Madeleine Pickens ‘buys the Ranch’ setting the stage for wild horse sanctuary in northeastern Nevada

Saving America’s Mustangs: A Prospectus

Recently, Madeleine Pickens purchased the 14,000 acre Spruce Ranch and gained control of adjacent BLM livestock grazing allotments amounting to 500,000 acres between Wells and Ely, Nevada.

This private land acquisition and control of the associated public lands sets the stage for Pickens’ intent to create a wild horse sanctuary for 10,000 wild horses in northeastern Nevada.

Saving America’s Mustangs: A Prospectus

The Pickens proposal raises many legal and regulatory issues that will need to be addressed by the BLM before any such sanctuary could be created. Read the rest of this entry »

BLM rounds up 364 wild horses near Challis, Idaho

135 expected to be released to keep total herd size near 185-

BLM rounds up 364 wild horses. By Todd Adams. Challis Messenger.
Photo of the roundup (from the Messenger)

Posted in B.L.M., Wild horses. Tags: . Comments Off on BLM rounds up 364 wild horses near Challis, Idaho

Horse Debate Misses the Point.

Wild Horses in Nevada © Ken Cole

Wild Horses in Nevada © Ken Cole

Ted Williams, a writer for Fly Rod and Reel Magazine and Audubon has written a piece attacking wild horse advocates and politicians who supported H.R. 1018, the Restore Our American Mustangs Act.

I think it misses the point. I think that an opportunity to do something about livestock damage was missed and the bill will ultimately result in great ecological damage. For whatever reason language to proportionately reduce livestock grazing in horse areas was not included in the bill that passed the House but has no counterpart in the Senate.

I think that everyone knows that high use by non-native horses, invasive livestock, and even native ungulates such as elk is damaging ecologically. That is not my debate with the author. I think that the debate rests in proportionality. Livestock damage is several orders of magnitude higher than horse damage even though there needs to be serious reductions in both populations.

Water trough and spring heavily used by horses.  There are many more springs abused like this not used by horses. © Ken Cole

Water trough and spring heavily used by horses. There are far more springs abused like this not used by horses. © Ken Cole

In an exchange between Williams and myself he states this: “Unlike horses, cows can be managed, moved, brought in in the winter, and they’re a business”. In essence he seems to justifying the damage they cause for these reasons but I don’t see that they are being managed in such a way to benefit anything other than the pocket book of the rancher.

I go on to respond “we need to be talking about proportion since cattle cause 1000 more times damage to the lands, water, wildlife, vegetation and fisheries. By all rights you should be writing about 1000 times more articles about that damage. I don’t think this issue should be ignored but it certainly needs to be put into proportion.”

One of 239 Ecological Illiterates in the U.S. House
Ted Williams for Fly Rod and Reel.

Room to roam: House votes to rescue wild horses

Wild Horses in Nevada © Ken Cole

Wild Horses in Nevada © Ken Cole

Rep. Nick Rahall, Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, has a soft spot for wild horses.  That’s good, it’s a national disgrace the way these animals are treated.  His bill just passed the house:

Room to roam: House votes to rescue wild horsesAP

WASHINGTON — Galloping to the aid of the nation’s wild horses and burros, the House voted Friday to rescue them from the possibility of a government-sponsored slaughter and give them millions more acres to roam.

A great point by Rep. Rahall:

“How in the world can a federal agency be considering the massive slaughter of animals the law says they are supposed to be protecting?”

Welcome to the West Rep. Rahall, our good ol’ boys back here got a whole portfolio of lots of different animals that fit that description.

Bill would block killing of wild horses, burros

Bill would block killing of wild horses, burros

“It is unacceptable for wild horses to be slaughtered without any regard for the general health, well-being, and conservation of these iconic animals that embody the spirit of our American West,” Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.V., said in a statement.
By SANDRA CHEREB – Associated Press Writer

Meanwhile, back in Utah…

Resolution supporting horse slaughter passes
The Salt Lake Tribune

And in Wyoming…

Lawmakers decry interference in horse slaughter
By MARJORIE KORN – Associated Press writer

And in Montana…

House takes up bill to approve slaughterhouse
By JOHN S. ADAMS – Tribune Capitol Bureau

Horses abandoned in West as feed prices rise

Here’s an original story about another change in the west brought about by rising feed prices :

Horses abandoned in West as feed prices rise – Laura Zuckerman – Reuters

Wild horse roundup in the Great Divide Basin

The BLM is going to remove about half the wild horses in the Great Divide Basin of south central Wyoming. Story by Cat Urbigkit in the Casper Star Tribune.

I found it interesting that they have done a genetic analysis of the origin of the horses.

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