Please Comment to Protect Wyoming’s Wild Horses from the Devastating 2017 Checkerboard Roundup

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com

Adobe Town Family

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

Please Comment by April 4, 2017 on the Checkerboard 2017 Roundup

The BLM was unable to roundup wild horses from Salt Wells Creek, Adobe Town and Great Divide Basin in 2016 because we won a lawsuit that prohibits the BLM from managing the wild horses in the Checkerboard using only Section 4 of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which allows them to remove wild horses from private lands.  Because the Checkerboard includes public lands, it is illegal to manage them as if they were privately owned by the ranchers demanding these roundups.  In order to legally roundup wild horses from the Checkerboard, the BLM must prove that the numbers are above Appropriate Management Level, or AML.  Now, they are not even conducting a census to prove this, instead they are “projecting” that the horses are over the high end of AML.

Roundups cause the destruction of hundreds of wild horse families, as well as injuries and death to the horses as they are chased by helicopters and flee in terror into traps.  These captured wild horses are chased into trailers and taken away from the only home they have ever had to end up spending the rest of their days languishing in holding corrals with no shelter.  Only a lucky few are adopted by members of the public and these do not always mean good homes – the return rate back to the BLM for adopted or purchased wild horses is over 50%.  Many many of these horses will end up at slaughter in Mexico.  There is no good reason to roundup and remove these horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin.

I have been following and observing and photographing the wild horses in these three herd management areas for the last 13 years. These horses are uniquely suited to this sometime harsh high desert environment.  They are the last three largest herds in Wyoming, and they deserve to be preserved on our public lands.  Although the Checkerboard presents challenges to BLM management because of its pattern of public alternating with private lands, that is no reason to cave into petty demands from the Rock Springs Grazing Association, which is made up from less than 25 members.  These wild horses are valuable to us, the American public, and so every effort must be made to preserve them here where they were found at the time the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed.  These horses were here long before the Grazing Association, and now what needs to happen is land swaps to consolidate blocks of public land that the horses can continue to roam upon.  Managing the wild horses on the range, on our public lands where they can continue to roam free and making these necessary land swaps happen is what the BLM needs to be working on, not perpetuating this every 3 year pattern of roundup, removal, then warehouse our wild horses.  The Field Manager of the Rock Springs BLM Field Office has been quoted as saying: “For all intents and purposes, we consider the Checkerboard private.”  But it is NOT private.  In fact, over half of the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas are public land, that belongs to us, the citizens of the United States of America, not the Rock Springs Grazing Association.

Great Divide Basin Family

This time, the BLM wants to remove 1029 wild horses: 584 removed from Salt Wells Creek, 210 removed from Adobe Town, and 235 removed from Great Divide Basin.

They are not even calculating their numbers from an actual aerial census – they are making these numbers up.  Every year, the BLM conducts and aerial census in late April, but now they are just “projecting” the numbers.

Read the rest of this article and find out how YOU can comment HERE.

Tell Congress: Back Off Legislation Using Sage Grouse to Transfer Public Lands

Source: Western Watershed Project

“These bills would do the opposite of what their titles suggest by handing over management of your federal public lands to states…”

Greater sage-grouse in flight © Ken Cole/WWP

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) have introduced legislation that is an extreme and irresponsible attack on your public lands and the wildlife they support. This bill has the Orwellian title of the “Greater Sage Grouse Protection and Recovery Act,” (S.273, H.R.527).

These bills would do the opposite of what their titles suggest by handing over management of your federal public lands to states that want more industrial destruction of sage grouse habitats, and by blocking conservation efforts under the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws that protect our environment. A more accurate title would by the “Greater Sage Grouse Extinction Act.”

Tell your elected representatives that you support sage grouse and oppose the gutting of federal environmental protections!

This bill would undermine the most essential environmental protections on federal lands. State sage grouse plans are far weaker on habitat protection than the recent federal sage grouse plans (which are not biologically adequate but, for now, that another matter). Where state and federal plans differ, the Bishop-Risch extinction act would give state governors in pro-industry states like Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho control over all decisions on federal public lands that involve sage grouse – that’s virtually every public land decision!

At the same time, this bill would exempt such state decisions on public lands from basic environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. That means no examination of environmental impacts, no weighing of environmentally responsible alternatives, and no public input on the decisions that determine the fate of your public lands. And to cap it all off, this bill would block lawsuits on these decisions, meaning that state governors could violate federal environmental laws as much as they like without worrying that their actions will be overturned by the courts!

This bill also attacks the Endangered Species Act by preventing the greater sage-grouse from being protected under the ESA before 2027, regardless of how low their populations go, or how much scientific evidence shows that urgent protections are needed to avert extinction.
 
Make a phone call to your Representative and Senators or write and urge them to vote against extinction and stand up for our federal environmental safeguards!

Phone calls are even better than emails. Please call or write today!

Missouri State Rep Would Welcome Tainted Horse Meat on the Table

Source: Multiple

“The Safeguard American Food Exports Act — would bar horse slaughter in the U.S. and ban horse shipments to Mexico”

Advocates for horses worry that U.S. restrictions against slaughtering the animals in this country soon could come to an end, and one Missouri lawmaker says he welcomes that.

Slaughtering horses isn’t illegal in the U.S. but has been barred by a technicality, in that over the previous two presidential administrations no federal money was appropriated for U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections of processing plants. With such oversight, the meat could not be sold.

The last horse slaughter plant in the U.S. closed a decade ago, but that hasn’t stopped horses from being exported to Mexico for slaughter despite efforts by places like Greenwood Stables and Equine Horse Rescue near Peabody in south-central Kansas, The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/2nK408T ) reported.

A measure introduced in both houses of Congress — the Safeguard American Food Exports Act — would bar horse slaughter in the U.S. and ban horse shipments to Mexico, and a Humane Society spokeswoman said recently she expects a “major battle over horse slaughter” this year.

Republican Missouri state Rep. Warren Love says he welcomes that legislative fight. The Osceola rancher considers horses livestock, calls slaughter a form of euthanasia and says the demise of slaughter severely damaged the horse industry. He hopes that changes under President Donald Trump, proclaiming, “There’s a new sheriff in town.”

Trump has not issued any opinion on the matter, though he has called for a repeal of other business regulations.

At Kansas’ Greenwood Stables and Equine Horse Rescue, run by 20-year-old college student Saje Bayes and her mother, Amy Bayes, the tandem has a working relationship with a man who buys horses to resell them to Mexican slaughter plants.

The man lets them have dibs on any horse they think they can find a home for. Last year, that amounted to 700 horses — a fraction of the number the man drove to Mexico.

“The picking is the worst thing ever,” said Bayes, a Newton librarian. “He puts up with a lot from us. He lets us pull horses he would rather we not. He gives us a chance to find them homes. He’s been nice. We’re not friends by any means, and he knows what side I’m on. We just agree to disagree.”

Critics said horses during the road trips to Mexico typically don’t get food or water and must stand in crowded trailers for journeys that can last 36 hours.

Cindy Gendron, manager of the national Homes for Horses Coalition, believes horses clearly are different from cattle, noting that “Americans don’t eat horse meat.”

One reason for that: Drugs that are injected into horses. But horse meat from Mexico has gone to Europe until 2014, when the European Union banned the import after an audit cited inhumane practices at Mexican slaughterhouses. Much of the meat now goes to Asia and the Middle East.

Wild Horse Sanctuary Founder Celebrates 92nd Birthday

“Happy Birthday Dayton O. Hyde!”

Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary founder and author, Dayton O. Hyde will celebrates his 92nd birthday today, March 25.

Hyde’s life journey is a story of challenges and successes that began in Michigan and took him across the West.

 From rodeos, conservation battles, wild horse rescue and award-winning books, Hyde founded the 11,000-acre Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, in Hot Springs in 1988.

Today the Sanctuary continues to provides freedom for wild horses rescued from slaughter and enables them to live on protected prairie land.

The Sanctuary is open to the public year-round.

At age 92, Hyde continues to fight for the American West and the protection of water and ecosystems that support the wild horses, wildlife and area residents of the Black Hills.

For more information about Hyde and the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, visit www.wildmustangs.com, or www.daytonohyde.com

Visiting Arizona’s Salt River Wild Horses

Wild Horse Freedom Federation Meets Salt River Wild Horse Management Group

Left to Right, Terry Fitch, Simone Netherlands, Robin O’Donnell

It’s been a long time coming but finally the planets came into alignment and the circumstances coincided so that Terry and I could visit our long time friend, Simone Netherlands and many of her local friends and members of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.  We have been promising to stop by and visit the aquatic ponies for year and with a motorized trip across the U.S. things worked out perfectly for a day of wild equine observation.

Salt River Wild Horse Management Group members Destini Rhone, Simone Netherlands and Robin O’Donnell

With this short post I am not including any pictures of the horses, proper, because my main mission on such excursions is to take pictures of the photographers who are taking the real pictures (using my iPhone no less).  So with that said, I will be including Terry’s photos once we are static and no longer moving.

Terry and Simone…horses behind

While at the river, I had the opportunity to participate in a live feed with Simone on Facebook and posted on Salt River Wild Horse Management Group’s page, if you clink on the link/image you are free to view.

Click Image to view video on timeline

And with that said I will let the video and the pictures do the talking as we load up the Jeep for another day of adventure.

Many thanks to Salt River Wild Horse Management Group president Simone Netherlands and members Robin O’Donnell and Destini Rhone for donating an entire day to take the time to show us the beautiful wild equines that reside along Arizona’s picturesque Salt River…ya’all must go see for yourselves.

Keep the faith.

Wild horses face extinction in Namibia

Namibia is a country in southern Africa.

Source:  namibian.com.na

PREDATORS … Hyenas are threatening the survival of the Namib wild horses.

Namib wild horses face extinction

by Staff Reporter

THE feral horses of Namib Nauklauft in the Garub area are on the verge of extinction due to predation by hyenas.

This was revealed in a statement issued by the Namibia Wild Horses’ Foundation yesterday.

The foundation said no foal has survived since 2013, and that the horse population has steadily declined.

“Due to the drought, most of the other migratory game has moved north and east, looking for greener pastures, which leaves mainly horses as easy prey in the Garub area,” the statement reads.

Because of this, the rate of predation on the horses has increased significantly in the area over the past two months, which saw the number of mares dropping to 42.

“We estimate that at this rate, the wild horses’ population will be functionally extinct – some may still be around, but it’s inevitable that they will go extinct – by August,” the foundation said.

In its efforts to save the wild horses from extinction, the foundation intends to find suitable land that could be turned into a sanctuary in which the horses would live with the integrity of a wild population.

Read the rest of this article here.

 

 

Myths and Facts about Wild Horses and Burros

Stallion of Antelope Valley HMA ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

by Bonnie Kohleriter

MYTH 1   26,500 wild horses and burros are to be on our public lands in 10 states, as that number was on our public lands in 1971 when the Wild Horse and Burro Law was passed.  Wild horses and burros are in AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, and WY.

FACT 1  No census of numbers of wild horses and burros was done in 1971 when the Law was passed in December of that year.  The 1971 Law did not say the number of wild horses and burros that could be on our public lands.  26,500 is an arbitrary, non-evidenced based number.

MYTH 2  Wild horses and burros are on our public lands everywhere and they are destroying our public lands.

FACT 2  The BLM manages 245 M acres of our public lands.  About 3 M livestock are on 160 M acres, wildlife is everywhere, and wild horses and burros are limited to 29 M acres in areas called Herd Management Areas (HMAs).  Within the HMAs about 400,000 livestock that reside here as well are allocated 82% of the forage while the wild horses and burros are assigned 17%.  In 1971 the wild horses and burros were in Herd Areas (HAs), but the BLM said those areas were too difficult to manage so they drew circles within the HAs and called them HMAs.  Unbeknown to the animals where the boundaries are when they go into HA land, they are fodder to be removed without question.

MYTH 3  The BLM has 177 herd management areas (HMAs) for wild horses and burros giving the illusion horses and burros are in those areas.

FACT 3  The BLM has only 160 HMAs where wild horses and burros are now found.  The other areas don’t have any horses or burros in them, or are part of the military or forest service or are double counted.  The BLM had 339 HMAs initially, but little by little has zeroed them out.

MYTH 4  The BLM sets “Appropriate Management Levels” (AMLs) for the wild horses and burros in each area.  It sets a low number at which the animals should be and allows them to breed to a higher number after which it gathers, removes and reduces the animals to the low number again.  The overall low number is 17, 810 and the high number is 27,500.

FACT 4  “Appropriate” is inappropriate.  Allowing only 17,810 horses and burros in 160 areas in 10 western states is a species that is threatened or endangered.

MYTH 5  The BLM says it strives to have healthy horses on healthy rangelands.

FACT 5  Dr. Gus Cothran, the retained geneticist for the Wild Horse and Burro Program, says the following: Conservation geneticists maintain a minimum of 150-200 animals is needed in a herd with 50 effective breeding animals to have sufficient genetic variability for continued long term viability.  Of these herds, only 28 herds have 150-200+ horses allowed in them, and of these herds, only 3 herds have 150-200+ burros allowed in them.  In other words, 82% of the herds don’t have appropriate allowable numbers in them for continued health and viability.

MYTH 6  The herd members intermingle with the herd members in other herds so the individual numbers within a herd don’t matter.

FACT 6  Intermingling of the herds has not been scientifically researched and validated, and established by the BLM.

MYTH 7  Horses and burros can be imported from other herds to sustain genetic viability.

FACT 7  The 1971 Law says the horses are supposed to be “where found.”

MYTH 8  The BLM strives to have a “thriving, natural, ecological balance” on our public lands with a multiple use mandate.

FACT 8  The wild horses and burros are not a thriving species, the arbitrary numbers are not natural, and the numbers are not in balance, (27,000 vs. 400,000) in the ecological environment in which they are to be distributed.  The National Academy of Sciences addressed this Myth in 2013, in Chapter 7 of its report, Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.

MYTH 9  The BLM asserted 67,000 wild horses and burros were on our public lands in 2016 and 47,000 were in off the range holding facilities.  The number of livestock within the 27 M acres needs to stay there as they feed the world.  The number of livestock have been reduced by 35% from 1971-2014.

FACT 9  Livestock within the HMAs provide less than ½ of 1% of the United States meat.  The number of livestock have been reduced due to overgrazing and drought.  Cow/calf size has increased by 1 ½, offsetting the reduction in number of allowable livestock.  Though ways of counting wild horses and burros have improved, counting continues to be a challenge.  Reducing the number of livestock only within the HMAs and increasing the number of allowable wild horses and burros has not been explored.  The Cattlemen’s Association and now the Gas, Oil, and Mining Industries are powerful competitors and lobbyists for our public lands on which the wild horses and burros depend.

MYTH 10  The BLM is mandated by the 1971 Law to manage, protect, and control the wild horses and burros on our public lands.

FACT 10  Look at the BLM’s budget.  The BLM, unlike wildlife and livestock groups, does ever so little to manage and protect the wild horses and burros on our public lands.  The BLM doesn’t tend to water, forage, or space (fence) issues.  The BLM’s focus is on control, hiring contractors to gather and remove animals, hiring contractors to house animals off the range in short-term corrals or in long-term pastures, hiring contractors to move animals around the country for adoptions, and hiring administrators to complete the paperwork.

The BLM does not engage in using fertility control treatment (PZP) as a way to keep the wild horses and burros on the range though volunteers stand ready to help.  Up to now only four small herds have used this control method but now five more larger herds  are involved in its use.  In 2013, 509 horses received PZP, in 2014, 384, and in 2015, 469, paltry numbers.  The BLM does not engage in promoting recreational tourism on the range which could and would bring in money and in which volunteers stand ready to help.  The BLM has considered sterilizing mares but the procedures are dangerous for the mares and foals and the BLM is researching geldings to be used in on the range horse and burro herds.

MYTH 11  The National Advisory Board of the Wild Horse and Burro Program and the horse advocates on the 9 Regional Advisory Councils are available to advise on what is best for the future of the wild horses and burros.

FACT 11  The advisory board members are people with livestock, wildlife and land interests, not with wild horse and burro interests.  They are cattlemen and livestock vets.  They are not horse and burro geneticists, equine vets, biologists and ecologists, recreational entrepreneurs, volunteer coordinators.

This is a broken program in need of change and a different direction.  This is a program that needs to focus on ways to retain wild horses and burros on our public lands in controlled but healthy numbers, and to focus on providing them with adequate water, forage, and space.

Wild horses evolved in the Americas.  They left during the Ice Age 10,000 years ago and were domesticated in Europe.  They were brought back to the Americas and were left to be wild again when automation was introduced.  They were used to settle our country and to fight our wars in WW1 and WW2.  Today, they are symbols of our past of the Wild Wild West.  They are symbols of our freedom. We as Americans are charged to be stewards of them.  They need to be managed and protected on our public lands,  controlled in genetically healthy numbers, and when those goals are met, in my opinion, then given fertility control treatment.

Judge tells BLM that horse roundup plan needs more review

Wyoming Wild Horses at Rick ~ photo courtesy of Carol Walker

Good going on this one, Friends of Animals.

Source:  Gillettenewsrecord.com

Horse roundup plan needs more review

CHEYENNE — A federal judge in Cheyenne has ordered the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to re-evaluate plans for a wild horse roundup in central Wyoming.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal told the BLM on Monday to reconsider how the roundup would affect wild horses with traits inherited from horses used by Spanish explorers and settlers hundreds of years ago.

The BLM planned to round up more than 2,000 wild horses from an area one-third the size of Yellowstone National Park.  The agency says wild horses have overpopulated the area.

Read the rest of the article here.

EWG Report: Is Federal Crop Insurance Policy Leading to a New Dust Bowl?

Source:  Environmental Working Group

Contact:
(202) 667-6982
alex@ewg.org
For Immediate Release:  Wednesday, March 22, 2017

AMES, Iowa – Federal crop insurance policy is rewarding Southern Great Plains farmers’ failure to adapt to drought and hotter weather, and encouraging practices that could lead to another Dust Bowl, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

The Dust Bowl that devastated the region in the 1930s was one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. Searing heat and drought, the conversion of more than five million acres of grassland into cropland, and farmers’ failure to adapt to the dry climate inflicted disease, hunger and poverty on the region’s people.

Today drought is once again parching the Southern Plains. Scientists say hot and dry conditions could become the region’s new normal, making it urgent that farmers adapt to the changing climate. Instead, a provision of the federal crop insurance program – snuck into the 2014 Farm Bill with little notice – encourages farmers to plant the same crops in the same way, year after year.

The crop insurance program guarantees that farmers’ earnings from their crops won’t fall below a guaranteed percentage of their usual income. The guarantee is set based on a multi-year average of a farmer’s actual crop yields. Averaging the bad years with the good years grounds the program in reality.

But the new provision, called Actual Production History Yield Exclusion, lets farmers pretend bad years didn’t happen. As many as 15 bad years can be thrown out when calculating the farmer’s average yield, resulting in artificially inflated insurance payouts, year after year. What’s more, the distortion is worst in the very same Southern Plains counties that were hardest hit by the Dust Bowl and are now suffering from severe drought.

Read the rest of this article HERE.