Action Item

Not Over My Wild Horses! (Grass March part 1)

Wild horses have been stampeded and removed off of public land for decades to accommodate domestic livestock.

Wild horses have been stampeded and removed off of public land for decades to accommodate domestic livestock. “Entitlement complexes” of public land ranching now over populate our landscape.

This article is from 2015. The action item is expired. WHE received over 30K individual comments. 

UPDATE JUNE 2019: the faction represented in this article is tied to the Stewart agreement that is in play for fiscal year 2020 that is set to gut the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. (Learn MORE) It is also deeply connected to John Ruhs (former NV State Director, and Deputy Director of BLM,  and Brian Steed, former Chief of Staff of Chris Stewart, Congressional Rep. from Utah, now Deputy Director of BLM) and our complaint on file with the OIG). 

The “Stewart Alliance,” or the document called “The Path Forward,” began just after the article presented here was written. It is important for you to understand the dangers go very, very, deep. The results of this movement are hitting sage grouse, ravens, employees that report trespass (BLM employee, Craig Hoover was recently fired. Amy Lueders, former NV State Director, was ungracefully yanked from her chair and replaced with John Ruhs), and wild horses. 

Many inside the BLM have completely caved to this movement, instead of following the law. Many more actively support this movement, in violation of so many codes of ethics. Many continue the “memo of manipulate the advocate” to keep big screen TV’s and “volunteer/partnership funds” they can pass to family and friends. 

This is an American tragedy. A lot of it begins here: 

Editorial addressing a series of articles published in Range Magazine on the “Grass March.” As a wild horse advocacy organization we address multiple issues that affect management practices. Make no mistake part of the agenda of this “machine” is to disenfranchise wild horses. The petition this “march” carried to DC last year was very clear; wild horses need to be removed and even destroyed (we will cover this in depth later in this series of editorials on the Grass March in part 2).


This “Grass March” was a flop, but they are getting “back in the saddle.” The area in this photo was claimed “fine for turnout” by the Grass March and is a photo of YOUR public land.

Have you ever been served a meal piled so high with absolutely delectable morsels that you find it a challenge to decide where to take the first bite? As I sit at my keyboard that is the sensation I feel as I glance over a recent series of articles in Range Magazine on the “Grass March.” Every page, paragraph and sentence laid before me is a feast of lies, deceit, propaganda and even a few outright demonstrations of almost sociopathic behavior waiting to be devoured. But where do I begin?

This feast of fiction attempts to paint a picture of a “persecuted people.” Historically spoiled “entitlement brats” want you to hear the tall tale and cry tears for their predicament. They paint their “frontmen” almost as American “saints” then set an intentionally provocative stage to go on their combination witch hunt and temper tantrum.

“Regulation without Representation is Tyranny,” has become their soundbite of choice as attributed to our “founding fathers.” The quote “Taxation without representation is tyranny” is attributed to James Otis as our nation stirred against colonists subsidizing the wealthy aristocracy overseas. Personally I find their choice extremely ironic as they are the ones being subsidized on the back of American tax payers, and at the additional cost of the degradation of our public land.

Last year the Grass March was an extraordinary flop. The Grass March began when attorney Grant Gerber (now deceased) advised his clients (Tomera and Filippini) that legal action against drought closure on their allotments would be costly and take time. Instead the Grass March became a moving media campaign. Flag waving and chest beating from coast to coast did not gain the wave of sympathy from the American people that it set out to create. The Grass March actually helped many environmental and conservation groups raise public awareness to the most devastating use of public land forage, public land ranching.

(update note) Instead, they rebranded the campaign and moved for sympathy in an organized effort using multiple “front groups;” non-profits claiming honorable missions, many claiming to protect the very interests this movement was out to destroy. Harnessing social media, that was training the American public to simply click buttons and not research or read, became a powerful tool.

Wild Horse Education drought monitoring of a livestock grazing allotment in the Elko district of NV (more coming soon)

Wild Horse Education drought monitoring of a livestock grazing allotment in the Elko district of NV in 2015 (more coming soon)

The timing of this propaganda storm speaks volumes to the moral character of those steering this ship.

The “2015” line-up of the Grass March includes the Tomera and Filippini ranch families, Arlo Crutcher (Pauite/McDermitt), JJ Goicoechea (Eureka County Commission), State Assemblyman Ira Hansen, Kevin Borba (trespass rancher) and more (we will follow up with additional relevant information on the specific claims being made in Rancher Magazine associated with these individuals in part 2. Of note for wild horse advocates representatives of Rancher Mag are repeatedly given access to wild horse holding areas by BLM contractors as they deny access to other media and individuals. Evidence of personal priority relationships exist with BLM contractors and will also be discussed in additional pieces addressing this series of articles in Range).

Perspective can be a good thing. The red area is what caused the spark for the

Perspective can be a good thing. The red area is what caused the spark for the “Grass March.”

On April 30th of this year (2015) the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) affirmed the BLM decision to close the allotments in Argenta.

…Full Force and Effect Temporary Closure Decision for Nine Use Areas in the Argenta Allotment that are partially adjudicated herein are AFFIRMED. The Motion for Summary Judgment NV-05-14-01 Consolidated filed by the Associations is DENIED. The Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by the Appellant Permittees is DENIED…

To keep the record clear: Two of the nine grazing allotments were to allow limited grazing in 2015. The court held up BLM’s decision and denied WWP’s contention that even limited use of two allotments would be too great a burden on the range and that BLM did not fail under NEPA to appropriately analyze the decision.

(update note: BLM has spent over a million dollars to keep these allotments open, and massive man hours monopolizing the actions of an entire district with a 30 year old, archaic, desperately in need of revision, Land Use Plan. Your tax dollars at work and a clear indiction of how BLM prioritized one project over all others.)

The Grass March articles begin a fictional depiction of patriotism against “the man.” These are not patriots, but more akin to iconoclasts. Continuing to make unjustified claims of “feeding the nation” (as less than 3% of beef utilized in the US is produced from all public land grazing at a loss of over 125 million to the US tax payer annually) they continue to rail against restrictions that not only survived court scrutiny, but other interest groups felt did not go far enough (WWP was an Intervenor in court). Once again the “March” carries the same message, “We want anyone that dares to hold us accountable gone” and “Public land? What public land? It’s ours.”

The series of articles begins with an overly romanticized “mission statement.” This preamble even attacks media outlets like the NYTimes as “opposing food production” and portraying public land ranchers as “lazy hogs” because they are not covering the Grass March. They claim to be “vilified by politicians and press alike.” (We could cite times where “politicians” literally helped bend laws to accommodate the needs of those mentioned in these articles over the needs of others, so please stop this nonsense).

The opening pages close with: “This is the story of 28 horses and 11 men and women, including a few Nevada ranchers, who embarked on a long, dangerous, anachronistic journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic to try and raise awareness that America is about to sacrifice its food source on the false alter of environmental and political correctness.”

USDA map showing emergency conditions from drought and counties eligible for RANCHERS to get assistance from the US government to recoup costs

USDA map showing emergency conditions from drought and counties eligible for RANCHERS to get assistance from the US government to recoup costs.  Click image to go to overview article on drought.

After I stopped laughing I felt almost a pang of sympathy, do they really believe this? Is the reality they occupy so isolated that any perspective of the truth of the space they occupy has become completely lost?

Then I read the rest of the articles and any sympathy quickly evaporated.

A group of NV ranchers and friends romanticizing a cross country horseback trek is one thing, but these articles are not a simple memoir. This propaganda appears intent to set the stage for the Grass March to once again forward its agenda. To attempt to gain momentum and support to “march” over the rights of the rest of the American public to have our land managed appropriately. These articles even couch an unrelenting “witch hunt”  at one man claiming “abuse by a federal employee” because the Battle Mountain District manager, Doug Furtado, actually did his job and directed his staff to protect the range during drought.

Grass March Agenda:

  • Empower states to remove abusive federal employees (note: they mean those with the audacity to protect public land from abusive practices or anyone they don’t like)
  • Remove sage grouse from consideration as an endangered species (note: because that could restrict them from using your public range as their private property)
  • Reinstate all roads closed by U.S. Forest Service
  • Remove excess wild horses from the rangelands (note: wild horses are only allowed on 11% of your public land and receive less than 16% of the forage, while livestock gets 66% of your public land and nearly 80% of forage. “Excess” in most instances is not a scientifically supported statement validated by the National Academy of Sciences in June 2013. The group is heavily pro-slaughter)
  • Remove the raven from the Migratory Bird Treaty (note: because they want to kill them)
  • Halt the attempt by federal agents to gain control over Nevada Water (land management agencies get water permits for wildlife, ie wild horses. Otherwise, water use is permitted by the state. What they are talking about is WOTUS, regulating polluted water).
  • Transfer public land to state control (note: so their buddies can give them everything they want)

In 2014 we collected thousands of letters, not click and send agreements to a statement, but thousands of well thought out comment letters from American’s outraged over the Grass March. Those letters even included statements from private land ranchers that felt that public land ranching was unfairly supported by the US government as private land ranchers produced far more US beef and grazed on privately owned land.

We are asking that you take a moment and craft a comment about your opinion of the “Grass March.” Your comment can be long or a simple statement that says prioritizing public land ranching over wildlife, wild horses and range health is not what you want as an American. Help us make the pile of letters even larger than last years. It is more than past time that BLM west wide begin to recognize that public land is to be managed “for the public good and public interest.” The authority to do this simple job is readily available yet used so infrequently, that when it actually is employed the backlash is extreme. These letters will be sent to BLM in DC and key Congressional Representatives.

READ some of the comments we have already received HERE

ACTION ITEM EXPIRED: HOWEVER you can take action against the consequences demonstrated in the fiscal 2020 debate happening NOW, click HERE

Recommended reading about public land ranching:

      • PEER review on the impacts of livestock grazing and how the government avoids recognizing the impact.’s-heavy-hooves-impair-one-third-of-blm-rangelands/
      • Our Editorial, “Rangelands Under Fire, Under Fire,” addresses a propaganda piece that first aired in 2014 and is again airing on public television stations in NV :
      • Public-lands ranching currently produces less than 4 percent of the nation’s beef. Yet it monopolizes 252 million acres supposedly managed for “multiple use” by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). (audubon, “Sacred Cows”:
      • Department of Interior Fiscal Year 2012 Economic Report shows that Grazing on BLM Public Lands Accounts for only 0.41% of the nation’s livestock receipts and only 17,000 jobs nationally. In contrast, recreation accounts for 372,000 jobs and contributes $45 billion to the economy. (One casino in Las Vegas can easily create 17,000 jobs).
      • Keep in mind that an “AUM,” or the amount of grass it takes to feed one cow/calf pair for a month, cost a public land rancher about $1.68 (recently raised from $1.35). A private commercial beef production operation (that produces about 96% of US beef) pays between $10-$20 a month to feed a cow/calf pair per month.
      • As wild horse and burro advocates the inclusion of wild horses (and the statement made about slaughter by those among the Grass Marchers) is particularly upsetting. The Grass March is generally happy when numbers of wild horses are far too low to be genetically viable and are removed in large numbers to allow them a monopoly of the tiny landscape wild horses legally occupy (11% of public land, domestic livestock 66%). READ HERE to understand how wild horses became a recent target of the “Grass March”

Now that you have an overview of how this “table is set” we will begin to examine “each dish” one by one in part 2… coming very soon…. 

As wild horse and burro advocates we often have seen wild horse herds literally zeroed out forever, or held on the brink of genetic bankruptcy, as livestock profits continue to be reaped off the range. This story is ever evolving and we are actively engaged as the outcomes have serious potential impact to wild horses.

Additional Reading:

UPDATE NOTE: BLM caved to pressure, completely. The suit the ranchers filed, that WHE filed litigation in opposition, lost in court.

However, BLM entered into backdoor deals with those that engaged in harassment campaigns. The $2 million dollar investment to begin the fertility control project at Fish Creek has been flushed down the drain.

In other backdoor deals BLM has been impeding water, proposing oil and gas and more. 

Fish Creek is now on the roundup Schedule for 2019. The proposed objectives? Exactly what the “Grass March” factions wanted in the lawsuit that lost in court.

Appropriate Management? Fair and equitable engagement in process? BLM has failed on more points of the law than we can count. 

Video propaganda addressed, “”Borba vs BLM.” Within an hour of our releasing this article the video featuring Kevin Borba (who claims he is being vilified by wild horse advocates) was pulled down.

Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) legal action against wild horses defeated (cross over with Grass March agenda)

Status Granted to Speak Out for wild horses in Fish Creek

Information from the launch last year of the “Grass March.”

pdf of articles in Range Magazine Preview of “range-su15-sr-grass_march.pdf”

PEER letter in support of BLM Battle Mountain District Manager Doug Furtado

~~~~ remains devoted to gaining protection from abuse, slaughter and extinction for America’s wild horses and burros.

Help us stay in the fight.