Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire hedge funder T. Boone Pickens, is causing a ruckus down in Nevada.
She’s about to put up a fence that spans more than 500,000 acres of federal land, to establish a sanctuary for wild horses near her own 14,000-acre ranch, the Wall Street Journal reports.
As if thats not enough to frighten the farmers in the area, Pickens says “she wants to buy enough other Nevada ranches.. to create sanctuaries for as many as 10,000 horses.”
Her dream of a fenced “mustang monument” is the equivalent of a no-cattle zone as far ranchers are concerned: ranchers who graze cattle in the area believe a fence would force them off the range.
[T.Boone] Pickens, 82, who has become an apostle for clean power such as wind in recent years, is unwilling to bet against his wife of five years. “I tell you one thing, you get a woman who has made up her mind to do it, and she has money, she’ll do it,” he said. “You give her an ax and she’ll do the chopping.”
A century ago, as many as two million mustangs, descendants of domesticated horses, roamed North America. Round-ups and slaughter cut their numbers sharply, to about 34,000 wild horses today. The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act set aside federal land for them.
Because the population of the wild horses has boomed since the 1970s, the government has been forced to capture many due to overpopulation and has considered euthanizing them to curb costs.
That’s what caught Madeleine Pickens’ attention in the first place. Having already abandoned owning race horses because it turned out some ended up in a slaughterhouse, she couldn’t deal with the fact that these horses would be killed.
The 62-year old Californian been travelling to the area for years on her billionaire hubby’s private Gulfstream jet, won’t back off despite locals going berserk. “I’m sorry, but there’s no putting this back in the bag,” she told reporters.
She says she has the backing of the Bureau of Land Management, but the agency won’t comment.
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