Click me to go home
Would we want our children or grandchildren to see how America's horses are treated by our public agencies?

Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates'

Situation Report

The 2010 Sheldon Horse Roundup

Situation Report: The 2010 Sheldon Horse Roundup
Location: Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
Date: September 27, 2010

A great deal of chatter has appeared on a few internet blogs discussing the removal of horses from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, a large US Fish and Wildlife property that straddles the Nevada-Oregon border. While over the years advocates have had issues with some of Sheldon's horse management activities, some recent claims stray quite far from reality. To be rational and effective advocates, we need to understand the facts.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is not directly involved in activities that take place on USF&WS properties, nor does it have any legal authority over Sheldon horses and burros, nor do the provisions in the Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act apply to the horses and burros at Sheldon.

Horses and burros on USF&WS properties fall under Title 50 of the United States Code. The following are the relevant passages in this code.

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries


Subpart A-Range Animals

30.1 Surplus range animals.
30.2 Disposition of surplus range animals.

Subpart B-Feral Animals

30.11 Control of feral animals.
30.12 Disposition of feral animals.

(The Range Animals section applies to privately owned livestock so Subpart A is not included in this presentation.)

Subpart B-Feral Animals

30.11 Control of feral animals.
(a) Feral animals, including horses, burros, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, reindeer, dogs, and cats, without ownership that have reverted to the wild from a domestic state may be taken by authorized Federal or State personnel or by private persons operating under permit in accordance with applicable provisions of Federal or State law or regulation.
(b) [Reserved]
[31 FR 16027, Dec. 15, 1966]

30.12 Disposition of feral animals.
Feral animals taken on wildlife refuge areas may be disposed of by sale on the open market, gift or loan to public or private institutions for specific purposes, and as otherwise provided in section 401 of the act of June 15, 1935 (49 Stat. 383, 16 U.S.C. 715s).
[38 FR 16356, June 22, 1973]

While it could be argued that this law is outdated, it is the current law. In short, the people at Sheldon can legally do pretty much whatever they want with the horses and burros there. Some of the "advocates" who are screaming about illegal acts and suggesting BLM's involvement actually know these facts, but apparently have chosen to ignore them.

In reality horse management practices at Sheldon have improved over past years. While I wouldn't say that they couldn't stand further improvement, and the same argument would apply to virtually every horse management agency, Sheldon is pursuing alternatives to removals such as fertility control and the service is not handing horses over to the kill bunchers and buyers.

Also Sheldon's activities are posted on Federal web sites. The agency gathers horses every September and these activities are neither clandestine or illicit.

Any persons who have concerns about the management practices at Sheldon should read the end of gather statistics and follow the links to various documents that describe Sheldon's present management objectives and activities and also relate to planning documents that will shape future strategies and for which the public can submit comments. You can access these documents by clicking here.

Continue to End of Gather Statistics

Return to the War Room