Please speak up for Nevada’s wild horses

Nevada’s wild horses who call the Pancake Complex home are the next herd the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) intends to destroy, and Friends of Animals needs your help protecting them.

The BLM plans to remove approximately 90 percent of their population—which is between 2,000-3,500— aiming to reduce the herd to an “appropriate management level (AML)” of 361-638 wild horses.

Please tell BLM you oppose the removal of wild horses from Ely District’s Pancake Complex. You may submit comments through Dec. 12, 2020, 4:30 p.m. (PST), by sending an email to:

You can read FoA’s comments here. 

The proposed action includes experimental and risky fertility control measures including inserting IUDs in wild mares and gelding wild stallions. BLM also plans to cut the public out of the decision-making process by repeatedly rounding up and removing additional wild horses over the next decade without any commitment to consider additional public comments.

What’s exasperating about this latest crime against wild horses is the BLM doesn’t even know how many horses are on the range, so this proposal could wipe out all the wild horses in the Pancake Complex.

Observers recorded only 2,330 adult wild horses in a 2020 aerial survey. However BLM calls into question the reliability of its own survey because it was suspended for two days.

Instead of conducting a new survey, BLM is relying on estimates from a 2016 survey plus an inflated population growth rate of 20%. As a result, BLM could remove 3,571 wild horses—more than even exist according to the most recent survey.

In addition, the BLM recklessly bases AMLs on outdated land use plans—all AMLs are at least 10 years old; some are over 30.

We’ve had more than enough of the BLM blaming rangeland deterioration on wild horses so it can prioritize the interests of private industries, which include mineral extraction, oil and gas exploration and cattle and sheep ranching. These activities are highly disruptive to the ecosystem and all wildlife.

BLM oversees 246.4 million acres of land, and it does not allow any wild horses on 219 million of those acres. In the Pancake Complex, BLM authorizes more forage for doomed cattle and sheep than wild horses and this is in wild horse Herd Management Areas.

Let that sink in.

Furthermore, BLM’s entire analysis ignores scientific information about the positive impact of wild horses. Studies demonstrate that wild horses support healthy ecosystems on public land if given enough habitat and left alone. For example, wild horses help spread plant seeds over large areas where they roam. Wild horses do not decompose the vegetation they ingest as thoroughly as ruminant grazers, such as cattle or sheep, which allows the seeds of many plant species to pass through their digestive tract intact into the soil that the wild horses fertilize by their droppings. Wild horses also help to prevent catastrophic fires and help to build more moisture-retaining soils.

The BLM has proved to be incompetent when it comes to protecting wild horses. It’s time to entirely restrict cattle and sheep from grazing in wild horse HMAs and to amend the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to allow wild horses to be returned or relocated to Herd Areas in states where wild horses have been wiped out. It’s time to protect natural predators such as mountain lions and adjust outdated AMLs to accommodate more horses.