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☛ To slaughter or not to slaughter 1-26-18





By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Jan. 25, 2018

The year is 2018, we have a new President, our country’s compass is pointed in a new direction, and yet our government hasn’t advanced very far in fulfilling their legal obligation outlined in the “1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act,” which mandates protection and management of these animals on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service.

“Eighty four percent of Donald Trump’s voters oppose the slaughter of wild horses and a very narrow band of people are for it because they profit from it,” said “Chris Minakowski, a lobbyist and policy analyst.

To date, our government is still rounding up wild mustangs and burros – by barbaric methods, e.g., helicopter or aerial herding which causes a significant amount of animals to be injured or killed. They’re still confining approximately 45,000 animals in holding pens and tax payer dollars are still being wasted paying landowners to house, feed and care for wild horses and burros which would ordinarily care for themselves on the open range where they were born.

The main culprit for this travesty are government-subsidized ranchers using taxpayer dollars that contribute to 2 percent or less of the annual beef production of the United States of America. Annually, these government-subsidized ranchers encroach more and more on public grazing lands with cattle insertion, which increasingly diminishes the grazing lands available for the natural wildlife inhabitants, such as wild horses and burros, among other wildlife species of the herbivore or carnivore type.

How does this happen?  Cattle grazers complain to the BLM that wildlife (wild horses and burros) are encroaching on available grazing lands and request for the natural occupants to be removed to reduce the competition for available food.  However, statistics prove when wild horses and burros are removed, they are simply replaced with commercial cows and sheep.

Carnivores (meat eaters) such as bears, bobcats, coyotes, wolves and mountain lions are removed because they feed on cattle belonging to the government taxpayer-subsidized ranchers. In my opinion, this costly action accomplishes an imbalance of nature on public lands which incidentally belong to American citizens – not the cattle ranchers.

In one of my studies, I discovered, through BLM-supplied statistics, that the BLM makes more money each year from recreational vehicle slot rentals than it does on grassland grazing fees paid by government taxpayer-subsidized cattle ranchers.

In 2015, I authored an article entitled, “Horse Slaughter – Fact and Fiction”, which precisely details the acquired BLM statistics, as well as other related facts pertaining to the waste of taxpayer dollars. One of the organizations promoting the removal of wild horses and burros is identified in this article as “Protect The Harvest,” an organization owned by Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil. Today, Mr. Lucas is promoting his business with every major 501(c) 3 horse organization by adding piles of cash to payouts. In fact, I’ve been told that “Protect The Harvest” has booths at the major equine events in order to promote Lucas’s organization. However, what Mr. Lucas fails to inform the general public is that there’s a vast majority of cattle ranchers using public grazing land that are millionaires and the vast majority of the rest are being subsidized by our tax dollars.

The real story that’s not being told is how the wild horses and burros suffer after being removed from their home rangeland and confined to holding pens and all because a minority in the cattle business dictates what happens at the BLM.  For the record, I applied to be on the board of the decision makers who decide on matters such as these and I was turned down due to my law enforcement background. Imagine that!

Click for Horse Slaughter article>>



With historical roots dating back to the earliest days of the nation, the BLM administers the lands that remain from America’s original “public domain.”  Created in 1946 through a government reorganization during the Truman Administration, the BLM is the successor to the General Land Office (established in 1812) and the U.S. Grazing Service (originally called the Division of Grazing and renamed in 1939). The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 established the United States Grazing Service to manage the public rangelands by establishment of advisory boards that set grazing fees. In 1946 the Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office to form the Bureau of Land Management.

Fast forward: This year, (2018) the BLM is commemorating two milestone events: It is the 72nd anniversary as an Interior Department agency, and the 42nd anniversary of the principle law defining its mission: the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 commonly referred to by its acronym FLPMA.  As the manager of more land (2.45 million acres) or one-tenth of America’s land base and more subsurface mineral estate (700 million acres) than any other government agency, the BLM carries out a dual mandate under FLPMA: that of managing public land for multiple uses (such as energy development, livestock grazing, mining, timber harvesting and outdoor recreation) while conserving natural, historical and cultural resources, such as wilderness areas, wild horses and wildlife habitat, artifacts and dinosaur fossils.  In the language of FLPMA, the BLM’s responsibility is to administer public lands “on the basis of multiple use and sustained yield” of resources.”

What this means, on a practical level, is that the BLM – except in areas specifically set aside for conservation purposes – must multitask to fulfill its duties.  Nevertheless, consistent with the BLM’s goal of good stewardship of public land resources, “multiple use” does not mean every use on every acre.


A leading headline on ABC News states, “Wild horses facing slaughter after US Government proposes new regulations.”  The BLM controls one-eighth of the country’s landmass but leases over 60 percent of it to cattle ranchers. Since their livestock rely on the same resources as the wild horses do, some ranchers want the wild horses pushed off of the land entirely. There are over 45,000 wild horses in holding areas, costing taxpayers about $50 million annually.  It’s an expense that the U.S. Department of Interior sought to address in its 2018 budget by lifting regulations that prevent slaughtering wild horses. If slaughtering wild horses becomes legal, some animal rights activists are concerned that these horses will become extinct.

“The BLM, the very agency in charge of protecting them, is asking Congress for permission to kill them.”  Netherlands said. “They’ve stockpiled wild horses in holding pens….and so now what are they going to do with all the horses that they’ve stockpiled? The adoption rates are not high enough so they can’t adopt them all out. So now we have a bunch of wild horses, that the taxpayers are paying for, in holding facilities and their solution is to kill them.”

Two of the most ridiculous bureaucratic statements come from Lisa Reid of the BLM.  “There’s three things that wild hoses need: food, water, and obviously space.”

[1] “As you can see, we do have millions of acres out here but not every acre is producing viable forage for the horses. So you know, just as with any type of species, they have to be managed just so they don’t become overpopulated and diseased.”

[2] “The agency’s goal is to always have healthy rangelands, which is aided by controlling their population. They no longer have many natural predators in the wild.”

What makes these statements so ridiculous are the facts: 1), no mention as to the number of commercial cows and sheep that are grazing on the grasslands – only the estimated number of horses. 2) There is no mention of limiting the number of commercial cows and sheep, and 3) there are no predators, which upsets the balance of nature, simply due to the fact that BLM has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars to remove them!

Click for Wild Horses article>>

“A wild mustang charging across an open plain is a symbol of the untamed majesty of nature.  But the predators chasing these majestic beasts are anything but natural.

“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle”

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Web Site:

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  1. Mr. Dennis, You are correct in Lucas Oil and Protect the Harvest they had a booth at the NCHA Futurity in Fort Worth this year and think back where we are today, We Americans took the lands from the Indians and look where are at. We take care of the colored people who have babies and they don`t know their daddies and here comes welfare. How many millions are spent on that program? I have very close friends that are colored but it the way the rich wanted it. They should leave the wild horses alone. If needed put a vet on some sections and treat them if have to be treated. It must cost much less.

  2. Rick,
    Your last article is very enlightening while at the same time disappointing.The stark reality is the major horse organizations have morphed into money-making machines with total disregard for the welfare of the horse. Our government asks citizens to assimilate into one society while electing to destroy wild mustangs for cow and sheep production. Illogical. Your article is right on point.

  3. Rick,
    I knew about Lucas but I didn’t know about AQHA supporting horse slaughter. Thanks for the info.

  4. I whole heartedly agree Protect The Harvest are not who they want us to believe they are. Lucas is throwing money around the horse industry like water, trying to gain support.

  5. I love your article and your and Glory’s support of the Wild Mustangs. Great article.

  6. The natural answer to this problem is to let nature take care of itself and raise the grazing prices to private industry amounts ad see how many ranchers are left without our tax dollars.

  7. I’m amazed why we elect politicians that can’t balance a check book and put them in charge of our money and natural resources. No wonder our country is so screwed up.

  8. It seems there’s a never ending battle for the Wild Mustang and Burros. Washington DC politicians took Native American Indian lands and now their taking our heritage and our wildlife from us. Reducing the cattle producers seems the logical answer.

  9. As your article states, there’s a direct correlation between government overreach, taxpayer subsidized cattle ranching, waste of taxpayer dollars and the over population of wild mustangs.

  10. Pretty sad the lack of full disclosure in this article. Blaming the plight of the mustang on the cattle rancher is an easy way out. You can not help the mustang by just appointing a scapegoat. The reality of the situation is the gross incompetence of the BLM and yes (this will be hard to hear or understand) the misguided interference by animal rights activists). Research ideas/proposals/ to help situation stopped by animal rights activists because it was all or nothing- Not slamming just wishing people would investigate for themselves rather than believe one side of story. Those of you sitting in cities have a skewed/uninformed idea of what actually is happening to open/federal areas of the US. I’ll bet you didn’t know it is the rancher 9 times out of 10 that provide water from HIS property when water drys up in certain areas of federal land, I’ll bet you didn’t know it’s the rancher that puts a mustang out of his misery if hurt or injured and the coyotes have not yet killed him, did you know ranchers feed starving mustangs that wander onto their property because they are out of feed on federal land, did you know the when ranchers lease federal grazing permits they are governed by a strict animal number/time frame/and if at any time the BLM feels grass is getting to short or too many cattle are on permit- they must be removed immed.- (so you understand-ranchers can never graze anywhere near the point of not leaving forage), did you know horses/sheep/cattle all prefer different grasses? did you know your cute little motorcycles tearing through federal lands rip up more feed than than a cow can– Ranchers perfect?- no but they are better stewards of the land and its inhabitants than someone with political motives or someone without first hand knowledge– BLM?- far from perfect and if you have been following the news a lot of their corruption/total incompetence is coming to light- Ask the people hitting the mustangs on highways what should be done– I always find it amazing those living in cities are so quick to judge those dealing with the mustang/wolf/BLM corruption/dogs etc etc etc on a daily basis.-Pretty sure where you live/shop/drive/work/go to school all was at one time natural habitat are you willing to move? house a few hundred horses? Have you personally gone out and watched a mustang die of starvation/lack of water? Funny I didn’t think so… Please research both sides.

    • First of all, this article is full of accurate disclosure. My original stats were provided by the BLM. Second, I’m not from the city. I’ve lived in the Country most of my life. I was born into a farming community in Alabama. Third, I’ve been in business for 34 years, 28 of those years have been in the professional horse business. Therefore, I’m not an animal rights activist, Fifth, not once in my business career has the government offered me a subsidy to be in business. but I surely have paid an enormous amount of taxes. The same taxes which are provided to subsidized cattle ranchers on public grass lands. I also bought my own land, built my own barns, built my own training arenas, and erected my own fences absent of government subsidies., Sixth, I’m an avid hunter – big game, small game, and bird species. I’ve hunted throughout the western states on both private and public land. On horse back, on foot and from vehicles., Seventh, I’ve personally witnessed what is going on in the Western States on public lands including illegal fencing by cattle ranchers grazing on public land., Eighth, your reply sounds like a regurgitation of a Protect The Harvest Propaganda film. Ninth, for the record the land leased per cow per unit (cpu) on public land is vastly below market prices (cpu)on private land. Tenth, in January 2016 I forwarded a letter to the Office Of Inspector General (OIG) requesting a criminal investigation of the BLM., Eleventh, I’ve not watched a wild Mustang die of starvation but I once saw a bear on an Elk Hunt chase a wild Mustang down. kill it and eat it. As it should be – Balance of Nature. However, I’ve personally witnessed other species of natural wildlife skinny from having to compete for food and water against cattle and sheep. I’m also aware, different animals eat different food species. So I can state this is “NOT MY FIRST RODEO”. Twelfth thank you for your reply.
      Rick Dennis

  11. Thank you Rick for bringing and keeping this travesty of justice to the front page so everyone that reads this magazine knows what’s really going on.

  12. Mr. Dennis,
    You’re an exemplary writer! Sad that some western folks put more emphasis on people like Bundy than they do in saving our Western Heritage.

  13. Great article Rick!! Just read the comments and I would like to say the Kathy gal is wrong and your rebuttal is priceless and very professional. The real story that’s not being told is the BLM moves horses from lush grassland and water to areas lacking in both grass and water.

    Horses are grazers and travelers and wanderers looking for food so that’s why they end up on highways skinny. The reason their moved is because of complaints by ranchers. The lush grass land are for cattle and sheep. I know. I live next to BLM land and I know cattle ranchers using public grass land. They complain a lot. Thanks for listening.


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