Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Plan to Finish Off Wild Horses Buried in Budget

Same Gender Herd at BLM Long Term Holding Facility ~

photo by Terry Fitch


During a Grass Roots Horse research project looking into the FY2011 Budget for the Department of Interior which oversees the Bureau of Land Management, the agency entrusted with the management and protection of America’s wild horses and burros, it was discovered that the Interior has received 445.4 million dollars which is an increase of 106 million dollars for federal land acquisition through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In 2011 the Interior is proposing a list of land acquisitions to advance their projects. The BLM’s request of 83.7 million dollars includes 42.5 million for the proposed planning and acquisition of a Wild Horse Preserve, which is part of the Department’s Wild Horse and Burro National Management Strategy.

These wild horse preserves are not slated for family bands of wild horses but for non-reproducing herds. What will they use the “treasured lands” for in 20 years when the non-reproducing herds die? The plan mentions alleviating the numbers of wild horses in short term holding but what about the horses in long term holding? As BLM continues to remove wild horses at an alarming rate, they estimates the number of captured wild horses in government holding will be 45,955 by the end of FY2011 and the holding costs are expected to be 47.8 million dollars.

In the Wild Horse and Burro Program overview in the FY2011 Budget Justification, among the program components list, one of the BLM’s responsibilities is stated as “Determining whether AML (appropriate management levels) should be achieved by removal or destruction of excess animals, or other options such as sterilization or natural controls of population levels”

It is noticeable that in the 2007 – 2012 Strategic Plan for the Department of Interior there is no mention of the wild horses or burros at all, even where the plan lists specific programs administered by the BLM. This carries on throughout the Strategic Plan for 2011 – 2016 where the only mention of the Wild Horse and Burro Program is on page 8, under BLM programs, listed after Renewable and Conventional Energy and Mineral Development, Forestry Management and Timber and Biomass Production.

“I was thinking of all the places BLM/DOI could hide things in a budget and of course the management of lands and resources came to mind.” said Maureen VanDerStad of Grass Roots Horse. “Hidden within 600 pages of the FY 2011 DOI Budget Justifications were clues hidden among the layers of what I would call deliberate and willful actions by these agencies to mislead Congress and the American people as to their true intentions, which is to get what they want at all costs.”

Within the FY2011 Budget Justification set forth by DOI/BLM, regarding the Wild Horse and Burro Program and statistics there are many fallacies and untruths, many of which are found, not in the section called Reforming the Wild Horse and Burro Program but in the Management of Lands and Resources, in various sub activity sections.

In Section DH-38 of DOI budget 2011 in a segment called Treasured Landscapes, is the news that Ken Salazar has achieved his goal of getting millions of dollars to fund what is known as his “Salazoo Plan” created ostensibly to bring relief to the BLM’s failed Wild Horse and Burro Program.

The wild horse preserve plan refers to “partners”. Who are these “partners exactly ? Foreign countries ?

“The program has failed and continues to fail not because of the reasons stated by BLM or DOI but when looked at in terms of the plans DOI has for public lands, the wild horses and burros who have a Congressional right to live free roaming on those lands, just don’t fit in to the plan. A great many things do not add up in the budget justification that DOI/BLM has set forth. Statements presented as fact by DOI/BLM to Congress are not even matching up with the DOI/BLM’s own previous statements or actions. The ramifications of this apparent mismanagement of both public lands and a federally protected American icon are mind blowing” concluded VanDerStad.


Related Articles:

OIG Joins BLM in Propaganda War Against Iconic Wild Horses and Burros

Stop Cash Flow to Bloody BLM Wild Horse Stampedes (

BLM Denies Wild Horses are “Stampeded” (

Take Action for Idaho Wild Horses! (

BLM Long Term Holding: Wild Horse Heaven or Hell (