Group sues to stop roundup of 10,000 wild horses

Nevada Wild Horses. Las Vegas Review-Journal.

(WILD HORSES Jan. 30, 2018) — EcoWatch reports:

Animal rights group Friends of Animals has filed a lawsuit over a planned wild horse roundup in Nevada.

The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Reno, the Associated Press reported. It claims that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws by approving the removal of nearly 10,000 mustangs over 10 years in a 4,900-square-mile expanse of federal rangeland near the Nevada-Utah border.

Michael Harris, director of the group’s Wildlife Law Program in Colorado, said the roundups could occur without public notice or comment and without site-specific analysis of each individual gather.

The “roundup decision is unprecedented in size and scope,” the suit states, and would allow BLM to “continually roundup, remove, drug and castrate wild horses for 10 years after the initial roundup.”

Continue reading at EcoWatch »

• See also Nevada could give away nearly 3,000 free-range horses in May »

Featured Image: Las Vegas Review Journal 

Wild horses are being pushed to extinction by cattle ranching

Wild horses Utah. AWHPC image. Photographer not cited.

WILD HORSES (Sign Petition) — Beef and dairy might be staples in most American’s diets, but did you know how ruinous beef and cattle production is for the well-being of the planet? These industries are heavily responsible for emitting large amounts of methane and nitrous oxide and for destroying rainforests and grasslands in order to create more space for grazing, all of which propels climate change. For us, and the planet as a whole, these hazards are slowly accumulating. But for other species whom the livestock industry considers either competition and/or pests, the dangers are both life threatening and extremely imminent.

Here in the United States, a whopping 155 million acres of public lands is reserved for the Bureau of Land Management’s grazing program. When combined with private lands allocated for the same purpose, we find that 41.4 percent of all land in the Continental United States is used for grazing cattle, compared to just 9.1 percent for urban and rural residential. Seems a tad out of balance, wouldn’t you say? And yet, for the nation’s cattle ranchers, this simply isn’t enough. They’re constantly digging into their deep pockets to sway the government to provide more space for grazing. Even worse, they’re also doing everything they can to forcibly eliminate the wildlife that naturally resides in these areas.

Wild horses and burros have been among their main targets for years, and if these ranchers get their way, these species will soon become extinct. According to a petition on Care2, the livestock industry is currently lobbying for the removal of 50,000 of the 67,000 wild horses and burros that remain on public lands. Moreover, they’re pushing for the slaughter of another 46,000 wild horses that have already been captured and are now being held captive in government holding facilities. Such actions would not only jeopardize the survival of these species, which are already outnumbered 50-to-1 by cattle but would also cause further detriment to our public lands.  Read more at One Green Planet »  Sign Petition »

American Wild Horse Campaign via One Green Planet. Article written by Kim Smith.

Wild horses Utah. AWHPC image. Photographer not cited.

The Horse Fund is opposed to the use of PZP on horses.

Suzanne Roy Letter: The failure of wild horse policy

Grey Mustang Stallion by Randy Harris. See

Letter: The failure of wild horse policy
By Suzanne Roy /
Published Jul 15, 2016 at 12:02AM —
The Bend Oregon Bulletin

The headline for The Bulletin’s June 28 editorial is absolutely right and deserves some all-caps emphasis: “Wild horse policy is NOT working.”

This statement is true and has been for many years. The reasons for this are many but can be boiled down to a single underlying reason: We aren’t using science to determine appropriate numbers of wild horses on federal lands, nor to effectively and humanely manage them.

And this disregard for science is becoming ever more extreme. Ranchers who graze cattle on our public lands call for mass roundups of wild horses from the wild, using overblown and unsubstantiated claims about the effects wild horses have on the range.

In Nevada, a state veterinarian has suggested sterilizing ALL wild mustangs left on the range after massive roundups take place. And the U.S. Bureau of Land Management — the agency charged with protecting these iconic animals — is proposing the use of dangerous and backward sterilization surgeries on wild horses while setting the stage to overturn the federal protections that prohibit the export of wild horses to foreign slaughterhouses.

The proposal by BLM and Oregon State University to perform a barbaric procedure to remove mares’ ovaries by pulling them out with a chain is but one grim example. (italics added)

All the while, the unscientific way BLM uses to determine how many wild horses can inhabit the range goes unquestioned. As do questions about why the agency isn’t making better and more widespread use of humane fertility control.

The National Academy of Sciences in a 2013 report questioned the BLM’s system of “Appropriate Management Levels” for wild horse ranges. The notion of how many horses are appropriate in specific Herd Management Areas using the AML system appears to be arbitrary. The academy wrote that it “could not identify a science-based rationale” for how AMLs are established.

Yet, AML numbers are always used as a way to say there’s an overpopulation of wild horses on federal lands. This, despite the fact that horses inhabit just 12 percent of federal rangelands and are outnumbered on these lands 50 to 1 by livestock

The academy report also stressed that the BLM’s system of rounding up and removing horses from the range merely exacerbated population growth by “facilitating high rates of population growth on the range.”

And it emphasized that using fertility control vaccine is “a more affordable option than continuing to remove horses to long-term holding facilities.”

In areas where wildlife managers have implemented careful and detailed management plans, fertility control with the PZP vaccine has resulted in controlled herd sizes and improved health of horses. A well-documented example is the Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland.

PZP is used in several Herd Management Areas in the West, yet BLM spends only 1 percent of its $80 million wild horse budget on this approach. If more widely used, PZP could help stave off the “billion dollar” crisis BLM is forecasting due to the failed system of roundups and removals. It would also spare these cherished animals from dangerous and invasive sterilization surgeries.

Use of PZP as an alternative to roundups, removals, sterilization and slaughter is supported by more than three dozen wild horse advocacy groups.

According to public opinion polls, three out of four Americans favor protecting wild horses and burros, while 80 percent oppose horse slaughter.

It’s true: Our wild horse policy is not working. It’s wasteful for taxpayers, harmful to horse and out of step with what the public desires.

Our state and federal decision-makers need to wake up, read the science and demand a better way.

— Suzanne Roy lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and has been the campaign director of American Wild Horse Preservation.

Wild Stallion. By Randy Harris. See

If you are a wild horse advocate you must read this book. —Ed. • Buy it now »

BLM responsible for the death of four wild horses in Utah roundup

Wild Horses: Randy Harris Photo

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reported the deaths of four wild horses connected with the roundup and removal in the Conger/Frisco Herd Management Areas of Utah:

July 1: A 2-year old stud died instantly after hitting a panel sustaining and acute neck injury while entering the trap site.

July 2: A 3-year old bay and white pinto mare died instantly after hitting a panel sustaining an acute neck injury while entering the trap site.

July 3: A sorrel stud colt was euthanized due to injuries sustained at the trap site holding pen. The foal was kicked in the mouth, fracturing its pallet.

July 4: A 10-year old dun mare died instantly after hitting a panel, sustaining an acute neck injury while being sorted out at the trap site. [1]

How long with these hideous roundups continue? Until no wild horses or burros are living on public lands is my guess. There appears to be at least a partial solution, and that is birth control. Here’s the argument for.

The Animal Fertility Control Information Center states:

“This isn’t atypical. Injuries and deaths among terrorized animals being chased down by helicopter are all too common.

“These roundups are both cruel and costly.

“The BLM said itself recently that the number of wild horses and burros on public land grew by 15 percent last year and the cost of caring for the 46,000 wild horses and burros that have been captured and placed in corrals and pastures will be about $1 billion over their lifetimes.

“Not only that, but BLM spends 70 percent of its $80 million Wild Horse and Burro Program budget on roundups and removals, which do nothing to slow population growth of animals on the range. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences has stated “removals are likely to keep the population at a size that maximizes population growth rates, which in turn maximizes the number of animals that must be removed through holding facilities.”

“So the roundups continue and populations grow in an endless cycle that costs both wild horses and taxpayers far too much.

“What’s even sadder is that BLM has an off-the-shelf solution that could help reduce the need for roundups and which has, indeed, ended roundups in some locations: humane, safe and effective fertility control vaccine. Yet the agency spends less than 1 percent of its wild horse and burro budget on this approach.

“Three dozen wild horse advocacy organizations support using fertility control a way to reduce roundups.”* [2]

*We are not on that list.


Birth control gives the appearance of being a solution and it has eliminated some roundups. But roundups will continue with or without birth control because of special interest groups who push our wild equines off of the US’s public lands specifically designated for them. Cattle ranchers still remain at the top of that list but a host of others are hot on their heels.

It appears that birth control can help to a degree. But are we any closer to understanding how these birth control measures impact the mares over the long term and herd numbers?

The use of chemical birth control methods is certainly mild compared to the obvious horrors of spaying in the field.

Remember this. There are more deaths associated with roundups than what you have read here today.

Wild horses are still being dumped into the slaughter pipeline. We will likely never know the true figures relating to these killings especially since we will never likely know how many are indeed being held captive.

The chances of wild horses and burros already rounded up and getting out of BLM long-term holding or surviving it is heartbreakingly low.

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Photo Credit: Wild Horses: Randy Harris Photo at