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Katherine Blocksdorf

Wild Horse Roundup

By December 30, 2009

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A controversial roundup of wild horses began Tuesday in Nevada.

Photo 2005 Getty Images
Horses are being relocated to other areas because they are thought to be threatening forage and water on private lands. But protesters, including celebrities like Willie Nelson and Cheryl Crow, question whether or not the roundup is necessary and the practice of using helicopters is considered by many to be inhumane. Certainly, the fate of wild horse in Nevada and other states and provinces has been the center of controversy for many years. What do you think of such roundups? Is there an easy answer? Leave your comments below.


December 30, 2009 at 9:21 pm
(1) shell says:

Thay are not hurtting anything. The dame cattle people, are the ones complaning. The land is for the wild horses not for the cattle.

December 31, 2009 at 9:37 am
(2) Jane says:

I beleive this is just another way that the government is taking away our freedom. The government doesn’t care what we as the people feel, only what fills their pockets. If we can’t even stand for the wild horses, how can we expect to stand for ourselves. Vote them out of office! Let’s get someone in that listen to what this country wants. Save the wild horse and save our families!

December 31, 2009 at 10:33 am
(3) Shell Costlow says:

I think this is sad. What else is the government going to try to control next. I mean come on.. They are not hurting anything, just let them roam free. They have for thousand of years why stop now. What is America coming to??? =(

December 31, 2009 at 2:12 pm
(4) Heidi H Christensen says:

In Defense of Animals, The Cloud Foundation and other horse group are asking us to:

- Write your representatives in Congress and ask them to protect America?s wild horses by supporting The ROAM Act (HR 1018/S 1579). Find your Reps at http://www.congress.org or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected.

- Write to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and ask him to support policy initiatives that protect America?s wild horses on the range where they currently exist, and to issue a moratorium on further round ups until the BLM?s mismanagement can be addressed and reformed.
The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240


Please take these THREE essential steps today! Only a huge public outcry will save these horses from the trauma of being stampeded with helicopters over treacherous winter terrain into capture pens, where they will be torn from their family members before being loaded onto trucks destined for possibly illegal BLM wild horse warehouses in the Midwest.

1. Paste the letter below (please feel free to personalize) to President Obama in the web form found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/.

2. Follow your email with a phone call to the White House (both numbers) to appeal to the President to halt the BLM’s cruel Calico wild horse roundup. See letter below for details on what we are asking of the President.

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

3. Forward this message to five friends and family and ask that they take a couple of minutes to help the horses – every public comment and phone call counts. You can help us increase the number of active wild horse advocates.

For more information, see the most recent Associated Press story and IDA’s statement on the recent federal court ruling in our lawsuit to stop the Calico roundup.

LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA (Paste the letter below (please feel free to personalize) to President Obama in the web form found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/):

December 28, 2009

Dear President Obama,

I urge you to stop the largest scheduled roundup of wild horses in years – those living in the Calico Mountains in Nevada. Please halt the Interior Department – Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) pending cruel round up of over 2,500 horses who are living peacefully in more than 500,000 acre public land complex.

Last week, a federal court judge ruled that the BLM’s stockpiling of western wild horses in mid-western holding facilities may be illegal and consequently suggested that BLM postpone the Calico roundup. In addition, several appeals are pending with the Interior Board of Land Appeals – including a formal Motion to Stay (stop) the roundup – and your White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) charging that the BLM has flagrantly violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in its failure to assess the impacts of its massive capture and removal plan.

Over the weekend, the BLM made public its plan to begin the roundup in secret on private land from which the public will be barred, thus violating a BLM pledge made just three weeks ago at a packed public meeting in Reno to conduct these roundups with full public transparency.

Wild horse society is complex and consists of tightly knit family bands. President Obama, as you enjoy the holidays with your lovely family, I urge you to take a moment to remember the wild horse families in Nevada’s Calico Mountains that are about to be shattered forever by the BLM’s cruel round up plans.

With a simple phone call, you Mr. President can stop the terror that is about to befall the majestic wild horses of northwest Nevada. Please act today.

Thank you for your consideration.


Click on the link for more information and PLEASE HELP!


January 5, 2010 at 2:57 pm
(5) denise says:

Seriously with all we have going on the goverment is going to spend millions on rounding up horses….its crazy. They have been around for thousands of years…they dont hurt anyone its another waste of money so that some moron can say they “own” a mustang

January 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm
(6) Maggie says:

This is all about big business and the cattlemen. You can’t tell me that there isn’t enough land for the wild horses and the cattle when there are millions of acreas out there. I saw the video about the famous Cloud stallion and his herd in Nevada. They live in a valley where no cattle or ranches are. Why round them up? They are healthy and beautiful and aren’t a threat to anything. All this is just another total BLM mismanagment!AND a big waste of government money that we don’t have!

January 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm
(7) Lu says:

In the north island of NZ we have native horses called Kaimanua. The govt here also rounds up these wild horses. They have a program running where the mares are given some sort of contraceptive. A lot of the young horses are sold to equestrian people around NZ. One person bought a hundred or more and will relocate them to the south island where they will be allowed to stay wild. I dont agree with the way these horses are treated, a lot being sent straight to slaughter.

January 5, 2010 at 7:31 pm
(8) Patty says:

It’s not the horses causing problems…it’s humans causing problems. There is plenty of land out west to leave to the
horses. Most all cattle consumed by humans are from feed
lots anyway. Rounding up the horses just give the BLM
something to do.

January 5, 2010 at 8:41 pm
(9) Sarah says:

These horses are our history. If they disappear then what will happen to history. They would just be stories in a book. The things I hate about these roundups are the helicopters and the fact that they are shipping our history to death!!! Adoption is great but the left over horse shouldn’t be sent to the slaughterhouse if they are perfectly healthy. They should be let go back into the wild.

January 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm
(10) Lou says:

Leave the horses alone some some big wigs in wasington is probley behind this . bless cheryl crow and willie nelson for trying to stop this it will take alot of protesting to try and stopthe cattle people sounds like they are still living in the wild west .
Thank You

January 6, 2010 at 9:12 am
(11) ken w says:

The cattlemen have nothing to do with this. If crow & nelson were as informed as they think they are they would work with the BLM to solve this problem which if left alone would allow many horses to starve to death as the range can only feed so many.
Do your home work before telling other people what to do.

January 6, 2010 at 10:52 am
(12) Cheryl says:

Everyone should go to:


There are peaceful protests going on all over the country. Please go if you can or lend your support to protect our Mustangs and Burros. Two weeks ago, an unpublicized roundup was held and 2 foals lost their lives. This week, one mare has lost her life due to the roundup. It is likely that more lost their lives as they were driven over the ice and rocks, but they are not permitting independent observers to keep an eye on those committing these illegal roundups. Millions of acres were set aside for the Mustangs & Burros, but the government is breaking their own laws in order to satisfy the wallets of those selling them to slaughter & beef cattle ranchers. Millions of acres of land was set aside, specifically for the horses, not the cattle!! Please stand up everyone! We need to be a voice for those who have no voice! Please pass this along to others so we can save our precious Mustangs & Burros…they are our American heritage and part of the natural beauty of our land.

January 6, 2010 at 11:03 am
(13) Cheryl says:

Sorry Ken W — you are the one who is misinformed. Go to the Cloud Foundation website. Studies have been done, proving that the horses ARE NOT starving and are in fact on the average, VERY healthy. Millions of acres were set aside by Congress for the horses to live undisturbed. It’s actually against the law to disturb them. A tremendous portion of those lands were in effect “condemned” so they could justify the removal of the horses, thus using the land for other purposes — to make money. Millions of our tax dollars are being spent to feed Mustangs in holding pens. Thousands have “disappeared” — likely sent to slaughter. Each roundup alone costs us millions, then the land is turned over to cattle for the beef industry. It’s a fact. Removing 2,700 horses & leaving 300 behind with mares sterilized serves only one purpose — to effectively and systematically cause them to die off. There will be no viable herds left. Please check out the Cloud Foundation site.

January 6, 2010 at 11:59 am
(14) Cheryl says:

One more thing:

The ratio of cows grazing on public land versus Mustangs is this:

150 cows:1 mustang
Who is overgrazing our public lands?

January 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm
(15) sharon says:

I have 4 mustangs relocated from New Mexico and Utah. When I adopted them they were under nourished and flinched at their own shadow, cowering in a corner afraid of what would be ahead for them. Today, they are confident, loving creatures who have heated water recepticles, hay and feed at their leisure. I am not sure what the answer is – rounding them up with helicopters, I think not. I know grazing is limited because of the numbers of horses per acre in these hurds, and lets face it, cattle producers make their living by producing and caring for their hurds. It takes a lot of money to care for any animals wether it be cattle or horses. Who should be responsible for immunizations for the horses? Should they be put down if they become ill or let nature take its course. When it comes down to it money talks and most farmers will do what ever it takes to protect their operation. Unless you have a passion for these amazing creatures, a lot of folks put them in the same category as deer, or any other pesky creatures.

January 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm
(16) Cheryl says:

It is likely that your adopted Mustangs were in the shape they were due to their poor care in government holding pens. Plus, being chased by helicopter over rugged terrain for 15 miles or more would take a definite toll. What a horrifying experience for any creature running for their lives. (My own Mustang mare (now passed) came from the Nevada ranges. It is for her memory that I strive to save those who remain.) They were afraid of their own shadow because they are wild animals that have gone through the torture & terror of roundup and capture, being torn from their family herd, forced to live in confinement. Please visit the Cloud Foundation website. There you will find published scientific studies and other information on the condition of the Mustangs in the wild. Now evidence has come forward that the Mustangs are now victims of a 3-year government plan to remove them so a pipeline can be built. Again, it’s all about money.

January 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm
(17) Cheryl says:

For anyone who thinks we should “work with the BLM” to solve the problem, please read the link below….a mare being crushed while in the care of the BLM…Mustangs being shot during BLM roundup…all done in a clandestine “hunt” for the Mustangs…that’s how they’re spending our tax money. Please stand up for them, for they have no voice.


February 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm
(18) Ray R. says:

A few points.

I grew up on a ranch and have spent years on a horse or outside where these horses live. I am 57 years old.

No one including most ranchers wish to see all the existing horses removed, the gather is aimed at maintaining a sustainable number.

Not mentioned above, antalope, elk, wild sheep, rabbits, even mice all share the same feed as horses and when horses number increase to the extent they have at Calico other animals suffer.

Up until 1937 the military provided quality studs to anyone out west who would breed/raise/break then sell back as remounts. When that program ended the horses were not worth feeding and were turned loose, creating the bulk of the “wild mustangs” you see today.

I frequent an area 70 miles south east of here where a ranch had removed all cattle a decade ago due to the number of horses and the resulting poor range condition.
That horse herd has now pounded two entire valleys into a dustbowl, its mid winter and they are gaunt. One bad season and they will be dying.

How did domestic horses gone wild become immune to management? What elevates a horse above that of a deer or elk? Why a horse and not a wild pig? Both have a long history with humans both are part of our heritage and both escaped into an environment, both due damage to crops and native vegitation…Feral pigs are managed.

March 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm
(19) Taylor says:

I cannot believe the government is doing this! Why? The reason given is not good enough. How many times do the have to make the mistake of trying to change the west into a docile enviroment. Its the WILD WEST!!! Have you not learned from the mistakes of your forfathers? You decimated an entire horse people culture now your going after the the symbol of there cultures. Please stop and think about the consequnces. A slight inconvience for ranchers is not a good reason.

February 19, 2011 at 2:57 am
(20) Don B. says:

First of all If any of you would think about taking the emotion and putting it where it belongs then perhaps you’d see things differently. Ray , is very correct. In order to have enough forage for the cattle and the sheep which utilize the lands there has to be a sustainable number of horses managed. that includes the number of cattle as well on the public lands . Those ranchers pay for a grazing permit in which it allows them to use the land to graze their herds and they are moved throughout the year and into different areas. The key item here is a sustainable habitat for all. Wild horses tend to over populate ands breed like rabbits. Increased numbers of wild horses lead to several key items, the least known to the general population is the lack of water in the western states where these horses tend to be in. Water,along with a sustained forage growth is key. In the lean years when there is not enough water for the horses,let alone the cattle, you would see things like mares dropping foals and abandoning them to fend for themselves,which I’m sure all you bleeding hearts would come screaming to the govt to do something about. Fact is, theres not enough water or open range to be shared by all of the wild life or trhe domesticted stock to go around. SO if you like your hamburgers and steaks then you’ll either stop crying about something in which you know little or nothing about or side with some high dollar backed Hollywood celebrity and spend your tax deductable dollars for some dis-prganized protest with little or no real idea as to the facts. The one horse I know of that was put down at a “roundup” had been shot before the round up occured and is NOT the result of the BLM’s efforts to control herd growth. I do wish some of you would learn to get the facts before you started your ranting. Honestly , it disturbs those of us who make every effort to ensure the longeivty of the wild places and the life that inhabits them.

October 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm
(21) Amelie says:

America treats all of their wildlife very badly. Anything with fur, feathers or hooves is being systematically annihilated across America. Wolves, bobcats, bears, coyote’s, mountain lions. All of us abroad are aware of how you treat your wildlife and the wild horse situation is absolutely no surprise.
I just hope the American public will forgive the hunters and ranchers when they suddenly realise all of these iconic creatures are functionally extinct.

October 10, 2012 at 11:18 am
(22) Katherine says:

Keep in mind however that the ‘wild’ horses of North America are actually feral, and therefore compete with native wildlife for resources. There are no actual native populations of wild horses in North America.

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