Wild Horse Advocates Urge Nevada BLM Not to Break Up World-Famous Horse Families After Cruel Capture


In Defense of Animals and wild horse advocates from around the world are sending an urgent message to the American public and the Nevada State Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ask for a halt on a proposed online auction for some very special wild horses. 

Of course, all wild horses are “special,” as documented in the unanimously passed Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which was enacted to protect them on the range. However, these particular Fish Springs, Nevada wild horses and their family bands are known by people all over the country and the world, thanks in large part to the dedicated local advocates who name them and bring their family stories to the masses via social media.  

In a highly controversial action, 21 horses from this herd were lured into a trap this past November, which was quietly set by the BLM on private property owned by a county official. He later lost his job as a result of his request. The horses were removed and taken to pens at the Palomino Valley BLM holding facility for processing. The community who loved them was devastated.

Hard to believe, but yes, these are the same two horses, full brothers Jet and Samson, iconic, recently wild stallions of the Fish Springs (NV) Herd Area. Samson (right), as a bay roan, changes color dramatically in his winter coat. First photo shows them still sticking together in their filthy BLM holding pen (Samson in his more solid bay roan winter coat); gelded, no longer stallions. Second photo shows them wild and free on their historic home range. Photo Credit Mary Cioffi, Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates.

Family and freedom is everything to wild horses. Family bands include generations of grandmas, aunties, mothers, and foals – all fiercely protected by their band stallions. Local advocates, though heartbroken, worked hard to find wonderful sanctuaries and private landowners who would adopt these horses together in their family bands so that they could stay together and still have some freedom. Some of the mares are aged and some of the horses are still babies. Ironically, due to their fame and popularity, the Nevada state BLM office plans to hold an online auction this month starting on January 21 to offer them each individually to the “highest bidder,” and thus break up their families forever.  

“The BLM has long held that their future plans for wild horse and burro management will include working with community groups to find adoptive homes for captured wild horses,” said Ginger Fedak, Wild Horse and Burro Campaign Director for In Defense of Animals. Let them prove that here and now, by working with the Carson Valley community and the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates to place these horses, rather than subjecting them to unknown auction bidders.” 

In Defense of Animals stands strongly with the small grassroots non-profit organization, Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates, and the Carson Valley community in asking the Nevada BLM to work with these local groups who have already found and identified the best homes for these wild horse families.  

We ask all people who care about the injustice done to these horses to call BLM Nevada State Director, John Raby at 775-861-6400 and email him at nvsoweb@blm.gov and politely ask him to halt the proposed online auction for these recently captured Fish Springs wild horses. Ask him to work with the local advocate community who can find the best placement for these horses instead of holding an auction. 

Featured image: a wild horse herd on the Pine Nut Range. Image credit BLM Nevada, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 valued supporters and a 30-year history of protecting animals, people and the environment through education, campaigns and hands on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi. Our main headquarters are established in San Rafael, California. Click to see author's profile.

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