Skip to content

My letter to the editor of the Las Vegas Review Journal

November 16, 2015

Vickery Eckhoff

F. Martin_ Cattle_Wikimedia

On November 12, a Las Vegas Review Journal editorial (“Have some horse sense“) concluded that “humanely euthanizing” wild horses is using “horse sense” to solve the “wild horse problem” outlined by 20 GOP lawmakers in a letter to BLM Director, Neil Kornze. Here’s my response:

Dear Editors,

Your recent editorial, “Have some horse sense,” is missing an important piece of data: the number of private livestock on public range and forest lands compared to wild horses and burros (WHB).

2014 grazing receipts of $17.1 million dollars for both Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service (USFS) grazing permittees translate to 2.1 million cattle. That was the number on 251 million acres of public land managed for grazing by both agencies compared to 56,656 WHB last year. That’s a ratio of 37 cattle for every wild horse.

A side-by-side analysis of that and other BLM and USFS-sourced data is available at

Key findings of that analysis include that only 29.4 million acres (just 12%) of the 251 million acres contain WHB habitat. Cattle and sheep are allocated 97% of the total forage; wild horses just 3%.

Another key finding is the countless studies on the negative impact of commercial livestock production on overgrazing, fires, predator removal, damage to riparian areas and biodiversity, and climate change. Yet no comparable studies exist blaming wild horses. A logical deduction is that researchers don’t tend to study what isn’t a problem.

Further, have you checked what those federal livestock grazing leases lose US taxpayers each year? How does taking in $17.1 million dollars while losing $125 million constitute a wise use of taxpayer funds or “sustainable” land use policy?

Killing wild horses to solve what is essentially a cattle-caused problem isn’t using horse sense; it’s the antithesis of it.



Vickery Eckhoff
Executive Editor
The Daily Pitchfork


Post a comment
  1. hocuspocus13 #
    November 16, 2015

    Reblogged this on hocuspocus13 and commented:

  2. anniesezso #
    November 16, 2015

    Your way of diplomatically smacking the corruption in the face with facts is excellent writing, as always. Your up-hill battle to show that Americans are not just fools to be stepped on, remains heartening and greatly appreciated.

  3. Jean Hattie #
    November 16, 2015

    Well said, Vickery. Thank you for speaking the truth for the wild horses and burros.

  4. Joanne Gura #
    November 16, 2015

    Just want to thank you for this great letter and for the grazing analysis, and for all you have done and continue to do. I hope your letter is published and read by everyone..this lie has been covered up for so long, by so many, and our horses and burros are still suffering because of it. Everyday I see something else about the cattle and climate change, and the pollution, and no one does anything about it..They should be removing the cattle, but instead they keep putting more and more out there..I hope that other newspapers and media pick up your story and we can get this truth out where it belongs. This lie is growing and getting more dangerous for all of us. We need a full OUTSIDE aerial count of the horses and burros, not from the BLM and we need to find out exactly how many horses are in these pens. Then we can start a conversation about who has a problem on our public land.

  5. Barbara Griffith #
    November 17, 2015

    The 20 politicians that was mentioned in the article are just the tip of the iceberg as far as the wild horses and horse slaughter in this country go. These people are the reason that horse slaughter in this country can’t be shut down even with 160 some members of the House cosponsoring this last bill that is gathering dust in committee the Senate is the very ones that have ignored every bill for the past ten years in favor of the donations from lobbyists and all of the perks that go with it. They like their palms greased so they do as they are told by the lobbyists. I have said this before I don’t believe the wild horses even exist anymore they have been shipped to slaughter except for the few hundred that the BLM uses to fool the public leading the public to believe that the 50,000 horses that was rounded up are alive and well boarded on numerous farms and ranches in the US if that’s the case why won’t the BLM give out the states where the animals are and the names of the ranches so the public can at least drive by to check on them? The BLM claims privacy must go to the ranches and farms I don’t believe one word of what the BLM says.

  6. Susan Peterson #
    November 18, 2015

    Excellent reply – as always, you have the numbers to back you up. Thank you, Vickery!!!

    • Lee Soto #
      November 18, 2015

      Vickery’s letter is eye opening to say the least. Goes to show you that common sense is totally lost in the bureaucrat’s thinking, we pay them good money to take care of our wild lands and they just can’t get past the pay off! When our we going to wake up and vote like we are intelligent people???

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: