It comes as no surprise to us that a new report by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) shows that cows and sheep are responsible for the degradation of America’s public rangelands, not wild horses. The tragedy of wild horse roundups exists because the Bureau of Land Management has betrayed the wild horses it’s meant to protect and is devoted to turning public lands into feedlots for cows and sheep for their rancher clients and the meat industry.

What’s ironic is that this recent assessment is based on BLM’s own Land Health Standards, which measure the minimum water quality, vegetation and soil conditions needed to support wildlife.

“The BLM’s Big Lie has been exposed,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. “The PEER report makes clear that the BLM is ruining the lives of free-roaming horses and other native wildlife just so their crony rancher buddies can monopolize America’s rangelands to feed their doomed cows.”

According to an analysis of BLM data through the end of 2023, more than two-thirds of BLM acreage is not meeting its own minimum Land Health Standards, due solely to cattle and sheep grazing, while less than 1 percent of those failing acres are due solely to wild horses.

In all, 44 million acres of rangelands are failing BLM’s minimum standards, with livestock being the primary cause

“When it comes to protecting America’s rangelands, BLM suffers from a severe bureaucratic cow blindness,” stated Rocky Mountain PEER Director Chandra Rosenthal in a report released on May 29. She noted that an estimated 1.5 million cattle forage BLM lands compared to fewer than 75,000 wild horses. “BLM engages in controversial wild horse roundups, but reductions in cattle herds are rare, regardless of how bad conditions are on the ground.”

As Friends of Animals has been saying for years, there’s no evidence that there are too many wild horses on federal public lands, but since the BLM is beholden to the meat industry, it continues to try and manage wild horses to extinction. FoA won’t stop fighting for their lives; we’ve secured 13 victories in court to date.

Current litigation brought by FoA includes a lawsuit over the BLM’s 10-year management plans that authorize fertility control and ongoing roundups and removals of wild horses from herd management areas (HMAs) in Nevada and Utah, with similar long-term roundup proposed for HMAs other states. These plans essentially eliminate public input and oversight of how the BLM manages wild horses as it pursues its wild horse extinction scheme. (To learn more about FoA’s ongoing legal actions to protect wild horses, click here.)