Wild Horse Education

WHE is your resource

Wild Horse Education has put together extensive information in the pages of our website.

Information on roundups can be found in the drop down menu from the main menu bar.

The “Reading Room” has various resources from how big energy and welfare ranching impact wild horses to the basis of law current management practices come from. You can find out how to read a freeze brand and what the “Burns Amendment” is that allows wild horses to be shipped to slaughter. A glossary of BLM abbreviations is available in our “free book” in progress.

And of course you can read about our legal efforts.

If you can not find the information you are looking for email us at wildhorseeducation@gmail.com MANY of the pages are in response to questions received.


A recent request was for information on the comparison between wild horses and private cattle and why was it called “welfare ranching.” The excerpt below is from an article we published in response.

cattle watching wild horses load onto a semi trailer ... copyright 2012 Laura Leigh, all rights reserved

cattle watching wild horses load onto a semi trailer … copyright 2012 Laura Leigh, all rights reserved


In the 19th century western expansion saw ranchers purchase parcels of land that they felt were of value. Areas where water sources, higher elevations, etc made the land less desirable they left to public domain. Ranchers would use lands in the public domain for grazing as well, but felt they were not valuable enough for purchase. In states like Nevada that amounted to 85% of the land base.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began with the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. After the American Revolution this allowed the survey and settlement of the lands that the original 13 colonies ceded to the federal government. Congress established the General Land Office in 1812 to oversee the disposition of  federal lands. The Homestead Act and Mining Law of 1872 were added as western expansion occurred in the 19th century.

In the late 19th century we saw a shift from the concept of expansion to one of protecting the resources on the land for the American public at large. We saw the beginning of a National Park system and laws created to manage the resources on and beneath the land for the general “good.”

In 1934 we saw the Taylor grazing Act appear with the intention of setting up grazing districts to be managed by the federal government. The law initially permitted 80,000,000 ac  of previously unreserved public lands of the United States to be placed into grazing districts to be administered by the Department of the Interior. This created the Grazing Service. In 1946 the Grazing service was merged with the General Land Office and the Bureau of Land Management was born. The land management policy of the federal government before 1946 involved easy access of federal resource to miners, ranchers and farmers. Grazing on federal lands continued under a system of “allotments,” where ranchers paid a monthly fee to graze each cow and her calf. (The fee was 5 cents in 1906, the equivalent of $1.14 today; in 2008 the fee was $1.35.)

Not until the 1976 enactment of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA)did the BLM have a multiple-use, sustained-yield mandate.

Why do yesterdays practices continue today?

Why do the practices of the past continue that have been proven to create damage to the ranges and destroy the resources required to sustain other users, including wild horses and burros?


Categories: Wild Horse Education