What Next? #wildhorses touching base after midterm


Triple B wild horses summer 2018

Editorial note: LLeigh

Politics rule the reality of the range, the reality of the range rarely effects management.

That statement has garnered nods, laughter and shrugs of agreement each time I speak it over the course of the last decade. Yet the last two years that statement has brought more emotional weight to the table than I have ever seen before. Some people almost slid into a sort of depression and others go into an aggressive denial, as if the last two years are somehow immune.

For the last few months I have been giving interviews with multiple media outlets. These are all long form pieces, not the fast press release to publication type. This election on Tuesday was seen as a pivot point for the people doing these pieces and they understood that anything explained to them in the story points of production could shift into an even higher gear or begin to a slow move back to what was “normal chaos.”

The long history of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, federal management of free roaming horses, would not change. Those things were safe for discussions that would not need to be cut out of a piece publishing in the coming year.

Discussions involving the political agenda: items like spaying, killing, sales direct to slaughter, could shift radically. The connections to political agendas that carried unorthodox, even unlawful, actions by those attempting to move a political agenda forward could bring these items to a screeching halt.

A simple example of political agenda is “spaying wild mares.” Spaying wild mares is an expensive and experimental process that has no legal practical application in the field* (at this time). The agenda item has tracks laid through a lobby group that has long ties to Secretary Ryan Zinke and a pro horse slaughter move he made sitting as a member of Congress in Montana. The same lobby group has ties to the spay agenda (and even moves like the one to shrink National Monuments). That political agenda landed in the lap of Brian Steed as former Chief of Staff of Chris Stewart (R-UT) and has ties to the same lobby effort (that cross platforms into realms of personal benefit). Chris Stewart was appointed by Zinke to the position of Deputy Director of the BLM (and the powers of the Director were given to him in an “acting” capacity as no Director was appointed even by midterm!). 

(* There is no data to justify using spaying in the field, anywhere. This is money that a program that claims to be so cash poor it can not hire field personal to actually monitor herds using money on something that may never be legally justified. Think about the amount of money used to create not one, but two EIS documents. Those documents faced not one, but two legal challenges by multiple organizations. The funding wasted is not the fault of advocacy orgs, it’s the fault of a faulty agenda that uses tax payer money to forward politics, not best practices of land management.)

We have not even touched on the other internal moves within state and local offices that transpired under memo, suggestion, empowerment by this administrations Secretary of Interior.

It all gets rather “Game of Thrones.” Since April of 2017 we have provided information to a House Committee that is part of oversight. We have provided information to the Office of the Inspector General. That is the process that in, what most American’s expect, requires a deep look to take place and suspected violations of law and policy would be scrutinized and then removed. (we have written many articles on these subjects in the last few years. As “WHE readers” we know you track. )

For the last six years those failsafe measures built into process have been stonewalled by the gatekeepers of majority control of the House. (you can read a few examples here of events that transpired in 2016 and did not come through what most Americans would expect is a “lawful” process:  https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/05/17/posttruth-a-few-wild-facts-you-should-know-in-these-dangerous-times-part-one/)

These types of investigations can now move forward.

We showed them “our part.”

Our phone lines and emails are filling up today with follow up questions for edits.

We predicted that if the House went blue spaying would not have to go through the full court system, it would be cancelled. It would not go the settlement route that other cases have, nor would it reach judgement. This would be cancelled. 

We also predicted that within 45 days of midterm Ryan Zinke will no longer be Secretary of the Interior. Zinke, like John Ruhs (former NV State Director) will simply be moved out of the limelight. 

We also predict the next roundup schedule (from November-February) will have some high profile herds and, at minimum, 4,000 coming off the range. When you add the rest of the fiscal year through October we expect the total to exceed 10,000. 

We made a few other predictions that are rapidly showing merit.

There is a long way to go to simply gain an equitable and honest conversation. Sage Grouse planning often does not make a headline picked up by major news outlets or wild horse groups, it should. The “connect the dots” of land management is vacant in too many “wild horse stories.”

Wild horses have many layers that include adoption, sale, slaughter push, spaying. But the real wild, wild horse exists in land management, not a pen or rescue. After a wild horse leaves the range they desperately need our help. But a roundup begins long before a helicopter flies….

“How do we fix this program? Is PZP the answer?” Reporter

“PZP is one tool of management, it’s not management. There are many tools but no single one is an ‘answer’ without a sound foundation. If we actually followed the law and inserted actual facts, not assertion or manipulation, we would not have the problems we have. That statement applies to all resources, uses and users of public lands. Public land management needs a RICO board. Clear that board and follow the law? Then things like PZP actually have a chance to be an effective tool.” WHE answer

We are very busy at WHE. Just touching base and replying to our supporters that wanted us to make a “post midterm statement.”

The statement is… “hang on, we still have very rough ground ahead.” 


You can still add your name to the list of Wild Horse Education supporters that support a deep Probe into Interior. The list has over 22,000 individual names.  (scroll down)


A roundup begins long before a helicopter flies. Help us build a strong frontline to fight for them and their habitat.


Further Reading:

Zero Accountability Factor, Zinke: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2018/09/09/zero-accountability-factor-department-of-interior-blm-doi-zinke-wildhorses-publiclands/

All the Pretty Horses Must Die: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/09/09/all-the-pretty-horses-must-die/

Support the Probe into Interior and make sure the wild horse program is part of that investigation. If you agree? add your name. 



Categories: Lead, Wild Horse Education