Ochoco National Forest Revamping Wild Horse Plan

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin /

Current Big Summit herd guidelines have been in place since 1975

OchocoHorsesThe Ochoco National Forest is set to revise a 40-year-old management plan for a wild horse herd near Prineville and is looking for help from the public in the revision.

“We are basically going to redo the plan,” Tory Kurtz, rangeland management specialist for the national forest, said Tuesday.

Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971, and four years later, in 1975, the Ochoco National Forest established a 27,300-acre management area for the Big Summit herd of wild horses. The act protects wild horses in designated areas, which include the more than 42-square-mile Big Summit management area. The management plan for the Big Summit herd, also known as the Ochoco Mustangs, has not been updated since 1975.

Revising the plan is not related to the planned roundup of wild horses east of Lakeview in south-central Oregon. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management began preparations Monday for the roundup of more than 1,000 wild horses in the Beatys Butte herd, drawing criticism from wild horse advocacy groups.

The Big Summit herd is the only wild horse herd in Oregon and Washington solely managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The BLM manages most herds in Oregon.

In the middle of the Ochoco National Forest, just west of Big Summit Prairie, the Big Summit herd management area is predominantly wooded.

Each June, the national forest teams up with volunteers to count the wild horses. The count is conducted on foot or horseback because of the terrain.

This past June, the count showed about 150 wild horses, Kurtz said. While horses in the herd have been captured or adopted in the past, she said that hasn’t occurred since 2010 in part because of the aging management plan. The revised plan probably would detail how to conduct captures and adoptions.

In October 2013, six horses from the herd were found shot, five were dead and one was so badly wounded it was euthanized , all near Big Summit Prairie. The case remains open, according to Ochoco National Forest and Forest Service law enforcement officials.

National forest officials are inviting the public to join a stakeholder group, convened by the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, to develop plan recommendations. Starting in December, the group is set to meet monthly for at least two years, according to the national forest. Overhauling the plan is expected to take up to three years.

The current plan is outdated and does not address modern issues about wild horses, said Gayle Hunt, president of the Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition. She is glad the plan is set for an update.

“It’s way overdue,” she said. Established in 2002, the nonprofit aids in the management of wild horses in Central Oregon, particularly the Big Summit herd. Hunt said Ochoco National Forest officials have worked well with people advocating for wild horses.

Issues likely to be tackled in the revised plan include wild horse birth control and adoption programs, both aimed at keeping herd size in check. Kurtz said the current plan does not have a target number for the herd.

What will be in the new plan depends on the direction taken by the stakeholder group.

“We don’t really have anything set in stone,” Kurtz said.

Author Speculates On A Long History Of Human-Horse Companionship

Source: NPR.org

Horses are some of humans’ greatest companions. Wendy Williams, author of ‘The Horse’,  joins NPR’s Scott Simon to talk about that partnership, and how horses interact with other horses in the wild.

Listen to the Story


Prehistoric HorseThere’s a spot on the grasses of the Serengeti in which the steps of small three-toed ancestors of horses seem to fall into the same path as the footprints of early hominids. Were they walking together, hunting together, or did two groups just encounter each other more than 50 million years ago and decide they’d walk on together? The author of a new book says it’s impossible to tell but irresistible not to speculate that these fossilized prints depict an extraordinary partnership that’s lasted for centuries. Wendy Williams’ book is “The Horse: The Epic History Of Our Noble Companion.” And Wendy Williams, the author and journalist, joins us from member station WCAI in Woods Hole, Mass. Thanks so much for being with us.

WENDY WILLIAMS: Well, I’m so delighted you liked the book.

SIMON: Why do horses have hooves, not paws or claws or fingers?

WILLIAMS: You know, that’s a question that I’ve been wondering about maybe since I was 5 years old. I don’t think many people really think about it, but horses are the only animal on earth that has a – a hoof.

SIMON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: Other animals have hooves on – at the bottom of each leg, but the horse has managed to evolve just one hoof. And the answer to that question has to do with all kinds of changes on the earth – tectonic collisions and the rising of mountains and the explosion of volcanoes and the spread of grass and cold weather and warm weather and then cold weather again. It’s all these very, very complicated energy systems that ended up giving us the horse that we have in the modern world today.

SIMON: You learned a lot as a youngster from a horse named Whisper, didn’t you?

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes, Whisper. So in those days, I had a very small barn that I had to carry water back and forth from because there was no water down at the barn. In the summer time, of course, you can just run a hose down there. But in Vermont in the winter time, it’s minus-10 degrees, so that doesn’t work. One day, I thought I was being extremely clever by bringing the horses up to the water faucet on the side of the house and putting buckets under there for them to drink their fill. And I guess in the short run I was being somewhat clever. But in the long run, it didn’t pay off. The reason was that one day when I got up and I was a little bit grumpy because it was minus-10 degrees outside, I decided to have a second cup of coffee instead of run down immediately and water and feed the horses. And as I wrote in the book, as any barn hand knows, this will cause consternation in the stalls. So while I was having my second cup of coffee, Whisper comes leaping over the fence. I had no idea he could even jump, let alone jump like that with such elegance and just come trotting right up to the side of the house and take his hoof and pow, pow, pow on the water faucet until he managed to turn the water on. Of course, I learned my lesson because what I did not want to do was pay for a plumber to have to come and fix the water faucet. So I managed to get up from then on, on time to bring them their food and water.

SIMON: For years, scientists thought that stallions had – they even use the terminology harems of mares. You think that might’ve been the product of modern scientists having male blinders on.

WILLIAMS: I don’t want to accuse anyone here. But let me just put it this way – stallions are major-league drama queens. And when stallions have at it with each other, the mares don’t pay much attention because they’re used to it. But we pay attention, we look at it and we imagine that that kind of arguing on standing on two hooves…

SIMON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: …And hitting the other stallion with the front hooves, we imagine that that they control things. But in fact, they have some input into a band of mares, but the mares tend to make a lot of their own decisions. And if the stallion wants to be part of that, he has to just come along because they’re going to go where they’re going to go. If they want to get water, they’re going to go get it. If they think there’s a better place to eat grass, they’ll do that. And the stallion is allowed to come along. But he’s certainly not the major decision-maker in a band of horses.

SIMON: Yeah. This substantially turns on its head the kind of folk myth that we’ve had for years, right?

WILLIAMS: Well, I grew up with that. I think I’ve probably read every horse book for kids that was ever written. And I grew up reading that the stallion protected the herd and that the stallion would fight off all the enemies. Some stallions do fight off enemies to some degree. But to be honest, the scientist I interviewed, Jason Ransom, said that he’d seen some stallions take off in the face of danger as much as he’d seen them defend the band.

SIMON: We humans like to think we’ve domesticated horses to haul things and plow fields and help us rove the earth. But you suggest there might be something more complicated going on.

WILLIAMS: I don’t to think it’s a black and white kind of thing. I don’t think a horse is either domesticated or wild. I think they’re just a lot of nuances in that relationship, and that’s not just me. Scientists who study these things in all kinds of animals are beginning to understand the nuances in a relationship. And they’re beginning to understand that many animals, horses included, may actually choose to be with us.

SIMON: Are we on the verge of what amounts to a kind of – a new understanding that suggests a new partnership between humans and horses?

WILLIAMS: I’m sure that’s happening. It’s amazing to me – I had to set up a Facebook site because my publisher wanted me to, and I am astonished by the number of people all around the world who are working in this new way. As I say, it involves a lot more compassion for the horse. It involves a lot more communication with the horse.

SIMON: Because we don’t rely on the horse for transportation and plowing, that kind of close-working partnership anymore. But yet the popularity of the horse is undiminished.

WILLIAMS: People still love horses. It’s just something about their beauty, their grace, their affinity for speed. You know, we are traveling animals and so are the horses, so we just naturally belong together.

SIMON: Wendy Williams’ book is “The Horse: The Epic History Of Our Noble Companion.” Thanks so much for being with us.

WILLIAMS: Well, thanks for asking me.


DOC WATSON: (Singing) The Tennessee stud was long and lean, the color of the sun and his eyes were green. He had the nerve and he had the blood, and there never was a horse like the Tennessee stud.

Victoria Racimo talks about film “One Day” (about Our Mims) on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wednesday, 11/4/15)



Join us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , Nov. 4, 2015 Continue reading

Reward Grows for Florida Show Horse Killer

of News Channel 8

Reward Grows to $50,000 with help from outside Horse Industry

Click on image to view video

                 Click on image to view video

PALMETTO, FL (WFLA) – Horses are still being cared for at the Imperial Farms Equestrian center in Palmetto, a week after an expensive show horse was tortured and slaughtered on the grounds in the middle of the night.

Since then, workers have been installing new night vision cameras to keep an eye on the other horses in the stables, and that’s just the beginning.

Steve Stephens the owner of Imperial Farms said, “there will be a laser light that you wont even be able to walk into a horses stall without setting an alarm, you will not be able to walk a horse out of the stall and get them out of the barn.”

The 12-year-old show horse was led from a barn and into a nearby wooded area, where it was butchered.

People in and out of the horse industry have since helped create a reward fund, that’s grown to more than 50 thousand dollars.

Stephens added, “somebody out there knows somebody that either does it, has done it, or is doing it and you get a big enough of a reward and greed is going to come into the picture and somebody is probably going to get turned in.”

It’s believed the killers targeted the larger than a normal-sized horse for its meat, not knowing its real value, more than two-hundred thousand dollars.

But it wasn’t insured.

Stephens went on to say, “in a way were are glad he wasn’t insured so that anybody could accused anybody of that that was done for insurance purposes, it was not.”

While other steps are being taken to prevent this from happening again, the owners of the equestrian center just want the culprits caught.

Casualties of the vanishing West: How Monied Interests are Forcefully Evicting Wild Horses and Burros

by as published in The Salon

A little-known 2004 amendment to a Nixon-era law allows formerly protected wild mares to be auctioned for slaughter

Former wild horses imprisoned by the BLM photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Former wild horses imprisoned by the BLM photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Chief, a Kiger mustang born in the remote wilderness of Utah, lives with 400 other rescued wild horses and burros in a 1,500 acre sanctuary, hundreds of miles from his original home. Years ago the stallion was captured in a round up led by the Bureau of Land Management. After a long helicopter chase, he ended up in a government-run holding facility for years before being adopted by Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA. Not all horses rounded up by the BLM are as lucky.

The majority of captured equines remain stuck for years, if not for the rest of their lives, in cramped holding facilities that are quickly running out of space. As of July 2015 the facilities held 47,000 wild horses, and the BLM’s holding capacity is set at 50,929. Yet the agency is planning to remove another 2,739 wild horses and burros this year at a taxpayer cost of $78 million.

An example of an emergency holding facility for excess mustangs is a cattle feedlot in Scott City, Kansas. In 2014, a BLM contractor leased the feedlot, owned by Beef Belt LLC, to hold 1,900 mares. The horses were transported from pasture to corrals designed for fattening up cattle. Within the first few weeks of their arrival, at least 75 mares died. Mortality reports acquired from the BLM through the Freedom of Information Act show that as of June 2015, 143 more horses had died. The facility is closed to the public.

BLM’s management of American wild horses and burros has several tales of mismanagement and animal neglect like the one above. Since 1971, the BLM has removed more than 270,000 wild horses and burros from public lands, in what it says is an effort to avoid overpopulation and “to protect animal and land health.” Ideally the rounded up animals should be adopted or shipped to long-term pastures, but in the past several years the number of horses being adopted have fallen dramatically. As a result, every year, more and more of these animals end up languishing in what are supposed to be temporary holding facilities.

Over the past four decades the BLM has eradicated or moved to holding facilities more than 70 percent of the country’s wild horse population. According to BLM’s current estimates, there are only about 48,000 horses remaining in the wild.

The Bureau of Land Management is mandated by law to protect the future of the wild horses and burros of America. In 1971, in response to growing public protest over the indiscriminate capture and slaughter of wild horses by ranchers and hunters, President Richard Nixon signed the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, making harassing or killing feral horses or burros on federal land a criminal offense. The law recognized the animals as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”

In 2004 the Act was stripped of its central purpose when Republican Senator Conrad Burns of Montana prepared what is now widely known as “the Burns Amendment.” Taking advantage of his position as chair of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, Burns slipped his bill in with complete secrecy, knowing that committee reports cannot be amended. The bill amending the 1971 Act was never introduced to Congress; it was never discussed or voted on. The amendment allows the BLM to sell older and unadoptable animals at livestock auctions. These auctions often draw ‘kill buyers’ who seek horses for slaughterhouses, as the LA Times reports.

The Burns Amendment overruled critical sections of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and overturned 33 years of national policy.

“The law was one of the few ever passed unanimously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. To ignore the democratic will of the general public of the US in order to favor certain minority vested interests, mainly rich individuals and corporations, is a true perversion of democracy and a shameful betrayal,” says wildlife ecologist and author Craig Downer.

Before becoming an advocate for the wild horse and burro cause, Downer worked for the BLM. He conducted stream site inventory and assessment work in their Nevada chapter. During his time at the agency, he learned that wild horses and burros weren’t the animals that were causing stream and lakeside habitat degradation in regions where they roamed free.

”Overwhelmingly it was the livestock, chiefly cattle, that degrade the vital riparian habitats. They are post-gastric digesters while the other large North American grazers are almost exclusively ruminant digesters. Horses and burros also disperse their foraging over vaster areas and into more rugged terrain than cattle,” he says.

Here’s how Downer explains it further. (Excerpted from his presentation at the Wild Horse Summit in 2008):

“Being much less mobile than wild horses and burros, livestock concentrate their grazing pressures in certain areas, especially in and along species-rich stream, marsh, or lake shore habitats known as riparian (which I have experience monitoring with the BLM). Cattle and sheep have destroyed these riparian habitats on a large scale by overgrazing throughout the West — as throughout the world, especially in arid and semi-arid areas, and thus are responsible for the extinction or near extinction of literally thousands of species of plants and animals.

The wild horses, on the other hand, do not linger at watering sites or along riparian areas but disperse their grazing pressure much more broadly in the arid to semi-arid West; and as a consequence they greatly reduce dry parched vegetation. Their post-gastric digestive system is perfectly suited to taking advantage of this drier, usually coarser vegetation, as such does not entail as much metabolic energy involved with the more thorough breakdown of this food when compared with ruminant grazers: cattle, sheep, deer, elk, etc. Their digestion also favors the dispersal of the seeds of many native plant species that are not as degraded in passing through their digestive tracts. These involve species that have in many cases co-evolved for millions of years with horses and even burro-like Asses, developing many mutually beneficial symbioses in the process.”

According to the BLM, there is an overpopulation of horses on public lands. The agency states that because of federal protection and a lack of natural predators, wild horse and burro herds can double in size about every four years, which leads to habitat degradation and unhealthy herds. Yet the agency allows millions of cows to graze on the same lands where wild horses were previously removed.

Cows originate from Europe and thus are adapted to riparian meadow areas. Their grazing can be devastating for dry Western ecosystems, especially in many areas where they outnumber wild horses 50 to 1. According to Downer, well-managed wild horse populations can contribute positively to ecosystems that they have adapted to due to their evolutionary past. “Restoring the missing ‘equid element’ with its post-gastric digestive system works wonders for the plains and prairies as well as the drier regions further west,” he explains.

But it is not only cattle that are granted right-of-way on public lands. In 2010, a controversial round up held in the Calico Mountain Complex of Nevada removed 2,500 horses from their habitat. The round up caused 160 horse deaths, including those of two foals who were chased on icy terrain until their hooves had sloughed off. The eradication of a healthy horse population from such a remote location raised questions.

There were allegations that the removal was initiated to make way for a multi-billion dollar corporate project, the Ruby Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that traverses through northern Nevada on its way from Wyoming to Oregon. The BLM denied any connection, but Pipeline construction began four months after the round up, and the natural gas line now runs through the mountain complex.

BLM spokesperson Greg Fuhs says the agency does not give away rights-of-way to companies. “The BLM authorizes specific pieces of public land for certain projects and charges rent for such use,” he says. “The BLM collects forage fees for livestock grazing, conducts oil and gas lease sales, and requires payment of an annual maintenance fee (unless labor is performed or improvements are made) on mining claims.”

The BLM’s management of wild horses has long been under scrutiny. In 1994 Jim Baca, then director of the BLM, started an internal investigation into illegal practices within the agency. He found that BLM employees were selling wild horses to contractors for slaughter. The scheme involved the use of satellite ranches and so-called horse sanctuaries set up to hide the horses.

The US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas wanted to bring criminal indictments against BLM officials, but the case was closed in the summer of 1997 after federal officials in Washington DC, including officials not involved in the investigation, intervened.

“I believe that my investigation was obstructed all along by persons within the BLM because they did not want to be embarrassed,” the prosecutor, Mrs. Alia Ludlum, wrote in a memo that year, a copy of which, along with thousands of other grand jury documents, was obtained by the Associated Press. “I think there is a terrible problem with the program and with government agents placing themselves above the law,” Ludlum wrote.

According to Baca during the investigation, Bruce Babbitt, then Secretary of the Interior, told him to back off. Baca left office the same year.

“The wild horse and burro program has always been answerable to only the livestock industry and their political power over Western Senators and Congressmen. All of the administrations bow to that power, ” Baca says.

According to Baca, in failing to understand the importance of western public lands, administrations continue sacrificing them for special interests. “They don’t see any gain to their political careers by rocking the boat.”

Baca believes the horse numbers should be controlled, but they should not be on a slow course to extinction. “Every horse not on the range means another cow and calf that will be. BLM has always been a step child to the whims of the oil, gas, coal, mining and livestock industries.”

Baca believes the idea of special sanctuaries on the range is promising. “The wild horses should be allowed to exist for future generations to appreciate. A wild horse crammed into a corral is nothing more than a life sentence to misery.”

The BLM’s annual wild horse and burro round up is already underway this year (see reports here and here). Wild horse and burro advocates say if the animals are not rounded up, but instead have their numbers managed via fertility control methods, maintaining them would cost virtually nothing – providing a solution for the program’s inefficiency and high cost.

About 60 to 70 percent of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program budget is spent on roundups and holding facilities, while only 6 percent is spent on fertility control and keeping horses on the range. (In 2014, holding horses in off-range facilities cost more than $43 million, which accounted for 63 percent of the Wild Horse and Burro Program’s annual budget. The total lifetime cost for caring for a captured animal that’s not adopted is nearly $50,000.) Redirecting federal funds from costly and traumatic round-ups to in-the-wild fertility management could save taxpayers millions.

Feel Good Sunday: Denver Zoo Welcomes Mongolian Horse Foal

By Noelle Phillips of the Denver Post

“This ‘Feel Good Sunday’ installment strikes a special cord in the collective hearts of Terry and myself as only 3 short years ago we trekked on horseback across Outer Mongolia seeking out and documenting the only few hundred prehistoric ‘Takhi‘ wild horses still remaining on this planet (we refrain from using the western name of Przewalski as his discovery lead to the horse’s ultimate demise and virtual extinction).  It was a touching and eye opening experience so we are pleased that one new Takhi life has been added to this planet, all be it captive.  One day our North American wild horses and burros may be in the same boat that these Asian wild horses are, hence our journey to see what a country is doing to try to put the horses BACK where they belong instead of ripping them from their rightful range.  Enjoy! (Click (HERE) to read more about our Trek)” ~ R.T.

A long-legged wild horse foal is following his mother around a Denver Zoo enclosure after being born Thursday. The Przewalski’s horse was the second of his kind to be born at the zoo since 1991, a news release said. Guests can see mother and foal from the zoo’s main pathway.

Przewalski’s (pronounced sheh-VAL-skees) horses also are known as Mongolian wild horses or Asiatic wild horses. They once roamed Europe and Asia but today are found only in the wild in Mongolia and China, the zoo said. There are an estimated 380 in the wild.

The species was extinct in the wild for 30 years before reintroduction projects began in the early 1990s.

The Denver Zoo helps support captive breeding programs that have prevented the animal from becoming extinct, the news release said.

Legend of the Donkey Lady still Haunts Texas Woods

Story by Jack Dennis as published in The Examiner

“We are doing something a little different for Halloween…hope that you enjoy it and today, have fun but above all else, BE SAFE!!!” ~ R.T.

The legend of the Donkey Lady still haunts the wooded areas south of San Antonio, Texas. Graphic by Jack Dennis

The legend of the Donkey Lady still haunts the wooded areas south of San Antonio, Texas.
Graphic by Jack Dennis

The bone chilling legend of the Donkey Lady offers that a half-woman-half-donkey-like creature continues to haunt the concentrated woods amid the Medina and San Antonio Rivers just south of the Alamo City. Faithfully, an October and Halloween tradition of searching for the terrifying Donkey Lady, or by now, perhaps her ghost, has been a teenage ritual going as far back as the late 1940s.

A few years back, Harlandale High School classmates and residents of the 1940s and 1950s sat at their local favorite lunch hangout on the south side, Bud Jones Restaurant at Military Drive and Commercial discussing their youth. The conversation turned to the Donkey Lady.

“To this day I swear it wasn’t just a made up deal,” claimed Archie Mabry, a retired electrician, who recalled “going out there as far back as about 1952 or 53. We decided we were going to ride out bicycles out there and actually camp because we wanted to find her.”

“The story we were told by, our older brothers, sisters and classmates, was that there was a man and woman, who lived with their small children near Elm Creek about where Jett Road and Applewhite Road was,” Mabry said. “It was right after World War II and he had come back home messed up in the head after being in the battles in Europe.”

“Well, the man was abusive and drinking all the time. One night she became scared when he came home drunk so she pulled a kitchen knife on him to protect herself and the kids. It ticked him off so he went and set the damn house on fire.”

“I guess fate, or what you call karma, took care of him because the husband and the two children died in the fire,” his friend, retired San Antonio police detective Walter ‘Corky’ Dennis added. “Supposedly, they found her barely alive and just severely burned all over. Someone finally took her to what was either called Brooke General Hospital, or Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) back then, on base at Ft. Sam (Houston). Now it’s a major trauma center.”

“She was so scarred up and disfigured that she looked somewhat like a horse or donkey,” Dennis emphasized. “But I don’t think we started calling her ‘Donkey Lady’ until after the drowning at the bridge.”

The old classmates shook their heads agreeing to this version of the story.

“That’s right,” affirmed Mabry. “When she healed her face kind of drooped, baggy-like and her fingers fused together like hooves.”

Others around the table explained that when the woman was released and went back with no home, she “really no choice but to settle camp style, wild-like, and isolated.”

“We grew up wondering if she would ever make her way into town where we lived,” laughed Dennis. “On summer nights, around campfires, we talk about how she needed to come look for food. We just knew she was out there in the dark waiting for the last one of us to go to sleep, or if one of us needed to walk away for a minute to go to the restroom.”

Stories spread over the generations of students throughout Harlandale, Burbank, McCollum, South San and Southside High Schools. Mutilated by the fire, and absolutely insane from the death of her children, her appearance, the beatings from her husband, and then the isolation in the woods, people reported she would wear a bonnet, scarf or hood during the day to hide her eerie form. Shop keepers nearby said if she came into their stores, it would be with her beloved donkey. She’d remain unnervingly silent placing purchases on the counter, pay, and simply walk out.

However, at night, the sightings were treacherously different—even sinister in the descriptions. Those who dared to venture over the Applewhite Road Bridge crossing Elm Creek in the dark were terrorized by the sound of animals, especially the unnatural wailing of a donkey.

Then one of the classmates told about the bicycle trip he, Mabry, and two other young Harlandale Indians freshmen took to find the Donkey Lady.

“We thought we were on a safari or witch hunt,” the gentleman announced. “We loaded our bikes up with everything we thought we needed to camp out and find the Donkey Lady: lanterns, bedding, slingshots, food, matches, cowboy canteens, just everything you could imagine.”

“We were something out of the ‘Little Rascals,’ now that I think about it,” laughed Mabry. “But we peddled ourselves way out there.”

“I bet we hadn’t settled down more than 30 minutes before we started talking about how she would come out like a wild lion and pounce on one of us, chewing and ripping one of us apart and then we heard the sounds.”

“It was a donkey,” Mabry swore. “It was a wailing, crying, howling donkey. We could hear it back there in the trees and it was coming closer; right at us.”

The boys all started yelling and ran to their bikes…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the Story

CA Woman Sentenced 2 Years Jail Time for Starving Horse, Neglecting Others

Source:  Multiple

Finally, an Abuser Serves Time

A 35-year-old woman has been sentenced to two years in county jail after pleading no contest to animal cruelty for starving a horse to death in Leona Valley, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

AronEmilyJacquesAron Emily Jacques of Santa Clarita entered her plea yesterday to one count of animal cruelty and was immediately sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Kathleen Blanchard.

Jacques was originally charged with starving or neglecting to care for nine horses. As part of her plea, Jacques agreed to pay restitution to the owners of all the horses and to the county’s Department of Animal Care and Control for investigative costs. A restitution hearing is set for Dec. 9.

She also must not own or care for any animal for 10 years.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Rochmes, who prosecuted the case, said several horses were found starving by county animal officials on the defendant’s property in February 2014.

One of the horses died on the defendant’s property and three had to be euthanized as a result of her negligent care, the prosecutor added.

Case MA063344 was investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.


Author Terri Farley on Wild Horse & Burro Radio, Wednesday night (10/28/15)


Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , Oct. 28, 2015

7:00 pm PST … 8:00 pm MST … 9:00 pm CST … 10:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

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

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour of the show by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

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


Our guest tonight is best-selling author Terri Farley, who will be talking about her first non-fiction book, “Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them.”  Mustangs have thrived for thousands of generations.  Now they are under attack, but courageous young people are trying to stop the round-ups and senseless killings by standing up to government and big business to save these American icons.  Learn about cutting edge science and the young people leading the charge to keep horses wild and free.

“Anyone who cares about wild horses should read this book.  So should anyone who cares about how science is being abused to justify flawed management policies masquerading as ‘responsible conservation’.”  –  Dr. Ross MacPhee, Curator of Mammalogy/Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History


Pulitzer Prize winning freelance photographer Melissa Farlow, whose photographs are featured in Wild at Heart, has had work from 25 assignments and projects published in National Geographic, including a story about wild horses.

Terri Farley is the author of the Phantom Stallion series for young readers and Seven Tears into the Sea, a contemporary Celtic fantasy nominated as a YALSA best book.

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

French slaughterhouse closes due to animal cruelty allegations

After public pressure, including an article in the UK’s dailymail.com (warning: graphic content and photos), a French slaughterhouse closes.



Shocking footage shows a terrified horse shying away from a stall and being beaten with an electric baton

French Slaughterhouse Closes Amid Animal Cruelty Allegations

SOURCE:  thehorse.com

by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

In an unprecedented move in a country known for its hippophagia culture, public pressure has led to the closure of a French slaughterhouse.

Video footage from inside the slaughterhouse in Alès, in southeastern France, showed scenes of “blatant cruelty,” an animal rights association said. The slaughterhouse processed about 3,000 horses per year, in addition to cattle, sheep, and pigs.

“We see horses refusing to enter the stun area, getting hit with sticks to go in, knocking themselves against the door of the stunning room as it closes on them,” said Brigitte Gothière, president of the association L214 Éthique & Animaux in Lyon, France. The association made video compilations from Alès for scenes of each species, including horses, and released them for public viewing.

Within hours of the video releases last week, Max Roustan, the mayor of Alès, announced the closure of the municipal slaughterhouse. Several weeks earlier following a standard national veterinary inspection, the slaughterhouse had received a warning that its procedures needed to be improved. State services had been scheduled to return to the slaughterhouse in the coming weeks to verify that “non-conforming professional practices” had ceased.

“We owe it to horses to provide them with a humane and decent end of life, whatever that end may be,” said Charles F. Trolliet, DVM, president of the Swiss Equestrian Federation in Bern, Switzerland, in response to the Alès videos. “If we’re going to slaughter horses, we need to provide local slaughterhouses so they don’t have to travel far. And the slaughterhouses need to specialize in horses, taking into account their various physical and psychological needs, with personnel trained in equine welfare, to make their end of life as painless and low-stress as possible.”

The L214 videos resulted in more than 200,000 signatures on an online petition to close the slaughterhouse, despite the fact that it has already closed.

A judicial investigation of the slaughterhouse practices is now underway.