The Bureau of Land Management has embarked this year on a campaign to clear tens of thousands of wild mustangs from our public lands for the sake of millions of cattle and sheep. The BLM and its allies in the beef industries know the images of helicopters stampeding mustangs into traps, or of defeated mustangs languishing in the agency’s barren feedlots and corrals, enrage the American public. So in its messaging, the agency keeps repeating the “wild horse overpopulation” lie, saying with a straight face that too many mustangs are destroying the rangelands, and they risk starvation if they aren’t chased down, trapped and removed.
With this false trope, the BLM seeks to divert the American public’s attention away from the damage caused to our public lands by millions of cattle and sheep, and instead make 80,000 wild equines living on millions of acres across 10 states the convenient scapegoats. Yet groups like Western Watersheds Projects and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility have recently published the BLM’s own data that clearly show that vast numbers of cattle and sheep, not wild horses, are overgrazing our rangelands.