Fish and Wildlife may propose a Horse Hunt on the Navajo Nation

Source: The Navajo Times ~ (this is an excerpt, see below)

English: Flag of the Navajo Nation Diné bizaad...

English: Flag of the Navajo Nation Diné bizaad: Diné Bikéyah (Naabeehó Bikéyah) bidah naatʼaʼí (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With multiple efforts to reduce the number of wild horses on the Navajo Nation, officials are considering a hunt.

The Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife asked hunters and sportsmen for their support for a hunt as a potential means to reduce the number of wild horses on the Navajo Nation at the 2017 Navajo Nation Sportsman’s Expo on March 25. NNDFW staff confirmed after the conference that a proposal has not yet been completely drafted, so the department hadn’t yet anticipated details of how the possible hunt would work such as weapons to be used, number of tags to take horses, and hunt unit maps.

Department manager Gloria Tom said the department hoped to address the problem and would propose a solution to Navajo Nation governance once drafted, but also called on the hunters present to add their voices to the conversation around the feral herds and what to do about them.

“Our leaders, they really need to hear from people like you,” Tom said. “People who live out there, people who hunt.”

She said government officials sometimes take information from NNDFW as something that employees are paid to say as part of their jobs and concerns from experts who work for the government might have less impact on elected officials than the voices of their constituents and voters.

“To me, you have a greater chance of success,” she said.

She said previous attempts to trap, round up, or allow horses to be adopted had not made a large enough impact. NNDFW officials said the department is drafting a proposal to get support from Navajo Nation leaders.

“I compare this problem to our cat and dog problem,” she said.

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Navajo Nation eyes agreement reining in slaughter of wild horses



By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) – The first effort of its kind to prevent wild horses roaming the Navajo Nation in the U.S. Southwest from being sent to slaughter in Mexico has gained the preliminary approval of tribal leaders, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said on Thursday.

Under a draft agreement that still must be reviewed by the tribe, a foundation established by Richardson and actor Robert Redford would provide funds and expertise to the Navajo Nation to halt reservation roundups that have seen thousands of wild horses shipped to slaughterhouses in Mexico.

  The impact of intensive grazing by wild horses in a high-desert reservation that spans more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 square km) of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah has been compounded by drought and led to competition with livestock for sparse vegetation, said Rick Abasta, spokesman for Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.

  The roundups by the nation’s agriculture department and the fate of the captured animals has ignited controversy among the tribe’s more than 300,000 enrolled members, including wild horse advocates, Abasta said.

The issue has divided a tribal nation whose economy relies in part on free-range cattle and sheep but which also reveres horses.

“The Navajo elders have a saying which translates into English as ‘Our horses are sacred,'” said Abasta.

Richardson, whose second term as New Mexico governor ended in 2011, said he and Redford formed the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife with the aim of aiding wild horses.

“Our main objective is to stop the roundups and stop the horse slaughter,” said Richardson, who said Redford is a fellow horse enthusiast who owns a home in New Mexico.

Richardson said the agreement would first seek to identify the number of wild horses on the reservation, where estimates have ranged from several thousand to more than 70,000.

If ultimately approved, the deal, which proposes such methods as birth control to keep wild herds in check, would be the first of its kind on Indian lands and perhaps in the nation, he said.

“The Navajos are the biggest tribe in the country. If we strike an agreement here, it will set an example for other tribes that still slaughter,” Richardson said.

Abasta said the nation’s newly elected president is seeking feedback from tribal members.

“President Begaye wants a little more time to gather the input of grassroots organizations, ranchers and others to determine how best to go forward on implementing the agreement,” he said.

Navajo officials renegotiating wild horse agreement

th  Bill Richardson, former Gov. of New Mexico


Newly installed Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye is renegotiating a wild horse protection agreement with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and actor/activist Robert Redford.

Richardson and Redford formed the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife in 2013 as the state considered a permit for a horse slaughter facility in Roswell. The group later worked with the former Navajo Nation president to stop the roundup of feral horses from the reservation for shipment to slaughter facilities in Mexico.

Navajo officials have said the horses are overgrazing and harming the land. The prior administration signed an agreement with Redford and Richardson to halt roundups and find other ways to reduce the horse population, such as adoptions.

Alarie Ray-Garcia of the foundation said Richardson met last week with Begaye and other Navajo officials.

Rick Abasta, a public information officer for the Navajo Nation, said Begaye wants to consult with chapter house leaders and other elders before moving forward with changes to the agreement.

Ray-Garcia said the foundation was ready to hire a company to conduct an aerial survey of the horse population. Estimates have ranged from a few thousand to 75,000 animals.

Navajo President Lies Too: Reservation Horses Being Round Up For Slaughter

By Brenda Norrell as published on the Narcosphere

Tuba City Chapter House is opening the doors to The Cruelty Group, Navajo Nation Agriculture and Navajo Nation Resource Enforcement.”

Navajo Nation FlagThe cruel roundups of wild horses on the Navajo Nation continue on Thursday and Friday in the Tuba City area. Navajo Medicine People oppose the roundups and the sale of horses for slaughter to the meat industry in Mexico.

Further, Navajo President Ben Shelly now admits that he did not halt the horse roundups for slaughter as he said earlier. Now, Shelly says it was just an idea, and the memorandum of agreement has not yet been signed to halt the roundups.

Leland Grass, Dine’, said, “Tuba City Chapter House is opening the doors to The Cruelty Group, Navajo Nation Agriculture and Navajo Nation Resource Enforcement.”

“Over the last three months many of the Dine’ peoples horses have been taken from their corrals and also off their grazing areas and land use areas. Not only did the people get hurt, but also the foals were left behind. The mothers in the roundup were taken off the reservation for auction, and were sold, even to kill buyers who transport the horses down to Aquila Martinez, Vanderwagon, New Mexico, then on to Las Lunas, New Mexico, and off to the border of Texas and Mexico for sale to kill buyers. Then the horses are sent to Mexico for slaughter for meat.”

Grass urged protectors of wild horses and defenders of sacred Dine’ traditions to call the Tuba City Chapter House and tell them to send the Navajo Nation Agriculture back home.

“We don’t want motorized dirt bikes and ATV’s on our vegetation,” Grass said.

The wild horse roundups in Tuba City are scheduled for Nov. 14, and 15. 2013. The first day is at Rare Metals and the following day is at Preston Mesa area. Grass said the Grazing Official’s name is Angela Begay 928-283-3287, and the Chapter House number is 928-283-3284.

“Get the word out for horse owners and sacred horses,” Grass said.

Read Dine’ Medicine Peoples Statement opposing roundups and slaughter:

Click (HERE) to comment at the Narcosphere

The War on Wild Horses of the West Continues

Source: by Leslie Macmillan as published in Esquire

Celebrities are fighting it, deals are being brokered, and two proposals are sitting in Congress to end it. So why are horses still being slaughtered in droves?

Photo by Sam Minkler Navajo activist Leland Grass (right) confronts horse buyer Jeanne Collom

Photo by Sam Minkler
Navajo activist Leland Grass (right) confronts horse buyer Jeanne Collom

BLACK MESA, Ariz. — The West is on the verge of a wild horse crisis, according to the Feds. An estimated 33,000 roam freely on public lands and even more on tribal lands. Under a 1971 law, the Bureau of Land Management is supposed to protect these horses and control their numbers so that they don’t ravage grasslands or die of starvation.

But critics of horse roundups contend they are a profit-driven enterprise sanctioned by the federal government and driven by business interests like cattle ranching and extractive industries that want to clear land for development.

“The only way to get at those resources is to get rid of the horses,” said Navajo activist Leland Grass. He has been trying to stop roundups of horses, which are often bound for Mexican slaughterhouses, on the Navajo reservation.

Navajo Nation president Ben Shelly recently made national news, saying he had reversed his position on horse slaughtering and ordered a moratorium of the roundup of horses on the reservation. Actor Robert Redford and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who have formed a foundation to protect wild animals in the West, brokered a deal with the nation’s largest Indian tribe to find humane alternatives.

“It’s a big lie,” said Jeanne Collom, a horse buyer who said roundups are still taking place on the reservation, and she has been buying them.

This was confirmed by Erny Zah, director of communications for the Navajo Nation, who said roundups will continue until an agreement is signed between Richardson’s group and the tribe.

On a late September afternoon, the scene at one roundup on the reservation was chaotic as teens chased horses on ATVs and dirt bikes into corrals. Collom said she buys horses for just $20 a head.

“The population is growing and the range is shrinking,” said Elmer Phillips, the head ranger for the Navajo Nation. “What comes along on the range nowadays is a different kind of creature: most of these horses are inbred and under 700 pounds.”

But critics say the data the policy is based on comes from an environmental impact study commissioned by Peabody Energy in 2008 as part of the permitting process to expand a coal mine it operates on Navajo land. The coal mine fuels the Navajo Generating Station power plant, which is majority owned by the U.S. Interior Department. Interior oversees the BLM, the agency responsible for managing wild horses, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which issues grazing permits on the reservation and contracts with horse buyers, including “kill buyers,” who buy horses bound for slaughterhouses.

Asked whether that study informed the horse policy, Zah said, “It’s definitely part of it.”

Peabody Coal did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Many of the horses rounded up that day were not feral, but owned by Navajos who either lacked a grazing permit or exceeded the maximum allowable number of two horses per permit. Collom said rather than going through government red tape to purchase horses, she tries to buy directly from owners coming to claim their animals. “That’s why I hang around the corrals,” she said.

At one point, three women came to claim horses they say were taken from their property, and an angry scene ensued. “These are performance horses, not Rez horses,” one of the owners shouted.

Head ranger Phillips ordered journalists there not to document the event, telling me and photographer Sam Minkler, who is Navajo, “I will escort you off the reservation.”

As we’ve previously reported, the Obama administration has included a proposal in its 2014 budget that would effectively ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption by preventing money from being spent on inspection of slaughtering facilities. In the next few months, a legal fight to block the opening of horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri will reach its final stages.

Meanwhile, Grass and his grassroots group Nohooká Diné sent a resolution to legislators in Washington, DC urging them to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, currently pending before Congress. Protecting horses on Navajo land is important, Grass said, but a national bill is critical to ensure there is no incentive for horses to be taken from our lands or elsewhere for slaughter.

Horses hold an important place in Navajo cosmology. Leaving the roundup, Grass pulled his truck off the dirt road and cut the engine. A couple of the horses glanced over, swished their tails. “Look at them,” he said. “Their mane is the thunder and their eyes are the stars. They possess the same fundamental right to life as we, the five-fingered ones, do.”

Click (HERE) to comment directly at

Navajo Leader Drops His Support for Slaughter of Wild Horses on the Reservation

Source: New York Times

“Our land is precious to the Navajo people as are all the horses on the Navajo Nation. Horses are sacred animals to us.”

Ben ShellyPHOENIX — Under pressure by animal welfare groups and many of his own people, the president of the Navajo Nation, Ben Shelly, has reversed his stance on horse slaughtering, saying he will no longer support it and will order the temporary suspension of the roundups of feral horses on the reservation.

The agreement, brokered by Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, is scheduled to be announced on Tuesday. One of its key provisions is to pressure the federal government to do more to help the Navajos handle the tens of thousands of horses that roam freely on their land. Mr. Shelly has estimated that feral horses cost the Navajos $200,000 a year in damage to property and range.

“I am interested in long-term humane solutions to manage our horse populations,” Mr. Shelly said. “Our land is precious to the Navajo people as are all the horses on the Navajo Nation. Horses are sacred animals to us.”

Mr. Shelly’s recalibrated position is sure to strengthen the arguments against horse slaughter in the nation, just as a legal fight to block the opening of horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri reaches its final stages.

It could also smooth relations between his administration and tribal elders in some of the Navajo Nation’s largest chapters, who have stood steadfastly against the roundups even as Mr. Shelly embraced them in August as the best available option, given the tribe’s limited resources, to keep its feral horse population under control.

At the time, his stance put the country’s largest federally recognized tribe in a collision course with Mr. Richardson and the actor Robert Redford, who had justified joining a lawsuit against horse slaughtering filed by animal-rights groups by saying they were “standing with Native American leaders.”

In a unanimous vote last month, the Navajo Nation chapter in Shiprock, N.M., banned horse roundups in its territory. The chapter’s president, Duane Yazzie, said members were concerned about the abandoned colts and the sale of the horses to meat plants in Mexico, where slaughter is legal.

On Saturday, several of the chapter’s members protested as Mr. Shelly took part in a parade at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.

Mr. Shelly and Mr. Richardson met in Farmington, N.M., just outside Navajo lands, shortly after the parade to complete the agreement. It charges several animal welfare groups — including Animal Protection of New Mexico and the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, founded by Mr. Richardson and Mr. Redford — with developing alternative policies. One option is rounding up the horses and putting them up for adoption; another is dispensing contraceptives.

“This is a huge event,” Mr. Richardson said. “One of the most important and largest tribes in the country is now on the record against horse slaughtering, and that should be a major factor both in Congress and in the courts.”

All along, Mr. Shelly had spoken about the “delicate balance,” as he put it, between the horses’ significance to the Navajos and the cost of repairing the damage caused by feral horses on the reservation, which covers roughly 27,500 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Navajos estimate there are 75,000 feral horses roaming the reservation, an estimate based on aerial observations, a method they concede is unreliable. One of the points of the agreement is to find a way to take an accurate count.

During a meeting in Washington last month, Mr. Shelly told several animal welfare groups that the federal government needed to “live up to its responsibilities,” according to his spokesman, Erny Zah, and help the Navajos manage the feral horses. It was not until the agreement with Mr. Richardson, however, that he made his new stance on horse slaughtering official.

The Humane Society of the United States and other groups sued the United States Department of Agriculture in July to keep horse slaughter plants from opening in New Mexico, Iowa and Missouri, arguing that the agency had failed to carry out all of the environmental checks, and asked the courts to block its inspectors from working there. The owners of the plant in Iowa have since scrapped their plans to slaughter horses and turned their focus to cattle.

In August, Judge M. Christina Armijo of United States District Court in Albuquerque halted the inspections until she makes her final ruling on the case, which is expected by the end of the month.

Navajo Elders Voice Opposition to Horse Slaughter


The horse is sacred to the Diné and is a central part of the nation’s culture and tradition.

Elders and medicine people of the Navajo Nation have voiced their opposition to horse slaughter, saying the animals must be honored for their sacred role in Navajo cultural traditions.

The Nohooká Diné, Elders and Medicine People of the Diné, unanimously approved a resolution opposing any action that leads to the slaughter of horses.

The horse is sacred to the Diné and is a central part of the nation’s culture and tradition.

The resolution states in part: “The Great Horse Nation is a part of the Great Covenant, as a supernatural being, it possesses incredible power, it is inextricably tied to our spiritual way of life and our cultural traditions, when our children are born our families look to the horse spirit to see what they have delivered to us.If we fail to honor the place of the horse in our spiritual way of life and in our cultural traditions, then we jeopardize the very cycle that renews the life of our people.

“The horse must be given respect and honored for their sacred place within the Creation, as they possess the same fundamental right to Life as we, Five Finger Ones, do.”

This past week, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation administration affirmed this position.

During an interview on the radio program, Native American Calling, on September 12, communication director Erny Zah said: “Slaughtering is not a solution … As the Navajo Nation we are against slaughtering of these horses.”…CONTINUED

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at HorseTalk

Horse Slaughter: New Mexico Government Rangers Storm Private Properties Searching & Seizing Horses

Freedom Lost by Terry Fitch

Source: Wild for Life Foundation and Saving America’s Horses

New Mexico – September 10, 2013 –The Navajo Nation (NN) Government is conducting a large-scale roundup of wild horses despite opposition from many tribal people. Local tribal members have reported government rangers coming onto their property and confiscating virtually every horse, even from within their stalls and pens. The sweeping roundups, if not stopped, will result in the distressed removal of countless horses and burros across the 17 million acre Navajo reservation which spans four states including New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

Horse owners are said to have two days to claim or save their horses, but in many cases owners didn’t learn about the roundup until the very moment when rangers were storming their property. The NN Department of Agriculture is taking the horses to holding facilities, then auction, and selling the unclaimed horses to kill buyers. Many are going straight to slaughter.

The actual number of horses residing on the reservation is uncertain, as reports are considerably varied. But the basis for receiving over $1.3 million in appropriated funds for the horse and burro roundup from the U.S. government was hinged on drought conditions combined with a popular livestock grazing campaign which alleges an overpopulation of “feral” and “destructive” horses. Wild horses are labeled as “feral” by proponents of slaughter in denial of paleontological evidence showing that the horse evolved on the North American continent over 50,000,000 years ago.

When it comes to “livestock grazing” on public lands, permit holders are able to increase their stock by grazing farm animals such as cattle on America’s open rangelands. But in the U.S. horses are not produced for food, and cattle ranchers see them as competitors for the grazing of free forage on public land which they could otherwise use for their livestock.

Horses are also labeled as “destructive” or “invasive species” by the livestock industry as a means to justify their removal. However, in other parts of the world such as the United Kingdom, where conservation grazing is practiced, wild horse herds are being successfully restored to the woodlands and pastures for their rejuvenation benefits to the lands. In the classic book, Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West, J. Boone Kauffman, Ph.D., Professor of Ecosystem Sciences in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, gives testimony to the far-reaching and devastating ecological consequences of government-subsidized livestock grazing through his scientifically supported work, “Lifeblood of the West”; “… livestock grazing has been the most widespread cause of ecological degradation of riparian/stream ecosystems. More riparian areas and stream miles are affected by livestock grazing than by any other type of land use.”

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez professes to align her position on the issue with the majority of citizens of New Mexico, where over 75% are opposed to horse slaughter. However, New Mexico horse advocates say that behind the scenes Governor Martinez’ actions support the pending horse slaughter plant in her state. According to these sources, she has the authority to ban horse slaughter in New Mexico and has not done so. Looking ahead, some believe that Martinez will be a contender for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2016.

On a national level, while USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, publicly claims to be against horse slaughter, the USDA has been rallying tribal leaders to support the reopening of horse slaughter in the U.S. Wild for Life Foundation President, Katia Louise brings to light a startling new report which exposes the USDA’s distribution of misinformation provided to the American tribal leaders including Navajo President Ben Shelly. This well-substantiated report entitled In Truth Wild Horses on Native Land and Tongue, reveals evidence of meetings held by the USDA with tribal leaders for the purpose of getting them to distribute ‘misinformation’ to their congressional delegations about horse slaughter and the removal of America’s wild horses..

The Navajo Elders have issued a declaration saying, “We strongly urge the Navajo Nation and U.S. Government, Bureau of Indian Affairs, DOI, USDA, to stop the desecration and destruction of the Diné Way of Life and Spiritual Foundation by recklessly promoting and supporting the roundup and mass execution of our relative, the horse.”

As part of a larger pattern, two weeks ago a strikingly similar roundup to the one occurring on the Navajo reservation took place on the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Reservation in Nevada.

Critics view this latest roundup as part of a wider campaign endorsed by the Obama Administration. President Obama’s appointment of Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior, which oversees the BLM, together with the U.S. Forest Service, has continued to conduct scores of roundups across 12 Western U.S. states resulting in the capture and eradication of countless wild horses. After Salazar stepped down in a wave of controversy in February of 2013, President Obama appointed Sally Jewel to the position — a veteran of the oil industry.

“While many had high hopes that Sally Jewell would direct a shift in policy, she has instead been silent on reversing agency roundup policies throughout the West,” observes Katia Louise. “And many believe she has in fact intensified such efforts.”

Ms. Louise states, “Contrary to the BLM’s claims that wild horses are overpopulating, statistics show that vast numbers of wild equines are disappearing from the American West. In the 19th century, more than 2 million wild horses roamed the West, but independent analysis of the Bureau of Land Management’s own data indicates that there may now be less than 15,000 wild horses roaming freely on public lands.”

The Navajo Government has justified the eradication of its sacred Navajo horses by mimicking USDA and livestock industry assertions that the horses are supposedly “destroying the lands”; however, as stated by President Shelly during The 2012 Navajo State of the Nation, he admits that other livestock grazing, not horse grazing is to blame; “Our specialists have said sand dunes are growing and the land is being overgrazed. For example, we have nearly 170,000 sheep in Fort Defiance Agency, while our land can only support about 7,800 sheep.” These facts are just the tip of the iceberg. The NN Department of Agriculture estimates that the Navajo range is overrun with domesticated livestock by more than 40 percent.

Past U.S. Government-mandated culls of horses and livestock have taken their toll on the Navajo people. Now, through U.S. Government funding, the NN Government is holding its own Government-mandated horse cull and doing so against the will and undeniable opposition of many of its people.

In an effort to save, protect and preserve wild and domestic equines, as opposed to the promotion of horse slaughter and widespread roundups throughout the American West, Wild for Life Foundation’s President, Katia Louise is calling on members of the public who care about the horses to join in a united stance for the horses with Saving America’s Horses by going to and clicking on the join button, which will continue to raise awareness and provide ongoing education on this critical issue. Ms. Louise says, “Making your voice heard will ultimately bring this unjust, cruel and barbaric practice to an end.”


The Art of Creating A Crisis

Guest OpEd by Lisa LeBlanc ~ Advisory Board Member of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Tens of thousands of horses are roaming the state and there’s no where to put them…?”

A news report has circulated recently about a massive population of free-roaming horses currently destroying land in the Navajo Nation and in New Mexico. The report, by Deanna Sauceda, asserts “Tens of thousands of horses are roaming the state and there’s no where to put them.” Based on no pointed sources, it’s ‘estimated’ there are as many as 90,000 horses roaming the Navajo Nation’s lands:

“There are no hard numbers as to how many horses are wild, abandoned or feral in New Mexico, but some estimates are as high as 90,000 on the Navajo reservation alone.” – intimating that there are far more throughout the rest of the state.

And of course, the compassionate, “The problem is hard on both the land and the horses.”

Other expressions of crisis include “dire”, “critical”, and “tremendous impact”. And the New Mexico Department of Agriculture has been called upon to deal with the problem, forming a ’task force’ joined by ‘horse advocates‘, who have stated that the hard choices, including euthanasia, must be considered.

Most of the Western United States is experiencing extreme heat and drought; incidence in the Southwest, by it’s location, would be increased, so this isn’t in dispute. However, the population numbers, the now and future estimates quoted in the report are.

According to the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development, the Navajo Nation contains 17.2 million acres across the conjunction of three states – New Mexico, Arizona and Utah – and encompasses the Hopi Nation within it’s interior.

90,000 horses within the entire Navajo and Hopi Nations would be unsustainable, but the report also lacks any images of these vast herds.

Charles Graham of ‘Walkin’ N Circles Horse Rescue’ and participant in the task force, was quoted: “If you look at the age span of a horse, within five years, we could have 600,000 unwanted horses in the country.”

A crisis in the making.

There were no specifics offered as to how much of which country this number would cover. But that figure required some verification.

Simple biology stipulates that, of the purported 90,000 animals ravaging the Navajo Nation‘s landscape, approximately half – females – would be capable of producing live offspring. So, for the sake of argument, we begin with 45,000 mares, reproducing at 25%, the rate quoted in the article. The first year would produce 11,250 foals, all of which, for at least the first year, would be incapable of participating in reproduction.

Again, to replicate the absolute worst case scenario suggested by this report, the new population for the first year would become an estimated 101,250 animals. Further calculation, producing live foals every year capable of reproducing after a year would produce 72,245 foals, bringing the entire population to 162,245 animals by Year 5. Even incorporating these horses into the estimated populations of wild horses and burros in 10 Western States managed by the Bureau of Land Management – the female half of approximately 37,500 – and multiplying this population at 25% per annum over a 5-year period would bring the entire free-roaming equine population to around 194,550.

Even at 100% successful, 100% survival and 100% participation, 600,000 horses is more than 10 years away; it is not referenced and is unclear how this number was arrived at.

From the APHIS Native American Notebook, published March, 2010:

“Out West, rangeland is not fenced*, however. The Yakama horses wander around without reference to reservation boundaries. Similar herds are eating their way through natural forage at the same alarming rate nearby, at the Colville Reservation (also in Washington), at Warm Springs and Umatilla (in Oregon), and at Shoshone Bannock(in Idaho).

When representatives of the wildlife management units at those five tribes gathered together in November 2008 to talk about this problem, they came to the conclusion that there are at least 20,000 feral horses on their reservations altogether. Now horses typically live to about age 30, and a mare ordinarily has a foal every year (emphasis added). With few to no apex predators in that part of the United States, feral horse populations are going up about 20% every year, with no end in sight.”

A crisis predicated on longevity, profuse breeding and an absence of predators.

Even domestic horses, given every advantage and comfort, do not ‘typically’ live to age 30; among wild equines, 30 years is a rare exception for a life lived on the edge every day. A mare ‘ordinarily’ having a foal every year infers wild mares will be pregnant their entire adult lives. Others who have observed these animals in the wild understand – even absent human interference in the form of ’birth control’ – there are natural variables in herd life that will not bear this out, nor the utter absence of mortality – a reality always neatly avoided. But certainly these are important components for a crisis.

These quotes, and many others, have become an accepted part of the vernacular that continues to portray wild equines as undesirable and aberrant – while avoiding the necessity of providing evidence. And as an unfortunate result, these pronouncements continue to be accepted as truth, without any further confirmation.

The recent Desatoya roundup in Nevada removed 429 animals; foals accounted for about 18.8% (81) of those taken. The Jackson Mountains roundup took 647 animals. 20.25% (132) were foals. And the Pancake roundup removed 1,115 animals – only 19% (212) of which were foals.

Among the most alarming issues concerning wild, free-roaming equines is the ease of use of the terms ’estimates’, ’could have’, and ‘possible’, the constant claims of inflated populations and the lack of constraint in breeding. This news report was published – devoid of verification or confirmation – only the pronouncement of an imminent crisis. And once again, portrays wild equines as an extinction-level event, and considers mass euthanasia as the only recourse when employing any agency under the umbrella of the Interior Department other than the Bureau of Land Management.

Before creating a crisis that will most likely consign these animals to death across the border – the current euphemism for ‘euthanasia‘ – it’s even more critical these animals be portrayed and recognized in a realistic light:

For the Desatoya, only 81 mares can produce 81 foals.
For the Jackson Mountains, only 132 mares can produce 132 foals.
For the Pancake, only 212 mares can produce 212 foals.
No more.In each instance, less than half the mares removed produced a foal.

One additional light of realism: The combined total of both Wild and Captive Wild horses and burros, according to reports from the Bureau of Land Management, is 83,305 (estimated). How is it possible there are more free-roaming, abandoned and feral horses across the Navajo and Hopi Nations and the state of New Mexico than are under the entire purview of the BLM?

“Horse Population Runs Wild in N.M.”
Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development:

APHIS Native American Notebook, March, 2010:
* Article, “Did Fencing in Wild Herd Area Spell Death for Mustangs During Twin Peaks Wild Fires?” By Grandma Gregg; pictorial evidence disputes this.
Desatoya Final Gather Report:
Jackson Mountain Final Gather Report:
Pancake Final Gather Report:
Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development:
APHIS Native American Notebook, March, 2010:
* Article, “Did Fencing in Wild Herd Area Spell Death for Mustangs During Twin Peaks Wild Fires?” By Grandma Gregg; pictorial evidence disputes this.
Desatoya Final Gather Report:
Jackson Mountain Final Gather Report:
Pancake Final Gather Report: