Sunday, March 30, 2008


We agreed to meet in a little bar that had a reputation for good food and after the introductions, jumped right into the reason for our long drive. Horse rustling is what it use to be called and the people that sat across from me were adamant – “They took our horses!”

Over the weekend of August 6th, 2006, residents noticed a helicopter flying repeatedly over their houses. They were used to it though, as government agencies of one sort or another were always flying and driving around and most didn’t pay too much attention - except one guy who actually went out to see if he could find out what all the ruckus was about.

He said he found a collection of temporary pens set up and a wrangler hanging out by the gate who explained, “they” were there to pick up about 200 horses. Later, when asked to come forward and testify to this fact, the man refused as many of the residents did, mostly because they held a variety of government jobs and feared retaliation if they spoke up.

The people sitting across from me described what life was like there, a small little mountain community that had the unusual advantage of wild horses wandering through the yards on a daily basis. All had been named and they told stories describing each horses personality, how many foals showed up over the spring and scattered photos everywhere as they tried to impress upon me how intimately they knew the habits and hierarchy of the local herds.

“One of the twins is missing”, one said describing a little black foal that had a perfect white heart outlined in the center of its chest. “And all the paints are gone too”, another added.

For over two weeks, they had been driving around on their ATVs and hiking back into the farthest reaches of where the herds were known to hang out but every expedition had ended the same – most of the horses they knew were now gone.

One of them was just kicking themselves as it was THAT weekend they had been away on a long-planned trip and it was only when they returned, they noticed how empty the place had become. They started asking neighbors if they noticed too and this led to the guy and his conversation with the wrangler about the 200 horses being picked up.

Everybody started calling BLM and US Forest Service, demanding an investigation into who took the horses.

At first, BLM just tried to ignore them but residents would not be put off until someone came out to take a look. “Cranky” was the word used to describe BLMs attitude (okay, it was really “shitty” but I felt I should clean it up a little).

Once BLM went out and did their mandatory drive by, they told everyone “Okay, we drove around, nothing happened, the horses are just up in the hills” but residents weren’t buying it because they knew those horses and swore they weren’t anywhere to be found.

So they did what every other sane person would do – they scheduled a flight with a helicopter pilot to fly around the area to see if they could find the horses themselves.

When BLM found out about it, suddenly attitudes changed and they started taking residents claims of horse rustling very seriously - they even had high level officials fly down to meet with them to discuss their concerns.

First, BLM told everyone that they would conduct the flight and report back on how many they found, they even volunteered to provide an “independent observer” from a horse advocacy group, which turned out to have a long history of pro-BLM support - of course no resident from the community was allowed to go along for the ride.

When that didn’t work, BLM reminded them if they flew a helicopter over those wild horses themselves, it would be considered harassment, something illegal that BLM was prepared to pursue, and in the end the residents became afraid and cancelled the flight.

The missing horses, including the little black foal, have never been seen again but miraculously, when BLM conducted the official round ups of the herds later that year, they reported hundreds of horses were captured and removed from the area, proving once and for all that no wild horses had ever been taken just as they had been telling everyone all along…..

Except no one was allowed to see the round ups, the location of the holding pens were strictly guarded, a massive police presence made up of BLM, US Forest Service, and State Fish & Game wardens lined the highways keeping the public at bay and the local news helicopter found BLM escorting them out of “their air space” as they tried to get some independent footage of the operations.

One of the horse advocate groups the residents contacted right after they discovered the horses were gone asked if anyone had taken photos of the helicopter, explaining that it took a pretty big outfit to scoop up 200 wild horses in just a few days and they only knew of a few contractors capable of handling that kind of operation - but no one knew they were stealing horses at the time so no one thought to take photos of just another helicopter.

In a 1998, a news article buried in the wild horse archives titled, “The Horses Rustlers: How Scam Artists Abuse a Federal Adoption Program for Wild Horses”, reporter Wendy Williams interviewed ex-BLM special agent Steve Sederwall, who provides detailed accounts of how the BLM regularly rounded up and sold wild horses to killer buyers in lucrative, under the table deals.

Sederwall suspected BLM employees themselves were setting up the horse rustling programs, pocketing $500.00 for every horse they illegally sold and stated they were able to do this because the wild horses were never branded at the trap sites. Some were loaded on one truck and some loaded on another and nobody could tell the difference between a federally protected “wild horse” and just a plain old horse headed for the slaughter house, like tens of thousands did every year.

This is what the mountain community residents had feared most – an illegal operation that sent their beloved horses to slaughter but BLM tied their hands at every turn and in the end, the horses disappeared forever.

Sederwall also claimed part of BLMs scam was to pick up wild horses from one area in secret and take them to another area to prove an “overpopulation”, which now justified new rounded ups. Then BLM would scoop up all the secretly transported horses plus the original herds because the goal was to provide the forage in the area for livestock instead – plus picking up some serious cash for their efforts.

Thinking about this myself, it would seem to me that this would also help BLM support their allegations of incredibly high reproductive rates, some BLM has reported as high as 60%, never mind that the National Academy of Science reported wild horses and burros reproduced at 10% or less - more often less. This keeps the funding in motion, justifies the constant round ups, and feeds the myth of wild horse excess and overpopulation that keeps taxpayer money flowing to contractors and employees alike.

Lately, the mountain community residents have been reporting dozens of wild horses showing up they have never seen. The horses are drawn to the abundant water in the area and amazingly, it is starting to look like another “overpopulation” is beginning to happen, despite round ups taking over 1,000 wild horses just last year and BLM reporting they left less than 100.

When I asked if the new horses could be abandoned instead, the residents absolutely swear they are wild stating, "You can tell the difference between a wild horse and a domestic horse with just a glance and these horses are wild. We know the difference!"

Meanwhile, BLM just laughingly tells the public, “Prove It!”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Want Versus Need

I want to take a moment out to honor the incredible leap of faith the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Burros has taken this past six months by extending every bit of their resources to protect over 300 Virginia Range horses from going to slaughter.

In a recent newsletter ISPMB has stated that their efforts have successfully adopted out 263 of these historical horses!

But it has not come without a price. With the cost of everything skyrocketing and effecting each and everyone one of us, every time we go to the gas pumps we are aware of how expensive things are getting so fast! The price of hay has almost doubled in the last year and the drought South Dakota was pummeled with last summer has left very little reserves for ISPMB to provide for these "saved" horses.

So I would like to take a moment out to ask again for people to chip in and donate something, anything to this noble organization to show support for their heroic efforts and the leap of faith ISPMB took to save those horses from the slaughterhouses.

Please take a hard look at what you "want" versus what you need and considering giving up a want to help with a true need - the need of these horses and the people who have so bravely stepped forward to insure they were safe. Every bit will help and even a little from everyone will make a huge difference!

A few months back, I was cruising through the website of another horse sanctuary that had put out a call for help to save a group of horses headed for slaughter. They were asking for any amount but all I had was $15.00 to give. I was so embarrassed at how little this was that I almost gave into the temptation to not give anything at all. Thank God I decided that something was better than nothing and went through with donating the $15.00.

After I finished my transaction, I spent some more time looking around the site and came across a photo of this beautiful mare that had been saved from a horse slaughter auction for the grand tune of -can you guess? $15.00.....

I just started crying right on the spot. It had seemed such a pitiful amount to contribute but there I was, looking at the life $15.00 dollars had saved and it just absolutely stunned me that so little could do so much.

ISPMB has also asked that people consider being a monthly sponsor for the next 6 months, just so they will KNOW that their feed bills will be covered for all those beautiful horses allowed to still roam free on the sanctuary.

So PLEASE, consider helping ISPMB at this critical juncture in their courageous efforts by supporting those who support the horses.

Thank you for your consideration.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


While government officials, big game specialists and some environmental experts continue to harass and eradicate federally protected free-roaming wild horses and burros under the guise of equines being an exotic species that endanger the “natives”, one doesn’t have far to look to see this rhetoric completely fall apart as their lies and true intent is reflected in the management of the undisputed native American bison.

Once estimated as 60-90 million strong and the central figure on the Department of the Interior’s Seal, the last free-roaming herd of buffalo has been crammed into the imaginary boundaries of Montana’s Yellowstone Park and apparently, even this last herd is only tolerated to promote a tourist attraction (similar to what Nevada State Senator, cattleman and hard core sagebrush rebel Dean Rhodes proposed for our free-roaming wild horse and burro herds). Any attempts by the buffalo to follow traditional migratory routes outside the Parks boundaries are greeted by officials with hazing, capture, and slaughter due to their “excessive” numbers.

The fabrications used to slaughter wild bison are just as hollow as those used against free-roaming wild horse and burro herds. Their justifications for buffalo slaughter are asserted with the same unquestionable authority with Park and state officials going back on their word, time and time again as they seek only to appease livestock and big game interests, treating the public as nothing more than a nuisance.

Currently, National Park Service is engaged in the biggest buffalo cull and slaughter of the decade with almost 1,200 buffalo being butchered just since November to prevent them from leaving the Park.

Officials claim that buffalo can transmit a disease to local cattle called brucellosis but there has never been one recorded case of transmission from buffalo to cattle ever happening in the wild.

In case you missed that the first time, let me repeat this. There has NEVER been one single recorded case of a brucellosis transmission from buffalo to cattle in the wild! Yet somehow this absolute fact is completely ignored as officials continue to use it as their justification to slaughter Yellowstone Parks bison to protect the cattle industry.

The same cannot be said for Montana’s free-roaming elk population, recently estimated at up to 160,000 and well-documented carriers and transmitters of the disease. This fact is also ignored by officials and illustrates the point of how much power Montana’s Fish & Game Department actually has and where the priorities are for “our” habitat and species specialists.

If that wasn’t enough to drop your jaw, try this one. The Buffalo Field Campaign, protectors and stewards of this last free-roaming herd of America’s bison have recently reported that the current buffalo slaughter is aimed at protecting 12-16 cattle that can be vaccinated against brucellosis – that’s it, barely a dozen cattle with the majority of the locals protesting National Parks Services continued eradication of these beautiful and iconic creatures.

Taxpayer funded, government approved, here is just a tiny piece of what has been going on with Yellowstone’s buffalo behind the tourist scene.

Last year, the Buffalo Field Campaign issued press releases on May 9th and 10th regarding Park officials hazing of the migrating buffalo stating: “Pregnant bison and day-old newborns, as well as other bison, were run off of public land in an aggressive manner by agents on horseback and a DOL helicopter…. One baby bison fell injured and sick from the aggressive and relentless nature of today's hazing operation…The bison, with numerous calves, were run for over 8 miles without rest, food or water.”

As the BFC crew tried to film what Park officials were doing to the bison, here is what happened.

“The second BFC volunteer, Dan Brister, was arrested minutes later while attempting to document the bison crossing the highway…….These arrests were the result of an overzealous law enforcement officer interfering with our rights to videotape a government operation," said Brister. "I complied with his orders, did not resist, and still he arrested me and used excessive force, tackling me to the ground."

Photo by Barbara Michelman-Courtesy of Buffalo Field Campaign
Copyright 2007-All Rights Reserved

"The rights of American citizens are being infringed upon…Government agencies are ignoring the voice of the American people and acting as rogue entities who answer to no law but their own." Buffalo Field Campaign - May 2007

In a more recent press release, BFC has reported that over 20,000 people have contacted government and state officials requesting an end to the current tactics and have presented real, viable solutions to allow buffalo to migrate undisturbed and free from slaughter. Yet, again we find our public servants completely ignoring the facts or the solutions as they pursue their single-minded course of “destroy non-revenue generating species” - native or not!

This is just the tip of the iceburg - the facts and stories of what has been really going on with America’s last remaining free-roaming bison herds have been well-documented by the tireless efforts of the Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers.

The BFC has recently put out an urgent call for people to get involved, to help, to speak out, and to stand strong to protect the last of these gentle natives from continued senseless slaughter. To learn more about America’s last remaining free-roaming wild bison herds, please go to:

Buffalo Field Campaign – Click Here

If this is how the last remaining herds of the “native” American bison are treated, what are the chances for our wild horses and burros?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spanish Cerbats ~ Just A Theory?

In the last post, “Last of the Spanish Mustangs”, filmmaker Len Johnson focuses his documentary on the Spanish mustangs in the Cerbat Mountains of Arizona.

As is often the case, BLM records are relatively sketchy as to exactly what is and has gone on in the Cerbat herds protected habitat.

The 1993 Kingman Resource Management Plan discusses the Cerbats as a Herd Management Area. This means that through the planning process, BLM had determined the area was feasible for long-term management of wild horse herds. Yet today, BLMs website indicates that somewhere along the way, a change happened and the Cerbat area is now listed as a Herd Area instead.

The difference between a Herd Area and a Herd Management Area is still very fuzzy. The Herd Area was suppose to be declared by federal law as a protected habitat starting in 1971. Later, changes were made that allowed BLM to draw up new plans to determine if the wild horse and burro territories were actually viable for "management". If so, wild horses and burros were allowed to stay, if not, BLM removed them.

While Herd Areas were suppose to be the original areas protected by federal law, BLM has eliminated over 19 million acres of wild horse and burro habitat through the Herd Management Area planning process, often drawn with boundaries much smaller than the original Herd Areas.

This process can go back and forth. The Herd Area is suppose to be set in stone as it was identified as having wild horse or burro herds in 1971 (though prior records show that is not always the case). Then BLM sets about deciding if they can actually manage herds through a very complex process, sometimes several documents in the making, and if so, will declare the area fit for wild horse and burro use and give it Herd Management Area status.

However, a HMA designation is still subject to change and BLM can revoke the protected status through more planning processes and revert it back to Herd Area status. Usually, this is a foreboding of zeroing the area out completely for any further equid use such as what happened with the historic Clark Mountain wild burro herds in Southern California.

Lake Havasu in Arizona has just recently completed a new land use plan that stated wild burros would not be allowed outside the Herd Management boundaries even if they were still in the original Herd Area as well as no wild burros would be allowed in any Herd Areas at all and will now be removed.

So this brings us back to the Cerbat Herd Management Area, now classified as a Herd Area again. Is this a sign of things to come for the Cerbat wild horse herds?

In BLMs 1993 Resource Management Plan, BLM stated that 8 wild horses had been removed from Marble Canyon in 1989 and genetic testing concluded that “these wild horses were determined to be significant because of their genetic similarity to the early Spanish Barb horse.”

Today, we see BLM back-peddling on their historical significance as the description for the Cerbat Herd Area on BLMs website states:
“There are several popular beliefs on the origins of this herd. One theory is that the Cerbats are descendants of Spanish mustangs introduced as early as the 1500s. A second theory is that these horses escaped from early 1700s' explorers, and another belief is that they were abandoned by livestock ranchers in the early 1800s. Though the horses do typically show some sign of Spanish descent, their exact origin remains a matter of speculation. Regardless of the origination, this herd existed in the area prior to 1971, and is now protected by law.”

Does anyone else find it interesting that BLM stated genetic tests showed strong links of significance to the Spanish Barb horse, establishing this scientific fact through their own genetic tests yet today, they merely offer it as one of many “popular beliefs” and casually toss it out as only a “theory of speculation”?

The Cerbat Herd Area spans approximately 83,000 acres and BLM reports that an appropriate management level (AML) has yet to be set for the Cerbat herds - the 1993 Kingman Plan stated that forage was allocated for only 14 wild horses.

BLM currently reports:
“About 70 wild horses roam the Cerbat Herd Area today. The population is relatively stable and recruitment is fairly low. It is believed that the high density of mountain lions within the Herd Area account for the low recruitment and stable population and because of this stable population, removals have not been necessary and the habitat has maintained a good range condition.”

“Body size of a Cerbat horse is typically small, with an average body weight ranging between 750-800 pounds and a height of 14 to 16 hands. The horses are predominately bays, with a high occurrence of roans including reds, strawberry and blue roans. Other colors include greys, blacks, sorrels and duns.”

This is what BLM said back in 1993-
“Through population monitoring, three separate wild horse use areas within the Cerbat Herd Management Area have been identified. These include the east slope of Cherum Peak, the west slope of Cherum Peak and Marble Canyon.”

Wonder if those 8 horses taken from Marble Canyon in 1989 were returned or if BLM has since zeroed this herd out, despite their documented historic presence?

American Herds has requested more information from BLM on this scientifically proven historic herd and will keep you posted….

Marble Canyon ~ Arizona

For Information on the Cerbat Preservation Society contact:

All statistics and photo of Cerbat horses taken from BLMs Arizona website available at:
and the 1993 Kingman Resource Management Plan

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Last of the Spanish Mustangs

Len Johnson's "Last of the Spanish Mustangs" is a recently released powerful documentary on America's wild horses and the road traveled by America's horses to the slaughterhouse.

Len describes his 20 years experience in broadcast and print and working as an anchor and reporter in Chicago, Phoenix and Baltimore that eventually drove him to making documentaries, "I have a degree in journalism and find that while you can tell a few good stories in television news, you never really get to tell the REAL story. That is what I want to do" and do it he does!

Here are a few excerpts for "Last of the Spanish Mustangs" website found at:

"I started out wanting to tell the cowboy’s side of wild horses. I wanted to follow a Bureau of Land Management “cowboy” on a roundup. I had been told the wild horse population was exploding. I was told wrong."

"This documentary centers on the Cerbat mustangs in Arizona, which face heavy kill from mountain lions and the constant threat of government removal. The BLM estimates their numbers at around 90...but there are really around 40 at the most. I go up there to see the animals. The BLM doesn’t, by their own admissions. At times, the BLM will round up a Cerbat if a rancher complains, and it is my belief that the herd will be gone in 20 years."

Having personally seen "Last of the Spanish Mustangs", I found it extremely well done. Mr. Johnson's courage allows us to go along for the ride as he finds the Cerbat Spanish Mustangs of Arizona and gets to know the herds, shows the corruption and obstructionism of state and federal law enforcement officials, slaughter plants, and the BLM throughout his journey as he travels to find and show the American public the truth behind what is really going on with America's horses.

As "Last of the Spanish Mustangs" has been making the rounds at film festivals known for quality journalism and documentaries, it was recently awarded the Special Jury Award at the Temecula International Film Festival and has been greeted with rave reviews.

Here is what the Santa Fe Film Festival had to say about this gripping documentary that clearly shows much of what America's horses, both wild and domestic, face today.

Santa Fe Film Festival
"Former television reporter Len Johnson looked into society's fascination with wild horses, specifically mustangs, and learned that most Americans are devoted to the myth of wild mustangs but not the reality. The myth: Wild and free, roaming the West, untamed, exultant in their own wildness and power. The reality: These horses are dwindling descendants of Spanish mustangs, treated with contempt by those charged with their care, hunted and slaughtered for dining tables abroad."

"Through interviews, extant footage and a gonzo documentary style that owes a lot to Michael Moore, Johnson is fearless (for he learns the West is dangerous) in researching and filming the plight of many horses and especially Spanish mustangs. Their heroes: People like Michael Blake, the author of DANCES WITH WOLVES, and Jim Baca, former mayor of Albuquerque . . Their enemies: mainly the Bureau of Land Management, which originally was called the U.S. Grazing Service and fronts for big cattle interests."

"There are scenes of horse slaughtering and processing from the three US plants -- two in Texas and one in Illinois . The result is a powerful documentary, packed with information, on an issue that most of us avoid." – Steven Davis

And Cinequest Online said:
"A new law railroaded through Congress by a Montana senator allows wild horse slaughter for the first time in over three decades. The government and politicians claim the horses are overpopulating and have no natural predators. The government lies. Blatantly."

At the Last of the Spanish Mustangs website, read Tense Moments as Len describes his treatment at the hands of Richard Sichling when he tried to get near the Pacific Livestock Company, or Baxter Black – the cowboy poet veterinarian who supports wild horse slaughter, or how commercial mainstream media was allowed to film while Mr. Johnson was told to stop!

This DVD is a must have for anyone interested in connecting to the majesty and spirit of our wild horse herds and seeing the truth of what is being done to America's horses behind the publics back.

Reasonably priced at $16.99 a companion DVD, Wild Spanish Mustangs is also now available for only $12.99. Len said "because so many people asked him about what it was like being around wild horses and where to find them that, I thought I'd offer a second DVD of just wild horses in the wild."

To learn more about this rare and courageous documentary or to order a your own personal copy of "Last of the Spanish Mustangs" or "Wild Spanish Mustangs". You won't be disappointed!

Thank You Len!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Greatest Herd - Part II

In October 2007, BLM released a round up plan for the Nevada Wild Horse Range horses to finally reduce this last, greatest herd to merely 300. This proposal also had plans to possibly include 75 geldings as part of the 300 wild horses BLM would allow to remain yet BLM postponed issuing a final decision in favor of other round ups in Nevada. It is now tentatively scheduled for December 2008.

BLM estimates around 1,200 wild horses currently roam Nellis. Why so many? Because BLM has yet to remove any wild horses since approving the lower wild horse populations that ended their reign as the largest free-roaming wild horse herds in the West.

Also, it was only after all the changes were approved that results from genetic tests were finally published, which determined the Nellis wild horses had strong Spanish Mustang ancestry, a rare genetic trait now extinct in Spain and listed as threatened among historical breeders.

At one time, cattle were allowed to graze much of the wild horse range and BLM reports that until the late 1970’s, 6,000 to 8,000 cattle grazed in the ranges of Nellis. By the mid-80’s, almost all livestock grazing had been revoked due to military concerns and only a very limited amount of grazing is still authorized. Though small, BLM was required to include information on this livestock grazing when they evaluated the area for appropriate wild horse use back in 2003.

Look at the stark contrast in attitude between wild horses and livestock as BLM writes: (1)

Livestock Grazing Management, page 4-9: “The springs and riparian areas are the most important resource, and could be protected with exclosures. Water could be piped outside the exclosures to ensure animals have adequate water supply, therefore not needlessly suffering from severe thirst.”

Yet when it comes to wild horses needless suffering from severe thirst BLM writes under Unavoidable Adverse Impacts, page 4-14, “Fencing spring and riparian areas would have a direct impact on wild horses that frequent the areas. Some springs would be closed off and no water provided for the horses. There is direct benefit to fencing the spring area to improve the quality of the water and riparian habitat.”

Photo courtesy of American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Water has become the hammer and BLM is fond of quoting the lack of it as the reasons for all they do.

What they don’t tell us or try to hide is, buried in their dusty archives are decisions issued like the one above, consistently removing access to any water sources wild horses and burros need to survive while finding ways to redirect it to livestock and big game animals instead.

When BLM redrew the new boundaries for the Nellis wild horses, they removed water sources. They told the public they would apply for water rights on wells the wild horses could use instead but those plans have merely sat on a shelf with BLM reluctant to even discuss the issue, despite emergency removals conducted last summer due to lack of water. BLM planned on repairing water developments long past functional use but those too are still on hold.

In May 2007, United States Fish & Wildlife and the military were proposing to fence every single water source on the entire range, over 100 of them, with no wild horse access while the fences would still allow big game animals in reported as continuing to flourish and expand throughout the area.

The 2004 decision stated wild horses would have 14 out of 20 known springs they could still use but by October 2007, BLM stated only 5 were providing any water at all.

When recently pressed for answers and accountability to these “management plans” that have failed to materialize and have caused “needless suffering from severe thirst”, BLM has now proposed drafting a Herd Management Area Plan to outline new strategies for the Nellis herds and a series of unconfirmed rumors about what direction BLM intends to go with these plans have started to fly.

This has led to a moral dilemma. If American Herds reports “rumors”, will credibility be lost? Will letting people know what BLM may be planning for our wild horses cause BLM to change their secret plans? Provide fuel for their ever-popular“overly-emotional-lack-of-objective-data-hysteria-corp’s-wild-horse-advocates” propaganda and spin they depend on so heavily?

Yet so much is done in secret, done so fast, done without the public having time or resources to challenge them once the wheels are set in motion, it is almost impossible to stop them once they begin executing their strategic plans - knowing what to look for when the time comes may be invaluable to the people who care about preserving this oldest and greatest wild horse range.

So in keeping with Las Vegas tradition, American Herds is going to gamble, spread the rumors, see what sinks or swims. The lives and future of our wild horses hangs in the balance and they are worth the risk.

Rumor #1: BLM has already released geldings back out on the range but has yet to approve this through any formal process. It was a quiet experiment BLM is now getting ready to officially act on.

Rumor #2: BLM will propose managing geldings on a permanent basis on the Nevada Wild Horses Range in their upcoming Herd Management Area Plan. Once approved (which is expected to be guaranteed), BLM will never have to include the fact that they are and will continue to castrate stallions and return them to the range on Nellis in any and all future round up proposals. BLM will merely make a vague reference forevermore by citing something like, “Wild horse removals and returns will be conducted in accordance with the strategic plans outlined in the Herd Management Area Plan approved in 2008”.

Rumor #3: A wild horse advocate attended the recent National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting in Tuscon, AZ and has sent a message of concern and questions about what was being proposed for the Nevada Wild Horse Range. Efforts are being made to get more information but the rumor is…

BLM is considering completely zeroing out the entire reproductive herd and replacing them exclusively with the geldings now being held in long-term containment facilities in order to reduce holding costs. Once introduced, the entire 1.3 million acres could technically become available for long-term free range “holding” of these geldings.

The catch? No public access due to high levels of military security measures, no independent census or counts of the geldings being shipped into the base, no possibility of tracking them and no way of knowing what is happening once they have been shipped to this “forbidden zone”.

Nellis is one of the most restrictive areas in the wild horse and burro program and for decades has been plagued with rumors about wild horses being used for target practice, poisoned water holes, and internal lotteries awarded to the most proficient marksman.

If BLM chooses to eliminate the functioning herds and uses this place to ship our geldings instead, in essence, they will disappear from the wild horse and burro program, known only by an unverified number BLM writes on their annual reports.

So let us all hope that every one of these rumors turns out to be just that – merely a rumor and BLM will choose to step up to the plate and finally provide the water they promised so long ago for the Nellis wild horses instead.

Photo of "Dead Horse" may be used for educational purposes as long as American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is credited as the source.

(1) United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Las Vegas Field Office, Proposed Nevada Test & Training Range Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement, May 2003, Section 4.4.9, Livestock Grazing Management, Section 4.5.2 Unavoidable Adverse Impacts