An Open Letter to the BLM Regarding their Consent Decree with the RSGA

To Whom It May Concern… Oh yeah, Nobody In the BLM Concerns Themselves With the WY Wild Horses
Dear Bureau of Land Management,

I am writing this letter to issue my congratulations. You fought really hard against the Rock Springs Grazing Association when they brought the most recent in a never-ending string of lawsuits demanding the removal of the thousands of wild horses who live in the regions where the RSGA lease public & private lands. Wait? What’s that? Oh, sorry I guess I must have confused you with a government agency that has a pair.

What I should say is congratulations on giving the RSGA everything they wanted. But then, you would do that, wouldn’t you BLM? Once upon a time the BLM supported wild horses against the RSGA. You didn’t like the wild horses back then either, of course, but that pesky Wild Horse & Burro Act forced you to pretend that you did. Good thing we can ignore that today! It is so much easier to allocate millions of tax dollars to remove all these animals under your protection than to uphold the law, isn’t it?

Now I can pay even more in taxes! Thank you, BLM! I really do have too much spare change sitting around in my bank account, and the government can clearly use it much better than I could. I’ve been meaning to go on a diet, anyway. Taking away more of my hard-earned money that I could use for food and rent will really help me lose a few pounds. I get to pay for the roundup, the storage and feeding of these horses while they ruminate in feedlots for the rest of their natural lives, and the administration costs for the livestock ranchers to keep leasing the public land in this area. It’s my lucky day! You absolutely correct that the RSGA could not possibly afford to pay for the program costs themselves. After all, they graze their animals for 6.75% of the cost that my family members pay to graze livestock on private land. That’s rough. I just don’t know how they would survive without my tax dollars supporting their lifestyle.

You should also be very proud of yourselves for agreeing to remove horses that are not located in the checkerboard pattern of these horse herds. Why bother removing most of the horses in the Great Divide Basin when you take them all off in one go? Why should all those northern horses in Great Divide Basin living solely on public rangeland be allowed to stay where they are while their brothers and sisters to the South are annihilated?

I also think it is really cute that you are letting the RSGA get away with accusing wild horses of being the primary cause of rangeland degradation. Those 250-600 horses that roam around White Mountain & Little Colorado do way more damage than the thousands of cattle, elk and deer who migrate en masse, and the gazillions of pronghorn that also utilize the resources of the area. They’re right. It’s the horses fault. How wise of you to recognize that and not waste any of our time by researching or using science to come to such a conclusion.

At this point, you may thinking that what I am saying is not fair. You are not removing all the horses, after all! You are right. I am so sorry to mislead. Some White Mountain horses do get to stay, and all they have to do for this marvelous privilege is genital mutilation. Some of the mares may even survive the spaying process. Nice work on the negotiations on that one. It would be a true travesty if Sweetwater County’s economy had to lose the money that herd brings through tourism. I’m sure the fact that the “wild” herd you plan to keep there will no longer display any wild horse behaviors (save a healthy fear of humans) won’t hurt that tourism one bit. After all, tourists are idiots, right? They won’t know the difference between wild horses and a bunch of geldings chilling out in castrated bliss.

Now, I think that even a government official should be able to tell that everything I’ve written so far has been laced with heavy-handed sarcasm. Actually, is that too much to expect? We are talking about government employees, after all.

One last thing, though, and I promise this paragraph will be both sincere and serious. This is not over yet. You still have to go through the NEPA process. I can’t tell you how excited I am for that to be released. I do hope you are prepared for what will come after the decision record drops because wild horse advocates like me are going to bring it. We will not let you and your good buddies in the RSGA get away with this.

Thanks for Nothing Assholes,
Rachel A. Reeves

Removed 2011
Removed 2011
Status Unknown but Most Likely Removed
Status Unknown but Most Likely Removed


Edit: If the above post makes no sense to you (Hi Briton!) then please read this link for context of what the BLM is agreeing to do:

Published by Rachel Reeves

I am a photographer who currently lives in the great state of Colorado. I love going out and photographing wild horses in their natural habitat, and look forward to being able to share a glimpse their world with you.

17 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the BLM Regarding their Consent Decree with the RSGA

  1. I definitely noticed how they didn’t bother to correct RSGA about rangeland deterioration! And also, not that I agree with gelding the stallions, but if you’re going to geld them, THEN WHAT IS THE POINT OF SPAYING THE MARES!? If there are no intact stallions, then those mares won’t be getting pregnant anyways! I agree with all those points, please let me know what I can do for the NEPA process.

    1. Thanks Sarah. I definitely will let you know. I will be checking the BLM website daily looking for it. I have never been so fired up for public comments on a NEPA document.
      They would probably say that spaying the mares is necessary due to Little Colorado which borders White Mountain to the North. Stallions from there could migrate down and breed the mares. It’s not as though the geldings would give them any competition. But I anticipate that the BLM will plan to make Little Colorado “non-reproducing” the same way they plan to zero out the non-checkerboard areas of Divide Basin which would make any argument for spaying moot.

  2. RSGA must be laughing their asses off because, 1) they are getting rid of the horses, 2) the grazing rate they pay is so ridiculously low, and
    3) they only have a portion of their herd on the range when the guys come to count anyway. Talk about a cluster ________! 😦 The taxpayers are getting the shaft in more ways than one, and most of them don’t even know it, which is a common occurence.

  3. I guess I’m confused. I thought this was PUBLIC land? Aren’t I “the Public”? So as an owner of this land, shouldn’t I have a right what happens on it? I want the horses, make the ranchers grow hay to feed their livestock. I don’t apprecieate them feeding their cattle on MY land. What can I do as an owner of said land?

    1. This particular area is a little different than other herd management areas. In the mid-1800s the government came up with this bass ackwards plan to give the Union Pacific every other square mile of land for 20 miles north and south of railroad. So half of the land these horses/livestock graze on public and the other half is private.You would think that this would balance out since neither side can keep their animals out and they all freely wander between the public and private.

      The RSGA agreed during their first lawsuit against the wild horses in the 1981 to allow a number of wild horses in this region. They are now withdrawling that agreement, saying the BLM hasn’t held up their end of the bargain because the BLM has not removed enough wild horses to keep them satisfied.

      This may not sound unreasonable to the non-wild horse fan *but* there is one other interesting aspect of this. Very little of the land in this area is owned by members of the RSGA. Most of it is owned by the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. So even the private land is land that the RSGA members lease. It doesn’t belong to them. They just think that it does.

  4. Rachel! I knew you’d come through with some kick ass post! Even better, a letter to the BLM!
    Being a Wyoming resident, you KNOW I am ashamed and appalled.
    Please keep us posted on updates. You’re the best!

    1. Will do. This definitely is not over yet. We are stuck in wait mode while the BLM gets the NEPA written and submitted for the first planned zero out – Salt Wells and chunks of Adobe Town this summer. As soon as that is released it will be go time. Now is the best time to get the word out and drum things up so we will be rock the second the BLM posts the information.

  5. Great letter Rachel. I guess the BLM thinks it’s the Rock Springs Grazing Association that pays their salary. (Maybe it is!!!) We need to take back the BLM and our Federal Lands.

  6. Way to go Rachel! You hit on every ridiculous aspect of this horrible “consent” decree. Your photography and writing are both superb! Hope this reaches a really big audience…it sums things up!

  7. Rachel,

    You forgot to mention all the money RSGA is making via Coffey Engineering and Contracting and leasing land for drilling.  Jonah Field.

    ‘Falconer on the Edge’ by Rachel Dickinson spells it out in black and white what RSGA has been up to and the millions they are making, not off beef, but mining.




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