Water wars threatens wild horses

Assemblyman sponsors A.B. 329 yet received money from Federal Wild Horse and Burro Control Services

RENO (February 19, 2012)—Controversy surrounds Nevada Assemblyman and longtime rancher Pete Goicoechea due to his sponsorship of A.B. 329. The bill would redefine wildlife for purposes of access to water to mean any free-living creature that walks, slithers, flies over, or crawls on Nevada soil—except for wild horses and burros. Advocates believe that the bill could zero out America’s wild horses and burros in Nevada, where most of them currently live.

Wild horse preservation group, Protect Mustangs, questions Assemblyman Goicoecha’s motives in sponsoring this bill, given that he has received $674,591 through Federal contract funds between 2000 and 2009 for “Wild Horse and Burro Control Services”. Is Mr. Coicoechea representing the Nevadans who elected him or special interests?

“We are concerned native wild horses would be wiped out if A.B. 329 is passed,” explains Kerry Becklund, director of outreach for Protect Mustangs. “Indigenous wild horses belong to all of America and must not be removed or killed because special interest groups lobby to prevent them from drinking water in Nevada.”

A.B. 329 reads:

Section 1. Chapter 532 of NRS is hereby amended by adding
thereto a new section to read as follows:

As used in this title, unless the context otherwise requires, “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. The term does not include any wild horse or burro.

According to scientific findings in 2010, Jay F. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. and Patricia M. Fazio, Ph.D updated their research Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife proving wild horses are indigenous.

Recently at the January 2012 Legislative Committee on Public Lands Hearing, wild horse photographer Cat Kindsfather represented Protect Mustangs, and testified that based on modern science, wild horses are an indigenous species that deserve access to water in Nevada, along with other wildlife.

The preservation group seeks transparency and answers. Why is a Nevada Assemblyman who was contracted and paid by the federal government for “Wild Horse and Burro Control Services” sponsoring A.B. 329 to deny the native species the right to drink water in the State, and essentially the right to exist in the State, and what services did Goicoechea provide to the Federal program?

“Attacking wild horses and burros in ‘water wars’ goes against the American public’s wishes,” states Anne Novak, executive director for Protect Mustangs. “Besides healing the land, they are living symbols of American freedom who must be protected and preserved.”

# # #


A.B. 329: http://leg.state.nv.us/Session/76th2011/Bills/AB/AB329.pdf

Draft letter to Nevada State Engineer from Wildlife Commission against wild horses and burros drinking water: http://bit.ly/yaCNg3

Science proves wild horses are native: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=562

Contracts for Wild Horse and Burro Control Services (FY 2000-2009) http://bit.ly/xVlVm5

Opposition to A.B. 329 (Video at 2011 hearing) http://bit.ly/zlCiU3

Protect Mustangs’ website: http://www.ProtectMustangs.org


Water Rights for Wild Horses and Livestock, Bureau of Land Management, BLM.gov – http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/prog/wh_b/nevada_water_rights.html

12 thoughts on “Water wars threatens wild horses”

  1. Great example of a paradox:

    “As used in this title, unless the context otherwise requires, “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. The term does not include any wild horse or burro”.

    Have I lost my mind…. ??? Mustangs are wild, mustangs are a mammal, mustangs are not raised in captivity, mustangs are indigenous to the West; the West includes Nevada.
    What term ????? does not include WILD horses and burros?

    This is so incomprehensible!! I have read this paragraph at least 4 times. What am I missing?


  2. I don’t understand how this Assemblyman can draw-up and lobby for legislation that he personally benefits from? I believe this illegal? I would think that he would have to recuse himself from any vote/lobbying activities that personally enrich him while he holds public office. As a public lands rancher, he has a ‘vested’ personal interest…which should exclude him from this activity while he holds office. Nevada, my home state, continues to be a ‘good ‘ole boy network’ of self-congratulating “ranchers” surviving off of public tax dollars –


  3. The Nevada Legislature is not even in session this year. It does not meet again until 2013. There is no guarantee Pete G. will even be a member by then or that his bill will be re-introduced. Even if both thigns happen, the bill would have a hard time getting approved.

    There are plenty of things to worry about when it comes to wild horses. This might not be one of them.


  4. Give the MONSTER A CALL Nevada Assemblyman and longtime rancher Pete Goicoechea due to his sponsorship of A.B. 329


  5. Really??Really???? this Idiot thinks this is a good idea. Nevada voters are you really going to let them get away with this?? This guy needs some calls from other states too; these are America’s wild horses.


  6. Can we draft legislation enjoing Public Lands Ranchers from feeding, watering or raising cattle on land that is insufficient to sustain them?

    Can we draft legislation which would enjoin Public Lands Ranching from Herd Management Areas, particularly in light of the fact that only about 10% of Public Lands allow wild equines?

    Can we likewise draft separate legislation that stipulates that Public Lands Ranchers must pay the going rate for grazing on Pubic Lands, comparable to what Private Ranchers must pay, should their own lands be unable to sustain their livestock?

    Can we insert language that stipulates that, unless 85% to 90% of privately-owned livestock is grazed on that Rancher’s private land, then allotments are denied?

    Can we further insert language which specifies that livestock – cattle and sheep – are not only NOT native to North America and, because of their overwheling degradation to the fragile desert landscapes of Nevada (and, indeed, the majority of the West), they be severely strictured from Public land and water sources?

    Public Lands Ranchers are NOT Ranchers, and Public lands are provided as day care for livestock these people want to OWN and profit from but not see to. It’s tantamount to having a private school raise your child (on a miniature stipend) then you get to take them home when their education is complete, and reap the rewards.


    1. All good ideas Lisa now you only need a Legislator to back them. If you have a lot of money or can collect some then that is the only thing that is going to get it done. Seems many in Congress are only concerned about their own pay checks. I find is just so disgusting that Congress is only about the money, only the money in their own pockets. Where are the guys in the white hats? When is someone in Congress going to think about the real people? We can see Obama isn’t the Savior we all thought he was. This all just makes me crazy to see just how corrupt and uncaring people have become. Money is the root of all evil.


    1. America isn’t. The Obama Administration is. The wild horses and burros have suffered to some degree, more or less, administration after administration. However, they have not been wiped out to the brink of extinction like in this one. And on it goes. Obama has been a horrible President when it comes to animals, and it hasn’t been so great for humans either. And you cannot blame previous Presidents for this total lack of compassion or respect for the wishes of the American people. I can’t remember when I have been so disappointed in anyone.


  7. What is it with the politicians in Nevada. Is it greed or are they so under the control of the welfare ranchers? Why do they so hate the mustangs and wild burros? Someday there will be an answer, but not in the near future. We have to do whatever we can to keep mustangs and burros from becoming extinct by government action.


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