Friday, 8 January 2010

The Mustangs And The Gas-Company

Wild Mustangs are being rounded-up and captured in Nevada and Colorado. The operation to remove about 2,500 wild mustangs from publicly held land started at the end of December 2009. The stated reason for the round up of the horses is that there are too many of them and that there is not enough food and water for all of them. Awww, so humane, moving horses to a better place where they can receive food, water and veterinary care.

But methinks that is not the whole story. For a start the horses are being scared into corals by the use of two low-flying helicopters - this according to people who know more about horses than I do, is a tactic that will panic the horses and may well lead to extensive injuries to the animals, or even death. Furthermore, doing this in the depth of winter increases the risk of respiratory diseases in the horses.

The horses are then trucked to a holding area where they will receive veterinary care and food and water. So far so good, we may question the appropriateness of the timing of the operation but surely rescuing horses from land that can no longer support their growing population is a humane and laudable thing to do?

Well maybe, but let us just look behind the scenes. Who says that the land cannot support the horses living on it? Whose land are these horses living on? Who benefits from a reduced horse population? Who pays for the capture and removal of the horses?

When I studied biology and ecology years ago, we had a theoretical framework that basically boils down to the fact that there is a system of checks and balances that will be applied by nature to the growth of a population of animals if there is no human involvement in the situation. The theory went like this - in this example we will use rabbits.

You have a rabbit colony living on a piece of land. There is plenty of food, water and there are the usual natural predators as well. The rabbit population will increase because there is plenty of food etc and will decrease depending on predator population as well to some extent. Then there was a hard winter and a dry summer. There is not enough grass, not enough water, pregnant rabbits miscarry and baby rabbits die because their parents are unable to feed them. The population goes down. It is a very simplified example, of course there are other factors to take into consideration, but normally the size of a wild animal species population will be controlled by naturally occurring shortages and gluts of food, water and other factors. It is only when man becomes involved in the situation that the system does not work so well.

And of course, man is involved in this situation. Biologists who have studied the range lands and the health of the wild mustang populations living there, say there is nothing to indicate that the land is unable to sustain the current population and can see no reason to remove healthy horses from the land at all. The land in question is publicly held land, i.e. it belongs to the citizens of the 5 states involved in the removal of the horses. It is also the tax payers of those states who are paying for their own wild horses to be removed. That answers all but the most crucial question at all. Who benefits from the removal of these wild horses?

Enter, the Bureau of Land Management and the El Paso Natural Gas Corporation of Colorado Springs, CO. Apparently the Gas Corporation has managed to somehow acquire a right of way in this ecologically critical unprotected wild land, to lay down what is known as The Ruby Pipeline.

In a written response to questions posed by the Office of Energy Projects (an agency within the Department of Energy), a Ruby natural gas pipeline project consultant, Dan Gredvig, stated that Ruby will work with BLM to minimize wild horse and burro grazing along the restored ROW (right-of-way) for three years. Possible management actions would be to . . . reduce wild horse populations following BLM policy in appropriate management areas.

So to recap, wild horses are being terrorized by helicopters, put at risk of injury, death and respiratory diseases, removed from publicly held land, at the expense of the tax payer, so that a gas company can protect 'its right of way' over public land and lay its pipeline. Why is it that the tax payer has to pay for a private company to have rights over land that belongs to the public in the first place and why does the Bureau of Land Management lie about the reason for removing the horses?

Maybe it is time that the public stands up for the population of authentic American Wild Mustangs, before another company comes along needing to have some sort of access or right of way over public land, and requesting that the taxpayer again foots the bill for the removal of the land´s original inhabitants. Do not let big business steal your heritage here, please.

I enclose links of interest for those wanting to do more research in this matter.

Links of interest:
Ruby Pipeline Information

Pipeline Map:

Western Watersheds Project

American Herds

Freedom’s Escape & Roundup Report:

Video Overview of Calico horses and current roundup

12.28.09 USA Today: “Activists Decry Wild-Horse Roundups”

Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit.
America’s Disappearing Wild Horses


  1. Thank you! I run a wild horse and burro sanctuary and know firsthand the damage BLM has been doing to these animals. This corruption must stop! Catherine Ritlaw

  2. How high off the ground is thatpipeline? Why couldn't the horses exist WITH the pipeline in place?

  3. Permission to post to our blog:


  4. Why on earth can't a pipeline co-exist with wild horses? Are they also removing all the elk, pronghorn, cattle and deer? This is an outrage!

  5. Welcome to Amerika! Where taxpayers routinely pay for corporate interests because lawmakers have been paid in one way or another to cater to lobbyists requests (read: demands). Please keep your hands inside the basket for the duration of the ride. On your right you will see a large group of homeless people who once lived in middle class neighborhoods but whose homes were stolen by bailed out banks when they lost their jobs due to corporate greed. To the left, you will see wildlife slaughtered under the thinnest of excuses, when the truth is they were in the way of Progress. Coming up now on those gurneys are the sick and elderly who have been displaced from their nursing homes due to Medicare cuts. Parked to the left are their families coming to pick them up and wondering how they will care for them while they are at work, at least while they still have jobs. Just ahead, we'll be passing the Gates Estate, built by the former head of the Microsoft Monopoly, those responsible for that crappy operating system crammed down your throat. We will be done passing the Estate in about 20 minutes. Please do not feed the homeless people, Ma'am. No, they're not on a special diet, they're not on any diet at all, but if you feed them, they'll swarm the tram and you could be hurt. Thank you for joining us today, your glazed eyes indicate you didn't miss a thing!

    Why can't a pipeline co-exist with wild horses? Surely they could. But this is the United States government we're talking about here and what they do best is the most wrong, idiotic and not for one minute thought out thing they can. Does it make sense? Will it work with a minimum of fuss? Is this the simplest way to solve a problem? If the answer is Yes to any of these questions, the solutions will be rejected. Besides, it takes a committee of idiots to come up with the *correct* government solutions to problems that don't really exist at all.

  6. Pipeline has nothing to do with the gather. Horses and a pipeline can coexist easily. Horses have been gathered there...over 18000 over the past 18 years. Still too many there for the range. Have you been there and seen the barren landscape? I have. True gather figures are on BLM is only doing their job. What needs changed is a false premise based on the original law. Horses are livestock. Maybe that's why they became extinct without mankind's help their last time on this continent.