4 major wild horse & burro advocacy groups come out against BLM’s cruel plans to do sterilization research on wild mares (Mon., Feb 8th)


Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoSpecial action alert.  Join us on Monday, February 8th, 2016

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

Listen to the live show (HERE!)

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Four major wild horse and burro advocacy groups and advocates are uniting to speak out against Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans for cruel sterilization experiments on wild mares (including pregnant mares).  The BLM extended the Environmental Assessment comment deadline until Feb. 10th, because American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) asked for and received additional documents that the BLM had not made available to the public.  AWHPC then requested additional time to review these documents.  (Information is given below so that after listening to this show, you can add YOUR comment to save the wild mares from these barbaric experiments.)

Our guests for this show include:

Suzanne Roy, Campaign Director, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC)

Paula Todd King, Communications Director, The Cloud Foundation (Ginger Kathrens is in the Pryors, but she’ll try to call in)

Best-selling author Terri Farley (Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them)

Karen Sussman, Pres. of International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB)

Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM’s heinous plans are to STERILIZE wild  horses, including “studies” (experimentation trials) using several methods on 225 wild mares: ovariectomy via colpotomy, tubal ligation, and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla.  The BLM is going to do this experimentation at BLM’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon, but will eventually do sterilizations out in the FIELD.


Leon Pielstick, DVM, inserting a chain ecraseur (and his arm) via colpotomy incision






A link to the Environmental Assessment is HERE.

Please submit your comments by Feb. 10th, by fax or email to the BLM Burns Office, with the heading:
Attention: Mare Sterilization Research
Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead
email to: blm_or_bu_mareresearchea@blm.gov
or Fax: (541) 573-4411
BLM Burns District Office:
Attention: Mare Sterilization Research
28910 Highway 20 West, Hines, Oregon 97738
(You may only want to put your name and email address on your comment, since entire comments – including personal identifying information – may be published as part of the EA and Decision Record process.)
Be sure to listen to Jonathan Ratner of Western Watersheds Project,
  on Wild Horse & Burro Radio on Wed., Feb. 10th.

Tonight’s show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

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Good News Sunday: New Mexico succeeds in legal fight to bar horse slaughter

Source:  Albuquerque Journal

By Susan Montoya Bryan / The Associated Press

dh010314a/a-sec-metro/01032014---Sue Carter (CQ) left, and Donna DiBanco (CQ) protest horse slaughter outside the Steve Herrera Judicial complex in Santa Fe, photographed on Friday January 3, 2014. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Sue Carter, left, and Donna DiBanco protest horse slaughter in Santa Fe in January 2014. A court decision Thursday finalizes a settlement that will prevent a horse slaughter operation in New Mexico. (Dean Hanson/Journal)

A court decision will prevent a horse slaughter operation from opening in New Mexico after the state’s lengthy legal battle.

A state district judge in Santa Fe granted an order late Thursday that makes final a settlement reached with the Attorney General’s Office, animal advocates, Valley Meat Co. and other associated businesses.

Valley Meat had sought to convert its cattle processing plant in Roswell to the slaughtering of horses, but the state sued in 2013 in an effort to stop those plans, saying such an operation would violate New Mexico’s environmental and food safety laws.

The order and previous rulings from the judge effectively end any chance of a horse slaughter operation opening in New Mexico, said Bruce Wagman, an attorney for the horse advocacy group Front Range Equine Rescue.

“This is the end. It can’t happen here in New Mexico,” Wagman said Friday.

This April 2013 photo shows the Valley Meat Co., which had been sitting idle for more than a year waiting for approval of its plans to slaughter horses. the associated press

This April 2013 photo shows the Valley Meat Co., which had been sitting idle for more than a year waiting for approval of its plans to slaughter horses. (The Associated Press)

Blair Dunn, an attorney for Valley Meat, said the closure of the case means his clients will no longer be harassed by the Attorney General’s Office and the others who joined the fight.

During the legal wrangling, proponents had argued that domestic slaughter was the most humane way to deal with a rising number of abused and abandoned horses. Now, unwanted horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

The last domestic horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007, a year after Congress initially withheld funding for the required federal inspections of the slaughtering process. After the money was restored in 2011, plants in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa began trying to start horse slaughtering.

The efforts were again derailed in 2014 when President Barack Obama signed a budget measure that withheld the funding for inspections.

The lawsuit by the state, the horse rescue group and others was meant as a possible insurance plan in the event the federal government authorized funding for inspections in the future.

The order issued Thursday by Judge Francis Mathew makes permanent an injunction granted by Judge Matthew Wilson in January 2014 to prohibit the Roswell company from moving forward with its plans.

After receiving the order, state Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement, “There is no place for horse slaughter in the state of New Mexico.”

Read the rest of this story here.




BLM claims another bogus “emergency” to round up more wild horses

If you call the “Gather Information Hotline” number given below, there is no information regarding public observation of this roundup.  No place or time to meet is given.  It seems that there is no opportunity for public observation.  The BLM continues to sweep transparency under the rug.  – Debbie

Source:  Elko Daily Free Press


BLM plans emergency horse gather along U.S. Hwy 93

ELY – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ely District is scheduled on Monday to begin gathering and removing approximately 100 excess wild horses from public and private lands adjacent to U.S. Highway 93 and State Route 322 in and outside the Caliente Herd Areas Complex and Eagle Herd Management Area in eastern Nevada.

The helicopter gather is necessary to provide for public and animal safety, according to the agency

The District will remove up to 50 wild horses from between Pioche and Eagle Valley that have moved outside the Eagle HMA in search of forage. Appropriate Management Level for the Eagle HMA is 100-210 wild horses. The current population is 1,370 wild horses.

The District will remove up to 50 wild horses from Oak Spring Summit west of Caliente that have moved outside the Caliente Complex in search of forage. The Caliente Complex is managed for zero wild horses. The current population is 796 wild horses.

The gather is expected to take four to six days to complete. A veterinarian will be on site during gather operations, which will be conducted by a contractor.

The gathered animals will be transported to the Axtell Contract Off-Range Corrals in Axtell, Utah, where they will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals. Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and treated, and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.

The Eagle-Caliente Complex Emergency Gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Ely District Public Safety and Nuisance Gather Environmental Assessment available at http://1.usa.gov/23ws5je.

A Gather Information Hotline has been established at 775-861-6700. A recorded message will provide updated gather activities. Gather reports will be posted on the BLM Ely District website at http://on.doi.gov/1lGnDYC.

For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at 775-289-1842 or chanefel@blm.gov.

BLM is a Ranching Industry Tool

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Soil Conservation Service (SCS) reports “estimate that ‘Western rangeland is losing topsoil, mostly due to ranching, at least 4 to 5 times faster than it’s being replaced. Meanwhile, ranching industry servants like BLM are working to put more cattle on the land.”

Source:  San Diego Free Press

Pinyon-Juniper Forests: BLM is a Ranching Industry Tool

Public lands ranching is destroying the Western United States

Cattle watering station near Cave Valley, NV

Cattle watering station near Cave Valley, NV

by Will Falk

Public lands ranching is destroying the Western United States. It has pushed native plant species to the brink of extinction. It causes soil to erode so quickly the land cannot keep up. Livestock are poisoning and depleting water supplies, killing perennial stream flows, and are making it increasingly difficult for surface water to accumulate. Stockmen and the animals they raise have devastated populations of iconic American animals like bison, elk, pronghorn, and sage-grouse. Ranchers, ever jealous of the trees their stock cannot eat, encourage the clear-cutting of forests.

Livestock grazing is the single most ecologically destructive activity happening in the Western United States today. To stop the continued destruction of pinyon-juniper forests, to stop the continued destruction of the entire region, public lands ranching must cease.

I cannot decide whether writing this essay in the wake of Ammon Bundy’s arrest and Lavoy Finicum’s death at the hands of the FBI and Oregon State Police after their occupation of Northern Paiute land at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is good or bad. It could be good because this story has finally forced public lands ranching, or “welfare ranching,” and the policies of federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service into the public’s consciousness.

On the other hand, there is the risk that while Bundy and his angry white men waved their rifles in the faces of law enforcement complaining about federal agencies like BLM and the Forest Service, the public developed too much sympathy for those Bundy threatened. These agencies might look like the good guys against Big Bad Bundy while the agencies’ own atrocities go over-looked.

Do not feel sorry for BLM. Those of us who care about life in the region really should be angry with how these federal agencies are run. Now, I am certainly not saying we should be angry for the same reasons as Bundy. No, we should be angry with BLM and Bundy together because they play for the same team: the ranching industry.

In my last essay, Pinyon-Juniper Forests: BLM’s False Claims to Virtue, I explained how the Bureau of Land Management lies to support deforestation across the Great Basin. Undermining BLM’s bad science took up the bulk of the essay, so now I turn to answering why BLM lies like this.

[M]any commentators have confused the Forest Service and BLM with conservation. Neither the Forest Service nor the BLM have ever been concerned with the health of the land—except where the health of the land benefits livestock production.

BLM lies because BLM exists—and has always existed—to serve the ranching industry. Simply blaming BLM for pinyon-juniper deforestation without indicting the ranching industry fails to address the roots of the problem.

Lynn Jacobs gives an excellent history lesson and shows how both the Forest Service and BLM were created to serve the ranching industry in his book “The Waste of the West: Public Lands Ranching.” One of the problematic themes to emerge during Bundy’s occupation is the way many commentators have confused the Forest Service and BLM with conservation. Neither the Forest Service nor the BLM have ever been concerned with the health of the land—except where the health of the land benefits livestock production.

It is true that in the 1890s, powerful ranchers looked at range-lands and saw depletion of water supplies, soil, game animals, and economically useful vegetation. But, they never asked if livestock grazing was feasible. The only thing they were concerned with was how the declining health of the land affected their profits. Powerful ranchers watched the pie their livestock fed off be consumed by smaller nomadic herders, too. Instead of ensuring the survival of the pie, the most powerful ranchers were only concerned about gaining a larger slice for their livestock while restricting weaker ranchers’ access to that pie. Despite some conservation verbiage being used, the Forest Service and BLM were actually formed to ensure the dominance of already powerful businessmen over everyone else. This is a scenario that plays out continuously through the history of capitalism.

In 1905, the Forest Service was formed and Jacobs says that powerful ranchers were instrumental in placing it under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture instead of the Department of the Interior where it logically belonged. Many ranchers became district, forest, regional, and national Forest Service range and administrative officials and this is still true today. One of the first regulations enacted by the Forest Service set up grazing regulations, created allotments, issued permits, and charged a fee of five cents per month for each cow or 5 sheep grazed. This regulation effectively ended nomadic herding on Forest Service land.

BLM was formed in 1946, again under the influence of powerful ranchers … “In short, the Forest Service and BLM (and states etc.) functioned more as grazing industry tools than true regulatory agencies.”

BLM is a younger agency than the Forest Service and its roots are found in the congressional Taylor Grazing Act of 1935. Jacobs notes that the Act’s namesake, Representative Edward Taylor—a rancher from Colorado and “sworn enemy of conservationists”—pushed the bill through Congress with the express intent of eliminating nomadic herding. The Act created the Division of Grazing under the Department of the Interior and attacked nomadic herders by providing that only those with well-established, substantial private ranch holdings near public land could gain grazing leases.

The first director of the Division of Grazing was a Colorado rancher, Farrington Carpenter, who cemented the ranchers’ power over the Division by establishing local “grazing advisory boards.” The boards were elected by local ranchers. Jacobs explains that these advisory boards were “composed mostly of the same large scale, aggressive, politically savvy ranchers who helped create the Forest Service and Taylor Grazing Act and awarded themselves federal grazing permits…” The Division of Grazing was reorganized into the Grazing Service in 1939.

BLM was formed in 1946, again under the influence of powerful ranchers, when the old Grazing Service and General Land office were combined. Jacobs states that “grazing and ranching abuses and political, economic, and social injustice continued largely unchecked.” Jacobs describes the way many ranchers behaved after BLM was established. Notice how he could be describing the Bundy situation perfectly. “For many years, ranchers refused to obtain permits, pay grazing fees, or follow any regulations whatsoever. When agency personnel attempted enforcement, traditional grazing industry power neutralized the challenge by applying political, social, and economic pressure where needed. In short, the Forest Service and BLM (and states etc.) functioned more as grazing industry tools than true regulatory agencies.”

The same must be said of these agencies today.

“Soon, those who thought they were going to do something positive for wildlife learn to identify with their captors. The ones who bow down the most to industry rise to be managers.”

To be clear, there are many BLM and other federal agency employees that truly do desire what is best for life in the region. There are individuals of good heart in these agencies who strive to do the right thing. Unfortunately, BLM leaders remain captured by the livestock industry and non-stop intimidation like that expressed by Ammon Bundy make it incredibly difficult for employees charged with enforcing environmental laws to do so.

Consider what my friend, Katie Fite—a biologist and a woman with more experience advocating for the natural world against bad BLM policies than perhaps anyone in the world, has said about some BLM staff. Fite encourages us to “make a distinction between BLM the Agency and some of the staff that try to enforce protections that are supposed to exist … These people too become victims of the cattlemen—forced to lie, bury their heads in the sand, and bow to rancher thugs on a daily basis.” And, as so often happens in our dominant, capitalist culture where destruction is rewarded, Fite explains, “Soon, those who thought they were going to do something positive for wildlife learn to identify with their captors. The ones who bow down the most to industry rise to be managers.”

Fite’s insights, however, should not be an excuse. Despite the intentions of some good-hearted BLM and Forest Service staff, the operations of these agencies have been a disaster for life in the region.

In addition to providing essential historical research, Jacobs’ “The Waste of the West: Public Lands Ranching” is a comprehensive examination (602 text-book sized pages) of the physical impact of ranching on the lands comprising the Western United States. Jacobs research on what ranching does to plants, soil, water, and animals in the West paints a grim picture.

“Western rangeland is losing topsoil, mostly due to ranching, at least 4 to 5 times faster than it’s being replaced.”

Jacobs begins by explaining that grass and small herbaceous plants that cows, sheep, and goats eat form the “plankton of the land.” These countless trillions of small plants form the base of the complex food web that supports all of life in the Great Basin. These plants provide oxygen to the atmosphere, nourishment to animals, and maintain soil, water, fire, and atmospheric dynamics. Tragically, according to Jacobs, “Livestock grazing has destroyed the plankton of the land in the Western United States—and around the globe—more extensively than has any other human pursuit.”

Next, Jacobs notes that soil has been called “the soul of life itself” and reminds readers that “without adequate and fertile soil, most terrestrial plant and animal life ceases.” Of course, he means human life, too. Jacobs writes, “For over 100 years livestock grazing has been the major cause of both increased soil erosion and decreased soil fertility on Western public land. Most soil loss and damage is a result of livestock stripping off and trampling vegetation…”

To make this even scarier, Jacobs cites United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Soil Conservation Service (SCS) reports to estimate that “Western rangeland is losing topsoil, mostly due to ranching, at least 4 to 5 times faster than it’s being replaced.” Meanwhile, ranching industry servants like BLM are working to put more cattle on the land. It does not take a mathematical expert to conclude that if ranchers have their way, rangelands will run out of topsoil.

Read the rest of this article HERE.


More comments on BLM’s plan for cruel sterilization experiments on wild mares

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                 Leon Pielstick, DVM, performing an ovariectomy via colpotomy on a mare

Our thanks to contributing author and advocate Bonnie Kohleriter for sharing her excellent comments with our readers.                                          

by Bonnie Kohleriter




  1. In your EA the BLM processes for selection of population suppression experiments smacks of manipulation and non-transparency in regard to the public presenting falsities and omissions which, as such, results in potential dangers and not advances for the future well-being of our wild horses and burros.
  • In 2013 The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences recommended SpayVac, PZP 22, GonaCon and chemical vasectomies only as possibilities for fertility control. (p 134: Using Science to Improve the BLM WHB Program)
  • In 2013 the NRC stated “colpotomy” surgeries were less risky which is in your EA you need to complete the NTC’s discussion… compared to what? “transabdominal” surgeries, and (is)”not without risk.” The EA appears to minimalize risk.
  • The BLM issued a Request for Information but the EA does not tell us from whom and what information. Then, receiving information in response to the RFI, the EA again does not tell us from whom and what information.
  • The BLM issued a Request for Applications and received 19 separate research proposals but the EA does not tell us if any had to do with mare sterilization except for the 3 from Oregon State Univ.
  • The NRC with its experts returned critiques of the 19 proposals to the BLM but your EA says the public was denied access to these critiques of the 19 with the BLM saying “This full report has been an internal document in order to protect proprietary information of proposed authors.” On the other hand, the EA gives us privy to the critique of your 3 projects in Appendix B redacting authors’ names.
  • 4 of the 19 research proposals with 1 contingent on the results of the other 3, are all methods of” permanent sterilization” in wild horses. Do the other 16 proposals have merit to control population but not necessarily to be permanent? The EA makes no critiques, comments, or comparisons with the other 16 projects giving me the question, “Did Dean Bolstad and company pick 3 from Oregon because of favoritism as an Oregonian and/ or because he just wants permanent sterilization?” It seems the public has the right to know of the other 16 projects with critiques and comparisons of their safety, potential efficacy, and costs.
  • Who are the surgeons to do the 3 sterilization experiments and what are their qualifications?
  • Interesting that 3 of the 19 projects chosen for sterilizing horses are from Oregon to be done simultaneously in Oregon. Dean Bolstad, the Acting Director of the WHB Program is from Oregon. Dr. Leon Pilstick is from Oregon and is involved. Leon has already done multiple covert colpotomies and chemical vasectomies on the unprotected Oregonian
  • Sheldon horses, who then were sent by John Kasbohm, the Director of Sheldon, to slaughter telling the public he, the Fish and Wildlife Services, would find safe, good adoptive homes for the horses. The BLM recently gathered 1050 horses from Beaty’s Butte in Oregon as the specimens ready for experimental sterilization. Dr. Julie Weikel, a predominantly cattle veterinarian, from Oregon, recently submitted a public letter to Dean Bolstad, saying in effect,’ the BLM should consider to immediately gather all horse herds in Oregon bringing them down to low AML through vasectomies, geldings, and sterilization to serve as a model for the other States. Shockingly she poses as the Wild Horse and Burro Representative on the SE Oregon RAC and as a Board Member on the National Advisory Board. Does the Cattlemen’s Association have a horse invested person on their boards posing as having an interest in cattle? The public is told their comments for this EA are due February 3rd, but the experiments are to start in February. Are these comments to be taken seriously or is the WHB program, our government, just going through the motions and blowing off the public?
  • It appears that all of these connections to Oregon and actions within Oregon are saying to the broader group of citizens of the United States who pay the taxes for the horses ‘ care and who have an interest in these horses as a part of our heritage,” BE DAMNED, WE’RE DOING WHAT WE WANT, WE’LL PRETEND TO INVOLVE YOU LETTING YOU COMMENT ON AN EA BECAUSE IT IS GOVERNMENT PROTOCAL, BUT WE’VE BEEN INVOLVED A LONG TIME IN PLANNING AND SLOWLY EXECUTING QUIETLY AND COVERTLY WHAT WE WANT AND NOW WE WILL DO IT.” This appears to be manipulation, non-transparency and wrongdoing.

Sterility and Lack of Equipment and Medications Concerns for the Procedures to be Done

These experiments are to be done in the Burns Short-term Corral. This is a non-hospital, non-sterile environment admitted in your EA, that is questionably not equipped with equipment and medications to deal with complications. Allowing these procedures to take place in this short-term corral sets a precedence for other sterilization procedures to be done in ‘back alley’ non-sterile short-term corrals in other States. This would questionably not be acceptable for domestic mares and should not be acceptable for wild mares as well. In a report issued by the American Association of Equine Practitioners in 2011 regarding wild horse and burro care, the observers reported the short-term corrals were performing gelding procedures potentially harmful to the life of the horses along with demonstrated castration complications and ineffectual use of anesthesia. What will we read if the BLM is allowed to sterilize mares in these short-term corrals? It needs to stop before it starts.

  • Procedures to be Performed Simultaneously

Proposal 19: Colpotomy: The committee of “experts” recommended this procedure, if it is to be done, should be done following the other two procedures. The other two procedures are less invasive. If successful, they would cover the non-pregnant and pregnant mares. The committee also recommended this procedure not be done at all as it has been done for 100 years. No new science is involved. In spite of it, Dean Bolstad directed it to be done simultaneously with the other experiments. It is recommended not to be done in the 1st 90 to 120 days as the fetus is dependent on the ovary’s hormones and will likely abort if done at that time. It questionably cannot be done in the last stage of the pregnancy as the uterus may block the view of the ovaries. It seems to test the first 120 days and the last part of the pregnancy is of what value? It’s just that different mares are different and a decision has to be made to do or not to do it in the 1st trimester because of the risk and to look at all or none of the mares in the last trimester. For example, in some you may not be able to see the ovaries and in others you can. So what new have you learned? Risks are involved in this procedure. This is a “blind” procedure wherein the surgeon feels rather than sees what he is doing. The artery along the vagina can be nicked with bleeding out and the intestines can eviscerate through the cut in the vagina. In domestic mares they are cross tied for two days so as to allow the vagina cut to heal, but cross tying can’t be done with a wild horse. There can be a risk of infection as this is invasive surgery. Risks are low but they are there. Antibiotics and intestinal light loading with lack of food will be done to address risks. Oregon State University will be subjecting mares to having abortions and to having foals in captivity. Attempts in the corrals may be made to impregnate the mares only to abort and to have foals to have a sufficient sample size. The foals then will likely spend the rest of their lives in captivity in short-term or long term corrals unadopted as 47,000 others are awaiting adoptions as well. This is wrong to have mares impregnated in captivity just to abort, or to have foals who will suffer just because some surgeon wants to do experiments that contribute no further to science.

Proposal 9: Tubal Ligation:   There is a risk again of infection as this is invasive surgery. Again, in the last stage of pregnancy the ovaries may not be seen because of the position of the uterus. Following this procedure exposure to stallions is suggested to determine potential conception rates for the mares and again this is wrong for the foals to be born and condemned to life-long captivity. Why can’t your field trials be done on domestic mares prior to being tested for the first time on wild mares and be peer reviewed? In testing on domestic mares, you could artificially inseminate the mares to see if they would conceive avoiding unadoptable foals in life long captivity.

  • Proposal 8: Hysteroscopic guided Laser Ablation: There is less risk of infection in this procedure as it is not invasive but there are other risks. This procedure can only be done on non-pregnant mares. If a mare is recently pregnant unknown to the surgeon, she may face a very painful tubal pregnancy. Again, why is this experiment not field tested initially in domestic horses as it has never been done before and as non- pregnancy can be more certain in the domestic mares? In wild gathered mares this may be very difficult to determine. It was suggested by the experts, this procedure be done in yearlings at 8 months old at 300 kg. However, that would mean they have not contributed to the gene pool. The question needs to be answered as to what is your targeted population in the wild and how does genetic contribution correlate with these experiments? This is not a part of your EA, but should be a part of the selection of your experiments as experiments may be great but not suitable or cost effective for the wild population. 
  • The costs of these procedures are minimalized and misleading to the public who are the taxpayers.

Costs include ( but are not complete here), are as follows:

  • Gather costs
  • Transportation costs to and from the surgical procedure site
  • Cost to house the horses both pre- and post surgery
  • Costs of personnel assisting the surgeon(s)
  • Costs of antibiotics, equipment, and sedation i.e. will need multiple endoscopes
  • Costs to deal with complications
  • Cost of chute upwards of $12,000+ per chute
  • Costs of injuries and of deaths (burial)
  • Surgeons fees and travel time
  • You may say these costs are not a part of these experiments alone, not part of the EA, but you are once again manipulating the public lulling them into thinking these procedures are not that expensive compared to other procedures. The EA is misleading manipulating the public once again. Your housing costs are already quoted by you as a half a million for 225 mares alone.
  • Social and Economic Values
  • In 2012 a sub-committee of the Advisory Board recommended ovariectomies be done. This committee was composed of Tim Harvey, an Eastener involved with domestic horses, whose experience re: ovarietomies was ‘He asked a racing horse friend, a vet, if ovarietomies were safe,’ Boyd Spratlng, a cattle veterinarian, whose experience re: ovarietomies was ,’He did one once,’ and James Stephenson, a pro advocate of horse slaughter who said he once spoke with a vet about ovariectomies. No discussion at the Board meeting was about the pros and cons of performing ovariectomies. The Board members blindly voted for it. It is well-known the majority of the Advisory Board members have ranching interests, not wild horse and burro well-being interests and don’t have a lot of knowledge about wild horses and burros so promoting Advisory Board members input on sterilization as the voice of the public is acrimonious to the public and misleading in your EA statements.
  • Darting costs compared to sterilizing costs need to be compared if you take in all costs to do the procedures. Using Rangeland Mgmt. Specialists as well as volunteers and using fenced known water holes for the horses on the range such as in the Pryors, Little Bookcliffs, Spring Creek Basin, and the McCulloughs entails mainly only the cost of the dart with the medications as opposed to the costs of sterilization listed above. Again your EA statements re: darting compared to sterilizing are misleading.
  • In your EA you said BLM has the challenging task of choosing wild horse population control methods that are financially viable, ecologically viable, and socially viable. I would add to this list genetically viable. The WHB Program needs to consider healthy horses capable of reproduction for continuing diversity and viability.
  • The following is outside of the scope of this EA, but should be addressed by the BLM WHB Program if these sterilization experiments are going to be more than just a surgeon’s frivolous experiment on some wild horses. It seems these experiments should have been selected on the basis of some consideration of their applicability to be useful in population suppression in the field while retaining genetic diversity and viability of the 179 herds of which the BLM speaks. With that said, it seems a preliminary study should be made before these experiments proceed to determine which HMAs have been evaluated more than once for their genetic diversity and viability quotients and which of those HMAs have diversity and viability components sufficient enough to be considered for sterilization of some of its mares. It seems if they have not been evaluated more than once for baseline and comparison purposes and if their diversity and continued viability numbers are questionable for continuance, then they should be eliminated for consideration of sterilization. Then the 3 proposed sterilization experiments have some groups of horses that are not candidates for sterilization. So taking that into consideration, you should take a look at the groups who may be candidates for sterilization from a diversity and viability standpoint, determine what groups of animals in those HMAs are not candidates for sterilization such as stallions or yearlings, determine the number of mares and age you would not want to sterilize in order to have genetic contribution or continued health of the herd, and finally do modelling as to what number of horses you would need to gather and sterilize to make a zero but healthy maintained population. Is sterilization through gathering, housing and sterilizing going to meet your objectives, doable in terms of your objective, namely population stabilization, and cost effective. So, for example, if you have a group of 50 horses in an HMA, is it cost effective to bring in all the horses you can get only to find out only 3 mares are candidates for sterilization given all the other considered factors and will those three sterilized really make for population stabilization. Which of your HMAs are already out, considering the limits of possible mares for sterilization among the three experiments, mares needed to be maintained for genetic diversity and continued viability, other horses in the herd not candidates for sterilization, and HMAs themselves not yet evaluated for their diversity and viability and not candidates given low diversity and endangered viability.


You have done a lot of work on this EA, but I find you’re a) misleading information, falsities and omissions, b) the WHB program putting their cart before the horse not considering numbers of herds suitable for sterilization to make the experiments beneficial and cost effective, c) not field testing first on domestic horses with tests that have never been done, d) not heeding the advice of the experts on the lack of a need to do colpotomy experiments, e) not considering what is in the animal welfare interest of the mares and foals and taking the value of their lives into account, and not providing for a sterile test setting, are reasons these experiments should be delayed and should not go forward at this time until these matters and concerns have been addressed.


Write to the BLM and demand Alternative A – NO ACTION to stop this.

Public comments will be accepted on the EA through February 10, 2016. Comments can be emailed, mailed or faxed to the BLM Burns Office at the addresses below. Entire comments – including personal identifying information – may be published as part of the EA and Decision Record process. Mail or deliver to:
Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead
(541) 573-4411 BLM Burns District Office
28910 Highway 20 West
Hines, Oregon 97738
Fax: (541) 573-4411 — Attention: Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead
Lisa Grant
BLM Burns District Office
Mike Tupper
Dean Bolstad
Comments can also be made online here:

Call and write your Congressional leaders and demand a stop to this.

Deadline extended to Feb. 10th: Tell BLM to STOP Dangerous and Cruel Experiments on Our Wild Horses

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com


Wild mare nursing her newborn foal

by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The BLM has announced its plan to work with Oregon State University in experimenting upon 225 wild mares at the Hines, Oregon BLM Short Term Holding Facility starting in February 2016. The information about this was NOT posted on the Burns, Oregon website and was very hard to find, buried in a new BLM website. It is a very long document:


Please do read it if you have time and a strong stomach.

I will summarize what I think are the important points to hit on if you going to comment on the plan.  The BLM will not listen to any of us, and would clearly prefer not to have any public comments or knowledge about the plan, but it IS important to make our voices heard and to get the word out that the BLM’s cruel, inhumane torture of and experimentation on our wild horses is absolutely not acceptable. It in no way conforms to the minimally intrusive management on the range that the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was passed to ensure.

Comments are due Wednesday, February 10, and there is an online comment form that they want you to use to make your comments. It says that the form resets after 60 minutes, so it might be a good idea to type them out first, copy them, and then paste them in. But you can just type them into the form. Here is the comment form:


There are three methods of sterilizing wild mares that the BLM would like to test out. They are ovariectomy via colpotomy, tubal ligation and hyteroscopically-guided laser ablation. The last two procedures the BLM describes as “minimally invasive” but they have never been done on wild mares before. The ovariectomy via colpotomy is not commonly done with domestic mares, but when it is, it is done in a sterile environment and the mares are not pregnant. They are also not wild.  There is nothing sterile about a holding facility, and these are wild mares that are going to be absolutely terrified by being confined in this chute and having an incision made in their vaginas so the veterinarian’s arm can reach in and rip out their ovaries. The possibility of the mares panicking despite the sedation is high, and they could break their necks in the chute. They can also die from sedation, or their hearts can stop from sheer terror. The possibility of infection and death resulting from complications is also a risk. And then this is the worst part. Since their ultimate plan is to surgically sterilize mares in the field like at White Mountain in Wyoming, and likely many mares in the wild will be pregnant, they want to experiment on mares who are pregnant to see what will happen – will they abort the foal? Will there be other complications? This is very likely in the early pregnancy group, and also likely in the middle phase. They will divide the mares into groups: 0-4 months pregnant, 4-8 months pregnant, over 8 months pregnant, and not pregnant, or “open.” Although they have plenty of wild mares to experiment upon at the holding facility in Hines, as the mares have been there for some time they do not have pregnant mares in all the phases available – so they will have a helicopter roundup or two to get more experimental subjects. They will use at least one and possibly all three methods of sterilization in the study.

I question the morals and ethics of the veterinarians at Oregon State University who will be performing these procedures on pregnant wild mares. I would never want them to provide care to my horses.

Medical Malpractice Related to Unnecessary Surgery By Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. 

“Unnecessary surgery is a type of medical malpractice. A form of medical malpractice that has become an alarming and growing problem in the U.S. is unnecessary surgery. This type of malpractice can lead to life-threatening complications and completely alter an individual’s life. When a surgeon performs an unnecessary surgery, it is an act of medical negligence. Doctors should take every precaution before deciding to prescribe any type of invasive surgery to a patient. When there is a failure to do this and it results in unnecessary surgery, they may be held legally liable.  Unnecessary surgery can lead to serious or even life-threatening complications. Some of the risks include hemorrhaging, damage to organs, infection, amputation and anesthesia errors. Putting animals through unnecessary surgery where they face complications that could significantly alter their life is a form of medical negligence. Injuries from this kind of negligence could result in filing a medical malpractice claim.”

Our wild horses do not themselves have a voice. We have to speak for them. This is the first of many studies on sterilization of wild horses that the BLM plans to perform over the next few years, attempting to solve their “wild horse problem.” I contend that there is no wild horse problem, but a “BLM problem.” Wild horse herds that have less than the number of horses in them to remain genetically viable (less than at least 150 adults) should not have any form of birth control used on them. For larger herds whose numbers have to be kept at a certain level, there are proven, humane, minimally invasive and reversible forms of birth control that have been being used for over 30 years. Native PZP and PZP-22 are being used successfully on several herds right now. Why aren’t these methods being used with more herds and why is the BLM bent on permanently sterilizing our wild horses? Because it wears off after 1-2 years and you have to keep darting the mares – the wild horse and burro specialists and Field Office staff members would actually have to get out there in the field and observe, document and keep track of the horses. And yes this IS possible, and yes many people would volunteer to help if our horses were being managed in a humane, sustainable manner on the range.

But it is easier to sterilize our wild horses – this is the endgame for the BLM. We must fight to stop this. We must fight to save our wild horses. Every voice counts.

Please comment. Use your own words. Tell the BLM what you think of their plan – and tell them to stop experimenting on our wild horses, and to stop sterilizing them. Treat them like living, feeling creatures who deserve our care and respect, and deserve to live their lives wild and free in their homes, on our public lands, with their families.

Go here to comment:

Public comments will be accepted on the EA through February 3, 2016. Comments can be emailed, mailed or faxed to the BLM Burns Office at the addresses below. Entire comments – including personal identifying information – may be published as part of the EA and Decision Record process. Mail or deliver to:

Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead

(541) 573-4411 BLM Burns District Office
28910 Highway 20 West
Hines, Oregon 97738
Email: blm_or_bu_mareresearchea@blm.gov
Fax: (541) 573-4411 — Attention: Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead

Lisa Grant
BLM Burns District Office
Email: blm_or_bu_mareresearchea@blm.gov

Mike Tupper
Email: mtupper@blm.gov

Dean Bolstad
Email: dbolstad@blm.gov

and here to read the document:
Get your comments in by the end of the day on Wednesday, February 3.
And thank you from the bottom of my heart.
1/20/16 Radio Show on Wild Horse and Burro Radio about this plan – the whole show is archived so you can listen in here:

Related Posts:


Feel Good Sunday: Meet the Newest Budweiser Clydesdale

Story by as published in Time


Budweiser is raising a glass to its newest Clydesdale horse Mac, its first foal of 2016 born Tuesday at 1:20 a.m.

To see him, Bud drinkers will have to giddy up over to the Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville, Missouri, home of more than 160 Clydesdale horses, a breed that originated in the mid-18th century in Scotland in Lanarkshire (aka Lanark). Its name is believed to be “inspired by” the river that runs through that area, the River Clyde, according to The Livestock Conservancy and the Clydesdale Horse Society. Historically used for pulling heavy cargo, they were brought to North America in the mid-19th century.

“The tradition of the Budweiser Clydesdales started in 1933 when they made their first-ever appearance as a gift from August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch to their father in celebration of the repeal of Prohibition,” Anheuser-Busch said in a statement. “Realizing the marketing potential of a horse-drawn beer wagon, the company also arranged to have a second six-horse Clydesdale hitch sent to New York…The Clydesdales made a stop in Washington D.C. in April 1933 to reenact the delivery of one of the first cases of Budweiser to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”

Nowadays, Clydesdales are said to be primarily used for “breeding and show.” But no word on when Mac will appear in his first Super Bowl commercial.

Canadian Wild Horse Cull Lacks Supporting Scientific Evidence

By Julie Woodyer as published on HorseJournels.com

“Our friends to the North share the same struggles that we do in the lower 48.  Helping one another could reap great benefits for the horses.” ~ R.T.

Decision from Minister on 2016 Cull Imminent

Photo courtesy of WHOAS

A year-and-a-half long investigation and a review of the Alberta government’s assertions that wild horses are overpopulating the landscape and causing ecological damage has found no scientific evidence supporting those claims.

Zoocheck reviewed all publicly available materials, as well as substantial quantities of additional documentation, including letters, notes, reports and other materials, obtained through a multitude of provincial Freedom of Information requests. On-site visits were also made to observe free-roaming horses and their habitats. A technical review of the Alberta free-roaming (feral) horse management program was prepared by expert consultant biologist Wayne McCrory.

The expert report and other materials were forwarded to Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips in December, 2015 to inform her 2016 capture permit decision-making process; the Minister’s decision is imminent.

“The report reveals that there is no science supporting the capture for ecological reasons of additional wild horses in Alberta. Furthermore, government officials are unable to point to any evidence of rangeland damage attributable to wild horses,” says Julie Woodyer, Campaign Director for Zoocheck.

Alberta Government representatives say they want to ensure that some wild horses remain on the landscape, but captures have continued in the absence of scientific justification for removals, and with no regard as to how many horses are necessary to ensure the genetic integrity of the free-roaming horse populations. According to the Alberta Government, there are now less than 800 free-roaming horses in all of Alberta, and they are fragmented into sub-populations, numbers that experts say are far too low.

Wild horse populations in other parts of Canada are protected, but Alberta’s wild horses are being managed toward extinction. They have already been nearly extirpated in the Brazeau Equine Zone due to government sanctioned captures,” Woodyer adds. “We hope the Minister will move this issue away from making a purely political decision to satisfy the small subset of ranchers who don’t want the horses, to what the information and science actually shows.”

Ecologist Report: Wild Horses Serve Useful Ecological Function

Renowned wild horse ecologist Craig Downer recently released his own expert report on the Alberta wild horse issue. Downer describes extensive damage by logging, oil and gas, ranching and other industries in the Alberta Foothills, and says that retaining healthy wild horse populations on the landscape is a key strategy to its recovery.

During his 12-day visit to the Alberta foothills, Downer conducted 38 ecological evaluations in various diverse types of habitat. He describes in detail severe damage from human activities, and outlines how horses assist in building healthy soil and dispersing more intact seeds from a greater variety of plants as compared to cattle. He recommends that wild horses who coevolved with the habitats they now live in be allowed to fill their ecological niche and play their natural role.

Zoocheck forwarded Downer’s report to Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips in early January, 2016 to inform her 2016 capture permit decision-making process.

“Craig Downer’s new report provides critical information to help recover Alberta’s natural ecosystems and outlines why wild horses are an essential part of that recovery, something not previously considered in the horse management program,” says Julie Woodyer, Campaign Director for Zoocheck. “We hope that the Minister will consider the positive ecological role wild horses play in Alberta’s ecosystems, and seek to take a science-based approach to managing horses in Alberta to better rebuild natural ecosystems for future generations to enjoy.”

Wild Horses Couldn’t Keep Them Out of Court

By JONNY BONNER as published in the Courthouse News Service

 “The BLM is engaging in a concerted breeding effort and manipulating the genetic makeup of the herds, creating a zoolike atmosphere, in direct violation of and conflict with the spirit and nature of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act,”

Original Photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Original Photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A federal breeding program for wild horses whose ancestors “helped settle the West” will reduce herds’ genetic health and create a “zoo-like atmosphere,” horse-lovers claim in Federal Court.     Front Range Equine Rescue sued the Bureau of Land Management and the Interior Board of Land Appeals on Wednesday, in Federal Court, in a new twist in long-running legal battles over the management of the West’s wild horses.

In May 2014 the BLM sought to “artificially” create a mustang breeding pool in the Kiger and Riddle Mountain herd management areas, about 50 miles south of Burns, Ore., Front Range says in the complaint.

The Kiger herd area spans 62,992 acres in eastern Oregon, and its herd typically ranges from 51 to 82 wild horses. The Riddle Mountain herd has 33 to 56 wild horses.

In July and August 2015, Front Range says, the BLM rounded up all the wild and free-roaming horses in the areas.
It permanently removed 156 “excess” wild horses, and returned only horses fitting the characteristics of the Kiger mustang strain, which “represent a particular type or breed of mustang with a particular genetic makeup.”

The BLM says the Kiger and Riddle Mountain herds mirror characteristics of the original Spanish mustang, which “was a part of early American history, having roots in Native American history, and is the horse that helped settle the West .”

Front Range appealed to the Interior Board of Land Appeals in June 2015, claiming the BLM violated the Wild Horse Act, which was meant to “deter the possibility of ‘zoo-like’ developments.”

The Wild Horse Act was written to “extend federal protection to wild horses and empower BLM to manage horses roaming public lands as part of the agency’s management of the public lands.” The BLM was charged with the “protection, management, and control of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands,” Front Range says.

It adds that Kiger horses are “highly coveted” by private citizens, as shown by their 100 percent adoption rate since 1986.

“By intentionally reducing the diversity of wild horses in the Kiger and Riddle Mountain HMAs [herd management areas] to only those horses with Kiger characteristics, and then conducting gathers every four years to further empty the gene pool and round up these valuable Kiger horses to sell them for adoption, BLM has effectively created a breeding facility that injures the natural herds’ survival possibilities and benefits only BLM and private actors desirous of purchasing this ‘breed,'” the lawsuit states.

After months of litigation, the Interior Board of Land Appeals held on Jan. 13 that Front Range lacked standing to challenge the BLM’s actions.

The appeals board ruled that Front Range was not “adversely affected” by the roundup and removal of wild horses in Kiger and Riddle Mountain. The appeals board added that Front Range’s “only injury” was the cost of the lawsuit.

Front Range called that ruling arbitrary and capricious, and a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Despite numerous statements from Hilary Wood, Front Range’s founder and president, “demonstrating the various ways in which FRER [Front Range] has expended its limited resources directly because of BLM’s actions in the Kiger and Riddle Mountain HMAs, the IBLA opinion concluded that FRER’s only injury is the expenditure of resources on the instant lawsuit,” the complaint states.

Front Range’s attorney Bruce Wagman said Thursday that the breeding effort is “creating a zoolike atmosphere.”
“The BLM is engaging in a concerted breeding effort and manipulating the genetic makeup of the herds, creating a zoolike atmosphere, in direct violation of and conflict with the spirit and nature of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act,” Wagman told Courthouse News.

The BLM did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Front Range Equine Rescue, a nonprofit launched in Colorado in 1997, works to prevent the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education.

It operates solely on donations.

It seeks an order setting aside, reversing and remanding the land appeals board’s opinion.
Wagman, with Schiff Harding of San Francisco, represents Front Range pro hac vice.

Its lead counsel is Melissa Healy with Stoel Rives. 


Source: Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

“Intro 573-A is not in the best interest of the horses,” Dr. Cheever says; asks Mayor de Blasio to reconsider

Here is the full text of the insightful statement from Holly Cheever, DVM, an equine expert who has advised 15 municipalities and 2 states in OPPOSITION TO Intro. 573-A.

10151218_1076683402371526_3650848955117168478_n“January 22, 2016
To: Members of the New York City Council:

I wish to express my concerns about the latest proposal on what to do with your city’s controversial, inherently abusive, and anachronistic carriage horse tourist trade. In addition to being a shocking reneging of Mayor de Blasio’s campaign promises, it seems entirely impractical.

I am an equine veterinarian who has been testifying to this council since 1988 in efforts to get the carriage horses out of their inadequate stabling and their unsafe working environments. I have similarly advised approximately 15 municipalities and two states (Massachusetts and Florida), either to support a ban on such misuse of carriage horses or to promulgate proper regulations in appropriate environments—which New York City most emphatically is not—in order to ensure the well-being of the horses.

The current proposal is to confine the industry to Central Park, to restrict the equine population to a large herd of 75 with 68 operating carriages, and to build appropriate stabling to house this huge population. I confess to being shocked that the Central Park Commission is entertaining this proposal, because of the commission’s long entrenched refusal to give up any space to this enterprise. Although this proposal solves one area of equine misuse by getting them off the streets so that they no longer will share the roadways with crowded vehicular traffic, myriad other problems persist, as follows:

· 75 horses, many of them draft breeds: this would be a huge herd for such a small area as Central Park, and if 68 carriages are to be employed, they will create overcrowding and congestion in Park roadways that seriously impact alternate uses of the Park by its visitors, taking up a disproportionate amount of space that park enthusiasts might want for other purposes

· The odor from such a huge herd and its stabling/paddock areas would offend Park users who come for other purposes, especially in hot and humid weather. Not all city dwellers find “farm” odors appealing

· Housing: does the Park truly want to designate such a large percentage of its acreage to this one industry? The proposed stall size of 100 square feet is not adequate for draft breeds—14 x 14 square feet is the preferred size for these animals. I hope it is obvious that the current system of housing horses on 2nd and 3rd floors is completely unacceptable due to the risks to the horses if ever an evacuation is necessary. Therefore, all stalls must be on the ground floor, necessitating a huge stable area if 75 horses are to be housed humanely and safely. The proposed stable for this huge population will require fire-sprinkler systems, state-of-the-art ventilation systems, grain and hay storage, and waste disposal for enormous volumes of soiled bedding and manure. This cannot help but impact the Park’s multiple uses, and will constitute an extraordinary expense

· Turn-out, i.e. paddocks of adequate size to permit the DAILY opportunity for all horses to leave their restrictive housing for exercise and comfort with compatible herd mates, so essential to equine physiological and psychological well-being. The need for this turn-out is essential, and will commit even more of the Park’s limited acreage to this one malodorous industry

· Although the horses will no longer be threatened by vehicular traffic on their park-limited routes, there is always the risk of spooking with any equine animal, and the Park always has large volumes of visitors who could potentially be severely injured by a runaway horse and carriage, especially since so many of the drivers have historically been proven to be inexpert in proper equine management and capable of poor judgement in handling both the horses and their customers

· Even though the horses will not be as directly exposed to the pollution they inhale in their nose-to-tailpipe life on the streets, please note that even before they were forced out of their confinement to the Park in the early 1980’s (or the medallion-owners would be forced to surrender their medallions,) an unpublished study by Dr. Jeffie Roszel (veterinary pathologist) in 1985 revealed that the horses even then had evidence of lung damage from their exposure to exhaust fumes (personal communication 1989.)

In conclusion, I do not support this proposal as it is not in the best interest of the horses, nor a practical use for an inappropriately large area of the Park. I ask Mayor de Blasio to reconsider his abandonment of his campaign promise in order to pander to the carriage horse industry. We are in the 21st century—time to let this anachronism go!


Holly Cheever, DVM

Member, Leadership Council of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association

Vice president, NY State Humane Association”