FoA, Protect Mustangs stage die-in to demonstrate the atrocities against wild horses by the BLM 

By Nicole Rivard


“Let’s be loud and clear ladies and gentleman, the simple bottom line to all this is the Bureau of Land Management has been managing horses to extinction and it’s time to change,” shouted Friends of Animals’ supporter Lars Hanson, disrupting the Bureau of Land Management’s Tri-RAC meeting in Sparks, Nevada, on Thursday afternoon. Edita Birnkrant, FoA’s campaigns director then led a chant, “BLM Lies, Horses Die,Stop the Roundups, Stop the PZP” before initiating a die-in with Protect Mustangs and other supporters (view video below). Everyone stood up and fell to the floor to represent the atrocities against wild horses by the BLM, including roundups and the forced drugging of mares with the fertility control PZP, and that they are as good as dead once they are ripped from their families and homes.

As security approached, a Tri-RAC council member quickly said the meeting was over without doing his scheduled half hour wrap-up session. 

Earlier in the meeting, FoA and Protect Mustangs gave testimony during the public comment period after holding a rally/press conference outside the meeting.

“We are here to let the American people know there are still wild horse advocates like Friends of Animals who haven’t bought into the former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s criminal plan to have the BLM rid public lands of every last wild horse so ranchers can have the land to themselves to breed and slaughter millions of cattle and sheep,” said Birnkrant.

“Two weeks ago a federal judge agreed with Friends of Animals’ and Protect Mustangs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the BLM’s round-up and permanent removal of 200 wild horses in Nevada’s Pine Nut Herd Management Area (HMA) and the round-up of another 132 wild horses so that an estimated 66 mares can be given the fertility control drug PZP. This victory for wild horses reflects rising concerns about rounding up and drugging wild horses with PZP. FoA promises the American public we won’t allow the BLM to continue to break the law by relying on outdated Environmental Assessments and artificially low appropriate management levels dreamed up by the BLM to justify their assaults on wild horses.”

FoA’s president Priscilla Feral expressed to Tri-RAC council members how disturbing it was to witness firsthand the attitude toward wild horses expressed during the Wild Horse and Burro Update at the beginning of the BLM’s Tri-RAC meeting.


“The attitude is that they are an invasive species and the BLM can’t wait to get rid of them,” Feral said. “But we know what happens when you do get rid of them. They come back into America to feed zoo animals. They end up at slaughter in Canada and then marketed by a company called Nebraska and sold as food to carnivores. You can have that philosophy, that all public lands should be sprinkled with no more than doomed cows and sheep, but there are environmentalists and wild horse advocates across the country that are breaking rank with the Humane Society of the United States and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. And they aren’t standing for this rhetoric and this disdain for wild horses anymore.”

She then discussed the fallacy that wild horses are overpopulated. 

“They aren’t overpopulated; they are mistreated. When you abandon them to a prison or a rodeo circuit or to a bunch of ranchers who find the first kill buyer, that expresses nothing more than contempt for a beautiful animal that deserves much, much better from our government. And if you are here as some kind of voice for the government or as a group who is supposed to recommend some decent humanitarian policy…I think you have to start please, tuning in messages other than the ones that flow from the likes of HSUS.

“What Friends of Animals is devoted to doing is going to the wall to protect and preserve the rangelands that must contain these wild horses. I don’t want them drugged with PZP. I don’t want them rounded up. I don’t want them terrorized with helicopters. I’m not going to stand and have the social fabric of their lives wrecked because people think every blade of grass on federal public lands belongs to some doomed cow or sheep. We’re not taking it anymore.”

“The American public is outraged that BLM is treating wild horses like vermin that should be wiped off the range,” said Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs, after the die-in. “The die-in dramatized wild horses being wrongfully exterminated. We want the BLM to stop roundups and stop using PZP on wild horses because forced drugging is disturbing survival of the fittest.”

In contrast to the attitude toward wild horses expressed by the BLM, FoA was thrilled to hear the support being given for wild horses on public land during the public comment period—such as the following testimony.

“I don’t give a hoot what locals want to do with their state land. 

This is national land and we have laws on national land protecting wild horses and burros. BLM is being very unfair to this nation’s citizens in trying to pull a criminal fast one on them by not evening listening to the public comment on this issue. We certainly have national agencies that play fast and loose on our public land. I suggest that the BLM be shut down and we get a new agency that protects this nation’s citizens from bad management, almost criminal management.”

FoA couldn’t agree more.