Tonapah Wild Horses. Image Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun.

Transparency and accountability questioned at upcoming Mustang roundup


Tonapah Wild Horses. Image Steve Marcus.
Tonapah Wild Horses. Image Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun.

Preservation group wants increased visibility for public and media to document native wild horses at roundup and temporary holding

WASHINGTON (February 3, 2012) — On the eve of another expensive Tonopah roundup, Protect Mustangs voices their concern for the welfare of the American wild horse during roundups as well as government transparency, fiscal responsibility, public access and accountability. The preservation group awaits the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) response to the following questions:

1.) We are very concerned about the lack of transparency at roundups and keeping visitors miles away from the trap site is unacceptable. In 2009 and 2010 members of the public and media were allowed closer access to document the roundups. Why has this policy changed?

2.) We want to go on the record to ask that the canvas on the metal corral panels—blocking the ability to see inside the trap site even from a distance—be taken down. It appears the BLM shrouds the mustang removals in secrecy and does not want the media or public to see what is going on when wild horses are captured. This protocol is very upsetting to members of the public. Will BLM take down the canvas tarps blocking media and public visibility to document the roundup?

3.) The American public wants to know that all roundup-related deaths are counted correctly. If a wild horse—enjoying life out on the range—is removed from the range alive and BLM kills it because it is “old” or for whatever other reason this needs to go on the record as “roundup related”. The horse would have continued to live for some time if the BLM had not rounded it up. Will BLM count all deaths from wild horses rounded up from 30 days of their capture as “roundup related” deaths?

4.) We also want to go on the record to ask that BLM hold all aspects of capture, temporary holding, processing and adoption on public land, giving reasonable access to the media and the public, as an act of good faith showing the global community that the Wild Horse and Burros program has taken the new direction the courts are expecting you have taken. Will you hold all aspects of the roundup, holding, processing and adoption on public land to build trust with the public?

Upon receiving the response from BLM Protect Mustangs will post it to their website:

Rounding up healthy wild horses illustrates fiscal irresponsibility during America’s economic crisis. The overpopulation myth was created by BLM to justify spending millions of tax dollars.

In 1900, 2 million wild horses roamed the West. Protect Mustangs believes today less than 20,000 exist in the ten western states combined.

“After hearing the State of the Union address we are concerned that the Obama Administration will forfeit wildlife for the New Energy Frontier,” explains Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “We want to see genetically viable wild horses and other wildlife remain on public land for the public to enjoy. There must be a win-win for wild horses and energy. Industrialization must not wipe out wildlife.”

The preservation group urges interested people to contact the Tonopah BLM to adopt a wild horse or burro at the roundup site. Their office telephone is 775-482-7801.

Protect Mustangs is a Berkeley based preservation group who’s mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.

# # #


Anne Novak

Kerry Becklund

Photos, video and interviews available upon request.


— Protect Mustangs’ videos:

— Protect Mustangs in the news:

— Protect Mustangs website:

— Josh Fox (GASLAND HBO) denied 1st Amendment rights & arrested:

— Obama Continues Destructive Federal Grazing Subsidy on 258 Million Acres of Public Land:

— Deb Coffey’s Open Letter to Tonopah BLM:

6 thoughts on “Transparency and accountability questioned at upcoming Mustang roundup”

  1. I have said this before several times. The BLM is clearing public lands in the event of exporting none hormone beef to the EU which is a major importer of US goods. The ranchers already have a solid deal to ship beef to South Korea as long as the cows are 30 months old. This is to insure that no beef is from any cattle that might have been exposed to mad cow. This something that has been worked on for at least ten years. They need all of the grazing they can get and the BLM is giving it to them. In order to sell this beef they first have to raise it up to the point where these countries will accept it and follow the rules laid out by the EU and the Asian countries. I found most of this information by just going to the Cattlemen Association website and picking through the information on there. This is the only thing that makes any sense at all about these roundups which started hot and heavy about ten years ago. They have always rounded some up some horses to sneak to slaughter but not to this degree. I don’t think oil drilling or gas drilling has anything to do with it.


    1. You are so right Barbara. The oil and gas people are very minor players in all of this. I worked in oil & gas in Houston, and wild horses were never an issue no matter where the companies were laying pipeline, drilling, or any of the rest of it. That’s what I couldn’t figure out; why it would suddenly be a problem after decades of no problems. Eat a burger, kill a Mustang. I am glad to be a vegetarian for what it’s worth. I certainly couldn’t eat any beef in any case, at the rate they are destroying these incredible, irreplaceable treasures. This people of this country should be ashamed that they have just sat by and watched it all, leaving it to a couple hundred people to fight all the battles against this out of control federal agency entrenched in corruption.


    2. Dear Barbara,

      I completely agree with your entire summation!! VERY well said!! What bothers me, to no end, is the use of OUR public lands for cattle grazing!!! No one ever asked me if I condoned this decision. No one ever credited me on my tax return for using your and my land for the cattlemen’s profits. To whom does income, from the sale of these cattle to foreign countries, go? Is this political bargaining? ????

      Mari in Wisconsin


  2. Dear Vivian,
    What I never read is the fact these horses belong to the American public! They are OUR horses who reside on American citizens’ public lands. This can also be said of the millions of cattle who have been given preference to graze OUR public lands without our permission. This is what happens when BIG government usurps the power of its citizens’ demands. I don’t give a lick about HMAs and all the other stats the BLM uses to justify their corrupt reasons for rounding up OUR wild horses. To me, it’s not a matter of government spending to facilitate these horses in holding pens, it’s a matter of principle. (morality) The BLM is replacing OUR wild horses with domestic cattle; raised to EXPORT 97% of their meat for only the ranchers’ monetary gain. No where on my tax return do I see a deductible for allowing ranchers to use MY public land for their private income.
    Judges who do not comprehend this, as a felony, are just as corrupt as the BLM! Talk about “money under the table”; this is an obvious example.
    Mari Dickson


  3. Faxing copies of your demands to legislators. Will it matter? Maybe if they hear it enough. Energy is such a hot button issue. Certain politicians base our future & theirs on it. Im scared of it all.


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