Rounding up wild horses to put cattle on the land

Eye witness reports:

“This video was taken at the BLM Antelope Complex “Gather” south of Wells, NV on 24-Feb-2011. We had just come from observing the BLM Contract capture 6 Wild Horse about 4 miles away. They said that there are too many Wild Horses on this range land. The range can’t support the estimated 2000+ Wild Horses. Yet as we left the capture there are 100s maybe a 1000 pregnant cattle just arriving onto the range. Hmmmm, does that make sense?”

12 thoughts on “Rounding up wild horses to put cattle on the land

  1. This is a pretty great piece of disinformation as it stands. There are 2 problems with it. Those pregnant cows calves will not live their lives out on this range. If the cows are left on long enough to calve the calves will be removed with mommas and taken to summer pasture and sold in the fall. Second is the fact that these cows are coming back to the range during the traditional period that they are on WINTER range. They are not on this land during the late spring and summer months. Which is why it is called seasonal grazing. And the fact that the horses are on it year round is the reason that the cattleman sued to have them removed. If the horses were moved to summer range like cattle then they wouldn’t eat off all of the winter forage, but they aren’t and they do. Now how about doing some in depth study and give people a realistic reason for being against this. Like set it up so that the horses are automatically gathered when they reach 20% over AML? That would have prevented this whole mess. But instead you are fighting for keeping all of the horses there and not gathering even though you know that there are issues that the BLM has no say about. They are just doing what has been ordered by the Courts not once but twice.

  2. Oh PLEASE…don’t try and say that the cattle don’t affect the winter forage at all because that is laughable. And the fact remains that these horses have a legal right to be on this land and the cattle are there only because of PRIVATE ENTERPRISE that is benefitting from PUBLIC land. The ranchers that make their living off of land that belongs to every American citizen need to get some backbone like the rest of us and go buy their OWN land. I don’t ask the government to provide a place to conduct MY business, why do they think they have that right??? The horses have been mismanaged from the get go by the sham organization that is the blm. They break laws right and left. They sell wild horses to slaughter and then say to cover their arses “Oh, those weren’t WILD horses, those were horses that had been turned out by ranchers 45 years before”. What a load of crap.They are an organization that is absolutely corrupt and they need to be disbanded. They are out of control. I grew up on a cattle and sheep ranch and we own our own land and feed our OWN stock, we don’t suck off of the government’s teets.

  3. Sorry, Dee; your objections don’t hold much water, either…

    This isn’t the first group of cattle moved into this area to graze. Allotments generally allow grazing of specific numbers for specific time frames, with little variation on how many are allowed or any rest between time frames. One lease allows 500 cattle for three months, from March 1st to May 31st, then allows an additional 50 from April 1st through July or August. And in August, how much forage do you suppose is left? There are even leases that carry on into October.
    It doesn’t matter how long the horses or burros graze; even year round, there are hundreds less of them than there are livestock, which are allocated as high as 88% of the forage allowances on a range designated as a herd management area for wild horses. Of course, if the horses stray off that land looking for food or water, they’re removed immediately.
    This video isn’t an exception; it’s a rule. There is millions of acres of Public land available for livestock that isn’t on an area managed for wild horses or burros. In the realm of Public land’s grazing, it’s definitely NOT a balanced allocation of resources. I honestly don’t care that these animals belong to someone with a perfectly valid lease; those leases come with rules of governance so there’s something left for everything else when the cattle are finally removed.

  4. Wild Horse Herds manage themselves when they are left alone with natural predators. Wild Horses are AXES animals- that is they self limit themselves when a herd is not attacked by helicopters, families separated and horses sterilized then returned to the land. Becaues we use Science instead of speculation and have knowledge of Biology and Ecology, we know again that the BLM, Ranchers but ESPECIALLY Power companies (who want ranchers gone as well) make up information as they go along, in order to remove Wild Horses and Burros from the land. All of this suffering for the horses and Burros are due to lying and spin doctoring by a few selfish, misinformed and manipulative Associations and agencies.

  5. It is ridiculous to even assume that the problem is a cow-to-pasture-rotation error. Beyond all doubt their is no debate when good science used, there simply exists to many cattle on Public Lands, and Welfare Ranchers do a piss poor and even incompetent job on managing the cattle herds there. . .

    To support such incompetent and greedy behavior is disgusting! The reasoning behind so many cattle is to increase Subsidies on a yearly basis (cattle bought to do so also paid for by tax money), and for essentially doing not a damned thing — Mooches is what we call people like the current crop of Welfare Ranchers — who chastise and even put-down people who receive perhaps $541.00 monthly just to eat — or feed elderly — or feed their kids — compared to a Welfare Rancher who receives in excess of $100,000 in subsidies most often. and yearly I might add, for doing exactly what a welfare recipient does = Nothing!

    But why argue and debate — go to this article (below), well referenced with good science, that states clearly ranchers on Public Lands should not be there with their cattle what so ever — Wild Horses do nothing to tarnish our Public Lands — Cattle does a lot of destruction and in accord with good science!

    But even more than that, the subsidies are so out of hand, and no return to the American taxpayer what so ever, that if the subsidies did not exist, the current Welfare Ranchers would not be ranching at all, as their incompetence would have driven them totally out of the Domestic American meat markets of today — Welfare Ranchers sell mostly to foreign government, and that is disgusting within itself, because it is at American Taxpayer Expense — and American’s receive nothing from these Public Lands cattle ranchers except higher taxes.

    Go here: Wild Horses and Cattle: There is No Debate When Good Science Used

  6. Let’s be clear here, anyone that eats beef has no right to complain, video or criticize the cattlemen or the BLM. It is all about supply and demand. Every single person is responsible for this including the Mustang rights groups. Before uttering one word their mouths should be beef free and non leather wearing first. Otherwise you are all a bunch of hypocrites. The only way to help the mustangs is to at the very least go vegetarian but going vegan stops all the exploitation of animals and reduces the need for public lands. I adopted a BLM mustang, he was up for auction, I have provided a safe life for him. I am a card carrying die-hard vegan that has provided hay banks to horses in need and adoption versus auction for others, including six mustangs.

  7. I am a Vegan. . . But not my point here — if you really think that way Tracey, then BLM is strictly operating illegally — a Government agency, paid for by taxpayer money (and do not tell me BLM is profitable, as we perused their bookkeeping and it is bullshit) and now your saying it is a commercial interest. I am very concerned with this, and I suppose your in a welfare rancher family — obtaining subsidies and calling that a commercial endeavor as well — even though we know and every one else acknowledges it is welfare to ranchers on Public Lands that cannot compete with the domestic markets of today. So we have a problem here — your perception versus reality. . . We are demanding the BLM, DOI, and other groups manage America’s Public Lands within the law, not within Special Interest Group demands. And I say this as we are all American’s, we all pay taxes, and we all pay for representation from these government agencies and through the legislative bodies of Our government. This effects you as well Tracey, as when the horses gone you had better believe, if you are a welfare rancher, then you will be gone as well, and quick. In speaking with BLM people, they are just as disgusted as taxpayers, when considering the welfare ranchers and their “mooching off the government and calling it subsidies” situation. You do not mince words, neither do I. The fact is, you want the Public Lands for cattle. We want Public Lands for diversity within wildlife, a descent ecology system, and to provide such beautiful animals as wild horses a forever home — The BLM’s mission statement also makes this clear — so we, as American’s and who support through taxes the endeavors of our government, via the Constitution, want, no allow me to rephrase, DEMAND that government agencies abide by the Constitution of the United States. If you do not like that, then move to another country immediately! This is a land, Our America, of people – of American’s, not just for corporations or welfare ranchers to mooch off of our taxes, but it belongs to everyone — and we also have the right to decide the future endeavors of how it will be used.

  8. The Declaration of Lloyd Eisenhouer, also posted on the Protect Mustangs web site, says it all about this situation:

    LEGAL DECLARATION filed by former BLM Rock Springs and Rawlins area manager, Lloyd Eisenhauer:


    Rock Springs Grazing Association, Case No. 2:11-cv-00263-NDF Plaintiff, v. Ken Salazar, et al.,Defendants,


    I, Lloyd Eisenhauer, declare as follows:

    1. I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I am a former Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) official with extensive experience in the Rawlins and Rock Springs Districts in Wyoming and intimate familiarity with the public lands under BLM management in those areas.

    I have reviewed the consent decree proposed by BLM and the Rock Springs Grazing Association (“RSGA”) in this case and provide this declaration based on my longstanding knowledge of, and management of, wild horses and livestock grazing in the Rock Springs and Rawlins Districts.

    2. I grew up in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming with a livestock and farming background, served in the Marines for four years, and then owned a livestock business from 1952-1958. I enrolled in college in 1958, studying range management. From 1960-1961, BLM hired me to assist with collecting field data for vegetation assessments and carrying capacity surveys related to livestock and wild horses. These surveys were conducted in the Lander, Kemmerer, and Rawlins Districts. When I graduated in 1962, BLM hired me full-time to serve in the Rawlins District in Wyoming, where most of my work focused on grazing management involving sheep, cattle, and wild horses. From 1968-1972, I was Area Manager of the Baggs-Great Divide Resource Area in the Rawlins District. In 1971, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was enacted, and in the spring of 1972, on behalf of BLM, I conducted the first aerial survey of wild horses in Wyoming, recording the number of horses and designating the Herd Management Areas (“HMAs”) for the Rawlins District. After a stint as an Area Manager with BLM’s Albuquerque, New Mexico office, in 1975 I took over as the Chief of Planning and Environmental Analysis in BLM’s Rock Springs District for three years. I was the lead on all planning and environmental assessments. During that time, I also served as the Acting Area Manager of the Salt Wells Resource Area, which is located in the Rock Springs District. In 1979, BLM transferred me to its Denver Service Center to serve as the Team Leader in creating the agency’s automated process for data collection. I received an excellence of service awardfrom the Secretary of the Interior commending me for my work as a Team Leader. In 1982, I became the Head of Automation in BLM’s Cheyenne office, where I managed and implemented the data collection and processing of various systems related to BLM programs. I retired from BLM in 1986, and have stayed very involved in the issue of wild horse and livestock management on BLM lands in Wyoming, and have written articles about the issue in local and other newspaper outlets. I have won various journalistic awards, including a Presidential award, for my coverage of conservation districts in Wyoming. Along with a partner, I operated a tour business (called Backcountry Tours) for six years, taking various groups into wild places in Wyoming – without a doubt wild horses were the most popular thing to see on a tour, in large part due to their cultural and historical value. I also served six years on the governor’s non-point source water quality task force.

    3. Based on my longstanding knowledge of wild horse and livestock management in the Rawlins and Rock Springs Districts, and in the Wyoming Checkerboard in particular, I am very concerned about BLM’s agreement with RSGA, embodied in the proposed Consent Decree they have filed in this case, under which BLM would remove all wild horses located on RSGA’s private lands on the Wyoming Checkerboard. The Checkerboard is governed by an exchange of use agreement between the federal government and private parties such as RSGA. However, due to state laws, property lines, and intermingled lands, it is impossible to fence the lands of the Wyoming Checkerboard, which means that both the wild horses and the livestock that graze there roam freely between public and private lands on the Checkerboard without any physical barriers. For this reason, it is illogical for BLM to commit to removing wild horses that are on the “private” lands RSGA owns or leases because those same horses are likely to be on public BLM lands (for example, the Salt Wells, Adobe Town, Great Divide, and White Mountains HMAs) earlier in that same day or later that same evening. Essentially, in contrast to other areas of the country where wild horses still exist, on the Wyoming Checkerborad there is no way to distinguish between horses on “private” lands and those on public lands, and therefore it would be unprecedented, and indeed impossible for BLM to contend that it is removing all horses on RSGA’s “private” lands at any given time of the year, month, or day, considering that those horses would only be on the strictly “private” lands very temporarily and intermittently on any particular day .

    5. Another major concern with BLM’s agreement to remove all horses from the private lands of the Wyoming Checkerboard is that BLM is undermining the laws that apply to the Checkerboard, and wild horse management in general, which I implemented during my time as a BLM official. Traditionally, BLM officials (myself included) have understood that, pursuant to the Wild Horse Act, wild horses have a right to use BLM lands, so long as their population numbers do not cause unacceptable damage to vegetation or other resources. In stark contrast, however, livestock (sheep and cattle) have no similar right to use BLM lands; rather, livestock owners may be granted the privilege of using BLM lands for livestock grazing pursuant to a grazing permit that is granted by BLM under the Taylor Grazing Act, but that privilege can be revoked, modified, or amended by BLM for various reasons, including for damage to vegetation or other resources caused by livestock, or due to sparse forage available to sustain livestock after wild horses are accounted for. BLM’s tentative agreement here does the opposite and instead prioritizes livestock over wild horses, by proposing to remove hundreds of wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard without reducing livestock numbers – which, in my view, is contrary to the laws governing BLM’s actions as those mandates were explained to me and administered during the decades that I was a BLM official.

    6. While I do not agree with every management action taken by BLM over the years in the Rock Springs District, I can attest – based on my longstanding employment with BLM and my active monitoring of the agency’s activities during retirement – that BLM has generally proven capable of removing wild horses in the Rock Springs District, including by responding to emergency situations when needed and removing horses when necessary due to resource damage.

    7. Considering that wild horses exhibit different foraging patterns and movement patterns than sheep and cattle, and also than big game such as antelope and elk, no sound biological basis exists for permanently removing wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard at this time. In particular, wild horses tend to hang out in the uplands at a greater distance from water sources until they come to briefly drink water every day or two, whereas livestock congregate near water sources and riparian habitat causing concentrated damage to vegetation and soil. For this reason, the impacts of wild horses are far less noticeable on the Checkerboard than impacts from livestock.

    8. In addition, because livestock tend to eat somewhat different forage than wild horses (horses tend to eat coarser vegetation such as Canadian wild rye and other bunch grasses, whereas cattle and sheep mostly eat softer grasses), there is no justification to remove wild horses on the basis that insufficient forage exists to support the current population of wild horses.

    Also, because cattle and sheep have no front teeth on the front part of their upper jaws, they tend to pull and tear grasses or other forage out by the root causing some long-term damage to vegetation, whereas wild horses, which have front teeth on both their front upper and lower jaws, act more like a lawnmower and just clip the grass or forage (leaving the root uninjured), allowing the vegetation to quickly grow back. These differences are extremely significant because if there were a need to reduce the use of these BLM lands by animals to preserve these public lands, it might be cattle and sheep – not wild horses – that should be reduced to gain the most benefit for the lands, and which is why BLM, during my time as an agency official, focused on reducing livestock grazing.

    9. BLM’s agreement with RSGA states that RSGA’s conservation plan limited livestock grazing, primarily by sheep, to the winter months to provide sufficient winter forage.This is a good example of “multiple use” management, since wild horses and sheep have very little competition for the forage they consume and the seasons during which they use parts of the Checkerboard. During winter, sheep use the high deserts and horses utilize the uplands and breaks (i.e., different locations) for forage and protection. During the summer, when sheep are not present, wild horses use various landscapes on the Checkerboard. This multiple use should continue for the benefit of the livestock, the wild horses, and the public and private lands involved.

    10. I am also very concerned about BLM’s agreement with RSGA to permanently zero out the Salt Wells HMA and the Divide Basin HMA, leaving no wild horses in those areas that have long contained wild horses. I have been to fifteen of the sixteen HMAs in Wyoming, and to my knowledge none has ever been zeroed out by BLM. It is my view, based on everything I know about these areas and the way these public lands are used by wild horses and livestock, that BLM has no biological or ecological basis for zeroing out a herd of wild horses in an HMA that existed at the time the wild horse statute was passed in 1971, as is the case with both the Salt Wells and Divide Basin HMAs. And, again, because the wild horses have a statutory right to be there, whereas livestock only have a privilege that can be revoked at any time by BLM, there also is no authority or precedent, to my knowledge, for the agency to zero out these two longstanding wild horse herds simply to appease private livestock grazers.

    11. The zeroing out of wild horses in the Salt Wells and Divide Basin HMAs is also concerning because it would mean that, in those two longstanding HMAs, there would no longer be the “multiple use” of these public lands as required by both the Wild Horse Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Currently, while there are other uses of this public land, such as by wildlife, hunters, and recreational users, the two primary uses in those HMAs are by wild horses and livestock. If BLM proceeds with its agreement with RSGA to zero out wild horses in those HMAs, the only major use remaining would be livestock use, meaning that there would be no multiple use of those BLM lands. Not only will that potentially undermine the laws that BLM officials must implement here, but it has practical adverse effects on the resources – multiple use is very beneficial for the environment, and particularly for sensitive vegetation, because different users (e.g., livestock, wild horses) use the lands and vegetation in different ways. When that is eliminated, the resources are subjected to an unnatural use of the lands which can cause severe long-term damage to the vegetation. As a result, zeroing out these herds would likely be devastating for the vegetation in these two HMAs, because livestock would be by far the predominant use in this area.

    12. Turning the White Mountain HMA into a non-reproducing herd, as the agreement between BLM and RSGA proposes to do, is also a farce, and violates the meaning of a wild and free-roaming animal. This is essentially a slow-motion zeroing out of this HMA, and is inconsistent with any wild horse management approach I am familiar with that BLM has implemented on public lands.

    Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is trueand correct.

    Lloyd Eisenhauer

  9. Vegetarian here speaks….the horses may be gone, the cattle will be gone or cause another dustbowl because of greed but all the meat eaters will definitely be gone if they keep eating that crap…and soon…mark my words

  10. The only solution is to put horses and American Bison on the range in NATURAL balance and keep cows off the public lands.

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