BLM and SITLA Enter into Wild Horse Management Agreement

 

Trust lands leases = the state of Utah leasing state land (“interspersed within public lands” ) for mining, oil and gas, grazing, and commercial development.  This is just one more way the BLM partners up with special interests to get rid of wild horses.  –  Debbie

gravel-pit-for-using-TL photo:  State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration

Source:  Emery County Progress

The Bureau of Land Management and Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) announced on Feb. 3, they entered into an Agreement to effectively manage wild horses located on SITLA lands within areas across the State of Utah.

SITLA is an independent state agency that manages and develops the State’s trust-land assets for the benefit of Utah’s public education system and other state institutions. There are about 3.4 million acres of SITLA-managed land interspersed within and among the 22.9 million acres of public lands throughout Utah, with more than 555,000 acres of SITLA lands impacted by wild horses. The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros (WH&B) Act prohibits SITLA from unilaterally removing wild horses from its trust lands. Only the BLM can remove wild horses and then only after it has consulted with and involved state wildlife agencies and other affected interests, and has entered into agreements as necessary when managing wild horses and burros. SITLA, in accordance with the 1971 WH&B Act, originally filed suit in federal district court against BLM on February 3, 2015, for failure to remove wild horses from school section lands held in trust by the State of Utah.

The suit alleged that the impact of wild horse populations has resulted in the damage and degradation of rangeland resources on these lands. SITLA argued that resource degradation caused by excessive numbers of wild horses has diminished its ability to effectively meet its mandate to manage and maximize revenues for the support of its beneficiaries.

In an unprecedented effort to work collaboratively and avoid a lengthy and expensive courtroom struggle, both parties met numerous times over this past year to come up with an acceptable solution. As a result of these efforts, the BLM and SITLA have entered into an Agreement that provides for a mutual commitment to work cooperatively to manage wild horses that have entered onto SITLA lands. The agencies will meet annually to identify priority removal areas, ensure environmental review, conduct aerial population surveys jointly, and monitor rangeland resources and improvements. The Agreement, which is subject to congressional appropriations, places priority on managing BLM herd areas (HAs) and herd management areas (HMAs) in the south-central and southwest areas of state, where the lawsuit was specifically aimed. However, the Agreement also calls for additional efforts in the rest of the state where other challenges arise between SITLA and BLM management.

“The BLM is pleased to be working closely with SITLA on this challenging issue of wild horse management,” said BLM-Utah Acting State Director, Jenna Whitlock. “We look forward to implementing this Agreement to ensure both the horses themselves and the rangelands they occupy are preserved and protected.” SITLA’s assistance in managing the wild horses that have entered onto its lands will complement BLM’s current wild horse management efforts and benefit the overall public interest by supporting healthy watersheds, productive rangelands, and sustainable ecosystems, while encouraging a strong locally based land ethic that will apply current scientific rangeland management principles.

SITLA Deputy Director Kim Christy said, “Management activities conducted pursuant to this Agreement are intended to enable SITLA to fulfill its trustee role in a more robust and effective manner by promoting healthy and productive rangelands on SITLA lands affected by wild horses and burros. We look forward to this unique opportunity of working proactively with BLM and pioneering workable solutions to problems we commonly share as landowners.”

4 major wild horse & burro advocacy groups come out against BLM’s cruel plans to do sterilization research on wild mares (Mon., Feb 8th)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoSpecial action alert.  Join us on Monday, February 8th, 2016

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

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

_____________________________________________

Four major wild horse and burro advocacy groups and advocates are uniting to speak out against Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans for cruel sterilization experiments on wild mares (including pregnant mares).  The BLM extended the Environmental Assessment comment deadline until Feb. 10th, because American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) asked for and received additional documents that the BLM had not made available to the public.  READ THE DOCUMENTS HERE.  AWHPC then requested additional time to review these documents.  (Information is given below so that after listening to this show, you can add YOUR comment to save the wild mares from these barbaric experiments.)

Our guests for this show include:

Suzanne Roy, Campaign Director, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC)

Paula Todd King, Communications Director, The Cloud Foundation (Ginger Kathrens is in the Pryors, but she’ll try to call in)

Dr. Don Moore, DVM

Best-selling author Terri Farley (Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them)

Karen Sussman, Pres. of International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB)

Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Ginger Kathrens, Exec. Director, The Cloud Foundation

BLM’s heinous plans are to STERILIZE wild  horses, including “studies” (experimentation trials) using several methods on 225 wild mares: ovariectomy via colpotomy, tubal ligation, and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla.  The BLM is going to do this experimentation at BLM’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon, but will eventually do sterilizations out in the FIELD.

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Leon Pielstick, DVM, inserting a chain ecraseur (and his arm) via colpotomy incision

 

 

 

 

 

A link to the Environmental Assessment is HERE.

Please submit your comments by Feb. 10th, by fax or email to the BLM Burns Office, with the heading:
Attention: Mare Sterilization Research
Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead
email to: blm_or_bu_mareresearchea@blm.gov
or Fax: (541) 573-4411
BLM Burns District Office:
Attention: Mare Sterilization Research
28910 Highway 20 West, Hines, Oregon 97738
(You may only want to put your name and email address on your comment, since entire comments – including personal identifying information – may be published as part of the EA and Decision Record process.)
Be sure to listen to Jonathan Ratner of Western Watersheds Project,
  on Wild Horse & Burro Radio on Wed., Feb. 10th.

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

BLM claims another bogus “emergency” to round up more wild horses

If you call the “Gather Information Hotline” number given below, there is no information regarding public observation of this roundup.  No place or time to meet is given.  It seems that there is no opportunity for public observation.  The BLM continues to sweep transparency under the rug.  – Debbie

Source:  Elko Daily Free Press

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BLM plans emergency horse gather along U.S. Hwy 93

ELY – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ely District is scheduled on Monday to begin gathering and removing approximately 100 excess wild horses from public and private lands adjacent to U.S. Highway 93 and State Route 322 in and outside the Caliente Herd Areas Complex and Eagle Herd Management Area in eastern Nevada.

The helicopter gather is necessary to provide for public and animal safety, according to the agency

The District will remove up to 50 wild horses from between Pioche and Eagle Valley that have moved outside the Eagle HMA in search of forage. Appropriate Management Level for the Eagle HMA is 100-210 wild horses. The current population is 1,370 wild horses.

The District will remove up to 50 wild horses from Oak Spring Summit west of Caliente that have moved outside the Caliente Complex in search of forage. The Caliente Complex is managed for zero wild horses. The current population is 796 wild horses.

The gather is expected to take four to six days to complete. A veterinarian will be on site during gather operations, which will be conducted by a contractor.

The gathered animals will be transported to the Axtell Contract Off-Range Corrals in Axtell, Utah, where they will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals. Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and treated, and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.

The Eagle-Caliente Complex Emergency Gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Ely District Public Safety and Nuisance Gather Environmental Assessment available at http://1.usa.gov/23ws5je.

A Gather Information Hotline has been established at 775-861-6700. A recorded message will provide updated gather activities. Gather reports will be posted on the BLM Ely District website at http://on.doi.gov/1lGnDYC.

For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at 775-289-1842 or chanefel@blm.gov.

BLM is a Ranching Industry Tool

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Soil Conservation Service (SCS) reports “estimate that ‘Western rangeland is losing topsoil, mostly due to ranching, at least 4 to 5 times faster than it’s being replaced. Meanwhile, ranching industry servants like BLM are working to put more cattle on the land.”

Source:  San Diego Free Press

Pinyon-Juniper Forests: BLM is a Ranching Industry Tool

Public lands ranching is destroying the Western United States

Cattle watering station near Cave Valley, NV

Cattle watering station near Cave Valley, NV

by Will Falk

Public lands ranching is destroying the Western United States. It has pushed native plant species to the brink of extinction. It causes soil to erode so quickly the land cannot keep up. Livestock are poisoning and depleting water supplies, killing perennial stream flows, and are making it increasingly difficult for surface water to accumulate. Stockmen and the animals they raise have devastated populations of iconic American animals like bison, elk, pronghorn, and sage-grouse. Ranchers, ever jealous of the trees their stock cannot eat, encourage the clear-cutting of forests.

Livestock grazing is the single most ecologically destructive activity happening in the Western United States today. To stop the continued destruction of pinyon-juniper forests, to stop the continued destruction of the entire region, public lands ranching must cease.

I cannot decide whether writing this essay in the wake of Ammon Bundy’s arrest and Lavoy Finicum’s death at the hands of the FBI and Oregon State Police after their occupation of Northern Paiute land at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is good or bad. It could be good because this story has finally forced public lands ranching, or “welfare ranching,” and the policies of federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service into the public’s consciousness.

On the other hand, there is the risk that while Bundy and his angry white men waved their rifles in the faces of law enforcement complaining about federal agencies like BLM and the Forest Service, the public developed too much sympathy for those Bundy threatened. These agencies might look like the good guys against Big Bad Bundy while the agencies’ own atrocities go over-looked.

Do not feel sorry for BLM. Those of us who care about life in the region really should be angry with how these federal agencies are run. Now, I am certainly not saying we should be angry for the same reasons as Bundy. No, we should be angry with BLM and Bundy together because they play for the same team: the ranching industry.

In my last essay, Pinyon-Juniper Forests: BLM’s False Claims to Virtue, I explained how the Bureau of Land Management lies to support deforestation across the Great Basin. Undermining BLM’s bad science took up the bulk of the essay, so now I turn to answering why BLM lies like this.

[M]any commentators have confused the Forest Service and BLM with conservation. Neither the Forest Service nor the BLM have ever been concerned with the health of the land—except where the health of the land benefits livestock production.

BLM lies because BLM exists—and has always existed—to serve the ranching industry. Simply blaming BLM for pinyon-juniper deforestation without indicting the ranching industry fails to address the roots of the problem.

Lynn Jacobs gives an excellent history lesson and shows how both the Forest Service and BLM were created to serve the ranching industry in his book “The Waste of the West: Public Lands Ranching.” One of the problematic themes to emerge during Bundy’s occupation is the way many commentators have confused the Forest Service and BLM with conservation. Neither the Forest Service nor the BLM have ever been concerned with the health of the land—except where the health of the land benefits livestock production.

It is true that in the 1890s, powerful ranchers looked at range-lands and saw depletion of water supplies, soil, game animals, and economically useful vegetation. But, they never asked if livestock grazing was feasible. The only thing they were concerned with was how the declining health of the land affected their profits. Powerful ranchers watched the pie their livestock fed off be consumed by smaller nomadic herders, too. Instead of ensuring the survival of the pie, the most powerful ranchers were only concerned about gaining a larger slice for their livestock while restricting weaker ranchers’ access to that pie. Despite some conservation verbiage being used, the Forest Service and BLM were actually formed to ensure the dominance of already powerful businessmen over everyone else. This is a scenario that plays out continuously through the history of capitalism.

In 1905, the Forest Service was formed and Jacobs says that powerful ranchers were instrumental in placing it under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture instead of the Department of the Interior where it logically belonged. Many ranchers became district, forest, regional, and national Forest Service range and administrative officials and this is still true today. One of the first regulations enacted by the Forest Service set up grazing regulations, created allotments, issued permits, and charged a fee of five cents per month for each cow or 5 sheep grazed. This regulation effectively ended nomadic herding on Forest Service land.

BLM was formed in 1946, again under the influence of powerful ranchers … “In short, the Forest Service and BLM (and states etc.) functioned more as grazing industry tools than true regulatory agencies.”

BLM is a younger agency than the Forest Service and its roots are found in the congressional Taylor Grazing Act of 1935. Jacobs notes that the Act’s namesake, Representative Edward Taylor—a rancher from Colorado and “sworn enemy of conservationists”—pushed the bill through Congress with the express intent of eliminating nomadic herding. The Act created the Division of Grazing under the Department of the Interior and attacked nomadic herders by providing that only those with well-established, substantial private ranch holdings near public land could gain grazing leases.

The first director of the Division of Grazing was a Colorado rancher, Farrington Carpenter, who cemented the ranchers’ power over the Division by establishing local “grazing advisory boards.” The boards were elected by local ranchers. Jacobs explains that these advisory boards were “composed mostly of the same large scale, aggressive, politically savvy ranchers who helped create the Forest Service and Taylor Grazing Act and awarded themselves federal grazing permits…” The Division of Grazing was reorganized into the Grazing Service in 1939.

BLM was formed in 1946, again under the influence of powerful ranchers, when the old Grazing Service and General Land office were combined. Jacobs states that “grazing and ranching abuses and political, economic, and social injustice continued largely unchecked.” Jacobs describes the way many ranchers behaved after BLM was established. Notice how he could be describing the Bundy situation perfectly. “For many years, ranchers refused to obtain permits, pay grazing fees, or follow any regulations whatsoever. When agency personnel attempted enforcement, traditional grazing industry power neutralized the challenge by applying political, social, and economic pressure where needed. In short, the Forest Service and BLM (and states etc.) functioned more as grazing industry tools than true regulatory agencies.”

The same must be said of these agencies today.

“Soon, those who thought they were going to do something positive for wildlife learn to identify with their captors. The ones who bow down the most to industry rise to be managers.”

To be clear, there are many BLM and other federal agency employees that truly do desire what is best for life in the region. There are individuals of good heart in these agencies who strive to do the right thing. Unfortunately, BLM leaders remain captured by the livestock industry and non-stop intimidation like that expressed by Ammon Bundy make it incredibly difficult for employees charged with enforcing environmental laws to do so.

Consider what my friend, Katie Fite—a biologist and a woman with more experience advocating for the natural world against bad BLM policies than perhaps anyone in the world, has said about some BLM staff. Fite encourages us to “make a distinction between BLM the Agency and some of the staff that try to enforce protections that are supposed to exist … These people too become victims of the cattlemen—forced to lie, bury their heads in the sand, and bow to rancher thugs on a daily basis.” And, as so often happens in our dominant, capitalist culture where destruction is rewarded, Fite explains, “Soon, those who thought they were going to do something positive for wildlife learn to identify with their captors. The ones who bow down the most to industry rise to be managers.”

Fite’s insights, however, should not be an excuse. Despite the intentions of some good-hearted BLM and Forest Service staff, the operations of these agencies have been a disaster for life in the region.

In addition to providing essential historical research, Jacobs’ “The Waste of the West: Public Lands Ranching” is a comprehensive examination (602 text-book sized pages) of the physical impact of ranching on the lands comprising the Western United States. Jacobs research on what ranching does to plants, soil, water, and animals in the West paints a grim picture.

“Western rangeland is losing topsoil, mostly due to ranching, at least 4 to 5 times faster than it’s being replaced.”

Jacobs begins by explaining that grass and small herbaceous plants that cows, sheep, and goats eat form the “plankton of the land.” These countless trillions of small plants form the base of the complex food web that supports all of life in the Great Basin. These plants provide oxygen to the atmosphere, nourishment to animals, and maintain soil, water, fire, and atmospheric dynamics. Tragically, according to Jacobs, “Livestock grazing has destroyed the plankton of the land in the Western United States—and around the globe—more extensively than has any other human pursuit.”

Next, Jacobs notes that soil has been called “the soul of life itself” and reminds readers that “without adequate and fertile soil, most terrestrial plant and animal life ceases.” Of course, he means human life, too. Jacobs writes, “For over 100 years livestock grazing has been the major cause of both increased soil erosion and decreased soil fertility on Western public land. Most soil loss and damage is a result of livestock stripping off and trampling vegetation…”

To make this even scarier, Jacobs cites United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Soil Conservation Service (SCS) reports to estimate that “Western rangeland is losing topsoil, mostly due to ranching, at least 4 to 5 times faster than it’s being replaced.” Meanwhile, ranching industry servants like BLM are working to put more cattle on the land. It does not take a mathematical expert to conclude that if ranchers have their way, rangelands will run out of topsoil.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

 

More comments on BLM’s plan for cruel sterilization experiments on wild mares

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                 Leon Pielstick, DVM, performing an ovariectomy via colpotomy on a mare

Our thanks to contributing author and advocate Bonnie Kohleriter for sharing her excellent comments with our readers.                                          

by Bonnie Kohleriter

COMMENTS ON MARE STERILIZATION RESEARCH ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT: DOI-BLM-OR-B000-2015-0055 EA

THIS EA IS INADEQUATE AND CONCERNING BECAUSE OF THE FOLLOWING:

  1. In your EA the BLM processes for selection of population suppression experiments smacks of manipulation and non-transparency in regard to the public presenting falsities and omissions which, as such, results in potential dangers and not advances for the future well-being of our wild horses and burros.
  • In 2013 The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences recommended SpayVac, PZP 22, GonaCon and chemical vasectomies only as possibilities for fertility control. (p 134: Using Science to Improve the BLM WHB Program)
  • In 2013 the NRC stated “colpotomy” surgeries were less risky which is in your EA you need to complete the NTC’s discussion… compared to what? “transabdominal” surgeries, and (is)”not without risk.” The EA appears to minimalize risk.
  • The BLM issued a Request for Information but the EA does not tell us from whom and what information. Then, receiving information in response to the RFI, the EA again does not tell us from whom and what information.
  • The BLM issued a Request for Applications and received 19 separate research proposals but the EA does not tell us if any had to do with mare sterilization except for the 3 from Oregon State Univ.
  • The NRC with its experts returned critiques of the 19 proposals to the BLM but your EA says the public was denied access to these critiques of the 19 with the BLM saying “This full report has been an internal document in order to protect proprietary information of proposed authors.” On the other hand, the EA gives us privy to the critique of your 3 projects in Appendix B redacting authors’ names.
  • 4 of the 19 research proposals with 1 contingent on the results of the other 3, are all methods of” permanent sterilization” in wild horses. Do the other 16 proposals have merit to control population but not necessarily to be permanent? The EA makes no critiques, comments, or comparisons with the other 16 projects giving me the question, “Did Dean Bolstad and company pick 3 from Oregon because of favoritism as an Oregonian and/ or because he just wants permanent sterilization?” It seems the public has the right to know of the other 16 projects with critiques and comparisons of their safety, potential efficacy, and costs.
  • Who are the surgeons to do the 3 sterilization experiments and what are their qualifications?
  • Interesting that 3 of the 19 projects chosen for sterilizing horses are from Oregon to be done simultaneously in Oregon. Dean Bolstad, the Acting Director of the WHB Program is from Oregon. Dr. Leon Pilstick is from Oregon and is involved. Leon has already done multiple covert colpotomies and chemical vasectomies on the unprotected Oregonian
  • Sheldon horses, who then were sent by John Kasbohm, the Director of Sheldon, to slaughter telling the public he, the Fish and Wildlife Services, would find safe, good adoptive homes for the horses. The BLM recently gathered 1050 horses from Beaty’s Butte in Oregon as the specimens ready for experimental sterilization. Dr. Julie Weikel, a predominantly cattle veterinarian, from Oregon, recently submitted a public letter to Dean Bolstad, saying in effect,’ the BLM should consider to immediately gather all horse herds in Oregon bringing them down to low AML through vasectomies, geldings, and sterilization to serve as a model for the other States. Shockingly she poses as the Wild Horse and Burro Representative on the SE Oregon RAC and as a Board Member on the National Advisory Board. Does the Cattlemen’s Association have a horse invested person on their boards posing as having an interest in cattle? The public is told their comments for this EA are due February 3rd, but the experiments are to start in February. Are these comments to be taken seriously or is the WHB program, our government, just going through the motions and blowing off the public?
  • It appears that all of these connections to Oregon and actions within Oregon are saying to the broader group of citizens of the United States who pay the taxes for the horses ‘ care and who have an interest in these horses as a part of our heritage,” BE DAMNED, WE’RE DOING WHAT WE WANT, WE’LL PRETEND TO INVOLVE YOU LETTING YOU COMMENT ON AN EA BECAUSE IT IS GOVERNMENT PROTOCAL, BUT WE’VE BEEN INVOLVED A LONG TIME IN PLANNING AND SLOWLY EXECUTING QUIETLY AND COVERTLY WHAT WE WANT AND NOW WE WILL DO IT.” This appears to be manipulation, non-transparency and wrongdoing.

Sterility and Lack of Equipment and Medications Concerns for the Procedures to be Done

These experiments are to be done in the Burns Short-term Corral. This is a non-hospital, non-sterile environment admitted in your EA, that is questionably not equipped with equipment and medications to deal with complications. Allowing these procedures to take place in this short-term corral sets a precedence for other sterilization procedures to be done in ‘back alley’ non-sterile short-term corrals in other States. This would questionably not be acceptable for domestic mares and should not be acceptable for wild mares as well. In a report issued by the American Association of Equine Practitioners in 2011 regarding wild horse and burro care, the observers reported the short-term corrals were performing gelding procedures potentially harmful to the life of the horses along with demonstrated castration complications and ineffectual use of anesthesia. What will we read if the BLM is allowed to sterilize mares in these short-term corrals? It needs to stop before it starts.

  • Procedures to be Performed Simultaneously

Proposal 19: Colpotomy: The committee of “experts” recommended this procedure, if it is to be done, should be done following the other two procedures. The other two procedures are less invasive. If successful, they would cover the non-pregnant and pregnant mares. The committee also recommended this procedure not be done at all as it has been done for 100 years. No new science is involved. In spite of it, Dean Bolstad directed it to be done simultaneously with the other experiments. It is recommended not to be done in the 1st 90 to 120 days as the fetus is dependent on the ovary’s hormones and will likely abort if done at that time. It questionably cannot be done in the last stage of the pregnancy as the uterus may block the view of the ovaries. It seems to test the first 120 days and the last part of the pregnancy is of what value? It’s just that different mares are different and a decision has to be made to do or not to do it in the 1st trimester because of the risk and to look at all or none of the mares in the last trimester. For example, in some you may not be able to see the ovaries and in others you can. So what new have you learned? Risks are involved in this procedure. This is a “blind” procedure wherein the surgeon feels rather than sees what he is doing. The artery along the vagina can be nicked with bleeding out and the intestines can eviscerate through the cut in the vagina. In domestic mares they are cross tied for two days so as to allow the vagina cut to heal, but cross tying can’t be done with a wild horse. There can be a risk of infection as this is invasive surgery. Risks are low but they are there. Antibiotics and intestinal light loading with lack of food will be done to address risks. Oregon State University will be subjecting mares to having abortions and to having foals in captivity. Attempts in the corrals may be made to impregnate the mares only to abort and to have foals to have a sufficient sample size. The foals then will likely spend the rest of their lives in captivity in short-term or long term corrals unadopted as 47,000 others are awaiting adoptions as well. This is wrong to have mares impregnated in captivity just to abort, or to have foals who will suffer just because some surgeon wants to do experiments that contribute no further to science.

Proposal 9: Tubal Ligation:   There is a risk again of infection as this is invasive surgery. Again, in the last stage of pregnancy the ovaries may not be seen because of the position of the uterus. Following this procedure exposure to stallions is suggested to determine potential conception rates for the mares and again this is wrong for the foals to be born and condemned to life-long captivity. Why can’t your field trials be done on domestic mares prior to being tested for the first time on wild mares and be peer reviewed? In testing on domestic mares, you could artificially inseminate the mares to see if they would conceive avoiding unadoptable foals in life long captivity.

  • Proposal 8: Hysteroscopic guided Laser Ablation: There is less risk of infection in this procedure as it is not invasive but there are other risks. This procedure can only be done on non-pregnant mares. If a mare is recently pregnant unknown to the surgeon, she may face a very painful tubal pregnancy. Again, why is this experiment not field tested initially in domestic horses as it has never been done before and as non- pregnancy can be more certain in the domestic mares? In wild gathered mares this may be very difficult to determine. It was suggested by the experts, this procedure be done in yearlings at 8 months old at 300 kg. However, that would mean they have not contributed to the gene pool. The question needs to be answered as to what is your targeted population in the wild and how does genetic contribution correlate with these experiments? This is not a part of your EA, but should be a part of the selection of your experiments as experiments may be great but not suitable or cost effective for the wild population. 
  • The costs of these procedures are minimalized and misleading to the public who are the taxpayers.

Costs include ( but are not complete here), are as follows:

  • Gather costs
  • Transportation costs to and from the surgical procedure site
  • Cost to house the horses both pre- and post surgery
  • Costs of personnel assisting the surgeon(s)
  • Costs of antibiotics, equipment, and sedation i.e. will need multiple endoscopes
  • Costs to deal with complications
  • Cost of chute upwards of $12,000+ per chute
  • Costs of injuries and of deaths (burial)
  • Surgeons fees and travel time
  • You may say these costs are not a part of these experiments alone, not part of the EA, but you are once again manipulating the public lulling them into thinking these procedures are not that expensive compared to other procedures. The EA is misleading manipulating the public once again. Your housing costs are already quoted by you as a half a million for 225 mares alone.
  • Social and Economic Values
  • In 2012 a sub-committee of the Advisory Board recommended ovariectomies be done. This committee was composed of Tim Harvey, an Eastener involved with domestic horses, whose experience re: ovarietomies was ‘He asked a racing horse friend, a vet, if ovarietomies were safe,’ Boyd Spratlng, a cattle veterinarian, whose experience re: ovarietomies was ,’He did one once,’ and James Stephenson, a pro advocate of horse slaughter who said he once spoke with a vet about ovariectomies. No discussion at the Board meeting was about the pros and cons of performing ovariectomies. The Board members blindly voted for it. It is well-known the majority of the Advisory Board members have ranching interests, not wild horse and burro well-being interests and don’t have a lot of knowledge about wild horses and burros so promoting Advisory Board members input on sterilization as the voice of the public is acrimonious to the public and misleading in your EA statements.
  • Darting costs compared to sterilizing costs need to be compared if you take in all costs to do the procedures. Using Rangeland Mgmt. Specialists as well as volunteers and using fenced known water holes for the horses on the range such as in the Pryors, Little Bookcliffs, Spring Creek Basin, and the McCulloughs entails mainly only the cost of the dart with the medications as opposed to the costs of sterilization listed above. Again your EA statements re: darting compared to sterilizing are misleading.
  • In your EA you said BLM has the challenging task of choosing wild horse population control methods that are financially viable, ecologically viable, and socially viable. I would add to this list genetically viable. The WHB Program needs to consider healthy horses capable of reproduction for continuing diversity and viability.
  • The following is outside of the scope of this EA, but should be addressed by the BLM WHB Program if these sterilization experiments are going to be more than just a surgeon’s frivolous experiment on some wild horses. It seems these experiments should have been selected on the basis of some consideration of their applicability to be useful in population suppression in the field while retaining genetic diversity and viability of the 179 herds of which the BLM speaks. With that said, it seems a preliminary study should be made before these experiments proceed to determine which HMAs have been evaluated more than once for their genetic diversity and viability quotients and which of those HMAs have diversity and viability components sufficient enough to be considered for sterilization of some of its mares. It seems if they have not been evaluated more than once for baseline and comparison purposes and if their diversity and continued viability numbers are questionable for continuance, then they should be eliminated for consideration of sterilization. Then the 3 proposed sterilization experiments have some groups of horses that are not candidates for sterilization. So taking that into consideration, you should take a look at the groups who may be candidates for sterilization from a diversity and viability standpoint, determine what groups of animals in those HMAs are not candidates for sterilization such as stallions or yearlings, determine the number of mares and age you would not want to sterilize in order to have genetic contribution or continued health of the herd, and finally do modelling as to what number of horses you would need to gather and sterilize to make a zero but healthy maintained population. Is sterilization through gathering, housing and sterilizing going to meet your objectives, doable in terms of your objective, namely population stabilization, and cost effective. So, for example, if you have a group of 50 horses in an HMA, is it cost effective to bring in all the horses you can get only to find out only 3 mares are candidates for sterilization given all the other considered factors and will those three sterilized really make for population stabilization. Which of your HMAs are already out, considering the limits of possible mares for sterilization among the three experiments, mares needed to be maintained for genetic diversity and continued viability, other horses in the herd not candidates for sterilization, and HMAs themselves not yet evaluated for their diversity and viability and not candidates given low diversity and endangered viability.

CONCLUSION

You have done a lot of work on this EA, but I find you’re a) misleading information, falsities and omissions, b) the WHB program putting their cart before the horse not considering numbers of herds suitable for sterilization to make the experiments beneficial and cost effective, c) not field testing first on domestic horses with tests that have never been done, d) not heeding the advice of the experts on the lack of a need to do colpotomy experiments, e) not considering what is in the animal welfare interest of the mares and foals and taking the value of their lives into account, and not providing for a sterile test setting, are reasons these experiments should be delayed and should not go forward at this time until these matters and concerns have been addressed.

___________________________________________

Write to the BLM and demand Alternative A – NO ACTION to stop this.

Public comments will be accepted on the EA through February 10, 2016. Comments can be emailed, mailed or faxed to the BLM Burns Office at the addresses below. Entire comments – including personal identifying information – may be published as part of the EA and Decision Record process. Mail or deliver to:
Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead
(541) 573-4411 BLM Burns District Office
28910 Highway 20 West
Hines, Oregon 97738
Fax: (541) 573-4411 — Attention: Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead
Lisa Grant
BLM Burns District Office
Mike Tupper
Dean Bolstad
Comments can also be made online here:

Call and write your Congressional leaders and demand a stop to this.

Deadline extended to Feb. 10th: Tell BLM to STOP Dangerous and Cruel Experiments on Our Wild Horses

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com

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Wild mare nursing her newborn foal

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

The BLM has announced its plan to work with Oregon State University in experimenting upon 225 wild mares at the Hines, Oregon BLM Short Term Holding Facility starting in February 2016. The information about this was NOT posted on the Burns, Oregon website and was very hard to find, buried in a new BLM website. It is a very long document:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/projectSummary.do?methodName=renderDefaultProjectSummary&projectId=56292

Please do read it if you have time and a strong stomach.

I will summarize what I think are the important points to hit on if you going to comment on the plan.  The BLM will not listen to any of us, and would clearly prefer not to have any public comments or knowledge about the plan, but it IS important to make our voices heard and to get the word out that the BLM’s cruel, inhumane torture of and experimentation on our wild horses is absolutely not acceptable. It in no way conforms to the minimally intrusive management on the range that the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was passed to ensure.

Comments are due Wednesday, February 10, and there is an online comment form that they want you to use to make your comments. It says that the form resets after 60 minutes, so it might be a good idea to type them out first, copy them, and then paste them in. But you can just type them into the form. Here is the comment form:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/comments/commentSubmission.do?commentPeriodId=30676

There are three methods of sterilizing wild mares that the BLM would like to test out. They are ovariectomy via colpotomy, tubal ligation and hyteroscopically-guided laser ablation. The last two procedures the BLM describes as “minimally invasive” but they have never been done on wild mares before. The ovariectomy via colpotomy is not commonly done with domestic mares, but when it is, it is done in a sterile environment and the mares are not pregnant. They are also not wild.  There is nothing sterile about a holding facility, and these are wild mares that are going to be absolutely terrified by being confined in this chute and having an incision made in their vaginas so the veterinarian’s arm can reach in and rip out their ovaries. The possibility of the mares panicking despite the sedation is high, and they could break their necks in the chute. They can also die from sedation, or their hearts can stop from sheer terror. The possibility of infection and death resulting from complications is also a risk. And then this is the worst part. Since their ultimate plan is to surgically sterilize mares in the field like at White Mountain in Wyoming, and likely many mares in the wild will be pregnant, they want to experiment on mares who are pregnant to see what will happen – will they abort the foal? Will there be other complications? This is very likely in the early pregnancy group, and also likely in the middle phase. They will divide the mares into groups: 0-4 months pregnant, 4-8 months pregnant, over 8 months pregnant, and not pregnant, or “open.” Although they have plenty of wild mares to experiment upon at the holding facility in Hines, as the mares have been there for some time they do not have pregnant mares in all the phases available – so they will have a helicopter roundup or two to get more experimental subjects. They will use at least one and possibly all three methods of sterilization in the study.

I question the morals and ethics of the veterinarians at Oregon State University who will be performing these procedures on pregnant wild mares. I would never want them to provide care to my horses.

Medical Malpractice Related to Unnecessary Surgery By Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. 

“Unnecessary surgery is a type of medical malpractice. A form of medical malpractice that has become an alarming and growing problem in the U.S. is unnecessary surgery. This type of malpractice can lead to life-threatening complications and completely alter an individual’s life. When a surgeon performs an unnecessary surgery, it is an act of medical negligence. Doctors should take every precaution before deciding to prescribe any type of invasive surgery to a patient. When there is a failure to do this and it results in unnecessary surgery, they may be held legally liable.  Unnecessary surgery can lead to serious or even life-threatening complications. Some of the risks include hemorrhaging, damage to organs, infection, amputation and anesthesia errors. Putting animals through unnecessary surgery where they face complications that could significantly alter their life is a form of medical negligence. Injuries from this kind of negligence could result in filing a medical malpractice claim.”

Our wild horses do not themselves have a voice. We have to speak for them. This is the first of many studies on sterilization of wild horses that the BLM plans to perform over the next few years, attempting to solve their “wild horse problem.” I contend that there is no wild horse problem, but a “BLM problem.” Wild horse herds that have less than the number of horses in them to remain genetically viable (less than at least 150 adults) should not have any form of birth control used on them. For larger herds whose numbers have to be kept at a certain level, there are proven, humane, minimally invasive and reversible forms of birth control that have been being used for over 30 years. Native PZP and PZP-22 are being used successfully on several herds right now. Why aren’t these methods being used with more herds and why is the BLM bent on permanently sterilizing our wild horses? Because it wears off after 1-2 years and you have to keep darting the mares – the wild horse and burro specialists and Field Office staff members would actually have to get out there in the field and observe, document and keep track of the horses. And yes this IS possible, and yes many people would volunteer to help if our horses were being managed in a humane, sustainable manner on the range.

But it is easier to sterilize our wild horses – this is the endgame for the BLM. We must fight to stop this. We must fight to save our wild horses. Every voice counts.

Please comment. Use your own words. Tell the BLM what you think of their plan – and tell them to stop experimenting on our wild horses, and to stop sterilizing them. Treat them like living, feeling creatures who deserve our care and respect, and deserve to live their lives wild and free in their homes, on our public lands, with their families.

Go here to comment:
https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/comments/commentSubmission.do?commentPeriodId=30676

Public comments will be accepted on the EA through February 3, 2016. Comments can be emailed, mailed or faxed to the BLM Burns Office at the addresses below. Entire comments – including personal identifying information – may be published as part of the EA and Decision Record process. Mail or deliver to:

Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead

(541) 573-4411 BLM Burns District Office
28910 Highway 20 West
Hines, Oregon 97738
Email: blm_or_bu_mareresearchea@blm.gov
Fax: (541) 573-4411 — Attention: Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead

Lisa Grant
BLM Burns District Office
Email: blm_or_bu_mareresearchea@blm.gov

Mike Tupper
Email: mtupper@blm.gov

Dean Bolstad
Email: dbolstad@blm.gov

and here to read the document:
Get your comments in by the end of the day on Wednesday, February 3.
And thank you from the bottom of my heart.
1/20/16 Radio Show on Wild Horse and Burro Radio about this plan – the whole show is archived so you can listen in here:

Related Posts:

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/news/wild-horses-action-alert-speak-out-to-stop-blms-plan-to-spay-wild-mares-in-wyoming

Marjorie Farabee with latest update on threats to shoot wild burros in Arizona (Wed., 1/27/16)

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 Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_Logo

Join us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, January 27th, 2016

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, 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 is MARJORIE FARABEE, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, the Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (home of TMR Rescue) and founder of Wild Burro Protection League. 

marjorieandabbywhff

For over a year, Marjorie has been investigating the situation at the Black Mountain HMA in Arizona, and alerted the public that the BLM, catering to developers of wind, gas, and agriculture, threatened to roundup many of the few remaining wild burros.  Recently, there has been an even bigger threat: the Mojave County Supervisors recklessly suggested selling hunting permits to shoot the wild burros.  Find out the latest details in this update.

untitledWild burros on Black Mountain HMA in Arizona (photo: Marjorie Farabee)

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

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Its time to dismantle the BLM, a criminal enterprise

Source:  The Independent

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by Jack Ferm

It’s time to dismantle the BLM, an agency that follows no barrier of law.

This agency has been one of the more corrupt Federal agencies ever since it’s founding by President Harry Truman in 1946. In their tenure over public lands, they have done more to destroy watershed than protect it, their incompetence as an agency of government has been unprecedented, and they have allowed cattle and sheep to overgraze the land to the extent that much of our range lands are today closer to wastelands. They have pitted cattle and sheep ranchers against the American wild horses and burros for grazing rights while making secret deals to sell wild horses and burros to slaughterhouses in the U.S. (before they were shut down) and later to slaughterhouses in both Canada and Mexico or illegal slaughterhouses that still are operating in the U.S. This agency has been involved in knowingly fraudulent adoption schemes and fictitious “sanctuary” herds to facilitate the needless removal of horses off the range.

dismantle the BLMThis has left us, we the people, no option but to dismantle the BLM. It’s time to shut down this criminal enterprise and perhaps transfer these lands to the states with agreements that the wild horses and burros are to remain free protected and unmolested.

BLM employees and contractors have been the driving force behind the horse-to-slaughter program, which has been ongoing since the 1980s and possibly even prior. This has been demonstrated by the criminal prosecutions of horse theft and sales to slaughterhouses by such cases as have been filed in Texas, Wyoming, Oregan, and Utah. But none have been filed in Colorado, which has been the hotbed of agency corruption. See U.S. v. Hughes and U.S. v. TOMLINSON.

BLM director Jim Baca, had a short-lived tenure of only nine months as head of the agency. Baca’s concern for the wild horses and their plight under the corrupt BLM led to his being fired by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in 1994. His termination was cheered by the Cattle Association and in particular by Mike Fusco, field coordinator of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association. Fusco said, “One down and 99 to go,” as Babbitt, whose family was in cattle ranching and tied to slaughterhouses, would request and accept Jim Baca’s resignation and put to rest the investigations into BLM degradation of the American wild horse.

Jim Baca was intent to clean up the BLM, but the cattle barons would have none of it. They have always been in control of this agency. They have since the beginning wanted all wild horses sent to slaughter. That war continues today between the horse and the cattle interests.

Baca found evidence of a number of dubious activities that warrant the call to dismantle the BLM:

dismantle the BLM—Wild horse theft during roundups.

—“Black Booking,” or phony double-branding in order that horses rounded up could vanish from all paper trails and end up at the slaughterhouses.

—Manipulation of wild horse adoptions where one holds proxies for a group of kill buyers and the horses all end up at slaughter.

—Use of satellite ranches where horses are held for days or weeks as stopping points on the way to slaughter.

—Fraudulent horse sanctuaries subsidized by the government to care for unadoptable wild horses deemed excess and removed from the range as fronts for commercial sales to slaughter while ripping the government off at a price of $1.10 a day for phantom horses that have already been sold and slaughtered.

One of Jim Baca’s investigations accepted for prosecution centered on BLM employees’ direct participation, with the approval of BLM managers, to sell wild horses to slaughterhouses by using the satellite ranches as holding facilities.

BLM drivers would deliver the horses to kill buyers or these satellite ranches and share in the money the horses brought in from the slaughter facilities. The money was then divided among the BLM employees who were participants in the horse-for-slaughter scheme.

dismantle the BLMBLM managers getting wind of the investigation obstructed justice and the investigation. The Department of Interior went so far as to attempt to quash the investigation: they were able to limit the prosecution to low-level employees but protected the higher-ups at the BLM. Then they interfered with the Department of Justice to such an extent that the DOJ finally just gave up, and no one was even prosecuted.

Lawyers from the Department of Justice urged that no prosecution be carried out because of the extent of tolerance for the program within the BLM for this horse-to-slaughter program, which was widespread within the agency, including those in management.

The philosophy of the BLM is “Nobody gives a damn about these horses.”

Note to BLM: We do!

dismantle the BLMBy the beginning of the 20th century, there were an estimated 2 million wild horses roaming the American range. Many were shot to make room for cattle and sheep grazing. Waterholes were poisoned, and horses were hunted, trapped, run over cliffs, and killed. By 1970, estimates were that less then 10,000 wild horses still remained free.

Congress was persuaded to pass the Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, brought about by a groundswell of humane organizations and individuals that cared for the plight of these animals and their torrent of mail to Congress.

This legislation was intended to end the sale of wild horses to slaughter, but it did not.

The mixed land use authorized by Congress in the 1978 amendment has left much of the range unsuitable for grazing and has resulted in overgrazing by cattle and sheep ranchers, to the detriment of that wild horse and burros that do not impact the land.

dismantle the BLMIn 1987 and 1988 alone, thousands of wild horses are believed to have been captured and sold to slaughterhouses through BLM employees. And the tragedy continues.

Here’s how one leg of the scam works: They capture 65 horses and only report 50. The remaining 15 horses go directly to satellite ranches where they are held temporarily before being shipped to slaughter as demonstrated in the Peer.org White Paper — a 1997 horse-to-slaughter report. BLM employees can get as much as $300 to $500 a horse or more. The sale of 15 horses brings in $1,875 to the employees, but the number of horses was probably in the hundreds for each roundup. One hundred horses at $300 a horse is $30,000; at $500 a horse, it’s $50,000.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Timber Oligarchs Transform Into Beef Barons in Harney County and the Oregon High Desert

Source:  Counterpunch

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The addictive beauty of an ungrazed sagebrush expanse and big sky bordering Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

by Katie Fite

Throughout the Ammon Bundy and militia thug seizure of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the media has not reported on the modern day filthy rich cattle barons of Harney County and beyond. Articles rarely if ever contain an environmental voice. Yet there have been endless interviews of carping ranchers claiming oppression by the federal government.

PROFILE OF A HARNEY COUNTY RANCH OWNING FAMILY: 6000 Cattle Impacting 750,000 Acres, 100 Race Horses

An Oregon Public Broadcasting story on taxpayer subsidies to cattlemen included a Harney County ranch manager griping about federal government over-reach.

OPB reported:

“Harney County locals may not like the militants’ tactics, but the prospect of more local control over public lands continues to have appeal. Ranchers say their tension with government is born from rules and restrictions driven by “radical environmental groups,” and the frustration of dealing with a plodding bureaucracy that drives up costs and undermines their economic security.

“This is our life. This is our livelihood. We’re good stewards of the land,” said Berry Anderson, manager of Treetop Ranches, south of Burns. “It’s frustrating that people who don’t even have a dog in the game can take it away from us.”

The Treetop Ranch Owner Family

Just who are these embattled ranchers, reeling from the heavy-handed tactics and oh-so-restrictive grazing policies of the BLM ?

Fancy “Treetop Ranch” signs have sprung up on huge spreads across eastern Oregon and portions of Idaho in recent years. Larry and Marianne Williams control Treetop Ranches, and their cattle herds impact a vast area of crucial sage-grouse habitat across eastern Oregon and portions of Idaho.

They are very wealthy people. The Williams family made millions in timber. Then went into public lands welfare ranching and raising race horses. The Simmental beef article describes:

“Mr. Williams had sold his company, Idaho Timber, and shifted into the cattle business primarily in Idaho and Oregon. He also maintains a very successful thorough-bred horse-racing program near Parma, Idaho. In 2012, William’s Horse Racing Nation’s “Rousing Sermon” finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby”.

“Mr. Williams put the Oregon operation together over the last 10 years. It consists of six different ranches, totaling 750,000 acres. The ranches are not adjacent

to each other, stretching about 150 miles long and 100 miles wide with other ranches interspersed among our properties,” Anderson said”.

The article continues:

“We run about 6,000 cows and 1,000 replacement heifers each year. We’ve had a serious drought in recent years, so we’re cutting back our numbers a bit. It takes about 125 acres to run a cow in this rough, lava rock country,” he continued. “Our headquarters is very remote, about 50 miles southeast of Burns (population: 5,000), which is where we do most of our shopping. The nearest larger city is Boise, which is 180 miles to the northeast.”

Yes, three quarters of a million acres – largely BLM public land plus large state and private holdings. Treetop controls ranches near Burns, at Oregon Canyon north of Mcdermitt, and across the “big empty” sagebrush sea of the region. Vast BLM grazing permits including crucial sage-grouse habitats and wilderness study areas are under the hooves of this operation.

A Hundred Race Horse Crop

Treetop also raises race horses, based in Parma, Idaho.

“For the last 13 years, Kiser has managed the horses owned by Larry and Marianne Williams. Kiser lives and works at the ranch and is in charge of about 100 horses”.

See also http://trainermagazine.com/.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

Carol Walker to detail BLM plans to sterilize wild horses on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 1/20/16)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_Logo Join us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, January 20th, 2016

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

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, 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.

_____________________________________________

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Our guest is Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Carol will be detailing Bureau of Land Management (BLM) heinous plans to STERILIZE wild  horses, including “studies” (experimentation trials) using several methods on 225 wild mares: ovariectomy via colpotomy, tubal ligation, and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla.  The BLM is going to do this experimentation at BLM’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon, but will eventually do sterilizations out in the FIELD.

The BLM has not, as of this time, posted the Environmental Assessment (for public comment) for this sterilization plan on the Oregon BLM websites.  The only people who have received it are people who are on the “interested party list” in Oregon.  The deadline for public comment is 2/2/16.   A link to the Environmental Assessment is HERE.

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Leon Pielstick, DVM, inserting a chain ecraseur via colpotomy incision

Carol’s website is http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/

and you can see her photography at http://www.livingimagescjw.com/

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

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