West Texas Wild Burro Controversy Flares Again for Texas Parks

By Steven Long
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Three years ago when former Texas Parks and Wildlife parks director Walt Dabney issued a moratorium stopping shooting of wild burros in the vast Big Bend Ranch State Park animal advocates quieted down.

The shootings were halted after a flurry of bad press in the local Big Bend Sentinel and in the statewide Horseback Magazine.
Now that donkey killings have resumed under new parks commissioner Brent Leisure, the public outcry has dramatically increased, with almost 76,000 names on a petition and a possible ricochet into the presidential campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Contacted by Horseback Magazine last week for an interview on the issue, Leisure punted, kicking the controversy to an underling, Kevin Good. Horseback responded saying the issue was getting legs and required comment from the top. Both Leisure and TPWD head Carter Smith’s email addresses were provided.


The Perry campaign will likely have to respond to the issue because the Texas governor will almost certainly be compared to Alaska’s Sarah Palin who advocated shooting wolves from the air prompting howls of protest from wildlife advocates and outraged citizens.

The outcry may be worse in Texas where equine advocacy groups are already active fighting horsemeat processors shipping thousands of domestic horses across the border to Mexican abattoirs. The burro killings are also likely to be linked to the alleged inhumane treatment of wild horses in the American West during helicopter driven stampedes by the federal Bureau of Land Management.
Texas Parks and Wildlife launched the resumption of donkey killing with Perry’s approval advocates claim.


The petitions are being sponsored by the website, change.org.
Wild Horse and Burro advocates claim the state agency is attempting to rid the park, 70 miles across, of burros to make way for Big Horn Sheep, a big game animal coveted by wealthy hunters.
The state agency counters saying the app.

70 burros are destructive to the huge park’s fragile landscape and that the burros are not a native Texas species. They also claim to have worked with wild horse groups to humanely capture the burros yet none of the animals are in captivity.
TPWD worked with Ray Field, of the Wild Horse Foundation who was instrumental in calling attention to hundreds of dead horses laying in a Presidio creek near holding pens for slaughter bound animals.

5 comments for “West Texas Wild Burro Controversy Flares Again for Texas Parks

  1. Louie Cocroft
    October 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/forced-vaccinations-and-would-be-presidents/
    Today, you can’t give a flu shot away in Texas. And don’t even mention gardasil. I suspect the same is true for other states.
    This issue—forced vaccinations—will cost Perry and any other presidential candidate hawking it a chance at the presidency

  2. October 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    The Wild Burro Protection League is making gains on this outrage. Thanks to the public for signing our petition and calling. This really is all these burros have in the short run while we look into legal avenues. Texas legislature only meets on odd years so it is a long way from 2013. These burros will be gone by then, based on the FOIA documents we have thus far received from TPWD. They have stepped up the killing. Their records are sloppy to say the least, and David Riskind said in an internal e-mail we summoned, “find me evidence against the burro, this is high priority, get me everything you can. This was dated very recently, so they are in cover their own burro mode right now, and trumping up charges against the burro. It is so ethically wrong, how can they live with them selves?

    • Jan S
      October 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      I don’t think they can – as most of these operations do so much better in secret.

  3. October 10, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    The Wild Burro Protection League is making gains on this outrage. Thanks to the public for signing our petition and calling. This really is all these burros have in the short run while we look into legal avenues. Texas legislature only meets on odd years so it is a long way from 2013. These burros will be gone by then, based on the FOIA documents we have thus far received from TPWD, they have stepped up the killing. Their records are sloppy to say the least, and David Riskind said in an internal e-mail we summoned, “find me evidence against the burro, this is high priority, get me everything you can.” This was dated very recently, so they are in cover-their-own-burro mode right now, and trumping up charges against the burro. It is so ethically wrong, how can they live with them selves?

  4. Louie Cocroft
    October 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Carrol Abel
    National Equine Policy
    Examiner.com

    From: “Kevin Good”
    Subject: RE: Wildlife Questions
    Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2011 11:28:05 -0500
    Your question was forwarded to me for response.
    Feral burros occur in only one state park at this time. Texas State Park policy is to control all non-native and feral animals that may occur in all parks in order to preserve the natural resources of the park system. This policy extends to animals such as feral hogs, aoudad sheep that occur in many parks, as well as burros at Big Bend Ranch State Park. The number of resident burros is variable, as the park is not fenced. Because burros cause damage to the ecosystem of the park that is home to many species of rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal species, burros and other feral animals are subject to live trapping and relocation or lethal control by shooting. Because more than two years of efforts by rescue groups failed to remove a single animal, burros are removed by shooting when staff can do so in a safe and humane manner.

    Kevin Good
    State Parks Division

Comments are closed.