“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United state of America in Congress assembles, That Congress finds and declares that wild free- roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of public lands”.
Sec. 2 (b) Wild free-roaming horses and burros means ALL unbranded and unclaimed horses and
burros on public lands of the United States
(c) Range means the amount of land necessary to sustain an EXISTING herd or herds of wild Free roaming horses and burros which does not exceed their known territorial limits and which is devoted PRINCIPALLY but not necessarily exclusively to their welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for the public lands
(d) Herd means one or more stallions and his mares; and
(e) public lands means any lands administered by the Secretary of the Interior through the Bureau of Land Management or by the Secretary of Agriculture through the Forest
Sec. 3 (a) All wild free-roaming horses and burros are hereby declared to be under the jurisdiction Secretary FOR THE PURPOSE OF MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION IN ACCORDANCE
WITH PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT. The Secretary is authorized and DIRECTED to PROTECT
and manage wild free roaming horses and burros as components of the public lands
The Act also goes on to specify in detail that the Secretary shall “manage the free roaming horses and burros in a manner that is DESIGNED to achieve and maintain a thriving NATURAL ECOLOGICAL BLANCE and to consider recommendations of qualified scientist in the field of biology and ecology, some of whom SHALL BE INDEPENDENT of both Federal and State agencies”.
What this states is “wild” and “feral” are synonymous, for they are “unclaimed”. It also clearly states they shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death…. in the area where presently found. The HMA’s (Herd Management Areas were created where the free roaming horses and burros were presently found and were declared protected land. It also clearly states the BLM is to seek input from qualified scientist – separate from Federal or State – in order to put a management plan into place. To this end, experts such as NAS (National Academies of Sciences), Western Watersheds, Craig Downer (published wildlife ecologist (UCalifBerk, UNevReno, UKanLawr, UDurhamUK) who has extensively studied both the wild horses of the West and the endangered mountain tapirs of the northern Andes, and the new Sierra Club Wild Horse and Burro policy have been completely ignored because they do not correlate with the false narrative the BLM has propagated to the public. Instead, the BLM continually pushes “Emergency Roundup”, and has now introduced its new euthanasia-policy-change (captive bolt to the head). This is far from humane or merciful and those who understand the head-shy, flight animal (and it’s anatomy) can see right through this policy as one that is as blatantly barbaric and criminal as the helicopter round ups.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, “Euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma. The practice is illegal in most countries.”
The only painful disease our free roaming horses and burros are suffering from is the greed of private livestock, a corrupt government, and the uneducated public. We are here to change that.
The Bureau of Land Management, under the direction of the Secretary of the interior, has knowingly violated every section of this act which was created to protect the land these horses and burros call home. This act was created by Congress and the House of Representatives, which was created by the people, which means by extension, we have authority over the Bureau of Land Management and it is time we demand they follow the Act and the will of the People and not concede to private industry. It is time real change and real herd management plans are put into place; not only to safeguard the horses and burros, but to safeguard our land and to safeguard the millions of wasted tax payer’s money.
84% of land allocated as HMA’s (Herd Management Areas) that are federally protected lands for the wild horses and burros are being used by private livestock. An average of 88.1 % of the AUM (Animal Unit Month), which calculates the amount of forage needed to sustain a healthy wild horse and burro herd, is being given to private livestock. A mere 11.9% is left for the wild horses and burros. This data and information comes directly from the Bureau of Land Management reports. It is also reported – directly from the BLM – that all range damage has occurred due to “livestock damage”, however, it is the horses that are being removed and put into private holding facilities on the very land that are owned by the ranchers who own the cattle that are destroying the land. And this is at the expense of the taxpayer in the millions of dollars.
There is no overpopulation. There is only the stealing of land.
Many battles have been fought – one of the most noteworthy is known as CAWP (Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy), which was tirelessly fought for by Wild Horse Education. W.H.E, the first of any advocacy group to get a policy in place that allows for public oversight, transparency, and insists on humane treatment of the horses and burros. We at US Horse Welfare & Rescue National Coalition want to join and continue this fight in ensuring that the BLM is held accountable for the treatment of all horses and burros at all roundups by having our representatives in the field, documenting the actions taken by the BLM. It is crucial in the fight against the BLM to have as many advocates in the field, documenting the truth, inhumane treatment of our horses and burros, and the blatant bias of the BLM and their violation of the Act and CAWP. The more documentation from multiple sources, the better our chances to finally put a stop to the BLM before they completely destroy our lands and wipe out our symbols of strength, survival and perseverance; the free-roaming horse and burro.
Our field representative attends all round ups at their own expense; Please help USHWR-NC stay in the field and in the fight. All donations go directly to assist our field reps who are out there documenting abuse and bringing back reports that will enable us to strengthen our position, lobby Congress, end abuse, end round ups, put an actual Herd Management Plan into place to save our horses and burros, and to restore our lands to its natural balance. Please visit her blog here: Where did all the horses go?
Cattoor Contract Award paid by American tax dollars.
At roughly 27 million acres, wild horse herd management areas (HMAs) constitute a mere 4% of the 750 million acres that make up “The West” in the lower 78 states.
There are 22 MILLION private livestock cattle and sheep across the vast western expanse; that’s 265 times the number of wild horses, a ratio of 1 wild horse to 30+ private livestock (presently estimated at 86,000) in the 177 HMAs that were established principally for wild horses and burros in the 1971 Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros act.
Since establishment of this act, the free roaming horses and burros have lost their allocated land each year at an alarming rate; replaced by private government (taxpayer) subsidized livestock; livestock which overgrazes the land, pollutes water sources, and uses the wild horse and burro as the scapegoat to the destruction.
The BLM falsely claims “emergency” roundups as its ‘go-to’ move in order to illegally – and barbarically – remove horses and burros from their rightful land for the sole purpose of catering to private livestock ranchers. “Emergency Round ups” benefit the private livestock rancher in monetary value.
Ranchers get paid during drought – which means BLM claims drought in order for ranchers to be paid:
“Payments for losses resulting from the additional cost of transporting water to eligible livestock due to drought” (American tax payer money is paying for water for private livestock and NOT for federally protected horses and burros)
“Payments to eligible livestock produces that have suffered grazing losses on rangeland managed by a Federal agency if the eligible livestock producer is prohibited by the Federal agency from grazing”
This means it is a no win for the horses; if livestock cannot graze on land protected for horses, we pay the ranchers for ‘loss of grazing’. If land NOT protected cannot be grazed because livestock has already damaged it, then we pay for that, and then round up federally protected horses and move the livestock to the HMA.
It is well past time we put an end to this brutality. It is well past time that our government show respect to the ancestors of the horses that built this country. It is well past time our government does the will of the people and follows the law.
They Deserve To Be Here:
On September 24, 2021, a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) press release announced a massive roundup of wild horses in southwestern Wyoming. Beginning October 7, BLM contractors began removing roughly 70% of the wild horses from five herd management areas (HMAs): Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, White Mountain and Little Colorado.
According to BLM’s news release, the Wyoming roundup is necessary to provide water and forage for “other authorized users” in the HMAs; reduce overpopulation to achieve an appropriate
management level (AML); and prevent rangeland deterioration.
BLM internal data prove that these claims are false. That data tells exactly the opposite story of what BLM is telling you, me and members of Congress. (see BLM data on page 2)
What’s true is that tens of thousands of wild horses are being rounded-up because of commercial livestock grazing both inside designated wild horse territory (31 million acres) and outside it (257 million acres of public lands, total). The HMAs were established principally for wild horses’ use in 1971. The livestock grazing is subsidized by the public, at great cost, and without public knowledge.
The “other authorized users” of water and forage obliquely referred to in BLM news releases are livestock operators and millions of cattle and sheep. They’re why BLM is rounding up 4,300 horses, permanently removing 3,500 and returning just 800 to public rangeland in southwestern Wyoming
BLM news releases and spokespeople don’t discuss the livestock program and news outlets don’t report on it. They don’t know it exists even though both programs appear on BLM’s website:
BLM rangeland health data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) and overlaid on satellite maps shows widespread damage (in RED) by livestock across Wyoming and inside BLM wild horse herd management areas (HMAs). Recent Onaqui and Sand Wash wild horse roundups (in Utah and and Colorado) were also blamed on wild horse rangeland deterioration that BLM data and its Rangeland Administration System database show are cattle/sheep-caused.
BLM Environmental Assessment (EA) planning documents for the roundup reflect livestock’s large footprint across Wyoming, especially in setting wild horse AMLs (appropriate management levels) that BLM cites as evidence of overpopulation in the five HMAs (aka the Rock Springs “checkerboard.”)
BLM’s EA allows 2,165 horses in the HMAs (see table) and they are allotted 25,980 AUMs per year vs. 191,791 AUMs per year allotted to privately owned livestock. An AUM (animal unit month) is the amount of forage that a cow and her calf; a wild
horse OR foal; or five sheep can consume in a
month. The HMAs cover 3,436,096 acres of
public and private lands in southwest Wyoming.
Livestock are allotted 7.4 times more forage than
the wild horses.
The forage assigned to livestock can support an additional 15,982 wild horses (32% of the horses in off-range holding) for a maximum AML for the five HMAs of 18,147 if livestock is removed. The pre roundup population of 5,105 wild horses is well within that range. The only thing limiting it is the BLM and livestock producers telling one story about wild horses while BLM data says the opposite.
SOURCES: BLM rangeland health maps: https://mangomap.com/peer/maps/24736/blm-rangeland-health-standards-evaluation-data-2012-
BLM EA: https://eplanning.blm.gov/public_projects/1501993/200340928/20042914/250049107/Wild%20Horse%20Gather%20EA%20(FINAL)%20- %20AT,SW,GD,WM,LC.pdf