Horse News

Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Malfeasance Enhancing Wildfire Hazard To Public and Wasting Tax Dollars

by William E. Simpson II

Author/Ethologist – William E. Simpson II speaking with ABC15 News reporter Jamie Warren

On July 28, 2022, a taped interview I gave to ABC15 News in Phoenix Arizona was aired on TV and Internet news.

My name is William E. Simpson II, and among my professional training and vocations, I am a wild horse ethologist that has been living-among and studying free-roaming wild horses in a wilderness area for the past 8-years.
That same ABC15 interview also contained conjectures by a Bureau of Land Management (‘BLM’) spokesman, Mr. Scott Fluer, which I will address herein.
Listening to the BLM’s so-called ‘concerns’ in the light of their proven pattern of documented misrepresentations about wild horse ecology and ignoring science, including their own science, creates a situation that must addressed by this author.
And the BLM’s ongoing pattern of promoting patently false information to the public, must also be addressed by our legislators, lest they be held responsible should they fail to reign-in the proven malfeasance by the BLM.
The actions and misrepresentations by the BLM are clearly wasting $100-million/annually in tax dollars, as well as placing the health, safety and welfare of the American people at grave risk to catastrophic wildfire that can be partially mitigated via the proper management of wild horses.

Colorado College award-winning documentary thesis film by Micah Robin titled ‘Fuel, Fire and Wild Horses‘, takes viewers on a visual examination of the issues of wildfire fuels and benefits of proper wild horse management, with commentary by Pulitzer Prize winner David Phillips.

It’s abundantly published by professional scientists in over 100 peer-reviewed studies that reductions in grass and brush wildfire fuels by herbivores like wild horses reduces both the frequency and intensity of wildfires.

To suggest, as Mr. Fluer did, this is not true in any way is a serious misrepresentation that constitutes dangerous gross negligence and violates the public trust doctrine.

The BLM has provably been and is currently engaged in an ongoing campaign of willful ignorance and misinformation directed at the public and our elected officials, via their ongoing propagation of manifestly false statements regarding public lands management and wild horses, including but not limited to this Pinocchio sized whopper:

“Wild horses have no natural predators …”

This is a manifestly false statement promoted by the BLM in writing.

That false statement appears on page-1, paragraph 5 of the Executive Summary of their so-called management plan that was presented to the Congress of The United States in writing, and titled;

Only a corrupted agency would propose to manage any resource with a preposterous plan that contains a fake foundational premise that supports and drives the entirety of their so-called management plan for wild horses.
In this most recent interview about Wild Horse Fire Brigade, the Bureau of Land Management tells ABC15 they have concerns about the Wild Horse Fire Brigade idea, a comment that is laughable coming from a agency that is notoriously riddled with corruption and malfeasance.
Let’s Unpack And Examine The So-Called BLM ‘Concerns’:
They say, they don’t have the legal authority to place wild horses on public lands where they weren’t originally from.
That statement is a half-truth at best, and the BLM knows it.
There is published existing Law (H.R. 1625, Sec. 313) that allows wild horses to be relocated through a couple of administrative steps, and that law and the BLM’s required compliance with that law appears on the BLM’s own website! (they know).
This existing law (H.R. 1625, Sec. 313) allows state, county and other authorities to obtain wild horses from the BLM, and then through another administrative step, deploy said horses into wildfire fuels reduction roles in areas that are ecologically and economically appropriate using the Wild Horse Fire Brigade paradigm.
Wild Horses obtained from the BLM under H.R. 1625 Sec. 313, undergo a change in jurisdictional semantics (defined term), and are considered the same jurisdictionally as livestock (‘work animals’).
And then using established wildfire grazing protocols using livestock, administrative agreements between counties and states with local U.S. Forest Service Rangers are made to deploy those same horses into deep wilderness, that is manifestly unsuited for cattle, goats or sheep wildfire grazing. It is important to note that livestock are already being deployed into easily accessible areas of wilderness controlled by the USFS.
They also worry unmanaged grazing could cause problems.
“We might actually make things a little bit more fragile,” says Scott Fluer, with the agency’s wild horse and burro program. “We might have an increase in the non-native plant community. We might have increased soil erosion. This could even make fire frequency even worse or more dangerous.”
Unlike anyone on the Bureau of Land Management’s (‘BLM’) staff, including Mr. Fluer, this author (William E. Simpson II) was trained as a scientist, has a background in livestock production, logging & forest management, and has been living among and studying free-roaming wild horses in a wilderness area for the past 8-years continuously.
In fact, the first 5-years of my close-range observational study was seen as quite relevant by peers at ReWilding Europe’s wildfire-focused journal GrazeLIFE, who published an abstract of my Study, which can be read online, with the full-study available for free-download at:
I am also the author and principal investigator of over 200 published articles on natural resource management, including researched and science-supported articles on forest management, wildlife management and wildfire ecology.
In the first 5-years of my Study, I totaled over 11,000 hours of close observational study of naturally-living wild horses in a wilderness area that is devoid of livestock impacts, which provides clean data that is not commingled with livestock impacts on the landscape.
My first-hand experience also includes the impact wildfire grazing by wild horses on catastrophic wildfire as a result of the Klamathon Fire of July 2018, which tested my thesis on wild horse wildfire fuels mitigation. Furthermore, I was a volunteer on the Klamathon Fire fire-line as the local-knowledge advisor to CAL-FIRE commanders on scene for 9-days during that 38,000 acre inferno.
Nobody at the BLM has the overall combined training and empirical experience in, science, livestock production, forestry, wildfire and wild horse behavioral ecology that I have accumulated over the past 50-years of my professional career. Not bragging, it’s just a plain fact that I must disclose in defense of the truth about wild horses in the face of misrepresentations made by lesser qualified BLM personnel.
Importantly, some of my experience with wild horses and their management has been documented and characterized as ‘expertise’ by numerous elected officials at multiple levels of government.
Some of those reference letters can be read at the PDF HERE:
So with that said:
I have to say that Mr. Fluer’s comments in behalf of the BLM are disingenuous in their entirety and unsupported by logic or any independent published science, as well as being contrary to my extensive hands-on experience with wild horse ecology.

Mr. Scott Fluer – Spokesman for BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program

As a behavioral ecologist, studying body language, head movements, ears, eyes, vocal tones and inflections, and so on, are required part of my skill sets to learn about wild horses.

Looking at the head movement, tone and eye movement of Mr. Fluer as he speaks to the camera, indicates to me he’s making misrepresentations and knows it.
In an article from INSIDER, we find some interesting information about how to detect when someone is lying, and it seems to apply to Mr. Fluer’s comments to ABC15.
Here is an extract from that article:
Mark Bouton, an FBI agent for 30 years and author of “How to Spot Lies Like the FBI,” tells Business Insider that he used certain tells to help identify Timothy McVeigh as a suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing. But being able to read facial expressions to detect lies can be beneficial even if you’re not conducting criminal investigations, he says.

“There are a number of facial expressions and associated reactions that could indicate someone is lying to you,” he says.

Mr. Fluer’s conjectures about wild horses and their population and grazing are based in some BLM fairy-tale designed to demonize wild horses in order to somehow justify the eradicate of wild horses from public lands to clear the way for unfettered use by industrial enterprises engaged in oil, gas and mineral extractions as well as livestock production.
Wild horses only re-seed the seeds they eat!
This means when they are properly deployed into remote natural wilderness, they only can eat the seeds of native flora, and thereby reseed only native flora.
Their guts do not somehow magically create invasive seeds as Mr. Fluer would have everyone believe.
However, in areas where wild horses are currently mismanaged as commingled wildlife among cattle and sheep that are being supplemented occasionally with hay that was bailed in valley fields infiltrated with invasive weeds, of course the horses might reseed some those imported seeds from hay as well.
However, that is the fault of livestock managers importing the invasive seeds into the area with bailed hay, as we read in this article: 
The preposterous misrepresentations the BLM has been making about wild horses are totally unnecessary, if wild horses were managed in appropriate remote wilderness areas in the far western states.
Such wilderness areas contain the co-evolved predators that naturally, via critically important evolutionary Natural Selection, regulate wild horse populations, even as the wild horses reduce wildfire fuels, mitigating wildfire, as was shown via my Study.
Economic Benefits of Managing Wild Horses Correctly
The benefits of establishing the new management paradigm for wild horses (Wild Horse Fire Brigade) are many and provide all stakeholders with a winning situation.
It must be clearly understood by everyone: There are approximately 110-million acres of critical remote wilderness, largely located in the far western states, where livestock wildfire grazing is cost prohibitive, even if it was legal in most areas.
Livestock management logistics and transport costs in such remote wilderness adversely impact profits, as well as predators feeding on livestock.
Wild horses, the modern horse (E. Caballus) evolved in N. America 1.7-million years ago. And in order to maintain their genetic vigor, Natural Selection by their co-evolved predators is critically important for their natural conservation.
*Wild horses relocated into appropriate remote wilderness areas reduce wildfire fuels and benefit by being humanely relocated into such areas as family bands from areas where they are ecologically inappropriate due to a lack of their co-evolved predators, and deemed in conflict with other industrial enterprises.
*Rewilded wild horses from tax-funded feed lots and into ecologically appropriate wilderness areas save $-millions annually in taxes and even more savings stem from reductions in the frequency and intensity of wildfires.
*Forests and the wildlife therein benefit from wild horses mitigating wildfire fuels.
*Watersheds benefit by reduced catastrophic losses of native flora during wildfire, and the resulting hydrophobic soils that increase abnormal erosion, and damage to fisheries via silting-in of spawning beds. The same abnormal erosion (fast run-off) prevents aquifers from being properly refreshed by annual precipitation further exacerbating the effects of drought.
The Executive Summary, based on many years of independently funded study, are detailed in a PDF (with photos) and available HERE:
About the author:
William E. Simpson II is an ethologist living among and studying free-roaming native species American wild horses. William is the award-winning producer of the micro-documentary film ‘Wild Horses‘.  He is the author of a new Study about the behavioral ecology of wild horses, two published books and more than 150 published articles on subjects related to wild horses, wildlife, wildfire, and public land (forest) management. He has appeared on NBC NEWS, ABC NEWS, CBS NEWS, theDoveTV and has been a guest on numerous talk radio shows including the Lars Larson Show, the Bill Meyer Show, and on NPR Jefferson Public Radio.

Check out William’s Film Freeway account for films, studies, TV & radio interviews, and more HERE:

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