealthy ranchers, oil, coal, etc and sit down to talk about what’s right for our wild horses and burros.
    Things have gotten out of hand. This is not the Wild West. If it still is then we the people need to start participating!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Stop the removal and destroying of our wild horses and burros!
    We all know there are ways around this horrific behavior of the BLM.
    The BLM needs to stop the greediness with our wealthy ranchers, oil, coal, etc and sit down to talk about what’s right for our wild horses and burros.
    Things have gotten out of hand. This is not the Wild West. If it still is then we the people need to start participating!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I do not know al the pros and cons but I do understand the Blm is suppose to protect the wild horses and burros not destroy them.
    I do not understand rounding them up just to keep them in a pen
    Something to benefit the very ones they are suppose to protect needs to happen

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Some history and more grist for the mill

    From AMERICAN HERDS (excerpts)

    What In The Wyoming?

    In the fall of 2005, BLMs Wyoming Rock Springs Field Office issued a wild horse removal plan for the Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek Herd Management Areas (HMA).

    BLM claimed that 730 wild horses would be removed(1) but during the roundups 1,197 horses were actually taken, 467 more than originally planned. (2)

    In the 2005 proposal, BLM stated, “At the present time, it can be projected with a high degree of confidence what the population will look like at gather time…” (3)

    And is it any wonder BLM felt they really knew the numbers since the Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek wild horses have been rounded up 8 times in the last 8 years. (4)

    The remaining wild horse population after the 2005 removals, based on BLMs “in-depth” and confident authority was projected to be 861. We can only assume that taking 467 more wild horses during the 2005 removal operations was necessary to achieve this goal.

    Flash forward…five month’s later, BLM reports 1,825 wild horses still remain. (5)

    What happened? A new census technique is what happened.
    Based on BLMs reported populations in February 2006, the Salt Wells Creek HMA went from 169 wild horses after the 2005 fall removals to 1,133 in February 2006. This also caused a dramatic increase in the projected new spring foals, bringing the Salt Wells population up to 1,349 by the summer of 2006.

    So BLM whipped out a new assessment to remove more wild horses and in January of 2007, while the Nation was gripped in snow, ice and subfreezing temperatures, the Salt Wells wild horses were driven again to the pens, this time removing 846 more, until BLM finally deemed weather conditions were extreme enough to halt the helicopters. (6)

    So what does all this mean? Is the old method of counting wild horses really that bad? Is the new method really that accurate? Is this just more “authoritative and confident” flimflam from the masters of spin to butcher viable wild horse populations?

    So far, public questions are only being met with silence while the costs of holding over 30,000 wild horses and burros continue to climb.

    Liked by 2 people


    Land of the Lawless (excerpts)

    Speaking of Wyoming, another wild horse round up is being planned, this time for the White Mountain and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas (HMA).

    Spewing statistical spin of seismic proportions, the Rock Springs Field Office offers us a solid look into the fantasy world of wild horse and burro “management”.

    White Mountain Herd Management Area
    In 2004, BLM reported that just the public lands for the White Mountain Herd Area covered more than 900k acres and totaled over 1.9 million when all the “other” acreage was combined. In 2005, almost 700k acres of the originally protected “public land” mysteriously disappeared and over 1.5 million total acres for the White Mountain herds is now gone.

    The White Mountain wild horses were last removed in November 2003, where again BLM confidently reported a remaining population of 205. While reproduction rates seemed normal for the next few years, suddenly the population exploded between 2006 and 2007, jumping from 295 to 817. Based on the 20% reproductive rate BLM asserts in the Assessment, the wild horse population should only be 425.

    BLM claims the current population is based on direct counts, not on the new census technique they have been working with USGS on for the last few years.

    So where did all these wild horses come from if BLM was so confident just 4 years ago that they had removed them to the “appropriate” number?

    The maximum allowable management level for the White Mountain herds is 300 wild horses and they have been issued 3,600 AUMs of forage compared to the 185,429 AUMs given to livestock operations in the area – only 2% of the food.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I urge you to select option A and treat these animals with respect and dignity. They are a part of our culture and our history and do not deserve to be harmed and slaughtered. We are destroying the balance of our precious nature for the sake of more economic profit. Please put an end to this!

    Liked by 1 person


    On Wyoming’s Red Desert, a legal battle is raging, pitting wild horses against livestock
    grazing on public lands, particularly the “checkerboard” lands on either side of the Union
    Pacific railway.

    Apparently, some ranchers can’t stand wild horses on the open range, especially on
    private checkerboard lands, and wild horse advocates don’t want to see the horses taken
    off the range and slaughtered or shipped off to distant private lands.

    Allow us to present a modest proposal to protect both of these interests, and the broader
    public interest as well. Our proposal would enhance private landowners’ ability to
    enforce their own property rights, improve land health and enhance wildlife habitats on
    public lands and resolve thorny public access issues that plague Red Desert
    checkerboard lands. Here’s our solution:

    First, use acre-for-acre land swaps to consolidate checkerboard lands into large,
    contiguous public and private blocks. The federal government should acquire high-value
    habitats like sage grouse priority habitats and the Hoback-to-Red Desert mule deer
    migration corridor, plus crucial big game winter ranges and potential wilderness like
    those found in northern Adobe Town. Private land and mineral owners could trade into
    large tracts of rangeland with lower wildlife habitat values and greater mineral resources
    Second, wild horses could be removed from the large blocks of private land, so that
    livestock wouldn’t compete with wild horses. Wyoming is a fence-out state, and once
    wild horses are shifted to public lands, federal agencies could assist with the cost of
    creating fences to divide the private and public blocks, while allowing for big-game
    migration between both types of land.

    Third, for remaining public lands throughout the Red Desert, livestock would be
    removed and those rangelands could be managed for the benefit of wildlife and wild
    horses. The general public values native wildlife by large majorities, as well as the
    opportunity to view wild horses, while domestic livestock primarily benefit their private
    owners and there is little interest from the American public as a whole in having
    livestock on public lands
    Without domestic livestock, agencies can remove fences that obstruct big game
    migrations and kill low-flying sage grouse. Without domestic calves and lambs to worry
    about, wolves and other native carnivores would have the freedom to roam their original
    homelands in the Red Desert, at least on public lands.
    With the Red Desert’s scant rainfall, inability to support livestock over the winter and
    expense of providing water supplies, this desert has always been marginal for raising
    livestock to start with. That’s why almost all the ranches within its bounds went belly-up
    decades ago.

    In contrast to its marginal value to the agriculture industry, the Red Desert represents a
    world-class high desert ecosystem, a biological stronghold that supports populations of
    rare wildlife ranging from sage grouse to pygmy rabbits to burrowing owls. Its
    breathtaking scenery rivals our national parks in places like Adobe Town, the
    Honeycomb Buttes and the dunefields bordering the Boars Tusk. Its recreational value is
    important today, and will only increase as a growing population of Americans looks
    increasingly to its public lands as a recreational sanctuary. Wild horses are a significant
    part of that recreational value; a Sweetwater County Tourism Bureau official once told
    me that the No. 1 question asked by travelers stopping in was, “Where can I go to see
    wild horses?”

    Let’s be clear. Wild horses don’t pose an ecological problem in the Red Desert so much as
    an annoyance to private agribusiness. The rangelands of the Red Desert are in good
    condition relative to other parts of the West, featuring native grasses and shrubs without
    widespread infestations of invasive weeds like cheatgrass.

    We find no evidence that today’s wild horse numbers are causing problems for land
    health or for native wildlife. If wild horses do overpopulate some day and cause damage,
    temporary birth-control drugs offer a workable solution.

    Untangling private and public ownership in the heart of the Red Desert would give
    private landowners the opportunity to pursue their private profits on their own lands. It
    would give the landowners of federal public lands – all Americans – the opportunity for
    better public access and enhanced lands management that maximizes public values
    rather than private profits.

    Without cattle and sheep to compete with native wildlife, the land will be healthier and
    support more abundant and secure populations of native species so that we can all take
    pride in implementing the land ethic that gets so much lip service here in Wyoming. Aldo
    Leopold, the father of wildlife management, would be proud.

    Erik Molvar is the executive director of Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit organization
    that works to protect western watersheds and wildlife, particularly on public lands.

    Liked by 1 person

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