Letter to BLM’s Chief of Wild Horse & Burro Program & BLM’s failure to manage our wild herds on federal public lands

We are publicly posting this letter that Grandma Gregg sent to Joan Guilfoyle, Neil Kornze, Ed Roberson and Sally Spencer:

Joan Guilfoyle, Division Chief
Division of Wild Horses and Burros
20 M Street, S.E.
Washington, DC

I strongly oppose the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plan to send 100 federally protected wild burros—at taxpayer expense—to Guatemala, where they would become working animals.  Once outside the U.S., the fates of the burros would be unknown – forever.

This idea flies in the face of the BLM’s legal mandate to care for and protect these cultural treasures here on U.S. soil.  It is not only cruel and a waste of resources—it also fails to address the ugly reality that led to this misguided schemethe BLM’s wholesale failure to manage our wild herds on federal public lands.

As for BLM’s Guatemala proposal:

First off,the Guatemalans will slaughter some (and eventually all) and I doubt they will give anyconcern about their slaughter methods but it won’t be humane.

Second, the burros are wild and although eventually could become pack animals with humane training and care, the typical and historically forceful methods to train equine that most people use in this and other countries is inhumane.

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(photo:  http://www.abeatingheart.ca/the-numbing-and-dumbing-of-humanity/) *

Third, I can tell you that nobody is ever going to check on the welfare of these burros – ever.  As a BLM adopter of two wild horses, BLM never checked on them until finally after two years; and then only because I pestered them about getting my ownership papers. In addition, they never checked on the wild stallion I bought – never. If anyone thinks that anyone is going to check on those in Guatemala … think again.  And even IF someone tried … how could they find a hundred burros that had been dispersed throughout the country?  They could not.

Fourth, by agreeing that it is acceptable to send our wild burros to another country we are setting a precedent that allows these American wild icons to be disposed of to another country and that is an unscrupulous precedent – if not illegal.  They are to be protected per the United States Congress.

Fifth, our burros do not belong to BLM or the government – they belong to the people of America and BLM has no right to sell our burros overseas to an unknown future.  They are not a livestock commodity.

Sixth, the most important issue is to again articulate to our government (BLM) that there are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land that was (per law) given to them principally for their protection.  To agree to anything less than what is really true and legal and correct is a betrayal to the wild horses and burros and the American people who own these wild equine.

With about 50,000 wild horses and burros stockpiled in BLM holding facilities, clearly the BLM’s wild equine program needs a complete overhaul.  Rather than continuing to round up and remove horses and burros to holding facilities while instituting no legitimate on-range management plan, the BLM must first realize and admit that there are no “excess” wild horses and burros on their congressionally designated legal land.

The recent National Academy of Science (NAS) report on the Wild Horse and Burro Program determined that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has no evidence of excess wild horses and burros; because the BLM has failed to use scientifically sound methods to estimate the populations (NAS, 2013).

The NAS cited two chief criticisms of the Wild Horse and Burro Program: unsubstantiated population estimates in herd management areas (HMA), and management decisions that are not based in science (NAS, 2013).  Shipping our protected equines off to other countries is the very opposite of proper management.

 

* The photo above may not have been taken in Guatemala, but illustrates the point of how equines are mistreated in other countries.

 

New Research Published to Help Working Equids’ Welfare

SOURCE:  thehorse.com

New Research Published to Help Working Equids' Welfare

Scientific research often has direct practical applications that can be of immediate benefit to working equids.

A new collection of free research articles, published online this month by the Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) and sponsored by World Horse Welfare, aims to build greater understanding and encourage collaboration in addressing the welfare problems of the world’s working equids. Future research articles will be added to the collection as new data emerges.

In July more than 150 representatives from 27 countries attended the 7th International Colloquium on Working Equids to discuss the plight of the estimated 100 million working horses, donkeys, and mules who sustain human livelihoods around the world. A key outcome of the event was the recommendation that broader access to research would encourage greater worldwide collaboration.

In response the EVJ, with support from World Horse Welfare, has published a compendium of eight diverse research papers with plans to grow the collection year on year to form an exclusive free resource for all practitioners working in equine welfare. The current collection addresses clinical problems such as lameness, husbandry, tack-related wounds, gastric ulceration (to which donkeys are prone), parasite infestation, and the risks associated with the meat and milk of the working equid in the human diet. It also includes a summary paper on the recent Colloquium on Working Equids.

“To improve the effectiveness of programmes focused on working equids globally, we need to share information globally,” said Roly Owers, MRCVS, chief executive of World Horse Welfare. “Research builds the evidence base for better interventions and helps improve collaboration between equine charities and veterinary organisations, with human development organisations, universities and governments. Wider access to relevant research should make an even greater, sustainable impact for working equids and World Horse Welfare is pleased to support the EVJ in helping to achieve this end.”

Prevention and treatment for common welfare problems start being addressed through knowledge and education.

Photo: World Horse Welfare

Scientific research often has direct practical applications that can be of immediate benefit to working equids. Through World Horse Welfare’s recent work, owners in Central America now know that the severe hoof separation and mouth lesions in working horses are not caused by a local species of spider biting or urinating on the area. Similarly horse owners in Honduras are learning that the lesions near their horses’ eyes are not caused by flies, but could be the result of inappropriate whip use with the injuries then exacerbated by flies. Prevention and treatment for common welfare problems start being addressed through knowledge and education.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

 

Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Publishes New Book

It is with a great deal of pride that Wild Horse Freedom Federation announces that Carol Walker, our Director of Field Documentation, has published a new book. Congratulations, Carol!

SOURCE:  wildhoofbeats.com

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Mustangs: Wild Horses at the Heart of the American Legend is released today in France by Edition Glenat.

This is a 192 page hardcover coffee table book featuring 200 images by Carol Walker. Journalist Cecile Plet wrote the text, which is in French, and the images star the wild horses of Sand Wash Basin in Colorado, Adobe Town and McCullough Peaks in Wyoming and the Pryor Mountains in Montana. This is Carol’s third book, her second about wild horses.

The book is available in Europe, and also with surprisingly reasonable shipping through Amazon France:

http://www.amazon.fr/Mustangs-Chevaux-sauvages-coeur-am%C3%A9ricain/dp/2344004025/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413997001&sr=1-1

To read the French Press Release, click HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Carol’s passion for photography started at an early age, with animals as her favorite subjects. She studied literature and photography as an undergraduate at Smith College, and continued her education in photography after graduating, studying portraiture and nature photography. She has traveled all over the world photographing wildlife for the past 30 years.

In 2000, Carol started her business Living Images by Carol Walker, specializing in photographing horses. Carol’s images illuminate the relationship between horses and their people, as well showcase the beauty of horses with her stunning images of horses at liberty. She teaches workshops for amateur photographers on equine photography. She markets her fine art prints from her website www.LivingImagesCJW.com as well as in several locations on the Front Range of Colorado and has won numerous awards with her artwork.

Ten years ago, Carol began photographing wild horses. As she followed several herds in Wyoming, Colorado and Montana, she became aware of how precarious their situation on public lands has become. Since then, she has dedicated herself to educating people with her photographs and stories about the wild horses. She is one of the leading advocates working to keep America’s wild horses wild and free on our public lands. Her award-winning book Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses was released winter of 2008 and is currently in its second printing. Carol’s second book, Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers is in its second printing as well.

For the last five years, Carol has produced a wild horse calendar for the Cloud Foundation with 50% of the proceeds as a donation to that organization. Proceeds from the sales of Carol’s artwork and books fund her work to keep America’s wild horses wild and free.

Carol is the Director of Field Documentation on the Board of Directors for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, which is dedicated to stopping the roundups and keeping our wild horses wild and free.

 

Elaine Nash of Fleet of Angels & Marjorie Farabee of Wild Horse Freedom Federation on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., Oct. 22)

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22, 2014

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen Live Here!

Call in # 917-388-4520

This is a 2 hour show. Please call in with questions during the 2nd hour of the show.

The shows will be archived, so you can listen anytime. Our guests are:

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ELAINE NASH, founder and Director of Fleet of Angels, a grassroots movement of horse lovers who own trailers and are willing to help transport equines to safety when their lives are in danger.

Fleet of Angels has helped to Keep America’s Wild Equines in America, by helping to find homes & transportation for 100 wild burros that the BLM had planned to ship to Guatemala to become beasts of burden. Continue reading

Bail Revoked over ‘Bizarre’ Slaughter of Miniature Horses

Source: abc.net.au

Australian builder who used a butcher’s knife to kill six miniature horses in South Australia as revenge on clients who owed him money has had his bail revoked.

Michael O'Connell (L) has been taken into custody over the killings of six miniature horses.

Michael O’Connell (L) has been taken into custody over the killings of six miniature horses.

Michael Martin John O’Connell, 50, who owns Middleton Developments south of Adelaide, was taken into custody ahead of sentencing next month.

Clients Melvyn and Julie Jackson owed O’Connell a $37,000 final payment for about $200,000 worth of renovations carried out by his company.

Prosecutor Peter Cannell said after getting drunk at a Christmas party last year for his employees and subcontractors, O’Connell drove about an hour to the Jacksons’ horse stud at Clayton Bay and slit the throats of six miniature horses.

“The accused has entered through a locked gate … and then proceeded to one by one cut the throats of those six miniature horses,” Mr Cannell said.

“The horses were discovered deceased the following day by an employee.

“His intention was to make the victim Julie Jackson pay … get the victim somewhere where it would hurt.”

O’Connell later disposed of the butcher’s knife and blood-stained seat covers from his car at sea.

The court heard O’Connell made frank admissions about his actions when police spoke to him about the crime a week later.

A civil damages settlement had since been reached between O’Connell and the Jackson family worth about $60,000.

Ms Jackson read a victim impact statement in court, in which she said the “blood-fuelled massacre” had sent her family’s life into turmoil.

“I have lost more than six miniature horses, I have lost myself,” Ms Jackson said.

“I wish everyday for a different outcome for my babies.

“How could anyone expect a house renovation to result in the death of six horses.

“How could a builder plot and plan such a callous attack and carry it out?

“This has not just tortured me, it has tortured my family.

“My life is forever impacted and my heart forever broken.”

Mr Jackson told the court when he arrived at the stables he was confronted by blood-splattered walls.

“It was a scene that filled me with horror and heartbreak,” Mr Jackson said.

“They were part of our family in the same way that our children are.

“They can never be replaced. We have not used those stables since that night.”

Court heard O’Connell snapped

Surviving PonyO’Connell’s lawyer Nick Healy said his client had since lost about $2 million worth of contracts and was horrified by his actions.

“He simply snapped and he and the victim have been paying for this ever since,” Mr Healy said.

“At no time did my client try to excuse his conduct.”

Mr Healy described the married father of four as a respected member of the local community whose actions were bizarre.

He said at the time of the crime he had building contracts worth about $4 million.

He said about half of his staff had also left and a custodial sentence would see his business collapse.

But Judge Paul Cuthbertson questioned whether it was already too late for O’Connell’s business.

“I would have thought his business is gone already, who would want to deal with him?” Judge Cuthbertson said.

O’Connell pleaded guilty to aggravated serious criminal trespass, which carried a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.

He also admitted to property damage for killing the horses, which attracts a term of up to 10 years.

O’Connell’s lawyer urged the judge to suspend any prison sentence.

But the prosecution called for a custodial sentence because of the seriousness of the offending.

ADVOCATES ASK FEDERAL COURT TO DISMISS UTAH RANCHERS’ ANTI-MUSTANG LAWSUIT

“Their lawsuit is an attempt to elevate ranchers’ private interests in grazing livestock on public lands above the public’s interest in preserving wild horses and the government’s mandatory duty to protect them.”

Last month's destruction of Wyoming's Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Last month’s destruction of Wyoming’s Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (October 22, 2014)…. Today, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, Utah photographer John Steele and wild horse advocate and adopter Lisa Friday filed a motion requesting the federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Western Rangeland Conservation Association and Utah ranchers against the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the U.S. District Court in Utah. In August, the court granted the advocates’ motion to intervene in the lawsuit, which seeks to compel the government to remove wild horses from public and private lands.

“This lawsuit was filed by livestock owners that view wild horses as competition for below-market, taxpayer-subsidized grazing on public lands,” said Caitlin Zittkowski, attorney for Meyer, Glitzenstein and Crystal, the firm representing the advocates. “Their lawsuit is an attempt to elevate ranchers’ private interests in grazing livestock on public lands above the public’s interest in preserving wild horses and the government’s mandatory duty to protect them.”

“The ranchers’ lawsuit lacks legal merit, and we are asking the court to reject its claims without delay,” Zittkowski concluded.

The case was filed by ranchers who graze livestock on public lands in southwestern Utah. It seeks removal of hundreds of wild horses from the Frisco, Four Mile, Bible Springs, Sulphur, Muddy Creek, and North Hills Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and the Blawn Wash Herd Are (HA). In response, the government has informed the court that wild horses are not damaging rangelands in this area and that it has made no determination that “excess” wild horses exist in the HMAs and HA in question.

The lawsuit is part of a broader push from anti-wild horse private, commercial ranching interests to compel the BLM to remove an increasing number of wild horses from public lands and sell captured wild horses for slaughter. Ranchers in Nevada and Wyoming have also recently sued the BLM, and the agency has a history of quickly capitulating to their demands, regardless of the legal merits of the cases. In Wyoming, the government just completed a massive roundup of more than 1,200 wild horses as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that the Interior Department itself invited ranchers to file against the agency.

In Utah, under pressure from ranchers, the BLM rounded up 173 wild horses from the Blawn Wash HA in July. Utah ranchers put forward the false claim that wild horses are overpopulating the range, despite the fact that livestock graze on 22 million acres of land in the state, while wild horses are restricted to just 2.1 million acres. There are fewer than 4,000 wild horses on BLM land in Utah, compared to hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep.

National opinion polls indicate that 72 percent of the public supports protecting wild horses on public lands, while just 29 percent wants public lands used for livestock grazing.

Plan to lease Santa Fe National Forest for oil and gas drilling risks community health and cultural resources

SOURCE: enewspf.com

Litigation Prepared to Challenge Illegal 20,000 Acre Public Lands Lease

Santa Fe, NM—(ENEWSPF)—October 20, 2014. A broad coalition of local and national conservation groups announced plans to sue the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), if the agency proceeds with the sale of 13 parcels (almost 20,000 acres of public lands) in the Santa Fe National Forest for oil and gas fracking. BLM received more than a hundred letters protesting the sale and challenging the agency’s failure to consider potentially serious impacts to the area’s air, water, wildlife, and surrounding communities.

The leases would allow horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of the Santa Fe National Forest, a prospect that BLM has never studied. In fact, BLM has admitted that its current resource management plan governing drilling activities, finalized in 2003, is outdated and no longer able serve this essential function.

“In a rush to satisfy the demands of the oil and gas industry, BLM is ignoring its fundamental legal obligations and circumventing the underlying oil and gas drilling planning process,” said Kyle Tisdel, attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center. “There is broad commitment from groups to go to court if necessary to ensure our treasured landscapes are not destroyed.”

“BLM has already leased 94% of our public lands around the Farmington area for oil and gas drilling,” said Mike Eisenfeld, New Mexico Energy Coordinator for San Juan Citizens Alliance. “This new lease sale on the Santa Fe National Forest would continue this reckless, lease-everywhere mentality that destroys recreation, wildlife, and cultural resources and ignores BLM’s responsibilities to honestly analyze impacts.”

“Oil and gas drilling these days is significantly different than that of only 11 years ago,” said Pete Dronkers, Southwest Circuit Rider for Earthworks.  “The wells are bigger, go deeper and for miles in every direction. They release far more hazardous waste into the air and water.  BLM has to study these newer impacts before it permits further drilling in the San Juan Basin.”

The lease sale is scheduled for 9:00 a.m., on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at the BLM New Mexico State Office in Santa Fe.

The coalition of conservation groups is represented by Western Environmental Law Center, and includes: Amigos Bravos, Chaco Alliance, Earthworks, Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens, San Juan Citizens Alliance, and WildEarth Guardians.