Horse News

The Last Days of American Wild Horses?

By : William E. Simpson II

Native species American wild horses are vanishing from the American landscape at an unprecedented rate. Why?

A lone wild stallion looks into a valley that once was home to hundreds of native-species American wild horses.

Under guidance from the Department of Interior (‘DOI’) Secretary Deb Haaland and executed by the Bureau of Land Management (‘BLM’), wild horses are being rounded up at an alarming rate.

And the few wild horses remaining after the roundups are treated with dangerous chemicals that are couched as ‘contraception’.
It’s a fact that; after this latest second-round of so-called ‘gathers’ in the past year, dubiously claimed as necessary due to the drought, wild horse populations in the west will be taken down to levels that are genetically non-sustainable; in-breeding is now assured.
Compounding what can be argued as genocide, are the ignorant supporters of using contraceptive chemicals on wild horses, which are wildlife.
The use of contraceptives such as porcine zona pellucida (‘PZP’) and GonaCon on native species American wild horses is the sham:
1) Deciding which horses will breed and which will not, either by intention or happenstance, is by definition ‘selective breeding’ and is counter to the critical role the natural selection plays in maintaining the genetic vigor of any species of animal, and is the first step in domestication; and
2) Science shows that PZP works best on horses (mares) with the best immune systems, which presents a serious problem:
Mares with poor immune systems can still give birth even after being treated with PZP.
This results in selective breeding in favor of foals that likely also carry their mare’s genes for a poor immune system. This stacks the genetic deck-of-cards against the resulting population of immune-depressed wild horses, which arguable could fall-prey to any disease spreading within the herd.
Why Are Wild Horses Being Persecuted?
The problem in a nutshell is the media (National Geographic., Discovery, CBS, NBC, ABC, and other national TV, print, online media outlets) have pummeled the court of public opinion, supporting the BLM’s unfounded conjectures and misinformation that; ‘wild horses are a menace destroying landscape and are overpopulated’, and ‘have no natural predators’, both statements being false.
Coupled with that, we have the leading (as in the loudest, not via merit) non-profit wild horse advocacy organizations, each self-promoting their own ideas of so-called solutions, which are in fact, not solutions for a sustainable ‘wild and free’ population of wild horses on the American landscape.
There are far too many people with opinions about wild horse management who have never even spent a year (24-7) living among wild horses to gather the insights needed to discuss their management from a fully-informed perspective…
TV news reports, movies, books, hear-say and field-trips watching them over a sandwich and a telephoto lens, or hanging-out with broken-spirited wild horses that have been taken out of nature are not methods suited to learning from them!
They teach, but in order to learn from wild horses, humans who want to learn have to make the requisite sacrifices to live among them as their students without any preconceived notions. 
I have spent the last 7-years of my life as a student of the free-roaming wild Ones here in the Soda Mountain wilderness.
To say the least, sacrifices have been made, and it hasn’t been easy…
Even after 7-years of 4-seasons and many, many moons, I am still learning from the wild Ones about how they live and what they want and need as sentient beings with free-will.
I have also learned, first-hand from them, that they play a vital role via their co-evolved mutualisms with the flora and fauna that also occupy the ecosystems benefited by the wild Ones…
My preliminary study of the ecological benefits of free-roaming wild horses, including reducing the frequency and intensity of wildfires, has been published, yet, some non-profits will not publish it, even though they have been granted expressed permission to do so. 
However, in Europe, the people there who apparently aren’t so caught-up in money related concerns or ego, have published my Study.
ReWilding Europe published my study; ‘Impact of Wild Horses on Wilderness Landscape and Wildfire‘, at their wildfire focused web-journal GrazeLIFE:
Moreover, complicating matters further are the self-interested non-profits who are unwilling to collaborate because;
1) Fear of losing donation-base to other orgs. or individuals; and,
2) They only like their own ideas… even as flawed as they are;
a. I.E. contraception; and,
b. Commingling livestock and wild horses in areas that, after 300-years of primarily managing such areas for livestock production (killing off apex predators), are no longer suited for wild horses that require natural selection via their co-evolved predators for genetic vigor and population balance on the landscape.
3) Stuck in obsolescence; these Orgs won’t acknowledge that; the socioeconomic changes in America over the past 50-years since the 1971 WHBPA was passed have had major impacts on the American landscape, largely due to the consumerism that is supported by the vast majority of Americans.
Without any doubt, logical overview calls for a new paradigm in wild horse management that uses modern ecological science coupled with a paleo-ecological overview of suitable areas for wild horse management that are synergised by Natural methods and tactics.
Enforcing pathetically ignorant, artificial methods upon the natural world is something that only an ignorant human would propose or do…
And this is exactly why, as humans, we find ourselves living in the dung-heap of our folly and on a planet that we are slowly destroying due to the ignorance, greed and ego of Human-kind, not Equids….
Wild horses have been steadfast good-stewards of the natural world over the course of their 55-Million years of evolution on this planet. 
It’s a sad fact that some wild horse non-profits share responsibility to one degree or another in the demise of native-species American wild horses via their continuing to offer pathetic non-natural half-measures and measures that have now taken American wild horses right to the brink of extinction.
In the waning moments of the sad story of America’s wild horses, we can only hope that non-profits step-back from their currently flawed beliefs, and make the required radical change off the path they are currently on, as the last sands of their potential survival pass from the hourglass.

12 replies »

  1. Sorry, but any article that in a blanket statement condemns all media reports loses credibility for me. Media have no stake in eliminating horses. No, I have not spent hours reviewing all stories and reports that media outlets have produced on wild horses. But I feel it is unlikely that they have all had the same response and supported the atrocities the Bureau of Land Management, Fish & Wildlife Service and DOI have carried out.
    Obviously it’s possible to study wild horses up close if you live in an area which has them. If you live in another part of the country most of us cant pull up stakes to move to Nevada or wherever to make the study. Instead we have to rely on credible narrators which I have to say are in short supply where it comes to communicating exactly what is happening to wild horses. As near as I can figure the BLM & DOI will bend over and cough when it comes to the livestock industry and consider environmentalists to be at best, pests, and at worst, terrorists.
    The BLM and DOI are to blame with continuing loss of protections for all endangered species not just wild horses. Conservation and environmental protections get the absolute lowest priority which is a national shame. My disgust at this and previous Administrations for not pulling their heads out of their asses knows no bounds.


    • Not necessarily true what you claim, either, about media having “no stake in elimnating horses.” Around a dozen smaller local papers and related TV stations have been bought up in my area by a large company that is also heavily involved in meat production and processing. It has been more than difficult to get even a Letter to the Editor of my local “rag” favoring wild horses at all.

      I expect if you do some digging you might learn there are fewer very large firms buying up essentially all media outlets, and many of these are indeed invested in for-profit ventures on our public lands.

      It might be a good exercise to even find and list ANY media that doesn’t have a stake in eliminating horses (and eventually people) from our publlc lands.

      I do share your disgust though, and have let my state’s elected officials know it, with zero actual response.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Deb needs to go or listen to the majority of the people. I will never support any elected official that thinks animal cruelty is’s not.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, it is a dire mistake to think one is preserving the “wild horses” when in fact one is taking the wild, or naturally living, nature away from them. On this point, we should fight the good fight, not be taken in by the cynical people who have thrown in the towel when it comes to defending the true integrity of the wild horses and their legal habitats in order to realize truly long-term-viable populations. And the same goes for the wild burros.


  4. @IcySpots I stand corrected. I do agree with you about big entities buying smaller media outlets. It seems local media in areas where wild horses are being treated this way are aligned with or possibly underwritten by these conglomerates and do not have public lands or wild horses as a concern. In fact, the opposite is true. They are responsible for spouting propaganda that aids in a rationale to rid our lands of wild horses and burros. A shameful use of journalism, if I ever saw it.

    But I still stand by my opinion that not ‘all media’ is out to ensure the destruction of wild horses. Media is not a monolith but is also made up of many outstanding independent journalists and researchers. We could do with more support from critical reporters, if any cared about this issue. I rarely absorb local news where I live – Texas – because I often find it very biased. National & international news sources have their own issues but do not present a one-line propaganda on the mis-use of public lands.

    The problem as I see it is large agencies have an agenda supported by powerful politicians and lobbying groups. Their agenda is to make it easier for livestock industry to continue to profit off the nation’s public land resources. That means you and I are supporting these people. There also exists a culture in these agencies of cruel misuse of wildlife. This has been going on for decades at a minimum. Don’t like it? Don’t vote these people into office. Keep track of who is voting or not voting for what. Ive seen in the past instances of bi-partisan support for anti-cruelty measures that have been successful. We need to do more to reign in these powerful agencies and their ‘license to kill – and maim’. It just isnt right.


    • Agreed on all counts, but have to add I have not had much luck getting any “journalists” to take up anything concerning wild horses and burros. Most seem to bend over and bow to the official BLM story lines. It is true these issues are complex and multi faceted, and it is next to impossible to get independently verified information. Add to that the disconnect so many people feel with large animals (other than in movies or fantasy dreams) and a whole host of other pressing societal issues and it becomes clear wild horses are mostly imaginary to many. How sad this is our 50 year legacy after what Wild Horse Annie was up against, and how she managed to make progress for us all against such headwinds.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. @IcySpots Funny you should say that because Ive been thinking about this for the last few days. I post constantly, trying to gather support to pressure DOI & BLM to back off, to ask people to write or call their Congressmen. Sadly I think few respond. It’s heartening to know that there are a few others besides me also posting the same kind of thing. But I really dont understand the apathy.I mean yes, we all have a multitude of things that take up our minds, but imo you have to not forget the things that really matter. I have noticed that scientists, biologists, conservationists, range management types are often the strongest voices in pushing back against this unholy killing. I saw today that Colorado Gov Polis made a strong statement to BLM, advising a moratorium on round ups. Could not find out if it had any effect yet. But that’s encouraging when state leaders ask for reason to be used.
    Saw another ‘news’ segment today doing exactly what you talked about – bowing to BLM. Really pathetic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amanda I am in CO and have met personally with Polis before he was Governor, so I can assure you I and many others here are constantly raising the temperature on our elected officials trying to get some semblance of equity for our wild horses. The change needs to happen through Congress to have any teeth, so we are working hard in that direction as well, but in my experience they are all cowards and will not take a stand in any particular direction other than to drink the BLM’s toxic and yes, lethal (tradmarked instant fruit flavored drink name here).

      Liked by 2 people

  6. There exist very powerful lobbys that direct what many in Congress will or wont do, even what issues they’ll put on the agenda. It’s disgusting. Koch brothers are very rich and very powerful and thanks to a Supreme Court ruling which means corporate donors can dump as much as they want on elections and contributions and do it in the dark, well our rights are miniscule by comparison. It is deeply upsetting to realize the powerful lobbys include many anti-animal, anti-environmental groups as well and the livestock industry doesnt play a small part in that.
    So the fact that BLM bends over and (____ leaving to your imagination) for livestock lobbying interests? Nope, not surprised. But yes enraged. The BLM is a gov agency not an independent company. They should not be beholden to any lobby. And DOI? Everywhere I look lately I see records that DOI ‘no response available’, ‘did not reply’. No manned phone & dont answer email. How is it legal for an agency of the government to be completely non-responsive? IT ISNT.
    Ok, stepping off my soapbox now before I have some kind of bodily mis-function. heartburn in effect already.

    Liked by 1 person

    • amanda – you and all of us need to stay right on that old soapbox – the more noise the better. I’m so glad there is some response from Gov. Polis – at least ONE governor speaking up. Far too many are owned & operated by either fossil fuel or livestock lobbies or both. And as Icy said – few journalists seem interested enough to investigate just who is telling the truth about the wild horse situation. Once in a while, one will come along & actually listen to people who have the experience & write truth. Not often.

      Liked by 1 person

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