Wild Horses: Nevada to “Trap and Toss” (US)

The following was forwarded to the Fund, and we have yet to confirm its author. In the meantime, the information contained in it is very interesting.

The following story was posted in the Reno Gazette Journal.


Here’s the game.

Governor Gibbons appointed an old sagebrush rebel, Tony Lesperance, as the new Director of Agriculture. Lesperance seems to take direction from known crook and liar Don Alt (about whom an expose was posted last year.) A Nevada Assemblyman, Tom Grady, seems to be Lesperance’s wing man.

The Department screwed up last year and ended up with 55 horses in the state holding corrals. We discussed that situation last year and first chance I get I’ll generate another recap of the Department’s wild horse screw ups, supported by documents and/or press stories. Suffice it to say that due to some foolish actions they ended up holding 55 horses over the winter and we managed to get them released up at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center.

Here’s a video of the release (in low resolution for easier web viewing.)

The horse release prevented this manufactured crisis from coming to a head, so the Department took on a new track, using as justification a number of patently false arguments including budget problems.

You do the math. The department (and the whole state, for that matter) is short of funds. So they appropriate a fresh $10,000 for additional corrals in order to remove more horses by doubling their holding capacity. However there are no funds to feed the horses so they’ll cry poor mouth and dump the animals at a sale, probably out of state since so far the dealers in Nevada wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole. What little profit is in them isn’t worth the public backlash.

The Director makes all sorts of other absurd and false claims such as most of the horses are merely “strays” set free by locals and that they are starving. Anyone who has followed this issue for any length of time has seen the constant photography of the various bands posted to various internet sites, unedited images of the range, and clear evidence over the years that nearly all the horses out there are offspring of previous generations of Virginia Range horses. People can also see what condition the typical Virginia Range horse is in. This guy is fabricating his own reality. And – if they’re starving, why is there such a birth rate problem?

Except in a couple of locations where the horses’ natural feeding habits have been undermined by residents handing out goodies – which cause them to hang around developed areas and overgraze what grass is nearby, the bands are in great condition. Film crews quite literally from all over the world come out to photograph these horses and nobody’s yet produced a film about horses starving out on the Virginia Range. (A film crew from Austria will be out this coming week.)

And here’s the list topper for bureaucratic absurdity.

The University of Nevada Reno is currently involved in a birth control study. Bands that became problems on highways or in developed areas were typically brought in, the mares provided temporary birth control at university expense, and turned back out onto other more appropriate areas of the range. While I don’t argue that birth control is the panacea for wild horse management, it does help regulate population levels until the more serious issues can be addressed.

So what is the Department of Agriculture doing? According to sources at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center where the state horses are held and treated, birth control and release has completely stopped.

So the Nevada Department of Agriculture is starting an adventure where they incur open ended financial obligations and taxpayer expenses at a time the state needs to pare down expenses. And for what? To implement a scheme dreamed up by a couple of disgruntled sagebrush rebel ranchers that runs counter to the will of the majority of Nevadans.

Does the state still work for the people or are the people under the Gibbons administration becoming servants of the state? Sounds dramatic but it’s what appears to be happening.

And one other thing I just don’t understand. Why would someone jeopardize a professional or political career just to manipulate a bunch of wild horses? Perhaps some folks in Nevada are too self absorbed to recognize what happened to some pretty established politicians in Montana, California and a few other places. Then, again, it could merely be a case of political Darwinism. The really dumb ones eventually get eliminated from the political gene pool.

Want to express your opinion on this issue?

Here’s the contact page for the Nevada Department of Agriculture.


Here’s the contact page for Governor Gibbons.

Here’s the email address for Assemblyman Tom Grady


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