BLM Fail – Wildlife Slaughter, Wasting Taxpayer Money

By Faye Higbee

BLM Fail – Wildlife Slaughter, Wasting Taxpayer Money

Mustang Monument Eco-Resort- Saving America’s Mustangs

The  BLM scrutiny of cattle ranchers in Oregon and Nevada recently has resulted in a Wild Horse rescue organization not being able to open for the 2016 season. They have conveniently “lost” the group’s applications for permits to traverse “BLM land” in between parcels of their horse sanctuary.


A probe of BLM practices from 2015 showed that the BLM had sent at least 2,000 horses to slaughter rather than find them safe homes, according to a Washington Post article from  November 2015. Not to mention their practice of rounding them up  with helicopters, which destroy some of the horses just by running them to death.



BLM roundups with helicopters © Saving America’s Mustangs

But then, according to a report in 2013, they also destroyed hundreds of endangered Desert Tortoises because they reportedly didn’t have the money to feed them or couldn’t find a new solution. These are wildlife “managers?”

Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, and CEO of Saving America’s Mustangs, contacted Senators Harry Reid and Dianne Feinstein and described plans to build an eco-resort that would work solely to benefit the West’s Wild Horses in 2006. They were supportive of the project, as was Henri Bisson, then head of the BLM, and sanctioned the building of the project at a meeting in November of 2008.

Madeleine purchased 900 square miles of land near Wells, Nevada.  Then Bisson resigned.

Wild Mustangs running free on the Pickens ranch © Saving America’s Mustangs

Delay, obstruct, “misplaced paperwork”

Since that time, the BLM has done everything in their power to delay, obstruct, and fight her at every step.

She has spent $24 million of her own money to work toward a place where the mustangs could live “wild and free.” She brought in journalists in 2014-2015 to showcase the beautiful resort they had worked so hard to create.

In 2014, BLM and local officials demanded she obtain a “recreation permit” to take guests from one part of her ranch to another, which is a small portion of land. In spite of the applications having been submitted TWICE, that permit still has not been granted.

In fact, when they asked about the application, the BLM responded “the paperwork was misplaced.” So her lawyers refiled the paperwork.

Then came the BLM demands in January 2016 for her to work on the water supply pipes at the resort – in the middle of winter – which was completed at a huge cost. Still no permit.

The BLM and Neil Kornze, BLM Director

Kornze testified before Congress that every horse they house in holding areas costs $50,000 to feed. When the BLM whines about money, their answer is slaughter. You should understand that.

A little simple math tells us that it means $5 billion in taxpayer money is going out for this because the BLM is refusing to listen to answers from people like Madeleine who have simple solutions.

Mrs. Pickens writes,

“The ranch I purchased has the ability to keep thousands of mustangs on it, manage them in a way that allows them to remain there instead of being placed in holding pens at $50,000 per horse, and save the BLM and taxpayers millions and millions of dollars.  What I have presented is the classic opportunity to leverage private dollars against federal dollars to accomplish a goal everyone states they are seeking in the wild horse and burro management arena, yet I find myself stymied at every turn by the BLM finding ways to delay or outright stop the project.  This is because the BLM is NOT truly committed to finding new management solutions to managing wild horses; the only thing they understand is gathering and holding horses in pens. 

The BLM argues that there are 60,000 wild horses on the range today.  That number is not supported by any accurate census modeling and, in fact, totally ignores the fact that there is a natural attrition rate of 20-25% per year.  Of course, this attrition rate is reduced significantly when the horses are placed in domestic holding pens, another argument for keeping more horses on the range through creative management solutions.”


Solutions? “We don’t need no stinking solutions”

Most of these beautiful wild horses are destined for slaughter, which is what I suspect Mr. Kornze is hoping after whining to Congress about the money they are spending. But he is unwilling to change the agency’s modus operandi. The BLM doesn’t WANT a real solution like Mrs. Pickens has proposed.

The BLM manages to waste $5 billion in taxpayer money managing the Wild Horse and Burro Program while doing absolutely nothing new to manage the program.  How much longer can Members of Congress and the American public sit idly by while the BLM turns its back on those who bring real solutions to the table to help solve the outlandish problems presented by the current management of our Wild Horse and Burro Program? Madeleine Pickens

You can help: demand to know why Reid and Feinstein have abandoned  support for the Mustang Monument project. Senator Harry Reid:  202-224-3542, Senator Dianne Feinstein: 202-224-3842, Secretary of the Interior Jewell: 202-208-3100.

The wild horses  of the America are symbols of freedom. Their legacy is one of power, freedom, protection. SAM will continue to take care of the nearly 800 wild horses on their ranch.

The following Go-Pro video is about mustangs and their legacy: