WATCH: Wild Horses Suffer Roundup and Removal So Ranchers Can Exploit Sheep
In September 2021, the Bureau of Land Management cruelly rounded up and removed 479 wild horses from the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area in northwestern Colorado. Now, many thousands of the exploited sheep of private ranchers are in the Basin that is established by law for the “principal use” of the wild horses. The BLM’s mismanagement of our public lands is a travesty for America’s wild horses, the ecological health of our public lands, and the American taxpayer.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s initial excuse for the “emergency” roundup was that the area was under severe drought and could not support the estimated 800+ wild horses in the Herd Management Area (HMA). When advocates cried foul over this emergency designation because there had been over a month of monsoonal rains filling the ponds and growing new forage, the BLM had to change its story. Its latest “emergency” excuse was that there would not be enough forage to sustain the horses through the winter.
The wild horses of Sand Wash Basin are hardy, resourceful, and tough. They have survived winters in the Basin for centuries. There was no “emergency” other than the one fabricated by the BLM.
After the roundup, the BLM authorized ranchers to release vast numbers of sheep to graze through the Basin. The below video shows thousands on the east side of the Basin. The next day the photographer, Nadja Rider, found thousands more in the center of the wild horse HMA.
Rider, who has photographed and documented the wild horses in Sand Wash Basin for many years, regarding the sheep reports, “They very likely are simply moving through, headed for Wyoming, but they move very slowly, so most likely will be at least a week if not two or more before they make it to the northern end of the basin.”
Common sense would indicate that if there was “not enough forage” to sustain the 479 wild horses it removed, that the BLM would have placed a moratorium on the sheep being brought in by greedy sheep ranchers. Many thousands of exploited sheep, who will end their lives at slaughterhouses, should not be dumped into the area where their grazing method will crop the grass down to the very dirt, mostly destroying it. However, the BLM does not utilize common sense. It, and the politicians hiding behind it and dependent on campaign contributions, turn a blind eye, only caring to pander to ranching interests. Now, more forage in the HMA is being eradicated and will be unavailable for the few remaining wild horses that the land lawfully set aside for their use.
You can support wild horses by pushing the BLM to maintain wild horse habitat for wild horses, not for private ranchers. Find out more about how to help by visiting our Wild Horses campaign.