Wild Horse Education

BLM Roundup Schedule; “create crisis, claim it’s management”

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Industry is rapidly expanding on our remote public lands. Without fixing known issues that minimize wild horses and the need to protect critical habitat, the game of “blame the horse” runs full steam.

On June 12 we alerted you that BLM was beginning to create the end of the fiscal budget year roundup schedule. The first two added were Triple B (750) and Pine Nut (250). 

In the article (HERE) we gave you a fast overview of some of the history of Triple B (NV) and Pine Nut (NV) that illustrates how BLM prioritizes operations; dominated by politics, manmade crisis and convenience… that leads to more chaos.


BLM has expanded the schedule to include multiple bait trap operations for horses and burros in Arizona, moving forward on the “zero out” at the Caliente Complex (NV) starting with “nuisance” horses in a bait trap.

In addition they have added the Antelope Complex (NV) via bait trap (1250) on the heels of the Triple B (via helicopter). If you read the section in our previous article (and scroll through the free online digital magazine) you will see that BLM has created a monstrosity of an EA that lumps the Triple B and Antelope Complex into one document; an area separated by highways and project boundaries encompassing about 4 million acres.

Fish Creek (NV) has been added as a helicopter operation, as have the Onaqui and Range Creek in Utah.  

Click image for background on Fish Creek

An article from 2015 that demonstrates how one horse from Fish Creek can illustrate all that is wrong in the BLM wild horse program, the horse called “Sarge,” can be found HERE. So much has happened since that article was written and we will do a separate article on all of the betrayals to law, common decency, and the wild horses, that continued to evolve, leading to the new operation scheduled (as soon as time allows).

None of the operations listed above contain any fertility control component. 

In addition to the BLM operations listed above, Forest Service will be moving forward at Devils Garden (CA) with another removal operation, that has no changes to the operation parameters from last year, as expected.

The schedule takes us through the end of the fiscal year 2019. The current Appropriations debate for 2020 will fund operations that begin after October 15. 

Antelope, Fish Creek and Range Creek are being classified as “water and private land” conflicts to prioritize these operations. This category deserves an in depth look at the “crisis creation” mode BLM often adopts to satisfy political pressures.

“Crisis Creation Management” has been a mode of operation for BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program for decades. It often involves deliberately ignoring the intention of law, Congressional mandates, and basic common sense, to create a highly manipulative management tool utilized to placate political pressure. In other words, wild horses become a throw away card in political poker.

Since the 1980’s, not just the 2013 report, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has concluded the program lacks the most basic of data points, is not transparent, does not include clear avenues for stakeholder participation, etc. If you read the entire report, the NAS states they can not tell where what is stated is fact or simply “made up” to justify a decision.

Since the 1980’s BLM has done absolutely nothing to rectify the deficits. BLM will make pretenses, large and small, but practice never changes. An example: In 2010 BLM created a workshop that cost the tax-payer over $1 million dollars. Not one of  the avenues addressed by advocacy were followed up on (volunteerism for data collection, temporary fertility control, etc), as each individual added their name to the list passed around by BLM and the list was never used.

Litigation sometimes leads to court ordered mitigation. In those mitigation meetings BLM makes multiple promises to address deficits, makes agreements, and then ignores the intention of the agreements. Leaving you no options but to pursue reopening litigation.

Simple requests for information on data utilized for decision making, as massive mines are approved, oil and gas lease sales approved, more fencing is approved, critical waters are dismantled, meet with a stone wall. Then you need to file Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) and fight for information, in the courts, when the stone wall turns into 100 blacked out pages.

Land Use Plans (LUP, or often referenced as an RMP) can be decades old. BLM can be aware of deficits in wild horse areas, do nothing to fix them, and then approve projects for mining or oil and gas where the technologies were not even imagined under the archaic LUP.

Every single, legal, lawful, sane, effort made by a wild horse advocate falls into the pit of the exact same manipulative practices that surround the entire wild horse and burro program. If you “buck” at the game? you can not play at all.

The three operations listed above as “water and private property” are deeply wrapped in the crisis creation mode BLM has adopted in wild horse management. Over the last two years BLM has taken that “manipulation mode” to a whole new level.

Our legal team has been very active the last few weeks exploring the many options available to us to address manmade obstacles to sane and equitable management and fair participation in process. 

Our outreach teams are actively engaging members of Congress providing information for several potential Congressional Inquiries.

Our field team is actively engaged in condensing data for input into comments on proposed actions (EA and EIS), input into environmental justice projects and large scale scoping for the review of West Wide Energy Corridors, that are actively utilized in current oil and gas sale lease proposals, at the same time as they are being revised (yes, it’s crazy making).

Our CAWP team is ready to roll at roundups to hold BLM accountable to their conduct and continue to work to stop abuse.

We will be posting a video review of current issues shortly, including Appropriations and other important activities occurring in Congress. 

We will write in depth about the “crisis creation,” in site specific articles, as soon as we can. We will tell you what we are doing to stop it. 

We will write in depth on the oil and gas push and the massive impacts it will have on wild horses. We will show you how to get involved. 

We told you that this was going to be a very busy, intense, summer. Our legal team will be writing all weekend. They need your support.


Can you help us prepare for the legal battles ahead? Roundup season begins again WHE has been offered a match! Can you help us stay in this fight to bring justice against abuse and equity in land management.

You can double your donation today! (through July 8, 2019)

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Categories: Wild Horse Education