October 10, 2021
Petition to
Secretary of Agriculture and 2 others
Signatures: 11,737Next Goal: 15,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Karen Sussman


  • That the Secretary of Agriculture, TOM VILSACK, declare the HEBER HERD of NORTHERN ARIZONA a “STUDY HERD” for the next 5-7 years as requested by the NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES IN 1980; (As ordered by PRIA, Public Rangelands Improvement Act and never carried out by the BLM and FS)
  • That NO horses be removed until the study is completed;
  • That NO fertility control drugs ever be implemented on this herd.

This was one of the most important studies that was never done by the Agencies (BLM-FS), charged by Congress and the American people to protect and preserve wild horses and burros.  Rather then understanding wild horses and burros as wildlife species, the Agencies have managed them like livestock disregarding their highly evolved social orders and wisdom that they have carried throughout the ages over the last 60 million years on the North American continent as native species.

The Heber Herd of northern Arizona represents the LAST HERD on public lands not to be disturbed in over 15-years and has shown that the herd can self-regulate its population.

Please sign this petition, which will be delivered to Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. who has the distinct authority to declare the Heber Wild horse a “Study Herd” according to the Free-Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971:

 Section 10 of PL 92-95 (1971 Act) “The Secretaries are authorized and directed to undertake those studies of the habits of wild free-roaming horses and burros that they may deem necessary in order to carry out the provision of the Act.”

The scientific study of these horses will show that no disruptions of the highly evolved family band structures within the herd actually allows the members of the herd to limit their own growth. 

If managed as wildlife species, very few roundups will be necessary in the future. Tax payers will save millions of dollars paid out to private individuals to hold wild horses off the range.  Repurposing that money can be put right back into managing and protecting the habitat by determining and removing those animals actually destroying the land.

The International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB) filed suit against the Forest Service in 2006 and a stipulation agreement between the FS and ISPMB and agreed upon by the parties involved required the FS to complete a Territory plan and declared the horses as wild and free-roaming in the areas found on the 300,000 acres of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, not to be removed.

The number of horses prior to 2006 was estimated at 300-400 animals.  A current census shows a number of 450 animals.  This is a 1.5% growth while the FS touts a growth rate of 20% annually and herds doubling every four years.  If that were the case, today, there would be 4,800 horses in the Heber Territory.

The Agencies (FS and BLM) never did study wild horses in 1980-82 as was recommended by the National Academy of Sciences 5-7-year study.  In 1983, the Agencies reported to Congress that it was not worth the financial investment to do so.  Since that time, instead of managing them as the wildlife species that they are, they have managed them like cattle destroying the very evolved nature of wild horses and contributing to massive roundups through mismanagement.

This is the last herd on public lands that, if studied, can transform how the Agencies manage wild horses.   Your signature will help us to assure that this happens.  And please call Secretary Vilsack’s office at 202-720-3631 and ask that the Heber Herd become a “Study Herd” for the above reasons.

About ISPMB:

ISPMB is the oldest wild horse and burro organization in the United States and responsible, along with our first president, Wild Horse Annie, stopping the wholesale slaughter of wild horses and burros in our country through the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.  Contact at

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