Tracy Mohr speaks out against against experiments to wipe out wild horses

The War on Wild Horses

The War on Wild Horses

Advocate sees how disturbed the Sheldon wildlife preserve wild horses are after decades of experimentation 

Tracy Mohr writes:

Here is a link: to the BLM’s page of all the research they are proposing to do on the wild horses to “effectively manage them” on public lands. Keep in mind that the bottom line for BLM is that the proposed procedures, “when applied, are expected to result in a static to decreasing population level”.

In other words, the goal of all this research is to reduce the number of horses on public lands over time through permanent sterilization, with extinction being the eventual result.

If anyone is familiar with the concept of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) with feral cats, it is the method proven most effective to reduce and eventually eliminate feral cat colonies.

The most concerning part of all this is that according to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 2013 report, there is no scientific basis used by BLM to determine the number of horses that should be on the range, nor does BLM know how many horses are actually on the range. Population estimates have been know to be 800% higher than actual numbers. The NAS report also stated that current management practices (ie. removals) are actually contributing to higher rates of population growth due to decreased competition for forage and water.

So how can BLM say they need to reduce wild horse reproduction when they don’t really know how many horses are on the range or how many horses the range can hold?

Yet the BLM continues to reduce the number of horses allowed while increasing the number of livestock permitted to graze on public lands.

Make no mistake, the goal is to eliminate wild horses from public lands.

We currently have 45 horses from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, and some of these procedures had been done on the horses prior to their removal. It is obvious to us that higher male to female ratios, and spaying of mares and gelding and vasectomizing of males, does affect herd dynamics.

This was not the intention of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which was to preserve wild horses and burros on the land where they were found, and keep them free from slaughter and harassment from man.

This research is not only unnecessary because there is no wild horse or burro overpopulation, but it is redundant, has already been shown to be detrimental to overall herd health, and will result in the eventual elimination of wild horses from our public lands.

~ Tracy Mohr, founder The Mustang Project

Forest Service seeks contactor to take Sheldon wild horses

Public Land and Desert Sky (Photo © Anne Novak, all rights reserved.)

Public Land and Desert Sky (Photo © Anne Novak, all rights reserved.)

Reference number: F14PS00185
Issue date: 02/05/2014
Response due: 03/19/2014 05:00 PM PT

The USFWS is actively seeking qualified Contractors to receive, care for, and find long-term homes for up to 500 feral wild horses and/or burros per year. Contractors may receive horses for placement each year for up to four years. Horses will be captured and removed by the USFWS from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Denio, NV (Humboldt County). Award will be made to multiple Contractors. Pricing will be based on a per-animal fixed price. Interested contractors must be registered in SAM (System for Award Management) at and complete Online Representations and Certifications (ORCA) at This solicitation will be posted to on 02/18/14. All technical questions are to be directed to John Kasbohm at (541) 947-3315 and contractual questions to Shannon Blackburn at (503) 872-2825. PROJECT INFORMATION: The successful contractor(s) shall perform scope of work as specified in the Statement of Work.

Set Aside: N/A
NAICS: 813312-Environment, Conservation and Wildlife Organizations

Contracting office:

PORTLAND, OR 97232-4181


Federal Plan Will Remove Horses from Nevada Wildlife Refuge

Cross-posted from The Horse

by: Pat Raia
September 07 2012, Article # 20606

Wild horses and burros will be removed from their ranges in northwestern Nevada under a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) conservation plan for the wildlife refuge on which they currently reside. The plan is slated to become effective after Sept. 24, said Jason D. Holm, assistant regional director of external affairs for the FWS Pacific Region.

Approximately 800 horses and 180 burros currently reside on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR), Holmes said. The refuge is also home to approximately 2,500 pronghorn antelope and 150 bighorn sheep, as well as greater sage grouse, mule deer, and other wildlife species, he said.

The horses and burros will be removed from the refuge under a final Comprehensive Conservation Plan intended to rid the sanctuary of non-native and invasive species, Holm said. Officials would conduct gathers with the goal of removing all the horses and burros within five years, he said.

“Horses and burros are damaging native habitats for refuge wildlife,” Holm said. “Controlling feral animals takes away from wildlife and public use management priorities and efforts, and is costly.”

American Wild Horse Campaign Director Suzanne Roy opposes removal on grounds that horses and burros have resided on the area since the 1800s.

“These are U.S. Cavalry horses and burros used in the California gold rush,” Roy said. “They’ve been there (on SNWR lands) long before the refuge was created in the 1930s.”

Anne Novak, executive director of the wild horse advocacy group Protect Mustangs said the FWS assessment of the equids’ environmental impact is flawed.

 “They want to get rid of all the horses without understanding the positive impact they have on the thriving natural ecological balance,” Novak said. “Wild horses heal the land and their grazing prevents wildfires.”

Roy said that wild horse advocates had recommended FWS officials use fertility control to phase out the horse and burro population over a 15-year period. The agency rejected the option, she said. Now she and others are exploring legal options that could block the total removal.

“Right now, we don’t know what we can do, but we’re looking into it,” she said.

Horses and burros removed from the refuge will be available for adoption, Holm said.

Link to the original article:

Statement from Protect Mustangs:

“We are against phasing out the population using fertility control or by rounding them up,” explains Novak. “We ask that the wild horses and burros be allowed to stay.”


Nevada State Senator, Mark Manendo, comments to Protect Mustangs on the Sheldon wild horse and burro crisis

“According to Nevada’s Legislative Counsel Bureau, the wild horses and burros living in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge appear to be managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act and other applicable federal law,” explains Mark Manendo, Nevada State Senator.  “As such, the horses and burros are not feral horses or burros (domesticated horses or burros which have become wild) under NRS 569.008, and are therefore not under the jurisdiction of Nevada’s Department of Agriculture pursuant to NRS 569.010. Because there is no state jurisdiction, it would be questionable for the State of Nevada to try to assert any control or management over those horses and burros.”

“if people contact their Congress person and their two US Senators and let them know how you feel on this important issue that would be extremely helpful,” says Manendo.

Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada to remove all wild horses, burros within 5 years

Cross-posted from The Republic

  • MARTIN GRIFFITH  Associated Press
  • September 02, 2012 – 8:04 pm EDT

RENO, Nev. — Federal officials have approved a final management plan for the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Nevada that calls for the removal of all wild horses and burros from it within five years.

The move is being made because the refuge was created for pronghorn antelope and other native wildlife, and horses and burros have a negative effect on habitat, said Joan Jewett, spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Portland, Ore.

“They trample the habitat and overgraze and disturb the water sources,” she told The Associated Press. “We’re required by law to manage our refuges in accordance with the purposes for which they were established, and Sheldon was primarily for pronghorn antelope.”

Horse advocacy groups sharply criticized the refuge’s comprehensive conservation plan, which will guide its management over the next 15 years. It was publicly released late last month.

They say horses and burros lived in the area long before the refuge was created in 1931, and the animals actually heal the land and help prevent wildfires through grazing.

“We are extremely disappointed that the federal government has chosen to eradicate wild horses and burros from the lands where their ancestors have lived for more than a century and a half,” Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, said in a statement.

An aerial survey in July showed the 575,000-acre refuge along the Oregon border is home to at least 2,508 antelope, 973 mustangs and 182 wild burros, said Aaron Collins, a park ranger at Sheldon.

“We’re recording the highest numbers of pronghorn antelope since we began counting them in 1950,” he said.

Federal officials began the planning process on the refuge’s management plan in 2008, and received several thousand comments from individuals, organizations and government agencies during it, Collins said.

The final plan will be signed sometime after Sept. 24 by the regional director of the Fish and Wildlife Agency, he added.

Under federal law, only horses and burros removed from lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service are protected from slaughterhouses if they can’t be adopted.

“Rounding up indigenous wild horses is wrong — especially when they can be sold to the meat buyers at auctions,” said Anne Novak of California-based Protect Mustangs. “These horses are vulnerable to ending up going to slaughter … The Sheldon plan to wipe out wild horses is nuts and goes against the public’s wishes.”

Activists said the final management plan rejected a more humane alternative to phase out horses and burros over 15 years using fertility control, an option that would have allowed unadoptable animals to live out their lives at the refuge.

(Story distributed by The Associated Press)

Link to the original article:–Refuge-Wild-Horses

Science proves wild horses are indigenous so protect their rights to land and water

Stop the removal of indigenous wild horses from the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge.

Rounding up indigenous wild horses is wrong – especially when they can be sold to the meat buyers at auctions,” said Anne Novak of California-based Protect Mustangs. “These horses are vulnerable to ending up going to slaughter … The Sheldon plan to wipe out wild horses is nuts and goes against the public’s wishes.”

Read the full article here and please comment:

Sign the petition to ensure wild horses will maintain their rights to water.

Removing wild horses from the definition of wildlife is a political maneuver to deny the wild horses access to  water. An argument of the opposition is that wild horses are not wild but feral. However, recent scientific evidence proves that wild horses are indigenous to North America.

As Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs points out, “most zoologists are familiar with the work of PhD.s J.F. Kirkpatrick and P.M. Fazio and the revised January 2010 paper Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife. The Science and Conservation Center, ZooMontana, Billings.

Their scientific paper states, “Thus, based on a great deal of paleontological data, the origin of E. caballus is thought to be about two million years ago, and it originated in North America.”

Also the paper cites, “The fact that horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced matters little from a biological viewpoint. They are the same species that originated here, and whether or not they were domesticated is quite irrelevant.”

So, indeed, wild horses are wild. The current Nevada definition of wildlife states  “‘Wildlife’ means any wild mammal, wild bird, fish, reptile, amphibian, mollusk or crustacean found naturally in a wild state, whether indigenous to Nevada or not and whether raised in captivity or not.” No other species is singled out for exclusion, why should wild horses be?

In the 76th legislature, Nevada Assembly Bill 329 attempted to remove wild horses from the definition of wildlife. Even though Nevada voters overwhelmingly sided with the wild horses and the bill did not pass, it appears as though the argument will be pushed again during the 77th legislative session.

Las Vegas news station KTNV Channel 13 reported that the bill “…would have prevented the state engineer from approving water rights for wild horses in Nevada” and “would deny the animals access to water prevent water rights being issued if someone were to establish a wild horse sanctuary to promote eco-tourism”

If you agree that wild horses should remain in Nevada’s definition of wildlife, and that they should never be denied access to water, please sign the petition.

Robin Warren (Wild Mustang Robin), Director of the Youth Campaign for Protect Mustangs, co-authored this petition.

Read Dr. Kirkpatrick’s paper here:

Stop the wipe out!

Permission given to share

“The proposed ‘final’ management plan is outrageous,” says Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “They want to wipe out all the wild horses and burros at the Sheldon Refuge. They have no respect for the stakeholders or biodiversity.”