An Open Letter to President Obama

wild horsesI did vote for you. I was intrigued by your call for "change". You signaled a dramatic new course, one of openness and inclusion.  Certainly I applauded your choice of Joe Biden as vice president, a staunch animal welfare advocate.

The promises 

During the 2008 campaign you said, "Federal policy towards animals should respect the dignity of animals and their rightful place as cohabitants of our environment. We should strive to protect animals and their habitats and prevent animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect…. I have consistently been a champion of animal-friendly legislation and policy and would continue to be so once elected." You announced that you had co-sponsored legislation to stop the sale for slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros. During the election you signed on as co-sponsor to the bill to ban horse slaughter for human consumption.  When asked specifically during the campaign, "Will you support legislation …to institute a permanent ban on horse slaughter and exports of horses for human consumption", you gave an unqualified "Yes". (HSLF questionnaire)

Today, in January, 2010, you are presiding over one of the deadliest, most cruel and unnecessary government roundups of wild horses ever documented by BLM.

As of this writing, more than 2 dozen horses have been killed by helicopters used by your administration to run them off their legally protected herd areas and corral them in long term holding pens. The hooves of two little foals have literally torn off as they ran for their lives from the BLM. BLM’s Richard Sanford DVM reported on one, "Multiple hoof sloughs were noted and the foal was euthanized for humane reasons. The cause of these hoof abscesses/sloughs was most likely hoof trauma from the gather operations."

Several mares have also aborted spontaneously or miscarried. This after being forced to run miles from a helicopter and trapped in a corral, terrified, traumatized and forever separated from their herds, their families. A long time BLM official whom you promoted to the job of Assistant Director for Renewable Resources and Planning in the BLM, Edwin Roberson, claims the spontaneous abortions are "the result of the poor condition of many of the older mares and … directly related to lack of forage on the range." Except that they weren’t miscarrying on the range and didn’t do so until after they were forced to run hundreds of miles, extremely afraid, and lost their families and freedom forever. Your administration would have us believe that the mares all miscarried in the past few days because of years of eating the forage on the range and it had nothing to do with the severe trauma of the roundup they had just endured?

The nearly 2,000 horses that have now been removed from their herd areas are contained in an open, dirt arena, basically a feedlot, with no windbreaks or other protection from the weather. Visit Saving America’s Horses – A Nation Betrayed, for more information on this deadly roundup. Also watch the video below taken by a humane observer of the Calico roundup.

wild horsesWow, your words about respecting animals as co-inhabitants and protecting them in their habitat really ring hollow, don’t they? Not to mention I do not see that your administration has lifted a finger, let alone "championed", for "animal-friendly legislation and policy" as promised.  

Thousands of citizens have gathered at dozens of ongoing protests of BLM’s policy of extermination towards our wild horses and burros.  Tens and even hundreds of thousands more have written and called your administration and Congress, asking you for a moratorium on wild horses and burro roundups, an evaluation and change in policy, like the one you promised. But you seem to have dug in, your attitude reminiscent of President Richard Nixon, refusing even to acknowledge the outcry, let alone the cruelty. 

Taxpayer money – the budgets

Calico is only the latest of the roundups of wild horses that have actually accelerated during your administration. In FY 2008, the cost of rounding up and holding these animals was approximately 81.3% of the $36,201,000 budget for the total wild horse and burro program. The BLM wild horse adoption program consumed another 13% of the total budget, leaving a meager 5.8% for monitoring and managing herd areas, census, and compliance inspections. (BLM report – 2010 Budget Justification)

The 2009 budget was $40,613,000 with the increase used for more roundups and holding costs. (BLM report – 2010 Budget Justification)

Then you proposed for FY 2010 a substantial increase in the budget for the wild horses and burros program for a total of $67,486,000 with the entire additional $26, 873,000 to be used for rounding up 12,000 horses and holding what will be a total of about 40,000 horses in pens. (BLM report – 2010 Budget Justification)

Now for FY 2011 you have requested an additional $12 million apparently to defray the costs of holding wild horses and burros in corrals and long term holding facilities.  Also, you want taxpayers to authorize $42.5 million for the first of seven "preserves" or holding facilities in the midwest or east for non-reproducing herds of wild horses and burros.

How do you explain to laid off workers, unemployed fathers and mothers, struggling businesses, and taxpayers shouldering substantial government debt in this worst of economic times, why you want to continue, even step up, round ups of nearly all of the wild horses and burros and put them in costly holding facilities?

What’s next – deer, elk, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons? 

You appointed Ken Salazar to be the Dept. of Interior Secretary. Sec’y. Salazar supports horse slaughter; he is an avid supporter of taxpayer subsidies of livestock grazing on public lands which BLM has given priority. It has been said that grazing livestock on public lands is a "$132 million loss to the American taxpayer each year and independent economists have estimated the true cost at between $500 million and $1 billion dollars a year."  Another burden for the taxpayers.

Sec’y. Salazar also supports oil and gas development so this appointment probably made Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) happy.  He conspired with then Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) in 2004 to legalize slaughter of wild horses and burros and has through special laws and otherwise, facilitated removals of large numbers of these animals from lands in Nevada his contributors want for development, oil and gas drilling and production, mining, recreation and the like.  The cattle and even sheep would be allowed to stay and their numbers increased. Whatever is profitable at the expense of the American people’s public lands.

Horse slaughter 

Needless to say, since your election, you’ve not said a word about supporting legislation to ban horse slaughter. I guess if you were planning to keep that promise, you would not have appointed Ken Salazar or Bob Abbey. Your BLM Director, Bob Abbey, is a long time BLM employee who as director of the Nevada BLM office signed off on numerous wild horse and burro roundups and sales for slaughter.

Mr. President, the issue is not one of balancing interests, the wild horses and burros, the ranchers, energy development. The issues are integrity, compliance with our laws, and humane treatment of animals.

wild horsesSec’y. Salazar has disseminated the outline of a plan, really a culmination of Bush era BLM meetings, that will basically mean moving wild horses and burros to pastures, even feedlots in the Midwest and East, from herd areas and ranges in the west where they are supposed to be "free roaming", managed at the "minimal feasible level" and protected from "capture", "harassment" and "death".

Not only is such a plan contrary to the promise of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 USC §1331 et seq., Nena Winand, DVM, has advised such a move makes no sense because taking horses from their native habitat to pastures in the Midwest or East with different nutrients is likely to cause them to suffer metabolic syndrome.  This is one reason why there is an effort to protect "animals and their habitat", recognize "their rightful place as co-habitants" of the earth. (Do you remember that you said that?)

But this, like the explanations for the miscarrying mares, is typical of the lack of science underlying BLM’s management of the wild horses and burros. Secy Salazar has asserted as his premise for this plan that exploding numbers of wild horses are responsible for the degradation of the range and must be removed. He adds that this is for the horses and burros’ own good because they are also starving. Secy Salazar has asserted this over and over as if repeating it will make it true.

President Obama, your administration has used newspapers and its own websites to try to convince the American people of this. One blogger would remind that it is illegal to use appropriated funds to hire publicity experts. 5 U.S.C. 3107 "Appropriations law "publicity and propaganda" clauses restrict the use of funds for puffery of an agency, purely partisan communications, and covert propaganda."  BLM fails to include "Letters in Opposition" to the agency’s action, and also does not in its "News Releases and Editorials" any news reports or editorials critical of the agency’s actions. 

The truth

In 1990 the GAO found the range was in the best condition it had been in during the past century. The GAO found any degradation was the result of livestock grazing and suggested removal of cattle, not wild horses and burros. The removal of wild horses at that time was something done largely to appease ranchers.

Since 2001, however, over 74,000 wild horses and burros have removed from the range, and now one year after you took office and stepped up the Bush era removals, there are almost more wild horses in holding facilities than roaming free. As of October, 2009, BLM was holding 32,000 animals in holding facilities. More now since the roundup of the Calico horses that began in late December, 2009. 

Even though two federal judges have warned BLM that driving horses from their historic herd areas and ranges into long term holding facilities as a means of managing them, may not be legal even if they are deemed "excess", your Secy Salazar and your BLM director, Mr. Abbey, have pushed ahead to remove more than 12,000 wild horses and burros this year alone.

wild horsesThe truth is there are fewer free roaming wild horses now than in 1974.  Wild horses make up only .5% of grazing animals on public lands; they are outnumbered by cattle at least 200 to 1. The BLM manages more than 256 million acres of public lands. Cattle grazing is allowed on 160 million acres, while wild horses are restricted to 26.6 million acres of land that is shared with cattle.

Take as an example the BLM’s zeroing out or eliminating 12 herds in Lincoln and Nye Counties in Nevada in September, 2009. BLM estimated there were 1,357.43 acres per wild horse in one herd area, about 350 horses; and 3,377.38 acres per horse in another herd area, about 270 horses. The BLM zeroed out all of these herd areas, known as the Seaman including Golden Gate, and White River Herd Areas and the Caliente Herd Area. Not one wild horse will be allowed to live anywhere in these herd areas despite that in 1971 they were designated for the wild horses and burros.

In the Calico Mt. Complex, site of the current roundup of 90% of the estimated 3,100 horses living there, there are approximately 175 acres for each horse. 

Hardly an overpopulation of wild horses and burros. But that’s not all. BLM’s population numbers simply don’t add up.

In 2007 BLM said there were 700 horses there and in 2008, there were said to be so few horses that BLM decided not to monitor them further. BLM then authorized what amounted to a 300% increase in cattle in one allotment of this area. Just a few months later in 2008 BLM decided the numbers of horses in this area had exploded and were degrading the range. In 2009 BLM employees responsible for monitoring the wild horses and burros in this area testified they were "surprised" to hear about an exploding population of wild horses in the Calico herd management areas, that they believed the range could adequately support the number of wild horses. The idea seems to be to exaggerate the number of wild horses to justify removal of more and more of them until there are no more?

BLM would like everyone to believe the agency is just really bad at counting wild horses. According to Cindy MacDonald at American Herds, BLM is also claiming "hundreds and hundreds of wild horses moved outside the [herd management areas] when the choppers arrived in 2004-2005 – but after the choppers left, the mustangs snuck back inside", thus accounting for the population increases. 

wild horsesIt is highly questionable that these horses, however many there are, should have been declared "excess", meaning BLM determines there are too many for the range to support and they must then be removed under the WFRHBA. BLM specialists tasked with monitoring wild horses in this area didn’t seem to think as of the spring, 2009, there was any reason to remove wild horses; these specialists actually testified that the range could support the numbers of wild horses. 

Also, the environmental assessment for the Calico removal was a sham. Anyone could see very dated studies of the range condition were used. And, your administration would have the public believe that wild horses too few to bother monitoring as of 2008 somehow destroyed the range but thousands of cattle and oil and gas development had nothing to do with it? For more….

Just like for the Pryor Mountain, Caliente and Seamen/White River roundups in 2009 where BLM claimed without any current assessment or real proof that the range was degraded because of the horses and never mentioned the tens or even hundreds of thousands of cattle and even sheep also occupying those areas that trample the land and foul the water. 

In all of those cases, wildlife ecologists and other witnesses offered substantial proof there was no real evidence of degradation of the range and a dwindling number of horses, not an overpopulation.  Regardless, rounding up wildlife and putting them in holding facilities is hardly an ecologically sound method of conservation or preservation.

What about the law?

And what of the law, the requirement that the BLM "shall maintain a current inventory of wild free-roaming horses and burros… to… make determinations as to whether and where an overpopulation exists and whether action should be taken to remove excess animals; determine appropriate management levels [AMLs] of wild free-roaming horses and burros on these areas of the public lands" §1333(b)? 

Does it matter at all that the BLM’s wildly fluctuating census, obviously made up, and unsubstantiated or outdated claims of "range degradation" violate the law?

wild horsesBy the way, Mr. President, we have seen no evidence of starving horses.  Instead, we have seen  horses killed, injured and terrified by helicopters BLM uses to run them down and corral them, their families destroyed, their anguish, suffering and fear.

How do you and your DOI and BLM simply ignore the mandate against inhumane treatment of wild horses under the WFRHBA? Why have you not stopped your administration’s disregard of the law, called for the Justice Dept. to investigate and prosecute criminal violations of WFRHBA? 

BLM has also basically thumbed its bureaucratic nose at the National Environmental Policy Act, The BLM is required by National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq., to prepare Environmental Assessments or EAs or, if indicated, Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) or Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), for any proposed changes to public lands that may have a significant environmental impact.  The law directs the agency to identify environmental concerns, consider alternatives including no action at all and take a "hard look" at the problem and minimize significant environmental impact. A significant environmental impact includes actions that are likely to be highly controversial or have uncertain effects on the quality of our lives and that affect cultural and historical resources. 40 C.F.R. §1508.27(b).

These evaluations as well as land use plans are full of words but have little substance when it comes to stating why wild horses must be removed from their homes. They are all cookie cutter, cut and paste, blaming the wild horses and burros for unspecified "range degradation" without mention of thousands of livestock or other wild animals that share these areas.

BLM’s plan for non-excess horses and presumably for healthy unadoptable excess horses is what Ginger Kathrens, founder of Cloud Foundation, has decried as "managing the wild horses to extinction".  Secy Salazar’s plan, again, not the "change" we were promised, calls for aggressive sterilization and creation of herds that are all geldings or all mares or not in sufficient gender ratios or numbers to maintain genetic viability. Those left after these Frankenstein-like machinations will be placed in those Midwest or East Coast pastures. Forget pastures. The BLM team thought feedlots would be sufficient.

wild horsesHow is that maintaining free roaming behavior as required by WFRHBA? Even BLM agrees herd behavior would be "out the window". 

It is evident that BLM’s preference for the horses it has captured is to kill them or send them to slaughter. Is that really the long term plan for these horses? During the Calico roundup, for example, no one seems to be keeping track of the horses, many have not been freeze branded as required by law. The BLM is strictly controlling access by the public, treating us as if we are terrorists instead of citizens trying to protect our animals and uphold the laws we passed to protect them. 

During its Bush era discussions BLM considered ways to keep the public away from round ups and the killing and sales of healthy horses and burros and planned to brand protests as "eco-terrorism".  This was all to be done in secret. Unless you step up and stop this rogue agency, Mr. President, it looks like BLM’s plan may succeed.

BLM eroded the protections WFRHBA is supposed to provide for the wild horses and burros long before you took office, Mr. President. That is why the change we are looking for is not more of the same, but a moratorium on these outrageous abuses, an investigation, a new direction.

BLM, for example, has long ignored the limitations on the "multiple use" concept under the WFRHBA and Federal Lands Policy Management Act.  BLM issued a regulation that effectively rewrites WFRHBA to say the "objectives of these regulations are management of wild horses and burros as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands under the principle of multiple use". 43 CFR § 4700.0-2 Yet, the WFRHBA says only that wild horses and burros "are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands". 16 U.S.C. §1331.

WFRHBA mandates "[a]ll management activities shall be at the minimal feasible level". 16 U.S.C. §1333 BLM’s regulation says "[m]anagement shall be at the minimum level necessary to attain the objectives identified in approved land use plans and herd management area plans." 43 CFR 4710.4. Two very different laws.

FLPMA makes clear that the protections under WFRHBA take precedence. FLPMA, 43 U.S.C. § 1732 (a) Yet, despite this, BLM has issued a regulation that provides "[w]ild horses and burros shall be considered comparably with other resource values in the formulation of land use plans." 43 C.F.R. §4700.0-6(b).

Indeed, BLM has not managed herd areas as required by WFRHBA only to "maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands" and "protect the natural ecological balance of all wildlife species which inhabit such lands, particularly endangered wildlife species", or to "protect the range from the deterioration associated with overpopulation". BLM has also ignored the law requiring ranges to be "devoted principally" to use by wild horses/burros. Instead, BLM has used a "multiple use" approach under which the wild horses are generally treated as nuisances to be removed from their own herd areas and ranges.

wild horseThe BLM has authorized itself to divide herd areas into "herd management areas", something not authorized by WFRHBA. 43 CFR 4710.3-1. In this way, with no statutory authority at all, BLM has limited wild horses and burros’ access to thousands of acres that were historically their herd areas. This is done without thought about the horses’ seasonal migration patterns or available resources. The BLM then removes wild horses and burros from the artificially created "herd management areas" on the basis there is insufficient forage, water or habitat! BLM also targets them for removal if they cross the artificial boundaries into their original herd areas.  The creation of herd management areas has resulted in the loss of more than 20 million acres of historical herd areas. For more…..

What you can do, Mr. President

Mr. President, you can stop the roundups, the cruelty, and you can do it now. Put a moratorium on the roundups, order the Justice Dept to investigate BLM’s wild horse and burro program and work with Congress and the public to determine the best course for conserving these animals in their habitat and at the same time meeting the country’s energy needs.

What we can do

1. There have been a number of protests of BLM’s actions in rounding up and removing these horses, and more are scheduled to take place. Join one of the protests now scheduled or plan your own! 

2. Animal Law Coalition along with The Cloud Foundation and Equine Welfare Alliance have called on the public to continue to call on the Obama administration and Congress to put a moratorium on the Calico and all BLM wild horse and burro roundups until Congress can decide the best course of action for these animals.

Send a letter (please be polite) to President Obama in the web form found at Urge President Obama to put a moratorium on the Calico and all BLM roundups of the wild horses and burros until Congress can decide the best course of action for these animals. 

Follow your email with a phone call to the White House (both numbers) to appeal to the President to halt the BLM’s cruel Calico and other wild horse roundups. 

Phone: 202-456-1111 or 202-456-9000; Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Forward this message to five friends and family and ask that they take a couple of minutes to help the horses – every public comment and phone call counts. You can help us increase the number of active wild horse advocates.

FY11 DOI Budget hearings are going on now in the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, Subcommittees on Interior & Environment.
Call on your Representative and also members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, (Find their contact info here; just click on their names) to de-fund the wild horse and burro roundups for FY 2011 and also continue the prohbition on slaughter or other commercial use of wild horses and burros or the killing of healthy horses.

Call on your U.S. senators and also members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies (Click on their names for contact info) to do the same.


Information contributed by Equine Welfare Alliance

8 thoughts on “An Open Letter to President Obama”

  1. This is a sad state for these horses. But I have to ask, what promise has Obama
    kept so far. He fed the American Public untruths and never was an animal advocate.

    His dog told many of us his thoughts on animals. He could care less about animals or he would have had a dog. He only got a dog for VOTES because he found out that approx 67% or more voters had dogs. Do we ever see him with his dog Bo on TV.
    Is BO waiting for him like Barney did with Bush? NOPE Now we know the truth about Obama.

    What goes around comes around and I hope he gets hit again with results by the elections just like Massachusets. Did you people hear the shot that hit U.S. over this election. THis was the 4th time.

    The whole animal issue should make Americans wise up and start rallies to help the horses and burros just like the Tea Parties, we are fed up with his administration.

  2. This is an excellent piece, but who is reading it besides we advocates? I’ve written to Obama and my Senators and Representatives over and over and have achieved NOTHING. It hardly seems worthwhile to keep doing the same thing over and over, but I don’t know what else to do.

    I’m beginning to think our only hope is that the judge in the IDA suit will rule that massive removals are illegal. But by then, it may be too late for so many of the horses.

    It all just makes me sick.

  3. What you and your administration are doing to an American Original, the mustang, is deplorable. You should be ashamed. The horse as we know it, first appeared on American soil 4 million years ago. They died out on our soil 11,000 years ago. Settlers and travelers brought them back and the result is all the horses we have around the world, including the wild mustangs.

    If you had any sense of common decency…you would immediately cease and desist the round-ups of wild mustangs on public land and restore the ones you have caught to their home ranges. As an American citizen, you will never have my vote in the future on any issue if you don’t rectify this situation in an American way. Give them back their land, or get out of office. I don’t want you in there right now, and I sure don’t want you in office if you don’t take care of this situation right now.

    Jim Dawson
    2nd Chance Mini-Ranch Equine Rescue & Rehabilitation Center

  4. Laura Allen, that is an incredible letter to the President. But as a lawyer, please tell me why the BLM is not being sued for animal abuse in the case of the Calico roundup?

    I woke on Christmas morning, Dec. 25, 2009, knowing I could not wait another day for someone or a court to protect the horses – I was mad and was not going to take it anymore! I organized the December 27 protest at Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas the first of many protests around the country. Craig Downer, (ecologist and observor of the Calico Roundup), Gina Greisen (President of Nevada Voters for Animals) and myself met with Senator Reid staffers early in January to explain why a roundup moratorium was necessary. No response to date except political speak. A multitude of animal and wild horse rights groups are scrambing to save the last of the horses on the range. Our actions are not enough. What can we do in the courts NOW?

    I urge readers of this response to inundate Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid’s switchboard both in Washington Phone: 202-224-3542. Fax: 202-224-7327 and Las Vegas 702-388-5020 with calls demanding an immediate moratorium on the BLM roundups and a full investigation of the BLM handling of wild horses and burros. He has the President’s ear.

    Every year I go to African wildlife parks where tens of thousands of people are on safari spending money and employing local people just to view their wildlife. Often foreigners asked where they could come in North America to view horses, wild and free? My answer: NOWHERE! I explained that our government agencies are taking the horses away from the wild to open their range to ranchers and miners. The response was disgust and surprise that Americans would eliminate wild horses that should attract people of all ages to the West.

    We are losing a powerful tourist industry to subsidize beef and sheep interests, etc. Are we crazy not to start wild horse eco-tours that will bring new jobs to remote communities? Restaurants, motels, b&b’s, tour guide ranchers, food suppliers, transport companies to mention but a few would bloom as folk came to see horses and stayed to see our landscapes and people. And they will want to see mustangs in the iconic West – not mustangs relocated to farms in eastern US states! That is what the Minister of the Interior, Ken Salazar is promoting. Why?

    Foreign and American eco-tourists want to see and photograph wild horses exhibiting distinctly wild behavior in their native wilderness areas just as they can view African wildlife living free in major wilderness areas. Mr. Neil Kornze, staffer for Senator Reid, has stated that there are proposals to bring the horses closer to urban populations. Why? Folks can look over a fence at any horse stable without any cost. They will not pay $3,000 to 5,000 a week to view sterilized horses in domestic pastures as they do pay in Africa to see zebra stallions fighting for dominance, older herd females disciplining youngsters or a herd stallion fending off unsuitable suitors for one of his daughters. We had such natural behavior in the Calico/Caliente/Ely/Red Rock herds until they were vastly reduced or zeroed out by BLM roundups. These self-sufficient herds were within 3 hours of Las Vegas or Reno and in Red Rock Canyon, just 20 minutes from the Vegas Strip.

    Wild horse eco-tours can bring people to rural America where job diversification is needed so very badly. Wild horses will be the banner attraction but visitors will stay to enjoy the local culture, food, cowboy poetry festivals, historical sites, etc. Short-term pipeline construction, extractive mineral and ranching jobs will not be enough to lift the locals out of hard lives.

    More importantly those job choices do not share the beauty of rural America with others. Visitors do. They come, admire, ask questions, and refer the American West’s wildlife and beauty to others. And visitors keep coming decade after decade.

    When a rancher’s child can chose between managing a B&B on a father’s land, guiding tourists, or working in town at the proliferating diners and new motels, life is vastly improved. Not fancy choices you might say? Oh then you don’t know rural life. Those are great choices for many kids because they are hometown jobs near friends, relatives, and perhaps their own backyard horse. Eventually a community college might start up in a growing town where local youth can study while working part-time. However, when rural youth must move for example, to Reno or Las Vegas for jobs or education, they lose their community legacy while stripping rural communities of their best and brightest.

    Another example: Las Vegas could develop as the primary hub for eco-travel to Nevada and the Southwest. Las Vegas has direct flights to Asian, Latin American and European cities where large numbers of people have already had sophisticated safari experiences in Africa, Antarctica, the Galapagos, etc. They would find it very attractive to combine for example, five days in rural Nevada on wild horse eco-tours, three days touring Zion, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon ending in several days of the standard Las Vegas attractions.

    Mayor Oscar Goodman should take more than showgirls overseas: videos of wild horses running wild and free in the stunning Nevadan landscapes will bring another type of tourist to our doors. Then the murals of wild horses at McCarran Airport will deliver on their promises and we diversify our tourist industry from gaming to gateway to the Southwest wilderness attractions.

    The Nevada Division of Tourism has invested in a brochure called “Wild Horse Adventures in Nevada” (view at but the concept of wild horse tours needs more time to develop. According to wild horse author, Terri Farley, she is inundated daily by emails requesting information on where and how to visit wild herds in Nevada wilderness settings. I have spent over 20 years around the wildlife safari industry in Australia, Africa (East and South), Canada, etc. and know that millions can be made from this untapped eco-tour industry. But before that industry can develop the BLM is stripping Nevada of the wild horses and burros that we need for eco-tourism!

    We have extraordinary wilderness in the American West. Wild horses and burros are the American equivalent of lions or elephants. How can third world Africa save their wildlife, but we Americans will not save our wild horses? Instead of costing the taxpayer multi-millions of dollars a year in holding facilities, horses viewed running free on public land can generate millions of tourist dollars a year – if we stop the BLM’s horrific roundups.

    East Africa and Southern Africa depend on the safari industry for a major part of their economy. Why don’t we? The BLM is as corrupt and immoral as any African dictatorship – and your tax dollar is paying for their existence. So call the President and Senator Reid today!

  5. Laura, I also voted for President Obama and canvassed for him too. I was fortunate enough to take a horseback riding trip through Wyoming where I saw wild horses. I was so moved by seeing them.
    Writer Alice Walker wrote: “Horses make the landscape more beautiful.” It’s so true, and it’s so horrendous what the BLM is doing to these beautiful creatures.
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  6. Has Laura’s letter actually been sent to the president? The comments/ideas about the eco-tours are excellent and sound like a win win to me. We have to keep fighting for these horses no matter how long it takes or how helpless we feel. I will not stop until the roundups stop. I want to see the BLM dismantled. It’s time for a revolution people. The BLM, Fish&Game, and special interest groups are decimating all of our wildlife and their habitats. If anyone can help with legal action against the BLM or it’s contractors please STEP UP! I get local print shops to donate flyers (downloaded from and I flag cars at all civic events. I think it helps to raise public awareness. When the WHBA of 1971 passed it was due to public outcry (only 2nd to vietnam war) and most of the letters were from children. If any of you are teachers or know teachers, do a class project to send their state rep/senator and the president letters. Forward all emails regarding this issue to your local media. Raise public awareness by any and all means possible. Please don’t give up, the horses need us more than ever.

  7. If you are a member of Facebook, please send a friend request to Drew Bulecza. I have some things I want to share regarding this. I also have a proposal that I would like to send to Obama and try a different approach.

    Or go to Facebook, bring up “Tennessee Walkers and Spotted Saddle horses the Natural way and click on discussions. Add any ideas/positive input or beneficial changes to my proposal. Even if it seems futile…it is worth a try.


  8. MorganLvr ~ I just joined the Animal Welfare Alliance and while browsing I found a link that brought me to this site. I also am a member of IDA, Care2, Animal Connection, HSUS, ASPCA, etc., I am a RABID horse activist and have done everything I possibly can to help save our American wild horses and burros from Ken Salazar and his BLM roundups. Just today, I called 23 senators who are on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; the committee which Ken Salazar will be asking for his 2011 budget for ‘horse roundups and monies to purchase a ‘preserve’ in which to house the mustangs and burros he has taken and plans to take from their lands in the West. I asked each of them to refuse/deny Salazar’s BLM for additional funding for this outrageous request! I also call President Obama EVERY SINGLE DAY and urge him to place a moratorium on any additional roundups for 2010 and to REPLACE Ken Salazar; heads should also roll within the BLM.

    I must admit out of all the many letters I have read on this site your comment stopped me in my tracks. I totally agree with everything you say; unfortunately, it saddens me to even say so. But you are right; WHO IS READING the petitions, letters, faxes and emails? And is Obama even listening to the calls he is receiving about this issue! I doubt it, nor is anyone on the ‘HILL’…with the exception of Ron Paul! I actually receive the one and only POSITIVE reply on this matter from Ron Paul and I was elated. But that is only ONE person out of 100+ I’ve called, emailed, petitioned and faxed…GO FIGURE!

    We’re all doing ‘something’, but nobody’s home on the ‘HILL’. It makes me sick because, again, you are correct when you say ‘it may be too late for many of our horses and burros’. I simply do not know what else to do…but I WON’T stop trying!

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