Protestors claim BLM Wild Horse policies are wrong because cattle ranchers are favored

as published on Country10.com

“Older horses are the Encyclopedia Britannica of the herds and they keep the stallions from breeding when conditions are not good.”

Marjorie Farabee and Simone Netherlands were two of the protesters at the BLM Wild Horse Advisory Board meeting today at CWC. (Ernie Over photo)

Marjorie Farabee and Simone Netherlands were two of the protesters at the BLM Wild Horse Advisory Board meeting today at CWC. (Ernie Over photo)

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Wild Horse advocates gathered outside of the student center building at Central Wyoming College to protest the Bureau of Land Management’s treatment of and plans for Wild Horses across the West. Simone Netherlands, representing Respect 4 Horses, said she attends every BLM Advisory Board meeting on Wild Horses held twice a year around the region.

“There is no overpopulation of wild horses, we’ve gone from over two million wild horses to just 30,000 in the wild,” she said. “but they complain that they’re overrun with wild horses.”

In prepared remarks delivered at noon, Netherlands said, “we now have over 50,000 wild horses and burros stuffed in holding facilities. Broken wild horses, without their families, some in feedlot like conditions, with no protection from the elements.” She also said the current horses in the wild have less than 26 million-acres in which they are allowed to live while cattle are allowed on 160-million acres.

Netherlands said the BLM is advancing policies that are directly opposed to their mission. “Their mandate is to protect wild horses, not do pest control for cattle ranchers. I’t’s not fair to wild horses, and it’s because they don’t make anybody any money,” she said. She said wild horses “are only allocated 18 percent of the forage in wild horse management areas while cattle get the rest.”

Marjorie Farabee, with the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, said the BLM is also collecting the older horses, “breaking up families and losing the knowledge of the herd, like where to find water and shade in the desert. Older horses are the Encyclopedia Britannica of the herds and they keep the stallions from breeding when conditions are not good. They’re upsetting the balance.”

“Every wild horse we have today is a survivor of two centuries of persecution by ranchers and our government,” Netherlands said. “It’s a very sad and scary state of affairs, that just like the rainforest of the Amazon, our own government is exploiting and using up our public lands for the benefit of profit driven businesses. It’s time someone steps up and fixes this very very broken program. It is unsustainable, unscientific, inhumane and a despicable waste of our taxpayer dollars.”

Click (HERE) to read more and to comment at Country10

Live-stream of BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting TODAY in Riverton, Wyoming

 

The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will be live-streamed at blm.gov/live

at 8:00 am MST on August 25, 2014

The link to the meeting AGENDA is HERE.

(A link to meeting handouts is attached to the live-stream page, but at the time of this posting, there were no meeting handouts on that link)

Wild horse & burro advocacy groups will be holding a press conference at noon (MST).

Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Plaintiff in the lawsuit to stop the removal of wild horses in Wyoming is there and will be speaking at the Press Conference at noon.  Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation is also there.

You can find links to you tube videos, minutes and recommendations of past National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meetings HERE.

Wild horses shot to death in Straight Creek area (known as Dingo) in Kentucky

Wild horses at Dingo shot to death
by Joe P. Asher

Over two dozen wild horses that roam an area of Straight Creek known as Dingo are reportedly dead.

Dingo HorsesMarcella Chadwick, CEO of the Harlan County Humane Society, said a total of 28 horses had been discovered dead as of Friday afternoon.“People that live over there keep us informed as to what’s going on with the horses because we’re kind of over them (the horses) now,” said Chadwick. “They called me this morning and they’ve found mares and foals that have been shot and just left.  They’re dead.  It’s been probably two days ago when they were shot.”

Chadwick said the Humane Society is offering a reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing the horses.  “We’re doing a $3,000 reward,” said Chadwick.  Chadwick said the reward will be paid upon conviction.  “They can’t just come and tell me, they’ve got to be willing to go to court,” said Chadwick.Chadwick said the horses appear to have been shot with a firearm powerful enough to go all the way through the animals.

“We fought tooth and nail to keep those horses from going to slaughter,” said Chadwick.A previous report states the horses were the center of a disagreement between the Harlan County Humane Society and Sequoia Energy over whether the horses would have to be moved from the Dingo area they have occupied for decades.“The only way we can stop this is if the public helps us,” said Chadwick. “It’s a cruel, sick thing for somebody to do.  Some of the horses were gut shot so it’s taken days for them to die, which is cruel and inhumane.  These horses aren’t bothering anybody, they’re up on top of a mountain. We need the public’s help.”Kentucky State Police Det. Craig Miller is investigating the report of the missing horses.  Miller said around 38 horses have been reported missing.

If anybody has any information about the incident, contact the Harlan County Humane Society at 606-573-0016 or any law enforcement agency.

Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 1161 or on Twitter #joe_hde

Who is the contractor for BLM’s Scott City, KS “Emergency Short Term Holding facility?”

by Debbie Coffey, V.P., Wild Horse Freedom Federation                 Copyright 2014                    All Rights Reserved.

75 wild mares died in a very short amount of time at BLM’s emergency short term holding facility in Scott City, Kansas.

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Mares look at the public on a BLM tour of Long Term Holding pastures in Kansas. (photo by Carol Walker)

The BLM awarded the contract for an emergency short term holding facility to Phil Jennings, who has the contract for the BLM’s Pauls Valley facility in Oklahoma.  Jennings has had contracts with BLM since 2005 for Pauls Valley, and the obligation amounts seemed to be mostly in about the $100,000 to $300,000 range.

The BLM Scott City, KS emergency short term holding facility contract was signed 6/4/2014, and the obligation amount is $2,030,000. Yep, that’s a jump to over $2 million dollars.

But Jennings is in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  That’s about a 400 mile drive to Scott City, Kansas.  It seems Jennings may have LEASED the feedlot run by Beef Belt, LLC in Scott City, KS.  So, in essence, BLM’s contractor hired a subcontractor.

(Does that seem to make Jennings a very well paid middleman?)

If a contractor leases a feedlot from what is in essence a subcontractor, then the subcontractor has no direct contract with instructions and obligations to the BLM, does it?  Did any BLM personnel give written instructions and obligations to Beef Belt, LLC, which was formed in 10/1/13 (just 9 months prior to getting this windfall of business)?  Or.was it only after 70 horses died, that the BLM finally seemed to get concerned or involved, and give instructions about the feed?

This was in an article on hutchnews.com:

“The manager of the corral, Steven Landgraf, one of the owners of Lakin Feed Yard, which specializes in corrals just like the one in Scott County, denied any wrongdoing on the part of the staff at the corral.

“We did our best to take care of them.  It is not like we did not do our job,” Landgraf said.  “As animals get older, they die.  The animals that have died have all been between 19 and 20 years old.  It is a fact of life; how do you say this without being cruel?”

Landgraf explained further that the organization has cows and buffaloes that die there frequently.

“It is normal to have 4 percent or 5 percent of deaths with cattle, so this does not really count as out of the ordinary,” he said. “There were 1,490 of them that came in, and, if these few died, it shouldn’t be such a big deal.”

(He also added “I have a cow herd. When the cattle get to be this old, we sell them so they can be turned into hamburger.”)

Well, Mr. Landgraf, you may not have noticed yet, but this is a REALLY BIG DEAL to the American public.

And about all the buffalo and cattle that Mr. Landgraf mentioned that died on the feedlot, doesn’t it make you wonder about the condition of the soil and any possible toxins?  Did the BLM even do any soil tests or an Environmental Assessment for this feedlot before putting wild horses on it?

The hutchtimes.com article also included quotes from Paul McGuire, BLM’s public affairs specialist.  It stated “According to McGuire, it is part of the contractual arrangement that if there are deaths on these private holdings, they must be reported immediately.”

But how long after the deaths was it before the BLM notified the public?  The BLM buried this vague “notification” in their “From the Public” page on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website:

Question: Does the BLM ever move animals from a long-term pasture to another holding facility? If so, why? (July 2014)

Answer: Yes, BLM moves animals from long-term pastures to other facilities if the long-term pasture can no longer accommodate the animals. Examples of when this would occur include:  
1.  If a contractor sells the ranch and the new owner does not want to manage for wild    horses.
2. If a contractor has lands recovering from drought and wants to remove grazing animals or decrease their numbers to aid in drought recovery.
3. If market conditions change in the livestock sector such that the contractor identifies a more lucrative use for the land.
 
Depending on the capacity of the facility needing to relocate animals, the number of animals being relocated can range from a few hundred to a few thousand head.
 
The majority of animals that have not been adopted are held on long-term pastures. Long-term pastures provide a free-roaming environment for the animals and it costs less for the taxpayer to house animals on long-term pastures than at short-term holding facilities. With long-term and short-term facilities nearly filled to capacity, the BLM is currently seeking new short-term and long-term holding facilities.”
Uh, this didn’t mention that even one wild mare died at Scott City, did it?  And how many of you comb the From the Public” page on the BLM’s WH & B website on a daily basis?
Finally, on 8/15/14, the BLM posted a news release on their “News & Information” page of the WH & B Program website.
The BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program website  “From the Public” page is also where the BLM seems to have buried the last “update” on the ongoing investigation into Spur Livestock selling wild horses to kill buyer Joe Simon by stating:
Question:  What is the BLM’s response to allegations regarding wild horse sales to a South Dakota long-term pasture contractor, known as Spur Livestock, in 2008?
Answer: The BLM cares deeply about the well-being of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range, and takes seriously all accusations of the slaughter of wild horses or burros.  These accusations have been forwarded to BLM Law Enforcement, which is investigating.  The BLM will share the findings of the investigation once it is complete.
And also, about the ongoing investigation of Tom Davis, prolific buyer of truckloads of wild horses that went who knows where:

Question:  What is the BLM’s reaction to allegations regarding horse sales to Tom Davis of Colorado, as reported by Pro Publica?

Answer: The BLM condemns any sale of wild horses for slaughter.  We care deeply about the well-being of wild horses, both on and off the range, and it has been (and remains) the policy of the BLM not to sell or send wild horses or burros to slaughter.  We take seriously all accusations of the slaughter of wild horses or burros.  The Office of the Inspector General at the Department of the Interior has initiated an investigation into the situation and will work in conjunction with the State of Colorado throughout its investigation.  We look forward to the results of that inquiry.  Anybody that is found to have violated the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act should be held accountable.

We’re still looking forward to results of this inquiry, too.  And we have been for a long time now.  May we all live into our 100’s, so we can finally find out the results.
Bottom line, if the BLM had left these wild horses on their (supposedly) “federally protected” Herd Management Areas where they belong, the wild horses, especially older, more vulnerable ones, wouldn’t be getting shipped all over the country, stressed out, and having to adjust to different feed.

More wild horses die at BLM’s Scott City, Kansas facility

SOURCE:  Garden City News

Wild horses deaths now up to 75, corral managers deny wrongdoing

Vicki Tobin & Daryl Smoliak of Equine Welfare Alliance on Wild Horse & Burro Radio, Wed., Aug. 20th

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_Logo

WEDNESDAY, August 20, 2014

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen Live (Here!)

Call in # 917-388-4520

This is a 2 hour show, and you can call in with questions at any time.

The shows will be archived, so you can listen anytime.

vicki tobin

Vicki Tobin (center), V.P of Equine Welfare Alliance with two of our favorite men, RT Fitch and John Holland (Pres. of EWA)

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Equine Welfare Alliance Board member Daryl Smoliak (ANOTHER favorite man!)

Our guests tonight are Vicki Tobin, Vice President of Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and Daryl Smoliak, Board member of EWA, which is a dues free, all volunteer 501(c)(4) umbrella organization representing
– over 325 member organizations
– The Southern Cherokee Government
– over 1,145 individual members worldwide in 22 countries.

EWA and its members are involved in a grass roots effort dedicated to ending the slaughter of American Horses and the preservation and protection of our Wild Horses & Burros on public lands.

They will be talking about many issues, including the upcoming 2014 International Equine Conference in Wellington, FL.

This radio show is co-hosted by Debbie Coffey, Vice-President & Director of Wild Horse Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Continue reading

More on the Forest Service cull of Murderers Creek wild horse herd

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Forest Service is continuing to remove wild horses from the Murderers Creek section of the Malheur National Forest but is holding off on aggressive action until a new environmental impact statement is finished.

Last year, as part of a settlement to a lawsuit brought by Grant County ranchers, the agency agreed to gradually reduce the number of wild horses in the area until it is within the range it says the area can healthily support, known as the Allowable Management Level, or AML.

The AML for the 62,000-acre range was set at 50 to 140 horses in the 2007 wild horse herd management plan for the Malheur National Forest.

The agency is working on a new planning document, Tom Hilken, the Forest Service’s range program manager for the Pacific Northwest region, said last week.

“We really want to get this new plan in place that’s going to be looking at the latest science and management tools that may allow us to be a little more aggressive to get down to our AML,” said Hilken.

“We’re continuing to cull the herd over time.”

In recent months, the agency has removed a handful of horses, focusing mainly on the five or six animals that have wandered off of federal land onto private property, he said.

“They’ve gotten outside the designated territory and are on private property. That’s where our priority is now,” he said.

The herd currently stands around 200 or 220 horses, he said. Reducing their numbers poses a challenge for land-management officials because the herd grows by about 20 percent every year.

“We do not cull during the foaling period,” Hilken said.

Most of the wild horses and burros on public lands in 10 Western states roam lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

More than half of the Murderers Creek herd, which is overseen by the U.S. Forest Service, are “timber horses” that live in mountainous areas, using Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer thickets as shelter.

According to BLM estimates, 33,780 wild horses and 6,825 burros live on public lands overseen by the agency across 10 Western states. This is almost 14,000 more than the total the agency believes the rangelands can support.

In Oregon, the BLM estimates there are 3,120 wild horses and 60 burros as of March, more than the 2,715 maximum envisioned as the state’s AML. Another 50,000 wild horses are kept in federal holding pens.

According to a 2001 genetic analysis of the Murderers Creek horses, the herd is genetically distinct from the other herds found roaming Western rangelands. Many of the horses appear to be descendants of horses lost or set free by farmers and ranchers and genetically resemble American light racing and saddle breeds.

Another 15 to 20 horses from the herd will be removed by federal officials by the end of the year, Hilken said. The environmental impact statement will likely not be ready for two years, he said.

The ranchers had sued the agency over its management of the animals, contending the horses and not the cattle that they grazed on public lands were responsible for environmental threats to endangered steelhead habitat.

If the agency never met its AML, there was no way to determine which, if any, animals posed a threat to endangered species, they argued.

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