Wild horse plan rekindles cattle grazing debate- New AP Article

Read the article here– an excellent piece of balanced journalism discussing Secretary Salazar’s plan to clear thousands more horses off their legally designated rangelands.

please take a moment to sign this petition to restore the Coyote Canyon Wild horses in CA


86 Responses to “Wild horse plan rekindles cattle grazing debate- New AP Article”

  1. Marilyn Wargo Says:

    It is good to learn that Wild Earth Guardians are on the horses’ side. Mark Salvo has told a truth many already know; cattle have been the main cause of the degradation of range and should be kept down in number. BLM persists with lies and misinformation to the point of making themselves so far out of line that no one, apparently, can reason with them. mar

  2. Suzanne Moore Says:

    Unfortunately, it seems that the BLM doesn’t HAVE to be reasonable. As long as they can do exactly as they please and manipulate numbers to back them up, why should they bother?

  3. Marilyn Wargo Says:

    Suzanne, No kidding. They don’t hear, see or speak to us. But I think we have made an impression with persistence and truth. BLM reality just does not cover direct communication. The tactic of never answering a question is very effective at putting us and the public ‘off’. If they look bad to us they do not care. Their world is within the agency and we are on the outside. It would seem that the public might ‘take the horses and run’ but they would never let that happen, tho’ in theory they should, just let the horses and burros be free of BLM and their lands stay with them, it would be a delight to begin a new management all just for them. Isn’t it nice to think so, at least? Problem solved; remove BLM. mar

  4. Margaret Says:

    Here’s a thought. I hope I can do this clearly.

    How about instead of buying 7 different pieces of land (to the tune of 96 million dollars–what a waste of taxpayer dollars) we return the horses to their rightful land.

    The land that was going to be bought for the refuges now become a place where the BLM (government) can grow hay for the horses in REALLY bad weather. The advantage I see here is that you employ people to plant, water and harvest hay. And then more to transport it to the different ranges. The hay could be “dropped” not at the horses feet but make them work for it. This is an example only: The horses are at the Lincoln Memorial–the first drop would be halfway between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Then gradually you start making the drops further away from the horses til the horses are at the Lincoln Memorial but the hay drops are happening at the Capital Building.

    As for the ranges where the horses are how about being innovative? The BLM could build little camping cabins (similar to the KOA ones). You would have a central cooking area for people. Staff would be locals (more people employed). No cooking fires outside the camping areas PERIOD.

    This could be done sorta similar to Chincoteague in that you have a “ranger station” (for lack of better expression) where you check in. You pay your camping fees (and they shouldn’t be astronomical–you want people to come and see the horses not empty their wallets). But you can’t drive to the campgrounds–hence they have some kind of transportation that you have to pay for. If you’d rather walk in then you pay for camping along the way (again in camping cabins).

    You can ice chest food in but you have to learn about “leave no trail” which means you haul out your garbage or put it in the trash can.

    And perhaps instead of euthanizing a bunch of horses or penning them in jails we could help offset the cost by donations for each horse.

    Perhaps we shouldn’t worry so much about whether their on NPS ground, their ground or the NFS land–the priority should be the welfare and the care of the horses.

    This is not meant as some lucrative huge money making deal. I don’t believe the government should be in the business of making a kazillion dollars. But if some of there fees can be made up by doing something like this–maybe it isn’t such a bad idea.

    And I believe that since the horses were here first and are protected by the 1971 law (that the BLM so conveniently ignores) that the ranchers really need to ranch either in lower numbers or move their ranches.

    Hey thanks for listening and I hope this causes some good dialogue.

    • Marilyn Wargo Says:

      Margaret, your hay drop example is fun, thanks for the smile. It would be possible to have parks where the horses are viewed and people come in and their fees would offset the care and maintenance of the horses and the park facilities. National Parks to not make profits. many facilities are old and there have been petitions over the years to let parks be self sufficient. It never was done. The money is taken in from all the parks and only so much goes back to each one for operating costs. It is a flawed system which is the cause of poor, and few, decent facilities in many Parks. Improvements have been slow to come.
      That has not slowed Americans from visiting. A Park with wild horse viewing, as the Pryors already is on a small scale, would delight many. I hope it can be done carefully, one day. mar

    • jan eaker Says:

      I like your idea! Here’s what BLM is forgetting, they don’t own the land; WE do(theoretically anyway) it’s PUBLIC land, NOT BLM land, SO, why don’t we as taxpayers get a say in what happens to the land? then I can say, get the cattle off and let the horses go; I also suggested dropping hay in bad conditions, it has to be cheaper than keeping the horses in pens for the rest of their lives and MUCH better than euthanizing them or selling them to slaughter;
      I believe tourism would be a very lucrative option for these horses, they come from all over to visit the WIld Horse Sanctuary in SD.

    • Christine Says:

      If helicopters drop hay regularly, then the horses would probably start to *like* them and come running when they hear it. Wouldn’t THAT make roundups much more ‘fun’ for the BLM, as the horses gather around and refuse to run, instead waiting for the silly humans inside to give them food! XD

      Yeah, I know, not likely, but it amuses me to imagine the frustration of the idiots trying to scare horses who are no longer scared of helicopters. XD

  5. Laura Evans Says:

    Here’s a thought, how about instead of using taxpayers money to buy sanctuaries to run sterilized horses on, how about the ranchers use their own money and buy their own land to run their own cows on.

    • Janet Ferguson Says:


    • Angela Sellitto Says:

      Exactly my point to my reps here in Illinois. Why should the ranchers get a free ride out west when out east we all have to buy our land.

    • Suzanne Moore Says:

      That’s the perfect solution seems to me. Why should these guys pay a couple of bucks while ranchers here in the Midwest pay $20 to $50/AUM to graze on private land.

      You would think these ranchers would be complaining about this themselves. Of course, maybe they are and no one is listening to them either.

  6. Frank Martinez Says:

    Not that I think it will ever really happen, but we, as the fattest country in the world, should seriously consider reducing our beef intake by at least 15%. It’s not all that healthy in the long run, and very costly in the marketplace!
    I’m 70 now, and have survived 4 heart attacks since 1991, due to high cholesterol – mostly from eating beef.

    • Christine Says:

      Not to be pro-beef here, but I understand that grassfed beef doesn’t have the same effect on people that grain-fed feedlot beef does because its got a different composition. So you might look into eating that instead. From a company or farm that keeps their cows on their own damn land, that is.

      • Frank Martinez Says:

        Thanks. It’s been some time ago but your reply reminded me that I heard similar info a few years ago. One glitch is that local grocers get what they get, and sell what they sell. Also, I ask myself, how many of these ‘outfits’ truly have their own land? Isn’t it now mostly ‘corporate’ farming and ranching?
        My earlier comments were made in hopes that the cattle folks might need less land(beef intake reduction) eventually; giving horses back what was theirs to start with.

      • Marilyn Wargo Says:

        Frank, Here in Colorado, when grass fed beef is sold, it normally costs more and the grocer will tell you why. We prefer buffalo, raised domestically on grass. It will not hurt you like mystery beef. Anything better costs more; organic, grass fed or buffalo. Then it helps to just eat less red meet, find free range chicken, less fish for mercury. except farmed catfish. No farmed salmon… eat lots of locally grown veggies! mar

      • Marilyn Wargo Says:

        Frank, The grass fed beef here is fed on both private pasture and National Forest and BLM grazing leases. mar

      • Christine Says:

        You have to do a little research, but its worth it. You can start with seeing if there are organic groceries in your area that might get local, grassfed meats, or butchers that get local meat. You can also go to localharvest.org and see if any are listed nearby, and/or are part of a CSA you could join. Then you can ask the individual farm whether they graze on their own or range land.

  7. Janet Ferguson Says:

    Now if only we could get those pie charts over to AP!

  8. Louie Cocroft Says:

    While the cattle people and the horse people are fighting–what other entity is just waiting to step in and claim our public land? Does the federal government have the right do make land swaps? Would hate to think that our country would become like “old europe” where only the wealthy gentry could have access to the game or the land.

  9. Barbara Steele Says:

    Article I found on RT Fitch concerning wild horses and helicopters, cattlemen and BLM
    some good points here–a little comedy also!


    • Christine Says:

      That was a nice little article. I like his ideas.

      Been thinking, too, that if/when I get another mustang, one of the things I’d like to bomb-proof him or her against is helicopters…

      • Christine Says:

        I have my doubts if it could be done, really, without years of conditioning at the very least, so on my part its mostly wishful thinking (hence the ‘I’d like’), an emotional thing, and a desire to fix the damage they did…and I’m aware it probably wouldn’t happen, either. I also honestly expect it would take a horse as brave as Cloud was.

        RT’s a guy, btw, from what I’ve seen in blogs and photos. I took what he said at the end as more of an emotional desire for revenge than an attempt to be funny.

    • Janet Ferguson Says:

      This article isn’t a good one for wild horse advocates. The last few paragraphs are irresponsible. I do not find it clever or funny, even tho she apparently considers herself an “equestrienne” who rides bomb-proof horses. Thanks for nothing. The idea about having “wild horse advocates” roundup horses along with “BLM” is just taunting the advocates as well as trivializing the situation; if it were really funny she could get away with it, but I for one don’t think the article deserves any recognition. I wish the Fitches would remove it, if that’s where it was found.

      • Barbara Steele Says:

        I have a mustang that was never “bomb proofed” by helicopters and there are a lot of helicopters flying around my area. I did read somewhere that a person was killed by a helicopter spooking an adopted mustang who was being ridden. I submitted that article just based on the premise that helicopters used in roundups(are not good for the mental stability of the horse. A trainer who commented at the BLM Advisory meeting said the same that the methods used by the BLM caused problems for training the mustang. Yes, I did think the writer of the article was being “too cute” in the last statement but I guess that was her/his way of being “fair and balanced”.

  10. Linda H Says:

    Found this article had been picked up by newspapers and tv stations across the country after I Googled it. I stopped counting after 21–

  11. Barbara Steele Says:

    Here is a very dangerous group that has surfaced since this spring and is a powerful coilition of horse and agricultural groups. This group operates under the name of United for Horses and includes lots of state equine groups, agricultural groups including of course, the cattlemen and horse breed groups, quarter horses. They definitely are lobbying to bring back slaughter. Looks like the USDA is behind this one. The site also links Humane Society with PETA and “their slick lawyers”. http://www.rallycongress.com/support-animal-agriculture–oppose-criminalizing-h/

    • Marilyn Wargo Says:

      Barb, The helicopter issue involves buffalo, wolves and bears and possible other wild animals along with horses. Now that aerial gunning has come to the Rockies, and it never should have, it will be harder to stop here and in Alaska.
      Stopping the use of helicopters for hazing and moving any animal is now more important than ever. Wild horses and burros should never have been moved in this manner. There seems to be this excess of former military helicopter pilots and someone is very sympathetic to creating work for them.

      The group you mention above is very nasty and has a big audience. mar

    • Janet Ferguson Says:

      Here’s their proposed legislation:


      • Janet Ferguson Says:

        I guess anyone could do a big scary website and claim anything.

        I wonder how real this “group” actually is? Has anyone been following “them.” Is Landrieu/etc. aware of them? The veterinary associations that are claimed to be members are the proslaughter ones, I believe.

        I sent their website via email to The Cloud Foundation and Animal Law Coalition.

      • Marilyn Wargo Says:

        JF, It would be good to hear her take on that “Organization” as it appears they assume an establishment position, if so they do not deserve it. mar

    • Suzanne Moore Says:

      This is the same group I commented on somewhere – I think it was on R.T.’s blog maybe – they called themselves The United Organizations of the Horse, and yes, they are VERY dangerous. Go to there home page and see for your selves http://www.unitedorgsofthehorse.org/index.htm

      They had two articles in the publication of the Indiana Horse Council – incredibly misleading which they will hear from me about. Pro-slaughter all the way.

  12. Barbara Steele Says:

    Here is The United Organization of the Horse website
    I was involved in a activist group years ago fighting with a big waste company that wanted to build a landfill. Anyway one thing I got from the committe was that the “enemy” tried to influence the public by starting groups with environmentally friendly names. Who wouldn’t want to be included in The United Organization of the Horse? Doesn’t that sound like a good group to belong to? Seems to me the only way to conteract this group is to organize all the real horse advocates and work with humane organizations. Any other ideas out there?

  13. Marilyn Wargo Says:

    James Watt began using names that hid agendas but sounded innocuous. Then they got better at it. Whoever has the ability to handle a large website could do just that; start collecting the whole shebang and getting us up and howling and neighing at the establishment.

    Find a person to monitor it and get a good page up and we are on the way. Who??? We could invade an existing group… Who, again? This maybe should be done.. mar

  14. Nora Morbeck Says:

    I found this quote from the “wild horse plan” article interesting.

    “My reaction is they (horse advocates) are totally wrong,” Gralian said. “Our public lands today are in better shape than they’ve been in 100 years or so.”

    So, if the public lands are in better shape than they’ve been in the past 100 years, and fewer cattle are being grazed — don’t you think there’s a connection? Plus, if the land is better now, what’s the problem with the horses being there?

    PLUS, it looks like nearly all wild mares are being shot with PZP before being released, which means fewer foals (one would think…) So, what’s the rush to get the horses off the land and into facilities the BLM can’t afford to run? While the right hand is doing this, makes me wonder what the left hand is doing. Anyone know what other contracts are being signed or leases being extended?

    I just love how Salazar’s “proposal” is actually a plan — not with any intention of public discussion as a proposed idea would be. Why even bother to call it a “proposal?” I really diliske “suit speak…”

    Another thought … Moving horses off of their native land, into completely different climates and so on will have a lot of health consequences for these animals. Their feet wear down naturally where they are. Will that happen on midwest soil? Will these animals suffer with new kinds of hoof issues? Their bodies are accustomed to certain kinds of forage. You can’t just switch their diets at the drop of a hat. The possible result of just these two health issues? Lameness and colic. Lovely. Just what the public wants to see on a wildlife preserve.

    • Marilyn Wargo Says:

      The feed issue is crucial. I have to wonder why horses were starved at the 3 Strikes holding. Was this done with someone’s knowledge or was it the wrong feed? Was a contractor negligent? How many horses and burros have we lost this way? The hooves of wild horses would need attention, too. How is this done? mar

      • jan eaker Says:

        My understanding is that the private contractor was negligent, was simply not buying enough hay/feed for these horses and there was no pasture left for them to eat, the 200 surviving horses and 11 burros that were removed were in very poor shape, there was no evidence of feed for them and the pastures were grazed down to nothing.

      • Suzanne Moore Says:

        Yes, I’ve been thinking about that too. Believe me, if you think Cloud and his herd are fat NOW, just wait until they got put on the grass here in Indiana. They would explode. But, of course, they would founder first…

      • Marilyn Wargo Says:

        Jan, i hate to ask the obvious worst case question, but, How many died? Thanks for telling us, I can’t believe there were no charges. I have heard of a lawsuit. Mar

      • jan eaker Says:

        Mar. as far as I know from what I’ve read, all of the horses rescued from this place survived, they moved them to a fairground very near there, and got good quality hay in them, there were charges filed, BLM actually filed the initial charge of animal abuse,I’m not sure how many counts were filed in all, but he is facing a felony, what the penalty will be in NE, I have no idea. there was a court date in the summer, but I can’t find any updates since then, the guy, a Jason Meduna, claims that the horses that died on his place were poisoned; someone did an independent study of the water sources on the property and found nothing to substantiate this claim; he had no answer but poisoning for the poor condition of the living horses and burros.

      • Marilyn Wargo Says:

        Thanks Jan, it is still nasty and sad. mar

      • jo bunny Says:

        mar, according to reports that i have seen on the net, 74 horses were found dead at the 3 strikes ranch. at least another 100 were found emaciated, weak, barely able to stand, suffering from worms, lice, & many other ailments. over 200 were removed. according to the blm records meduna was able to buy the first 30 horses for $50 each (back in 2005) & the rest he got for $10 each. the blm had been doing inspections on meduna’s farm, too. they took back at least 1 horse & were going to press charges for a couple of other horses that died or could not be found.

    • Janet Ferguson Says:

      What gets me is that they need to be referencing, not 100 years ago, but back to 1971 and need to start using % in their arguments (such as these pie charts) otherwise you are comparing apples to oranges or grasshoppers or something.

    • Angela Sellitto Says:

      Well isn’t this their point anyway. To get rid of these horses. So why would they care what they do to them.

    • kas0859ohio Says:

      I was ASTOUNDED to read Dan Gralian said livestock overgrazing is no longer the problem it once was and cattle don’t cause more damage to the range than horses. He actually said our public lands today are in better shape than they’ve been in 100 years or so. If this is the case (the cattlemen) are making why do they want to strike down the ROAM act and agree with the round ups?
      We need to throw these words right back at them, I’ll get started on that now!

  15. Angela Sellitto Says:

    I wasn’t saying that it was OK. It just seems like they are using different means to get to the same goal, but just being more public “friendly” or at least pretending to be.

    • Marilyn Wargo Says:

      angela, i know you were not saying it is OK… THEY are trying to say it is OK. we are saying it sure is not… I think they had no real public image that was ever good… damage control i hope is way to late for them. mar

  16. Angela Sellitto Says:

    I received my postcards in the mail and already hit a small horse show here in town. It’s very surprising how little even horse-people know about this. I am going to hit up my evening A&P class tonight. I wish that I could do more.

    • Suzanne Moore Says:

      People who live far from the ranges just don’t EVER hear about these things. Even when I lived in Texas, there was never anything about wild horses.

      Even in 1971, I don’t remember hearing ANYTHING about the situation and the legislation. I just doesn’t concern the media in states that don’t have any wild horse ranges.

      • Barbara Steele Says:

        But it should concern the media when it comes to wasteful government spending, lack of transparency in government agencies and inhumane handling of wild horses. A little more investigative reporting to “follow the money” like who are the big guys using Public Lands, what kind of compensation are the operators of contracters in roundups and horse holding areas receiving? A new investigative report like the Nevada one but using the whole wild horse issue and how it affects our whole nation would be valuable for those who live in states with no Public Lands.

  17. Nora Morbeck Says:

    Exactly! The public lands/wild horses & burros issue really does concern us all.

    My mom isn’t a big horse person. She likes mine, but wouldn’t go out of her way to learn more about anything in the horse world. So, I’ve been educating her about wild herds — how the protections basically were gutted by a last minute rider on a bill that few in congress had the time to read before it was up for a vote. That made her mad. But she’s in Florida, where high-priced home-owners insurance is a bigger issue than wild horses.

    There are lots of issues like this that are swept under the rug. Right now, Americans are so tired, so worn down from taking economic hit after hit. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of energy for tackling these government problems. That’s why I’m glad there are blogs like this. It helps pull us together and gives us a boost.

  18. Christine Says:

    I don’t mean to offend anyone here, but when I had my mustang I ran into a lot of horsepeople who were complete dumbasses about mustangs. “They’re just range ponies”, “What do you mean by ‘wild’? He wasn’t REALLY in the wild!”, “Look at that roman nose – she’s going to have a lot of trouble training him!” (said about another mustang – who was already completely trained!), “The Wild Horse and Burro Act took care of all that”, “Your horse is the dumbest on the place/a mule” (said by someone who abused him behind my back so OF COURSE he refused to work with her), and the classic “There are still wild horses?” I started getting to where I preferred John Q. Public who had romantic notions about them and might do something completely stupid around them but was willing to learn.

    The other thing that gets me when talking to some people is the ‘People are more important’ thing. A company should be allowed to take over and rape the land ‘because that company will employ a lot of people/deliver a lot of power/feed a lot of people and people are more important’. Its like they willfully don’t want to see the fact that a private corporations and the government are taking away something that THEY own and thus have every right to be part of the decision making process on it, and that it will have consequences that reach FAR, FAR beyond the act of killing God’s creatures for no good reason and stealing land. They’re the people that 10 years down the road are going to be asking ‘where did all our rights go?’

    Yeah, I really am a bit ranty this morning. 😉

    • Linda H Says:

      Go Girl!
      And I tend to adopt the Native Americans’ conception of the earth. Nobody owns it–we are caretakers to do what is best for the land. That would pretty much leave out the people who want to exploit it for whatever reason, (power-hungry bureaucrats and businesses interests). Nothing is more important that the environment around us– the world in which we live and what we leave for posterity.

      • Angela Sellitto Says:

        Yes, I feel that we are in the minority though when it comes to our feelings towards anthropocentrism. Although I have to say that modern medicine is standing in Darwin’s way and one day we too will be in a heep of trouble.

  19. theandbetween Says:

    This Associated Press article was also published on the Huffington Post. If you register, you can submit comments. So far, there is a lot of disinformation in the comments section and it could use input from some of the people posting on this blog. Here is a link.


    • Christine Says:

      Wow, they even have a ‘former’ BLM employee there arguing for slaughter…

    • Christine Says:

      Could someone with a Facebook account log onto that and challenge the BLM worker to point to scientific data proving the inbreeding?

    • Nora Morbeck Says:

      I always see comments about how horses breed like bunnies. There’s one of those comments in response to the Huffington Post article. Now, I’m not an advocate of breeding, but when my mare was pregnant, I did a lot of reading and learned quite a lot about how horses reproduce. (Blessed are the Brood Mares was one book.) Mares really don’t have the most efficient reproductive systems amongst mammals. A lot of things can and do go wrong, sometimes resulting in death to the mare and foal.

      This is just as true in wild horses as domestic ones. And simply because a mare is pregnant is no guarantee that a healthy foal will be born or survive. Let’s see: Inability to move out of the birth canal quickly enough (or at all) birth defects, injuries, mares not producing enough milk, out of season birth, predators — geez .. all kinds of things can bring an end to a foal’s life.

      Christine — all the stupid things you heard when you had a mustang. I can relate. I’ve heard similar kinds of things with regard to how quickly horses can overpopluate an area. But let’s face it, if these horses really re-produced like bunnies, the wild population would be doubling every year. Every mare rounded up would have a foal at her side. But that’s just not the case.

      It’s such a challenge to educate people…

      • Marilyn Wargo Says:

        Nora, that 20% yearly increase in population seems very high. But BLM has reasons for claiming it. Exposing all the BS has to keep on and on. It does make a difference and draws people who begin to see the inequities and lies. Makes for inspiration to keep on, too. blaming wild horses for everything has gone too far and people are not buying it. BS is BS and it has been unraveling. mar

  20. kas0859ohio Says:

    Clicking on the link above says this article is no longer available. Have they squelched it?

  21. kas0859ohio Says:

    …sorry I found it on Huffington Post

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