What's New: Salt River Wild Horses

All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Salt River Wild Horses’

Our work to defend America’s wild horses and burros continues


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and well during this difficult time.

Like you, we are doing our best to stay up to date on the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a number of developments about our continued work during this time as we take necessary precautions in advocating for our nation’s wild horses and burros.

A Victory For The Salt River Wild Horses In Arizona

This past weekend, we reached out to you about the legislation introduced by AZ Rep. Kelly Townsend. HR 2858 threatened to block lifesaving humane management of the famed Salt River wild horses and was widely opposed not just in Arizona, but also by tens of thousands of Americans all across the country.

Due to concerns over COVID-19, the public was discouraged from attending committee hearings or providing public testimony on legislation. Townsend had publicly stated that her legislation was on hold, only to schedule the unpopular and controversial bill at the last minute for a Monday hearing when the public couldn’t attend.

More than 8,000 of you messaged Townsend and members of the committee to cancel this hearing in a tremendous, last-minute show of force in defense of the Salt River wild horses.

And … good news! The state legislature will only be addressing essential legislation before adjourning at the end of the week, meaning that this dangerous and controversial bill is effectively dead (but we will be carefully monitoring this until the session is officially over to be certain).

Our Work In Congress and On Capitol Hill Continues

As the country faces both a financial and public health crisis, imaginably, this past week was one of the most consequential in Washington, DC in many years.

Most federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, have moved all but the most essential personnel to telework and Congress is doing the same.

This doesn’t, however, put a stop to the legislative work happening in Congress nor will it delay consideration for millions of dollars in additional funding to ramp up the roundup, removal, and potential sterilization of tens of thousands of wild horses in the West.

In fact, Congress’ biggest legislative vehicles, the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriation bills which fund federal agencies and their programs, are currently being drafted with the goal of concluding in the next four to five weeks. We’ve previously highlighted the President’s FY 2021 budget, which asks Congress to throw even more money at the BLM’s broken and inhumane wild horse and burro program (you can read more about it below).

Our fear is that the current appropriations bills will become “must-pass” legislation tied to addressing COVID-19 and the financial crisis, meaning that language and funding that threatens wild horses may slip through as the public focuses on other issues.

That’s why our team was on Capitol Hill last week meeting with Congressional staff in order to have early and influential input on this process in defense of wild horses and burros. Now that Congressional staff, as well as many of our own staff, are working remotely, we’re utilizing every technology available to stay in contact throughout the appropriations process.

The AWHC Legal Team Takes New Steps To Defend Wild Horses In Court

Just as our work in Congress continues, so too, does our work throughout the court system.

Last week, the government filed a motion in our lawsuit against the BLM to stop its proposed ovariectomy via colpotomy experiments on wild mares. Oral arguments are set for March 20th in Portland, Oregon, which has declared a state of emergency.

As a result we will be attending the hearing and providing oral arguments via telephone. This suit is critically important — We partnered with The Cloud Foundation and The Animal Welfare Institute on this suit which is responsible for the BLM decision to abandon its plans to conduct cruel sterilization experiments.

Five days later, on March 25th, our legal team was expected to appear in San Francisco for oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in our lawsuit challenging the BLM’s plan to castrate wild-free roaming stallions in Nevada’s Triple B Complex.

We recently got word that the Courts will be canceling oral arguments for that week meaning that we will either have our hearing rescheduled or the case will be decided on the written briefs submitted previously.

Late last week, AWHC Government Relations and Policy Counsel filed a lawsuit over the BLM’s failure to respond to multiple requests under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking information on various aspects of BLM wild horse and burro policy.

We are seeking records related to a number of secretive meetings between Interior secretaries and BLM officials with livestock special interest groups that may have influenced federal wild horse and burro policy. By failing to provide these records, the BLM and Interior Department have violated the law — So we’re taking action.

Hard At Work: Service Is Uninterrupted At The World’s Largest Wild Horse Fertility Control Program

The great outdoors is, fortunately, one of the safest places to be during this pandemic. That means that our team’s incredible work running the world’s largest wild horse fertility control program on the Virginia Range in Nevada continues on.

Last year, with far fewer resources and staff, our volunteer team of darters outperformed the BLM in providing the birth control vaccine PZP to wild mares — shattering expectations and proving the naysayers wrong.

Each day, we’re proving that there is a better, humane, and far more cost effective way to manage wild horse populations. And each vaccine costs just $30.

Our work continues and we’re so grateful to have your support along the way. Please stay healthy, stay strong, stay safe and stay tuned. We’re all in this together!

American Wild Horse Campaign


URGENT: Hearing tomorrow on anti-Salt River wild horse bill despite COVID-19 limits on public testimony!


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

Time is not on our side. AZ State Rep. Kelly Townsend is moving forward with a bill, HR 2858, that WILL block lifesaving humane management, leading to harm, suffering, death and ultimately, could lead to the removal of Salt River wild horses that are beloved by Arizonans and people all over the world.

Last month, and each time the horses have been in danger, the public — this includes you — has stood up for these horses, by writing, packing hearing rooms, turning out by the hundreds to rallies, etc.

Tens of thousands of Arizonans signed petitions, contacted their representatives, and packed every single public hearing in a demonstration of overwhelming opposition to these dangerous bills.

But now that public gatherings are being restricted and the public is being discouraged from attending these hearings, Townsend is moving forward with her dangerous and incredibly unpopular bill with a legislative hearing scheduled for TOMORROW!

That means we cannot be there to oppose it and we need you to stand up for these beloved animals one more time. We don’t have much time to mobilize.

From the safety of your homes, please take action online TODAY to stop this attack on the beloved Salt River wild horses.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign


Stand Up for Arizona Wild Horses!


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Two populations of iconic wild horses in Arizona need you to speak up for them today! 

The Salt River Wild Horses

In 2015, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced its intent to round up and remove all of the Salt River wild horses from the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix. The announcement was met with sustained public outcry and led to passage of a state law protecting these beloved wild horses in their historic habitat along the lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest.

Now the horses are threatened again by a planning process and proposed management plans that could result in the removal of 350 Salt River horses from the lands they have occupied since the late 1800’s — before the Tonto National Forest even existed!

Please Weigh in by March 12 for the Salt River Horses

The Heber Wild Horses

The Heber wild horses reside in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest near Heber-Overgaard, Arizona. These horses have been under siege over the past several years, with more than two dozen shot to death, including 15 — two entire families — who were gunned down this year alone. Pressure for the removal from the forest is coming from livestock operators who graze cattle on the public lands where the wild horses roam. Now the USFS is developing a Territory Management plan that could result in the removal of 300 or more wild horses from this National Forest.

Please Demand a Fair and Humane Management Plan for the Heber Wild Horses. 

Thank you for standing up for Arizona wild horses. Your voice makes a difference everyday for our cherished wild horses and burros of the American West.

– The AWHC Team


UPDATE: A month of wild horse advocacy and activism


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

While February may be the shortest month of the year, we made the most of each and every day, organizing a handful of national efforts to protect America’s wild horses and burros.

The numbers speak for themselves:

A Show Of Force In Support Of Arizona’s Famed Salt River Horses

Five years ago, AWHC joined up with our local coalition partner the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group to prevent the mass roundup, removal, and slaughter of the famed Salt River wild horses in Arizona.

The year after, our groups worked successfully for the passage of a state law to protect these horses in their historic habitat. But now, the future of the Salt River wild horses is in jeopardy once more.

A new state bill, HB 2858, seeks to amend the Salt River horse protection bill. As currently written, the bill would block lifesaving interventions that are necessary to save horses and safeguard the herd.

The legislation is currently in the House Rules Committee after passing in the Land & Agriculture Committee. State legislators, such as the Land & Agriculture Committee chair Rep. Timothy Dunn, have acknowledged that the bill’s language must be updated to address our concerns before bringing it for a full vote. This week, the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Jay Lawrence, withdrew his support for HB 2858 after sponsor Rep. Kelly Townsend refused to amend it to ensure that humane management will continue to be allowed.

At the same time, momentum is building behind the petition launched by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and AWHC to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in support of a wildlife overpass, which would help ensure the safety and well-being of the Salt River horses: It’s already exceeded our goal of gathering 20,000 signatures!

Joining Forces To Prevent A Dangerous New Precedent In Utah

Photo by Rob Hammer.

This month, the BLM outlined a ten-year plan that would dramatically reduce the wild horse population in the Swasey HMA in Utah, down to as few as 60 horses.

The scary part is, the BLM is hoping to use this plan to establish a new precedent for wild horse population management for years and Administrations to come: One that relies on cruel roundups as well as dangerous surgical sterilization procedures.

Some of these procedures have not even been developed yet, let alone safety tested. Others — such as the cruel ovariectomy via colpotomy procedure that the BLM has been pushing for years — have been criticized by the National Academy of Sciences and veterinarians as too dangerous to perform in wild horses.

The BLM is not considering reductions to the number of privately-owned livestock in the area, further demonstrating that the BLM is more invested in defending the interests of the livestock industry than those of our wild horses and burros.

AWHC joined forces with the Animal Welfare Institute and The Cloud Foundation to submit 33-pages of public comments opposing this plan, including 13,800 of your signatures in a major show of force.

Nearly 70% Of Wild Horses Removed From Nevada’s Eagle Complex

Beginning in mid-January, the BLM began a massive roundup in Nevada’s 743,000-acre Eagle Complex.

When the roundup concluded in late February, 1,716 of the Complex’s 2,484 wild horses were forcibly removed; including 24 reported fatalities. Of those, over 1,600, or roughly 70% of the wild horses in the Eagle Complex, were permanently removed.

The BLM has set the Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Eagle Complex at 139-265 wild horses, a number not supported by science, as the BLM continues its practice of imposing absurdly low population limits for wild horses in order to continue to allocate the vast majority of forage in wild horse habitat to subsidized livestock.

Roundup Slashes Size of Reveille Wild Horse Herd In Half

Another roundup in Nevada concluded this month — The Reveille Roundup resulted in the removal of 113 wild horses from public lands, equating to more than half of the wild horse population in the Reveille HMA.

Often times, our field representatives are the only members of the public onsite to view the roundup operation and ensure the BLM is in compliance with federal law and abiding by animal welfare guidelines. Without them present, it would be incredibly difficult, if not downright impossible, to hold the BLM accountable and report wrongdoing.

As in other areas, the BLM is continually rounding up wild horses in the Reveille HMA so that the public lands there can be primarily used for commercial livestock grazing. In fact, the annual equivalent of 2,000 cow/calf pairs graze a 650,000-acre livestock allotment that overlaps a portion of this HMA, while horse numbers are held at just 82-138.

There is good news out of this HMA, however. The BLM Battle Mountain District has been utilizing fertility control periodically in this herd, and it appears to have reduced the population’s growth rate, which will, in turn, reduce the number of wild horses removed in the future.

Start The Weekend On A Positive Note

Operation Fish Springs Rescue is complete! Over 140,000 of you signed a petition to the BLM to bring Samson and his family home, after the agency trapped and removed them over Thanksgiving weekend last year. Subsequent to launching the petition, advocates learned that the BLM had taken three other bands of beloved Fish Springs horses – those belonging to the stallions Rusty and Rocky and one recently acquired by the famous blue roan stallion Shadow.

Unfortunately, the BLM would not return these horses to their home on our public lands in Nevada, but thanks to a team effort, all of these horses have found a safe landing where they will stay together in their bands.

AWHC was pleased to play a key role in the rescue by taking responsibility for Rocky’s band (Rocky, Copper, Elisa, Luna and Luna’s son Jimmy) and Rusty’s band (Amber, Cinnamon, Belle and Belle’s son Luke) and Shadow, whom BLM would only adopt to a sanctuary after he was deemed “dangerous” following a fight with Rocky in the holding pen.

We are so grateful to AWHC board member Alicia Goetz whose Freedom Reigns Equine Sanctuary is providing a lifetime home for these horses, and to our Board President Ellie Price, whose team at Montgomery Creek Ranch, her mustang refuge, purchased Rocky’s band in the BLM online auction. Ensuring that 11 horses were secured in the BLM’s auction was no easy feat, but working together we got the job done!

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign


Our photos of the month [check them out!]


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Our team put together some of the most striking photos from this past month – ones that made us smile, and others that remind us why we work so hard to protect these icons every day.

Mustangs in their winter coats on the Virginia Range in Nevada, where our fertility control program is in its tenth month with over 830 wild mares inoculated with the PZP vaccine. Learn more about our program here.

AWHC joined with the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group this month to advocate for construction of a wildlife overpass for the famed Salt River wild horses in AZ. Learn more here.

Friend of AWHC and photographer, Mary Hone captured a series of photos of a wild burro youngster living her best life out on our public lands in California. Check out the series here. (Credit: Mary Hone Fine Art).

Just captured wild horses from the Eagle Herd Management Area in Nevada arrive at BLM holding pens in good body condition, despite winter conditions and BLM claims of overpopulation and starvation. Read more here.


Wild horses have long been misrepresented as a non-native invasive species, but respected scientists are working to change that narrative. Learn more about wild horses as a native species here.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign


VICTORY in Arizona


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

GREAT news: yesterday we learned that the Governor of Arizona signed an agreement to save the famed Salt River Wild Horses. Two years ago, these horses were almost removed from the Tonto National Forest and sent to auction. Now they are protected under state law from roundups, harassment, and slaughter.

We’re proud to have worked with the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group to achieve this victory. It’s just another example of our vital work – and none of it would be possible without support from people like you. Watch our Year in Review video now – and then pitch in before midnight tomorrow to stand up for wild horses and burros.



We’ve done a lot this year, and we couldn’t have achieved any of it without you. Watch our 2017 Year In Review video to see all the victories you’ve won for wild horses and burros.

Screenshot for 2017 Year In Review video


You’ve helped us do so much in 2017 – but wild horses and burros need us to continue the fight. Chip in today and help us keep fighting for wild horses and burros in 2018.

With Gratitude,
The AWHC Team