Wild Horse Freedom Federation Director Carol Walker on Mustang Panel at Equus Film Festival This Week

GallopingToFreedomCoverWeb2-1024x819Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation will be on the Mustang Panel at the Equus Film Festival in New York City November 20-22.

America’s Magnificent Mustangs Panel will be on Saturday November 21 at 5:15 pm at the Village East Cinema 189 2nd Ave. @12th St., New York City, NY 10003

Carol will also be signing copies of her new book, Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas at the Authors and Artists Pop Up Gallery, Friday November 20 and Saturday November 21 from 10-6 pm at the Ukrainian National Home above the Ukrainian Restaurant, 140 2nd Ave., New York City, New York, 10003. She will also have artwork, her other books and the 2016 Wild Horse Freedom Federation Calendars for signing and sale.

Film Schedule, Friday November 20 and Saturday November 21:

Major Defeat for Harry Reid on Searchlight Wind Energy Project


“The pattern is clear, projects like this which generate electricity that is far above the going market rate and supported by politicians like Sen. Reid, and constructed by their corporate cronies, and invested in by their supporters, all at the expense of taxpayers and rate payers for the benefit of the well-connected. Those who profit, donate to the politicians, who in turn funnel more government loans and subsidies to projects like the Searchlight Wind Energy development.”


File Photo: Wind Turbines

A court ruling last week might be the end of the line for a large wind energy project was slated to be constructed near Sen. Harry Reid’s home town of Searchlight, Nevada. The project may not be constructed, after being stopped by a federal court ruling last week, in which the court cited a flawed report by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding the project. The 87-turbine wind generating facility would have been built on 18,949 acres of federally owned land managed by the BLM near Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Searchlight. U.S. District Court Judge Miranda M. Du cited “unexplained inconsistencies” regarding the numbers of threatened species living on the land that would have used for the development, which was intended to be built by Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy.

Du’s ruling follow a three year legal battle between the developers of the project and local opposition from Friends of Searchlight Desert and Mountains, Basin and Range Watch and Las Vegas resident Judy Bundorf.

“This is a stupid place to try to build an industrial-scale energy facility,” said Dave Becker, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs, as reported by the Las Vegas Sun, who also said the victory shows the dilemma for environmentalists who support renewable energy projects but also realize in many instances the projects would be build on lands with sensitive habitats. Becker suggested that the BLM should choose sites for renewable energy that would have “big benefits and low impacts.”

This massive wind energy project was likely the result of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid and President Barack Obama working with corporate cronies to promote the development of more renewable energy projects. Last August, Sen. Reid joined President Barack Obama for the National Clean Energy Summit at the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center in Las Vegas, where he proclaimed, “Solar isn’t just for the green crowd anymore,” speaking before lobbyists, investors and corporate executives involved in the renewable energy industry, “It’s for the green eyeshade crowd, too.”

The summit was sponsored by several “K Street firms, giant corporations and industry lobby groups” as the Timothy P. Carney reported, writing for American Enterprise Institute, and one of the key lobbying groups involved was Cassidy & Associates, a K Street firm with close ties to Sen. Reid, who donated $50,000 to Reid’s Senate Majority PAC.

“Cassidy lobbyist Rebecca Lambe was also treasurer of Reid’s Senate Majority PAC — the largest member-run super PAC in the 2014 election. Cassidy proudly touted Lambe’s connections to Reid, and her concurrent job at Reid’s SuperPAC,” Carney reported for AEI.org.

Carney pointed out that MGM Casinos was a major sponsor of the summit where President Obama was the keynote speaker, and that Kai Anderson, a former Chief of Staff for Sen. Reid, is a lobbyist for Cassidy, and lobbyist also for MGM Casinos.

The sponsors of the Las Vegas summit on renewable energy also included billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who is one of a group of billionaire environmentalists who profit from and promote heavily government-subsidized renewable energy projects, as well as Elon Musk, the creator of the heavily subsidized Solar City company.

“You see what’s happening here: Elected officials accrue more control over tax dollars, businessmen come to the trough for the tax dollars, the politicians demand a cut in the form of campaign contributions, and the aides demand a cut in the form of lobbying contracts or other revolving-door gigs,” Carney writes for AEI.org, “The insiders all win, the taxpayers and the politically unconnected companies lose. This is somehow considered acceptable because everyone shows up wearing green.”

The pattern is clear, projects like this which generate electricity that is far above the going market rate and supported by politicians like Sen. Reid, and constructed by their corporate cronies, and invested in by their supporters, all at the expense of taxpayers and rate payers for the benefit of the well-connected. Those who profit, donate to the politicians, who in turn funnel more government loans and subsidies to projects like the Searchlight Wind Energy development.

This pattern of corruption and cronyism is highlighted by the involvement of the Clean Energy Project (CEP), in promoting renewable energy projects, which received contributions in 2013 from Fulcrum Bioenergy. One of the nine corporate donors to CEP, Fulcrum received federal financing that was likely secured by Reid.


How to Feel Good on Any Sunday: Observe wild horses

SOURCE:  thestarphoenix.com

Observing wild horses

Each summer, University of Saskatchewan researchers study horses on remote Sable Island

By Andrea Hill, The Starphoenix

University of Saskatchewan professor Philip McLoughlin observes wild horses on Sable Island. Submitted photo.

University of Saskatchewan professor Philip McLoughlin observes wild horses on Sable Island. Submitted photo.

Philip McLoughlin has never been a horse person. In fact, he says he’s always been uncomfortable around those “equestrian people” who seem to live in completely different worlds from the rest of the population.

Yet McLoughlin, a population ecologist who can often be found in a third-floor office at the University of Saskatchewan’s biology building, knows he’s living many horse lovers’ dreams.

For the last eight summers, he and a group of students have jetted across the country to Sable Island. The remote and almost uninhabited sandbar nearly 200 kilometres southeast of Nova Scotia is known and widely romanticized – for its wild horses.

McLoughlin and up to four students spend two months among the 400-plus shaggy animals, observing their health, their behaviours and how they interact with each other.

From July to September, the Saskatoon researchers – who make up roughly half the island’s population – take a close look at how each individual animal contributes to the group.

“It’s basically trying to see how a population ticks from its individual components,” McLoughlin said. “We can ask all sorts of interesting questions.”

Horse droppings are collected and their parasites analyzed. Hair is bagged and tested for hormones.

Special cameras equipped with lasers are used to determine the animals’ size.

Over time, the crew will be able to answer an array of questions on horse evolution: the effects of individual personality on survival, how antibiotic resistance spreads in a population isolated from modern medicine, and other topics. “It’s definitely not just a study of the horses on this island,” McLoughlin said.

For Sarah Medill, a “horse-crazy kid”-turned-PhD student who’s spent the last four summers on Sable Island, spending months among the wild animals never gets old.

“Four years in, I still get that feeling a lot of the time that wow, it’s still pretty cool to be out here and doing this,” she said.

Wow-factor aside, Medill and her colleagues work hard during the summer. They rise early, often counting parasites in feces before sitting down to breakfast. From there, they disperse across the treeless, crescent-shaped island, which measures about 50 kilometres long by 1.5 kilometres wide.

Grey seals – the world’s largest colony calls Sable Island home – can often be seen lounging on beaches or cruising in the waves.

Countless birds, including Ipswich sparrows that breed only on the island, flit overhead.

Some students will walk 10 to 15 kilometres a day, photographing bands of horses and recording notes about their behaviour. Others identify animals for which they need fecal samples, then sit patiently, waiting for the horses to deliver.

“It’s pretty tiring work to be walking in sand for 15 kilometres, so it’s nice, every couple of days, to be able to just sit and watch,” Medill said.

The PhD student is perhaps the only person in the world who can identify every horse on the island by sight, amazing even McLoughlin with her abilities. Some horses with unique body markings are easy to recognize, but most are identified by subtleties in scars, wrinkles, whiskers and the growths on the inside of their legs known as chestnuts.

“I’m better at recognizing the horses on Sable than I am with most people walking around in my neighbourhood. It freaks me out,” Medill said.

Each horse is given a unique name and number. The U of S group has a database with information on more than 900 animals that have lived on the island since 2007, when McLoughlin, who had just come to Saskatoon from the University of Cambridge, conducted his first pilot project.


FL Congressman Demands Answers in Illegal Slaughter of 1,800 Horses

Dept. of Interior Ignored Federal Law, horses ended up in Mexican Slaughterhouse

stop_sign_horse_slaughterWASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, sent a letter on Nov 10th to the Secretary of the Interior demanding to know how 1,800 American horses ended up being butchered at a Mexican slaughterhouse in violation of federal law.

The slaughtered horses were under the care of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which failed in its duty to provide good homes and humane care to the animals, according to a report by the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior.

“It is unacceptable that BLM’s disregard of the law resulted in the use of taxpayer funds to facilitate the inhumane slaughter of iconic American wildlife,” said Buchanan.

The Inspector General’s report concluded that BLM allowed an individual livestock hauler to purchase 1,794 horses between 2008 and 2012.  Using intermediaries, he then sold the majority of these animals to slaughterhouses in Mexico for considerable profit.  It is illegal for BLM to be involved in any way in the slaughter of healthy horses, including the sale of horses to an individual who then sells the animals for slaughter.

In April 2015, Buchanan introduced the bipartisan SAFE Act (H.R. 1942), which permanently bans killing horses for human consumption in America.

Buchanan has long been a leader in the fight against animal cruelty and has been recognized by the Humane Society as a “Legislative Leader” for his work on animal welfare issues.

Full text of Buchanan’s letter below:

November 10, 2015

The Honorable Sally Jewell
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Jewell:

I am outraged to learn that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) illegally sold nearly 1,800 wild horses to a Colorado rancher who in turn sold them to Mexican slaughter plants at a great profit.  It is unacceptable that BLM’s disregard of the law resulted in the use of taxpayer funds to facilitate the inhumane slaughter of iconic American wildlife.

In a recent report, the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General (IG) found that BLM “did not follow current law” and “also failed to follow its own policy of limiting horse sales and ensuring that the horses sold went to good homes and were not slaughtered.”

The report states that BLM allowed an individual livestock hauler to purchase 1,794 horses between 2008 and 2012.  Using intermediaries, he then sold the majority of these animals to slaughterhouses in Mexico for considerable profit.  BLM received information that the hauler was sending his horses to slaughter, but neglected to thoroughly investigate these claims and continued selling animals to the hauler.

Selling wild horses for slaughter is a violation of law and the Bureau’s own policies.

BLM manages the U.S. wild horse population and is empowered to humanely destroy excess horses.  While BLM can sell excess horses to third parties in certain circumstances, the Bureau’s internal guidelines prohibit the sale to slaughterers by requiring buyers to provide good homes and humane care to the animals.

Moreover, during the period investigated by the IG, Congress prohibited BLM from spending funds “for the destruction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros in the care of [BLM] or its contractors or for the sale of wild horses and burros that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.”

Last year, more than 150,000 American horses were butchered in Canada and Mexico and then transported overseas for consumption in Japan, Italy and other countries.  Horsemeat can be toxic to humans and these animals can suffer incredible abuse even before arriving at the slaughterhouse.  During transportation, they are often confined without food and water in overcrowded trailers.  At the slaughterhouse, horses are further inhumanely treated, and are sometimes alive and kicking during dismemberment.

I am also troubled that, as part of this illegal sale, $140,000 of taxpayer money was used to transport horses to the buyer.  Moreover, the sale by BLM helped the buyer earn more than $150,000 in profits from selling the horses for slaughter.  These are funds that properly belong to the American public.

It is shocking that the employees who sold the animals to the hauler received bonuses for these sales.  It is even more disturbing that BLM continued to sell horses to the hauler even after they were given information that he was sending the horses to slaughter.  And it is a dereliction of duty that BLM did not attempt to verify the information they received.

BLM must be held accountable for breaking the law.

I respectfully request that the Department of the Interior provide my office with written answers to the following questions within 30 days:

  1. Please describe the discipline imposed upon BLM employees who facilitated these illegal transactions.  If these employees were not terminated, please state why the agency believes it is proper to continue to employ individuals who supported criminal activity.
  1. What steps are Interior and BLM taking to recover the $140,000 of taxpayer funds use to deliver horses to the hauler?
  1. Is Interior or BLM taking action to recover the hauler’s profits from the illegal slaughter of the horses?
  1. Is Interior or BLM taking action to recover bonuses paid to any employees who facilitated this crime?
  1. Does BLM receive reports that buyers of horses may be illegally selling horses for slaughter?  If so, why were reports ignored in the case described in the IG report?  Can you say with certainty that reports have not been ignored in any other potential cases?
  1. The IG report identifies Southwest Livestock LLC as a “kill buyer” that exported 12,000 horses per year to Mexico for slaughter after such activity was banned.  Please describe what actions, if any, you are taking to ensure that this company is not engaging in horse slaughter and is held accountable for its illegal activities.
  1. Please provide your understanding of why federal and state prosecutors failed to take action in the case described in the IG report.  In particular, please describe any interaction that employees of Interior or BLM had with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado or the State of Colorado Conejos County District Attorney’s Office with respect to the activities described in the IG report, noting the following:
  • Whether any employees testified under oath about these activities.
  • Whether any employees were offered incentives for their testimony, such as potential immunity or reduced charges.
  • Any family relationships that employees of Bureau of Land Management have with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado or the State of Colorado Conejos County District Attorney’s Office.

I look forward to your prompt response and thank you for your time and attention to this matter.



Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress

cc:  The Honorable Neil Kornze, Director, Bureau of Land Management

Please forward the above letter to YOUR Congressman and respectfully request a Congressional Investigation” – R.T.

Livestock Data Fills Gap in Ongoing Wild Horse Debate

SOURCE:  The Daily Pitchfork


Photography: Bryce Gray

BLM and USFS-reported grazing stats reveal the extent of private livestock production on millions of acres of overgrazed western public range and forest land, challenging rancher claims that wild horses and burros are to blame.

by Vickery Eckhoff

A side-by-side analysis of 2014 grazing data shows wild horses greatly outnumbered by millions of privately owned livestock across 251 million acres of western public grass and forest land.

The data includes 2014 year-end grazing receipts of $17.1 million published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service (USFS), a figure that equates to a livestock total of 2.1 million cattle. This is 37 times greater than the 56,656 free-roaming wild horses and burros estimated by both agencies in 2014.

Other BLM and USFS reported data show private livestock allocated 97 percent of the forage across all 251 million acres of BLM and USFS-managed lands. Wild horse and burros inhabit 12 percent of that land and are allocated 3 percent of forage overall.

Read the rest of the article, and find the link to read the fully footnoted analysis by the Daily Pitchfork HERE.


Nevada Politicians Skew Figures and Falsify Facts in Public Propaganda War Against Wild Horses and Burros

“Once again Western Special Interest Politicians are grasping numbers out of their backside where their heads reside most of the time. Without science, fact or evidence they spout out numbers and figures that paint a false representation of what is really going on upon our western public lands. It is Babel speak as usual with the horses and burros catching the flack for the damage to the land that is, instead, caused by tens of thousands of privately owned cattle and sheep. According to these false prophets only the horses eat and poop while the welfare cattle and sheep simply live on air alone…it’s all so very disgusting. Time to vote into office individuals who speak the truth, listen to the public and truly care about our public lands; do such politicians exist? We can only hope.” ~ R.T.

Story By Henry Brean
Las Vegas Review-Journal

“…birth control treatments, “humane euthanasia,” roundups, adoptions and other efforts to shrink herds…”

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Republicans in Congress want the Bureau of Land Management to answer for an “ineffective” strategy that has failed to halt the explosion of wild horse and burro populations both on the range and in captivity.

In a Nov. 4 letter to BLM director Neil Kornze, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei from Nevada and 18 other lawmakers requested a detailed report on what the agency is doing now and what it plans to do in the future to bring horse populations under control.

According to the letter, current strategies “have been largely unsuccessful” across the West, leading to overcrowding in BLM herd management areas and holding facilities, poor herd health and damage to range land.

“Almost half of the 100,000 horses under the purview of the Bureau of Land Management are located in holding facilities off the range, and adoptions have fallen by almost 70 percent in the last 10 years,” the letter says.

The lawmakers are asking the BLM for details on birth control treatments, “humane euthanasia,” roundups, adoptions and other efforts to shrink herds to the agency’s own “appropriate management level” for the West, which calls for a total population of no more than 26,715 horses and burros across 10 states.

As of March 1, there were some 58,150 horses and burros living free on the range, more than half of them in Nevada, according to BLM estimates.

In addition to information on current efforts, Congressional Republicans want Kornze and company to produce four to six detailed plans, including timelines and cost estimates, to “effectively curb the overarching trend of overstocked” herd management areas.

BLM spokesman Craig Leff said the agency is still reviewing the inquiry from Congress and is “committed to improving the health of the horses and the land.”

Leff said the bureau is already working to put its horse and burro program “on a more cost-effective, sustainable track” consistent with the recommendations of a 2013 report by the National Academy of Sciences that determined wild horse and burro populations on federal land in the West were growing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent annually.

“As part of our long-term strategy, the BLM in partnership with universities and the U.S. Geological Survey is developing more effective fertility control methods,” Leff said in an email.

The agency is also “promoting public-private eco-sanctuaries or off-range pastures to hold excess wild horses removed from western public rangelands and working to boost adoptions by making more trained horses available to the public for adoption,” Leff said.

The GOP letter comes two months after the BLM removed more than 200 wild horses said to be on the verge of starvation in the Spring Mountains northwest of Las Vegas. At least 28 of those animals collected from around the tiny community of Cold Creek were later killed because they were deemed too far gone to save.

The BLM’s appropriate management level for the 102,000 acres surrounding Cold Creek is 66 adult horses. In May, the bureau counted about 470 horses in the area.

The BLM rounded up 250 horses from the same herd in 2007 and treated some of the remaining animals with birth control chemicals. One of those mares and her newborn foal were among the horses removed from the range in August.

Heller spokesman Michawn Rich said the federal government has a responsibility to address the wild horse issue, especially in Nevada, where almost 87 percent of the land is under federal control.

“Without proper and responsible management,” said Rich in an email, “these wild horses will continue to suffer and have a devastating impact on range land, sage-grouse habitat, and other agricultural and natural resources.”

Veteran’s Day: Sgt. Reckless – the Real War Horse

“It is Veteran’s Day and being a veteran of several armed conflicts, myself, I would like to tip my hat to all of the women, men, dogs and even horses who have served (and are still serving) to protect our Constitution and this great land that we call The United States of America.  The sacrifices have been many and all deserve to be honored for their valor, commitment, sense of duty and patriotic pride…we all thank you.

And with that said, I have been asked to pay tribute, this day, to a very special little mare that served and saved many American lives during the Korean war, the horse called Sgt. Reckless.  We ran this story back in 2012 and we reprint the timeless tale and information again today.  Thank you Sgt. Reckless and to all the service animals that help to keep our military safe and secure.  You have our honor and our respect.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

Information supplied by sgtreckless.com and realwarhorse.com

A Four-Legged American War Hero

Click Image to Visit the Sgt. Reckless Website

The story of Reckless is not only remarkable – it is unusual. And once you learn about her, you will see why the Marine Corps not only fell in love with her – but honored her and promoted her every chance they got. And it wasn’t just the Marines that served with her in the trenches that honored her – her last promotion to Staff Sergeant was by Gen. Randolph McC Pate – the Commandant of the entire Marine Corps. You can’t get higher than that in the Marines.

Reckless joined the Marines to carry ammunition to the front lines for the 75mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marines – and she quickly earned the love and respect of all of the Marines that served with her. Lt. Eric Pedersen paid $250 of his own money to a young Korean boy, Kim Huk Moon, for her. The only reason Kim sold his beloved horse was so he could buy an artificial leg for his older sister, Chung Soon, who lost her leg in a land mine accident.

Kim’s loss was the Marines’ gain.

It was not only Reckless’ heroics that endeared the Marines to her – it was her incredible antics off of the battlefield. You will not believe her antics when she was being ignored, or if she was hungry – let’s just say you never wanted to leave your food unattended. As legendary as she was for her heroics – her appetite became even more legendary. This horse had a mind of her own – not to mention, being very determined.

Reckless had a voracious appetite. She would eat anything and everything – but especially scrambled eggs and pancakes in the morning with her morning cup of coffee. She also loved cake, Hershey bars, candy from the C rations, and Coca Cola – even poker chips, blankets and hats when she was being ignored – or if she was trying to just prove a point.

One of Reckless’ finest hours came during the Battle of Outpost Vegas in March of 1953. At the time of this battle it was written that, “The savagery of the battle for the so-called Nevada Complex has never been equaled in Marine Corps history.” This particular battle “was to bring a cannonading and bombing seldom experienced in warfare … twenty-eight tons of bombs and hundreds of the largest shells turned the crest of Vegas into a smoking, death-pocked rubble.” And Reckless was in the middle of all of it.

Enemy soldiers could see her as she made her way across the deadly “no man’s land” rice paddies and up the steep 45-degree mountain trails that led to the firing sites. “It’s difficult to describe the elation and the boost in morale that little white-faced mare gave Marines as she outfoxed the enemy bringing vitally needed ammunition up the mountain,” Sgt. Maj. James E. Bobbitt recalled.

During this five-day battle, on one day alone she made 51 trips from the Ammunition Supply Point to the firing sites, 95% of the time by herself. She carried 386 rounds of ammunition (over 9,000 pounds – almost FIVE TONS! — of ammunition), walked over 35 miles through open rice paddies and up steep mountains with enemy fire coming in at the rate of 500 rounds per minute. And as she so often did, she would carry wounded soldiers down the mountain to safety, unload them, get reloaded with ammo, and off she would go back up to the guns. She also provided a shield for several Marines who were trapped trying to make their way up to the front line. Wounded twice, she didn’t let that stop or slow her down.

What she did in this battle not only earned her the respect of all that served with her, but it got her promoted to Sergeant. Her heroics defined the word “Marine.” She was BELOVED by the Marines. They took care of her better than they took care of themselves – throwing their flak jackets over her to protect her when incoming was heavy, risking their own safety.

Her Military Decorations include two Purple Hearts, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with star, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, all of which she wore proudly on her red and gold blanket, along with a French Fourragere that the 5th Marines earned in WW1.

There has never been a horse like Reckless, and her story needs to be honored.


Elizabeth Forel of Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 11/11/15)


Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , Nov. 11, 2015

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

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

or listen to the show live on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

This is a 1 hour show.  It will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.


Our guests Wednesday night are Elizabeth Forel (President) and Mary Culpepper (Vice President) of the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages, a campaign dedicated to banning the inhumane, unsafe horse-drawn carriages in New York City.  Susan Wagner of Equine Advocates will also join in to tell you about BOBBY II FREEDOM, a former NYC carriage horse previously known as Billy ID# 2873, rescued by the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates in 2010 from the New Holland auctions.


Bobby-180 BOBBY II FREEDOM, a former NYC carriage horse previously known as Billy ID# 2873 rescued by the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates on June 25, 2010 from the New Holland auctions.

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

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

Continue reading

A Legendary Breed of Wild Horse Returns to Russia

Story by Svetlana Arkhangelskaya, special to RBTH as published in ‘Russia Beyond the Headlines

There are only about 2,000 Przewalski horses left in the world, but in October six endangered members of this species arrived in Russia. Scientists hope to restore them in the wild, and they are also betting that the horses will contribute to the restoration of the steppe ecosystem.

Wild Outer Mongolian Takhi - photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Outer Mongolian Takhi – photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Zoologists say very few wild horses remain on earth, with the Przewalski horse counting among them. Of the less than 2,000 Przewalski horses left, 300 live in the wild and about 1,500 are in captive breeding programs and zoos. Le Villaret in France is one of the largest natural reserves for these horses.

Recently, six Przewalski horses were brought by plane from France to the Russian city of Orenburg as part of a new program to return them to their original habitat.

China and Mongolia launched their own reintroduction programs in the early 1990s. Also, a few horses were released, as an experiment, into the exclusion zone near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. There, they began to actively proliferate despite the radiation. Now, according to scientists, the Przewalski horse population in the Chernobyl zone amounts to about 100.

Why they left the steppe

About 100 years ago this wild horse was still found in the Eurasian steppes — in the expanses of Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. But the Przewalski horse was driven from its original habitat by man’s development of cattle-breeding. When the horse could no longer roam freely over the expanse of the steppe, the animal perished.

Today, this steppe beauty can be seen only in zoos. Captivity, however, effects these horses adversely because in the wild they were in constant motion, covering many kilometers each day.

As in the case of European bison, when the number of horses in captivity reached a critical mass the question arose of returning the species to the wild. The horses were presented to Orenburg by the French Association for the Przewalski Horse (Association pour le cheval de Przewalski, or TAKH). At the Tour du Valat Biological Station, several generations of horses are kept in a fenced-off area, similar to their natural environment.

The steppe needs the horse

Prehistoric Takhi reintroduced into Outer Mongolia ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Prehistoric Takhi reintroduced into Outer Mongolia ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The reintroduction program was the brainchild of the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Orenburg Reserve. Its steppe territory is the historic home of the Przewalski horse, and the steppe needs this horse to survive, literally.

“In steppe ecosystems these animals contribute to their recovery,” said Olga Pereladova, the head of the World Wildlife Fund’s Central Asian program. “If horses are not grazing in the steppe it deteriorates because vegetation is not trampled; overabundance of grass can cause fires.”

According to scientists, it is important not only that the horses have adapted to the new conditions of the Ural steppes, but also that they did not mix with farm-raised horses when stallions expelled competitors from the group.

In this case, the unique gene pool would be lost. That is why the animals were initially placed in the fenced-off reserve, allowing for enough time until a stable population capable of existing under natural selection could be formed. For this, it is necessary to have 1,000 horses, with half being of reproductive age.

Men in Surveillance Photos not Involved in FL Horse Slaughter Case

Source: Fox13News.com

The Sheriff’s Office said the investigation will continue…

– Two men seen in surveillance photos released by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office are not connected to a horse slaughter case.

The horse was found slaughtered on a Palmetto farm on Oct. 25. Authorities believe the horse was targeted for its meat.

On Nov. 5, investigators released photos of two men and their modified van at a convenience store in hopes of identifying them.

Deputies said Sunday the men had been identified and it was determined that they did not have any information and were not involved in the case.