Agency is wiping out America’s last wild horses based on fake numbers

Photo by BLM, public domain


“My family helped settle Oregon and I’ve always liked going out into the wild to see the wild herds,” says Bob Pritchett. “Now I go out there and don’t see any. BLM is lying. The truth is they are underpopulated.”

So called “humane fertility control”, Pesticide PZP, etc. will eventually manage wild horses and burros to extinction. Overpopulation is Fake News planted to then fear monger the public with BLM’s killing/slaughter proposal yet their goal is to ultimately push for public approval of sterilization using the Problem -> Reaction -> Solution Hegelian Dialectic method. Sterilized wild horses will eventually die off leaving no more wild horses on public land. This #WildHorseWipeOut is what they want. The American public wants land and forage given to native wild horses and burros for their principal use according to the 1971 law.

Right now an independent head count is needed! Demand an Urgent Congressional Investigation and Head Count of all Wild Horses and Burros in Captivity and in the Wild:  

Marybeth Devlin reports that America’s wild horses are Underpopulated:

Per the guidelines of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) own geneticist, the arbitrary management levels (AMLs) of 83% of wild-horse herds are set below minimum-viable population (MVP). Further, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature says the MVP should be 16 times higher for the species to survive and thrive.

Sparsely Populated: Wild horses are few and far between.

In Wyoming, BLM limits the Red Desert herds to 1 wild horse per 1569 acres that’s 2½ square miles. In Oregon, BLM restricts the Beaty’s Butte herd to 1 wild horse per 4381 acres (7 square miles). In Nevada, BLM limits the Silver King herd to 1 wild horse per 9591 acres (15 square miles).  *Note: figures are based on BLM’s low AML which is their management protocol.

Fraudulent figures: BLM reports biologically-impossible population-growth-figures. Normal herd-growth = 5%. Here are just a few examples of BLM’s growth-figures:

418% — 84 times the norm — Black Rock Range East
293% — 59 times the norm — Diamond Hills South
237% — 47 times the norm — Divide Basin
417% — 83 times the norm — Nut Mountain
260% — 52 times the norm — Shawave

How many wild horses have been rounded up and shipped to slaughter?


Protect Mustangs is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of native and wild horses.

Ask @NYTimes to OPEN public comments on controversial article about wild horses


Where are wild horses?™

It’s Wild Horse Wednesday™ and your voice for wild horses is needed to Stop the CENSORSHIP in the New York Times!

Politely request the Times open public comments in this biased articleAs Wild Horses Overrun the West, Ranchers Fear Land Will Be Gobbled Up 

It looks like this spin piece has been placed in one of America’s best newspapers as part of a sagebrush rebellion campaign that is pro-slaughter. They want to sway the public into accepting the mass killing and slaughter of America’s wild horses in captivity and on the range. Even the headline is not factual. There are no “wild horses overrunning the West”. Just drive out West and you will see it’s hard to find wild horses. Most of them have been rounded up. Native wild horses are underpopulated on millions of acres of public land. The spin Dr.s want to fool you because they don’t think you will go out to see this for yourself.

Before moving to New York, Dave Philipps lived in Colorado Springs and worked at the Gazette. He has been to at least one roundup and has visited wild horses on herd management areas. Did he forge his alliances with ranchers and horse-haters in Colorado?

Philipps’ New York Times article seems to be part of a bigger election year publicity campaign paid for because some western politicians want to take control of federally protected wild horses so they can slaughter them to “dispose” of them. They can’t find a way to make money with them because they are owned by the American people, so they want to kill them to make room for the New Energy Frontier and their non-native livestock. All this is part of a bigger land grab. Some states want to steal federal public land.

Read Tobacco science scapegoats wild horses for livestock damage in the West, the critique of the Times SPIN piece:


Links of interest™: 

New York Times: As Wild Horses Overrun the West, Ranchers Fear Land Will Be Gobbled Up
Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses. Join us on Facebook for updates: 



Tobacco science scapegoats wild horses for livestock damage in the West

Dave Philipps writes an anti-wild horse story with pro-slaughter undertones–ignoring the fact that livestock grazing is destroying public land

By Anne Novak, Founder of Protect Mustangs

In his New York Times piece, As Wild Horses Overrun the West, Ranchers Fear Land Will Be Gobbled Up, Philipps writes,

“There are now twice as many wild horses in the West as federal land managers say the land can sustain. The program that manages them has broken down, and unchecked populations pose a threat to delicate public land, as well as the ranches that rely on it.”

Why is Philipps ignoring the 2013 National Academy of Sciences’ statement that there is “no evidence of overpopulation”?

Philipps also avoids the fact that commercial livestock outnumbers wild horses more than 50 to I on public land.

If left unchecked, horse populations could decimate grass and water on public lands, he said, potentially leading to starvation among horse herds and other native species, as well as lawsuits from ranchers and wildlife groups.

Why is the Pulitzer Prize-winner spreading myths that America’s wild horses are not native by writing this?

Wild horses today are the descendants of stray American Indian ponies and cavalry mounts, as well as more recent ranch stock. Roaming a patchwork of parched rangeland roughly the size of Alabama, they have been protected by federal law since 1971 from capture or hunting. Since then, the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees most of the herds, has said that keeping the population around 26,000 would ensure the long-term health of the horses and the land.

Surely this investigative journalist learned that wild horses are indigenous.

Below are some excerpts from scientific papers on wild horses as native or ‘returned-native’ species:

In 2010, Jay Kirkpatrick and Patricia Fazio explained the following in Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife:

The key element in describing an animal as a native species is (1) where it originated; and (2) whether or not it co‐evolved with its habitat. Clearly, E. 6 caballus did both, here in North American. There might be arguments about “breeds,” but there are no scientific grounds for arguments about “species.”

The non‐native, feral, and exotic designations given by agencies are not merely reflections of their failure to understand modern science but also a reflection of their desire to preserve old ways of thinking to keep alive the conflict between a species (wild horses), with no economic value anymore (by law), and the economic value of commercial livestock.

Native status for wild horses would place these animals, under law, within a new category for management considerations. As a form of wildlife, embedded with wildness, ancient behavioral patterns, and the morphology and biology of a sensitive prey species, they may finally be released from the “livestock‐gone‐loose” appellation.

In June 2014 the American Journal of Life Science published The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America, by Craig Downer who writes,

“Fossil, genetic and archeological evidence supports these species as native. Also, objective evaluations of their respective ecological niches and the mutual symbioses of post-gastric digesting, semi-nomadic equids support wild horses and burros as restorers of certain extensive North American ecosystems.”

Read the extensive paper here:

Other truths were ignored also. . . For example, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has produced factual reports proving livestock is causing extensive range damage. Philipps fails to mention this damage in his article. Here are some examples of PEER’s excellent information:

Data Backs BLM Manager’s Allotment Cuts in Face of “Cowboy Express” Protest

Washington, DC (September 25, 2014)— A U.S. Bureau of Land Management District Manager from Nevada targeted by angry Nevada ranchers was more than justified in removing cattle from drought-stricken public rangeland, according to data released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Tomorrow, protesting ranchers start a “Cowboy Express” ride to Washington demanding removal of BLM Battle Mountain District Manager Douglas Furtado as an “abusive federal employee” even as conservation groups urge that Furtado be commended not condemned for his actions.

In July, Battle Mountain District Manager Furtado ordered livestock removed from parched range on the sprawling 332,000-acre Argenta allotment in northern Nevada after conditions fell below thresholds that ranchers and BLM had previously agreed would trigger removal. The ranchers contend that Furtado’s actions were arbitrary but an analysis of Geographic Information Systems and BLM data reveal range in terrible ecological shape:

  • Nearly every Battle Mountain allotment evaluated failed range health standards for wildlife and water quality, largely due to livestock grazing;
  • Half of the Argenta Allotment, and roughly 30% of the Battle Mountain District is habitat for sage grouse, a species being reviewed for listing under the Endangered Species Act. BLM has been directed to protect the species’ habitat but 90% of assessed sage grouse habitat was in Battle Mountain allotments failing standards due to livestock; and
  • Fence line contrasts visible in satellite imagery show that public lands in the checkerboarded allotment are far more heavily grazed than private lands, suggesting that ranchers are more protective of their own lands than they are of publicly-owned range.

Read the full article here.

Agency Sage Grouse Review Puts Thumb on Scale to Magnify Wild Horse and Burro Effects

Washington, DC (September 16, 2014)— The method used by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to assess range conditions is seriously skewed toward minimizing impacts from domestic livestock and magnifying those from wild horses and burros, according to an appraisal by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). As a result, the BLM’s approach to range management targets scattered wild horses and burros while ignoring far more numerous cattle.

The agency’s assessment is part of a 2013 report on factors influencing conservation of the Greater Sage-Grouse, a ground-dwelling bird whose numbers have declined as much as 90% across the West and which is under consideration for protection under the Endangered Species Act. That report concludes that twice the area of sage grouse habitat is negatively impacted by wild horses and burros than the area negatively impacted by livestock. A PEER appraisal of the methodology found –

  • BLM calculates the “area of influence” of wild horses and burros on sage grouse habitat based merely on their presence within Herd Management Areas in sage grouse habitat, while it considers livestock impact to have occurred only when livestock grazing allotments fail the agency’s Land Health Status (LHS) standard for wildlife;
  • If the agency used the same approach for calculating the area of influence of livestock within BLM grazing allotments on sage grouse habitat as it did for wild horses and burros, the area of influence for livestock would be roughly 14 times that given in the report and more than six times that of wild horses and burros; and
  • Within BLM’s own grazing allotment LHS database records, livestock grazing is cited as a cause of failure to achieve a land health standard 30 times more often than are wild horses and burros.

“At BLM apparently not all hooves are created equal,” said PEER’s Advocacy Director Kirsten Stade, noting that the LHS evaluations cover more than 20,000 grazing allotments and examine whether a grazing allotment meets the agency’s standards for rangeland health with respect to several vegetation and habitat conditions. “This helps explain why wild horses are regularly removed from the range but livestock numbers are rarely reduced.”

Read the full article here.

33 million Acres of BLM Grazing Allotments Fail Basic Rangeland Health Standards

Washington, DC (May 14, 2012)— A new federal assessment of rangelands in the West finds a disturbingly large portion fails to meet range health standards principally due to commercial livestock operations, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In the last decade as more land has been assessed, estimates of damaged lands have doubled in the 13-state Western area where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducts major livestock leasing.

The “Rangeland Inventory, Monitoring and Evaluation Report for Fiscal Year 2011” covers BLM allotments in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The report totals BLM acreage failing to meet rangeland health standards in measures such as water quality, watershed functionality and wildlife habitat:

  • Almost 40% of BLM allotments surveyed since 1998 have failed to meet the agency’s own required land health standards with impairment of more than 33 million acres, an area exceeding the State of Alabama in size, attributed to livestock grazing;
  • Overall, 30% of BLM’s allotment area surveyed to date suffers from significant livestock-induced damage, suggesting that once the remaining allotments have been surveyed, the total impaired area could well be larger than the entire State of Washington; and
  • While factors such as drought, fire, invasion by non-native plants, and sprawl are important, livestock grazing is identified by BLM experts as the primary cause (nearly 80%) of BLM lands not meeting health standards.

“Livestock’s huge toll inflicted on our public lands is a hidden subsidy which industry is never asked to repay,” stated PEER Advocacy Director Kirsten Stade, noting that the percentage of impairment in lands assessed remains fairly consistent over the past decade. “The more we learn about actual conditions, the longer is the ecological casualty list.”

Read the full article here.

Scientists Told to Not Consider Grazing Due to Fear of Lawsuits and Data Gaps

Washington, DC — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is carrying out an ambitious plan to map ecological trends throughout the Western U.S. but has directed scientists to exclude livestock grazing as a possible factor in changing landscapes, according to a scientific integrity complaint filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The complaint describes how one of the biggest scientific studies ever undertaken by BLM was fatally skewed from its inception by political pressure.

Funded with up to $40 million of stimulus funds, BLM is conducting Rapid Ecoregional Assessments in each of the six main regions (such as the Colorado Plateau and the Northern Great Plains) covering the vast sagebrush West. A key task was choosing the “change agents” (such as fire or invasive species) which would be studied. Yet when the scientific teams were assembled at an August 2010 workshop, BLM managers informed them that grazing would not be studied due to anxiety from “stakeholders,” fear of litigation and, most perplexing of all, lack of available data on grazing impacts.

Exclusion of grazing was met with protests from the scientists. Livestock grazing is permitted on two-thirds of all BLM lands, with 21,000 grazing allotments covering 157 million acres across the West. As one participating scientist said, as quoted in workshop minutes:

“We will be laughed out of the room if we don’t use grazing. If you have the other range of disturbances, you have to include grazing.”

Read the full piece here.

Why hasn’t Phillips used PEER’s information to report fairly or is he only chomping on what the Cattlemen’s lobby feed him?

The Times article also pushes the wild horse overpopulation myth to fool people into believing there is a problem. For example, In northeastern Nevada only 1,338 wild horses are allowed on 1.8 million acres of public land designated for their primary but not exclusive use. Hardly overpopulated.

Holistic range management options aren’t discussed but the massive slaughter of captive wild horses is brought up like a ticking time bomb. The truth is, there are more wild horses in government holding than living in freedom on the range. Those left on the range have a red flag birthrate. The herds fear extinction and mother nature doesn’t want them to die off. If the Bureau of Land Management didn’t take so many off the range, birthrates would be normal and herds would self-stabilize. Princeton University working with the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros has learned in a 14 year study that wild horse herds with functional social structures contribute to low herd growth compared to BLM managed herds.

In the UK, wildlife managers are using wild horses to heal the land and restore biodiversity. Holisitic management can work on America’s public lands if people would take the time to learn a new system but it seems they are just too lazy. . . Lazy, like the journalist who doesn’t do basic research for his article.

Has someone done a “follow the money” on Dave Philipps to see what’s really spurring him on? Now that’s an article I would find informative.


Links of interest™:

Dave Philipps’ spin piece in the New York Times:

Kirkpatrick, J.F., and P.M. Fazio. Revised January 2010. Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife. The Science and Conservation Center, ZooMontana, Billings. 8 pages.

Craig C. Downer, The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America, American Journal of Life Sciences. Vol. 2, No. 1, 2014, pp. 5-23. doi: 10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12

National Academy of Sciences: Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.

Princeton University and ISPMB: Wild horse herds with functional social structures contribute to low herd growth compared to BLM managed herds

Wild horses of Wildwood:


Breaking News: Government transparency and public process jeopardized

Mustang advocates want 30 days notice for public hearings on use of Helicopters at roundups

for immediate release:

RENO (May 28, 2012)—Protect Mustangs has discovered that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) scheduled an important public hearing for 10 a.m. the morning after Memorial Day weekend without adequately notifying the public. The hearing is scheduled for 10-11 a.m., at the BLM Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, in Carson City, Nevada. The wild horse preservation group is requesting the BLM reschedule the public hearing—regarding the use of helicopters and other motorized vehicles for roundups and management—in order to give the public at least 30 days notice.

“What happened to government transparency and public process?” asks Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “With 80% of America’s federally protected indigenous wild horses and burros living on public land in Nevada, the whole country should be given adequate notice to participate in person as well as via email. Most members of the public are against helicopter roundups. Is BLM trying to sneak this by without public input?”

On Saturday, the preservation group’s website alerted the public about the hearing, after they saw it posted in the Mesquite News online.”Through our social media channels the public began to hear about the public hearing that no one knew about,” said Novak. “Even horse advocates in Carson City hadn’t heard about the hearing.”

“I live in Carson City and never heard a thing about a public hearing regarding helicopters and motorized vehicles for roundups and management,” says photographer and wild horse advocate Cat Kindsfather. “People would like to come to the hearing from around the country but they need proper notice.”

“I live in the Carson area and just found out about the Helicopter hearing,” says Craig Downer, author and wildlife biologist. “These hearings are mandated by the law so why aren’t we being informed about them?”

“I live in Reno and only heard about the hearing today when a friend called,” says Terri Farley, author and wild horse and burro advocate. “Mustangs are the people’s horses, but BLM’s stealth meetings make it impossible for us to stand up for their welfare.”

Advocates, as well as members of the public nationwide, would like to attend the hearing but they need 30 days notice to make arrangements.

“I live in Oakland, California and I would like to speak against the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles,” says Kerry Becklund, Outreach Director for Protect Mustangs. “But I need to give my day job notice to take a vacation day.”

“I live in Houston, Texas and work overseas,” says R.T. Fitch, volunteer president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, “Hearing about an important BLM meeting—only a day before it occurs—continues to stack the deck against the horses and burros as our collective voices cannot possibly be present to speak to the issue.”

“I live in Richmond, Virginia and would like to speak at the public hearing against using helicopters but I need adequate notice to make travel plans,” says wild horse advocate Lisa Friday. “30 days notice is standard. Why doesn’t the BLM notify us properly? Is this against the law?”

“I live in New York City and would like to speak at the meeting against helicopter roundups,” says Hope Smith who loves wild horses. “I want to be part of the public process but I need more notice to get out West.”

“I live on 36 acres at the base of the mountains in Arizona and would like to come to the hearing,” says Michael Blake, Academy Award-winner and author of Dances with Wolves. “Helicopter roundups are nothing but incessant warfare against life on earth . . . for money.”

The group is collecting comments against helicopter roundups to take to Tuesday morning’s hearing. Members of the public may email them to

In the letter addressed to The BLM, Novak states, “The requirement for the public hearing was set in place to protect the public’s rights to participate in government and this must not be ignored.”

The BLM press release reads:

Before helicopters or motorized vehicles can be used, a public hearing is required in order to comply with Section 404 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The BLM proposes to use a helicopter, fixed wing aircraft and other motorized vehicles to estimate population numbers and obtain seasonal distribution information for wild horse and burro herds throughout Nevada. Also proposed is using a helicopter to assist in gathering excess wild horses and burros on gathers and complexes throughout the state during the coming year. The actual number of areas where gathers will be conducted or inventoried will depend on a number of factors including funding.

Members of the public can fax the BLM head office in Washington DC to request the helicopter hearing be rescheduled with a 30 day notice given to the public. The fax number is: 202-208-5242

Controversial helicopter roundups harass and stress wild horses and burros—stampeding them for miles, often resulting in lameness and sometimes in death.

Besides being concerned about animal cruelty at helicopter roundups, Protect Mustangs believes that helicopters flying in the desert for days or weeks emit pollution that harms the environment and contributes to global warming. The group believes motorized vehicles damage the ecosystem—hurting many forms of wildlife, such as sage grouse, and other endangered species on the range as well.

The group opposes the use of helicopter and motorized vehicles (except in a state of emergency or for an accurate population head count—not an estimate.)

“If wild horses and burros are facing a water or food emergency then bring aid out to them, but roundups, they must stop now,” states Novak. “A drought isn’t an excuse for roundups to zero out indigenous wild horses and remove them from their home on public land forever . . .”

# # #

Media contacts:

Anne Novak, 415-531-8454

Kerry Becklund, 510-502-1913

Contact Protect Mustangs for interviews, photos or video

Protect Mustangs is a Bay Area-based preservation group whose mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.

Links of interest:

BLM press release on public hearing for helicopters and motorized vehicles:

Letter requesting rescheduling helicopter hearing:

Protect Mustangs alerts public about Tuesday hearing:

BLM Director’s Office:

GAO Report: Aircraft Emissions Expected to Grow, but Technological and Operational Improvements and Government Policies Can Help Control Emissions:

Comments against 3 California Roundups:

Wild Horses: The Stresses of Captivity

Anne Novak on Twitter:

Protect Mustangs on YouTube

Protect Mustangs website:

“Like” Protect Mustangs on Facebook:




Take action to protect mustangs

Helicopter Chasing Wild Horses-Calico (Photo © Cat Kindsfather)

“Send a handwritten letter to your senators and representatives demanding they stop funding roundups and all kinds of mustang and burro removals”, suggests Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs. “Ask them for an independent scientific head count before giving wild horses any more sketchy contraceptives. We don’t know how many mustangs are out there but we know the Bureau of Land Management’s numbers are inflated to justify receiving funding from Congress for their broken program. $78 million American tax dollars are given to BLM annually so they can rip wild horses from their families and their freedom. That’s $780,000,000. in just ten years to remove wild horses from public land set aside for them with the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act. Write your politicians who are in office to represent you and ask for the change you want.”

Helicopter chasing young wild horses

Young wild horses are getting injured or killed after being rounded up. Stop the Roundup$.

Share the video, write letters to your senators and representatives to ask for what you want and make a donation so we can save some Calico Complex wild horses.

Let’s end this tragedy and have a Happy 2012!