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Interior Secretary Moves to Tighten Rules Over Sale of Wild Horses

In response to a ProPublica investigation questioning the disposition of more than 1,700 wild horses purchased by a Colorado man since 2009, the Bureau of Land Management will make it harder for people to purchase large numbers of horses at once.

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In response to a ProPublica investigation, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar said that the Bureau of Land Management will make it harder for people to purchase large numbers of horses at once. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Jan. 4: This story has been updated with details from the Bureau of Land Management on its plan to restrict sales of protected wild horses.

This story was co-published with the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar says he will tighten regulations of the federal government's wild horse program, restricting the number of horses people can buy and making it easier for the government to prosecute buyers who sell mustangs to slaughter.

Salazar laid out the plan in an interview Thursday with The Gazette in his Washington, D.C., office, saying the changes were in response to a ProPublica investigation published in September that questioned the fate of animals sold to Tom Davis, a San Luis Valley livestock hauler who has bought more than 1,700 horses through the program since 2009, 70 percent of those sold in that time.

Davis maintains he has found the animals "good homes." Wild horse advocates fear they ended up in Mexican slaughterhouses. Davis subsequently told Colorado officials that he shipped some horses out of state in violation of brand inspection laws. The Colorado Department of Agriculture has turned the case over to the district attorney in Alamosa for prosecution.

Those who buy horses from the federal government already sign contracts saying they will not resell animals for slaughter. Salazar is beefing up the language in contracts to specify that buyers can face prosecution for any "material misrepresentation" on sales applications or bills of sale, or for indirectly selling horses to slaughter by reselling to middlemen.

Under the new rules, buyers also will only be able to acquire five wild horses every six months. Any order larger than that will require the signed approval of the BLM's deputy director.

Salazar said the changes should help prevent horses from ending up at slaughterhouses. He acknowledged, however, that fundamental fixes to the wild horse program, which has been dogged by controversy and mounting costs, have so far eluded his agency.

"It is a problem that has escaped resolution for a very long time for everyone who has tried to work on it," Salazar said. "I don't believe we have the solution yet at hand, but we need to continue to try to figure out the right thing to do."

As Secretary of Interior, Salazar oversees the Bureau of Land Management, which cares for most of the 35,000 wild horses roaming public lands in the West. They are protected by law from harassment, capture or slaughter.

The agency has claimed it screened buyers and that no horses in its care went to slaughter, but did nothing to verify what happened to horses after sales to Davis and others were complete. For years, the agency's sale director in Washington sold Davis truckload after truckload, sometimes contacting him to see if he would like more.

"When I became aware of the magnitude of his purchases and the concerns of illegal activity, I asked the BLM to open an investigation of Tom Davis," Salazar said.

The investigation, opened in June, was initially headed by the BLM, but was transferred to the Interior Department's independent Inspector General in October when it became clear that people in the agency could come under scrutiny too, Salazar said.

"If there was impropriety on the part of the BLM or on the part of BLM officials, the investigation will tell us," Salazar said.

Salazar has lived for decades in the same rural ranching corner of Colorado as Davis. In an interview this spring, Davis said he knew Salazar and had hauled cattle for him for years. The government started selling horses to Davis in large numbers shortly after Salazar took over the agency.

For months Salazar's office did not respond to requests for comment about his connection to Davis.

When a Gazette reporter asked about Davis at a public appearance in Colorado Springs in early November, Salazar pushed the reporter's camera aside and said, "You do that again, I'll punch you out." After his words became the subject of media reports across the country, Salazar called The Gazette to apologize and agreed to an interview.

On Thursday, Salazar denied having any relationship with Davis. "I have never done any business with him," Salazar said. "I have never had a conversation with him. I have never seen a letter from him."

Wild horse advocates applauded the changes Salazar plans for the sale program.

"These are positive steps," said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. "It could stop a situation where applications are getting rubber stamp while the BLM looks the other way."

But Roy agreed with Salazar that the fixes don't address the broader flaws in the program.

For decades, the wild horse program has tried to keep herds at target population levels on the range by rounding up thousands of wild horses each year and storing them in government storage feedlots and pastures, including a 2,000-animal facility near Cañon City. The policy has resulted in the warehousing of more and more horses, pushing costs ever higher. Several government audits have warned the strategy is unsustainable.

Shortly after Salazar took office in 2009, he wrote a public letter to Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada saying "bold actions" were required to bring down costs and "put this program on a more sustainable track."

At the time, there were about 30,000 wild horses in government storage and the program budget was about $50 million. Today, there are more than 45,000 horses in storage and the budget is about $76 million.

On Thursday, Salazar acknowledged progress has been hard.

"I don't believe we have the solution yet," he said. But, he added, the growing cost and captive population "are a reminder we need to continue to try to figure out what the right solution is."

In the 2009 letter to Reid, Salazar said he planned to bring horse populations down to government goals with "aggressive use" of birth control drugs. He reiterated the point in the interview this week, saying the agency needed to "push forward with contraceptive efforts."

Starting in 2010 the BLM set goals for numbers of horses to be treated with contraceptive drugs, but critics say the goals were too modest to be effective and the BLM never came close to meeting them.

The Humane Society of the United States, which has partnered with the BLM to test fertility drugs, says its research shows the agency must treat about 5,000 horses per year to control population growth. The BLM set a goal of treating only 2,000 horses per year and has never actually treated more than about 1,000, according to agency figures.

"It is nice to hear the secretary say we need to use fertility drugs, but actions speak louder than words," said Stephanie Boyles Griffin of the Humane Society, who has worked on the issue for years. "We are seriously disappointed with the small number of horses being treated. It is just window dressing and a complete waste of time."

This month the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign began circulating an online petition calling for Salazar to resign. The petition now has more than 20,000 signatures.

"Under his leadership the program has not changed direction despite his promises," said Roy, the campaign's director. "There has been no progress, and if anything the program has gone backward."

Salazar, who said he is still deciding whether he will continue as Interior Secretary for another term, acknowledged that the implementation of fertility control drugs has been slow and so far has done nothing to staunch the flow of horses into government storage, but he said he plans to stay the course.

"As vexing as the problem is, as difficult as it is, I think we have made progress," he said, adding that the government is developing new drugs that are easier to use and longer-lasting. "Here is the reality. Unless we do something to get the horse and burro population controlled, the problem is going to continue to grow."

Update (Jan. 4): The federal Bureau of Land Management filled in the details today of its plan to restrict sales of protected wild horses.

Under the revised policies, the agency will sell buyers no more than four horses every six months unless they have special approval from top BLM officials. Buyers will be required to tell BLM agents where they will keep or move horses for six months after the date of purchase. Buyers also will have to pay to ship horses from BLM corals (the agency had been transporting animals for buyers).

I can’t tell you how sick I am of this man and his lying lips.  He’s pushing this problem off on policy yet the policy already existed.  The WFHBA clearly stated no one was to be able to acquire more than 4 horses a year. 

I’d be willing to bet that the number of wild horses rounded up since he took office does not come close to the number that have been adopted plus those added to holding facilities.  If this investigation is legit (the DOI and the BLM are birds of a feather) I think they will find a lot more than 1700 missing.  Who knows the actual numbers sent to slaughter under this mans watch?

We know the answer to the problem.  It’s the power given the BLM by the WFHBA of 1971.  It was written to preserve the horses on the lands they lived on at that time yet the BLM has taken it upon themselves to eliminate a large amount of this land based on the needs of lobbyist.  Cattlemen’s Assoc., Oil and Gas drilling, pipelines, and mining interest have all stolen land given the horses in the law.

Genus Equus like all equids will regulate their own populations according to range density or the amount of forage and water.  The BLM says there is no proof of this but all they have to do is look at the zebra populations in Africa.  Similar genus, similar behaviors.  There is a mountain of evidence that has been published about this if anyone wants to Google for it.

So the answer to the problem…change the Act and get the BLM out of the wild horse business.  Give the horses and burros a status similar to that of an endangered species with the same types of protections…then leave them alone.  Let mother nature take it’s course.  Yes some horses will die from injuries, some will starve, some will grow old…just like other wild animals on this planet.  It’s not always pretty but freedom is beautiful to a wild animal.  Few animals are happy in zoos just like you wouldn’t be happy in prison.

God gave them life.  God gave them a place to live.  God didn’t give us the right to abuse, lame or even kill them with thundering helicopter stampedes (5 died this week) then to incarcerate them for the rest of their lives.

Steven Sapp - very well said, thank you.

This article does not mention by name Sally Spencer, the D.C. based BLM marketing employee who sold these animals to Davis. Ironically, I was told by a BLM employee that Ms. Spencer was supposed to strengthen the sales language earlier this year after other mustangs were found in the possession of a known Kill buyer on their way to the Mexican border. I was also told that sales out of long term holding had been suspended until the language could be re-written. However, the language was not changed and Ms. Spencer continued to sell horses to Davis until her activities came to light with the ProPublic report.

Mr. Salazar mentions that solutions to the mustangs on the west have eluded the BLM. That’s because the BLM considers them a problem and not a protected species under the law. There is a safe and effective, temporary injection that can be given to mares that would have lowered the reproductive rate and it has been available for nearly 20 years, yet the BLM has never made it a real part of the program, preferring the roundup and removal to holding centers which is much more expensive than to treat and release.

If there is a problem with wild horses, the dilemma rests with the BLM, an agency incapable of managing them effectively and protecting their status as living legends.

Steven Sapp,  I agree with you completely! 

We need to set aside as much land as possible while there is still good land to set aside for all wild species including the wild horse herds and leave them alone!!!  Let nature take its course.

Sadly the human population continues to rise and destroy for drilling, dumping waste, places to live, drive… you name it we do it to the dettermint of all we should hold dear. 

~ People please recognize Every Action you make has an effect on the future of all, please think about the Big Picture we are all one so encourage others to do right by the world as well. 

God Bless Us All,
~T

Agreed-well said Steven Sapp.

The BLM needs a complete overhaul starting with the removal of Ken Salazar who has lied, used our tax dollars to torture wild horses (that should have been protected under the Wild Horse Protection Act (1971), and has looked the other way while the likes of Tom Davis send these terrified wild horses to slaughter in Mexico.  Does anyone really believe Ken Salazar when he says he doesn’t know Tom Davis?  Moreover, does anyone really believe Ken Salazar, period?  Only when he threatens to “punch out” someone and he is caught in his lies does he start to talk as if he’s concerned about the welfare of America’s Wild Horses.  See this man for the lying scumbag he is and get him OUT, overhaul the BLM and the DOI and put someone in charge who is not pro horse slaughter.  The fox has been watching the henhouse way too long.  What a shame!  It won’t get any better as long as idiots are appointed to positions of power.

“Aggressive” contraception now being touted by BLM’s appointed ALL PRO-SLAUGHTER members, now extends to include IN-THE-FIELD STERILIZATION of both male and female wild horses. Proposed “ovary-ectomy” of mares is a barbaric process which entails plucking the ovaries out with manual detachment device, to be performed in outdoor, unhygenic conditions, and with no aftercare, whatsoever. 

BLM has for years been trying to implement castration of studs on location - again, with no aftercare; despite the fact that their own website states that gelding would have virtually NO IMPACT on population growth in wild herds.

Reform of the Wild Horse and Burro program is crucial, and must be brought into compliance with the Free-Roaming and Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

Steven, Arla & Deedie, you are all correct. The tale of the wild horses has become one of the tragedies of our times…all horses and all animals, if we really look at the big picture. Humans have a lot to answer for. One thing is certain, we need more honesty and integrity in our government and less prevarication and downright misinformation. Salazar needs to go and the agencies that oversee mining interests, ranching and the public lands need to be separate entities. Under the current system money and self interest trump environmental & animal rights interests every time and unfortunately the longer this state of affairs continues, the less likely that Salazar will be replaced by an environmentally friendly successor.

Hes shutting the barn door after the horses got out! Why won’t this sack of cow manure step down already? Is he that addicted to the government titty? I know boat loads of money and bennies but enough already! His agency allowed that debacle in the gulf by not safe guarding safety. This agency has caused the lives of many mustangs thru their abundant refusal to change the way they do things ensuring safety for the horses. This agency REFUSES to reprimand anyone caught hotshotting foals.

Personally I think this man needs to go back to moo moo cows. Hopefully to be denied any and all government contracts for grazing permits. The ones he may have currently should not be allowed to be renewed. And contracts with slaughter houses? a penny a pound! He needs to be treated as shabbily as he has treated the horses and burros, as shabbily as he has treated America.

And no, WE WON’T PUNCH HIM OUT as he has threatened to do a member of the press! We stand taller, with dignity and we don’t resort to violence!

Weird enough last night after I hooked up my new computer I found an article on Bing about cows, sladed meat and how because cow slaughter is processing meat so fast there is now a higher incident of E-coli infections. They are having problems because BIG BEEF won’t get behind the changes they need to fix this.

This relates to Ken Slaughterczar because of his mooing cows back in CO. He is so much a part of the problem!

The BLM has been removing horses since 1971. They have pandered to Big Oil and Big Ag and stuck to a hundred years old mentality considering them to be vermin. They allow tens of millions of private cattle and sheep to graze our public lands at a price that is far below market price that hasn’t been raised since the 1930’s but insist that twenty thousand horses are too many. They lose hundreds of millions of taxdollars annually on grazing but won’t allow horse activists to buy out the permits for horses. They have zeroed out entire herd management areas set aside by congress for horses and filled them with cattle. There is more than enough room to release all of the stored horses back to their ranges to live at zero cost. Horses are native to North America. They were hunted to extinction by early humans but they were here when humans arrived, horses spread to Asia and Europe via the same “land bridge” that humans traveled here. Horses cooperative nature/personality made them easy prey and while they were being tamed and domesticated in Asia they were hunted to extinction here. They do not harm the environment as cattle and sheep do and their numbers are such a small percentage that it is ridiculous to control them.

Why not just stop the sale of wild horses and move some of the cattle off our public land so they can live in peace on the land that belongs to them!

Most of the “men"who round up wild horses and send them to slaughter suffer from dickie do disease; that is, their bellies stick out more than their dickies do.  They have to have their meat three times a day to keep themselves chunky fat. What they fail to realize is that other people are eating less meat these days, especially beef.  I don’t know too many people who eat sheep around here, either, for that matter.  Too much meat is bad for you.  Even the food pyramid depicts that, now.  It’s just not a good idea to eat meat three times a day, anymore.  This ain’t the 1950’s.  Public schools are beginning to serve meatless lunches a couple of times a week.  Even the USDA has called on Americans to embrace “Meatless Mondays.”  No matter how many horses you kill off, it’s not gonna make us eat more meat, in fact, it will inspire us to eat even LESS meat.  Most people have no desire to be chunky fat and unhealthy.

Deedie
This isn’t entirely true. According to the article I read last night from Bing some 34 MILLION cows are roaming the lands. But it isn’t just Americans who are eating cow. We ship endless amounts to other countries. This is part of the problem.

We aren’t just feeding “our own”, we have to feed the world. But at what cost? Because of “slading” which is this the way of processing cow—there are now higher and higher incidents of E-coli. It’s makes people very sick and can kill. You can have kidney failure. At one meat packing plant they had too hire more inspectors because meat wasn’t being cleaned properly before packing and being shipped. It has manure all over meat. It was as long as fat strands that were cut away.

And horses are fed illegal drugs—those labeled not for source animals—so frequently it’s a wonder more people haven’t gotten really ill.

Not sure if I can find a link to this story. I just a new computer and I’m still trying to find my way thru it! I’ll see if I can dig up the name of the article and writer…be back in a bit.

Thank you for encouraging me to go look this article up. I saw it last night and couldn’t figure out how to save it on my computer.

Talk about an eyeful! What I read was only one part of a 3 part story (it’s possible they combined it but I haven’t read the WHOLE thing at the links I’ve found.

One link has an interview with the guy who did this story. Here’s his link

Harvestpublicmedia.org/big-beef

And the link to the story I read is here. Get ready to vomit. It’s pretty bad.

Kansascity.com/beef/

Sheila Morlas

Dec. 9, 2012, 6:22 p.m.

I am so sick of this lying jerk, and his lying stink boss too. Looks what it got us.  I hate them !!!

Elaine Arellano

Dec. 9, 2012, 8:03 p.m.

“If there was impropriety on the part of the BLM or on the part of BLM officials, the investigation will tell us,” Salazar said.  Is this all he can come out with, brainless canned BLM statements of bs?

This ineffective weasel has zero capacity to solve anything.  Everyone knows that the Cattlemen’s Assn, Oil/ Gas pipelines, and mining interests are the prime clients and natural enviroment and animals don’t matter.  These precious herds have been decimated by pure evil greed and will continue even if Salazar steps down nothing will change until the Interior Dept. is dramatically changed and retooled by using separate agencies that are specific in their charters for environment and animals.

Like anyone will ever believe the bull crap that comes out of Salazar’s mouth!!! 
I hope he chokes on it!  On another note..very well said Steve S.!

Yovonne Autrey

Dec. 9, 2012, 11:41 p.m.

We need to fire Ken Salazar and put someone in charge of the BLM who does not have such egregious conflicts of interest.  I agree wholeheartedly with what Mr. Steven Stapp said above:

“We know the answer to the problem.  It’s the power given the BLM by the WFHBA of 1971.  It was written to preserve the horses on the lands they lived on at that time yet the BLM has taken it upon themselves to eliminate a large amount of this land based on the needs of lobbyist.  Cattlemen’s Assoc., Oil and Gas drilling, pipelines, and mining interest have all stolen land given the horses in the law.

Genus Equus like all equids will regulate their own populations according to range density or the amount of forage and water.  The BLM says there is no proof of this but all they have to do is look at the zebra populations in Africa.  Similar genus, similar behaviors.  There is a mountain of evidence that has been published about this if anyone wants to Google for it.

So the answer to the problem…change the Act and get the BLM out of the wild horse business.  Give the horses and burros a status similar to that of an endangered species with the same types of protections…then leave them alone.  Let mother nature take it’s course.  Yes some horses will die from injuries, some will starve, some will grow old…just like other wild animals on this planet.  It’s not always pretty but freedom is beautiful to a wild animal.  Few animals are happy in zoos just like you wouldn’t be happy in prison.”

There is one solution and that is to leave the horses alone on property they have roamed for centuries. Let them remain wild and unmanaged.
This would save the horses, save the taxpayers 76 million dollars and
solve the problem entirely.

My thoughts are to begin using safe contraception on the “prisoner” horses being held and then releasing them gradually back into the wild.  At least it will avoid more round-ups!  Happier horses….save millions of taxpayer dollars for “maintaining” these horses.  Happier us.

No they can dart wild horse mares in the field, release those in holding and still have enough room for their moo moo cows. It’s the greedy ranchers like Ken Salazar that is causing our problems.

Big Beef is the root of a lot of the evil on public lands.

Barbara Griffith

Dec. 10, 2012, 1:46 a.m.

Another thing too is is the Fish&Wildlife; departments would stop killing off the predators in these states the mustangs would have a natural way to control their numbers as it should be.  But every year hundreds of coyote’s, mountain lions, as many wolves as possible are trapped and killed or shot on sight until nature is severally out of wack.  All of this is because of so called predation of calves/sheep complaints by the ranchers.  The people running   Fish/Wildlife needs to be fired and management put in place that understands why predators are needed in the wild.

Can’t they dart both - the wild and the imprisoned?  I’m sure they can’t all be darted (nor should they) but at least the ones being held are confined at present and easily accessible.  I don’t know too much about horse “husbandry” and I’m certain there are strong consideration for the species.  However my biggest immediate concern is for the individual animals. 
Believe me, I KNOW about Big Beef!  They’re after anything that can be considered a threat or competition.  Coyotes must go.  Wolves must go.  Wild horses and burros must go.  All because that’s what the ranchers want.  Eating less beef is the only true way to get their attention, but there’d have to be hundreds of thousands of “us” to have an impact.  Still worth the effort though.

This another piece of the puzzle. BLM has contracts with Humane Society to dart 5000 mares in the wild. Yet they don’t even try to get within that range (try 2000).

There is no reason to dart mares already in captivity because 1 all the horses are kept in same sex pastures and 2 BLM routinely gelds every stud BEFORE they leave holding and/or adoption.

BLM was going to try “spaying” the mares in the wild. This has already been tried in Oregon. The vets lost 10% of the mare’s they tried this barbaric practice on. They also have ZERO after care for the horses, they just turn them out the next day. Only in the world of government vets does this practice even begin. There is NO REASON to do this. It just isn’t done in the private sector.

But then they basically do the same thing to the studs. Studs are given paralytic drugs, gelded and ZERO after care. Only in the world of government vets would this happen. In the private world you’d hope that any caring owner would offer pain management for a few days. An interesting thing I read and watched a video on from The Horse is you trot the horse 20 mins twice a day for a week. You keep the surgical site open for draining. The exercise is suppose to help relieve pain and swelling.

BLM gelds in the field. They have dirty rusty squeeze chutes—that they can turn the horse on his side to get to the site. There are no clean facilities given these newly gelded stallions.

BLM knew where the horses were going to slaughter and turned a blind eye and are now trying to pin it just on Tom Davis.
CONTACT THE D.O.I. INSPECTOR GENERAL!! Tell them to hold those the BLM officials who sold our horses into slaughter RESPONSIBLE!!!!
Including Sally Spencer, Dean Bolstad and Ken Salazar!!
1-800-424-5081, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), http://www.doioig.gov/

PLEASE NOTICE, BLM STAFF ARE UNDER SCRUTINY AND THE INVESTIGATION HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE DEPT. OF INSPECTOR GENERAL. Read paragraph below.

Article~
The investigation, opened in June, was initially headed by the BLM, but was transferred to the Interior Department’s independent Inspector General in October when it became clear that people in the agency could come under scrutiny too, Salazar said.

“If there was impropriety on the part of the BLM or on the part of BLM officials, the investigation will tell us,” Salazar said.

Salazar has lived for decades in the same rural ranching corner of Colorado as Davis. In an interview this spring, Davis said he knew Salazar and had hauled cattle for him for years. The government started selling horses to Davis in large numbers shortly after Salazar took over the agency.

(This is a COVER YOUR BUT statement)“When I became aware of the magnitude of his purchases and the concerns of illegal activity, I asked the BLM to open an investigation of Tom Davis,” Salazar said.

For months Salazar’s office did not respond to requests for comment about his connection to Davis.

I can not understand this new “tightening” of the law when it is going to let all the past wrong doings just slide by the wayside.
I demand a full scale investigation into the Secretary, and do not want to allow him to step down, if he chooses not to serve this term.
I want to see him investigated! We all do.
Keep after him, all you good and caring people!
Bless us all, every one!

Salaazer needs to be investigated for his connections to this rancher that the BLM sold so many horses to, only to see a good deal end up in Mexican slaughter houses.  I think there is a lot more that needs to be investigated here than just Salaazer’s connection to Jackson.  The whole blm needs to be not only investigated but a good house cleaning needs to take place.  I say that the President appoint someone as Secretary of the Interior who has an enviromentalist’s heart and the will to clean up the mess that this wild horse roundup situation has become.

Investigating Ken S. isn’t gonna prove anything. Why? Because they’ll bury it so deep that’ll it be into next ten lifetimes before the truth comes out. DOI has its own IG. Honest to God do you really expect them to release something that makes Kennie look bad? In fact, I believe it was in the 90’s that DOI brought pressure to bear upon another investigation. That one went by the wayside.

Washington may be a can of worms but they do protect each other. It sets bad precedent for the next time. It’s only when something is really tawdry, sexual, sensational that makes international news that house keeping is done. Then that guy goes back to private sector NEVER to be heard from again.

This isn’t gonna be popular but if Salazar would step down I would be against any investigation. It would be a waste of time and money. Some sleaze bag lawyer would drag this out waiting for all of us to just roll over. Those horses were most likely slaughtered. Nothing we do can bring them back. Let him go. But with some caveats. No more grazing rights. No government retirement, no government health insurance. And no guarantees for a slaughter contract from a slaughter house.

bull…  BLM has a ludicrous requirement for over sized trailers being required to haul horses away from auctions.

It’s like their setting this up for BIG BUYERS. That’s what Salazar stands for. He is govt FILTH. A poster child for what’s wrong with today’s Govt.

Simple put forth - he can’t get the job done. (period)

Mustang and Burro population ‘getting out of control’ is a red herring and a false premise.  It leads everyone to agonize over solutions to this huge ‘overpopulation’ problem.

The truth is the BLM is clearing the Mustangs to appease the welfare ranchers who want all public land on their cheap penny.  Not to mention the Oil and gas men and mineral extraction- both of these parties want rid of the Mustangs, too.

‘Overpopulation’ really means in the way of those businesses who profit by ‘getting free stuff from the government.’  You know- Welfare Queens.

Makes me think of the famous song “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones. Here’s a great rendition of the song with some terrific pictures of the animals:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1NehBrqmAY

Federally Protected is a pile of sh—. It equals death for the wild horses. How many HMAs have been emptied of horses? Why are wild horses removed in favor of livestock.Why is BLM running it’s own “to slaughter” stockyards at our expense.  It’s all about money—and we the tax payers are being screwed—- we pay for the land,we pay for the horses to be managed “where found”, we pay for the helicopters,men,trucks—to take the horses away, we pay for the “boarding” at LTH—and then TDavis ( and others??) pay pennies to purchase and ship OUR horses to death. And we can’t do a damn thing about it.  It’s a plan to rob us—of our taxes AND our wild horses. There is no word bad enough for BLM/Salazar and what they are doing…to all of us—horses and humans.

I’m so sick of this man. He is anti-horse, anti-environment, and has been for years. He is in big business’ pocket, and that’s all. We have been fighting these inhumane, cruel roundups for years, proposing sensible solutions in an attempt to compromise, but he and his BLM cronies will have none of it. We propose safe, less stressful bait and capture methods, dartable birth control, but they run horses through fences with their helicopters, choosing the time of year when foals are days old, it’s a massacre, and people are banned from watching it because they don’t want anyone to see what they do to those animals. It’s a myth that the wild horses are destroying the environment - the cattle are the ones destroying it, but it’s ok because the cattle ranchers pay off the politicians. You are sick Salazar, and we will see you replaced for what you’ve done.

They could cut that budget less than half by growing feed & gelding studs & leaving them alone instead of buying helicopters & having who knows how many BLM guys driving aroung brand new pickups moving these poor horses from place to place & leaving them sitting in tiny spaces & trailers for days on end between homes that fail because people think they are getting something cheap & even tho they know nothing about even domesticated horses & training, novices are allowed to “adopt” these horses & the treatment they get when they are unmanageable is dispicable. I lived at a ranch in West Sacramento run by one of these guys who uses his double cab Dodge truck with all the amenities for whatever he feels like doing not to mention his BLM credit card for hay for his horses. If you multiply what he does (a private rednecked citizen) x however many hands they have given trucks to (we pay their gas too of course) - that is why the budget is increasing - NOT because the horses are costing that much more - it’s a scam by people who get hired by BLM as much as it is a “government” problem - you have to look both places. Stop homing them with incompetent people & you won’t need to spend all of this money on everything BUT the horses! It’s a travesty.

I love seeing the wild horses on the range. However i was raised on a very large ranch and understand animal husbandry and range management very well as i have done it for many years. What i read here is unsustainable as the article says. What is the solution if slaughter is off the table? The horse population will double every five years or so. Natural death because of age will not compensate. A mare can easily produce 10 to 15 foals in a lifetime of 20 to 30 years. Horses incarcerated in feedlots bothers me a great deal as the value of their wildness has been taken from them. Disease is a great danger in this environment. Excessive populations threaten other wild animals such as buffalo, elk, deer and so on. Horse tend to stay in one area on a range until they kill the native grass and the noxious weeds take over. We had on our own ranch a horse herd of around 50 head and we controlled them by castrating all studs and only introducing studs to mares when we wanted foals. Yet we will still had to move these horse to different pastures and grazing areas because they did not move around to different areas as the sheep and cattle did. We maintained their freedom and health through this management. Natures solution is to let wild animals overgraze and die in large numbers in a bad winter. That would be devastating to all the wild animals that depend on that land however it would reduce fire danger. Horses are not native to North America therefor they do not behave as other native wild animals.
The comment that cattle are destroying the land and not horses in not an helpful comment to solve anything. Cattle need to be managed also but horses don’t abide much by fences and cannot read no trespassing signs. I am the first to admit livestock management needs to be improved on private and public land but unbridled growth of any species is detrimental to the forage and all animals. I am interested in any constructive comment that would benefit all.

Can helicopter pilots be taken to task for wildlife abuse?  I saw some of the videos. If he makes that many “oops’s” maybe he should not be piloting.
Or are there no laws that cover abuse to wild animals - only domestic? 
We should leave NO stones unturned until they do the right thing.

Theo
I hear what you’re saying but this agency has amuk of the law since it was enacted. BLM never had in mind any desire to manage horses. What we have seen Ken Slaughterczar is decimination of herd area after herd area. Lands that were properly given the horses in 1971. BLM has subverted the law, twisted into something it wasn’t even meant to be—and mostly all for greedy cattle ranchers like Ken slaugherczar.

Kennie boy even threatened Dave Phillips-that he would punch him out-and this because Ken wouldn’t take Dave’s calls to set up an interview. It was only AFTER he got caught with his pants down around his ankles yet again that he gave this interview.

I am against this agency gelding every stud they come into contact with. Gelding studs changes family dynamics. We see the damage PZP does in the Pryors. Spaying mares is even worse. This is not management on the range. This is a new Hitler regime.

When BLM putsmbountiesmout on wild cats like they did in the Pryors it should alarm you. The cats were holding the Pryor Mustangs at no herd growth rate for 5 yrs. but because BLM wouldn’t be able to keep their contract with HS on PZP, they put a bounty out to kill about 8 cats. If introduced to each HMA that is good range management. Maybe not pretty but then the horses know that they keep their freedoms and families and are never threatened again with round ups.

Most wild horses don’t live to 30. There are exceptions. Big Foot up in the Pryors lived to 26. I think right now there are several approaching 25. It warms my heart to know that many of these horses survived the 2010/2011 brutal winter.

It has been shown that the horse today is a re-introduced species to the Americas. Your comment about them not being native is in fact incorrect.

Margaret, thank you for the response. I no longer ranch and have no ax to grind.I am not familiar of the cats you talk of but anything that powerful will be hard on all wildlife and deer and elk are not as tough as horses. Are you proposing that the cattlemen leave public land? We had sheep on public land and when we left the bitterbrush got so thick that the wildlife couldn’t get through it and eventually the brush and forest burned. Grass lands would not be as prone to this. I agree private land owners do not have an inalienable right to public lands but the wild animals do. How do you protect the other wildlife that have been here for many thousands of years. I guess the main question is how do you create balance? I am not hearing that in the other comments.

Theo, Balance would be not killing off all the natural predators of the land just so you can maintain high levels of cattle and sheegrazing.  Balance would not be using helicopters to herd wild horses just days after birth of their foals.  Balance would be not getting rid of wild herds of horses so oilmen and frakking could go on in these natural lands for wild horses.  Regardless of whether wild horses are native to north america they are here now and killing them off in the cruelist manners available is not balance it is murder of these wild animals for the greed of men who would rape the land until there is nothing wild left there.  Then there will be balance because there will be nothingleft at all, just bare land and old broken down oil wells.

I’m not sure there is much argument about the need for sane and safe removals. But for instance Owyhee in NV was just rounded up less than 3 yrs ago. Yet, here we are again removing horses. BLM played hide and go seek, closing roads, threatening to arrest advocates if they trespassed onto private lands.

Actually it was deputies who did all of this, but it was because BLM made a call. There is video that shows a deputy talking to an advocate, placing his hand on her camera, she assertively told him to remove his hand. It was t that point the deputies decided the women needed to turn around that they were trespassing. NOT ONE BLM MAP SHOWED PRIVATE PROPERTY LINES which is what the advocates were inquiring about.

Cats refers to mountain lions.

Not every rancher is a greedy SOB. But there needs to be a balance. Paying a whopping 1.35 per cow/calf combo shouldn’t give so much power to Big Beef. It shouldn’t allow cattle ranchers to shut water off to the horse which I what is happening.

You have deer hunting season. Now there is wolf hunting. Trappers trap—which is a nother Tory about abuse. Many of these animals learn to thrive together. It’s only when man who decrees that he knows all-that we get the imbalance we have seen (earthquakes, tsunamis et. While they may not cause one another I believe we re all inter-related.)

If you’ve had sheep in the past then you know one horse equals approximately 7 sheep.

On one hand allow the animals to sort it all out. It isn’t going to be pretty, but survival of the fittest isn’t always pretty. Man is bringing the imbalance, with grazing rights (to the exclusion of the horse), fracking, mineral rights etc. one of the reasons the horses breed so much is the imbalance of removals. If they allowed the horses to sort all this out BLM would be outta work.

Why no slaughter? Culling overpopulation for food, food pantries is a reasonable way to reduce the herds to reasonable levels. From what I understand horse meat is healthier than beef.

“It is a problem that has escaped resolution for a very long time for everyone who has tried to work on it,” Salazar said. “I don’t believe we have the solution yet at hand, but we need to continue to try to figure out the right thing to do.”

This is not true. the 1971 Wild horse and Burro Act says that independent studies are needed to make management decisions. Not only does BLM ignore this and but so do the majority of wild horse advocates. Policy by corporate caprice is what we have instead. And mustanging never stopped. It just went under ground with the help of BLM contractors and employees.

Why should we be paying for this monumental mistake in management by BLM? The horses and burros pay with their lives. If you do not have the studies then you cannot explore and create effective management. Of course there are answers and they have never been given a chance to be developed. This is simply criminal. Independent studies are a built in method to prevent what has happened; mismanagement and the harvesting of wild horses and burros for private profit.

What the corporate presence does is even worse.

I don’t believe a word. We all have to push what ever way possible for the bill S.1176 to pass before the end of the year. I even wrote to Bruce Springsteen who convinced the Governor of NJ, Christi to support the NJ bill that would stop the slaughtering of their horses. Christi signed the law. If Christe, didn’t he would not be able to attend any more of Springsteens concerts. Good move. So I asked Bruce to speak to the President and convince him to get this slow minded congress to pass S.1176.

I read the ProPublica article a couple weeks ago, really eye opening on the wild horse issue which I wasn’t aware of previously.  Thank you PP for bringing us this information, and thanks to wild horse advocates.  The entire scheme the BLM is using is crazy; horribly inhumane, extremely expensive and no sustainability.  Let the horses live as wild horses, good times and bad.  Problem - a lot of peopleare making money off this horrible system, rounding up, transporting, feeding.  We do need to keep pushing for the bill to pass and also for the fertility control.  I’ve written to my CO representatives.  Get this information out to the public, use social media such as facebook, etc.  Get the massive outrage going…

I have been writing for the past 5 years re the Mustang and Wild Burro Act abuse.  Madeline Pickens has been to Capitol Hill numerous times to testify.  The BLM and Mr Salazar and the fellow before him were well aware of the abuses.  These animals were rounded up in a cruel and horrific way, sold to Mexico, who in turn sold the meat in Mexico and Europe.  The US made money… that was the bottom line..

It is a complete disgrace the way many (including gov’t officials) profit by abusing the least able to defend and advocate for themselves; people and animals.

Leslie Peeples

Dec. 11, 2012, 7:32 p.m.

Please keep the heat on BLM officials who sold our wild horses to slaughter. easy action, 2 minutes, sample letter below.
(Article~
The investigation, opened in June, was initially headed by the BLM, but was transferred to the Interior Department’s independent Inspector General in October when it became clear that people in the agency could come under scrutiny too, Salazar said.)

Department of Inspector General,

I am writing as a very concerned and very angered citizen of these good United States asking you to hold an open an honest and thorough investigation into the selling of our Congressional protected wild horses that were sold into slaughter illegally. We as a country our outraged that a government agency charged by congress with protecting the horses would knowingly let this travesty happen. Anyone who knew this was happening must be removed from their jobs.

Please hold all who were involved in the sales responsible, including BLM officials and staff, IE. Sally Spencer, Dean Bolstad, Bea Wade, and Tom Gorey. These folks may have actively solicited sales to Tom Davis and others.

Please reply.
Thank you, Leslie Peeples

Wild horses are a reintroduced native species. Sheep and cattle are both non native species and both are prone to overgrazing. Horses do not stay in one place and overgraze as Theo states; they move, in my estimation, a good twenty miles a day. (I have logged over 250 days of riding and living with wild horses, so I hope my experiences and therefore my opinion carries some weight ).  One of the real problems is, the fencing of public lands; another is, domestic livestock grazing on public lands; and still another, the killing of predators. 
Quit killing predators, get the fences, and the domestic livestock off of public lands; and then perhaps we would see the end of the “problem” Salazar speaks of, and the beginning of balance.
Salazar, is not, and never has been a friend of the wild horse. For him to be in charge of the BLM and therefore in charge of the wild horse program is nothing short of a travesty.

it is so basic…

we kill too many animals here.. it is not a good message to our society.. I am so appauled that in this time of economic turmoil when the government could do something so enlighting and save lives they act so blatantly cold instead….

I have asked and asked for mercy for the horses.. and here I am again.. I don’t go away…..

hopefully this so called horse program will.

Till then, we light candles for the lives lost at the stupidity of these guys in charge.

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