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Madeline Pickens’ report on the BLM’s New Program for the Wild Horses and Burros

To Whom it May Concern:

We are writing you on behalf of Saving America’s Mustangs, an established 501c3 dedicated to educating the public on the state of wild horse and burro populations in the United States. In addition, I am the owner and operator of Mustang Monument, an eco-resort established as a sanctuary in Nevada for the protection of thousands of wild mustangs residing on my ranges.

Recently, the Bureau of Land Management created the report titled, “Management Options for a Sustainable Wild Horse and Burro Program” to Congress. The options and so-called “facts” that the BLM has put together in this report, are completely untruthful and false. Many Americans feel as do I, that the government should be held accountable for their devious and horrific acts. This issue that can no longer be ignored. We must put an end to the violence and slaughter and bring justice to these animals that cannot speak up for themselves. We are the voice of all the people who have reached out to us – we write to you as their representative and ask you to consider the real story of these animals we, as American people, are responsible for protecting.

Thank you for your time.
Madeleine Pickens Founder and Owner
Saving America’s Mustangs and Mustang Monument


In what can only be called another exercise in futility, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued another list of options for managing the Nation’s wild horses and burros. It is less than remarkable to file this among the countless other reports put out by the GAO, NAS, the Department of the Interior and others, given that the bottom line for the BLM has always been the extermination of America’s wild horses. Today, the BLM is taking a more modern, yet similar approach to Dr. Josef Mengele. His name is familiar to anyone who knows about one of the most atrocious eras in human history: The Holocaust. Mengele was a German physician and officer who practiced human experimentation with no regard to health, safety and the overall well-being of his victims. The BLM’s report “Management Options for a Sustainable Wild Horse and Burro Program” to Congress, outlines the alleged negative effects of the wild mustang. They define inexplicable ways to manage wild horses and burros without taking the protection of these animals into any consideration. Let’s look at some of the specifics in this latest attempt at distorting the facts and truth.

In the Executive Summary, the BLM cuts straight to the main thrust of their goal in issuing the report by eluding to the fact that Congress has limited their ability to rely on euthanasia as an essential tool in their management plan. Of course, this is the same Congress that passed a law to protect this American icon and symbol of our history, the wild horses. Could it be that Congress has correctly interpreted the will of the American people when it comes to protecting and preserving our wild horses and actually put their interests above the minority views of the ranchers and slaughterhouse proponents?

Looking further in the Executive Summary the report references the fact that ranchers have been forced to cut back on grazing cattle on the public lands where they coexist with wild horses. Nowhere in the entire report, however, is there any reference to the fact that 2.1 million of cattle graze the public lands and the amount of damage that those cattle do to those lands. Cattle exist on public lands at a ratio of 37 to 1 with wild horses. 97% of public lands used for grazing are set aside for cattle while wild horses occupy 3%. You have to be a “Puff the Magic Dragon fan to believe that the 2.1 million cattle vs 70,000 wild horses are not doing the bulk of damage to our public lands.

Another gross distortion in the Report lies in the BLM’s repeated assertion that they will need public/private partnerships to accomplish the goals of virtually every option laid out in the Report. I have tried for 8 years to partner with the BLM and spent millions of dollars on a project that would take thousands of horses out of short term holding and place them back on their native lands. The truth is the BLM takes a specious approach to partnering and everything must be on their terms, a recipe that has yielded zero results for over 45 years now.

Another flat out lie exists within the visuals that BLM provides by way of the pictures of starving horses on the range in various places. On page 4 of the report, there are 2 photos the BLM claims to have taken in real life conditions. In the past, the government has cut the water supply off from wild horses and burros, causing the horses to become incredibly sick and have less natural resources than usual. Both photos are incredibly misleading and untrue. We must always remember that wild horses and burros were originally granted 50 million acres in 1971, now they have closer to 30 million acres, with the other 20 million acres never being litigated or discussed by the government. The BLM should be ashamed to have shared such false accusations of the history of events that have happened on American soil.

Where are the pictures of the healthy horses? Most assuredly the thousands of horses gathered each year on the range are in good shape. In fact, there are individuals out there on every gather that photograph thousands of healthy horses, yet their pictures don’t find their way into national reports. The public deserves to know the truth of the condition of wild horses out on the range.

On page 5 of the Report the BLM sates that “the herds have no natural predators.” To the extent that there is any truth in that statement, it is attributable to the fact that, just like the wild horses, the government has managed predators to the point of extinction. Both federal and state regulators crave the revenue streams that flow from catering to those that live to stop a heart. This can be easily documented through a chronological look at government management practices dating all the way back to the early 1900s in the case of wolves and much more recently in the management of mountain lions. Over and over government agencies stumble over themselves trying to make grazing work in arid climates not well suited for it and the result is the suffering and elimination of multiple other species.

On page 12 of the report to Congress, the BLM states disgusting yet comical amendments for the Act they are proposing. The 4th Amendment states, “Eliminate the provision that limits an adopter to acquire title to only 4 animals per year.” This essentially means that anyone, regardless of the amount of land they have, can adopt as many horses as they would like per year. This allows for horses to be put in terrible and abusive situations, where they are given little to no space and food to live. One of the more sinister assertions or alternatives in the Report can also be found on page 12 under the heading “Intergovernmental and International Transfer of Animals. Due to the increased interest from private, non-government organizations as well as countries outside the U.S., an international program will be developed to allow the use of wild horses and burros for various purposes.” If the public believes this is anything other than a thinly veiled slaughter program, they are sorely deluded.

Also on page 12, the 6th Amendment of the report, allows for the transfer of wild horses and burros to “other countries for humanitarian purposes or to promote economic development outside the United States.” This is yet another lie and way for the BLM to get away with devious acts by transferring thousands of horses overseas to foreign countries and entities, with no regard to how they will be cared for. Surely, they cannot believe that the American people would honestly think that thousands of horses would be simply transferred to foreign countries to find their forever homes. The harsh truth of this is the only way the government could fit that many horses into aircrafts or ships, is chopped up and put into tin cans including their foals.

The BLM is only interested in finding ways to eradicate wild horses and purposely fails to come up with any plans to help them, though there are many. By unrestricting the sale of excess wild horses and burros and the euthanization of healthy horses, solely because the BLM believes an adoption demand doesn’t exist, would be an uneducated and negatively impactful decision for our nation. They must believe the American people are completely ignorant to the actual truth and facts regarding the benefits of our nation’s icon.

On page 13 of the Report, the BLM details their wish list of “Categorical Exclusions” from review under provisions of NEPA. This is the same agency that holds NEPA over everyone’s heads when it comes to moving forward with a plan for partnerships with the private sector. Giving them this exception would be like turning Dr. Josef Mengele loose in the West with a scalpel and satchel of other tools on the road to mass extermination.

The Report was not totally without some positive recommendations. Under the “Attachment 3-Public Opinion” section, the suggestion was made to “expand public lands for use by wild horses and burros.” This comment is found in nearly every document ever produced by the BLM or other agencies and ALWAYS ignored by the BLM when considering management options for the future. A little-known fact that is certainly not insignificant is that the wild horses were initially allowed 53 million acres spread across over 300 Herd Management Areas. Without any mitigation, that number has been reduced to approximately 30 million acres on 177 Herd Management Areas. Much of that lost acreage is now grazed by cattle.

From this document, we can see that not much has changed. We know that government reports come and go. In fact, few ever result in any substantive change on the part of government agencies. In this instance, however, we are facing more dire circumstances than ever before when it comes to our wild horse population’s survival in the Western United States. The need for private intervention has never been so important. It is time for the government to stand aside and let problem solvers get involved in the management of our wild horses. Whether it is adoptions, ground management or financial prudence, the BLM has not and cannot get the job done. The BLM continues to be devious, with their lies and deception, while taking American taxpayers and the great American Mustang down a one-way road to slaughter. There is a better solution, one that will save the government 2.5 billion dollars from their 5 billion, over the next few years. Yet, the same old swamp has once again found its way into this congressional report. America must not take a myopic look at this problem but rather a real down to earth solutions based view if we want a future for the most iconic and beloved creature in our country, the American mustang.

Click here to read the BLM’s Report to Congress.