BLM Lays Out Plan to Manage Wild Horses and Burros to Extinction

 

The Bureau of Land Management Lays Out the Plan to Manage Wild Horses and Burros to Extinction

By Debbie Coffey and Carol Walker, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

4/30/18

The BLM has submitted a report to Congress “Management Options for a Sustainable Wild Horse and Burro Program” with recommendations on managing the wild horses and burros on our public lands as well as the 46,000 held in short and long term holding facilities.

Some of the suggestions include killing (misidentified as “euthanasia”) 10,000 wild horses and burros, massive roundups of 50,000 wild horses and burros currently on our public lands, then sterilizing 80% of the wild horses and burros that remain, and removing limitations on sale of these wild horses and burros, which exposes them to the risk of sale to slaughter. The options offered in this report would not lead to sustainability, but to the extinction of wild horses and burros on public lands, likely within the next generation or two.

Here is the BLM’s plan: http://www.wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/BLM%20Management%20Options%20for%20a%20Sustainable%20Wild%20Horse%20and%20Burro%20Program.pdf

The BLM is asking Congress for permission to proceed with these extreme measures, and yet the basis for this plan is rooted in false claims.

“Since receiving federal protection in 1971, wild horse and burro populations on public lands have dramatically increased, far exceeding what is healthy for the land and the animals.”

The BLM’s population estimates remain wildly inaccurate. Wild Horse Freedom Federation prepared a White Paper in 2017, that provided a review of the BLM’s own statistics where, according to the BLM, some herds of horses have increased by as much as 750% to 1,250% in only one year. This is biologically impossible and scientifically indefensible.

The BLM claims “The current overpopulation of wild horses and burros threatens the overall health of the western rangelands, degrading ecosystem function and limiting forage and water available for domestic and wildlife species, including game and nongame species.”

Privately owned livestock vastly outnumber wild horses and burros on public lands. Blaming wild horses and burros for all of the range degradation on our public lands and scapegoating them for loss of sage grouse habitat is at very least without any scientific basis. According to Western Watersheds Project, a conservation non-profit: “Public lands ranching is the most widespread commercial use of public lands in the United States. Ranching is one of the primary causes of native species endangerment in the American West; it is also the most significant cause of non-point source water pollution and desertification.”

Journalist Vickery Eckhoff points out that “the 2014 BLM and USFS livestock grazing receipts ($17.1 million) tell a different story: the equivalent of 2.1 million cattle outnumbering 56,656 federally protected wild horses and burros by 37:1.”

Eckhoff also states, “These privately owned livestock are allocated 97 percent of western forage on all 251 million acres. This is compared to 3 percent allocated to 56,656 wild horses and burros occupying just 29.4 million acres.”

http://dailypitchfork.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/BLM_USFS-grazing-analysis_2014_Daily-Pitchfork.pdf

“In establishing the “Appropriate Management Level” (AML) for wild horses and burros on the public lands, the BLM uses scientific principles of rangeland management to determine the population of wild horses and burros that the habitat can sustain.”

When Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971 (16 U.S.C. §§ 1331- 1340), the wild horses & burros were to be protected in their historic herd areas. In 1971, wild horses & burros occupied 53.8 million acres managed by the BLM, but now wild horses and burros are on only 26.9 million acres. The BLM has not only eliminated half the land where wild horses and burros were to be protected, but on the remaining acres, oil and gas, livestock grazing and other uses are squeezing out the wild horses and burros.

Most BLM Land Use Plans, including Resource Management Plans (in effect for 20 years unless revised) and Environmental Assessments, do not even allow for numbers of wild horses or burros that are high enough to maintain a minimum viable herd number in their “Appropriate Management Level” (AML). BLM allows some herds to have only 15-20 animals. There are over 150 wild horses in only 27 of the 148 wild horse Herd Management Areas, and there are over 150 burros in only three of the 30 documented burro herds. If the BLM is allowed to achieve their stated goal of “achieving AML” of only 26,000 wild horses and burros then many of these herds will not remain viable and wild become extinct or be zeroed out.

Dr. E. Gus Cothran, an equine geneticist used by the BLM for decades, has consistently stated that wild horse and burro herds need a minimum of 150-200 members, with at least 150 breeding age adult animals, to sustain genetic diversity in the herd and maintain a viable population.

The BLM harps on the cost of warehousing the 46,000 wild horses and burros purported to be in holding facilities. However, Wild Horse Freedom Federation investigations revealed that only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the wild horses the BLM and their contractors claimed were on many of these facilities were actually there. Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s White Paper detailed this, and we notified members of Congress. All of these wild horses and burros that the BLM claims are in holding, aren’t all there. The missing horses have likely already ended up in the slaughter pipeline. And the wild horses and burros were grazing at no cost on public lands.

Regarding the BLM the BLM’s proposed actions, none of them are in the best interests of wild horses and burros. The BLM wants to reduce the time that it takes for adopters of wild horses and burros to receive title, from 1 year to 6 months. They want to designate any horse over 5, instead of over 10, as a “Sale Authority” horse, subject to sale without limitation, and they want to pay anyone who wants to adopt or purchase a horse or burro $1000. All of these proposals are geared toward making it easier for people to sell their wild horses and burros to slaughter.

Killing the wild horses and burros that the BLM currently holds in both long and short term holding is not euthanasia. Euthansia is putting a suffering animal out of its misery. The BLM would be killing healthy wild horses and burros, and it would most likely be in the ugliest way possible. There would be mass shootings and possibly even aerial shootings, and burials in mass graves. Many could be shipped to slaughter plants in Mexico.

The sterilization of 80% of wild horses and burros that are left on public lands would be inhumane, cruel, dangerous and a guarantee of extinction. Methods that were being considered in 2016 for spaying wild mares included methods that were untested and extremely dangerous, in unsterile environments with no or minimal post operative care and would lead to many dying of infection or trauma. Here are respected Veterinarian Don Moore’s comments on the proposed methods of spaying wild mares:

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/DonMooreCommentsOregonSpayProposal.pdf

The BLM is proposing “partnerships” with state and local agencies that would allow them to transfer wild horses and burros in large numbers and strip them of any protections from sale or slaughter or other forms of mistreatment. The public needs to be concerned about these, particularly when the wild horses and burros are to be shipped overseas. One proposal that seems to be gaining momentum is to ship thousands of wild horses to Russia to be used as prey (food on hooves) for Siberian tigers. As if this wasn’t ridiculous enough, they are asking that U.S. taxpayers to pay for shipping them to Russia.

http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/blog/truth-7-blm-considered-sending-2000-wild-horses-russia-used-prey-siberian-tigers-amur-leopards-pilot-program/

The BLM’s failure to manage wild horses and burros on our public lands and their willingness to continue to round up and remove wild horses and burros and then warehouse them leaving far more in captivity than on public lands where they belong is a direct result of pandering to special interest groups, such as grazing and oil and gas exploration. The “crisis” if there is one, is of the BLM’s own making, with decades of mismanagement and lack of responsiveness to wild horses advocates who have many solutions and also volunteers to help keep wild horses wild and free on our public lands, where they belong.

Wild horse Freedom Federation has recommendations on wild horse and burros management which we have sent to Congress, and you can view these recommendations here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/news-alerts/recommendations-wild-horse-burro-management/

What can you do to help?

Take, Mail, email or fax this document http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/BLMLaysOutPlantoManageWildHorsestoExtinction.pdf

plus the WHFF recommendations above to your Senators and Congressmen.  plus the WHFF recommendations above to your Senators and Congressmen   http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/news-alerts/recommendations-wild-horse-burro-management/

Tell them you oppose all of the BLM’s Plan.

You can also download Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s White Paper here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/white-paper/

How to Contact Congress:

Contact Your Senators:https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Contact Your Representatives:https://house.gov/representatives/find/

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit: www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

To find out more about Equine Advocates and their work on equine welfare and horse slaughter issues, visit: www.equineadvocates.org

 

Wild Horse Hater Ryan “Dinky” Zinke Now Claims To Be A Born-Again Conservationist

by Todd Wilkinson as published on The Mountain Journal

“From the father of bloody horse slaughter comes yet another new angle used to confuse and confound the American people.  A true embarrassment to American values!” ~ R.T.


After angering millions of Americans for his brazen anti-environmental agenda, can the Interior Secretary win back the trust of citizens?

Dinky: “Trust me, those horses behind me would be finger licken good on your Memorial Day grill. I tried to get um in Montana 10 years ago and now I have the wild horses marked for dinner, stay tuned.”

Ryan Zinke did something recently he should have done the first week he took over the helm of the Interior Department in 2017 and began flying his own flag: meeting with a diverse array of American conservation leaders whose groups, in turn, represent tens of millions of people who care about environmental protection.

One person who was in the room told me: “It was just a meeting, nothing more. The Secretary doing a lot of smooth talking. Anyone who believes he’s a born-again conservationist is a fool.”

The person said that akin to when Zinke, a former Congressman from Montana, went through confirmation hearings to become Interior Secretary, he claimed he’d be emulating Theodore Roosevelt. “Instead,” the individual said, “the decisions he’s made have caused even some hook and bullet organizations to distance themselves from him.”

Zinke has his own personal agenda and we don’t yet know what it is.  Some have speculated he intends to run for governor in Montana or the U.S. senate or that he has positioned himself to pull in millions serving on the board of directors for maybe a fossil fuel or mining or chemical company after he leaves Washington D.C.

A person inside the Interior Department told me that Zinke finally realizes that his actions have ignited a backlash among conservationists he thought he held in the palm of his hand.

I’ve had an ongoing request to do a comprehensive interview with Zinke going back a year now.  When he was a Congressman he told me he’d be happy to do an interview any time. Now his young press secretary, Heather Swift, who possesses no real acumen for Western issues, said she “didn’t think it would be in the best interests of the Secretary to sit down for an in-depth interview.”

A couple of things: when I told a few former Interior press secretaries I know who have served under both Republican and Democrat Interior Secretaries of Swift’s attempts to control the press, they replied that Zinke and Ms. Swift are mistaken if they believe interviews are only granted to advance Zinke’s personal best interests.

He is obligated to answer tough questions about his stewardship of the people’s landscape—hundreds of millions of acres of public land under his authority—and which belong to all citizens. Further, U.S. taxpayers fund the salaries of Zinke and Swift, not a political party nor special interests who hold sway in the swamp.

To date, Zinke has, for the most part, only courted press opportunities with reporters whom he knows will not subject him to probing inquires.  I know many reporters nationwide who are also frustrated by Swift’s evasive behavior.

She has aggressively tried to deflect reporters eager to ask Zinke about his policies favoring, for example, the energy industry over the protection of finite things such as clean water and air, wildlife habitat and the fact that morale of federal land management agencies has gone into steep decline under Zinke’s command…(CONTINUED)

http://mountainjournal.org/zinke-claims-to-now-be-a-born-again-conservationist

Utah Sen. Lee targeting powers of BLM, Forest Service

as published on Deseret News.com

“We need to get back to managing federal lands as opposed to terrorizing the communities that surround them,” 

Protesters ride on a trail in Recapture Canyon in San Juan County on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The ride was organized by San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman in protest of what he says is the agonizingly slow decision-making process of the Bureau of Land Management. Sen. Mike Lee is preparing legislation that would abolish or limit the powers of the law enforcement arm of the BLM.

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, wants to rein in the law enforcement authority of the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service and is crafting legislation he says will either restrict or abolish their authority.

Lee said Monday he aims to hem in powers he says were never envisioned under the Federal Land Management Policy Act of 1976.

“Our federal land management agencies have drifted far from their intended purposes,” he said. “The BLM has expanded its operations far from public lands.”

Lee, chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining, convened a hearing earlier this month on the issue, querying top agency officials about the role their law enforcement plays on federal lands, and if that could be fulfilled by local sheriff deputies.

“It is incumbent on this subcommittee to ask whether combining resource management and criminal law enforcement has resulted in a profound disservice to both,” Lee said.

The senator added federal land agencies exercise police powers on private land — something the founders “exclusively” reserved to the states.

“We need to get back to managing federal lands as opposed to terrorizing the communities that surround them,” he said Monday.

Lee and others are optimistic the Trump administration is supportive of the West’s concerns, with massive restructuring underway in the BLM and a possible relocation of its headquarters to states that include Utah and Colorado.

State Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, in an update to his colleagues on the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee last week, described a whistleblower’s memo from a lead investigator who assessed how federal officers handled the 2014 armed standoff against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

“I routinely observed, and the investigation revealed a widespread pattern of misconduct, as well as likely policy, ethical and legal violations among senior and supervisory staff at the BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security.”

Larry Wooten wrote that misconduct by now-fired Special Agent in Charge Dan Love and other supervisors caused “considerable disruption in our workplace, was discriminatory, harassing and showed clear prejudice against the defendants, their supporters and Mormons.”

Wooten’s memo went on to describe how he heard repeatedly that Love had a “Kill Book,” as a trophy and “in essence bragged about getting three individuals in Utah to commit suicide (see Operation Cereberus Action out of Blanding, Utah and the death of Dr. (James) Redd).”

Lee points to the 2009 Blanding raid involving Redd — who killed himself — as an example of BLM law enforcement gone amok, with multiple pre-dawn raids served at gunpoint.

“What happened in Blanding is a symptom of the underlying problem,” he said.

The so-called “Kill Book,” he added, is “abhorrent. This is the kind of thing that could have or would have been addressed more quickly with a state or local law enforcement agency.”

Lee said local law enforcement can carry out the same functions of BLM and the Forest Service and are more accountable to local residents.

“I don’t think it is an easy conclusion that these (federal lands law enforcement) agencies are worth having,” he said.

Local conservation organizations have complained about the lack of federal law enforcement resources to protect vital and irreplaceable cultural resources in remote regions of the state.

“Abolishing or restricting federal law enforcement officers is a thinly veiled step toward seizing public lands for the state,” said Mathew Gross, a spokesman for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

“That’s what the Utah delegation wants, but it’s not what the American people want. The first responders who patrol and protect our federal lands have been set up to fail with understaffing and a lack of funding. They should be receiving more support, not less, from Congress.”

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900019262/utah-sen-lee-targeting-powers-of-blm-forest-service.html

$85,800 reasons Wild Horse Hating Zinke is again addressing oil and gas corporations

by of Western Values Project

“Secretary Zinke has done the bidding of extractive industries over our public lands and national parks since day one,”

As part of a multi-day trip to the Dakotas, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is scheduled to address the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference this very morning. The event is hosted by the North Dakota Petroleum Council, a group dedicated to “provid[ing] governmental relations support to the more than 490 companies it represents who are involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industry.”

Western Values Project (WVP) already documented that over a ten month period in 2017, the timeframe for which Secretary Zinke’s calendars were publicly available, he met with extractive industry executives, associations or lobbyists at least 33 times, averaging nearly one meeting per week.

So, why is Secretary Zinke addressing oil and gas executives, again? WVP found that Secretary Zinke has $85,800 reasons. He raked in that amount in campaign cash from many of the conference’s sponsors, their executives, parent companies or affiliated Political Action Committees.

“Secretary Zinke has done the bidding of extractive industries over our public lands and national parks since day one,” said Deputy Director of Western Values Project Jayson O’Neill. “We’d all be better off if Secretary Zinke spent as much time defending public lands as he does glad-handing with the special interest who have filled his campaign coffers and profit off of our public lands.”

Secretary Zinke has especially strong financial ties to Bakken Now Plus sponsor Oasis Petroleum, his second-biggest corporate donor. In addition to Taylor Reid, the President and COO of Oasis Petroleum being his “top individual donor,” Zinke once bragged that his “first donor” was Oasis Petroleum executive Thomas Nusz, who, combined with his wife, and then-college-aged children, has handed Zinke $29,000 in campaign contributions.

It’s an investment that has been paying off mightily for extractive resource corporations. In addition to ushering in the largest reduction in public lands protections in U.S. history for oil interests, Zinke has rolled back environmental regulations, limited public input, opened thousand of acres to oil and gas leasing in critical habitat, and halted the implementation of the methane flaring rule that has already cost taxpayers over $36 million in royalties among others.

https://westernvaluesproject.org/85800-reasons-secretary-zinke-is-again-addressing-oil-and-gas-corporations/

Secretary of Hypocrisy (Ryan Zinke)

Source: Western Value Project

“This is the SAME politician that tried to bring bloody Horse Slaughter to Montana…”

Ryan Zinke’s hypocrisy is being put on full display this week. Despite his previous support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (the budgetary lifeblood for many of our public lands), he has refused to stand up against Trump’s attempts to gut the program!

And now Zinke is set to defend Trump’s budget cuts — in front of the Interior Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee!

We need to take action, Friend. Will you send a tweet and tell senators to hold Ryan Zinke accountable for cutting funding for our public lands?

It’s hard to keep track of Zinke’s constant flip-flopping on this issue, so here’s a quick recap:

FIRST: As a congressman, Ryan Zinke showed his support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by voting to extend funding for the critical program.

THEN: Zinke became Secretary of the Interior and supported Trump’s proposed budget — despite the fact that it nearly zeroes out funding for the LWCF!

NOW: He’s set to defend Trump’s budget cuts to his own Interior Department!

We need to let Ryan Zinke know that his flip-flopping on funding our public lands is not ok!

Will you send a tweet to directly tell senators that they must end Zinke’s hypocrisy and defend funding for our public lands?

Wild Horse Management Plan Would ‘Guarantee Extinction,’ Mustang Advocates Say

By as published on Newsweek

photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently proposed a series of options that would drastically reduce the number of mustangs on public lands. Some horse lovers think the plan would be too effective and wipe out the animals completely.

The options include offering people $1,000 each to adopt a horse, reducing restrictions on adoptions—including allowing people to buy them for horsemeat—sterilizing them and killing them. The BLM said a combination of those options should reduce the American mustang population by 69 percent over six to 12 years.

Wild horses have been a matter of intense public debate for decades. Cattle ranchers believe that the horses are an invasive species, which damage the landscape. The ranchers benefit from having the horses removed so they can put cattle, which are invasive, on the land.

“According to the law, the cattle are permitted,” Bob Skinner, former president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and current vice president of the Public Land’s Council, told Newsweek. “It was to be used for grazing to supply the country with meat and income. The horses just kind of snuck into the picture.” Skinner also argued that horses are more destructive to the landscape than cattle.

But horse advocates say the horses have just as much of a right to be there, and renting the land at subsidized rates to what they call “welfare ranchers” primarily benefits the billionaires in the 0.01 percent. Still, as the BLM estimates that care and control for the horses costs taxpayers $50 million a year, horses find themselves rounded up, adopted out and sterilized.

In a press statement submitted to Newsweek, the BLM said: “As Congress notes, failure to address the rising costs of the programs and the toll large herds of horses and burros in the west ‘will result in irreparable damage to the landscape and the welfare of the animals protected by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.’ The BLM agrees.”

 

photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Debbie Coffey from the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, who has filed 130 Freedom of Information Act requests with the BLM, said the bureau estimated that some herds had increased 750-1,250 percent—numbers that she found misleading. “That’s biologically impossible, that’s absurd,” Coffey told Newsweek. “Stallions aren’t having babies!” Only breeding-age female horses can have roughly one foal per year.

But the population, unchecked by the native predators that people have eradicated, has increased as their range has shrunk. The BLM estimated that there were 72,674 wild horses and burros on public land; Coffey contested that number. The BLM hopes that some combination of its plans to lift restrictions on adoption and/or sterilizing and/or killing animals could reduce their number to “appropriate management levels” of 26,715.

A number of wild horse advocacy groups believe those approaches are misguided and have signed a document describing what they believe are better solutions. The Wild Horse Freedom Federation said a better plan would be to reduce the amount of rangeland given to ranchers so that horses can reclaim the range that they had in 1971: 53.8 million acres, as opposed to today’s 26.9 million. The federation suggested that the BLM use offers from the public to help promote horse adoptions, and also reintroduce native predators.

Those groups claim that such a drastic reduction in horse populations wouldn’t leave enough genetic diversity and viable, reproducing adults to continue having mustangs running free for future generations to enjoy. With such a reduction, they argue, mustang herds will become too small, forcing them to inbreed and become weaker—and die off.

Skinner disagreed, saying that if a method reduces horse populations too quickly, they can always discontinue and allow the horses to repopulate.

“All you have to do is just stop,” he said. “You don’t have to keep killing horses.”

http://www.newsweek.com/wild-horse-management-plan-would-guarantee-extinction-mustang-advocates-say-936611

Emails Show Interior Expected To Learn Nothing From Public Input On Bears Ears Review

By Chris D’Angelo as published on The Huffington Post

“Wouldn’t be much of a stretch to apply this same line of Neanderthal thinking to the public comment periods for Wild Horses & Burros either!” ~ R.T.


Chris D’Angelo/HuffPost ~ The pair of buttes for which Bears Ears National Monument is named. In December, President Donald Trump shrunk the 1.35 million-acre protected site by 85 percent.

WASHINGTON — In May 2017, a little more than a week after President Donald Trump signed a pair of unpopular executive orders threatening the future of 27 national monuments, the Interior Department announced it was giving the American public a chance to weigh in.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke boasted that the comment period “finally gives a voice to local communities and states,” parties the Trump administration claims past presidents ignored when granting protections to new monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

And after the comment periods closed in July, Zinke said he appreciated “everyone who took the time to log-on or write in and participate in our government,” and that the input would help inform his decisions.

But internal documents show that in the case of Bears Ears National Monument, the administration conducted its review assuming it had little, if anything, to learn; that it had all the information it needed to decide the fate of the Utah site.

Randal Bowman, a senior policy analyst at the Interior Department, led a May 31 webinar to train a dozen agency staffers on how to read and catalog public comments the agency fielded on its review of Bears Ears, a 1.35 million-acre monument the Obama administration established in late 2016. During the hour-long training, Bowman told the review team that because the Utah monument was so new and a management plan had not yet been adopted, it would be “virtually impossible” for a member of the public to submit information that hadn’t previously been considered.

“Essentially, barring a surprise, there is no new information that’s going to be submitted,” Bowman told staffers, according to a video of the event. A link to the webinar was included in an email released as part of a public records request.

When one member of the review team asked Bowman to clarify his previous comment, he said, “I can’t visualize what a new [piece of] information would be. But I’m not ruling it out.”

From the start, Trump and Zinke’s public criticisms suggested Bears Ears wouldn’t survive intact, and that the administration’s review and public comment period was mostly for show. At the April signing ceremony, Trump said the Bears Ears designation “should never have happened” and that he was going to free up the land to “tremendously positive things.” Still, the Interior Department maintained its review would be fair and thorough.

Bowman’s comments during the training, as well as subsequent internal emails, are likely to add to critics’ speculation that the outcome — at least for Bears Ears — was predetermined; that the administration was not really interested in what the general public had to say.

Bowman and the Interior Department did not respond to requests for comment.

In a report summary made public in August, Zinke acknowledged that the vast majority of the 2.8 million public comments his department received as part of its sweeping review favored maintaining national monuments. But he chalked up that one-sidedness as being the result of “a well-orchestrated national campaign organized by multiple organizations.”

The administrative review culminated with Trump traveling to Utah in December, where he announced he was slashing Bears Ears by 85 percent, opening the door for new mining, drilling and other development. Nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the largest land national monument in the country, was cut roughly in half. The rollback was the largest reduction of national monuments in history…(CONTINUED)

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/emails-bears-ears-national-monument-review-comment-period_us_5afd7e8fe4b06a3fb50e47f0

Feel Good Sunday: “Let There Be Light”

OpEd by R.T. Fitch, President/Co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Loss, Love, Laughter”

It was Saturday morning, May 19th, 2018 and I was sitting in front of the computer struggling with what I was going to publish on the blog that day.  Not an unusual situation for me to find myself in but on that day, it had some disheartening and dark overtones that were obscuring my inner vision and casting a wet blanket across my heart.

My original intent was to write about the progress that our lead investigator for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Equine Welfare Alliance had made with the contact of a local news station reporter and, hopefully, we were well on our way to another public educational piece on the tie between our own Houston and the predatory business of horse slaughter taking place just a few miles across our southern border.  She had done such a great job with an investigative reporter out of Atlanta that our own Houston Fox news aired the piece back home, here, last week.

But such a story was not to be as the news contact was neither made nor progressed because of the tragedy that occurred at approx. 8 AM the previous day as a local 17-year-old lost his battle with the dark side and ruthlessly removed 10 unwilling, innocent souls from this planet, put that many again into the hospital and altered the future lives of thousands, if not tens of thousands, for all eternity.   Our investigative horse story paled in comparison, intent and relevance.  Once again, and understandably, the horses were pushed to the back of the line and would have to wait their just due.

So, as I wrestled with the dark demon that attempts to steal the light from our heart and dampen the joy of our souls I reached over and let my television app come to life on the upper right-hand corner of my computer screen.

It was early for most, 5:30 AM, but not to me; I thought that perhaps the sound of a human voice and a bit of diversified video would help to center my thoughts and clear my mind but what to my wandering eyes did I see?  Everything, live, was centered on the “Royal Wedding” and when I say everything I mean everything.

From CNN on the left to Fox News on the right and all of the ankle-biter, wanna-bees in between, it appeared that all of them had put down their self-serving and destructive agendas to do one thing and one thing only; devote all of their resources to reporting on the live and in real-time broadcast of two people’s pronunciation of their love for each other while the whole world looked on.  I was stunned, I was confused, I was at a loss for words and I was hooked.

My keyboard lay silent as my mind turned from grief and ghoulishness to a warmer and happier place coming to me live within my home office in the micro-metropolis of Magnolia, Texas.

I watched it all, from the arrival of the two brothers at the chapel to the kiss on the stairs upon exit I watched it all with a good dose of awe and wonder, I amazed myself by watching the entire proceeding, in total.

I felt the pride when the two boys (men) in full uniform walked boldly into the church, I was captivated by the beautiful car whisking the bride and her mother to the chapel, I tipped my hat to the inner strength of the woman who walked herself down 50% of the aisle and then graciously extended her arm and love to her future father-in-law to help her complete that journey.  I was moved and touched as the two lovers exchanged mutual looks and were caught by the camera admiring the other when they thought no one was looking.  I was captivated by the sermon and brought to tears by the gospel choir.  I was lost in the love, the union and the hope.

The darkness melted away and the union of not only two people but of two country’s lightened my heart and gave me hope…but most of all, at the conclusion of the ceremony, the horses entered.

The beauty and majesty did not come totally to my heart until the newlywed couple climbed into their driver-less carriage and were whisked off on a tour and ride by majestic equine that were ridden, and not driven while being protected by a Calvary of equine brethren.  My heart stopped beating.  It was glorious.

Not to war, but to peace the hooves pounded down the Wellington streets while tens of thousands looked on.

Not for heartbreak but for joy the horses and their human companions paraded in front of the world in celebration.

For love, the horses pranced to show their pride and their blessing for the loving event.

It was the perfect conclusion for a perfect ceremony for a perfect counter point to the poison from the day prior.  Both my mind and soul had been cleansed.

The horses brought it home and into my heart, forever will they be the guardians of my soul and the bearers of my spirit.

I could almost taste it but surely did hear it as the universal spirit whispered to all across the globe who would listen when the horses concluded their march of devotion, “Let there be Light!”

And for one lowly listener, the message did not go unnoticed.

“Let there be Light.”

Disclaimer: “The opinions expressed by the author are definitely and unequivocally in total alignment with the editorial staff of SFTHH which proves that the old Curmudgeon still has a heart and can pen a few words that are A-political and meaningful to the bulk of self-actualized human beings.”

Inadequate Handling Practices Pose added Threat to Louisiana’s Wild Horses

Source: Amy Hanchey, President, Pegasus Equine Guardian Association

Regarding the Current Round Up of 37 Horses, Round Up #5 
It’s very important to remember any time you deal with Kill buyers, Kill Pen Horses… etc. the risk of exposure to disease is far greater. Especially for wild horses whose immune systems are not exposed to such pathogens in the wild as would be a domestic horse in a Kill pen. Sadly all officials involved seem to be stacking the cards against our wild horses. The Army will likely try to say Fort Polk horses are carriers, But the truth is they have delicate immune systems and were likely infected during the capture by being exposed to Kill buyers trailer, equipment, or the lack of pasture management in the holding pen on Fort Polk. Seemingly nothing was done by any official involved to ensure that the spread of disease was prevented. Officials in charge were aware that the Thompsons most likely caused an outbreak at the Jan 2018 Round Up # 4 but neither Fort Polk Officials, nor Texas State University, nor APHIS did anything to ensure that pasture was clean, nor did they relocate the holding area to another clean location nor did they take measures to ensure that future horses would not be exposed.
Begs the question; is it intentional or simple negligent?See article from Jan. 2018 Round Up.
https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/fort-polk-and-texas-state-university-line-pockets-of-kill-buyers/Demand that these horses at the very least are not subject to kill buyers. In statement from Ron Anderson, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy’s aid; “I have close to 7000 of these e-mails – FYI” , it is apparent that the citizens of Louisiana and our Nation do not want these herds annihilated due to poor herd management, neglectful treatment, and a plan that does not consider the welfare of these animals, who are historically, culturally, and genetically significant. See Amicus Brief filed by Dr Phillip Sponenberg A statement in response to a concerned citizen from LDAF Assistant Commissioner, John Walther, on May 14th, 2018

“We appreciate your concern for the welfare of the horses at Fort Polk with their capture and relocation. Fort Polk is a Federal Enclave and not subject to many of our state laws. The United States Army has contracted with Texas State University for the relocation of these horses to rescue locations. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has assisted the United States Department of Agriculture with sampling to test for Equine Infectious Anemia and Equine Piroplasmosis as these horses are an untested population. Thus far no Fort Polk horse have tested positive for either disease. In the event of a positive result the horse in question would not be eligible to travel. The Office of State Veterinarian within LDAF is charged with the control of diseases in animals. Concerns about handling of the horses should be addressed to the US Army or Texas State University.”

In a statement from Dr Diane Stacey LDAF State Vet, on May 17th, 2018

“I just received the report from Dr. Brandon and talked to area VMO Dr. Matt Traylor. These horses suspected of having strangles and exposed  horses will not be able to leave Louisiana until we get test results back. No veterinarian should  write a health certificate attesting to the health of sick or potentially sick horses and no state will allow sick horses into their state. We should get PCR results within a few days and we will sort things out then. But for now, these horses may not move. Thanks for your help, Diane Stacy, DVM”

Based on the Army’s chosen course of action, once State Vet releases horses after basic blood work, the 501(c)3 selected by the Army has 8 days to pick up horses from holding. After 8 days the Army will move to their “Give-Away Phase” and we all know that spells disaster for the horses.

See Army’s chosen course of action aka COA 7 is truly designed to benefit kill buyers.
——————————————————————————————————-

Army initial claims a total of 700 back in 2015.This number is total of 2 areas that are approx 30 mins apart from each other.

These areas are
1.) Drop Zone on the main base
2.) Peason Ridge.

Originally, locals estimated approx. 300 on DZ and 150 on Peason.  So while initial totals are unclear.. its very clear that they army has absolutely decimated the herd on the Drop Zone.

Video documentation of the herds in the wild, as of end of April 2018 https://youtu.be/rllqKYCpNCU

“Documented” round up numbers since COA 7 was implemented in 2016

RoundUp#1 by HSNT 50 10/2016
RoundUp#2 by HSNT 15 12/2016
RoundUp#3 by FRRR 18 12/2017
RoundUp#4 by FRRR 21 01/2018
RoundUp#5 by MFR/SLPAC 37 05/2018

That totals 141 horses “documented” removal since 2016 under Course of Action 7 aka COA7.

Its important to remember that prior to this it was basically a free for all and in the past Army officials admitted in a meeting on base that “a group of individuals were caught rounding up large groups of horses” and there have been several reports of “individuals taking horses out the backdoor”

Since the US Army’s 2015 public announcement to “eliminate” Louisiana’s Wild and Free Roaming horses, locals and advocates have been extremely concerned.  This proposed plan was immediately met with strong public resistance, however the Army at Fort Polk has continued to move forward with this plan for elimination; a plan most US citizens would certainly disapprove of.

Locals and advocates have pleaded with the Army to consider the welfare of these unique horses, however it seems our concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

Direct requests have been made to Army Officials from countless individuals and humane organizations; requesting that they refrain from working with individuals or organizations who would profit from the slaughter of these unique horses, specifically but not limited to Thompson Kill Pen in Pitkin, LA (aka THL,  Thompson Horse Lot, or Double S Kill Pen)

Sadly, the US Army and Civilian Officials managing this initiative have completely ignored direct request and public sentiment by subcontracting  with the Thompson’s of Pitkin, LA who are suspected to have been hired by the primary contract holder Texas State University, led by Todd Ahlman, Director of the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University http://www.txstate.edu/

Texas State University who was awarded 1.75 mil by Army Corps of Engineers.

“The Corps has awarded Texas State’s Integrated Natural and Cultural Resources Team (INCRT) with several task orders totaling $1.75 million. The INCRT is an interdisciplinary team of specialists from departments and programs across the university led by Dr. Todd Ahlman, the director of our Center for Archaeological Studies. The Texas State team will conduct archaeological surveys and support the management of cultural resources at U.S. Air Force bases and training facilities in eight states.”

See more here regarding TSU collaboration with Army Corp of Engineers
https://mailchi.mp/4d5d103101aa/news-from-the-hill…

Not sure how Todd Ahlman, TSU Director of Archaeology, can in good faith allow the decimation of herds of horses that are culturally, historically and genetically significant? See Amicus Brief filed by Dr Phillip Sponenberg in support of preserving and protecting the unique wild horses of Louisiana. Potential to endanger a species of horse that is already threatened, known as the Choctaw Horse

Contact Texas State University and demand that they cease collaboration with Kill Buyers, the Thompsons. Demand that they treat these animals humanely and ethically.

email: toddahlman@txstate.edu
email: cas@txstate.edu
phone: 512.245.2724

 

———————————————————————————————————

Update 4/30/18: It is reported that approx 37 Horses are in the North Fort holding pen. The pen is approximately a half acre and is holding studs, mares and babies all together.

Several of horses in holding have wounds / deep lacerations on the pastern or fetlock area, possibly indicative of winching and/or roped and dragged by legs.

Additional documented injuries are as follows:

  1. Gray mare yellow puss coming out of fetlock wound
  2. Bay yearling can’t put weight on hind end
  3. Boss stud has laceration on neck
  4. Foals with out mothers: this is the 3rd round up that we know of where foals were captured without their mothers

Initially 9 horses were seen late last week and over night the count grew to 37 so these horses are likely to be in holding at another location before being brought to the holding pen located on North Fort Polk.
Pegasus’s witnesses and experts, including Dr. Brendan Batt, Dr. Tom King, Stacey Alleman McKnight, and Dr. Bruce Nock, as well as other local organizations have explicitly expressed that they are available to the Army for consultation and would love to help. The Army should also consult with Dr. Sponenberg (Amicus) and the Livestock Conservancy, as well as national groups like HSUS, state groups like COLAA, and organizations with wild horse experience including American Wild Horse Campaign.

The only way to find the best solutions is to engage in honest and open consultation with as many experienced people, experts, and local stakeholders. It is extremely unfortunate that the Army has chosen to ignore help and proceed with cruel and inhumane capture methods.

The horses are in immediate danger and urgently need veterinary care due to injuries sustained during unethical and inhumane capture.

————————————————————————————
Under Louisiana Criminal Law Statue § 14:102.1 it is a Crime to withhold veterinary care once the horses have been remanded into their custody.

Feel free to include the following in your message:

The Army’s capture methods have injured the Fort Polk horses, and failure to provide veterinary care now that the Army has captured the horses and are keeping them in a corral is an ongoing crime in Louisiana. The Army must hire an INDEPENDENT veterinarian, one not associated with the contractors who inflicted these injuries, to treat the horses’ wounds and provide ongoing care while they are in the Army’s possession:

A. (1) Any person who intentionally or with criminal negligence commits any of the following shall be guilty of simple cruelty to animals:

(c) Having charge, custody, or possession of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, unjustifiably fails to provide it with proper food, proper drink, proper shelter, or proper veterinary care.

(i) Mistreats any living animal by any act or omission whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused to or permitted upon the animal.

(3) For purposes of this Subsection, if more than one animal is subject to an act of cruel treatment by an offender, each act shall constitute a separate offense.

La. Revised Statute § 14:102.1

 

Click Here: See photos of the 37 horses in holding as of 05/09/18
Photos taken at North Fort Polk Holding Pen 4/29/18-4/30/18
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Click Here to read more about LAWSUIT FILED TO PROTECT LOUISIANA’S WILD HORSES December 2016
View Legal Documents Here!
The remarkable beauty of one of Louisiana’s best kept secrets is threatened.
Go to @fortpolkhorsesPEGA for more info or http://www.pegasusequine.org
Contact Information

Amy Hanchey, President
Pegasus Equine Guardian Association
PO Box 82564
Lafayette, La 70598
Phone: (337) 739-0036
Email: admin@pegasusequine.org
Machelle Lee Hall, La. Bar 31498

6329 Freret Street
New Orleans, LA 70118-6321
Phone: (504) 862-8819
Fax: (504) 862-8721
Email: mhall@tulane.edu
Counsel for Pegasus Equine Guardian Association

https://mailchi.mp/e9ff493bdb6d/pega_april_10_2018-591675?e=329a8569fb

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Racing’s Efforts to Grapple with Horse Slaughter not Enough, at least for now

by as published on The Guardian

The US racing industry has stepped up its game significantly when it comes to re-homing its retired equine athletes in recent years, but there’s still plenty of work to be done

Ginerous Legacy (Harley) saved from slaughter and adopted by Terry and R.T. Fitch ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Dina Alborano rescues ex-racehorses bound for slaughter. A savvy social media operator, the New Jersey resident drums up donations through platforms like Facebook and Twitter, then purchases and plucks horses from ‘feed lots’ – facilities, also known as ‘kill lots’, where horses are penned before going to slaughter in Mexico or Canada. Through her horse rescue organization, she then endeavors to find these horses new homes.

Alborano’s efforts have recently received support from some of the most respected jockeys, trainers, owners and journalists in the industry. Some say that she has broadened awareness of this issue like few have been able. But her efforts have also courted controversy.

Critics argue Alborano exaggerates the plight of some of the horses she rescues, needlessly exploiting the highly emotional nature of the topic. Indeed, last month, horse racing outlet the Paulick Report published a story that raised questions about how Alborano manages and conducts her organization, allegations she vigorously denies.

But Alborano’s story touches upon much broader questions about the sport’s relationship with horse slaughter: namely, why are racehorses bound for the abattoir when the drugs they’re given during their racing careers prohibits them from entering the food chain? Who is policing the system? And are there enough homes for the thousands of horses retired from racing each year?

In recent years, the industry as a whole has stepped up its game significantly when it comes to re-homing its retired equine athletes. Driven by ethical concerns as well as a growing realization that potential new fans are turned away by a sport that permits its competitors to end up on foreign dinner plates, the industry is funneling more and more human and financial resources towards what is coined racehorse “aftercare” – the retraining and rehoming of retired racehorses.

“We’ve known the issue of horses ending up in bad spots as long as there’s been racing, but now with social media, it’s put out there in people’s faces on a daily basis,” said Victoria Keith, president of the National Thoroughbred Welfare Organization, a newly established aftercare body. “Everybody’s finding out it’s happening.”

Only, while change has been relatively swift, untold numbers of racehorses are still slipping through the net.

“Is it enough? No,” admitted John Phillips, president of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, an aftercare accreditation organization – the largest such program in the country – which this week held its annual pre-Preakness Stakes fundraiser, the race set for Saturday. “We have a lot more to do.”

‘It’s absolutely ridiculous’

No horse has been legally slaughtered for human consumption in the United States since 2007, when the federal government pulled funding for horse slaughter plant inspectors. This left Mexico and Canada to pick up the slack, both of which have come under fire in recent years for their records on food safety and horse welfare. The European Union, for example, barred horse meat imports from Mexico in 2014 after a series of damning audits.

Last year, more than 88,000 horses left the US for slaughter in Canada and Mexico, according to figures compiled by the Equine Welfare Alliance. But how many of those were ex-racehorses? With no hard data, that’s hard to answer. A much-used estimate is 10,000 ex-racehorses. According to the Equine Welfare Alliance, data from 2006 suggests that as many as 17% of horses that go to slaughter each year are ex-racehorses (close to 19,000 at that time). But it should be noted that this was before the racing industry had started to grapple seriously with the problem.

Nevertheless, as Alex Brown, a former racetrack employee and now an author and prominent anti-slaughter advocate, points out, many of these horses shouldn’t be headed to slaughter at all.

“It’s a food safety issue,” said Brown. Drugs like the painkiller phenylbutazone are ubiquitous in racehorse training, but they’re prohibited for use in animals intended for human consumption. “Livestock like cows and chickens, those animals are highly regulated in terms of their drug intake if they’re going into the human food chain. But the horse seems to slip through the cracks,” he said.

So, why do racehorses “slip through the cracks” as Brown says? “It’s almost a running joke at the auctions: ‘Will somebody sign this paper or that paper?’” Brown said, explaining the holes in the documentation system for horses bound for slaughter in Canada. This is compounded by the lack of a comprehensive national “passport” system that charts each horse’s medical history, he said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Racetracks themselves are at the vanguard of policing the system. That’s because the vast majority of racehorses are stabled and trained at these facilities. When trainers seek stalls for their horses, they sign agreements with the track that often requires them to ensure that any horse stabled there doesn’t end up going to slaughter, at least not directly.

But the devil, they say, is in the details. These agreements can differ in rigor of wording, and certain racetracks are much more vigilant about enforcing the rules than others. “The more reputable racetracks don’t want to risk their reputation, and they’ve pushed their killers off the shed row,” said Equine Welfare Alliance president, John Holland. “The less reputable tracks, he’s still there. Horses still leak out to slaughter.”

That said, a variety of obstacles make enforcement of these policies difficult.

In New York, for example, a retirement program called Take the Lead has, over the past three years, facilitated the rehoming of around 375 ex-racehorses. New York racetracks, however, sit among the “elite” echelons of the sport, and owners there tend to be wealthier and more able to fulfill the “ethical responsibilities” to their horses, said trainer Rick Schosberg, Take the Lead’s administrator.
On the other end of the scale, however, are those horses too slow to race in the more prestigious venues like New York, or those whose abilities are on the wane. They typically end up at racetracks on the bottom rungs of the ladder, running not for a million dollars but for a measly handful. Once there, these horses too often fall foul of the claiming game – races geared towards lesser talented horses where they can be bought and sold…(CONTINUED)

Raising the Flag on Ryan Zinke’s Corruption

The Wild Horse Hater charged with protecting our public lands is handing them over to fossil fuel companies

The media’s been swirling around the many scandals involving Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, and rightfully so. But there’s another scandalous member of Trump’s cabinet who’s bending ethical standards and attacking our environment: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Like Pruitt, Ryan Zinke is misusing taxpayer dollars, promoting industries he’s supposed to regulate, and remaining completely opaque when it comes to decision-making. He deserves as much media and congressional scrutiny as Pruitt.

The Interior Department is supposed to be the steward of our country’s “lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources,” according to its mission statement. But Zinke’s actions toward U.S. national parks and public lands show where his alliances truly rest: with the fossil fuel industry.

Though he’s tried to play himself as a serious outdoorsman — even as he’s incorrectly rigging a fly fishing rod or wearing a National Park Service hat backwards — Zinke has made clear his real mission is to drill and extract all over public lands.

He’s lifted a moratorium on leasing federal lands for coal mining, allowing the coal industry to exploit public resources while giving taxpayers pennies on the dollar. He’s weakened fracking safety standards for public lands. And he’s taken the first steps toward opening the sensitive coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

Zinke is risking our economy, ecosystems, and gateway communities around our parks with his unilateral decisions to put profit and pollution over public health.

What’s more, Zinke is also working with Trump on the largest rollback to national monument boundaries and declarations in U.S. history. He’s recommended essentially eliminating Utah’s beautiful Bears Ears National Monument, home to sacred sites and areas of tremendous cultural importance for at least five Native American tribes.

And if his attacks on the environment aren’t enough, Zinke also has a host of ethical problems — including questionable travel expenses with private jets and helicopter rides paid for with wildfire-fighting funding. In fact, there have been at least four internal investigations reviewing Zinke’s tenure at Interior.

He even tried to spend $139,000 in taxpayer money on doors for his office. And he forces staff to raise a special flag for him every time he enters the Interior Department building — seriously — and then take it down when he leaves.

More seriously, Zinke has falsely claimed to be a geologist at least 40 times, including in congressional testimony to support his environmental rollbacks.

Finally, Zinke has created a hostile environment in the workplace. He’s told staff that diversity isn’t important. He’s transferred women, Native Americans, blacks, and Latinos out of their jobs in an attempt to get them to quit. (And on his radio show in 2013, he supported the racist idea that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States.)

Ryan Zinke isn’t interested in what’s best for national parks and public lands. He should be removed, or he should step down immediately.

When he testifies before two congressional committees this month, I hope those members of Congress will hold him accountable. His decisions will have irreversible impacts, but it’s not too late to try and clean up the mess he’s already made.