Investigation: Horse slaughter and rampant violations continue despite EU ban on Mexican horse meat


Chicago (EWA) – Equine Welfare Alliance and Wild Horse Freedom Federation today released the second part of a two month investigation into the Mexican horse meat trade following a ban imposed on the meat by the European Union (EU). The ban that became effective January, 15th, was imposed following Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audits that found the meat unsafe for human consumption due to drug residues.

As if to emphasize the need for the EU ban, tests on Mexican horse meat found Ractophine on January 14th, then Isoxsuprine hydrochloride and Zilpaterol hydrochloride a few days later.

The two part investigation consisted of observation of the Eagle Pass border crossing in Texas where many horses are exported to slaughter in Mexico, and an exhaustive search of US, Mexican, EU and international trade records.

Before the ban, 87% of the horses slaughtered in four EU approved plants in Mexico (105,406 in 2014) came from the US, and 78% of the meat from those horses was exported to the EU. Given these numbers, the flow of US horses to slaughter in Mexico was expected to dwindle after the deadline.

The investigators at the export pens found and reported multiple violations of the Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter regulations [9CFR88]. Specifically, violations of the mandatory 6 hour offload rest period for the horses were noted. The investigators also observed one violation of a rejected blind horse, and they filmed a donkey being trampled in the back of a livestock trailer as it departed the pens.

The APHIS inspector, who is responsible for enforcing compliance with 9CFR88 was filmed arriving at the Eagle Pass pens in a vehicle registered to El Retiro Livestock, a registered owner-shipper, over whom the inspector should have been exercising compliance authority.

Analysis of the data collected indicated that the four European multi-national corporations that control the plants were able to juggle their shipments so that their plants in other countries, which were still EU approved, picked up the EU trade while the Mexican plants took over their former accounts.

While the exports of horse meat from Mexico to the EU were largely curtailed after the deadline, EWA investigators detected two shipments of horse meat to the EU that were shipped after the January 15th deadline. The shipments were reported to pertinent EU authorities but no explanation was received to date.

While the report did not find an immediate reduction in horses going to Mexico, it did find the trade will likely be disrupted to some extent. Virtually all of the countries now supplying the lucrative EU market have also received unfavorable FVO audits, and face possible banning themselves.

Russia, a significant past customer for Mexican horse meat had itself banned the meat for a year ending in August of 2014 due to drug residues. Russia was expected to be a significant alternative market after its ban expired, but the devaluation of the Russian ruble appears to have derailed that alternative.

The most recently released data portionof the report contains a detailed history of all Mexican horse meat exports over past years, as well as an analysis of market shares. The report predicts a 30% to 50% decrease in US horses going to Mexico in the coming year.

Given the rampant violations found in the investigation, more frequent monitoring is planned for the future.

The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 330 member organizations, the Southern Cherokee Government and over 1,150 individual members worldwide in 23 countries. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with federal 501(c)3 status. WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horse and burros from public, federal and state  lands.

Views differ on wild horse auction

More about the concerns of our friends, Help Alberta Wildies (HAW), are in the article below.  If you missed the Wild Horse & Burro Radio show with Gail Fagan of HAW, you can listen to the archived show HERE.



The wild horse auction didn’t really have the fairy tale ending we are lead to believe, says wild horse advocate Darrell Glover.

The spokesperson for Help Alberta Wildies (HAW) said the wild horse capture program was unnecessary from the start and that not all the horses at the auction have a new home yet.

“We’re still pretty angry about the way it’s all going down and there were a lot of different smoke and mirrors provided at the auction,” said Glover. “There’s a lot of misinformation being spread about this whole issue and we’re hoping to get to the bottom of some of it.”

On Feb. 28, 17 wild horses were sold at the Innisfail Auction Market. In total, 43 were captured in February and 26 were taken by the Wild Horses of Alberta Society (WHOAS), said Duncan MacDonnell, public affairs officer for Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD).

The auction took in just under $12,000 and most of the horses went for between $600 and $800, said MacDonnell. A big stallion was the exception. It went for a little over $1,600, he believes.

MacDonnell, who went to the auction, said he was told it was the largest crowd ever at the market and that the auction market owner, Danny Daines, confirmed every horse was going to a home.

“There were a lot of young ranchers there and I guess they were looking to eject some of that wild genes into their domestic stock,” said MacDonnell.

“It worked out very well as far as I know so far,” said MacDonnell. “They have to be happy. All the horses went to homes and we were able to reduce that herd by 43 animals, which is a step forward. I hope we use the same approach when we do it again.”

WHOAS, dedicated to saving captured wild horses, had originally planned to take about 20 horses but made more corral space available to accommodate the additional six.

Glover, who also attended the auction, paints a different picture.

“I don’t think it was quite the Walt Disney ending that was portrayed by the auctioneers,” said Glover. “There are still horses as we speak that were left behind. They were purchased by one of the auction owners and now they’re trying to find homes for them and put them up for sale again at $500 a piece after the auction was all finished and WHOAS had already picked the ones they wanted.”

He also said more horses were being captured at the time of the auction.

“The mission in the beginning was to assure that all the wild horses captured would avoid the slaughterhouse so the fate for these particular horses now is still unclear. After the auction occurred approximately nine more horses showed up at the auction yard that were still being captured behind the scenes,” he said.

Glover continues to question the need for the capture program and claimed many were roped, not trapped, and that they have a 10-minute video footage of one such roping.

“We didn’t see too much to complain about as far as the traps went, other than the fact that a lot of the horses weren’t trapped, they were actually roped. To us that is a totally inhumane handling of a capture.”

“These wranglers have been well-known throughout Alberta to be roping and chasing down horses for years. So this time we actually got them on film and it’s disgusting.”

Above all, Glover said it simply wasn’t necessary.

“I think the auction was unnecessary because there shouldn’t have been a cull this year at all,” said Glover. “Last year was so devastating because of the harsh winter and the floods that we had and the horse population was reduced significantly by about 35 per cent. The reasons for the cull this year are totally unknown to us.”

In November, WHOAS entered into a five-year agreement with ESRD to manage an adoption program and to head up a mare contraceptive trial program utilizing porcine zone pellucide (PZP).

WHOAS is on record as being opposed to this winter’s capture program but are also committed to doing everything possible to protect, rescue and save wild horses.

Besides keeping track of the contraceptive program, ESRD will doing a wild horse population count in the spring and that will have an impact on what happens next.

“We’ll reassess (the situation) once we have the count,” said MacDonnell. “Animal management is a year-round thing so I’m sure we’ll revisit it soon enough, but for now it’s a good ending and we move on.”


Wild Horses: Finding the Adobe Town Family Members at the Rock Springs Corrals


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

Editor’s Note: “We were first made aware of this awful story during Carol Walker’s visit to Wild Horse and Burro Radio last Wednesday night; it hit me so hard I performed unprofessionally as a co-host and just went silent with rage…and it was noticeable.  Carol has taken the time to begin documenting the events both in photographs and her written words but this is, once again, a clear cut case of BLM mismanagement that ultimately results in the loss of life of our wild horses and burros and in this case, babies.

Rock Springs is understaffed and the cost is not in dollars and cents but instead the loss of any sort of quality of life for the captured horses and the death of foals.  The BLM can spend countless thousands of dollars transporting PR officials across the U.S. to spout propaganda to the public at roundups yet they can’t manage their own organizational capability issues by sending more personnel to Rock Springs to help out during this emergency that THEY created by ripping wild horse families from their rightful lands?  Incompetency runs rampant in the BLM.  Stay with us at Carol’s WildHoofBeats and here at SFTHH for additional updates.” ~ R.T.

Sabrina and Gwendolyn, Bronze Warrior's Mares

I arrived in Rock Springs on Sunday so that I could go on Monday to the first day that the public would be allowed to enter the BLM Short Term Holding Facility to view the wild horses that were rounded up in September and October of 2014 from the Great Divide Basin, Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town Herd Management Areas.  I was on a mission – get the tag number of the third mare in Bronze Warrior’s family, Sabrina, and look for another appy stallion and his mares in hopes of taking them as well to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.  We were hoping that we could take the horses on Wednesday or Thursday to beat an incoming storm, which would not be good for travel with a horse trailer, but were told that the facility and the horses would not be ready to go until Friday.  I was concerned because not only did we need good weather and roads to go from Rock Springs, WY to Hot Springs, SD, our wonderful hauler Merle Blankenship also had to be able to get here with his trailer from southern Colorado.  I watched the weather reports anxiously.

Flurry, Gwendolyn and Bronze Warrior's 3 Year Old Daughter

I was able to get the last mare’s tag number quickly since she never left the other two mares, whose markings were very distinct, and had been a real boon in identifying Bronze Warrior’s family members.  I noticed that all the mares in the corrals were very skittish and moved away when people were near the pens.  The pens in front with the geldings were much bigger and less crowded than the pens containing the mares, and in all the mare pens it was hard to get a good view of all of them.  I was told two babies had been born overnight, which slowed feeding all the horses down since the staff had to be careful to work around the babies.  They said they were planning to move the mares with the newborn foals over to a separate mare-foal pen with lots of room and more shelter but they had to be careful doing it.

The first foal born, with its mother in the Mare-Foal pen

I was able to spot one of the new foals right up against the fence, and was concerned about all the other mares right around it.  I saw the other foal as I was leaving through a maze of mare’s legs, and I hoped they would be able to move the mothers and their new foals soon.  Luckily there were only a few visitors this morning to the corrals.

Storm, who must be related to Theodore

I took photographs of as many horses as I could so that I could post the photographs online and get the word out about the upcoming adoption in hopes that as many of the horses here as possible could find good homes and leave the corrals forever.

Sundance, the only gelding we were taking

The geldings had only been castrated a few weeks before, so some of them were still rather fiesty and I found so many of them to be just incredibly beautiful.  The mares were lovely as well, and I was alarmed to see how many of them appeared to be extremely pregnant, and ready to give birth.  This was not good for a couple of reasons – first, the conditions were so crowded that the foals could be easily hurt.  Second, once the mare foals, a potential adopter could not take the pair for at least 4 months when the foal could be freeze branded, or in 6 months if they just want the mare or just want the foal, since the potential adopters would have to wait until the foal was weaned.

The larger gelding pens

It was unfortunate for the horses that it had taken the Rock Springs Corrals so long to prepare the horses in its care for viewing and adoption.  I was told that they were extremely understaffed and had lost some employees, and so while Canon City had gotten their almost 500 horses that had come in from the roundup ready to be viewed and adopted by early November, Rock Springs had taken until the very end of February, the beginning of foaling season.  Even during the week of the adoption event, the people responsible for working with the public on the adoptions were having to spend 3 hours each day feeding the horses.

The crowded mare pens

The weanlings were a challenge to photograph because the bottle fed filly the BLM named Cover Girl kept trying to get in front and get petted.  The boys were easier to photograph as they were curious but not as demanding of attention.  It is always the weanlings and yearlings that have the best chance to be adopted, as it is usually much easier to gentle and train them than the older horses.

One of the extremely pregnant mares

I looked for the beautiful varnish appaloosa gelding that I had seen in the wild with his mare and yearling colt in the fall, but could not find him or the mare and colt. I had not seen him in Canon City either, so I became cautiously hopeful that he is among the very few who evaded capture at the roundup.

Aurora, 16, who looks so much like Bronze Warrior

I was also looking for Snowfall and Diamond Girl’s weanling who had a very distinctive marking on his face, but he was not here.  I wondered if he had been one of the 100 youngsters sen to the Axtell, Utah Burro facility since at the end of the roundup Rock Springs and Canon City were bursting at the seams.  I also figured that Bronze Warrior’s yearling filly that I could not find was also there. I had been told by the BLM that these youngsters would be sent to adoptions all over the country.

I could see the foal through the mare's legs

The other newborn foal with its mother

I came back the next day and photographed the horses again.  They had only been able to take one of the mares and foals out of the crowded mare pen, one mare and foal pair was still in there, and so they were preventing people from coming close to the mare pens. So I did not get as many photographs of the mares.  Then later that day I spent time putting together the photographs and posting them online so that people could see them.  Here is the information and the links – most of these horses are still there and still available:

On Thursday I heard from Manda Kalimian who adopted the horses and placed them at the Sanctuary that Kathi Fine had called her and told her that one of our mares had foaled, and they found the foal at the mare’s side this morning.  I rushed over to the corrals to see if I might get a glimpse of them, and also find out which mare had foaled – I was thinking it was probably Gwendolyn, the tall and beautiful mare with the distinctive white half circle around the top of her tail.  She had looked big since I had seen her in the fall.

First sight of the new foal, Gwendolyn with Flurry right behind

When I arrived, Kathi took me out briefly so that I could get some photographs of the new mother and foal.  It was indeed Gwendolyn, and a proud, careful and protective mother she was.  She kept the other mares away by pinning her ears and moving the foal away, and Kathi told me she had been nursing.




Her older daughter Flurry stayed near them, but only as close as Gwendolyn allowed.  She also ran her muzzle gently along the foal’s neck and back.  The foal was bright eyed and seemed healthy, and as far as I could tell, she was a filly, and no one who worked at the corral had checked, so I named her Xena the warrior princess – a fitting name for Bronze Warrior’s foal.  We did not stay long because the mares were moving around and neither of us wanted to see the foal hurt. She told me they would move the two of them to the mare and foal pen later that day.  I was not concerned about Gwendolyn taking care of her foal – she was 16 years old, this was not her first foal, and she looked like she was doing her best to protect her.

Gwendolyn and Xena in the mare pen

While it is always wonderful to see a new foal,  the timing was not the best. If Gwendolyn had just been able to wait a few days, she could have had her new foal at the sanctuary.  But of course she did not know that, and the babies have their own timing.  As it was, we were going to leave her and the foal at the corrals until the foal would be able to make the trip safely.  Manda made sure to let Kathi know that we wanted both mare and foal, and would be reuniting them later with the other mares and Bronze Warrior at the Black Hills Sanctuary.

Gwendolyn with the other mares and foals

When I arrived the next morning, Friday, the day we were scheduled to take the horses, I immediately looked for our horses.  I had been told they were going to be putting them together in a pen to get them ready to go and sure enough I saw the 4 other mares, and they were in the process of bringing the gelding up to join them.  I looked into the mare and foal pen, and immediately saw that something was wrong. There was Gwendolyn, with the two other mares and their foals but she was alone and looked very distressed. She was sweaty and the other mares kept kicking her and keeping her away from their foals.  She was running around and I could not see little Xena anywhere. I asked what had happened to the foal.  I was told that the mare had rejected her, and so they took her to the vet to be bottle fed, and would end up fostering her.  I was very confused because given what I had seen the day before it made no sense that Gwendolyn would have rejected Xena.

Gwendolyn sweaty and distressed

But I decided that we needed to get Gwendolyn out of there and with her family members and take her to the sanctuary as well. Kathi called Manda to make sure this was ok, and then got all the necessary paperwork from the vet and brand inspector so we could take her as well.  I knew she would feel better if she could be with her daughter Flurry and the other mare.  Then I was told by one of the staff at the corral what had really happened.  Apparently they had not been able to get Gwendolyn and her baby over to the mare and foal pen yet and one of the other mares in the corral grabbed Xena.  After that Gwendolyn would no longer nurse the foal, even after they moved both of them to the new pen.  The baby must have been injured, and Gwendolyn knew it would not make it. That was why they took it to the vet.

The horses in the pen ready to go

Finally they moved Gwendolyn into the pen with the other horses we were taking, and they moved up and down nervously, not knowing what was going to happen.  Merle moved his trailer around to the entrance of the chute that led to their pen and got the doors secured so that the horses would go smoothly into the trailer.

Gwendolyn and Aurora in the chute moving toward the trailer

Finally I saw heads moving toward the trailer, and after a couple of tries finally they moved into the trailer, and as the doors were secured, the horses moved around a lot, making a huge racket, we knew they would settle down once we were moving, because they would have to work on finding their balance, so we drove away immediately.

In the trailer

Sadly, two days ago Manda and I learned that Xena had died, and Manda was told it was because the baby had not gotten enough Colostrum.

I will writing about the arrival of the horses at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in my next post.

Related Posts in this Story:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Manda Kalimian’s Cana Project:

The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, where you can visit the 10 Adobe Appys:

Click (HERE) to visit WildHoofBeats

Alberta horse allies watch over cull, some sleeping in cars overnight

Our friends at Help Alberta Wildies (HAW) continue to watch over their wild horses. If you missed the Wild Horse & Burro Radio show with Gail Fagan of HAW, you can listen to the archived show HERE.


cpt106183285_high  photo:  Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Wild horses graze on the Eden Valley Reserve, Alta., on Aug. 25, 2011.

Providing a watchful eye – from capture to the Innisfail Auction Market – that’s the goal a group of Albertans during this year’s wild horse cull.

Alberta’s Environmental and Sustainable Resource Development department (ESRD) held the 2015 capturing season last month. The focus this year, according to their FAQ page was on “young males, considered the most appropriate for adoption.”

The ESRD said on its page it hires independent wranglers to lure ponies into baited corrals – which is where a group of horse-allies keep a watchful eye on the process.

Tucked away in the brush, a hand full of passionate activists with the group “Help Alberta Wildies,” camped out in cars to observe and document as 33 wild horses were captured in the Ghost River area west of Calgary.

“We were able to discover four of the capture sites this year,” said Shannon Mann, a backyard activist who works with Help Alberta Wildies. “As soon as we found them we went out to monitor.”

Mann had camped out in the frigid weather during the last cull, and said the temperature was a nice change, but what she and others saw while on their stake-outs was troubling.

Counting horses, inspecting structures used to corral them and even watching as wranglers rope horses into submission, Mann said they don’t interfere with the process, but feels her presence and watchful eye keeps the ESRD accountable.

Only 14 horses went to auction, the rest were snapped up by the Wild Horses of Alberta Society to adopt.

Mann said according to her numbers there were discrepancies in how many horses were captured and sold. Although the auction reported horses went to loving homes, when she attended the sale she saw ponies left out – adding although the market might have said so, it was not a “Walt Disney ending.”

The Terrible Truth About Wild Horse and Burro “Bait Trapping”

Bait Trapped

by Grandma Gregg

First, I want you to take a close look at the photo above of wild horses that were trapped by a BLM hired and approved bait trapping contractor, so that you will be aware that the so called “safe and humane” bait trapping method is not safe and is not humane.  This photo is from Freedom of Information (FOIA) data.  These horses were obviously seriously injured and likely were euthanized by BLM due to their critical eye injuries.

Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse, is defined as the human infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense or survival.


Through FOIA data, I discovered that during a 15 month period of wild horse and burro bait/water trapping (October 2012 through December 2013), 634 wild horses and burros were bait/water trapped, and within that same 15 month period, 56 of those were reported as dead.

Unlike the BLM’s usual “injuries and death are not frequent and usually average less than 0.5% to 1.0% [one percent or less] of the total animals captured” propaganda, we can see in actuality these figures prove a 9% (NINE percent, rounded) death rate due to capture by bait/water trapping, by BLM hired and approved contractors.

And, that 9% does not even include the unknown deaths that occurred for these wild horses and burros after that 15 month bait/water trapping period.

How many of these wild horses and burros that were reported as “dead” could actually have been driven “out the back door” and down the slaughter pipeline?  Either way, they are dead.

To assist us with knowledge about bait trapping verses helicopter capture, I am providing my responses to a National Mustang Association/Colorado bait trapping proposal.  (National Mustang Association comments are in bold italics below.)

National Mustang Association (NMA): Why is bait trapping a desirable alternative to helicopter roundups?

  • Far more cost-effective

My response:  I realize that using an in-house (BLM employees) bait trapping process could be more cost effective than using private contractors, but most bait trapping is done by BLM hired private contractors who have proven their disregard for wild horses and burros?  This makes a huge difference.

  • Easier for the horses

My response:  Although I realize that in-house (BLM, with continual public observation) bait trapping would likely be safer for the horses themselves, this is not the norm for the BLM’s current private contractor bait trapping contracts, which clearly state that hot-shots are acceptable (if not used on the head or anus or genitals of the animal) and clearly states that no public observation is allowed.

Since anyone who has researched the BLM’s for-hire contractor documentation of animal abuse knows, even when public observers have been allowed in sight of the capture area, the animal abuse was evident; so how can anyone believe that without constant public observation, that the private contractor is giving safe and humane treatment to the wild horses?  We cannot – and the facts and photos show us the real truth.

  •  Better publicity for BLM   

My response:  BLM’s public image is a NON issue – the entire issue is the 1971 WH&B law that clearly states, “wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death” and entitled to roam free on public lands where they were living at the time the Act was passed in 1971.  The protection of the wild horses and burros is the only issue – the BLM’s persona has nothing at all to do with the law and procedures to protect the wild horses and burros.

The above information is only a fragment of the wild horse and burro bait trapping story, but it needed to be shared.  I wish to add here that I am not, and never will be, in favor of helicopter roundups – they have a long history of animal stress and abuse and deaths – but the public needs to be aware that the bait trapping method is also not acceptable to the American people, who own and care about our wild horses and burros.

More information:



Federal Court Rules BLM Violated Law in Wyoming Wild Horse Roundup

image  Wild Horses in winter in Adobe Town (photo:  Carol Walker)


Laramie, Wyoming – March 4, 2015 – Today U.S. District Court of Wyoming Chief Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal issued an order stating that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it conducted a massive “Checkerboard Roundup” last fall, during which 1,263 wild horses were permanently removed from their homes on the range in southwestern Wyoming.  The Court remanded the NEPA violation back to the BLM to “remedy the deficiencies” while at the same time denied Plaintiffs’ claims that the BLM, in the Wyoming roundup, violated the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA).  Plaintiff Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, the Cloud Foundation, AWHPC, and photographer Kimberlee Curyl contended that the BLM violated federal law by proceeding with the roundup in the absence of any environmental analysis and public participation, and by reducing the populations in the Adobe Town, Salt Wells and Divide Basin Herd Management Areas below established “Appropriate” Management Levels.  The massive roundup removed all of the wild horses from the private and public Checkerboard lands within the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin HMAs.  BLM authorized this drastic management action without analyzing any of the environmental consequences of a wild horse roundup of this magnitude, or reasonable alternatives to this action, as required by NEPA.  “We are disappointed that the court upheld BLM’s countertextural interpretation of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act which allows the agency to disregard its own established wild horse minimum population levels,” said William Eubanks of the public interest environmental law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal.  “However, the court vindicated our concerns with BLM’s complete failure to analyze the impacts of this action on wild horses and the natural environment, as well as the agency’s failure to engage the public before pressing forward with this ill-advised decision.”

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, with an update on the Wyoming wild horse checkerboard court case and the captive wild horses, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 3/4/15)


Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , March 4, 2015

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

Listen Live (Here)!

This is a 1 hour show.  Call in with questions during the 2nd half hour.  

Call in # (917) 388-4520



Our guest is Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and a plaintiff on the recent lawsuit attempting to stop the BLM from removing over 800 wild horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin in Wyoming.  Carol was an observer at the roundups, and will give you an update on the court case, and on the wild horses that are now in captivity. Carol’s website is and you can see her photography of wild horses at


Tonight’s radio show will be co-hosted by R.T. & Terry Fitch, Founders (and Pres. & Treasurer) and Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation Continue reading

Wyoming Wild Horse Roundup Legality Argued before Federal Judge

Source: Multiple

“BLM is crafting an exception Congress didn’t write.”

BLM terrorizing what's left of Wyoming's wild horses. ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM terrorizing what’s left of Wyoming’s wild horses. ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Attorneys argued Monday over whether a wild horse roundup on western Wyoming rangelands conducted last year complied with or violated federal law that carries different requirements for such roundups depending on whether the horses are on federal or private land.

The roundup of 1,263 horses in late September and early October occurred in what is called a Checkerboard, a vast area of sagebrush high desert named for its square-mile squares of private land interspersed with same-sized squares of public land.

Wild horse advocates from the Cloud Foundation and Carol Walker from Wild Horse Freedom Federation, who digitally documented the roundup, sued alleging the stampede violated laws including the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The act requires the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to maintain wild horses on public land yet round them up from private land when asked to do so by private landowners.

Few fences exist in the vast Checkerboard area east and south of Rock Springs and wild horses crisscross the public-private boundaries at will.

The BLM violated the wild horse act first by failing to determine beforehand the area had too many horses and then by rounding up more horses than their herds’ pre-established minimum population thresholds, attorney William Eubanks told U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal.

Both are requirements under the wild horse act for roundups on public land.

“There are few statutes which are as clear as the provisions in this statute are,” Eubanks said. “BLM is crafting an exception Congress didn’t write.”

He suggested the BLM could have carried out a roundup that met the requirements of the act and then released some horses outside the Checkerboard, but still within their herd management areas, to maintain the required minimum in each herd.

An attorney for the federal government argued the horse advocates’ case is moot because the roundup is over and done with and no further roundups in the Checkerboard are planned.

“Do we have a reasonable expectation we’re going to bump into this again? We don’t know,” attorney Coby Howell told Freudenthal.

He said the wild horse act doesn’t address what to do about wild horses in an area like the Checkerboard and suggested that horses rounded up and released could be back on private Checkerboard lands owned by the Rock Springs Grazing Association within days or even hours.

“He wants to capture those horses, move them a couple hundred yards and turn them loose,” Howell said of Eubanks’ argument.

Not so — the BLM could release rounded-up horses up to 70 miles away from any private lands, Eubanks said on rebuttal.

The grazing association, a ranchers group, sued in 2011 to force the BLM to remove all wild horses from the association’s lands, including the Checkerboard lands, in accordance with the wild horse and burro act. The BLM resolved the lawsuit by generally agreeing to the demands.

Now the grazing association and state of Wyoming have intervened in the case on the federal government’s side. Disputes between the BLM and association over wild horses in the Checkerboard date to the 1970s. In 1981, they were resolved, at least temporarily, by a federal judge’s order that applied to horses on both public and private lands in the Checkerboard, pointed out grazing association attorney Connie Brooks.

“You could argue that BLM should have redone the agreement but that’s not what was done,” Brooks told Freudenthal.

Freudenthal took the arguments under advisement and will rule later.

Science Escapes Wyoming Legislature on Horse Bill

by PATRICIA M. FAZIO as published in the Casper Star Tribune

Recently, I read a report that the gap between the public’s beliefs and scientific fact is rather large — and growing. The gap between the Wyoming Legislature and science might be described as a chasm. A recently passed resolution (HJ0003), describing the wild horse as “feral,” ignores a large body of science that clearly shows the North American wild horse is, in fact, a reintroduced native wildlife species. That’s not opinion. It’s scientific fact. Worse, the term “feral” is a human construct with no biological meaning. But legislatures can do pretty much what they want without dealing with facts.

Modern genetic studies, using mitochondrial DNA and ancient DNA analysis have shown that the horse that disappeared from North America 7,600 years ago is, in fact, the same species that the Spanish reintroduced into America in the 1500s. The modern horse would have gone extinct had it not crossed the Bering Land Bridge before its disappearance from our continent. But it did cross and thrived in Asia and Europe and North Africa until finally returning home to the land of its origin. This is not the opinion of some activist wild horse advocacy group but facts derived via up-to-date science. Does it matter that the American Museum of Natural History agrees with this definition of the horse as a reintroduced native species or that 5,000 years of domestication did not alter the fundamental evolutionary-driven genetics, physiology or social organization of the modern horse, which has been around somewhere between 250,000 and 2 million years – in North America? Apparently not, in the Wyoming Legislature. What’s happened here is that pure politics, attaching a negative term “feral” to a species that is truly wild has, once again, trumped science and fact.

Bad Ranchers, Bad Cows

by Vickery Eckhoff as published in The Daily Pitchfork

A newly published study offers photographic proof of what ranchers have long denied: the extent to which livestock grazing damages public lands. (Part III of a series on ranchers in the media)

Private Cattle being moved on Antelope Complex while the BLM was removing wild horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Private Cattle being moved on Antelope Complex while the BLM was removing wild horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Livestock have been severely depleting public rangelands for decades. They do so by trampling vegetation, damaging soil, spreading invasive weeds, polluting water, increasing the likelihood of destructive fires, depriving native wildlife of forage and shelter and even contributing to global warming—all of which has been noted in study after study. Global studies. Peer-reviewed studies. Government studies. Lots of studies going back many years.

So why do people get up in arms about drilling for oil in the Arctic national wildlife refuge, demolished forests and polluted streams, but accept cattle trampling wildlife refuges and national parks, forests and grasslands as if that’s a productive use of our nation’s shared landscape?

Why does that damage—amounting to as much as a one billion dollar subsidy to a very small slice of the livestock industry every year—go unmentioned by a media that so eagerly condemns climate change deniers and proponents of fracking?…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story

Click (HERE) to read Part II of this series