Search Our Site

Search form


Letter to the President on BLM Horse Management

November 06, 2009 | Horses

President Obama

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

We, the members and supporters of Friends of Animals, located in every state and in several countries, firmly oppose the Bureau of Land Management's proposal to round up and remove yet more of free-roaming wild horses and burros from U.S. public lands in a scheme to place the horses in holding sites, sterilize them, and privatize them, all at U.S. taxpayers' expense. There are few sustainable or genetically viable herds left, and they must be respected: not sterilized, not privatized.

At the beginning of the 20th century, 2 million mustangs roamed free.(1) Today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar tells reporters, "We have a huge problem -- out-of-control populations of wild horses and burros on our public lands."(2) But the reporters also note that 37,000 free-roaming horses and burros remain on public lands. (The actual number varies depending on the estimate being cited, and might be far less than that.) The round-up policy itself is the huge problem, as it has resulted in the accumulation of tens of thousands of horses by the BLM and the question of what to do with them.

At the same time these small communities of free-living horses and burros are under attack, ranchers graze several million cows and other domesticated animals on public lands. Animal agribusiness is notorious for its heavy use of fuel and water, a driving force behind environmental damage, and a leading generator of greenhouse gases. The blame for the degraded, overgrazed condition of western public lands lies with cattle ranching, not free-roaming horses and burros.

The U.S. government's willingness to serve the interests of agribusiness by leasing it nearly all public lands with any forage potential compromises the well-being of wild horses on the very rangelands the government is charged with protecting.

This destructive cycle of roundups, privatization and sterilization must stop. There is ample public land for free-living equids: over 19 million acres are legally designated for their use. Federal plans to spend nearly $100 million in tax dollars to create "preserves" is thus as wasteful as it is disrespectful to these equid communities.

Also as wasteful as it is disrespectful is the proposal to aggressively manage herds remaining on rangeland through sterilization and control of reproduction.

Wild free-roaming horses and burros should be entitled to genuine and full protection of the law. We assert that the only way to truly protect free-living horses on the pockets of lands that constitute their habitat is to empower them to remain free.

The time has come for the BLM to do the job of protecting and respecting wild horses and burros, instead of continuing to compromise this duty for the benefit of animal agribusiness.


Priscilla Feral
Friends of Animals

(1) See Deanne Stillman, "Wild Horses Aren't Free" - Los Angeles Times (2 Jun. 2008).

(2) Lyndsey Layton and Juliet Eilperin, "Salazar Presents Ambitious Plan to Manage Wild Horses" - Washington Post (8 Oct. 2009).


Please help these animals. These are living creatures, there has to be a way that we can establish a sustainable existence for these animals and to co-habitat with them. The birds, spiders, ants, etc are able to co-habitat. If a lot of people could, I'm sure they would try to make they couldn't exist as well. We should stop being so arrogant this planet doesn't belong to us. It belongs to all life. We are way out of line.

...we might as well have voted Sarah Palin into the white house! Obama made a big mistake by appointing someone like Salazar to be our Secretary of the Interior. We need to get rid of Ken Salazar ASAP!

Please help save these precious animals that were put on this earth to make all creatures appreciate them. All animals rely on our voices and I ask that you speak up for them and save them!

What's going on with animals in paddocks sheep cattle etc.? Don't see much shade for them and do they have access to water? The weather seems to be getting hotter year by year. It's cruel having these animals stand out all day everyday in extreme heat without shade. FoA comments: End the exploitation of animals -- whether it be for food, clothing or entertainment -- and these cruelties will disappear at the same time.

What the BLM is doing to our national heritage (wild burros and horses) is outrageous. . . taking away the very lands that were granted to them by a 1971 act of congress (Public Law 92-195)which stated that these "wild, free-roaming herds are declared symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West"; furthermore, "they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people". Seems as though the BlLM has misused the Wild Horse and Burro Program for years! The BLM has not protected our wild herds, but has given away the very lands that were originally granted by our government for the wild herds... . .Shameful, Despicable, and Unforgivable as I see it.

Wild horses are fast going the way of the wolf and buffalo. Current figures put wild horses at 32,000 in captivity and as low as 15,000 in the wild. The BLM plans to capture 9,000. For what? Where are they going to put them? President Obama, this situation demands your immediate attention and intervention.

United animal welfare and wild horse advocates have delivered a petition to the White House requesting an immediate moratorium on wild horse roundups and a congressional investigation. Original signatures include over 100 organizations. Join us in our efforts to save the wild horses before it's too late. For a copy of the petition and to add your organization, contact: or


Add new comment