Wild horses are quickly disappearing from the American West because of a cruel, expensive and needless federal government program - but we can stop it if we act NOW! Sign here to tell Congress and President Obama to save our wild horses!
Wild horses look out of place in a West that is shrinking around them. The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet on April 13-14 in Redmond, Oregon, to discuss the management and protection of wild horses on Western rangelands. Their input and advice will shape how BLM interprets its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.1
In these Western states, the BLM is supposed to balance competing interests on public lands -- livestock and minerals, trees and the people who hug them, wild horses and watersheds. The agency is required to manage 258 million acres for an ever changing West. From the moment pioneers settled here, resources have been extracted with little patience for anything that got in the way of profit.2
Historically, the priority has been livestock, which is why in 2006 cattle and sheep consumed 20 times as much forage on the land as wild horses and burros. But in the past 30 years ranchers have been pushed off the range by Big Oil. With intensifying pressure from oil companies, BLM has leased 44 million acres of land for oil and gas, nearly five million of that in areas set aside for wild horses -- fossil fuel development is putting inconceivable pressure on the public land.3
The solution is to reverse this trend, and use public lands to protect wild horses, burros and other critters (as called for in the law), not to maximize profit for ranching or drilling. Sign here to call on Congress and the administration to reform the government’s wild horse management policies and restore protections to wild horses under federal law.
BLM is evaluating a 10-year plan to manage the wild horses and burros. But they're under pressure from the for-profit industries that usually dominate the process, who want hundreds more wild horses and burros removed in order to maximize taxpayer-subsidized grazing and drilling on public lands. So BLM has asked Congress for permission to strip wild horses of their protected status and turn them over to other agencies, creating an end run around the current Congressional ban on selling wild horses for slaughter.4
Over-development and pollution were pushing out the horses already, which is why the number of wild horses roaming the West has decreased by 75 percent. But in 1971, America made a promise, "that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West;" and that they would, "be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands."5
Rounding up and stockpiling wild horses to make room for grazing and drilling has lead to a huge waste of taxpayer money: About 72 percent of BLM budget for wild horses is spent on roundups and stockpiling, while less than one percent is spent on fertility control to keep wild horses on the range. Costs to taxpayers keep escalating ($80,000,000 this fiscal year), while feeding wild horses in government holding facilities costs American taxpayers $140,000 every day.6
The best solution is to redirect federal resources to in-the-wild management of wild horses and burros, which would keep these animals on the range, reduce pollution and save taxpayers millions every year. But instead, BLM wants to risk the health of healthy wild horses by subjecting them to risky and painful surgery in the wild and expand its "unlimited sale authority," which could lead to many more horses being sent to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico.7
We have to speak up now, before BLM's budget is approved, and make sure Congress and the President know we want to save wild horses, not kill or maim them. Sign and share this important action on social media to protect America's Wild Horses and Burros.
Thanks for taking action,
Sally and the Wild Horse Saving Crew at Environmental Action
1. Land Management Bureau. Notice of Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting. Federal Register. March 23, 2016.
2. History and Facts. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR - BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT. August 24, 2015.
3. Fuller, Alexandra. Mustangs. National Geographic. February, 2009.
4. BLM accepting public comments on environmental assessment for Blue Wing Complex wild horse and burro project. BLM. March 4, 2016.
5. Wild Horse and Burro Program. March 28, 2013.
6. American Wild Horse Preservation, Salt River Wild Horses FAQ,
7. Matt Pearce, Cliven Bundy still owes the U.S. $1 million. What are the feds doing to collect it?, LA Times, January 7, 2016