Wild Horse Education

Roundups Accelerate as BLM Approves More Gifts to Livestock

Cows, cows, skinny and diseased looking cows, out all over public lands in every season. BLM will state wild horses are out all year and cows are not. Media really should check the permits before printing that as a fact. In many HMAs the cows are out all year.

BLM announces a massive increase in roundups through the fiscal year. You can download the new schedule HERE: FY21 Proposed Wild Horse and Burro Roundup Schedule and Fertility Control Schedule

BLM Press release at bottom of page: BLM plans to add 6000 to the gather schedule before the end of September using “drought emergency” to justify the action.

Partial response to BLM press release below:

For the last several years Wild Horse Education (WHE) has been asking BLM to clear the backlog and craft actual management plans for our wild horses and burros (HMAP) that address actual management, not just population suppression (fertility control/roundups).  The agency simply refused to actually craft real management planning for wild horse and continued to prioritize cow chow projects and approve more mining expansion (that draws down fragile water tables).

Over the last year the avalanche of giveaways to livestock, that damage wild horse territory and decimate habitat of the Greater Sage Grouse, have landed on the desk of every advocate in the West with an increasing regularity.

This wild horse has seen his historic source shut off at the request of the county and then the county, that obtained the water haul contract from BLM, provides inadequate water

In a number of HMAs BLM has allowed waters to be turned off and wells to be dismantled that are noted in land use planning for wild horse use. In these same HMAs the agency has refused offers from WHE to pay for new wells or repairs. Instead, the agency does inadequate water hauls, often giving the contract to haul to the exact people who pressured the agency to turn off the water.

In these same HMAs the BLM is approving projects for livestock that include well development, more fences, tree clearing, weeds (caused by livestock damage) to be sprayed with pesticides, allowing ranchers to blade their own roads through sagebrush, etc.

Mining in HMAs has seen a drastic increase in the last decade

WHE has been asking what BLM is doing to protect habitat in HMAs. We have asked for a list district-by-district what BLM is doing: restricting livestock, fixing wells, water hauls, restricting mining? Not one district responded with a single action they have taken to protect wild horses and burros.

Now the BLM is adding massive numbers of wild horses and burros to the roundup schedule after giving away all the resources our herds need to survive to private profit industrial interests.

Instead of actual reform driven by science (like the 1.3 million dollar National Academy of Sciences Report), the agency has approved a massive grant program to fund “partnerships” for capture and fertility control and hit the accelerator on removals.

Nada Culver is hitting the accelerator on the plans put in place by her predecessor, William Perry Pendley.

By using the word “emergency” the agency is actually trying to complicate any legal action by advocates. However, in fact  BLM can not use an actual small area of drought within an HMA to declare a drought emergency throughout the entire HMA. (For advocates that want more information, you can look up our win at Jackson Mountain. news clip HERE)

BLM 2021 motto: Do absolutely nothing to protect wild horse habitat and accelerate removals to satisfy livestock. Blame the drought, call it an emergency even though much of this could have been prevented if we curtail industry and ask Congress for more money and never fix anything in the broken program.

“This administration has blown a lot of greenwashing chatter with the usual poker chip of ‘partnership’ on the table,” said Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education, “yet all we have seen is an acceleration of the public lands destruction, bowing to the holy cow and bending over for extraction. There has not been one, not one single directive that has come from the desk of Haaland or Culver to stop the stranglehold that bullies have over public lands.

“In January it was known that in 2021 we would face acceleration of drought conditions. Not one district took actions to protect your public lands and your wild horses from livestock and allowed turnout during the fragile growing seasons in spring. BLM hypocrisy makes me sick.

Leigh continued, “Giveaway everything wild horses need, do no review of the corrupt framework, cause suffering and then blame the victim: the wild horse. Sounds like corporate political poker to me. At least if there was any doubt, we now know this administrations position on wild horses and it is the same as the old one; placate industry and blame the wild horse and burro.”

Salt blocks illegally close to water troughs encouraging additional damage through a lack of movement. BLM does nothing about it.


An example of the “on one hand wild horses are destroying the range and drought will kill them, but on the other hand we have so much water and forage we will build more fences and wells and bend over backward to keep the cows out” of the BLM are the two EAs currently facing legal challenges at Desatoya.

WHE and WLD have legal action directly against the massive giveaway to livestock AND a second legal challenge against the removal plan for wild horses.

Waiting for cows to move off of water source. Cows campout and wild horses will often have to make a fast dash to grab a drink.

Inside the HMAs BLM gives less than 15% 0f the forage to wild horses and, on average, over 80% to domestic livestock. Domestic livestock operators pay $1.35 to graze a cow/calf pair a month; less than the cost of a single can of dog food. The federal grazing program loses in direct costs over a billion dollars a decade for the taxpayer. Yet, we allow domestic livestock producers to continue to destroy public lands and produce less than 3% off all beef utilized in the US.

Ramping up the capture and hold program for wild horses will increase the bill to the tax-payer and the number of wild horses going to slaughter.

Roundup at High Rock. BLM will begin the High Rock operation in October.

You can download the new schedule HERE: FY21 Proposed Wild Horse and Burro Roundup Schedule and Fertility Control Schedule

Our team is out at the Antelope roundup that was added last week. Only 3 days notice for the operation that adds over 2,200 wild horses to the schedule. Our team will be reporting in from onsite shortly.

Our drought team is hard at work in the field documenting conditions to refute the agencies claims at upcoming roundups. In January it was known that in 2021 we would face acceleration of drought conditions. Not ONE district took actions to protect your public lands and your wild horses, not one.

Learn More:

More Removals Plans Approved (WHE active legal actions)


Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program

Take Action

We need your help to stay in the fight. Our teams are in the field and in the courts. We are carrying 7 active legal actions and more. Please considering supporting our efforts to protect wild horses and burros. Thank you. 

If you are shopping online you can help Wild Horse Education by choosing us as your charity of choice on IGive or Amazonsmile.com 

BLM Press Release

BLM prepares for emergency action to save drought-stricken wild horses and burros on public lands

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management today announced plans to take emergency action to save imperiled animals and prevent widespread thirst and mortality in wild horse and burro herds as drought intensifies across most of the West.

The BLM estimates more than 6,000 additional wild horses and burros should be gathered from public lands by the end of September through emergency actions, which can be taken in response to lack of water or forage, or due to impacts from wildfire or disease. Already this year, nearly 1,200 animals have been gathered through emergency actions.

Most emergency gathers will take place in herds where chronic overpopulation has already stretched the available food and water to its limits. Now faced with exceptional drought conditions, these animals are left with very little water or forage to survive the summer and winter, and some have become dependent on unreliable private sources. In some herds, the BLM has already started hauling supplemental water as a temporary measure before an emergency gather can take place.

“As one of the agencies charged with the responsibility to protect and manage America’s wild horses and burros, the BLM is prepared to take emergency action where we can in order to save the lives of these cherished animals,” said Nada Wolff Culver, BLM Deputy Director, Policy and Programs. “At the same time, we are committed to continuing our efforts to reduce overpopulation across the West and achieve healthy, sustainable herd sizes that are more capable of withstanding severe conditions, including prolonged drought, which are becoming more frequent due to climate change.”

The estimated wild horse and burro population on BLM-managed public lands decreased for the first time since 2012 last year, from a record of approximately 95,000 animals to 86,000 animals as of March 1, 2021. The estimated population still remains more than three times what is sustainable and healthy for the land and the animals. Herd overpopulation threatens the welfare of the wild horses and burros (especially during drought) and the long-term health of the land and the other species that share public lands.

Wild horses and burros gathered through these emergency actions will be checked by a veterinarian, vaccinated against common equine diseases and made available to the public for adoption. BLM is taking additional steps to secure the health and safety of adopted wild horses and burros through the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program. Unadopted animals will eventually be transferred to private pastures where they will live out their lives in a free-roaming environment, but at cost to taxpayers.

“I encourage anyone who is capable of caring for one of these Living Legends to consider giving one a loving home,” added Culver. “These are incredible animals that deserve a chance to thrive with a caring adopter.”

To accommodate the expected emergency actions, the BLM has released a new tentative schedule for wild horse and burro gathers through the end of Fiscal Year 2021, which can be accessed here. For a list of wild horse and burro adoption opportunities, visit the adoption event schedule.


This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

Categories: Wild Horse Education