Wild Horse Protests Follow the Money to New York City

Advocates protest BLM’s wild horse removals on the Ruby Pipeline path

Source: The Cloud Foundation Press Release

New York City, NY (January 14, 2010)—Wild horse and burro advocates demand immediate investigations of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program as well as a moratorium on roundups, until sustainable management practices are implemented to protect the American wild horses in the West. Protesters will gather on Sunday, January 17 from 1 P.M. to 3 P.M. at Columbus Circle (59th St at Central Park S). The press conference will be held at 2 P.M. The public objects to BLM’s removal of wild horses for fast tracked energy deals on public land in the West, such as the Ruby Pipeline, and objects to schemes to subsidize corporate welfare ranchers.

“The Roundups must stop. The destruction of public land must stop. Government agencies and private corporations must be held accountable and must safeguard wildlife—not eliminate it,” says Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation (named for the famous wild horse Kathrens has documented for the PBS/Nature series)

Members of the public are furious that the BLM continues roundups despite Federal D.C. District Court Judge Paul Friedman’s recommendation that BLM postpone Calico until the issue of out of state transport and long term holding can be decided.

The ROAM (Restore Our American Mustangs Act, S. 1579 ) is in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee, awaiting urgently needed hearings. The House passed the bill in July 2009.

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) broke the Ruby Pipeline story on January 7. The Foundation asks the BLM to reveal the truth behind the removals of healthy wild horses from the Nevada Calico Complex that BLM claims will starve if left in their natural sagebrush ecosystem.

Outraged at the BLM for clearing wild horses from the Ruby Pipeline path, advocates and the public from across the country are joining together in NYC to demand President Obama call a moratorium on all roundups, including Calico, and demand that the FERC delay the approval of the Ruby Pipeline until Congress investigates the BLM.

“The roundups in the Ruby Pipeline zone are questionable,” states Katie Fite, biologist and biodiversity specialist for Western Watersheds. “The public is not being told the truth. There needs to be an investigation within all levels of BLM considering the unavoidable damage to our public lands. There is no mitigation provided for to restore this biologically wild, remote, and untrammeled landscape in northwestern Nevada and southeastern Oregon.”

According to a Western Watersheds report this is the largest project of its type across significant public lands in the American West in recent memory. Ruby has seized upon a sliver of ecologically critical unprotected public wild land to punch a new corridor through, and bisect this irreplaceable landscape,including many of the last viable herds of wild horses in the West.

Instead of the truth, the BLM tells the public wild horses are being removed because they are starving or destroying the ecosystem. Independent video footage and photographs tell a very different story. Following public outcry over the starving comments, the BLM is now switching gears—saying they want to “prevent the horses from starving” and therefore they are removing 80-90% of the horses. Today their spin attempts to sway the public with a trendy ‘sustainable’ pitch and tell the public the wild horses have no predators—not true.

“Wild horses have predators,” states Ginger Kathrens. “But, the government kills them on public lands to protect welfare cattle.”

The NYC event is a collaborative effort started by local organizer and mustang-adopter, Jo De George, with support from The Cloud Foundation, Equine Welfare Alliance, Return to Freedom, In Defense of Animals and 40 more coalition members of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

“America’s public lands are owned by the public, whether they live in New York City or elsewhere. We like to know that outside this city, way out West, herds of wild horses are roaming free. These horses symbolize the essence of our country,” explained Jo De George, NYC Protest Organizer and volunteer with The Cloud Foundation and Equine Welfare Alliance.

BLM has already reported four horse deaths (adults and babies) from the current Calico roundup on the Ruby Pipeline route. The public and media have only been allowed to observe the roundup to a limited degree—concerns are circulating regarding unreported deaths and abuses.

Wild horse backers are organizing nationwide to stop taxpayer-funded mismanagement of America’s wild herds. BLM’s hidden agenda is unraveling with the Ruby Pipeline and other public land heists in the West. Their lack of respect towards legendary ecosystems outweighs their double talk about ‘balance’.
“If BLM cares so much about the ecological balance, it would not be enabling the Ruby gas pipeline to rip the public wild lands and watersheds here apart,” says Fite adding, “The horses, sage-grouse, antelope and everything else are caught in the crosshairs of BLM selling out the public lands that belong to all Americans—to ranchers and big energy interests.”

The BLM currently spends half its $69 million budget removing wild horses from their designated public lands and the other half feeding and warehousing the over 34,000 mustangs already removed from the wild, primarily during the last Bush administration. Their program is currently non-sustainable with 12,000 wild horses and burros being removed in fiscal year 2010 and as few as 15,000 remaining in the wild. Likely only 3000 mustangs will be adopted as more herds are reduced to non-viable levels, which are then often zeroed out completely despite excellent rangeland and horse health.

“Yes, there is climate change – but do we destroy the West to ‘save’ the planet? NO – because then you just make the problem worse,” states Katie Fite, Biodiversity Specialist, Western Watersheds Project.


Media Contact:

Makendra Silverman
Tel: 719-351-8187

Anne Novak
Tel: 415-531-8454

Links of interest:

Ruby Pipeline Creates Infrastructure, Industry & has Harmful Environmental Impacts

Ruby Pipeline Information

Wyoming Tribune Article on Ruby Pipeline

Pipeline Map:

Western Watersheds Project

After campaigning for Obama, Sheryl Crow at odds over his administration’s wild-horse plan (Associated Press, Jan. 10)

Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit.
America’s Disappearing Wild Horses
– A History

Frequently Asked Questions on Wild Horses

Stampede to Oblivion: An Investigate Report from Las Vegas Now (http://www.lasvegasnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=11285225)

Video Overview of Calico horses and current roundup

Unified Moratorium letter and signatories

Roundup Schedule- updated January 11, 2010

1 thought on “Wild Horse Protests Follow the Money to New York City”

  1. I was at the Arizona Horse Expo today and heard Ginger Kathrens and Michael Blake speak. They gave a very insightful and moving call to immediate moratorium on the round-ups with the clear need for a BLM audit. I wish everyone could have been there today.


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