Who Really Wanted the Horses Gone from Beatys Butte, Oregon HMA?


In the summer of 2014, The Cloud Foundation was asked to participate in the Beatys Butte Working Group. The purpose of the group was to discuss and come up with management directives for the 437,000 acre high desert lands in southeastern Oregon, near the small town of Lakeview. Interested parties present represented the Beatys Butte Grazing Association, the Oregon Natural Desert Association, the Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, local elected officials, Wild Horse Advocates, and other “stakeholders.”

The idea was to try to come up with a plan that would be acceptable to all, including the wild horse advocates. In the end, it became apparent that USFWS, local officials, and the BLM really had no intention of coming to any compromise positions that involved a fair share for the wild horses. Nor did they seem committed to on the range management that included reversible fertility control.

It was my impression that the livestock people did not want to see the wild horse herd brought to the unviable population level of 100 which is the BLM’s “appropriate” but wholly inappropriate population minimum. Others like the USFWS’ would like to see wild horses eradicated from the landscape. The local Officials were, at one point, openly hostile to me personally. The Oregon Natural Desert Assoc. representative was always polite but, in my opinion, not really interested in a landscape that included wild horses.

The group was unsuccessful from my perspective. We tried as advocates to speak for the horses but our proposals fell on deaf ears.

Kayah Swanson