The Voice of Dependency

What is the Public Lands Council?  The description for the following video says the organization represents 22,000 public lands ranchers in the Western United States.

Given its location in Washington DC, most of its resources are probably devoted to public relations and political influence.

One thing is clear: Its anti-horse agenda.

Public Lands Council Anti Horse Agenda-1

Curiously, the first goal has been accepted by most of the so-called advocacy groups, with some of them involved in the second item as well.

The fourth item is perhaps the most troubling—elimination of HMAs and WHTs so forage consumed by wild horses and burros can be allocated to privately owned cattle and sheep.

Consider this definition regarding public lands from Section 103 of FLPMA:

Principal Uses FLPMA-1

Go ahead and find a trade group representing oil companies, mining companies, timber companies or outdoor recreation companies that’s as hostile to WHB as these guys.

Satellite Adoptions

Video posted in 2016 by the Michigan Farm Bureau about wild horse and burro adoptions at non-BLM facilities.  A list of these events for 2019 can be found here.

Roundups drive the adoptions and ‘multiple use’ drives the roundups.

Which of these ‘other mandated uses,’ mentioned at 2:26, interferes most directly with the health and welfare of wild horses and burros?

a. Recreation

b. Oil and gas development

c. Livestock grazing

d. Wildlife

How many reports have you read about

  • Wild horses being attacked by hikers and campers?
  • Wild horses being slaughtered by oil companies?
  • Wild horse herds being wiped out by wildlife?

The great destroyer is public-lands ranching, which explains the remark at 2:20 about no natural predators.

Economics of Wild Horse Gathers

Refer to the data and remarks in this post and this post.

  • Cost to remove a horse from his home range, $400
  • Cost to place him in long-term holding, $2 per day
  • Revenue from selling his food to a public-lands rancher, $16 per year


  • Costs of transport and short-term holding ($5 per day) can be neglected
  • Most horses removed from public lands won’t be adopted
  • Fee for livestock grazing is $1.35 per AUM

The adoption assumption is based on a removal rate of 12,000 or more wild horses per year, which floods the program, as in 2018 (lands managed by BLM and USFS).

A wild horse consumes 12 AUMs annually, yielding payments to the government of $16 per year from the rancher to whom the unused forage is sold (12 times 1.35).

The annual cost of holding him in off-range pastures is $730 per year (2 times 365).

Note that $2 per day equals $60 per AUM.  Are you seeing a problem here?

You’re spending $730 per year so you can collect $16 per year.  This is how the mortgage deduction works on federal income taxes.  Ditto for property taxes.

This is what the situation looks like on a cash flow diagram.  There is no payout, no rate of return.

Cash Flow Roundups-1

The BLM removed 846 wild horses last fall from the Warm Springs HMA.  The diagram for that would look the same but the figures would be different.

The initial outlay would be -$338,000 (846 times 400), the annual expenditure for long-term holding would be -$617,000 per year (846 times 730) and the revenue from grazing would be +$13,000 per year (846 times 16).

The grazing fee would have to be raised to at least $65 per AUM to make the program economically viable (internal rate of return greater than zero), a 4,700 percent increase from the current amount.

Corolla Stallions Spar for Mares

Good grief, people are shocked when horses act like horses.  An incident described as a ‘vicious brawl’ was captured on film and reported yesterday in The News & Observer of Raleigh, NC.  The story was also picked up by other news outlets.

“It’s completely natural and a behavior that we like to see,” said one person interviewed for the story, suggesting that the fertility control program hasn’t totally screwed up the herd, at least not yet.

Last month, the same individual blamed the occurrence of ‘swamp cancer’ at the OBX on climate change.

Wild Horse Overpopulation?

Congress tells the BLM to fix the wild horse ‘problem.’  Let’s look at the numbers.

Data from this post and this post, rounded, lands managed by the BLM:

  • 9 million AUMs per year currently used by livestock
  • 12 million AUMs per year available to livestock
  • 155 million acres of public lands available to livestock
  • 71,000 wild horses and burros currently on public lands
  • 27,000 wild horses and burros allowed on public lands
  • 27 million acres of public lands available to wild horses and burros


  • Livestock graze 6 months per year
  • Horses and burros graze 12 months per year

AUM consumption, current conditions:

  • 9 million AUMs per year allocated to livestock
  • 0.85 million AUMs per year allocated to wild horses and burros

Animal population, current conditions:

  • 1.5 million cow/calf pairs
  • 0.071 million horses and burros

Population density, current conditions:

  • 9.7 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres
  • 2.6 horses and burros per thousand acres

Graphical summary:

Wild Horse Overpopulation Current-1

AUM consumption, planned:

  • 12 million AUMs per year allocated to livestock
  • 0.32 million AUMs per year allocated to wild horses and burros

Animal population, planned:

  • 2 million cow/calf pairs
  • 0.027 million horses and burros

Population density, planned:

  • 12.9 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres
  • 1 horse or burro per thousand acres

Graphical summary:

Wild Horse Overpopulation Planned-1

There is no wild horse problem, only a livestock problem.  Thanks to the public-lands ranchers, the contractors, the trade groups, their cheerleaders and political allies—all working together to eradicate wild horses and burros—on land that belongs to you.

Letter to Editor Reveals Truth About Colville Roundup

Tribal leaders have great plans for the future, so they rewrite the law to suit their agenda and the horses are gone.  Sound familiar?

Where are they getting the money to pay the contractor?  Did they receive a ‘donation’ from the federal government?

Refer to the letter titled ‘Amendment to horse capture law: Horses being slaughtered for damage caused by cattle, logging, pollution’ in yesterday’s edition of The Safety Valve in The Wenatchee World.

RELATED: Colville Gather Underway.