Monday, December 5, 2022

The real problem with wild horses is not what you think

Laura Seitz, Deseret News photo - Full Article

An overpopulation of wild horses is not the problem on the rangelands — and removing them isn’t protecting them

By Scott Beckstead
Nov 3, 2022

Our nation’s wild horses and burros, viewed by most Americans as cherished living symbols of our nation’s frontier history and culture, are facing unprecedented persecution.

The Bureau of Land Management and its livestock industry allies continue to repeat unfounded claims about horses being overpopulated and in danger of starvation and rangelands being devastated by wild equine herds.

But the BLM doesn’t mention the cattle and sheep swarming over our rangelands by the millions, often outnumbering wild horses by dozens to one on designated wild horse and burro habitats, or that wild equines occupy just a tiny fraction of BLM lands. With this misleading narrative, the BLM conducts mass helicopter roundups under the pretext of “emergency” or “drought” conditions, which allows them to proceed without first conducting environmental assessments or taking public comment...

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Horse Group Says Wild Horses Aren’t The Problem, It’s Cattle That’s Destroying The Land - Full Article

November 15, 2022

By Mark Heinz, Outdoors Reporter

Wild horse management in Wyoming will remain business as usual for now, with mustang roundups being the primary means of controlling the horses’ numbers on rangelands and Native American reservations, say Wyoming lawmakers.

However, it is cattle, not mustangs, that are causing most of the damage to the land and conflicts with wildlife, maintains a spokeswoman for a wild horse advocacy group.

Meanwhile, both sides agree that shooting mustang mares with birth control darts could be the best solution to Wyoming’s wild horse quandary.

Combat veterans armed with dart rifles could dispense the birth control among mustang herds, said Chairman Sen. Brian Boner, R-Douglas, during a Tuesday meeting of the Legislature’s Agriculture State and Public Lands and Water Resources Joint Committee...

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Wild horses need to stop ruling the range - Full Article

By: Ted Williams
Posted Sep 27, 2022

They are icons of America’s past, symbols of our pioneering spirit. Eyes flashing, nostrils flaring, tails obscured by a cloud of dust, they tear across the landscape. I am, of course, referring to feral hogs.

More on feral hogs directly. But first some background on another feral ungulate. Few issues in the West are more incendiary than management of “wild horses.” Advocates proclaim them “natives” that should be “wild and free.”

Opponents submit that these proliferating aliens are harming land and wildlife belonging to all Americans.

The federal management goal for these horses on public lands is 27,000. Yet the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency charged with tending them, estimates the current population at 64,604. The Journal of Wildlife Management reports 300,000 on all lands – public, private and tribal. Federal law precludes effective feral-horse management. Unmanaged populations increase by 20% annually...

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Wild horses deserve a home in the West - Full Article

By: Scott Beckstead
Posted Sep 20, 2022

I live in a rural county heavily dependent on ranching and agriculture, and though I often hear people talk about threats from large predators like bears or lions, I never hear complaints about wild horses living on our public lands.

Instead, I hear that these animals are living symbols of the American West. From Portland urbanites to Idaho ranchers, and also from the many Indigenous peoples whose forebears called the horse their brother, no one can imagine this region without herds of mustangs and burros running free.

From the federal government it’s a different story. Hewing to a strong pro-livestock bias, the Bureau of Land Management has for decades spun a false narrative about an “overpopulation” of equines that, the agency claims, are in danger of starving and destroying their habitat. The agency would have us dismiss what photographers, tourists and advocates document every day: thriving, robust families of horses living peacefully on vast stretches of federal lands...

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Wild horse activists focus on fertility control as BLM pulls horses from Western rangelands - full story

KUNR Public Radio | By Kaleb Roedel
Published September 15, 2022 at 5:22 PM MDT

In a sun-baked desert east of Reno, Nev., Tracy Wilson and Rae Hanna stood 70 yards from a band of wild horses quietly munching on sagebrush.

Hanna held an air rifle loaded with a dart containing a fertility-control vaccine booster called Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP)

While Hanna crept closer to the horses, Wilson split off to the right and slowly walked in a semi-circle around them.

“There are times when I’ll just pick at the bushes like I’m another animal grazing," Wilson said. "If you’re just staring them down and going right for them, they’re going to leave.”

Hanna raised her air rifle and aimed at a female horse they call “Bangs.” She pulled the trigger, and the dart struck the black mare in the rump...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Wild horse gather to take place this year on Wind River Reservation, Wyoming - Full Article

Katie Roenigk
September 16, 2022

Tribal, state and federal officials hope to conduct a wild horse gather operation on the Wind River Reservation by the end of this year.

The goal is to remove about 1,200 horses using a “helicopter procedure” and a “standard gathering technique,” state staffers told the legislature’s Select Committee on Tribal Relations during a meeting last month in Riverton.

Once the gather is complete, Tribal officials “have the ability to sell those horses or get them back to (their) owners – or they have an administrative process if people have dumped their horses on the reservation illegally,” said Kit Wendtland, special counsel to Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon...

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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Wild horse gather planned along Utah-Nevada border; public invited to observe - Full Article

David DeMille
St. George Spectrum & Daily News
Sept 13, 2022

Federal wildlife managers say they plan to gather approximately 700 wild horses later this week as part of an ongoing effort to tamp down the horses' populations along the Utah-Nevada border.

The gathering operation is slated to start Saturday and last for two weeks, starting in the proximity of the Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area, located west of Tooele, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

BLM officials say the herd management area should have between 190 and 390 horses but has a current population of 920. Horses removed from the range will be transported to the BLM-contracted Axtell off-range corrals in Axtell...

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Monday, August 29, 2022

Letters: BLM needs a humane management plan for wild horses - Full Article

By DP Opinion |
August 26, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.

BLM needs a humane management plan for horses

Re: “Colorado’s wild horses need protection from the BLM,” Aug. 14 commentary

Wild horses are an invasive species, no matter how iconic or romanticized they are. I’ve never heard this point argued. Typically when an invasive species is present, an ecosystem suffers. I and many others would submit that this is also true of wild horses in the American West. Mule deer populations are falling precipitously and sage grouse populations are in dire straights.

Carol Walker seems to suggest wild horses should get unlimited resources from the BLM for their management and that the death of a single horse in management is completely unacceptable. I want to ask: What effect does this have on the rest of the ecosystem? With acknowledgment that wild horses are an invasive species, as well as some introspective thought as to how other invaders are managed, perhaps we can come to a rational and workable long-term management plan for this beloved animal...

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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Utah: BLM plans to gather wild horses west of Cedar City, and you’re invited

Spenser Heaps/Deseret News photo - Full Article

Jul 28, 2022, 5:00 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022
Digital Content Producer

CEDAR CITY, Utah — The Bureau of Land Management Cedar City Field Office plans to begin gathering operations to remove excess wild horses from an area west of Cedar City.

Operations will begin on August 7, 2022. The Bureau aims to gather wild horses from within and outside of the Blawn WashHerd Management Area and Bible Spring Complex Area.

According to a news release, this area can support 80 to 170 animals. The current population of wild horses in the area sits at 831...

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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Advocates for wild horses dispute BLM’s reasoning for roundup in northwestern Colorado - Read and listen

Aspen Public Radio | By Halle Zander
Published July 21, 2022 at 8:53 PM MDT

On July 15, the Bureau of Land Management started rounding up wild horses on land between Rangely and Meeker in the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area, or PEDHMA.

The ongoing roundup, or what the BLM calls a "gather," was originally set for September, but BLM officials announced in June they were moving the event up two months.

The BLM cited the poor condition of the wild horses, and the high numbers of horses roaming in the 190,000-acre PEDHMA.

To improve these conditions, the federal agency is seeking to remove 1,050 wild horses from the area.

But wild horse advocates say the horses are not in poor condition, and that cattle are causing more problems on the range than the horses...

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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Wyoming: Wild horse stakeholders discuss fertility control, public land use and herd management - Full Story

Wyoming Public Radio | By Caitlin Tan
Published June 28, 2022 at 5:37 PM MDT

As part of Wyoming Public Media’s ‘I respectfully disagree’ series, four panelists discussed issues surrounding wild horses in the state on a Facebook live.

Stakeholders spoke for an hour about topics like herd management, fertility control and holding facilities.

The panelists were Suzanne Roy, the executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign; Brian Boner, a Wyoming senator representing District 2; Christi Chapman, the director and co-founder of Wyoming Wild Horse Improvement Partnership; and Erik Molvar, the executive director of the Western Watersheds Project.

One issue the panelists focused on was whether cattle or wild horses should have priority on public lands...

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Saturday, June 11, 2022

Wild Horse Flu Outbreak Update - Full Article

Over 145 mustangs being held in a holding facility died of equine flu because it was short-staffed and the horses were “high-strung".

By: Kim Izzo | June 8, 2022

In what can only be described as a preventable tragedy, over 145 wild mustangs have died in Colorado from equine influenza, a respiratory illness that can lead to pneumonia. Vaccinations can protect both domestic and wild animals; however, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) who is in charge of the care of the mustangs, has admitted that at the Cañon City facility, horses were not vaccinated due to staff shortages and the claim that the horses were “unusually high-strung.” They’re wild horses ‒ high-strung is a given.

According to an in-depth report by The Colorado Sun, the official BLM policy is purportedly to “freeze-brand and de-worm mustangs within 30 days of capture and vaccinate them as soon as possible based on the advice of a veterinarian.” However, an animal welfare team investigating the deaths, which included three BLM officials and a veterinarian from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “found the federal agency was noncompliant on 13 policies. Besides being behind on vaccinations, the team noted the facility was behind on trimming hooves every six months as required and that horses did not always get freeze-marked within 30 days...”

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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Wild horses have died of strangles; BLM says it is impacting half of 2,750 animals - Full Article and video

Wednesday, May 11th 2022, 3:20 PM CDT By Currey McCullough

We have been telling you more about than a hundred of wild horses have been dying from equine influenza at a Bureau of Land Management facility in Colorado. Now, another holding facility is reporting deaths.

11 horses removed from Wyoming rangelands have died of a highly contagious bacterial disease at a Wheatland holding facility...

Read more and see video here:

Death toll hits 142 wild horses held captive in Colorado after BLM fails to vaccinate - Full Article

By Bruce Finley | | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: May 12, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. | UPDATED: May 12, 2022 at 6:14 p.m.

CAÑON CITY — A rising death toll of captive wild horses in fenced pens has hit 142 after federal caretakers failed to provide vaccinations in the latest breakdown of the government’s controversial holding system. This debacle has piqued concerns about humane treatment as the Bureau of Land Management ramps up roundups to reduce mushrooming mustang herds that roam free — along with cattle and sheep — on increasingly arid public lands.

BLM officials told the Denver Post they’ll investigate why 445 horses hauled from northwestern Colorado to Cañon City last summer weren’t fully vaccinated against equine flu.

Surviving chestnut, bay and painted mustangs this week wandered about the pens, which cover about 50 acres within a 120-acre holding facility next to a state prison — 2,550 horses in all. The sickness has infected primarily the unvaccinated horses and they are the ones that have perished...

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Oregon: More wild horses equals less fire fuels - Full story and video

By: Brett Taylor
Apr 28, 2022 Updated Apr 29, 2022

MEDFORD, Ore-- We've all seen it during the last several wildfire seasons in Oregon & California, the number of wildfires per year is growing and so is their intensity.

Just in the last two years alone, more than two million acres have scorched by wildfires across Oregon, leaving thousands people homeless and some areas devastated.

But the impacts of wildfires goes far beyond impacting just people.

"We are losing wildlife, " said William E. Simpson II, an Ethologist for Wild Horse Fire Brigade. Every acre of forest that burns we are losing between 20 to 80 animals. Our wildlife populations are being decimated."

Back in 2014, Simpson had been pondering the very question that many people in Oregon might be thinking today, "Why is this happening, and how do we solve this growing wildfire problem."

But during one of his studies in Northern California, Simpson said he may have discovered one possible solution, wild horses.

"They were actually beneficial to the landscape," said Simpson. "They were creating natural fire breaks and areas of reduced fuels..."

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

BLM Provides Update on Wild Horse Deaths, Influenza Strain - Full Article

As of May 3, 119 Mustangs at the Cañon City Wild Horse and Burro Facility have died from an endemic strain of equine influenza.

Posted by Edited Press Release | May 3, 2022

On May 2 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provided an update on the ongoing equine influenza (EI) outbreak among the more than 2,500 Mustangs residing at the Cañon City Wild Horse and Burro Facility, in Fremont County, Colorado. The virus has killed 119 horses to date, all of which belong to a group of 445 unvaccinated or undervaccinated horses gathered from the West Douglas Herd Area last summer.

On April 23, horses from the West Douglas pens began showing signs of mild to moderate fever, coughing, nasal discharge, labored breathing, and/or depression...

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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Feral Horses Play Important Role in French Rewilding Project - Full Article

Researchers use Polish Konik horses to control tree growth and encourage biodiversity in a riverine ecosystem.

Posted by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA | Apr 22, 2022

What was once a massive cornfield at the French-German border has become a haven of biodiversity and a green energy site, following a rewilding effort that’s now home to a wide variety of plants and animals—including a herd of rustic horses that has been imported to help maintain the terrain.

For more than three years Polish Konik horses have been controlling tree growth on a small island in the middle of the Rhine River, said Lilla Lovász, a PhD candidate at the University of Basel, just a few miles south of the reserve in neighboring Switzerland.

In 2018 a team of conservationists and scientists brought four mares and two geldings to the island, part of the Petite Camargue Alsacienne Nature Reserve, and they added a stallion last year. Now with two foals on the way, the herd will have grown to nine horses by mid-2022.

By eating unwanted plants and fertilizing the ground with their feces and urine, the large feral herbivores “serve as a part of a functioning ecosystem,” much like their predecessors did thousands of years ago, said Lovász...

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Friday, April 29, 2022

Unknown 'Highly Contagious' Disease Kills 85 Wild Horses at Federal Facility in Colorado - Full Article

Vanessa Etienne
Thu, April 28, 2022, 2:35 PM

An "unknown yet highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease" has killed at least 85 wild horses at a federal corral in Colorado, officials announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said the outbreak at the Cañon City facility first began on April 23. The facility is home to 2,550 horses. The facility animals impacted by the mysterious disease so far are the horses gathered from the West Douglas, Colorado area in fall 2021, according to a BLM news release.

Steven Hall, a spokesperson for BLM, told Reuters that the deceased horses are undergoing necropsies, and their blood and tissue samples are being analyzed at two university laboratories.

"The main symptoms seem to be respiratory issues and chest congestion," Hall added...

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Sunday, February 13, 2022

Wild horse gathers to continue in ‘public interest’ - Full Article

February 9 2022

The Bureau of Land Management will continue to gather more than 2,000 wild horses from the Pancake Complex in Nevada after a federal court decision.

The federal judge determined that a challenge to the Bureau of Land Management’s gather efforts in Nevada did not present enough evidence to warrant the court issuing a preliminary injunction, which would have required the agency to immediately halt the gathers.

The plaintiffs, Animal Wellness Action, the Cana Foundation and Wild Horse Education, filed their complaint last month, arguing that by conducting the gathers, the BLM was violating the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as their First Amendment rights. The BLM argued that the gathers were necessary to remove excess animals from the range, especially in light of ongoing drought conditions. The agency noted that the gathers must be completed by March 1, so as not to interfere with the animal’s foaling season. It also defended its decision to limit access to the gathers by the plaintiffs and the general public, citing safety concerns...

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Sunday, January 23, 2022

BLM to increase wild horse gathers in coming year

Larisa Bogardus/BLM photo - Full Article

By Laura Bies
January 20, 2022

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will increase the numbers of wild horses and burros that it removes from the western United States during Fiscal Year 2022, in response to the ecologically feral animals destroying habitat that’s also affected by climate change and extreme drought.

The agency plans to gather a minimum of 22,000 wild horses and burros from areas across the West, where the herds are larger than ecologically based population targets the BLM has set. Of these gathered animals, they plan to permanently remove at least 19,000 animals and treat at least 2,300 with various methods of fertility control before returning them to the range. If successful, this would be the most animals gathered, removed and treated in any one year.

The BLM estimates that more than 86,000 wild horses and burros currently range across 27 million acres of BLM-managed public lands in the western U.S...

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BLM seeks public comment on proposed wild horse gathers in Owyhee County, Idaho - Full Article By News Team Published May 15, 2023 BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – To help healthy wild horse herds continue to th...