U.S. Senate Committee Votes to Prohibit Horse Slaughter on American Soil

Souce: ASPCA

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund the inspection of facilities that contribute to the brutal slaughter of our horses,”

During yesterday’s markup of the 2016 agriculture spending bill, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved the anti-horse slaughter amendment offered by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chris Coons (D-DE). The Udall-Kirk Amendment would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities; without such inspections, the horse slaughter industry cannot resume in the United States.

“Horses are a symbol of the West, and they are an important part of our nation’s history and our way of life today,” said Senator Udall. “Not only is the idea of horse slaughter for human consumption abhorrent to most Americans, but USDA is already stretched too thin and doesn’t have the resources to properly oversee the industry. The practice is unnecessarily cruel and has a record of gruesome pollution and terrible conditions. New Mexicans write to me regularly to say that horse slaughter has no place in the United States. I agree and was pleased to offer this bipartisan amendment on their behalf.”

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund the inspection of facilities that contribute to the brutal slaughter of our horses,” added Senator Kirk. “Illinois banned the practice of horse slaughter in 2007, and this amendment ensures that these inhumane facilities are not opened again on U.S. soil.”

Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, environmentally and economically devastating to local communities and unsafe for foreign consumers. The ASPCA thanks the Senate Appropriations Committee for recognizing that it is irresponsible and wasteful to use taxpayer dollars to fund this brutal practice. The House Appropriations Committee vote, one week ago, was a tie and did not allow the language to be inserted into the larger legislation, so having the Senate take this action is particularly encouraging.

In addition to banning funds for horse slaughter inspections, the Committee also approved a provision to improve the animal welfare policy at U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) and other federally operated agricultural research centers. Following a similar measure in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Committee’s report requires USDA to ensure that the agency’s research is adhering to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including the necessary inspection and reporting requirements.

A Fourth Horse Dies at the Notorious Calgary Stampede

Source: TheStar.com

Calgary Stampede to Examine Equine Safety

Calgary StampedeCALGARY — There will be a review of animal safety following the death of a fourth horse during the chuckwagon racing event at this year’s Calgary Stampede.

The 16-year-old horse, named Ezzy, had to be euthanized after it tore a ligament in a front leg during the first heat of Sunday night’s competition to cap the annual Rangeland Derby.

The animal was an outrider horse that did not make contact with any other horses or wagons.

Veterinarians at the scene could not repair the injury, which they say is common in racing and other types of horses.

Another outrider horse had to be euthanized on Saturday after it suffered a similar type of injury.

Two others that were harnessed to chuckwagons were put down after track-related accidents earlier in the week.

“(Ezzy) was examined before the Stampede as well as each night before it raced and it was examined tonight and it was examined before the race track, so there is no indication this was going to happen,” said Greg Evans, a veterinarian with the Stampede. “Even in clinically sound horses, it can occur during racing.”

Dave Galloway, who owned Ezzy, said everyone on his team loved the horse.

“He was calm, he was our fastest horse. Everyone called him Fuzzy Ezzy. I know it’s pretty sombre back at our barn right now and we spend our lives taking care of the lives of these horses, showcasing them and what they can do. Racing for Ezzy was effortless.”

Kurt Kadatz, communications director for the Stampede, said the organization has made advances in animal fitness and welfare, but it’s not proud of its safety record this year.

“We are really going to look hard and find out what we can be doing differently to achieve a better result because we certainly do take it very seriously. Certainly you can see, by these numbers we are not happy.”

Kadatz said he believed one horse died in 2013 and one last year.

Animal rights groups have been scrutinizing the Stampede’s safety measures, saying they are not enough to prevent animal deaths.

BLM lies to media and public about dead Palomino Valley foal

John Neill of the BLM told the media that a foal was “successfully delivered” from a dead mare (photo below) at BLM’s Palomino Valley Center in Nevada.  We showed Neill’s statement and the graphic photo below of the dead mare (with what appears to be an unbroken amniotic sac protruding from her body), to veterinarian Holly Cheever.  Here is what Cheever said about the mare and her unborn foal:

“I revisited the photo of her taken from behind, and I observed the following:

1) Most important, she must have been dead for hours–too long for her in utero foal to survive with no oxygen–since her left hind limb is not resting on the ground (hoof contact) where gravity would place it, but is rather sticking out horizontally, which happens when the gut becomes bloated from bacterial action and the lack of gut motility induced by death.  This causes the whole peritoneal cavity to swell/bloat and, with rigor mortis of the limbs, causes them to elevate off the ground and stick out horizontally.<

2) Although I do not have excellent resolution in viewing this photo, it looks as if the foal is still wrapped in the fetal membranes (the amniotic sac) and therefore could not have access to air to breathe ex utero,  He/she would have suffocated quickly once the mare’s heart stopped and no longer supplied the foal with oxygen through the umbilical artery.”

—-Holly Cheever, DVM


The KTVN news story stated that the mare passed away “during childbirth,” and Cheever noted that the “the mare was experiencing “foaling”, not “childbirth.”

Thank you to wild horse & burro advocates, and veterinarians, who continue to try to bring accountability to BLM actions and truth to the public.  We are posting the most recent press release from Love Wild Horses below.  –  Debbie

____________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

BLM’s HONESTY IN QUESTION, AS PUBLIC OUTCRY GROWS OVER MARE AND  FOAL’S NEGLECT AND DEATH

By Jetara Séhart, Love Wild Horses July 12, 2015

 (WARNING Graphic Photo below)

On Friday morning, July 10th, at approximately 7:00 AM., Patty Bumgarner, a Nevada resident and wild horse photographer, arrived at the BLM’s Palomino Valley Center (PVC) and discovered the body of a young mare with an unborn foal partially protruding from her birth canal. Bumgarner shared the story and photos with Love Wild Horses‘, and it went viral, reaching 50,000+ people in 24 hours.The mare and foal’s story caused a huge public outcry.At approximately 10:30 am, John Neill of BLM’s Palomino Valley facility contacted Channel 2 KTVN News, to respond to the incident. KTVN ran a story that stated,

“Photos surfaced online Saturday of a mare that passed away during childbirth overnight Thursday at the Palomino Valley Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro holding facility.  John Neill of the Bureau of Land Management confirmed that the 2 year old mare was found  deceased when workers arrived early Friday morning. The mother and foal were removed from the pen and the foal was successfully delivered. The foal was taken to Northern Nevada Correctional Center where the BLM has an orphan care program.” Story here: KTVN NEWS:

The graphic photos taken by Bumgarner show a wild horse mare laying lifeless on the ground, the body stiffened with an apparent and visible light pink birth sac, unbroken and protruding from the mare.  The dead animals were in the pen with living mares and foals.

The young mare and her unborn were unattended and unaddressed for over an hour by BLM personnel, who busied themselves distributing hay for the living horses.  After an hour, they brought a backhoe to take away the mare’s body.

At approximately 11:00 AM., Coleen Denson, a Nevada resident, contacted the Northern Nevada Correctional Center.and was informed there were no new born foals present.

Coleen shared with us:

“I was transferred 3 times, before I was connected to “Kevin”, in the Stable Division. Kevin hadn’t heard about a Foal and dead Mare from Palomino Valley on Friday. He told me, that all they had in the Foal care program were 1 month andolder, no one day olds, or newer born foals.”

We contacted Dr. Lester Friedlander BA, DVM, regarding the possibility that the foal (called “Hope”), could still be alive, as BLM PVC’s Neill stated.  Dr. Friedlander stated “In my Professional Opinion, when the mare dies and she is in foal, the foal might live 1-2 minutes. The foal needs the oxygenated blood to survive.”

Author Terri Farley of Nevada is a frequent visitor to Palomino Valley Wild Horse corrals, and shared these thoughts regarding the mare and foal’s  death: “Is it possible this young mare might have died in wild? Until there’s a necropsy, we don’t know. We do know thatwild horses taken off the range are dependent — breath to breath — on human care and kindness.”

John Neill’s report to Channel 2 News KTVN is also in direct c onflict with the correctional facility’s information Denson received.  We reported the discrepancy to KTVN Channel 2 News and requested further investigation be conducted into the where abouts of the foal “Hope”, Neill claimed was saved.

We were informed “the BLM PVC Facility was closed until Monday” and at 4:47 PM, Channel 2 KTVN News announced:

“We are continuing to look into this matter. The story was removed after we received conflicting information from multiple sources. More parties have become involved than originally thought so until we can speak with all of them and get a clear understanding of what happened we will refrain from posting about the matter. Thank you for writing, we will do our best to look into this further.”

Concern within the community and social media is growing into the seeming misinformation provided by BLM’s Neill, and for the blatant disregard for the well being of this mare and her unborn foal and for all the wild horses assigned and held within this facility.  For two years, there has been much controversy and public outcry over the lack of shelter and additional water troughs that are needed for the many wild horses warehoused at this BLM facility.

Unfortunately and in fact, this is not the first time dishonesty and discrepancy exist in BLM PVC reports,of how many wild horses and burros, have died at their facility.  In May of 2013 a FOIA requested by the organization Animals’ Angels discovered “In addition to the contract itself, our FOIA request obtained all records of deceased horses and burros sent from the BLM holding facility to the rendering plant from January 1, 2010 through May 31, 2012.  During that time frame the BLM itself reported in the official Palomino Valley Mortality Detail Report that only 241 horses and burros died at the Palomino Valley facility and 50 at the Fallon facility.

However, the records from the rendering plant tell quite a different story.  According to the Nevada By-Product invoices for that same time period, a startling 577 dead horses were received from the Palomino Valley Facility. This is a shocking difference of 286 animals (336 horses if Nevada By-Products does not render the horses from Fallon), a number simply too large to ignore.”Full Story Here: “HORSE DEATHS AT PALOMINO VALLEY CENTER, MORE THEN TWICE AS HIGH AS REPORTED RENDERING RECEIPTS REVEAL.”

Adding insult to injury, poor public relations heightens for the BLM, due to BLM Staff negotiations with The Burning Man Festival’s Management, requesting building a $1,000,000 compound for BLM personnel, including 24/7 ice cream access and other luxury amenities.

The Bureau of Land Management wild horse & burro Palomino Valley and Indian Lakes holding facilities are located in the desert and nearby, thousands of federally protected wild horses and burros suffer, and some die, due to BLM’s failure to simply install needed shelter and more water troughs for the horses and burros.

Approximately two years ago, at this same BLM facility, advocates found a young filly, they named “Lil Angel” deceased upon the searing hot ground, that prompted a large public outcry for shelter and aid to be provided.  Instead of addressing the urgent need then, the BLM held a wild horse “Comfort Workshop” to discuss whether or not wild horses preferred shade.In June, 2013, Dr. Lester Friedlander, BA, DVM, President of Citizens Against Equine Slaughter, requested BLM’s management to act, warning that,

“If the wild horses and  burros do not get the proper protection from the environmental elements, found in that area, countless animals will be lost to disease, infections and heat related deaths. There is no adequate shelter found there and the wild horses and burros have no place to find shelter from the blistering heat.”

Yet, BLM management continues to ignore veterinarian opinion to protect the wild horses and burros, resulting in the death and disappearance of BLM captive horses and burros.

The Bureau of Land Management is charged by Congress and the American people to protect – not harass, harm, or cause death of America’s federally protected native wild horses and burros.  But instead of helping the wild horses survive in
the wild and within BLM holding facilities, the BLM is making their survival as a species impossible, and is managing
the horses and burros, to extinction.

Please contact your Legislatures and the White House and request immediate action be taken to

Save the Last of Our Native Wild Horses and Burros : To Give the 58,000 BLM captive wild horses and burros shelter and humane care, or set them free to survive and increase protections to secure freedom and their ability to reproduce, for the under 20,000 remaining free roaming native heritage horses and burros, to thrive, upon America’s vast 245,000.000 acres of public lands.Links for Reference:

http://rtfitchauthor.com/2015/07/11/federally-protected-wild-horses-die-trapped-in-blm-s-palomino-valley-nv-facility/
http://www.ktvn.com/story/29525970/blm-foal-taken-to-carson-city-prison-orphan-care
http://blogs.rgj.com/mostlydogs/2013/05/01/horse-deaths-at-blms-palomino-valley-facility-may-be-twice-as-high-as-reported-rendering-receipts-reveal/
http://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/07/12/
http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/22926
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/26/blm-vip-compound-burning-man/29340561/
http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/BLM-to-Hold-Workshop-on-Wild-Horse-Comfort-217636641.html
http://thewildhorseconspiracy.org/2013/07/02/exciting-article-about-by-phd-steven-jones-re-more-recent-surviving-native-horse-in-north-america/
Media Contacts:

Jetara Séhart, Executive Director, Love Wild Horses, www.lovewildhorses.org

Patty Bumgarner, Wild Horse Photographer(775)
301-6512
Coleen Denson (775) 384-9954
Dr. Lester Friedlander, BA, DVM, President of Citizens Against Equine
Slaughterwww.noequineslaughter.orgiamlfbadvm@pa.net
Photo: By Patty Bumgarner, 7:00 AM 7/10/15 BLM Palomino Valley Center, Nevada, a mare discovered  by a gate, lay lifeless in urgent distress, wild horse Mother advocates, have called “Teresa” with her unborn foal, named  “Hope”. Unfortunately, no help from BLM personnel
ever arrived. Several veterinarians, have carefully viewed this photo and determined the birth sac, is unbroken, due to
the color and form. Slightly after 8:00 AM, BLM staff responded, by bringing a backhoe to move
their bodies.

dead marePhoto: By Patty Bumgarner, photo taken two weeks before her death, on June 26, 2015, the beautiful pregnant dusted strawberry red roan, beside the fence, the mare now called “Teresa”.

Mets Pitcher Bartolo Colon learned his work ethic from a pet donkey

Sources: Multiple

new-york-mets-bartolo-colon-donkeyBartolo Colon is the subject of a profile in the Thursday edition of The New York Timesand in addition to shedding some light on the long-tenured but soft-spoken pitcher, the Times tells some very entertaining stories from his youth.

Colon grew up in the small town of El Copey in the Dominican Republic, where he had a pet donkey named Pancho, which the article says inspired Colon’s work ethic, allowing him to have such a long MLB career.

Pancho has been immortalized in Colon’s training complex built in his hometown of El Copey. A wall illustration tells the story of Pancho and his important role in the Cy Young winner’s life.

It just goes to show you: Never forget where you came from, and remember to thank all the people — and donkeys — who helped you reach your dreams.

Feel Good Sunday: A Deep Dive into the Force of the Horse

by R.T. Fitch ~ Co-Founder/President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“It’s time to look within…”

I have been cheating on you, all of you, and in so doing I have been cheating on myself.

Somehow I had lost my way and fallen into the trap that all too many of us unwittingly get sucked into.

Dark, cold and unfeeling we gently give into the ways of the world and day to day living only to have the essence of our being slowly and unknowingly sucked out of us.

We become disengaged from what drives our collective spirits and I, for one, have been there far too long, so I wish to apologize.

Mountain ViewSeveral days ago, on a bright sunny Chinese morning, my driver and I were headed into the mountains to do what I do to earn a living (which will not be shared here). As we moved through the countryside we were grooving on a Celine Dione CD and even though he can’t speak English, Mr. Zhang was singing along with a great, big smile on his face.

We made an interesting pair, windows rolled down, shades on, music turned up and cruising through small villages rocking and rolling. The rural inhabits looked at us with dropped jaws and staring eyes (I am way too used to that, here)

As we cruised by lotus farms, rice paddies and fields of corn it occurred to me how blessed I am, how I live a lifestyle that is akin to an international spy, James Bond. Behind the Great Chinese Firewall in the center of Communist People’s Republic of China I am grooving to tunes and living the dream…the thought stopped me cold. I then realized that I had become disconnected.

Almost 20 years ago,when I first started dating my wife Terry she turned me onto Celine and her magical music. The songs of love became our totem and when we lived in Brazil and she would visit her folks in the U.S. I would listen to the music and my eyes would leak. That had not happened in ages and on that morning, several days ago, my heart was touched and I knew I had grown cold and distant. I looked around and saw the world in a different perspective.

As we continued to drive we climbed through a thin cloud cover and burst out into a blazing blue sky with the clouds rolling and turning below, it was stunning.

It occurred to me that the terraced mountainsides had, perhaps, been sculpted thousands of years ago and the geometrical patterns of varying crops painted a real-time picture to the eye that no artist or photographer could ever capture. The visuals made my pulse quicken.

WaterfallOver the past five years I have traveled this same mountain road many times but today, in the light of day with eyes and soul washed anew, it mesmerized me like never before.

We climbed higher and higher through switch backed turns and when we reached the peak, the highest point of the range which separates Sichuan province from Chongqing province, I had my driver stop and with questioning eyes he pulled off the road.

To my right was a small rise that blocked my view of Chongqing and atop that rise was a large, lone boulder. I exited the SUV, climbed the rise and looked about. The world lay beneath me and it was pulsing with life and energy.

Abandoning any concept or representation of safety I struggled to climb the boulder that seemed somewhat misplaced upon the ridge. Once I acquired my footing I looked around me again and the air in my lungs was pulled away.

On top of the world…and I am alive, breathing and engaged.

My vision was blurred with tears but the immensity of the vista below was fully perceived as I drew in a deep breath, slowly raised my arms above my head, opened my hands, stretched out my fingers and…touched the sky.

Join me, re-engage, re-energize, focus and stay on point. We have a lot of work to do for those who cannot speak for themselves and I feel their loving breath on the back of my neck.

We can do this and we will succeed. My confidence is firm.

Today; extend yourself, let go, breath deep and reclaim your ideals.

Regardless of where you are, take a moment and reach for your center, extend your arms, spread your fingers and once again…touch the sky.

Keep the faith my friends, keep the faith.

FEDERALLY PROTECTED WILD HORSES DIE, TRAPPED IN BLM ‘s PALOMINO VALLEY NV FACILITY

By Jetara Séhart of Love Wild Horses.org

WARNING: Graphic Photo Below

Photo: By Patty Bumgarner Barren shelterless pens, warehouse 1,100 wild horses, in the desert near to the  Burningman festival  site.

Photo: By Patty Bumgarner Barren shelterless pens, warehouse 1,100 wild horses, in the desert near to the Burningman festival site.

On July 10th, at 7:00 AM., Patty Bumgarner, a Nevada resident and wild horse photographer, visited The Palomino Valley Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro holding facility, to see the wild horses she loves and hoping to observe needed shelters and more water troughs provided, but instead Bumgarner discovered, another gruesome tragedy.

A mare and her unborn foal bodies lay within a pen, in mid birth and died a painful and agonizing death. The mare’s body lay lifeless by the gate, of the mare and foal pen, with her baby visibly stuck in her birth cavity.

The location of the mare’s body, appears as if she may have been begging for help, but no help ever came for her and her baby, because the BLM PVC staff, neglected to respond, until it was too late, their response came, after the mare and her new born foal, had already died. According to Bumgarner, the mare’s body was stiff and appeared to be dead for many hours.

There were no BLM staff present, except a hay truck distributing hay, in seeming disregard of the unaddressed dead mare and foal, surrounded by observing mares and foals, who walked about, with low spirit. Bumgarner observed, three BLM male staff come, into the mare and foal pen about 8:00 AM. and start up a backhoe, to move the mother and her unborn foal’s dead bodies. 

Bumgarner stated: “This facility is not properly supervising these pregnant mares and new born foals and if their aim, is to protect these horses, then it doesn’t make sense, that the mares and foals have been moved further away from the BLM office, to the very back of the facility. The further distance from the BLM office, sets up a problem to be able to properly monitor pregnant mares births and new born foal’s well being and blocks the ability to provide immediate needed address, for life threatening emergencies, to end well.”
 
Still, there are no new shelters, in this facility to protect the horses from recent and upcoming triple degree desert searing hot Sun. Bumgarner did observe, this facility put up a few partial shelters, that were used last year, but the 1,100 wild horses and burros held behind bars, do not have equal access to shelter and still are only offered 1 water trough per 100 horses in each pen.
 
The BLM’s continued failure to provide shelter and proper drinking water access, is causing health and life endangerment for all the horses held within this facility.
 
In June of 2013, advocates found another young mare dead, on the hot ground, within this facility.  

In response to the death of a young mare, at BLM facility on June 27th, 2013 issued in a press release the BLM PVC, NV facility was notified the horses needed immediate shelter to survive and adequate water trough access.

Dr. Lester Friedlander, former Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer with the USDA, and veterinarian for the NY State Horse Racing and Wagering Board, says conditions at the Palomino Valley Center call for “emergency action” by the Federal government to ensure the safety of the animals.  He says if the horses and burros are not properly protected from the heat and sun,  “countless numbers will be lost to disease, infections and heat-related deaths.”

The BLM, may again simply sweep this mare and her unborn foal’s death under the rug and chalk this incident to stemming from “unknown causes”, yet the truth and cause of deaths and suffering, point to neglect and animal abuse.

The BLM understands shelter is “preferred and “needed”, because they require adopters of a wild horse or burro, to provide a 3 sided shelter.

Recently, BLM staff demanded for themselves, at the nearby “Burningman site”, construction of a $1 million dollar compound ..”Choco Tacos, M&Ms, licorice and Chobani Greek Yogurt are just a few of the food items officials for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are demanding Burning Man organizers provide them at this year’s festival, according to documents obtained by the Reno Gazette-Journal.…” for their comfort and to attend Burningman.

Yet, if the BLM staff feel they require shelter, then the 58,000 wild horses charged by the American people to be protected by the BLM, should receive shelter to survive, and especially because a horse’s body heats up ten times faster then a human’s body.

Nearly two years ago, “The Bureau of Land Management, responded to public concern to end abuse, to create shelters and provide needed water troughs, with a “wild horse comfort workshop”, where shortly there after promises were made to try 3 shelters, to determine, which would be most effective”, today the horses are suffering and dying, still awaiting the shelters to be erected.

In October 2013, the BLM held approximately 2,000 wild horses & burros at this facility, today according to BLM’s John Neil, who aired a press release for Nevada Channel 2 news on June 9th 2015 ( re: the possibility of shade/shelter coming) there are approximately 1,100 wild horses being held at the Palomino Valley center. Then where are the 700 federally protected wild horses and burros now? 

Were they sold without authority, shipped to disappear from public view to private facilities, such as Nevada’s Indian Lakes desert shelterless BLM holding facility, or did they die from duress,or from heat related suffering ?

Simply applying solutions, in erecting shelter and providing more water troughs, to address their deadly management of the captive wild horses at this facility would result in saving thousands of beloved wild horse and burro lives.

Also, the BLM needs to move the mares and foals closer, to be carefully observed in order to survive birth and pregnancy well, in case emergency arises.

Please call your Legislatures and the White House and request they act now to protect America’s captive and free roaming wild horses and burros.

WARNING: Graphic Photo

Photo: By Patty Bumgarner, A federally protected mare, could not survive BLM's management, lays lifeless in mid-birth with her foal, near the gate at BLM's Palomino Valley center, Nevada, in a shelterless, desert pen

Photo: By Patty Bumgarner, A federally protected mare, could not survive BLM’s management, lays lifeless in mid-birth with her foal, near the gate at BLM’s Palomino Valley center, Nevada, in a shelterless, desert pen

Links for Reference:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Media Contacts: 
Jetara Séhart, Love Wild Horses, www.lovewildhorses.org (415)275-4441
Patty Bumgarner (775)301-6512

Front Range Equine Rescue Claims BLM Trying To Breed Special Mustangs In Oregon

Source: Denver CBS By JEFF BARNARD

“We just believe the Wild Horse Act was intended to protect wild horses in their natural state, not to turn herd management areas into breeding facilities for specific types of horses,”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Wild-horse advocates are challenging U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans this summer to round up the famous Kiger and Riddle Mountain mustang herds in eastern Oregon, arguing the agency is developing a “master breed” of wild horses exhibiting characteristics of old Spanish bloodlines that are popular with the public, rather than maintaining wild horses in natural conditions, as the law requires.

The Colorado-based group Front Range Equine Rescue filed an appeal of the roundup plan Wednesday with the Interior Board of Land Appeals.

The appeal argues that the BLM returns to the range only horses exhibiting Kiger characteristics, effectively breeding for those characteristics and depleting the gene pool, endangering the ability of the herds to survive in the wild.

“We just believe the Wild Horse Act was intended to protect wild horses in their natural state, not to turn herd management areas into breeding facilities for specific types of horses,” said attorney Bruce Wagman, who represents the wild horse group.

The next roundup is expected in mid-August, with adoptions at the wild horse corrals in Hines in October, the BLM said. Plans call for keeping off the range up to 105 Kigers out of a herd of 141, and 48 Riddle Mountains out of a herd of 73, according to BLM documents.

BLM spokesman Jeff Campbell said bureau lawyers were still examining the appeal, but the bureau keeps close track of the herds’ genetic diversity, bringing in outside horses to the herd when needed, and returns to the range horses less likely to be adopted.

Wagman said the appeal was the first challenge of a BLM wild horse roundup based on genetic issues. Other challenges have been based on claims of cruelty and whether environmental laws have been followed. Some wild-horse advocates also object to the use of contraceptive to control herd numbers.

Wagman said the appeal was not seeking an order immediately stopping the gather, but they hoped the BLM would hold off until the appeal was settled.

The BLM has put on hold plans to round up 300 wild horses in Nevada after a federal judge temporarily blocked it earlier this year for fear of harm to the mustangs.

The BLM gathers the Kiger and Riddle Mountain herds every four years to control their effect on the range. While other wild horse herds rounded up around the West often go begging, the BLM website says that nearly every one of the Kiger and Riddle Mountain horses brought in is adopted, some in competitive bidding. Meanwhile, nearly 50,000 wild horses are held by the BLM at a cost of $43 million a year because no one wants them.

Located about 50 miles south of Burns, the Kigers are known for being strong compact horses that bond closely with people. They come with distinctive markings, such as a stripe down the back, zebra stripes on the lower legs, long contrasting manes and fine muzzles. The most common colors are dun, but a slate gray known as grulla, and a light buckskin known as claybank, are highly prized.

At one auction in 1999, a claybank filly sold for $19,000. Another served as the model for a 2002 animated movie about wild horses called “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.”

“By capitalizing on the fame and desirability of the Kiger Mustang to the detriment of other horses presently found in the Kiger and Riddle Mountain (herds), BLM is participating in the unlawful commercial exploitation of wild horses that the Wild Horse Act sought to prohibit,” the appeal argues.

“By reducing the genetic diversity in the (herds) to only those horses with Kiger Mustang characteristics, and then conducting gathers every four years to round up these valuable Kiger horses to sell them for adoption, BLM effectively creates a breeding facility that injures the wild horses’ survival possibilities and benefits only BLM and private actors desirous of purchasing this ‘breed,’” the appeal said.

Political Back-Stabbing Kills Horse Slaughter Ammendment

By Rebecca Shabad as published on The Hill

The Face of U.S. Politics

The Face of U.S. Politics

Republicans narrowly blocked an amendment to a spending bill Wednesday that would have defunded inspections of horse slaughter facilities.

The amendment from Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) would have prohibited funding for the inspection of horse slaughter facilities, which would effectively prevent them from operating.

GOP appropriators defeated the proposal in a 24-24 vote during a markup of a bill to fund the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration.

For the last three years, Farr said the USDA has asked Congress to defund the practice in its budget requests.

“Supporting this amendment does not stop the slaughter of horses,” said Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the bill.

Aderholt argued the practice would just be moved “off-shore” and “out of sight.”

Democrats, however, said the practice is not humane and Congress has previously stated it does not support the slaughter of horses.

In April, Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Frank Guinta, (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to ban the killing of horses for human consumption in the U.S.

The bill also would ban the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses, where the animals are killed and shipped overseas.

The U.S. already has a ban in place on the sale of horse meat for human consumption, but it must be reviewed by Congress each year.

The Cloud Foundation Denounces BLM Wild Horse Research Plans

Press release issued by The Cloud Foundation

BLM sterilization studies spell doom for remaining wild horses on public lands

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, (July 8, 2015) – “The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) announcement of plans for managing wild horses on public lands is not only disturbing but highlights their commitment to managing wild horses to extinction,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation (TCF).

Four of the seven proposals being researched at taxpayer expense include permanent sterilization of stallions and/or mares. While the BLM claims they are committed to developing new tools that allow us to manage this program sustainably and for the benefit of the animals and the land,” and “for the enjoyment of generations to come,” their proposed solutions are contrary to that goal.  Permanent sterilization of wild horses on the range would continue to undermine the already threatened genetic viability of our remaining herds.  Under current plans, BLM would manage 78% of herds at a level below that required to ensure genetic viability (150-200 adult horses.)

Permanent sterilization is inconsistent with the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act which requires managing for sustainable herds. Permanent sterilization is counter to that mandate and would damage the social band structure that has allowed wild horses in North America to thrive.

Earlier this year representatives from several wild horse and rangeland preservation organizations met in Washington, D.C. with BLM Director Neill Kornze, and BLM Deputy Assistant Director for Resources and Planning, Mike Tupper, to discuss possible solutions to BLM’s ongoing dilemma regarding management of wild horses and burros.  The proposals presented included strategies for increasing the number of mares vaccinated with PZP to a level that will begin to impact population growth rates, and measures to authorize and encourage voluntary livestock grazing permit retirement in Herd Management Areas.  The groups also recommended repatriation of wild horses in BLM holding facilities to Herd Areas that have been zeroed-out. These proposed solutions would provide an immediate savings to the BLM.

Mike Tupper promised to respond to TCF and the other organizations regarding the proposals but has failed to do so.  “Advocates are more than willing to work with the BLM for sustainable management of wild horses on the range,” stated Paula Todd King, Communications Director for TCF. “Thus far the Washington, DC BLM is unwilling to consider creative options that would benefit both wild horse herds and the American taxpayer. “

Safe and effective birth control for wild horses has been available for years but BLM has chosen to use it on only a token number of mares,” continued Kathrens. “The Pryor Wild Horse Herd in Montana, the McCullough Peaks Herd in Wyoming, the Little Book Cliffs and Spring Creek Herds in Colorado are managed using PZP, a reversible remotely delivered vaccine. All these herds are nearly to the point of achieving a balance between reproduction and natural mortality.”

“Unlike the national BLM offices, these local field offices are working successfully with the public to create a situation where future wild horse removals are unnecessary,” concluded Kathrens. “Stonewalling of advocates and the American public by the National BLM office is counter-productive to successful management of wild horses on our public lands.  I fear that their actions would lead to the extinction of the North American wild horse.”

Italian Scientists Map the Genomes of Two Donkeys

As published on HorseTalk

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Scientists who sequenced the genome of two donkeys named Peppe and Pippo found more similarities with the horse genome than previous research has suggested.

The Italian research involved one of the first uses of an Ion Proton sequencer – a next-generation semiconductor-based sequencing platform – to investigate a complex and large genome.

The scientists from the universities of Bologna and Messina obtained the genetic make-up of the two unrelated male donkeys from Sicily and compared the data with information available from the previously mapped donkey draft genome from an animal reared at the Copenhagen Zoo, as well as EquCab2.0 horse genome.

Luca Fontanesi and his colleagues found that the genomes of Peppe and Pippo were more closely aligned with the horse genome than the draft donkey genome…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment directly at HorseTalk