BLM Refuses Pickens’ Horse Sanctuary


No wild horses for Madeleine Pickens.  That was the announcement from the Bureau of Land Management and Director Bob Abbey on Friday.  Madeleine Pickens, the wife of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, had bought two ranches in northeastern Nevada last year to serve as a sanctuary for mustangs captured from the range.  Her plan was to keep a number of wild horses there rather than in government-funded holding facilities.  The two ranches totaled 18,000 acres and came with grazing rights on roughly 564,000 acres of public land.  

The Associated Press reports that Director Abbey told them that Pickens’ plan wouldn’t save taxpayers’ money and doesn’t include enough water and forage for the mustangs.


In her rebuttal after the rejection, Mrs. Pickens stated that when they purchased the land, it was to create a pilot program and it would be the BLM’s responsibility to determine how many horses could go on the ranch..  Below are both segments of her reaction to the rejection:

Many of the YouTube comments (view on YouTube) that Mrs. Pickens is getting to that video are very anti-agriculture and include negative sentiments towards cattle ranchers:

Posted by chinadoll8379:

“The BLM is just hanging on to their job security. We all need to stop eating beef and then there will be lots of grazing land for our mustangs. The BLM’s decision is absolutely absurd!!!”

Posted by lwarteman:

“The Cattle Ranchers will not rest until all the wild horses are dead! And the Cattle Ranchers have the BLM in their back pockets.”

Posted by erinnetter:

“Ken Salazar is a cattle man and comes from a long line of cattle people. He is for the cattle industry and does not care about the wild horses. What he does do for them is to appease us the horse lovers. Hurt them where it will hurt them the most: STOP EATING BEEF!!!”

The BLM reports that they spent considerable time with Pickens on her proposal and are committed to pursuing these type of public-private partnerships.  According to the Associated Press, Director Abbey stated that despite numerous requests from the BLM, her foundation hasn’t provided a formal and detail proposal so that they can properly analyze and determine its feasibility.

© Northern Ag Network 2011

Haylie Shipp


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x