Environmental news from California and beyond

« Previous | Greenspace Home | Next »

Nevada's wild mustangs: Officials reject philanthropist's sanctuary

A proposal from the wife of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens to create a sanctuary in Nevada for wild horses removed from public rangeland around the West has been rejected, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Friday.

Madeleine Pickens' plan wouldn't save taxpayers' money and doesn't include enough water and forage for the mustangs, agency Director Bob Abbey told The Associated Press. He said the BLM spent considerable time with Pickens on her proposal, and is committed to pursuing public-private partnerships to improve its management of the symbols of the West.

“However, despite numerous requests from the BLM, (her) foundation has not provided a formal and detailed proposal so that the BLM can properly analyze and determine its feasibility,” Abbey said.

Pickens said the BLM failed to clarify what details it wanted, but she was not giving up. She bought two ranches in northeastern Nevada last year to serve as a sanctuary for mustangs captured from the range, instead of in government-funded holding facilities.

“I'm going to keep working with the BLM,” she told the AP. “It's like your children. You just have to keep working with them until they get it right. To me, it's sad we don't have the leadership to fix the issue of these poor American mustangs.”

Pickens first proposed establishing the sanctuary in 2008 after the BLM said it was considering euthanasia as a way to stem escalating costs of keeping animals gathered from the open range.The BLM rejected her initial proposal, saying it involved the use of public land where wild horses did not exist when the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was enacted in 1971.

While Pickens' latest proposal addresses that issue, Abbey said it would require an environmental analysis to transfer title of wild horses to her and change the class of livestock authorized on several Nevada grazing allotments from cattle to horses.

Among other reasons, existing law also would need to be changed to give the BLM the authority to reimburse a private party for grazing wild horses, he said.

Under Pickens' latest proposal, a nonprofit foundation would care for the animals with a government stipend of $500 a head,per year. Abbey said that exceeds the BLM's existing long-term holding cost of $475 a head, per year, in Midwest pastures. “Her prospectus, as presented, does not demonstrate an obvious cost savings to the American taxpayer,” he said.

But Pickens said her proposal would result in “huge savings” because it would involve the government initially turning over 1,000 wild horses in short-term holding facilities where costs run $2,500 a head, per year.

Eventually, Pickens wants to return all horses in government-funded holding facilities to natural habitat elsewhere after purchasing more property. “I don't think the BLM quite grasps that our country is in a financial emergency,” she said.  “You can't keep spending the money they do to put horses in holding. They have a program that doesn't work, and they're trying to save face.”

Last year, Pickens purchased the 14,000-acre Spruce Ranch and the adjoining 4,000-acre Warm Creek Ranch to serve as a horse sanctuary. The Elko County ranches, which she renamed the Mustang Monument preserve, come with grazing rights on roughly 564,000 acres of public land.

Abbey also criticized Pickens' media campaign supporting the sanctuary, saying some of the information requires clarification and context, and that other information is “just plain false.” Pickens defended her statements.

The BLM rounds up wild horses to limit their numbers, saying it is done to protect the herds, rangelands and wildlife. Activists maintain they are being conducted to appease ranchers and make room for cows.

About 33,700 wild horses roam freely in 10 Western states, about half in Nevada. The BLM set a target level of 26,600 horses and burros in the wild, and removed 10,637 of the animals from the range in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

Of the $63.9 million designated for the BLM's wild horse and burro program in the last fiscal year, holding costs totaled about $37 million.More than 40,000 horses are in government-funded holding facilities, BLM spokesman Tom Gorey said.

-- Martin Griffith/Associated Press

Photo: Wild stallions spar in a holding pen during a roundup by the Bureau of Land Management east of
Carson City, Nev.  Federal land managers say tens of thousands of wild horses and burros roaming parts of 10 Western states are too numerous for the range to sustain. Credit: Debra Reid/AP

Comments () | Archives (26)

The comments to this entry are closed.

BLM just doesn't want a person that cares about the Mustangs & Burros to take care of them because the numbers & facts of each animal would have to be propperly reported instead of being able to lie about them!
I can see right through this one!

BLM is out of control they are not trying to work with people on this situation they would rather send the horses to slaughter I have seen mustangs that were adopted out put on the internet free to anyone ,because the owner could not aford to feed her and she was starving , another one was giving a blm mustang away free because she could not afford her and said she was good for breeding , does the blm not screen these people better , why would you think it would be ok to take a blm wild mustang out of it's natural enviroment because of over population and adopt it to someone to use for breeding ? our domestic horses are over populated as it is , sent to slaughter, starved , abused, people can't offord them in these economic times , the blm thinks we need to dump more wild horses into the hands of people that have no business having them , we have a lady who is willing to work with blm along with other wild horse groups and BLM says no they are looking out for the best interest of the horses , so where was there best interest when 235 blm wild mustangs were saved just hours from heading to a slaughter plant , The blm says th wild mustangs are never sold to meat dealers , but how did someone buy 235 wild mustangs then have them in the hands of a meat dealer ? the BLM takes excess older horses that have been passed up over 3 times at adoption time and just sells them to anyone so if you are a dreamer and thing some of our wild horses do not end up at the slaughter plant you are sadly mistaken .The American wild mustang is a U.S symbol and they are being treated inhumane by the blm in my book , newborn foals left on the range to die , foals born early in cramped holding pens , lucky to survive , aborted foals due to stress, youngsters ran for so long and so hard over rock that there hooves seperated from the flesh and were left to die in holding pens ,broken necks ,legs , hips ,horses trampled while being loaded, I watched as the helicopter actually ran into and nocked down burros, loaded little foals with adult horses and crammed them into a trailer how safe is that for that baby, in todays world you or I as a U.S citizen would have had animal cruelty charges brought against us ,why does the blm and the ranchers get away with it , where has the compasion gone ? the people have to stand up and stop this !!!!!

Wrong. Horses ARE Native to North America, but they went extinct about 10,000 years ago. Wild horses do less damage to range land than cattle because they are always moving and never over-graze an area. The damage to our public land is done by cattle. Millions of them have taken the place of just a few thousand wild horses. The Cattlemen's Association, a very powerful lobby, is behind the government's policy on wild horses. They have grabbed OUR public land to turn their cattle out on for a penny on the dollar.

ITS just something else the goverment can distroy.they need to leave the horses alone .Or let that lady have them to put on her property.and let some of use take some. Buy or what ever.Lets round washington up and put them in cages like that and feed them to CHINA.

I am a lover of all wild things...wrote a dissertation on Wild Horse Annie and thought that the BLM was in check...until now. How did we regress to this point??? to where the Ranchers and the Mustangs, are again, at war over water and grazing all conventional wisdom..there's more than enough to go what's the 'REAL ISSUE'??? enlighten me..because I want to help, but if I go in unarmed, I'll have no ground to stand on. I have a sinking feeling in my gut, that we've regressed 40 years or so..and that this fight is politics as usual..what's to gain or lose, for the powers that be??? Don't they have enough..are their livestock in danger...does anyone have a vested interest our heritage and the future of Wildlife, just as we value our National Parks...shouldn't we cherish the Living History of our Country..sincerely yours, Beverly Nichols

Anyone else surprised that when government is OFFERED a solution, it still can't be done? The BP disaster rings a bell too. When are people going to realize our government is a COMPLETE sham that can't react fast enough to do much of anything let alone a natural disaster! They are ALWAYS playing catch up or finding excuses for their inefficiency and even when offered viable solutions, still can't work it out. The government is not designed to deal with anything other than taking your money. After ALL the money our taxpayers have given in this country, we are somehow in a debt mess, EVEN AFTER a booming economy pre 2008. Where is all the money going? It is all a sham, after 33 years on this earth, I no longer have to wonder why things are like this or that. I know why. SHAM

Wild horses eat, poop, and trample. Public land is owned in part by ME and I don't want them on my property messing things up.

If any of you feral horse defenders had them come into your garden, eat all your plants, poop all over your lawn, turn your swimming pool into a stinky mud pit, and destroy your fences, you would protest that the government isn't doing enough to protect you from those pests.

Wild horses and burros are not native to North America and cause great damage to our fragile desert ecosystems. The damage they cause to native vegetation is well documented and obvious with a simple walk through the desert.

We agree with Pickens. It is our right as American's to share and enjoy these Wild Mustangs and Burros. Pickens and her group will be monitoring them. They will cause no trouble & never have. Plus, we will save money that the BLM is throwing away, while American's starve... Next, they will be shooting the Eagles. What's wrong with the people that want them slaughtered, are they Mad???

More big game animals are killed in the U.S. by cars and trucks than by hunters. Both of these kinds of death are way more humane than "natural" deaths which usually results from long agonizing bouts with starvation, disease, or parasites.

Wild horses are big beautiful vermin that cause huge damage to native species. They should be removed from our public lands along with all the cattle and sheep that are allowed to graze there. There are ways of eliminating wild horses that can be profitable, but the Bambi crowd won't let that happen.

How any school children wouldn't give $1 a month to save the horses?

How many Ford Mustang owners wouldn't pay an extra $100 a car knowing it saved the real Mustangs?

I really don't care whether the horses are saved or not. What I do care about is that the government STOPS SPENDING MY MONEY on projects as useless as this. Let Ms Pickens have her horses and ranches and prosecute her if she doesn't take care of them. And get the BLM out of the horse ranching business!!!!!!

There are no native species of horses in North America.

This species of horse are not native to North America. They should be put her ranch, and neutered.

If the BLM would control overgrazing by cattle ranchers on public lands, there would be plenty of grass and water for the wild horses.

Stop giving free access to public land to cattle ranchers!

That would solve this problem in a flash.

Eternal blessings to you, Mrs. Pickens, for your efforts. I hope you will not give up or give in, in your kind-hearted efforts to help protect these magnificent, inspirational beasts. Every year, the mustang "round-up" breaks animal lovers hearts, the world over.

Maybe 50-100 years ago, this inhumane practice could have been excused due to ignorance. Today, no. Especially in a world of dwindling natural resources and natural beauty. There's hardly anyplace one can go anymore without seeing the footprint of man. I say lock up the BLM and let the horses run free.

We have to save these Mustangs...they are a beautiful symbol of the independent ruggedness that defines the American West.

They prefer to sell the horses for slaughter to sell to China. Save the horses, sell the officials

BLM Director Bob Abbey says no again.
In 4 days the BLM will round up 2,000 of the horses in Antelope Valley, NV that M Pickens, the HSUS, ASPCA, Western Watersheds, wild horse advocate groups, us the public, and Congress are trying to protect.
If a solution can be worked out these horses can go to the viable alternative of her sanctuary instead of the back hole of 'long term holding'.
If he wants to be seen as a reasonable man, he could ground the helicopters, and work out the details of this sanctuary so these horses can be spared the misery of long term holding, far away from the home ranges, their protected public lands, that they know and love.

It seems to me that the BLM better start finding solutions, better start working with the folks that care about these magnificent creatures-- and, work with them in good faith. Ms. Pickens has proposed solving one piece of the puzzle-- I think a "Wild Horse National Monument" is a fabulous start. Incidentally, this should be a FRONT PAGE STORY...

The Bureau of Land Management fails to even consider wild horses in their Environmental Analysis'. Take for example the soon to commence Antelope Complex "gather," adjacent to Madeleine's properties. Horses are only mentioned in terms of numbers needing to be removed with no scientific explanation as to why. For other large wild life there are studies of their needs - winter range, summer range, and claims of adequate forage and natural water sources to be augmented with guzzles. A guzzler is a man-made catch basin designed to enhance natural waters. If BLM did an Environmental Analysis truly looking at the needs of the horses or plans to mitigate areas of "damage" it would be a first. Unfortunately they are just playing a Shell Game!

It's not really complex or hard to understand the issue. BLM has an "unwritten" agenda to stop any all persons from other foreign lands from having access to wild horses. I.e. Picken's. They the BLM already know that anyland this group may obtain will be used for water rights and windgen bases on businees with the key moneytary partner T.Boone Pickens.

Pickens has after 2 years finally spent some money to acquire some wild horses in Fallon, Nevada close around 200 which is a saturday night stay in the real wild horse world. Meaning this was a "token" see I have wild horses, let me play.

The BLM has told her that if she wants to paid for wild horses then she need to bid on a long term holding contract just like everyone has. If the BLM was going to pay $500.00 per wild horse to her per year it would be cheaper for BLM to pay the adoptors that fee to spread the wild horses all over the country. So why pay her.

Pickens doesn't think things through, she started using our name, and her advisory board is still under out name which is both copyright and trademarked protected but she doesn't care about the "rules" of the game just how many she can violate and still get her way. This ain't Iraq.

After a year and she knew a lawsuit on name violation and few days before she was to get served she changed her name to Madeline Mustangs.

If its one thing to play in the game but when BLM sees your not part of the game it sends the wrong meassage and that it "We (Pickens) don't care about anyone else, we're only concern about us" doesn't show the BLM that a genuine program for wild horses is at heart.

There on a few fingers a few wild horse people actually will speak and work with each other but the overall pictures show that because of "ego's, attitudes and money" none not one group will actively support another group other than by remarks. Wild Horse groups, bloggers, photographers all see wild horses as means to capture "money" for personal use or gain.

Once the BLM takes wild horses off federal lands they loose that federal protection status because they are no longer "free roaming". BLM places these on private ranchers lands not government facilites where if anyone tries to visit these the local sheriff is called to prevent the public from seeing public prorperty as these are still public domain property that belongs to the tax payers not the ranchers. BLM was seen telling a family that they couldn't visit to see the wild horses and comment was made that maybe they should request a FOIA request to see these.

BLM has gotten worse, GAO 2 years ago on a report told the BLM to shake it and redo the management and they have not done one thing. GAO has no law enforcement weight or Congressional binding weight.

If I have said it a dozen time then its been said a million, all the petitions, all the complaining and all the screaming doesn't make BLM operate, CONGRESS, again, CONGRESS has sole authority over rules and laws governing BLM illegal activity. November 2 was your last change to change all this.

Now your stuck with adopting the wild horses and returning them to our public lands as an individual. Remember as long as your a tax payer the federal lands belong to us, so act like it and quit letting BLM tell you they own the air-space and you can fly around them, they do not own that air space get a news chopter up there placing these gathers on live television, run the license plates of every truck or vechcile see if they are dwi' or bad parents not paying child support or click on the irs site for tax returns of horse gathers companies and see who there employees are and run there names for sex offenders database. You have to learn to peel this banana a part one peel at a time.

Bottom line is Pickens ran her mouth saying she could America from itself when she couldn't even save her own program. Now welcome to my world and just get wild horses from ever door and place them in homes is the best defense against an over powering offense. The BLM has no legal rights to know where these are once there in private hands.

Pay your $10.00 a peice for them then get another $100.00 per wild horse from the Take Pride In America slush fund where FORD puts there money . If you don't then the BLM will just contiunue to give this money to that Mustang Heritage Foundation groups to keep running dog and pony shows instead of using the money to help wild horses.

There many layers of this story that could be told to stop the illegal operations of the BLM including there euthanizing of wild horses because it has a "nick mark" on its but. Well BLM your going to get your bite right on the ass. Your killing wild horses whats next senior citizens with your Health Care.

$63.9 million to take care of horses? Outrageous!

Thank you for calling attention to the plight of these beautiful animals. Horses don't care about government rules, they just want to be free. Mrs. Pickens is offering a workable solution that meets that criteria. Mr. Abbey of the BLM is the one that should be put in a holding pen, or perhaps put out to pasture for good. Where is his common sense!

Our government dollars are being wasted on cruel, useless policies that are in conflict with the Free Roaming Horses and Burros laws first signed by President Richard M. Nixon.

Stop the horror, stop the waste, stop it now.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Recent News
Invitation to connect on LinkedIn |  December 12, 2013, 9:58 am »
New Cook Islands Shark Sanctuary proposed |  December 8, 2011, 8:00 am »