Public Lands Council opposes Pickens’ wild horse sanctuary

Cross-posted from Drovers Magazine online

Wild Horse Grazing. Photo (c)Tamara Gooch
Wild Horse Grazing. Photo (c)Tamara Gooch

The Public Lands Council this week sent a letter to Director of the Bureau of Land Management Bob Abbey supporting BLM’s response to a prospectus submitted by Madeleine Pickens’ Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation (the Foundation) to build and establish an eco-sanctuary for wild horses. PLC President John Falen said the problem of wild horse overpopulation is one that must be dealt with but that creating a horse sanctuary will not solve the problem.

“Wild horse overpopulation poses a threat not only to the health of the range, the rural economies and families making a living off the land, but also to the wild horses themselves,” Falen said. “However, the Foundation’s proposal is not the right solution, and we’re glad the BLM shares our concerns. In addition to sharing BLM’s concerns regarding the nuts and bolts of the proposal with respect to title transfer of the wild horses, the cost of the proposal and the range’s ability to sustain 10,000 horses, we also question the accuracy of some claims the Foundation and Madeleine Pickens made regarding livestock grazing on public lands.”

According to the letter, PLC opposes any agreement that would include increasing any herd management area (HMA) or inflating appropriate management levels (AMLs) beyond what the resources can sustain. Expansion of HMAs to new areas would require an amendment to the Free-Roaming Wild Horse & Burro Act of 1971 and would pose a threat to multiple-use on public lands, the letter says. It goes on to say that converting livestock Animal Unit Months (AUMs) or livestock grazing permits to single-use horse permits or sanctuaries for wild horses would violate the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, thereby jeopardizing grazing permits and presenting opportunities for anti-grazing interests to push for more conversion of livestock allotments to other single-uses.

Falen said that while PLC does not believe the overpopulation issue can or should be solved by expanding HMAs or converting livestock grazing permits, the organization supports using science and research to find new effective ways of decreasing the reproduction rate of the entire herd.

“Decreasing the reproduction rate of the herd is a viable option that should be considered as BLM works to improve the wild horse and burro program,” Falen said. “BLM made the right decision to deny the Foundation’s proposal for a horse sanctuary, and we look forward to working with Director Abbey and others at BLM to find a sustainable, sensible solution for wild horse management.”

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What the BLM says about the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934

What Wikipedia says about the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934

Read “Las Vegas City Life: Revenge of the Bureau of Land Management,” by George Knapp

4 thoughts on “Public Lands Council opposes Pickens’ wild horse sanctuary”

  1. Rural economies and families being effected by the horses sounds false. The cattle ranchers and farmers are the ones complaining. The horses are not overpopulating the land. Just anti-horse propaganda.


  2. I would certainly like to KNOW WHO proved There in fact is an overpopulation ? Unless they can prove there is over population, ( has been Proven NO Overpopulation, They have no idea , what there talking about, being that is the case in point Nobody asked them anyway !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So unless they have proof shut the hell up !!!! NOBODYS LISTENING ……………………………….


  3. I know it’ll simply shock the daylights outta you, but the Public Lands Council is, apparently, where old BLMers are sent to pasture; stripped of the need to put on a polite Public face for the ignorant among us, they can now lobby to their personal belief systems.
    I think (not that you asked…) that these ranches belong to Maddy. She has exhibited far more grace than I would have, under the circumstances. For all intents and purposes, she entered into the hope of sanctuary to save Captives from ignominy or the euthansia they were threatened with in 2008. I believe she has the water & grazing rights along with the range. Perhaps it’s time for her to present her Gucci-clad behind to the Bureau and tell them,
    “Sorry, fellas. You had your chance. Now I don’t wanna play with you any more.”
    As for the Public Lands Council: Who asked them, anyway?


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