Sunday, December 6, 2009

How many feral horses do you want in your back yard?

How much to do you want to pay for to keep a feral animal?

Wild horses conjure romantic images of the west in the minds of many people.

So much so that thirty-eight years ago, they were declared living symbols of the west and put under the supervision of the Bureau of Land Management.

In a report on Fox News, Ken Salazar, of the Dept. of the Interior estimates 32,000 roam public lands while another 32,000 have been sent to other parts of the country to preserves. And even more have been adopted by people taking in one or two at a time.

Apparently seven new preserves in the Midwest and Eastern U. S. are needed to sustain the horses currently roaming the West. To acquire the land and transport the horses to these new “homes” will carry an estimated cost of $96 million.

There’s a huge cost to take care of what are really feral animals.
Since 1971, the BLM has removed over 270,000 horses from Western ranges. That sounds like a population that could destroy its current habitat to me. What shape would the herd be in if it hadn’t been managed during the past 35+ years?

But of course the activists know how to manage this herd better than anyone.
A relocation effort was supposed to start tomorrow (Dec. 7th) but an activist group has sued to stop the action. In Defense of Animals, an international animal protection organization and ecologist Craig Downer brought the lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management.

We wouldn’t think twice about spaying or neutering a feral cat or dog. Should it be any different with a feral horse? We wouldn’t think twice about euthanizing a feral animal, but these horses are sacred in the minds of many.

This group contends that these horses must be left in the wild. If they are they will starve. If they’re relocated or adopted, can anyone explain to me how they remain wild horses?

I also find it amusing that group that many supporting this suit are the ones supporting sustainability? How does an ever increasing feral horse population that must be transported, fed and watered in what isn’t their natural habitat help to make the planet more sustainable?

These horses are a problem. If they were a city problem like feral cats or dogs they would be dealt with. But since they’re not roaming city streets, activists will call them wild and move to protect them. How romantic.

Wonder how the activists would feel about wild dogs and cats roaming their neighborhood, eating their pet food, damaging their lawns and lawn furniture and harboring disease?

What would they do then to rid themselves of the problem?


  1. There used to be 2 million wild horses and millions of bison in the West. Horses are a native species and were re-introduced by the Spanish. THere are 8 million cattle and sheep on OUR public lands and cattle have been found to destroy the range and riparian areas by a Government Accounting Office study. With only less thatm 25,000 wild horses on OUR public lands there is NO WAY they can destroy anything. They are in fact symbiotic to the ecological system. Thye spread seeds and furtilizer the land and also eat dried vegetation which helps to prevent fires. Horses have helped to make America and these wild ones are a national treasure for posterity. Visit and for facts. Few herds now are even sustainable because of the BLM "managing for extinction" and breaking the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

  2. I can add no more to what Barbwire wrote. It is a disgrace to this nation that Salazar (The Slaughter Czar and rancher) and the BLM (more ranchers) wish to rid this country of a national treasure. I've seen NO SKINNY WILD HORSES. If the current administration is allowed to carry through with its plan for the nation's wild horses, they will be extinct.

  3. In my opinion BLM is an abomination, and a menace to horses, thousands of whom they have persecuted by removing them from their natural habitat and by chasing them down using helicopters. Those who don't die in that stampede then suffer in small pens. and by being sent to slaughter. Have any of you seen the small colts trying to run in the terrified herd? Have you seen one lying on the ground? I have. I don't see how anybody can look the other way from this atrocity and what has been done to horses who have been our partners forever, and who have been in every way our salvation. This is what we have allowed to be done to them, when we had a pact with horses. Our country has sunk to this uncivilized, greedy and unethical behavior which is one of the reasons we are no longer the proud country we once were.

    Please write and make phone calls to save the horses from being AGAIN chased down by helicopters while some horses and colts have perished from being chased and from being confined in small pens. I question how this abominable government agency, Land Management, has the right to have destroyed thousands of horses, and to what purpose, when the Bureau is supposedly mandated by Congress to protect, not destroy, free-roaming horses and burros in these United States. They have been allowed to make these outrageous decisions and to run horses from where they deserved to live. Many of these horses were sold to abusive persons in irresponsible auctions, and many were also sent to SLAUGHTER, both in and out of this country. Healthy American horses were terrified in transit, brutally mistreated, and slaughtered. I find this sickening and insane. A compassionate, intelligent and generous offer by Madelaine Pickens was apparently blocked by the BLM, so what is the agenda? There has to be some underlying purpose for this Holocaust on beautiful, free American horses who never harmed anybody.

    This has gone on for years, it is a blight on this country, and there was never any legitimate excuse for the conduct by any government agency. This has violated the law regarding the horses. I can have NO respect for a government that has allowed this and does not stop it NOW.

  4. So you all want feral animals roaming in your back yard? These horses are being located to non-native habitat at a huge expense. What if someone dumped a load of feral cats or dogs on your block? That's exactly what's being done to those of us in the Midwest.

    The feral horse herd at the center of the lawsuit shares land with 2,000 head of cattle. So in this instance the cows aren't displacing the cows. And cows and horses eat about the same amount of grass per day. So it's not like the cattle are taking more than their fair share.

    With all these people who are passionate about saving the "wild" horse, why aren't they putting their money where their mouth is? Why aren't they funding the care of these and leaving my tax dollars to feed children instead of horses?

    If the government has screwed it up this badly, where is PETA or the HSUS? They have enough funding that they could supply land and feed for these horses indefinitely.

  5. To Daryl and Jody Donohue,
    The wild horses and burros are on PUBLIC land. They belong to the American people. The majority of Americans want the wild horses and burros to roam freely on PUBLIC land. There are 256 million acres of PUBLIC land. There is no reason for the BLM to roundup one horse.

    The BLM complained last year that it didn't have enough money to feed the wild horses and burros currently in holding facilities. They were given more money without restrictions and instead of using the money to take care of the wild horses and burros, they are using the money to conduct more roundups. This is insensible.

    The BLM has the right to revoke grazing leases and if this is what it takes to remove the 7.5 million cattle from PUBLIC land (land that is paid for by every US taxpayer), then this is what must be done.

  6. Either the author does not know what is happening or is intentionally misrepresenting it. This is not business as usual, as bad as that often is. This is a play to remove the last of the wild herds.

    The BLM's schedule for this fiscal year is to gather over 14,000 of the 32,000 remaining mustangs and to return only a little more than 2000 sterile animals. They claim they are going to remove 30,000 over the next three years in order to get the numbers down to 25,000! Do they think nobody can do third grade math?

    These horses are supposed to be protected by the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Their land has been slowly stolen by zeroing out smaller herds. Now the BLM is going for the final solution.

  7. I have heard of reports that the BLM has drastically underestimated the number of feral horses. The feral horses in Nevada are destroying the habitat, they simply can't support the numbers that are out there.

    If you get a chance, listen to Rural Route on KFRM especially on Monday's when northern Nevada rancher Hank Vogler is on with Trent Loos and Kyle Bauer. Hank has to deal with the horses and BLM.

  8. And how come all those ranchers and farmers using the wild horse lands get by with such low grazing fees while eastern and mid-west farmers who raise the majority of beef consumed have to buy their land and pay taxes on it! Would be a lot cheaper to let the horses alone and get rid of the herds of cattle on Public Lands!

  9. I would like to clarify my comment. I don't want the horses off of public lands and I doubt if the author does either. What I do want is for the BLM to have a responsible management plan for them and to start with a reasonable count of how many are in the Great Basin. I have heard reports that the BLM has drastically underestimated the number.

    Eastern Farmer, the "wild horse lands" is intertwined with deeded land in many cases and it takes a great number of acres to support a cow/calf pair or a flock of sheep. Many times the range is so degraded from the horses that ranchers are not using the permit or only for a short part of the permit period. Currently 1,000's of horses are being warehoused in the Midwest, ranchers are compensated at a rate of $2.00/head/day, or at least that was the rate the last I heard a few years ago.

  10. The comment that the majority of the American people want the wild horses and burros to run free. I contend the majority of the American people don't even know they exsist. Bottom line they were not wild horses they were horses either that became loose or stolen by the native americans. Horse have been domesticated for over 6000 years. The herds of ferrel horses need to be managed properly.

  11. All hail the mighty horse god! At least that's what most of the posts indicate....Anonymous is right; most Americans are ignorant to the issue, and feral horses need to be managed. Horses are naturally the most destructive livestock to the land. Where cattle lick and rip grass off to graze, horses will actually pull short grasses out by the crown of the plant, roots and all. Watch 'em. I have. Someone else said horses were good at spreading "furtilizer"; I'm just an ol' cowpoke but I reckon cows spread it better, but not as good as some of these 'posters'! And finally, anyone who thinks the public owns "public lands" is sadly misled. "Government controlled" doesn't mean it's yours, pilgrim.

  12. We need to stop being so controlling! Do you not realize that these animals have a right to life? They are here, whether we like it or not.

    They aren't harming anyone if they are on public land and to spay/neuter them is out of question because of how many there are and where they roam. Don't you think the herds are much too big and the plains too vast for you to spay/neuter?

    And mind you, even if you get a small percentage of them to do that too, they will still keep multiplying. The other ones, that is.

  13. as soon as the blm rounds them up, they geld the older stallions and mares are given a shot so they cant breed