Wild Horse Education

Information is Power (part five)

“Information is Power” is a 5 part series that delves into the process of gathering accurate information on matters associated with wild horse and burro management by federal agencies. This series also addresses the challenges and the threats.

The pieces in this series focus on information. Accurate information is the basis for an effective voice, an effective advocacy. These pieces are presented in first person narrative. We have found that when we present articles this is the most effective format for our readers when we address subjects that can get a bit “technical.”

A critical action item can be found in these pieces that you can take today! Just click the first piece and read… and take action.

Information is Power, Part One: This first segment addresses the current challenges faced as transparency has taken a massive step backwards and faces another threat. CLICK HERE.

Information is Power, Part Two: the second segment in the series discusses what FOIA is and the true power of FOIA. CLICK HERE.

Back to Basics: Essential reading before Part Three, National Academy of Sciences. CLICK HERE

Information is Power, Part Three: The story of a FOIA unanswered for 8 years CLICK HERE

Supplement titled “One HMA” that goes into detail about how one HMA, Triple B, is not managed for “thriving natural ecological balance,” it is managed for ease of profit driven enterprise and politics.

Information is Power, Part Four: A tale of manipulation, intimidation and abuse of power CLICK KERE


Information is a key factor for effective change. “Wild horses” are all about how your public resource is managed, or mismanaged, by federal agencies. To be an effective voice you can not learn “all you need to know” in a meme or a soundbite crafted by a public relations employee.

Part 5:

Information is power, but confusion is a powerful tool to keep the manipulation machine operating. The manipulation machine is very profitable. The profit lines of manipulation can run from an ego romp on social media to some very steep financial gains (for a select few). It can keep a big screen TV and a nice federal pension plan, or it can make millions for CEOs.

The only thing that can combat the manipulation machine is a devotion to learning history, law and the reality the wild horse actually lives each day. It’s not always a “popular position” because no one side is always “right.” Many have become solidified in “team speak” and not managing wild horses ethically, logically and with an understanding of the history of the intention of the law.

We recently wrote two pieces on the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP). The events that transpired to gain a policy, that was included into the NEPA process (not implied) that demonstrated the expressly stated legal purpose of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRH&B Act) to manage and handle wild horses humanely, is a simplistic example of how things get misrepresented.

That battle was rooted in law, extremely hard work, a push back of propaganda and personal attacks against our work. But we won it. It’s there. The fight to stop the kinds of things we witnessed on a daily basis is now easier to fight because of the work. Actions on the ground, except with specific federal personnel, have changed significantly over the last ten years.

That battle is one still rooted deep in the machine that profits off of confusion. CAWP is the most simplistic battle in all of the “wild horse world” and why we use it as an example, often. (CAWP, part One)

It is not the only battleground. But when we enter into the battles to minimize removals and start to progress on “getting a fair shake” for the wild, wild horse things get more complex. If battlegrounds like the relatively simple fight for a humane handling policy are still misunderstood, how can wild horse advocates address the “on range” equation and not be vulnerable to the political spin?

This series of articles can help you to understand some of that complexity and create support for the actions that must be created to effect the changes we need to make. Instead of playing politics, we need a hard line.

Wild horses are the only animal defined in our country by the land they stand on, not what they are biologically. The land they stand on is the root of “wild horses.” A roundup is the moment when the horse itself leaves federal range management (budgeted by each state office) and moves into a system of holding (run out of the national office).

Our first line was to get access to roundups and create a humane handling policy. We won both of those.

Progress is progress, not an end, and both still need work.

Now if we are going to minimize removals we need to go deeper, now. Habitat loss, the loss of your voice, decades of manipulation; all are todays greatest threats.

Congress; hearings are a’comin! 


An example of unchallenged manipulation

The image above is from a 2016 hearing in Congress on “wild horses.” Speakers had to be approved by the committee chair that has an intense “anti wild horse agenda,” Rob Bishop (R-UT). Bishop served as the committee chair from 2003-2018). He is no longer the chairman as control of the House flipped parties in 2018. At that time Tom McClintock, was the chairman of the subcommittee. The current chair is Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). The anti-wild horse gate keepers of politics no longer hold those chairs.

In testimony at the last hearing to Congress on “wild horses”  Callie Hendrickson utilizes an example of her “science,” she states clearly is in Elko. The photo is also marked as Elko county in Nevada as a “grazing enclosure.” In reality it is an “exclosure”, meaning the area fenced in has no domestic livestock. The testimony given states that wild horses are responsible, as a claim is made other species are removed, and that we must remove horses to stop other areas from crossing the threshold she illustrates.

Here is the problem, the area is not in Elko it’s in Eureka hundreds of miles away. The area is in Fish Creek.

The area does not illustrate the transition she speaks of, it is an area that has a long history of intermittent trespass livestock grazing and is almost directly across from a water trough heavily used by livestock. Her illustration of her “science” is wrapped in a long history of manipulation perpetuated by BLM inaction and social media.

This one photo (seen in context of this article) demonstrates the “lie” and the trail of “all those that have power, know the lie, but benefit in some fashion from the lie.”

If you read one article to prepare you for all that is coming, read this one.  https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/05/17/posttruth-a-few-wild-facts-you-should-know-in-these-dangerous-times-part-one/

All of this will go from a simmer to a hot boil later this year. We need your support to keep the heat on. We must hit the endless corruption.

The reality of history, the land and the wild horse is all we need. We just need to make sure that it gets heard and understood.

If the depth and breadth of the issues are not understood and addressed, anything we try (like fertility control) is doomed to fail. If the frame remains flawed, it’s all flawed. Any effort, without fixing root causes, is like putting a band aide on a severed artery.

In the “game of politics” there are even “advocate organizations” that in public condemn large roundups based on current “appropriate management levels” but in proposals to the BLM promote them. Did you know that? There are people that will do all they can, even agree with those that want wild horses sold to slaughter, to keep certain “info out of the room,” just to get a seat at a political poker game. Instead of “upping their game” with knowledge and standing firm, they too play political poker. All of this has so many layers.

Research everything. Wild horses are public lands politics, like it or not. It is in this arena that 2019 can be a “make it or break it” year for our wild places and wild things. Your understanding of basics will help you separate facts from public relations tag lines, no matter where they come from.


Many springs have been turned into pipeline webs with livestock troughs. The natural springs do not exist anymore. BLM may have a “wildlife water right” for wild horses to drink, but it does not stop many permittees from shutting off waters that are supposed to stay on or allowing the trough to go into disrepair. BLM barely monitors this situation.

It is critical to remember that we have three distinct branches of government for a reason (we often see confusion in the public when we have discussions on things like Appropriations and the budget requests to kill wild horses).


The “basics”

Congress makes the law; proposed law, and changes to law, have distinct process before they become law (Legislative branch). The duty of the Executive branch is to carry out the law (land management agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, BLM, are down the food chain of the Executive branch headed by a Presidents “Cabinet” member). When the Executive branch fails (legal mandates, ethics) the public has the Judicial branch (litigation). The lines have become blurry in large part because the public itself is forgetting the distinctions.

A lot is going to move fast in the next few months that deals with the deeper problems in land management. If you read this series of articles you will have no problem following along and you will understand not only what WHE says, but what WHE is doing and why. (Using CAWP as an example, if you followed the work you knew what, why and how and were not vulnerable to the “manipulation machine.”)

These articles are written with a purpose. As this series moves forward the call to action has changed. If you have been reading along you can see the changes in the calls we have asked you to make. 

Interior proposed changed to the regulations that govern the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). We engaged a large coalition and helped them prepare comments “in prescribed process.” We asked you to start calling Congress immediately.

A hearing into “who, what and how,” these changes came about has been requested by the House Natural Resources Chair, Congressman Raul Grijalva. 

An investigation into “staffing issues” has also been requested and is, likely, a step toward a hearing. (read more here for the “wild horse” advocate)

There will be more hearings, and investigations, scheduled as the year moves forward.

We thank you so much for your calls and emails! They helped more than you know. Please continue your calls.

Please take action and call your legislators and tell them to stop Interior from changing the CFRs on FOIA.

  • Please stop the Department of Interior from making changes to 43 CFR Part 2, the Freedom of Information Act. 
  • The DOI must be stopped from any attempts to undermine the publics ability to gain information and participate in government as an informed citizen.
  • If the DOI wants to decrease FOIA requests they find “burdensome,” they simply need to become more transparent.  
  • The hearing in who proposed these changes and why they were fast tracked, must happen. Please support the hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee and ensure that it comes to the floor. 

Add this:

  • A real hearing into the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program must happen. In all of public land management there is no program more devoid of data, easily manipulated, sloppy, lazy, corrupt and used as a political pawn than this program. Any hearing into “extremism, misuse of tax payer funding, and/or violation of codes of ethical conduct” must include wild horses.
  • Please look at OIG-17-0707 and Leigh et al v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management et al 3:2017cv00294

Find your legislator CLICK HERE. 

Our WHE Weekend update coming soon! We will update you on some of the legal, legislative and field work!

Keep those calls to your legislators coming! You do make a difference!


Categories: Wild Horse Education