Mead releases statement about wild horse lawsuit

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – Wyoming is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit brought against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) by wild horse advocates who are challenging the BLM’s decision to remove wild horses from private lands in southwest Wyoming. The BLM’s decision complies with an agreement between the BLM and a group of local ranchers. The area involved is part of the checkerboard where private, federal and state lands are intermingled.

“I want to step in to protect the value of Wyoming’s land, defend our sovereign right to manage our wildlife and support ranching families,” Governor Mead said. “We are not against having wild horses on the public lands but they need to be managed appropriately. They must not damage the land or wildlife or conflict with the rights of private property owners. The BLM has a plan in place and it should be implemented.”

The State of Wyoming owns approximately 62,000 acres in the area. Wyoming’s mission for its State Trust Lands is to effectively manage natural resources and the funds generated from those state lands for current and future generations. Revenue from those lands goes to schools.

In the motion to intervene the State points out that it leases land to ranchers, but livestock are managed, are on the land for only a few months and remain only if there is adequate forage. Wild horses stay on the land year-round and increased populations of the horses inhibit the State’s ability to get the full value of the leases to benefit schools. Additionally, other wildlife can suffer, including some local sage-grouse populations.

–Gov. Matt Mead’s Office


  1. Craig Downer

    Such a lack of comprehension of the true situation displayed here by Governor Mead!

  2. Danie Hamilton

    this just barely covers the extent of what is really going on. they worded it to make it most palatable and sound more in charge. 1.2million cattle and at most 5000 horses. the math is skewed. and they want that land to be used with those natural resources to include any of the energy corporations which are barely mentioned

  3. Neda DeMayo

    Misleading- We are challenging the removal of horses on PUBLIC LANDS, not Private.

  4. Tracy Rieker Vaughan

    Misleading for sure. Also it sounds like Wyoming ' s Governor has already been BOUGHT & PAID FOR!

  5. Sue Carter

    Seriously, just how much money does the School District receive from the paltry grazing fees? My friend just drove from Maryland to Wyoming to see wild horses. They are staying in hotels, eating in Restaurants and (unfortunately) attended a Rodeo. The Gov is clearly interested in Cattlemen donations.

  6. Rachel Anne Reeves

    October is month when livestock grazing in the checkerboard is at its lowest allowed numbers. In October the ranchers are "only" allowed to have 7,000 cows and 21,000 sheep. Compare that to the less than 1500 horses allowed in that area. Year-round has nothing to do with it because both livestock and horses are out there year round, and blaming the horses for all the damage when considering the ratio of horses to livestock is a joke.

  7. Terri Berryhill

    I'm a Wyoming native and this is the most ridiculous statement I believe I have heard. Gov. Mead why don't you tell it like it is the cattlemen put you in office and they can get you out thus this statement, correct?

  8. Mar Wargo

    What BS! How does this get into print???? What money comes off that land that goes to state schools? Huh? Show it to me! SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!

  9. Elle B. Burnett

    HE SAID IT… Revenue from 'those lands' goes to the schools…. We want to see the the records on this one. every single cent…

  10. Elle B. Burnett

    Money goes to Schools is just a Smoke Screen. The law also states that BLM agencies will regulate herds… not annialate them…

  11. John Vutech

    you guys are idiots

  12. Elle B. Burnett

    John Vutech I think you are the one showing ignorance here.

  13. Jill Alzina

    Do you seriously think horses damage the land more than cattle and sheep? That's not true!! Cattle alone in such a large quantity are going to be the ones "destroying the land." Horses don't rip out the whole clump of grass. They're grazer's. They leave the roots. Seems like you just threw everything in there in one paragraph. Made the horses look like the bad guys. And then you had to throw the word "school" in there. Well right away you have to stop everything because schools is the magic word there. Everybody stop everything. They used the school word so that means everybody gang up on the "bad, bad horses." Those horses have more right to be wild and free on that land. The BLM has that governor in their pocket. Just saying.

  14. Elle B. Burnett

    Gov Mead needs to put his money where his mouth is and show us the evidence of Generating income… if that's the case isn';t that in Violation of policy … making money on PUBLIC LANDS OWNED BY THE AMERICAN PUBLIC… isn't there an Election coming up in Nov??

  15. Diana Kline

    Governor's are supposed to know the facts. So is Mead incompetent? Or a fibber?

    "Considering the additional direct and indirect costs not included in the GAO report,
    economists have estimated that the federal public lands grazing on only BLM and Forest Service lands may cost as much as $500 million to $1 billion annually.3"

  16. Marcie Perskin

    Lies and Misinformation ~ Are Weapons

  17. Kelly Thacker

    What a farce for a governor

  18. Kathleen Wattle

    Those ranchers need to fence their private land if they don't want wild horses on it. That is what private land owners do who do not want trespass on their property. But in this case, the private owners probably don't want to pay for fencing since they are also grazing federal lands at just $1.35/mo for cow-calf pair. Living for years like that, off of highly subsidized materials (forage) used to manufacture their for-profit product (meat) has them spoiled, stingy and living in la la land.

    The fact is that public land is for publicly-OWNED wildlife including wild horses which, in their herd areas are, per the 1971 Act, to be managed as PRINCIPAL elements of the landscape in those herd areas. After that principal use, comes multiple use for lesser uses such as privately owned livestock grazing. Read that again: livestock grazing is a LESSER use on wild horse herd areas.

    I'm also astounded at this apparently ignorant politician backing those who wish to destroy a huge driver of tourism to his state. And it's clean, green and promotional tourism: people visit from all over the world to SEE WILD HORSES ON IN THE WILD. They come to paint them, photograph and sketch them, to film them, write books about them. And then they go back to where they came from and PROMOTE WYOMING through their art works which are sold all over the world, driving even more people to visit WY. Why would anyone destroy that kind of economic advantage? And while they are there in WY, those tourists pump money into your economy as tourists are wont to do.

    What happens in WY to breed such narrow-minded, self destructive attitudes? Do politicians like this one put on blindfolds so they can't see all those paying tourists? And do the blindfolds help so they can more easily ignore all those WY business owners that they shaft with this kind of nonsense? Who knew that WY business owners losing business and no longer contributing to the tax base in WY was "desirable"? Then again, maybe this baloney is just indicative of who is probably pulling this figurehead's strings.

  19. R.T. Fitch

    Headline:" Wyoming Gov Says Wild Horses Are Stealing from School Children" or "Several Hundred Horses Guilty of Starving Millions of Government Subsidized, Private Welfare Cattle"

    If dumb could dumber it just occurred in the State of Wyoming as Governor Mead crawled into bed with the state's welfare ranchers by pointing a finger(which one?) at the state's few remaining wild horses for stealing the grass right out of private cattle's mouths and money away from school children. "DOINK"

    The few horses that survive on millions of acres are outnumbered hundreds to one by cattle and sheep and the (allegedly) federally protected horses are at fault?!?! NOT!

    This "press release" is frighting on so many levels that I am afraid to commit my thoughts to text. I guess the word incredulous comes to mind accompanied by a very loud and melodramatic sigh. Color me dumbfounded…but still, we keep the faith!"

  20. Stacia Corbett Citron

    There's more ignorance in the comments than the article. You can't fence checkerboard land. And who has not heard of school sections? Sections 16 and 36 are always state sections and all money collected across the states, no matter the lessee, go into the state's school fund. There are school sections in the midst of private land, and leases are paid on those also. A horse eats 2 times more than a cow, even the BLM aums account for that. Not necessarily a supporter of Mead's, but I am a supporter of the facts.

  21. Carla McNeelan Tillman

    Mr Mead is also a rancher. Tuesday is primary voting day for us repubs…vote no for Mead.

  22. Christy Lee

    REALLY? I just HAVE to plagiarize my friend R.TR.T. Fitch. They really should have used one of these headlines for this article: "Wyoming Gov Says Wild Horses Are Stealing from School Children" or "Several Hundred Horses Guilty of Starving Millions of Government Subsidized, Private Welfare Cattle"
    28,000 CATTLE and SHEEP and a few hundred horses? You must think that people who care about the wild horses are clueless. WE ALL KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!

  23. Chris Posey

    Can a bought state governor intervene in a lawsuit against a bureau of a federal agency? Where is the separation of powers both state and federal? Are we going to be dictated to by special interests and a governor apparently bought by them?

  24. Sara Wilkerson

    But what about the children!

  25. Susan Humphrey

    This land in Wyoming that they are removing the horses from is "checkerboard" land, which means every other square mile is private land. It is all open. (Not fenced) They've tried fencing but it killed a lot of wildlife who couldn't get through it during the winter time, on one occasion thousands of Pronghorn were killed, so they ended up tearing a lot of fencing out. Over half the land in this area is not BLM land, and those who owned the private land belong to a Grazing Association. They agreed to allow horses on it if the BLM would keep the horse numbers under 500. The BLM didn't do that, so the Grazing Association took them to court. The court agreed that the horses should be zeroed out on the checkerboard area. This has all been done legally.

    Ranchers take their livestock off the range in the winter so that they can feed them hay close to where they live. The horses live on the land year-round. They eat the new spring grass before it has a chance to get established while the cattle and sheep are still being fed hay as part of good pasture management. When grass can't get established because it is getting eaten as fast as it's growing, weeds get established.

    Livestock are income-producing for the ranching families and the surrounding communities. The horses don't bring in enough tourist dollars to ever offset that. It would be better to have the horses on sanctuaries where tourists have a guarantee of actually seeing the horses, anyway. That way they would be on a smaller area so birth control could be used.
    I'm glad to see the states finally stepping up and looking out for their own. The WH&B Act isn't working. It needs to be completely restructured or turned over to the states. The 50,000 horses and burros in holding that will never be adopted, because not even the wild horse advocates want them, need to either go to Canada, Mexico or a long, wide ditch…which would be a waste of meat and ammo. (anyone "horrified" by this should go adopt a few!)

  26. Carol Bowns

    Mar Wargo, they are called state institutional trust lands, or school sections. That is why the west looks like a checker board.

  27. Judith Wilson Bendel

    So again it is all about money!!!

  28. Jerry Searcy

    hey are not a game animal, on private land they can be killed.

  29. Brett B Sabey

    I am real curios here, all you people yelling save the feral horses please tell me how many of these horses are you willing to put in your back yard ? how many are in your back yard right now ? if you love them so much there is 50.000 of the beautiful things wasting away in feed lots across the country.. go get a dozen and help everyone out

  30. Jane Rice

    His statement is sensible, in my opinion. They should be culled as needed, by condition and age, as would a cattle rancher, in order to keep the herd strong and of mustang quality.

  31. Shelly Humphrey

    I'm curious. How many of you condemning the horses are cattle or sheep ranchers? The Grazing Association is NOT the people of Wyoming. We have a law here, if you don't want cattle on your property it is YOUR responsibility to fence them out. This is Wyoming! One of the last remnants of the West is our wild horses. Okay the cattle ranchers want the wolves eliminated, now the horses. Whats next? Those pesky grass munching rabbits? Sorry Mead that cost you my vote too.

  32. Susan Humphrey

    Tell your friends to go to a sanctuary if they want to see horses. Most of the time tourists aren't going to see BLM horses in Wyoming, anyway. The land is too vast. They will just end up getting lost. Maybe some year a rancher or hunter will find their bones…Tell your friends to stay within sight of their vehicle at all times, keep the fuel tank filled before you leave town, and take plenty of water, food, blankets, flashlights and camping gear and don't count on cell phones because there often isn't service.

  33. Sue Carter

    Don't worry Susan Humphrey , they made it safe and sound. They even saw some horses. Today they are at the Crow Fair spending their money.

  34. Sue Carter

    And gee Susan Humphrey, I thought there were so many Wild Horses that people are tripping over them? What do you mean it is too vast, they won't see any?

  35. Susan Humphrey

    Wyoming gets most of its income from agriculture…primarily ranching. Tourism, especially from people who are anti-ranchers, wouldn't be welcomed.
    Wyoming is open range country for cattle, BTW, and there aren't fences in the checkerboard because wildlife die in the wintertime when they can't get through it. On one occasion thousand of Pronghorn died because of some stupid environmentalist erecting a fence…they piled up in a blizzard. The cattle are taken off the range in the winter and taken close to the home ranch to be fed hay. If fences were erected and the horses couldn't get to windbreaks during a blizzard because there was a fence in their way and piled up and suffocated or froze to death, how would that make you feel? Still want fences up?
    The Grazing Association took the BLM to court and won. The horses on the checkerboard area have to be zeroed out. Those horses will be available for adoption. How many will you be taking home with you? I've adopted 3 BLM horses from this area. Some aren't totally worthless, though in today's market they aren't worth a months feed.

  36. Kerry Owens

    These horses should be left alone!

  37. Susan Humphrey

    BLM land is managed land; that is what the "M" stands for. The cattle are rounded up, moved, removed, culled, vaccinated, wormed, etc. Horses are a domesticated species, brought to this country by man. They are feral, but still have to be "managed" by law. They are an invasive species.
    We have hares as a native species in North America, not rabbits. If rabbits started breeding in the wild (became feral) they could displace the niche now held by hares (Cottontail and Jackrabbit). Cattle ranchers don't want horses or wolves eliminated, they just want their numbers kept under control.

  38. Kerry Owens

    Susan Humphrey PEOPLE are an invasive species, and should be rounded up and 'managed', not animals. Your specious argument doesn't ring true. If MAN would let nature happen; NATURE has a perfect pecking order that would keep all of the wild species in check. That means let WOLVES do what wolves do. Eat rabbits, and other small game.

  39. Susan Humphrey

    Kerry Owens BLM land is "managed" land, not "let-Nature-do-whatever-it-wants" land.
    Wolves in N. America don't eat rabbits, BTW, because rabbits aren't a native species. Wolves are pack animals that eat large game animals like Wapiti and Caribou. (Please…go run with the wolves…natural selection is failing the human race. We are being overcome by idiots.)

  40. Susan Humphrey

    I'm glad they didn't get lost. I hope they have a good time at the fair! Sheridan is beautiful. Not all of Wyoming is as lovely, and none of Wyoming is nice during bad weather…or even in good weather if someone is lost or stranded. There are about 6 people per square mile in Wyoming…less than 600,0000 people in 97,000 square miles, mostly concentrated in the cities. Weather can change in a minute, so I wasn't kidding about being prepared.

  41. Shelly Humphrey

    And the BLM once again does what it does best. Bows to the almighty dollar. Public land belongs to the public. Not the ranchers. How does profit win every time?

  42. Kathleen Wattle

    Oh really? So you are a tourism expert? And what about the fact that "Tourism dollars generated by the Bighorn National Forest far outweigh earnings from livestock grazing and timber harvesting, according to a University of Wyoming study." ? Sure Bighorn is not in the same region as the checkerboard but the point is that WY is filled with national forests, parks, monuments — duh, Yellowstone! — and people travel throughout the state to see these places and the wildlife in the rural areas. Or did you think people just drop into your parks by airlift or something, bypassing the entire rest of the state and thereby spending nothing there?$.htm

    Here's another university study for you: "Wildlife watching-not including hunting and fishing-contributes more income and employs more people than public lands grazing in the West." There are even some handy charts here showing WY and MT reaping the highest percentage (of total state gross product) of economic impact from tourism of all the states. They also show WY tourism generates the highest percentage of jobs (6000+ jobs) and the highest wage/salary dollars percentage ($82million) of the state total wage/salary$.

    Here's another gem for you: "The recently released Department of Interior Fiscal Year 2012 Economic Report shows that Grazing on BLM Public Lands Accounts for only 0.41% of the nation’s livestock receipts and only 17,000 jobs. In contrast, recreation accounts for 372,000 jobs and contributes $45 billion to the economy." This article also outlines the abuse and neglect of public lands (by lessees) commonly found on grazing lease allotments. You might learn more about this if you read the reports from on the ground observers like this author.

  43. Kathleen Wattle

    Do you realize how ridiculous it sounds to say tourism is virtually worthless and tourists are only welcome if they support ranchers? The only ranchers who inspire tourists, or anyone for that matter, to take an anti-rancher stance are the welfare ranchers who hate wild horses and other wildlife and who selfishly and falsely believe public lands belong to them first and foremost so that they can continue to have virtually free feed for their livestock. Even if they are only grazing for part of the year, they are still seen as users because that is what they do considering the obscene subsidy involved. Public lands grazing has far outlived its purpose (of helping disadvantaged poor ranchers in the 1930s) and too many Americans are fed up with today's millionaire moochers who continue to demand more and more (wildlife killing services, fencing services, wild horse "management" services, roadway services, water source services, etc.) and then neglect and abuse public lands as if they owned them. We just don't need to keep throwing good money after bad for an ungrateful miniature "industry" segment that contributes just 0.41% of US livestock receipts.

    As for fencing, read the court case you cited. I did. Item 27 or 28 clearly states there would be no problem for private landowners to fence their own lands (if they are so worried about sharing it with wildlife as these ranchers claim) so long as they fence inside their own property boundaries and ensure there is an adequate access corridor for wildlife at each intersection with a public land parcel. Of course, it's much cheaper to blame a handful of wild horses for damage and degradation their thousands upon thousands of cattle and sheep are actually doing to the range.

  44. Kathleen Wattle

    Land owners could most certainly fence their private checkerboard sections as long as they ensure there was a wide, clear, unblocked access at the checkerboard corners for wildlife corridors. In other words, they could not fence out or fence off public lands, that would be against the law. But they could choose to fence inside the border of their parcel on their own land and then leave a 100' to 150' right triangle un-fenced at corners intersecting with public land. This would need to be negotiated with state and federal land managers but as long as appropriate access was maintained, fencing their own private land should be an option. Read the court case on the matter of private landowners effectively fencing off public lands and causing antelope to pile up at a fence in winter and perish while they intended to fence their own (without leaving that vital corner access). The case itself describes how leaving corner access would be fine.

    As for school sections, there is no valid reason why it cannot be disclosed as so many have questioned here. If the governor is going to cite this phantom school income as being so critical, so important in scope, he should disclose the numbers. How difficult would that be? ID the school sections in this affected area, ID the lessees for all those sections and tabulate the amount of money they are collectively contributing to WY schools annually. Seems like there will need to be an awful lot more cows out there paying for the schools to amount to much unless rates are far higher than BLM's. FYI, in 1990 WY State Trust lands revenue from grazing was a total of just $1.9 million for the entire state.

    So why doesn't Mead just disclose what portion of that is generated by school trust lands in the SW section of the state he uses as an excuse to push wild horse extermination? What portion could it be? 25% of that total maybe? Furthermore, over the past decade public lands grazing has gone down in all of the West. What does that bring that portion of WY down to, 15% of that revenue figure? So maybe in Mead's eyes, grazing is a big money maker for schools, raking in a cool $285,000 – $475,000 (15-25%)? Maybe he made a mistake and thinks there was another zero on those figures?

    Grazing AUMs are a system of equivalents but they are assumptions, estimations and not absolutes. And there are variables like: a calf is not going to be eating much forage for the first months of its life so the cow-calf pair simply does not equal 2 cattle per AUM (versus 1 horse per AUM) as you imply with the comment that horses eat twice as much.

  45. Kathleen Wattle

    And don't buy their baloney about not being able to fence out wildlife. These protesters do not even know their own case law on fencing! The pronghorn case clearly states private parcels can be fenced as long as an adequate corridor for wildlife access is left at corner intersections with public lands. Of course these miserly welfare ranchers don't want to spend the money fencing out wild horses (and wild life). It's much cheaper to complain about the few wild horses left!

  46. Kathleen Wattle

    No, wild horses are protected by federal law and cannot be killed even if on private property — unless you want to be charged with a crime. Look at the signs on every wild horse herd area – they state the penalties for killing them.

  47. Karen Potter-McInnis

    He seems to be a money hound. Obviously no concept of what is going on or just being greedy

  48. Diana Kline

    Carol Bowns

    "To be a good steward, ideally one not only must have a sense of responsibility and concern for the land-as many ranchers do-but also must treat the land in a way that conserves its fertility, productivity, diversity, and beauty for the future. Yet by raising domestic animals that demand large quantities of water and forage in a place that is dry, and by favoring slow-moving, heavy, and relatively defenseless livestock in terrain that is rugged, vast, and inhabited by native predators, ranchers have put themselves in a position of constant warfare with the land. They funnel most of the grass into their own animals, at the expense of the wild herbivores. They divert water from rivers to grow hay and other crops to feed cows, leaving fish and other aquatic life with hot, shallow trickles. They allow their cattle to graze and trample riparian areas-habitat on which 75 to 80 percent of all wild animal species in the West depend-polluting waterways with manure and adding excessive sediments to the water as they denude the land. And although "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," it's arguable whether most people would prefer a place where the grass is chewed down to stubs and the ground is littered with cow pies, over a grassland of tall and waving stems, dotted with wildflowers."

  49. Diana Kline

    We all know the money doesn't go to the schools. The Federal Grazing program loses money and costs taxpayers :

  50. John Sendrowski

    Susan Humphrey Wyoming features wild horses as an attraction for tourists. Lots of people go to Wyoming to see the wild horses. Horse in a sanctuary are no longer wild and are no longer tourist attractions.

  51. John Sendrowski

    Wild horses belong on the range and are no longer wild in someone's back yard, Brett.

  52. Brett B Sabey


  53. John Sendrowski

    The judge will decide what has been done legally, Susan, and the jury is still out. People are tired of subsidizing the ranchers on our public lands, especially when they can't share with the horses.

  54. John Sendrowski

    Susan Humphrey the ranchers want the wild horses zeroed out on the checkerboard. Is this what you meant by, "Cattle ranchers don't want horses or wolves eliminated, they just want their numbers kept under control." ? Zeroed out is the same thing as eliminated. They want the wild horses extinct, and we're not going to let them do that.

  55. Diana Kline

    Brett B Sabey modern horse originates in North America. The modern horse spread from North America throughout the rest of the world. Wild horses are native.

  56. Diana Kline

    This is a Federal program and as such, it's losing vast amounts of taxpayer money every year. The public lands ranchers aren't paying enough money to sustain their own program, let alone feed school children:

  57. Arlee Fairbanks

    Susan Humphrey I totally agree with you. It is so sad that there is so much mis-information being swallowed by the people with no real experience ….but 'hearts for horses'. There are way more wild horses than it is practical to maintain. Sadly, many end up in holding facilities……costing the tax payers for their keep and not even "free". Then the adoption of same competes with the 'private enterprise' of legitimate breeders of WAY BETTER QUALITY horses.

  58. Sue Carter

    Ok Susan Humphrey, what percentage of the paltry grazing fee does the school District actually get? There must be hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep for it to add up to anything. I could look it up but it is a waste of my time. So glad your dumb Governor mentioned the Sage Grouse. It only enforces the need to remove the Cattle and Sheep. I hope Western Water sheds gets all over that. But, you will find out that the a Rock Springs Grazing Association is in a deal with Anadarko and it is not about a few hundred horses at all. It's all about Fluid Extraction a and Gas/oi. Wyoming will be left desolate.

  59. Elle B. Burnett

    Thank you. I have a link to the NY Times.. Please send them a Letter on the regard of BLM Annihlation of Wild Horse and Burro Herds, Assets of the American Public and the Meeting of Aug 25.. let's get some major Press on this.. VOICE NOW… BE HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR. It is Illegal and against Congressional Policy of the Free Roam Wild Horse/Burro Act of 1971 for Gov. Matt Mead to allow the Annihilation of wild stock.

  60. Shelly Humphrey

    Susan Humphrey, you rely too much on BLM information. They state wild horses are not native to North America but there is DNA testing that says otherwise. Oh by the way, the world isn't flat either.

  61. Shelly Humphrey

    Oh and "public land" belongs to the public. Not the people endorsing a slaughterhouse like you are, Susan, nor does it belong to the cattle barons. I pay dearly for every pound of beef I eat and I'll be damned if they're giving any of us a discount for using our public land to fatten the cattle.

  62. Hilary R. Settle

    Cows leave the roots and stems and don't pull out grass by the clump. if they did we would have to re-seed pastures after they graze….just sayin. And if PROPERLY managed actually raise soils and aid to their grazing environment (Both cows and horses). Quit picking on cows! ;) granted, what is happening here is tragic, and if herds aren't managed it can lead to over grazing and starvation to all wildlife. The article states "The area involved is part of the checkerboard where private, federal and state lands are intermingled." And as a horse lover and owner. I wouldn't want wild horses near mine. Too much chance of disease spreading, and what if my horse gets loose with the others? What if a stallion enters my property and attacks my horses? Again the article states: “We are not against having wild horses on the public lands but they need to be managed appropriately. They must not damage the land or wildlife or conflict with the rights of private property owners. The BLM has a plan in place and it should be implemented.” Looking out for the private land owners there. And the over grazing is covered here: "livestock are managed, are on the land for only a few months and remain only if there is adequate forage. Wild horses stay on the land year-round and increased populations of the horses inhibit the State’s ability to get the full value of the leases to benefit schools. Additionally, other wildlife can suffer, including some local sage-grouse populations. If you have 1 horse in 100 acres or 1 cow in 100 acres the area will become over grazed because they specifically look for the good stuff and leave the bad. its like yo buy groceries… by the end of the month you will have less food options available because you ate all the "good stuff" first. Like I said, its tragic, but it seems to be something that land owners asked for and will in the end help in multiple areas.

  63. Hilary R. Settle

    And I'm not at all sure how schools relate to all of this? Maybe some land profits go to fund schools? The article didn't explain that.

  64. Sara Wilkerson

    Sounds like what I was getting at, thought it was funny they were saying its all for the kids!

  65. Diana Kline

    Hilary R. Settle They are trying to "zero out" all the wild horses on the checkerboard. Schools have nothing to do with this. The Federal Grazing program is losing taxpayer money hand over fist.
    Since they are losing money, there is no surplus to feed any children with. I'm sure your horses are fenced in on your own property, something the cattle owners should do with their cattle. Instead, they want to let their cattle wander off their private lands and onto our public lands, at the expense of the wild horses, which they want to exterminate on the Wyoming checkerboard.

  66. Hilary R. Settle

    A lot of times Ranchers can't fence the cows in because of grazing space. They need to make a living too. I'd rather feed a farmer and family than a wild horse. Grazing resources are limited in the west because they look for how many acres can feed my cows vs how many cows can I feed per acre. Cows are less picky about forage than horses. To prevent over grazing and foster better re-growth it would be better to let the cows take over. I suppose it could be done by not wiping out all the pretty ponies but it is a solution to feed farmers.

  67. Diana Kline

    Hilary R. Settle less than 98+ percent of ranchers have cattle and sheep on their own private lands. It's the 2+ percent that are costing the taxpayers huge amounts of money in subsidies that are the issue with the wild horses. Never thankful for the deal they have been given, they continually want to eradicate our wild horses:

  68. Diana Kline

    Arlee Fairbanks Arlee, and you have research to post that says we have "way more wild horses than is practical to maintain?" Please post it. In the meantime, take a look at how much public land we have in the U.S. and try to tell me without your nose growing very long that we have too many wild horses:

  69. Deb Curtis Olivas

    Curious as to have many of the wild horse advocates on here , have degrees in land management

  70. Deb Curtis Olivas

    And how many live in and around these horses and assist in their management.

  71. Susan Humphrey

    John Sendrowski Diana, The ranchers in the Grazing association agreed to let BLM horses on the checkerboard area, as long as they didn't go over 500 head. The BLM didn't follow the rules, so they were taken to court. The Grazing association won. That is why they horses are being zeroed out. The ranchers didn't mind UP TO 500 HORSES which would have been plenty to keep the herds healthy and keep from inbreeding. One of the horses I adopted came from these herds as did several I trained for others. They seemed better bred than most, and though some were a little bit "drafty" for my taste, they were sound and healthy.
    If the BLM had held up their end of the agreement, that would have continued, but they allowed the horses to more than double in size with no end in sight. Horses have been given an AML. The BLM needs to stick to that number and advocates that want the WH&B Act to continue will support getting the horse numbers under control and clearing the holding corrals. Otherwise the WH&B Act is on its way out. Frustration is growing. Do you want to be part of a solution or continue to be part of the problem? Its up to you. It isn't just ranchers who are tired of the horses.

  72. Susan Humphrey

    John Sendrowski How many BLM horses are you willing to share your farm with?

  73. Susan Humphrey

    Sue Carter BLM horses are on the land year-round, so they are much more likely to disturb Sage-Gouse during mating and nesting, when cattle and sheep are still on their home range. Plus, if there is ever a problem, the cattle can be delayed from turn-out, moved, or not turned out at all; that is the difference between the cattle, sheep and the BLM horses…they are "managed".
    BLM land is managed for grazing and mining as part of its multi-use. Mining and livestock grazing are what feed the families in Wyoming. It is also a state that is pro wild-life and hunting. BLM horses are Waaaaayyyy-down of the list of priorities for the state. Keeping a few, in limited numbers, are fine. BLM doesn't seem to be able to manage, so it would probably be better if the state took it over…and no…they wouldn't be exterminated. Just controlled.

  74. Susan Humphrey

    John Sendrowski Most people who really want to see mustangs go to sanctuaries where they can actually see them. One I recommend is The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary near Hot Springs, SD.

  75. Terri Berryhill

    Susan Humphrey what are you talking about? I'm an old ranch woman born in Wyoming but I have always seen wild horses in the red desert. Wyoming is remote which makes it an ideal place for wild horses. I'm not an environmentalist but I do care for these horses and I will continue to fight you and your kind. What got your dander up was it real people talking about your bought and paid for governor? The more you talk the less I think you have even a small clue about the state of Wyoming.

  76. Jerry Foster

    John Sendrowski I believe that Susan pointed out that a judge has already issued a legal decree about what should be done. "The court agreed that the horses should be zeroed out on the checkerboard area." Susan also pointed out that half of the land in the area in question is privately owned so 50% of our argument about subsidies is gone. Most of the other 50% goes out the window when you take into consideration that much of the public land (national forest and national grasslands) are held in trust with the intent of providing public benefit through economic activity. In the big picture of things, mustangs a legacy mistake. The aren't wildlife. They are feral animals. Feral animals nearly always cause problems for natural communities.

  77. Susan Humphrey

    Kathleen Wattle "Wild-life watching" isn't the same as
    "BLM horse watching" because the horses aren't wildlife. Tourism is valuable in Wyoming, but not tourists that are going to Wyoming to see BLM horses. They are a feral domesticated species…the same species as all the other multi-millions of horses world-wide…they just happen to be in the feral state. A lot of animals will revert to the feral state quite easily, such as cats, swine, and cattle for example. They are all invasive species to North America and need to be controlled.
    If the BLM is unwilling or unable to control the feral horse population, they need to be taken off the public land completely and placed on privately run sanctuaries.

  78. Shelly Humphrey

    Once again you're speaking of the ranchers, not ALL the people of Wyoming that are benefitting from grazing. Who are you to decide that "a few are ok"? For that matter what if the people of Wyoming don't want the sheep and cattle grazing on public land? You're saying the grazing takes priority because of someone wanting cheap feed? I'd rather keep the horses than the cattle. Guess you folks from south Dakota think differently.

  79. Jerry Foster

    Diana Kline I haven't seen any of your comments for a while. Where is that lawsuit you said you were going to bring against me? No one has served any papers thus far. All that aside, you comment belies all the rhetoric I have read from you over the last year or so. Consequently, I can't figure out what you want here. Do you want the horses pulled off the range since they graze the grass to numbs and leave "litter" the ground with manure piles? As always, comments seem to lack the full extent of rational thought.

  80. Sue Carter

    Now Susan Humphrey resorts to talking about the weather? I guess she would not rather not talk about the Cattle over-grazing the land. Lol!

  81. Jerry Foster

    John Sendrowski wild horses went extinct in North America a couple of ice ages ago. What they have in Wyoming and several other western states are feral horses. Feral animals nearly always damage natural communities.

  82. Susan Humphrey

    Shelly Humphrey The checkerboard area in Wyoming is where the horses are being zeroed out. The land is more than half privately owned…every other square mile is public land. It can't be fenced. It is this area this is being zeroed out because the BLM didn't keep to their agreement to keep the horse numbers under control (500 horses maximum in this area) so the Grazing association took them to court and won the court case.

  83. Susan Humphrey

    Kathleen Wattle Tourism to see wildlife is welcome…but BLM horses aren't wildlife! they are a feral domesticated species.

  84. Sue Carter

    Jerry Foster , it's time you stopped relying on 7th grade text books.

  85. Shelly Humphrey

    Susan once again, these horses ARE NOT feral, DNA has proven that. Guess you're an expert on all things Wyoming?

  86. Susan Humphrey

    Kathleen Wattle Uhhh…this is land that is every-other square mile owned by either private land or public land. During blizzards, there can't be any fences at all. Period. Too many wildlife have perished due to fences; thousands of Pronghorn during one blizzard. The wildlife's needs come before the horses. (cattle and sheep are taken off)

  87. Shelly Humphrey

    Why are non Wyoming residents even discussing this? DNA has proven these horses originated here. If I had my way, sheep and cattle wouldn't be disturbing the wild horses or sucking off our public lands. To say these animals will be adopted out is a lie. The only reason the herds are on feed lots is because they've already been taken off our public lands. Smh I know a lot of cattle ranchers here that feed their own cattle, bet its the same price as the beef fed on public land.

  88. Elle B. Burnett

    Hilary R. Settle Better check your cows there sister. Every cow I've seen tears everything up… grass, roots, baby trees and stomps everthing. They lie down in water ways and crap while they are sitting there. destroying fragile eco systems. Hundred thousand head of cattle don't need to be on BLM lands… it wasn't purposed for private industry to gain at the expense of the American Public.

  89. Jerry Foster

    Jill Alzina, horses are animals so they don't have rights to anything. People have rights. Animals don't have rights. Horses in North America are not wildlife. They are domestic animals. Domestic animals that aren't under control and ownership, are feral. Feral animals nearly always damage natural communities. Thus we should remove their unnatural presence from the natural habitat. People get overly caught up in emotion and deny the facts of nature. Horses should not be roaming uncontrolled on pubic lands. Lastly, you are wrong about horses and their grazing habits. They do pull up grass as they graze when grazing conditions are poor. Poor grazing conditions often result from continuous grazing by excessive populations of animals, whether bovine, equine or ovine.

  90. Shelly Humphrey

    Susan I'm fully aware of that. Not sure who exactly told the BLM the limit was 500 but are there more than 500 head of cattle on the public land? I'm sure you know the answer. No one asked any of us if that was ok. Tired of the few benefitting off of the many.

  91. Hilary R. Settle

    Elle B. Burnett ,let me go walk my fields where my cows are and see for sure.You are welcome to come look and see the truth there kiddo :)
    AND if fed correctly (less grain more grass) the can boost the local ecosystem. thanks though.

  92. Jerry Foster

    Hilary R. Settle, Susan Humphrey mentioned the connection between school funds and grazing fees in an early comment on this article.

  93. Susan Humphrey

    In Wyoming, everyone talks about the weather because everything is dependent on the weather! Drought, floods, blizzards, tornados, hail, downpours, lightening-caused wild-fires, wind…
    Lack of preparation will kill you. No joke. I've known people it's happened to, and it's nearly happened to me on more than one occasion. Being caught in a blizzard that comes out of nowhere or in a wildfire is nothing to laugh about.

  94. Sue Carter

    The "Ranchers" have a deal with Anadarko, the other land owner in the Checkerboard. How much did Anadarko contribute to the Gov. The Checkerboard is about to get FRACKED.

  95. Sue Carter

    Wake up Wyoming… Your water is being destroyes! The Governor is in Anadarkos pocket! DON'T Drink the Fracking Water!!/

  96. Susan Humphrey

    Shelly Humphrey I'm not sure why you seem to think that public land is for horses? Public land is for multi-use…which is grazing, mining, recreation, wildlife, hunting as well. Public land is managed for the greater good of all, not a few who happen to like a feral invasive domesticated species.

  97. Jerry Foster

    Diana Kline I don't have any cattle grazing on federa land. In fact I don't have any cattle grazing anywhere, but I still want to remove feral horses from federal land. Feral horses are a legacy mistake that damage our ecosystems and we waste a lot of tax dollars to treat them like wildlife when they are actually domestic animals. As usual, you let your emotions get out of check and you got all into calling the motives and morals of other people into question without sufficient justification for doing so. That seems to be a trend with you.

  98. Jerry Foster

    Diana Kline you need to work on your reading comprehension and comparative reasoning skills. Governor Mead was talking about grazing fees generated from grazing Wyoming owned land in the Checkerboard area. Your link addresses federally owned land. Do you understand the difference?

  99. Sue Carter

    Yes, multiple use Susan Humphrey but manage "Principally" for the horses where they are found. NOT principally for Cattle.

  100. Jerry Foster

    John Sendrowski do understand the difference between wildlife and feral domestic animals?

  101. Sandra Dvergsdal

    Good to hear from a Wyoming native instead of people from all over the US who get paid to make remarks.

  102. Susan Humphrey

    Terri Berryhill The horses aren't wild…they are feral domesticated livestock which have to be controlled. The BLM has been mandated to do that by law and hasn't been doing a very good job, mostly because the bleeding hearts have tied up their hands. There are a set number to be on the land, the BLM is to gather them every few years to remove the excess and adopt-out those that people want. Those horses that aren't wanted are to be destroyed or sold. That is the law. Instead they are warehousing 50,000 in feedlots and midwestern pastures and they aren't gathering the excess because they have too many in holding to feed. If the BLM can't do their job, the states need to take over the WH&B program and follow the law.

  103. Jerry Foster

    Diana Kline, once again, your emotions take over your good sense. Wild horses went extinct in North America a couple of ice ages ago. The free roaming horses in the western U.S. are descendants of equine imported from Europe. Thus, they are feral domestic horses. Feral animals are detrimental to natural communities so removal is nearly always justified.

  104. Marcie Perskin

    Jerry Foster
    Jerry ~~ Weren't you a tad rude to Diana ? If she was wrong so be it . Im so sick of people correcting one another . We know what she means And we KNow what we're Fighting Against ~

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