LETTER: No authority for ‘Horse Haters’

Patricia Fazio’s letter to the editor of the Cody Enterprise

“…some of the 41 horses involved are remnants of the Foster Gulch-Dry Creek Herd Area which was zeroed out by the BLM in 1987″

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

To the editor:

Concerning the recent article and editorial about the Big Horn Basin horses bound for slaughter in Canada, there seems to be a misconception that the 37 horses purchased by Bovary Exports have already been slaughtered.


Not so. They are in a holding facility in Shelby, Mont., for 30 days, but the clock is ticking. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has hired an environmental attorney to assess the situation and see if any laws were violated by the agencies involved, and to negotiate with the buyer about potential release to horse rescues.

The BLM had the legal right to seek removal of these horses as non-permitted, unbranded strays. That said, the Cody BLM and Wyoming Livestock Board knew full well (or should have) that horse rescue groups have been ready, willing and able to take horses in this situation. Advertising in two small Big Horn County newspapers that these horses would be gathered and could be claimed by their owners is certainly inadequate public notice.

An anonymous tipster called the Cloud Foundation after the horses had already been sold at Worland Livestock Auction. Nice gesture, but too late.

I find it hard to fathom that the Wyoming Livestock Board’s brand inspector did not realize the horses offered for sale at Worland Livestock Auction would be picked up by killer-buyers. Horse feathers.

We have no proof, but there is a possibility that some of the 41 horses involved are remnants of the Foster Gulch-Dry Creek Herd Area which was zeroed out by the BLM in 1987. That old herd area is only one mile from where this herd was captured.

Wild horses are native to North America – fact not myth. The American Museum of Natural History and ancient DNA academics have the data to confirm this. Believe your own prejudices that horses are non-native or “feral,” but this only shows that you are behind in the best available science.

Domestication and human selection gave us sub-species (breeds), but Equus caballusis is still Equus caballus – the species that became extinct during the late Pleistocene’s megafaunal extinction and the same species that returned with the Spanish following Columbus’ second voyage in 1493.

The BLM should be removed from the national Wild Horse and Burro Program. They are the worst agency for the delicate task of managing and protecting a species historically disdained and routinely killed by the old U.S. Grazing Service as pests. The BLM was formed in 1946 when the U.S. Grazing Service and General Land Office merged.

Traditional horse haters should not be in charge of wild horses. We need another plan and a new agency, but only Congress can make that change.

(s) Patricia Fazio, Ph.D.,

Statewide Coordinator

Wyoming Wild Horse Coalition


Click (HERE) to comment directly at the Cody Enterprise


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Right or Wrong, Controversy Surrounding Cliven Bundy Continues

Written by as published at St. George News

The court declared Bundy’s claims to be “without merit,” and that “suggestions to the contrary are entirely unavailing.”

Bundy-speak-1ST. GEORGE – It has been a week since the standoff between the Bureau of Land Management and the supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Since then the 67-year-old rancher has been hailed as a hero and a villain. During this last week, Cliven Bundy has called for the disarmament of “federal bureaucracies” by county sheriffs; detractors have decried the supposed use of human shields during the standoff; dead cattle and destroyed infrastructure have been found on the ranch; and one of the nation’s most powerful Democrats has labeled Bundy supporters “domestic terrorists.”

There remain two very different opinions over what lies at the heart of the ongoing conflict between the BLM and Cliven Bundy.

  • The BLM maintains the rancher has illegally grazed his cattle on public land for 20 years and owes $1 million in grazing and trespass fees. To them, the rancher stands in violation of two federal  court orders and continues to engage in illegal activity on public lands. The BLM began to round up Bundy’s cattle on April 5, but ultimately ended operations due to “grave concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.”
  • Cliven Bundy has declared that the federal government has no authority to own lands within a state according to the Constitution, and thus chooses to not recognize the federal authority. Cliven Bundy and his supporters see this as a states’ rights issue and example of government overreach and overreaction. For them, the issue is much bigger than unpaid fees and cows.

Details of the April 12 standoff and a history of the Bundy-BLM conflict can be found here.

So who owns the land?

Map detailing the location of public lands (marked in red). | Image courtesy of Arewenotastate.com

According to two federal district court orders, the federal government owns the land. The BLM itself manages the land as an arm of the Department of the Interior.

In both court orders, the first from 1998 and the second from 2013, the court ruled that the federal government has jurisdiction over the land.

Despite using arguments of state sovereignty, the court declared Bundy’s claims to be “without merit,” and that “suggestions to the contrary are entirely unavailing.”

For their part, the Bundys have never claimed to own land beyond their 150-acre ranch in Bunkerville, Nev. However, they claim grazing and water rights to the land predate those of the BLM, said Ammon Bundy, a son of Cliven Bundy and family spokesman. As such, those claims should be honored, the Bundy family has said.

The Bundys argue the public land is state-owned – period. As for the federal government, Cliven Bundy refuses to recognize it in this capacity.

In the end, as much as states’ rights advocates argue otherwise, the federal government retains control of the public lands in the West. However, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Washington,  and Oregon are pursuing measures promoting the transfer of public lands over to state control.

The majority of the land overseen by the BLM is in the West. Nevada is over 80 percent public land, or, as argued by the BLM – over 80 percent of Nevada is owned by the federal government…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the story in it’s entirety and comment directly at the St. George News

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Rustling Critters NOT a New Wrinkle for the BLM

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The entire situation was a perfect storm for “STUPID”

originallandgrab.jpg medium

I have tried to stay away from commenting, opinionating or postulating on the BLM vs Bundy fiasco in Nevada last week because, initially, I felt the BLM was doing the right thing and such a concept totally rocked my perception of reality. I have never ever been on the same side of the fence with this out of control rogue agency …the sky must be falling and look, pigs are flying.

Here we have a mealy mouthed, welfare rancher who carries vagrancy to a new level by not only grazing his private cattle on public land, your acreage, but he has refused to pay the teeny-weeny, token grazing fees for the past twenty, yes count them 20, years; bum, thief, slacker.

(We like real land tax paying ranchers, some are my neighbors and good friends, but it’s the vermin that suckle off the public land’s teat that pisses us off)

But true to form (they just can’t help themselves) the BLM shows their backside immediately by swooping in like a bunch of Nazi storm troopers waving deadly force while stealing the deadbeat’s cows. (Been there done that, not the cow part but the overkill of armed personnel…it wasn’t pretty and not required. <2010 Twin Peaks Wild Horse Roundup: My wife Terry, a female advocate, a female reporter for the NY Times and lil ole me surrounded by dozens of big, bad, armed BLM Rangers. Me and the 3 women were, evidently, pretty threatening. Hell, I didn’t even cuss…back to the Bundy thingy>.)

And if the entire BLM/Bundy circus wasn’t dopey enough, a whole bunch of people with horses and guns showed up to support Bundy the Bum. Now I am all for protesting the overreaching and violent tactics of the bullying BLM but couldn’t these people have picked a little better poster child than a land parasite like Bundy? Where were all these irate citizens when the BLM constantly and consistently STOLE our protected and public owned wild horses and burros from their rightful range? Huh, where were they then?

Anyway, I felt that this story was a tale of total losers with no one winning and once again, animals being used as the pawns who always suffer at the hands of morally bankrupt BLM. The entire situation was a perfect storm for “STUPID”.

But now my attention is a tad more focused as there have been a multitude of stories surface as to “why” the BLM turned to cattle rustling instead of managing the situation via litigation like anyone with a 5th grade education would have done.

As advocates for the proper management of wild horses and burros ON the range we have always been suspect of what moves and motivates the BLM to strip our wild horses from their families and homes. Grazing, water, extraction, the list goes on and on but it appears there may be some legitimate evidence as to what drives the BLM and the political underhanded deals that motivate the BLM to act in such a “un”-American fashion.

So instead of ungracefully ramming my infuriated and disgusted opinion down your weary optic nerves I am, instead, going to allow a LARGE group of others the opportunity to speak via the links listed below.

They all make for good reading but I believe the bigger picture to all of this is that the public is finally beginning to learn what we wild equine advocates have known for a long time and that is that the BLM has long been out of control and a Congressional investigation is long, long overdue.

I live for the day when I can witness several select employees of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program (past and present) handcuffed and lead into court for sentencing. Not only will millions of tax paying Americans be cheering for the good lady with the scales but the lost spirits of hundreds of thousands of tortured equine souls will be at peace as justice will finally be served.

Now wouldn’t that be a pretty picture?

Keep the faith.

















Google “BLM Bundy” for more

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BLM Criticized for Selling Wild Horses for Slaughter

Sources: Multiple, story by By MEAD GRUVER

“How long does a horse have to live wild and free before it’s considered wild?”

— The Bureau of Land Management rounded up a horse herd that roamed for decades on federal land in northwest Wyoming and handed the horses over to Wyoming officials. They, in turn, sold the herd to the highest bidder, a Canadian slaughterhouse.

Wild horse advocates are incensed, saying they should have had a chance to intercede in the March roundup and auction. But the BLM says the horses were abandoned — not wild — and that it publicized the sale beforehand.

“It would take very little to do this in a more effective way, so that horses are not just sent off to slaughter indiscriminately,” said Paula Todd King of The Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based advocacy group.

According to the BLM, the Wyoming horses weren’t officially wild and protected by the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act, the federal law for maintaining many of the horse herds, some of which have roamed free in the West since the days of Spanish explorers more than 300 years ago.

The BLM bans wild horses from being sold for slaughter. Anybody who adopts a wild horse from the BLM must agree to provide it a home.

The horses in the Bighorn Basin’s sagebrush hills descended from stray rodeo horses that were owned by Andy Gifford, a rancher and rodeo livestock contractor, in the 1970s, BLM spokeswoman Sarah Beckwith said. Gifford had claimed the horses as his but never rounded them up before he died in 2009. That, plus the fact that the horses never interbred with wild horses, officially classified them as strays.

“Nobody had a permit to have these horses grazing on public lands,” Beckwith said.

King questions that policy. “How long does a horse have to live wild and free before it’s considered wild?” she said.

Area ranchers and farmers had long complained the herd grazed down pastures and damaged cattle rangeland.

On March 18 and 19, a BLM contractor rounded up the 41 horses and handed them over to Wyoming officials. Within hours, the horses were sold for $1,640 to Bouvry Exports, a slaughterhouse based in Calgary, Alberta.

The BLM follows state laws for handling stray livestock, Beckwith said, and had no option but to hand the horses over to the Wyoming Livestock Board, a state agency. The state took three bids for the horses, state Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa said.

Bouvry Exports shipped the horses out of state, Romsa said. Phone messages for Bouvry Exports weren’t immediately returned.

BLM officials had printed notices on the upcoming roundup in local newspapers and posted notices in local post offices.

The roundup wasn’t unprecedented. Last summer, a federal judge allowed an American Indian tribe to sell 149 mustangs over the objection of critics who claimed the unbranded animals were federally protected wild horses. The mustangs were among more than 400 on U.S. Forest Service land along the Nevada-Oregon line that the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe claimed belonged to them.

In the end, King said, more than 160 were sold to people who planned to take them to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, but local residents and rescue groups raised money to buy 150 of the horses to spare them.

The BLM rounds up stray livestock perhaps three or four times a year in the West. Usually they are cattle or sheep. Impoundments of large numbers of stray horses are far less frequent, said Robert Bolton, a senior rangeland management specialist for the BLM.

“That’s a pretty sizeable number and they have been out there a long time,” Bolton said of the Wyoming herd. “Normally, most of our impounds have been in the low numbers.”

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More on BLM National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting

Tim Harvey continues to be the only National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board member to ask intelligent questions and speak up for America’s wild horses & burros.  Thank you, Tim.

BLM Advisory Board

Yesterday many wild horse advocates gave outstanding comments during the public comment period.

Those expressing anti-wild horse public comments included, Debra Hawk of the Wildlife Society, who used the word “feral” when referring to federally protected wild horses throughout her comments.  Ken Brown of the Western Counties Alliance (WAC), which includes in it’s membership the Nevada Association of Counties (which is suing the BLM to rid public lands of wild horses and is pushing to kill all the wild horses in holding) spoke of his organization’s support of “disposal facilities” (slaughterhouses, presumably for horses).

Then, Ted Ramsey and Gary Moyer (again, wearing his cowboy hat indoors), spoke on behalf of the National Association of Conservation Districts with an anti-wild horse bias.  Ted mentioned a new organization called National Horse & Burro Rangeland Management Coalition.

Some of these organizations, and the BLM, failed to disclose what is a clear conflict of interest.  Some of these organizations have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the BLM/DOI.  An MOU is, in essence, a deal that if you scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours.

Not only that, some of these organizations are part of a NEWLY FORMED organization, the National Horse & Burro Rangeland Management Coalition (www.wildhorserange.org).  Take a look at the coalition policy statement:


BLM WH&B Advisory Board member Callie Hendrickson is currently the Executive Director of the White River Conservation District, that seems to have issued the above copy of the National Horse & Burro Rangeland Management policy statement.

BLM and National Association of Conservation Districts have an MOU:



Just take a look at the members of the National Horse & Burro Rangeland Management Coalition:

American Farm Bureau Federation, Masters of Foxhounds Association, Mule Deer Foundation , National Association of Conservation Districts, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Rifle Association, National Wildlife Refuge Association, Public Lands Council (BLM WH & B Advisory Board member John Falen was recently President of this organization), Public Lands Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, Society for Range Management and The Wildlife Society.

These documents, along with the documents below, make it obvious that the BLM is stacking the deck both on the Advisory Board that “advises” it and the audience at these meetings, which could then make it look as if a broad segment of the American people might support BLM’s mismanagement of the Wild Horse & Burro Program (when in actuality, BLM anti-wild horse actions are likely a only supported by a segment of special interests).

BLM and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:


BLM and National Association of Counties:


More about Western Association of Counties (WAC):


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BLM Wild Horse Slaughter Board to Convene, Today

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Anti-Horse Advisory Board Kicks of Plans to Eliminate Wild Horses and Burros

Banner from America’s Wild Horse Advocates (AWHA) with Melissa Ohlsson, Vice President of AWHA as artist

Banner from America’s Wild Horse Advocates (AWHA) with Melissa Ohlsson, Vice President of AWHA as artist

Today is the day that we have all been waiting for; the spring installation of the BLM talking heads “advisory” board meeting reading from their scripts, provided by the bullying BLM, and smiling into the camera while they make plans to push our last herds of wild horses and burros into total and complete extinction.  Ain’t it great.

The meeting is being held amidst the swirl of bad press that includes the documented fact that the BLM sold wild horses to slaughter, crawled into bed with Utah politicians and ranchers to illegally remove wild horses from their rightful range and then impotently flex their testosterone in front of an illegal and trespassing Nevada rancher only to wilt and crawl back under their rock just like any half-witted bully would…they just can’t do a damn thing right.

Below is the live video link to the most boring and maddening event you will ever view in your entire life.  Your tax dollars wasted as a rampant and out of control federal agency feigns listening to a bunch of special interest parties who do NOT have any care or concern for the welfare of our last remaining wild horses and burros but instead their own personal agendas be it ranching, hunting or horse slaughter.

I am not there, I will not watch as I am, honestly, just too plain pissed off.

A Congressional investigation into the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program is long overdue.


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Happy Ending for Foals from BLM Wild Horse Slaughter Roundup

Source: The Lovell Chronicle

“It is ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and to find something good we had to dig into something that was really bad to locate even a tiny glow of sunshine.  It has been a week of the BLM and their rancher buddies breaking federal law on all fronts and our feature for today highlights the goodness of Wild Horse and Burro advocates and the rancid, dark underbelly of a federal agency gone mad.  Hats off to those who saved this little babies from the horrifying fate that the BLM cruelly handed to their family and herd.  Bitter sweet, but it is the best we can do for today.  Thank you TCF and Dr. Lisa, we love ya’all.  Keep the faith my friends.” ~ R.T.


4 babies were all that survived the herd of wild horses sold to slaughter by the BLM ~ photo courtesy of The Cloud Foundation

Four foals, dubbed by wild horse advocates as the “Dry Creek quartet,” are now out of harm’s way and under the care of experienced veterinarian Dr. Lisa Jacobson in Northern Colorado.

The foals—individually named by horse advocates as Maestro, Allegro, Cornet and Piccolo– were separated from their mothers, during a helicopter roundup by BLM and State officials near Sheep Mountain in early March. The Cloud Foundation, a wild horse advocacy group, spearheaded the rescue after a kindhearted stockyard owner spotted the baby horses among the adult horses that were about to be shipped to slaughter.

Jacobson, an experienced horse vet and advocate against horse slaughter, estimated that some of the foals were very young at the time they were separated from their lactating mothers.

“It was really staggering that they survived,” said Jacobson. “Some couldn’t have been more than days old at the time of the roundup. Even the oldest was no more than a few months old.”

In spite of their ordeal, Jacobson said the foals were in good health when she received them and they are continuing to thrive.

“If they were sick, we’d be seeing it by now, especially after all the stress they went through,” said Jacobson. “We’re not seeing any coughing or snotty noses. They are eating well and really thriving. At times they are even running, bucking and playing.”

Stacy Newby, co-owner of the Worland Livestock Auction, noticed the foals in the mix with the adults that were about to be shipped to slaughter.

Though she had never seen it personally, she said it is common knowledge that foals, not wanted by slaughterhouses, either die during transport or are killed upon arrival.

“I’ve never seen it myself, but I’ve heard that is what happens and my heart just wouldn’t let that happen,” said Newby. “I knew I could save them and I wanted to give them an opportunity to thrive.”

As the colts were being sorted out, Newby said she wanted them.

“I didn’t really ask, it was more like I just said I was taking them,” she said. “My intent was to raise them, tame them, halter break them and then find them homes. We have the setup to do it and so that was my plan.”

Newby convinced those in charge that she wasn’t taking “no” for an answer, and got the brand inspector to process the proper ownership documents, making her the legal owner.

Once the word got out that Newby had rescued the foals, she was inundated with telephone calls from horse advocates from across the country wanting to adopt the foals.

“I was receiving up to 50 calls a day from people wanting to adopt them,” she said.

For the next few weeks she fed them, while her trusty Australian shepherd dog “Lonesome” watched over them. Newby said the dog stood watch as if he knew they needed protection.

“They had good muscle, a little skinny, but healthier than you would expect,” she said. “And once they figured out that I was the milk lady, feeding them became as simple as pie.”

Kim Michaels of Red Lodge, the Cloud Foundation’s Montana representative, contacted Newby, along with other members from the organization.

“I could tell these gals from the Cloud Foundation really wanted these colts,” said Newby. “They seemed very sincere so I let them take them.”

Ownership was then transferred to Michaels and the foals were transported to Colorado, where they will remain for many months until they are deemed adoptable.

“Lisa (Dr. Jacobson) might have them for up to a year,” said Michaels, who is now the legal owner of the foals.

“This isn’t going to be quick,” said Jacobson. “They will need training to be comfortable around people and will need a lot of nourishment and we’re going to be pretty picky about who adopts them.”

In the meantime, Jacobson said the foals are flourishing and already showing curiosity about their human caretakers.

“Piccolo even nickered at me the other day,” said Jacobson. “That’s the first sound I’ve heard out of them. It was as if she was saying ‘Hey you, open the gate, we want to go inside.’”

Ginger Kathrens, founder of the Cloud Foundation, said she was happy the organization was able to assist with the rescue of the foals but at the same time heartbroken that the organization was not given the opportunity to adopt the 40 horses that were sold to slaughter. She said the organization is already seeking legal advice to find out how this type of action can be prevented in the future.

by Patti Carpenter

Click (HERE) to comment directly at the Lovell Chronicle

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