BLM Boss: Wild Horse Program Facing Future $1B Budget Crisis


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RENO, Nev. — May 12, 2016, 1:21 PM ET

The head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says it’s time to admit his agency has a $1 billion problem.

BLM Director Neil Kornze says the administration can’t afford to wage an increasingly uphill battle to protect the ecological health of federal rangeland across the West while at the same time properly managing tens of thousands of wild horses and caring for tens of thousands more rounded up in government corals.

Kornze told The Associated Press the agency may not have done as good of a job as it could have in recent years to underscore the environmental and budgetary crisis looming in its wild horse and burro program.

His experts estimate $1 billion will be needed to care for the 46,000 wild horses and burros currently in U.S. holding facilities over their lifetime. That doesn’t include the cost of future efforts to shrink the population of the record-67,000 now roaming public lands in 10 western states.

“We’re trying to make an effort to be real clear about the challenges because they are significant,” Korzne said late Tuesday.

“We need partners coming to the table, whether it’s states or counties or others,” he said”

The 67,000 horses and burros on the range is a 15 percent increase from last year, and more than double the population that was estimated when President Nixon signed the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act into law in 1971. The landmark legislation allows for removals but also grants the animals unique federal protection and requires they be treated humanely during and after their capture.

Korzne said his agency’s horse budget has doubled since 2009 — from $40 million to more than $80 million currently — but “the trajectory of the population has just gone up and up.” Left unchecked, the population naturally doubles every four years.

“It’s a double bind,” Korzne said. “There’s a very real impact on the range when the herds are overpopulated, but it costs us $50,000 per horse if the horse lives out its whole life in holding.”

Kornze said one of the growing problems is a dramatic drop in the private adoptions of gathered mustangs over the past decade from about 8,000 a year to 2,500 or fewer.

Critics fear BLM is exaggerating the numbers to build support for past proposals by livestock interests to slaughter the oldest mustangs that have been placed in long-term holding with little chance of being adopted.

“The BLM’s numbers are inflated estimates to fear-monger elected officials into supporting a breakdown of the 1971 law,” said Anne Novak, executive director of the California-based Protect Mustangs.

Korzne insisted the agency has no intention of allowing the slaughter of federal horses. But he said it’s considering spaying, neutering or otherwise sterilizing some animals that are on the range — something just as distasteful to most horse protection groups who argue the real answer lies in dramatic cutbacks in government-subsidized livestock grazing.

“Wild horses are present on just 12 percent of federal rangelands, which they share with livestock, and their habitat has shrunk by over 40 percent the last four decades,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. “The feds consider 67,000 wild horses and burros to be overpopulated, yet there are only 70,000 big horn sheep remaining in the West and they are highly endangered.”

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Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.

27 thoughts on “BLM Boss: Wild Horse Program Facing Future $1B Budget Crisis

  1. Golly, maybe America would have resources to protect wild horses, parks and so on if Congress wasn’t bribed and dominated by industry lobbyists profiting from Full Spectrum Dominance?

  2. It is a shame that the BLM continues to lie about the horse numbers. Perhaps the question news people should ask is how many cattle & sheep are on our public land and how much it ends up costing the American people to allow the cattle and sheep to graze on our public land.

  3. Please people, research prior to voting this election season, 2 Amendments that was brought to my attention about horse or mule slaughter in America. The following must be researched, but know that the Humane Society of the USA has sent me an email to vote yes. They said that is I vote yes, the funding, the opening or continuation operation of these horse or mule slaughter houses will end.

    1. The Udall Kirk Amendment
    2. The Farr-Dent Amendment

    Certainly, their must be more within this election ballot, but this is all I have been alerted about so far.


  5. I am very concerned with more changes coming with amendments to the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro law. Today I spoke with a representative in Washington D.C.; and although they did not have answers for me they will return my call with more information hopefully. First of all the BLM is pursuing transferring the horses and burros to State agencies that require “work” animals….they replied with U.S. border patrol. Okay so we know about this happening already; but…..if they amend the protections to State transfers do the Horses lose their Federal protection? they did not have an answer to that. Amending the law is what they are after; this must not happen!! they have already amended the laws in the past without public approval or input! Call your Federal Congressional Representatives; and please do keep up to date on this….we must keep the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro act intact without anymore changes. The numbers are inflated; we need a separate committee made up of United States citizens that will oversee the Wild Horse numbers for an actual accounting of the species left on the ranges; the BLM is far from a Horse and Burro advocacy agency….they have proved over and over again their priorities…..Ranchers; ranching; cattle, sheep, and more leases $$$$$$.

  6. What a bunch of rubbish, there is definitely not 67,000 Wild Horses on our Public Lands, this is a lie to mislead the Public and the increase roundups!!! If there was 67,000 they would still be considered underpopulated for the amount of land we could have available to them. Maybe the BLM Monsters should plan on just leaving them all alone, let them free. When Wild Horses are being terrorized it causes more stress, by nature the Wild Mustangs will breed more. So BLM stop with all the terrorizing and rounding up of our Wild Horses. BLM ABUERS should have no rights to our Wild Horses, you all have did nothing but ABUSE WILD HORSES!!! BLM your disgusting and the fact that you get paid for the abuse and complete abomination of our America Icons, has the American Public outraged!!! Stop with all the horrible monster type of research, sterilization, castrations that you are having done to our Wild Mares and Wild Stallions!! BLM you all have no heart and souls as these in field researchers are literally ripping out the female organs with a foot long metal device, this is ANIMAL CRUELTY, STOP IT BLM, RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Tina Wooten Equine Rights Please Be A Kinder World For Wild Horses…:(. Please

  7. Personally I think the BLM needs to be audited. I cannot debate these numbers but I would like him to disclose his budget figures to show how he is coming up with the $1B budget crisis. Natural predators of the horses such as Mtn Lions, and Wolves have been hunted and their populations are few. We have caused an imbalance in nature. The answer? Reevaluate. Review the recommendations from several years ago by various scientific organizations that were paid by the government to research horse populations. Look at the whole ecological picture of which the horses are just a fractional part. There is a major problem of mismanagement which has caused this problem. If the horses can not be taken care of by the BLM, give them their own acreage for an Eco Sanctuary. Out of the millions of acres of Public lands there is enough acreage to allocate for those horses in holding. Leave on the range those still free. Getting rid of the horses will not be the solution.

  8. Lets get the cattle and sheep off the public land. They are harder on the fragile grasses there anyway. Lets turn the horses free back on their land . I really doubt BLM’s numbers are correct. Stop killing off the wolves (to protect the cattle) and let nature take its course. If you hadn’t spent so much on roundups you would not have run up such a debt. I do not want to see slaughter of the horses in holding pens as some sort of a solution. The problem is the cattle and sheep allowed to take over the grazing land.

  9. BLM HAS been audited, somehow they always escape scrutiny. They lie they cheat they steal from the public and murder our horses based on those lies and graft. The whole department needs to be dismantled, nothing but the good ol boys in there now. Been following this issue for more than 40 years now… it NEVER gets better, they never do what they are supposed to do and in the end you and I end up paying for all their dirty deeds. The best thing that could happen to them is they go bankrupt, they already are when it comes to compassion of our wild horses/burros and other wild life. They are a killing machine for hire to the highest bidder!

  10. Through the years I’ve spoken with mustang advocates, mustang adopters, and BLM employees asking all what can be done to help the mustangs in the wild? What I was told by more than one BLM Employee is Adopt a mustang! The BLM should get the word out with a National TV advertisement regarding the wild mustangs which are rounded up and just how many ( tens of thousands) mustangs are up for adoption annually at BLM facilities. There are thousands of horse friendly people who are not aware mustangs are up for adoption at BLM facilities. The BLM should be allowed to advertise in horse magazines, on RFTV, country/western stations, and Inform the public of the adoptions. Sure that cost Tax Dollars, yet the mustangs could at least have a chance and more would be adopted in the long run costing the Government less.

    Furthermore regarding spaying wild mustang mares, this procedure is extremely dangerous, even when performed in a sterile veterinary hospital. Equine Veterinarians say,” the wild mares would not survive the procedure because it would be done outside on the range and not in a sterile environment”. When this procedure is done at a veterinarian hospital the mares are monitored and cared for. If done in on the range the wild mares would not have any post operation care. This is an extremely invasive procedure even with the best of care there is a chance the Mares will not fully recover and have died. I’ve already contacted the University of Oregon who is considering to work alongside the BLM to do a procedure which is Life Threatening to the Wild Mustangs. To reconsider any invasive operation to Federally Protected Mustangs.

    The BLM is doing what they are told by the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewel. She use to Manage REI sporting stores, yet before that she herself was involved with the OIL industry as with a quote of an article I have posted below *.
    I would HOPE the federal government may strongly consider anyone who holds the office of Secretary of Interior is educated and carries strong experience caring for All wildlife and the environment. Sally Jewel should NOT be managing the BLM. She has No experience with wildlife or natural resources nor mustangs. I don’t consider her hiking up and down Mount Rainier enough experience to manage the US interior or the Wild mustangs.The BLM division who manages wild Mustangs and Burros should be Managed by citizens who have experience with mustangs. * “Mrs Jewell has made no secret of her three years working as an engineer for Mobil, the predecessor Exxon Mobil, and said that her time in the oil industry gave her knowledge of its workings but also made her realize “there is a cost to consumption”. The Telegraph. ~Now Tell me how she Plans to Protect any wild mustang? The only thing she is doing is budgeting and this NOT enough! Respect the 1971 Wild Mustang and Burro’s Act. The federal government in general does have a history of NOT abiding by Federal Acts and the only ones who appears to be suffering are the animals and lands of this country. Stop moving the mustangs off thier lands for fracking and the cattle industry. Most Mustang loving people have seen the videos of Wild mustangs being removed from natural grazing lands only to see the Very next day trailers of Cattle placed on only a day before was Mustang land.

  11. I certainly agree with the posts above ! Sounds like all the more reasons to” Stop the Roundups” !! What about their offering funds for sterilization that they are offering anybody ? And what about the Presidents 2017 budget .To me ; a whole bunch more Malarhey & it’s not even St Pattie’s Day !!!

  12. I don’t want to hear the BLM whine about the billion dollar cost of taking care of the wild horses. The BLM caused this mess clean it up.

  13. Well Gee BLM, we know you are in the pockets of the Cattle Industry and certain invasive Industries. I’m a tax payer and you don’t give a Dam what I think about Wild Horses and Burros! I’ve been calling you and writing to you for years and years, with very little response. Weve asked you for shade for horses standing unprotected from wind and extreme heat, in your holding and adoption centers, for YEARS now. Very little has changed for them. I lost faith in you long ago, during the Calico Roubdup where you chased horses, pregnant mares and their foals full speed down ice covered slopes. Over one hundred wild horses died then or as a result of that barbaric roundup and a limited understanding of how to care for them afterwards. In my heart, i gave you so many chances to change! You sold wild horses to The kill buyer Davis and others. What was THAT all about, i wonder? Meanwhile “Advocates” work for you as “volunteers” but what they advocate for is the sterilization of Wild horses. Yes, entire HMAs have been wiped out, we trusted that you would not do that, but you continue. Now you say you want more money from ME? Are you kidding?? Set those horses free onto their protected HMA’s. You would not have had a problem with an “overpopulation” of wild horses and burros IN YOUR HOLDING CENTERS IF you had HONORED the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of the 70’ could have kept your promise to them and to us but you capitulated with Ranchers and other nefarious industries. Now you conveniently use the excuse that you have run out of money to care for the very animals it was your duty to protect. It was up to all parties SHARING wild and public lands thst there was to be equitable use of those lands. Since Wild animals cannot speak for themselves, you turned your back on their freedom, their need to be with their family bands and herds. When Advocates spoke out for them, you chose instead to support “Advocates” who shared your agenda, the sterilization of Wild Horses. Too many broken Treaties BLM. You should have chosen your friends with more integrity and seen your duty to protect the Wilds on their designated HMA’s as a proud duty, a chance to protect an important legacy for generations of people to experience. People come from all over the world, to see the West. The Wild horse is legendary! You refuse to see them as indigenous, as an exciting part of North American ecology and history! You saw them the WY Ranchers do, as Mere livestock to be gathered, branded and sterilized. You lack Vision, but worse you have taken away something priceless from generations of American children who will dream of the West, and yearn to see the Wild Horse herds, as some of us have had the privilege to, in our lifetime. You still have time, BLM and cronies to do something legendary yourself! Stop the roundups, restore broken HMA’s, the Wild Horse and Burro bill and the promise you made to protect them-not in holding corrals, but where they belong, in the WILD!

  14. Give me a break! I smell the stench of corruption, and the BLM is right in the thick of it! This little tidbit of information about them “having a budget crisis” is a crock! The American public knows how corrupt they are, really, just who do they think they are kidding? They are rounding up OUR wild horses and burros, shipping them to slaughter or doing Nazi-like sterilization experiments on them. Now they are crying “budget crisis”?? This is just some sick prelude to some heinous ulterior motive of theirs! Let me guess…the BLM doesn’t have the $1BILLION they need to care for the wild horses and burros that they rounded up illegally, soooo…they are going to recommend that all of these animals being held in BLM prisons, be destroyed. Oh what a happy day for the livestock industry! And after all, that’s who the BLM is beholden to, right? Right.

  15. The BLM numbers game. Do not believe any of this stuff. The BLM is totally corrupt. The best thing that could happen would be for the BLM to be removed from any responsibility or authority over any of our wild horses and burros or their HMAs, but that does not mean transfer away from federal responsibility and funding.

  16. HOW about we get rid of the cattle & sheep.and leave our public lands alone. These lands belong to the people. Our Congress is only concerned with lining their pockets . Could care less about citizens thoughts.

  17. The BLM has been proven on more than one occasion to be corrupt. If the horse would have been left alone on their land and their land left to them we wouldn’t have this problem. Welfare cows, fencing cutting horses out of water sources. Then they weren’t even responsible enough to collect the grazing fees owed. The fact that there is a supposed crisis in and of itself shows their mismanagement and misguided projections. This is just their way of trying to send these American Icons to slaughter so the can pillage the land further, by mining, drilling, and line their coffers with the Koch brothers and people like them!!!

  18. A Crisis is an opportunity turned inside out. Time to look at opportunities to create positive outcomes for our American Mustang. Both Smokey the Bear and wild horses help cut down on wild fires.
    Some of the horses in long-term holding facilities could be used in national parks and remote areas prone to wild fires. Stallions have been gelded, so there is no potential for population growth. What about taking only two to three year old colts off public lands to cut down reproduction? If 2,500 mustangs are adopted each year, then that is the number that should be removed.
    America is known for ingenuity and innovation. Stewards for the wild horses could develop better ideas to managing our Western icon. The same rhetoric about wild horse is repeated year after year. Litigation on both sides of the fence has not created any better ideas. The time is now, during this crisis, to change the ‘management’ of our American Mustang!

  19. What horrors this BLM is putting our magnificent wild horses and burros through! They are not protecting them as they were supposed to. The BLM should be disbanded and another group put together for our horses, people who know about and understand our wild ones! The BLM has been responsible for the deaths of so many of our wild horses and burros! They sold out our wild ones and went in league with the welfare ranchers and other nefarious corporations! It’s time they answered to the taxpayers for their horrific mismanagement of our mustangs and burros!

  20. Every time I hear the word “overpopulation” lately, it is being used to provoke knee jerk support for questionable real estate deals. The BLM perhaps could spend less on helicopters and biased head counts and demilitarize just a little this year. Perhaps a better model of care could prove more effective.

  21. It is time to end the Rein Of BLM over our Wild Horses and Burros. Many have been lost through mismanagement by this agency. The Public Lands Should Remain Just That and not be used to graze The Welfare Ranchers Cattle and Sheep!! Our Wild Animals there in also should be protected!! SHUT BLM DOWN NOW!!!

  22. I really believe that if we would get rid of the ranchers on our public land,we could be OK. We need to have the predators be animals, not humans. God made a plan and it works until people think they know better. Let the wild be wild. Let there be wolves, bears and coyotes running with the horses, burros and buffaloes. We have disrupted nature and nature is paying for it. Humans are not very smart!

  23. This public land is not for cattle. It’s for our WILD HORSES AND BURROS!! They are part of my American history!! The BLM has no idea how to take care of anything!

  24. I can only pray that the persons this bogus information is being presented to are smart enough to realize the numbers are not correct. Oh, wait, that would be the people who have bought their lies, falsities and overinflated population numbers in the past. It is time that we as Americans have our voices heard, stand up and insist on a 10 year moratorium of all BLM population activities, up to and including, PZP birth control, experimental sterilizations, round ups, holding, and slaughter. These are our tax dollars that are being abused, these are also our horses and our public lands, but no one seems to want to hear us. Rise up people, it is time to tell the BLM, DOI, and the rest of the Government that these things belong to US!!! We should have a say in how they are being managed, and it is time for real science and data to be collected, studied and looked at so all will realize the lies that are being told for the advantage of the welfare ranchers, big energy companies and BLM employees who are taking advantage of us. Step up America, tell the BLM to stop, they need to listen to us, this is as much about us as it is about the wild Horses as we are their voices, so let’s be heard!!!

  25. It’s time for the BLM to go. They have made a mess of the wild horses and burros. These ranchers need to either learn to co-exist with the wildlife or they need to learn how to exist on their own property and stay off the public lands. They have created more if a problem on the land than these horses have.

  26. what you all need to understand is the BLM use the horses for money when they do there budget so the more they add to there budget the more they get so they use the mustangs as a hart braking storing to get money. but the money does not all go to the mustangs what you need to ask is why it cost so much when the public can do the same for a lot less money for what they are asking for. as for 1 bil. I have sent in a plan on how to take care of the mustangs for a lot less money but was truned down because they would lose the rest out of there budget. so it is all about money also this will all depend on who wins the election.

  27. we must protect our last few Wild Horses ,,They are very important to the Horse Industry ,, THE NATURAL HORSE ,, Eco System ,, Tourism ,, Predators Food , many Birds and Wildlife Eat , Dead Horses in the Wild .. Horse Manure spreads Seeds of many plants ,, and much more ..

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