Welfare Ranching, BLM abuses public trust and a petition for care

Wild horses stockpiled as welfare ranching continues on the back of the tax payer

Wild horses stockpiled as welfare ranching continues as a priority on the back of the tax payer

WildHorseEducation.org has added a new page on “Welfare Ranching.”

Our 11 western states that have ranching on federal public land provides less than 18,000 jobs (0.06% of total jobs). About 22% of ranchers in these states actually hold federal grazing permits (BLM and USDA 1994: 3-65). On a national basis, these ranchers represent only 2% of America’s 1.1 million cattle operators. Public land ranching produces only 3.8% of the nation’s beef cattle, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Rogers and LaFleur 1999). Feeding the masses and keeping western states employed? I think not.


Babies stampeded in June as cattle graze on public land at Jackson Mountain

Babies stampeded in June as cattle graze on public land at Jackson Mountain


Western Watersheds Project and Wild Utah Project had a significant win this week on the Duck Creek allotment of Utah.  In the longest running administrative grazing appeal hearing in the history of the Department of the Interior, including 12 weeks of hearings and a record of 15,000 pages, WWP demonstrated that BLM’s rangeland health assessments were biased, that decisions were made arbitrarily and with little substantive basis, that conservation interests were treated with hostility and unfairly under the law, that the agency paid lip-service to sage-grouse protection but didn’t take the requirements of its special status species policy seriously, and that range developments have profound effects on the landscape and can’t be used to offset existing degradation.

The time and effort to demonstrate this for one allotment represents an enormous commitment of resources, but Duck Creek serves as a proof of concept: BLM’s land health evaluation and decision-making methods are biased, inaccurate, and insufficient to protect the natural resources on our public lands. Public lands advocates shouldn’t bear the burden of proof; federal agencies should be using objective, honest, and scientific methods in determining true land health, not merely rubber-stamping status quo management proposals. HERE

Note: WildHorseEducation.org carries THREE active federal cases against abuse and non-justified removals of wild horses. The cases are ongoing and gaining ground every month! Keep tabs at our website HERE

Young geldings with ringworm and papilloma virus

Young geldings with ringworm and papilloma virus


“Responsible practices on the range and in holding seem to be a low priority for an agency that spends the majority of it’s time issuing private profit permits to all the fast-tracked projects that reap millions off of public land,” stated Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education “the very least we can do is immediately find the funding to give basic care to the wild horses in holding to protect them and enhance their chances of being adopted.”

PLEASE go to this link and add comments to the petitions (one is private that has more than 500 signatures and the online public petition). We will be sending your signatures to BLM before the end of the month.


Please help us to continue our fight to protect wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction

Please help us to continue our fight to protect wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction


8 thoughts on “Welfare Ranching, BLM abuses public trust and a petition for care

  1. Please help these poor horses in holding pens, its just not fair to these beautiful animals. The Native Americans consider the horse sacred. The BLM should be held responsible and the so called humans behind this. If they were in the wild this would not happen.

  2. Absolutely awesome article on the true cost of Welfare Ranching, thank you Laura Leigh, you have once again outdone yourself! A must read for everyone.

  3. Don’t you want your taxes to help pay for things taxpayers can also benefit from?

    (Note: This post does not pertain to the small percentage of family ranchers who graze cattle on land they bought and paid for!)

    THE CIRCLE BEGINS: Since 1934, our tax money has been used to fund government subsidies that benefit huge, cattle-owning corporations (aka Welfare Ranchers)

    The corporations then pay the government $1.35 a month to graze one cow/calf pair ,
    (aka TWO cows for the price of one) on 92% of OUR public lands.

    Only 3.8% of the 10 MILLION + “scrub-cattle”, (so named because they can live on scrub brush) currently grazing on public lands will end up on our dinner plates… they are NOT, “what’s for dinner”!

    Owning scrub cattle is profitable for corporations (like The HILTON hotel chain, for one) because they’re cheap to own… just $1.35 a month for 2 animals, (that need little/no supervision)

    The hides are sold for leather products and the meat for dog food.(Not another significant use for scrub cattle that I can think of) Wait a minute, the circle continues on by providing huge corporate tax write-offs!

    I don’t know about you, but I’d gladly live without leather products and make my own dog food if doing so would break this nearly 80 year old, bad-for-us, bad-for-the-environment, tax-payer RIP-OFF and keep more wild horses on our public lands… IMHO.

    Melissa Ohlsson
    Vice President
    America’s Wild Horse Advocates/Spring Mountain Alliance
    Las Vegas, NV.

  4. The reason BLM exists is for Livestock and Mining. It was set up that way, along with The U.S. Forest Service, USDA, and Fish & Game Depts., which exist for the special interests: The Livestock Industry. Logging, Mining, Hunting & Trapping. These Agencies see wildlife, including wild horses, as “commodities” & “resources” or in many cases, “competitors” or nuisance animals, who compete against these special interests. They are inhumane, unenlightened, and should be abolished, replaced with a new Department of Preservation & Protection. The question is: do people have the insight and the will to take these agencies on?

  5. The government agencies like BLM, Forest Service, USDA, etc., exist to help the Livestock Industry–at the expense of native wild animals. Please sign and share this important petition to help the wildlife:
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/343/829/766/stop-public-lands-ranching/The Public Lands Ranching Industry is destroying National Forests, BLM lands, wilderness areas and state lands in The West. Ranchers get to graze livestock, which are exotic animals, on our fragile public lands at below-market grazing fees, paid for by taxpayer

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