The Lives of More Than 45,000 Wild Horses Are Still at Risk as Congress Waits for the Bureau of Land Management’s Plan

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com

by Carol J. Walker, Director Of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

I want to personally thank all of you who called, emailed, faxed, wrote and met with your Senators and Representatives on behalf of our wild horses and burros before the Spending Bill was passed last week.  Congress did maintain protections for wild horses and burros BUT they demanded that the Bureau of Land Management, who is tasked with managing and protecting wild horse and burros on our public lands submit a “comprehensive plan and any corresponding legislative proposals” within 30 days.

Why is this a reason for concern?  Because the very language of the directive to the BLM points at drastic measure.  “the failure to address these problems is irresponsible and will result in irreparable damage to the landscape and the welfare of the animals protected.”

This leaves the door wide open for the BLM to recommend killing (this is NOT “euthanasia”) the 45,000 wild horses and burros in holding as well as the 45,000 still on our public lands who are deemed “excess”and allowing the BLM to to remove protections from wild horses and burros that are in captivity and transfer them to federal, state, and local agencies, send them overseas and put them in “partnerships” that are not in their best interests.  All of these alternatives will expose them to possibly being shipped to slaughter.

Wild Horses and Burros need to be humanely managed on the range, while wild and free on our public lands. Destroying them to pander to the Cattleman’s Association is not the solution.  We are concerned that once the report is delivered to Congress before the end of April that the BLM could start killing and transferring wild horses and burros very quickly.

Please continue to follow our alerts and posts and requests for action during this very crucial time.

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

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

BLM seeks public comment of Environmental Analysis for Wild Horse Gather in Southeastern Utah

News Release

Utah State Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 20, 2018

Media Contact: Lisa Reid  (435) 743-3128

BLM seeks public comment of Environmental Analysis for Wild Horse Gather in Southeastern Utah

Price, Utah—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Price Field Office is seeking public comment on an environmental assessment (EA) analyzing a proposed wild horse gather, removal and fertility treatment in the Muddy Creek Herd Management Area (HMA).

The Muddy Creek HMA is located in Emery County, approximately 20 miles south of Ferron, Utah, in the San Rafael Swell. It consists of approximately 283,400 acres of public and state lands.

The EA analyzes a proposal to gather and remove excess wild horses and apply fertility control between two and four times over a ten-year period. The EA, including maps, is available on ePlanning at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front- office/eplanning/nepa/nepa_register.do; search for project name “Muddy.”

Written comments will be accepted by letter or e-mail until May 20, 2018. Special attention will be given to those comments that contain new technical or scientific information relevant to the proposed action. Comments should be as specific as possible. Comments that contain only opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response but may be considered in the BLM decision-making process. Please reference “Muddy Creek Wild Horse Gather Plan EA” when submitting comments.

Written comments may be mailed or e-mailed using the following:

Mail
BLM Price Field Office
Attn: Price Field Office Manager
125 S. 600 W. Price, UT 84501

E-mail
blm_ut_pr_whb@blm.gov

Those who provide comments are advised that before including their address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information, they should be aware that the entire comment – including the personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While those commenting can ask in their comments to withhold personal identifying information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that they will be able to do so.

For additional EA-specific information, please contact Mike Tweddell at (435) 636- 3600. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question with the above individual. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.

-BLM-

Follow us on Twitter @BLMUtah

Groups Rally for Public Lands, Protest Modesto ‘Range Rights’ Conference Featuring Ammon Bundy

Press Release from the Center for Biological Diversity

“Ammon Bundy and his fanatical followers are on a road show to incite division and hatred for our public lands…”

MODESTO, Calif.— Anti-government militant Ammon Bundy and other proponents of seizing federal public land from public ownership are scheduled to speak Saturday at Modesto Junior College as part of the annual Range Rights Symposium. Local residents will join members of the Center for Biological Diversity to rally for public lands during the event.

“Ammon Bundy and his fanatical followers are on a road show to incite division and hatred for our public lands,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Bundys are trying to grow a menacing fringe group that wraps itself in flags and cowboy hats to fool people into believing deranged and dangerous conspiracy theories. They’ve shown they’re willing to use force and intimidation to take what doesn’t belong to them.”

What: Rally outside Range Rights Symposium

When: 3 p.m., Saturday, April 21

Where: In front of the Ag Pavilion, Modesto Junior College — West Campus, Modesto, Calif.

Background
In 1998 and again in 2013, courts ruled that hundreds of the Bundy family’s livestock had been illegally roaming 750,000 acres of sensitive public land near the Nevada-Arizona line. The courts ordered that the cows be removed.

But when federal authorities attempted to remove the cows in 2014, the Bundys organized a dangerous armed standoff and intimidated the government into halting the operation.

Today much of the land the Bundy’s cows continue to occupy is protected as Gold Butte National Monument. Cliven Bundy, the patriarch of the family, owes more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees and fines, according to federal officials.

In January a federal judge in Nevada dismissed all charges against him and his sons related to the 2014 Bunkerville standoff.

In 2016 Ammon Bundy led an armed takeover and occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, which did significant damage to the refuge and divided the local community. Ammon Bundy and six co-defendants were acquitted by a jury in October 2016.

The Bundys and their followers have been emboldened by these recent court victories. They’re making appearances throughout the West to foment anti-public-lands sentiment and spread misinformation in an attempt to wrest control of public lands from the American people. The animals, plants and communities that rely on and cherish public lands are threatened if the Bundys’ radical ideology spreads.

Contacts: Ryan Beam, (928) 853-9929, rbeam@biologicaldiversity.org
Patrick Donnelly, (702) 483-0449, pdonnelly@biologicaldiversity.org

Wild Horse Hater Ryan “Dinkie” Zinke refers to himself as a geologist: That’s a job he’s never held

Breaking! Support Calls Needed This Week Before Iconic African Species Protection Act Advances To California Senate Committee On Public Safety On April 24th

BLM’s Beatys Butte “Model” Program: The Devil is in the Details

A special feature article on Straight from the Horse’s Heart:

(Photo:  BLM)

Beatys Butte is a Herd Management Area (HMA) of wild horses in SE Oregon.  With 437,000 acres, the AML, the appropriate management level of allowed wild horses on that acreage, is set at 100-250.  The program was designed as a closed loop system.  Horses on the range were to be bait trapped yearly.  Some would be given fertility inhibitors to manage population growth and some, 20 colts and fillies, would be brought in to resupply the training center in Adel, Oregon, for training and adoption.  The program was designed by ranchers, elected officials, fish and wildlife agencies, the BLM, and “advocates.”  The initial cost was $425,719 for the gather, training and adoption program over a 5 year period.  It appears money also came from the sage grouse program.  The concept of the program appears to be good, but is the execution acceptable?

This program is poised as a “MODEL” but is it a “MODEL?”

  • In November, 2015, 1070 Beatys Butte wild horses, out of about 1400 or 1500 wild horses on this Herd Management Area, were gathered and removed from the range.  Nobody talks about them today.  Nobody talks about the fact that they were to be used to do different sterility experiments on the mares until the BLM was stopped.  Nobody talks about the fact that some were sent to feedlots.  Nobody talks about the fact that some were sold to Dave Duquette of the pro-horse slaughter group Protect the Harvest (and a couple of other people), only to be spayed (likely by Oregon veterinarian Leon Pilstick) and sent to Futurity Contests to be used for reigning, when their bones hadn’t yet fused.  Nobody talks about the callous, abusive handling of these wild horses.  After all, this is a “MODEL” program.
  • The AML was set at 100-250 with the idea the BLM would put only 100, the lower AML, on the 437,000 acre range spouting “a thriving, natural ecological balance.”  Dr. Gus Cothran, the equine geneticist hired by the BLM, laughingly says there should be a “minimum” of 150 to 200 in a herd with 150 effective breeding age animals to have a slow genetic decline.  In other words, there should be many more wild horses if the herds are to be healthy.  With only 100 wild horses, they are not thriving.  With only 100 wild horses, they are far outnumbered by the 4000 plus livestock grazing on Beatys Butte.  A “MODEL” program?
  • The BLM wants to gather the remaining 200 wild horses on the range, even though they are not over AML.  Is this even legal?  A “MODEL” program?
  • Then the BLM wants to select 60 stallions in the Burns Corrals to put back on the range and 40 mares.  In other words, it wants to also skew the sex ratio, even though Paul Griffin, the lead researcher for the BLM, says sex ratio skewing is now believed to be detrimental to the herd’s social behavior and dynamics.  The Oregon BLM maintains this 60-40 sex ratio does not affect the growth of the herd, as opposed to the 50-50 ratio, so even why do it?  A “MODEL” program?
  • In addition to the sex ratio skewing, the BLM wants to give fertility inhibitors and fertility boosters to the 40 mares now confined in Burns for two years before they are returned to the range.  Then BLM figures it will bait trap 30% of the horses per year and dart them again.  Dr. Kirkpatrick would likely roll over in his grave if he knew the PZP program he developed was being administered in this way.  The BLM allowing only 100 wild horses not only compromises the continuance of the herd, but the sex ratio skewing and the application of the PZP further compromises the continuance of the herd.  This is setting up the herd for collapse.  The BLM isn’t worried.  They say they will just bring in horses from other herds to bolster the genetics of the herd.  So much for the closed loop idea of the Beatys Butte program.  The 1971 Law said the horses were supposed to be “where found.”  A “MODEL” program?
  • At the first Beatys Butte Mustang Adoption Event, the message booming over the PA System to the audience was “This year we have 10 Beatys Butte horses for adoption.  Next year we will have 20.”  First of all, the 10 for this year were not from the Beatys Butte range. Eight 2 year olds were likely born in captivity at the Burn’s Corral.  Then next year, it is unlikely that 20 will be from the Beatys Butte range, because of the 40 PZPed mares.  You’ll be lucky if you have one.  Not to worry, the BLM will bring in colts and fillies from other HMAs and call them Beatys Butte horses.  Again, so much for the closed loop.  A “MODEL” program?
  • With 60 stallions and 40 mares (Beatys Butte horses) from the Burns Corrals and with infusing horses from other herds into this herd, it seems a selective human based breeding program is being promoted and developed.  This is not a wild horse program.  A “MODEL” program?
  • The training and adoption event this past Saturday, April 14th, brought into question the practices of these aspects of the “MODEL” program.  Two 4 and 5 year olds were featured and eight 2 year olds.  The 2 year olds came to the facility last September at the age of 1.  In the brochure given, the public was told all the horses have been ridden in the mountains in the snow, mud, trees and rocks.  The public was also told these horses had been used in gathering, sorting and and trailing cattle in rough terrain.  Bumpy, at about 1 or 2 years old, is seen pulling a cart with a 200 to 250 pound man behind him.  Horse veterinarians will tell you that horses should not be ridden beyond a walk until they are 3 years old, and not ridden at a trot or gallop until they are 5 years old, because their bones are not fused.  Riding too early can create lameness problems when they are older.  A “MODEL” program?
  • The public is told the program is supported by ranchers, advocates, and government officials.  Yet no advocates are seen on the Board.  What is the cost for such a facility just to train 10 or 20 horses a year?  With only an adoption event one time a year, this does not seem cost effective. Should the other 162 HMAs across the West have this type of facility as well?  Should more wild horses be removed from other HMAs yearly to train just 20 horses for this adoption event?  A “MODEL” program?                                                                                                                                                                                  While the concept of a rangeland management, training, and adoption program might seem to be a good idea, this is not rangeland management and the details of this program are anything but ideal.  In fact, the details are egregious and do not benefit America’s wild horses on or off the range.  And, this “model” program does not benefit the American taxpayer.

Contact Rob Sharpe or James Price of the Oregon Wild Horse and Burro Program for more information or to address your grievances.

An interesting fact:  In 2009, the BLM conducted a gather and removal of Beatys Butte wild horses, leaving a reported 102 wild horses on the HMA.  With a 20% growth rate, 354 horses would have been on the HMA in 2015-2016.  Yet the BLM reported 1400 wild horses were there.

 

 

 

 

Mesa Verde National park prefers removal of ‘trespass horses’

Source:  the-journal.com

About 80 horses live off the land at Mesa Verde National Park (photo: The Journal file)

Mesa Verde National park prefers removal of ‘trespass horses’

Proposal includes five-year capture plan and a last resort

By Jim Mimiaga Journal Staff Writer

Mesa Verde National Park is seeking public comment on a plan to remove free-roaming horses and cattle from the park’s interior.

Currently, about 80 “trespass horses” and 12 feral cattle roam the backcountry of Mesa Verde, which is known for its Ancestral Puebloan ruins. The animals are not considered wildlife, and the park does not allow livestock grazing under its management policy.

On Friday, a Livestock Removal Environmental Assessment was released for a 30-day public comment period on the issue. The park’s preferred Alternative B includes a phased, proactive approach to remove all livestock within five years, and improve the park’s boundary fencing over the next 10 years to prevent livestock from re-entering the park.

“We are working on how to humanely remove livestock from the park and identify potential homes for captured, unclaimed livestock,” said Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer. The primary capture methods identified in the preferred alternative include baited pen trapping and horseback roundups.

The National Park Service will coordinate with the Colorado Brand Inspection Division and local brand inspectors to identify possible owners of the trespass livestock, and will follow the most humane methods as defined by the American Veterinarian Medical Association, the park said.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

HOW TO COMMENT:

The 30-day public comment period for the draft Livestock Removal Environmental Assessment opened on Friday, April 13. Comments are requested by Sunday, May 13.
The public comment site is available online at bit.ly/2JL0CFK
A printed copy will be available for review at the Mesa Verde

American couple die in Ireland in tragic horse carriage accident

Source:  Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages

Tragic carriage horse accident in Ireland (carriage being removed)
AMERICAN COUPLE DIE IN IRELAND IN TRAGIC HORSE CARRIAGE ACCIDENT
While the road appeared to be treacherous, the horse apparently spooked and bolted, pulling the carriage into the ravine and killing himself and his passengers
This story was picked up in many papers around the country including the Washington Post, NY Post, NY Daily News, USA Today many national and local TV stations
NY Post  – 4/10/18
from Extra.ie – 4/12/18
“Stewart Ainsley was driving in a car behind the horse and cart when he saw the horrific tragedy involving Rosalyn Joy Few, 64, a US citizen, and her Canadian partner Normand Larose, 62, unfold within a ‘matter of seconds’.
‘We think he was going too fast, the horse. But by the time he decided to brake, obviously the cart must have went into the back of the horse, causing the horse to panic … then the horse took off,’ Mr Ainsley told RTÉ’s Liveline yesterday.”
PUBLIC SAFETY: ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS TO BAN
HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGES
Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages   www.banhdc.org
Horses Without Carriages International     www.horseswithoutcarriages.org
Our campaign is dedicated to banning the inhumane, unsafe, anachronistic and hack line
horse-drawn carriage trade in NYC and elsewhere. 

We need a total ban, not a “compromise” that will doom the horses to a life of misery. 

Horses can easily become unwitting weapons and cause accidents that may result in serious injury or death to themselves, their passengers or innocent passersby.  

This is the message we have been trying to convey to
the authorities for years.
These are the facts about horses that should give every Mayor, Legislator and Administrator pause about supporting the horse-drawn carriage trade or considering allowing a new business into their city. Horses are accidents waiting to happen.
  • Horses are prey animals.  This refers to an animal that traditionally may be hunted for food — an animal that is sought, captured and eaten by a predator.  Horses’ natural enemies are mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, bears and even humans.  They are hard-wired to react when they believe they are in danger.  They have a well-developed fight or flight response and will spook and run for their lives.  This can be in reaction to an umbrella opening, a loud noise, leaves rustling, plastic bags, or an unexpected bump or push.  It could be just about anything that they see as a threat.
  • Size of a Horse:  Horses that pull carriages generally weigh between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds and are very strong and muscular.  They are intimidating but are probably more afraid of you.  Charlotte’s Web, the movie based on a classic children’s book by E.B. White – beloved by both children and adults – captured this characteristic perfectly and humorously.  Ike, the horse,  was many times the size of Charlotte, the spider,  but was terrified to the point that he fainted and would only talk to her with his back turned.
  • City Officials generally do not want to rock the boat and look at horse-drawn carriages as people entertainment and the horses as automatons.  While there have been many spooking accidents in NYC that have caused serious injuries, it is only a matter of time before someone dies.  It has happened in many other places around the globe.
  • Carriage drivers and their supporters will say their horses are “trained” and “bomb proof.”  There is no such thing because a horse’s nature cannot be denied.  We see this all the time with accidents.  We need to remember that a carriage business is profit motivated.  It is not an equine sanctuary.  They need for people to believe that they “love their horses like family, ” working and living conditions are excellent and everything is perfect.

THE TRUTH #20 – National Park Service gives Mark Meyers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue all of the wild burros in Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #20 – National Park Service gives Mark Meyers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue all of the wild burros in Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.

Wild horses and burros on National Park Service lands fell through the cracks on being protected when the Wild Free-Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971 was passed.

The National Park Service (NPS) is not paying Mark Meyers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR) to remove all of the wild burros from Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve over the next 5 years.  NPS seems to just be signing a Memorandum of Understanding to give Mark Meyers/Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue an estimated 2,500 wild burros, the last remaining wild burros in this Park and Preserve, to do with as he will.  Mark Meyers has to come up with about $5 million to pay for this project.

NPS may have bypassed the U.S. Government’s contracting bidding process open to the public by just giving away the wild burros to Mark Meyers/Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue and only signing a Memorandum of Understanding.  However, in a 10/17/2017 email, Debra Hughson of NPS notes (in talking about Mark Meyers/Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue) “They appear to be worried about investing in this project and then us having someone come in and under cut them out of the process or directly competing with them.” 

Josh Hoines of the NPS initially contacted Mark Meyers about this project, but there was no mention in any of the FOIA records we received about any other burro rescue groups being contacted.

A rough draft of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is below, but it seems that this is still under review by the NPS legal team and is NOT a final version.  This is being posted so that the public can be aware of what is being considered at this point.

This MOU states “Upon capture, the NPS relinquishes any rights to the feral burros.”

Per this version of the MOU, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue “Maintains detailed records of animals collected from the Park and Preserve.”  However, unless PVDR gives these records to the NPS, the detailed records, including the exact number of wild burros that are captured and removed, will not be available to the public with the Freedom of Information Act.

The bottom line is that the NPS is relinquishing any rights upon capture, and these burros become the property of PVDR.  The public will never have accountability regarding what happens to these wild burros down the line.

In an Aug. 3, 2017 email from Mark Meyers to Josh Hoines of NPS, Meyers states “Also, I have been contacted by a person that is interested in underwriting a large part of this project.  More details to follow.”

The big question about this is who would donate almost $5 million for about 2,500 wild burros, and more importantly, why?

Read the rest of this article and see the FOIA documents HERE.

 

Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

Read all of THE TRUTH and see other FOIA documentation HERE.

Donate here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

 

Feel Good Sunday: Benny the Therapy Donkey visits UT Law School

as published on The Statesman.com

“Leave it to the women of Wild Horse Freedom Federation to lead the way and shout volumes for the voiceless wild horses and burros.  Be it Debbie Coffey and her massive research and legal eagle stuff, Carol Walker out in the field documenting the beauty that is our wild equines, Terry Fitch behind the scenes keeping the books straight and donors informed to this week with our Director of Legal Affairs Dawn Reveley (also a law professor at the University of Texas) and our Director of Wild Burro Affairs, Marjorie Farabee…making news and ensuring that people, in this case law students, are getting the message.  Thanks to all of you for who you are and for what you do.  I am so privileged to call you my friends.” ~ R.T.


Click on Image to view video

Craig Downer’s 2017 report on 5 wild horse herds and Herd Management Areas in Oregon

Source:  The Wild Horse Conspiracy

Kiger Mustang HMA, Oregon 10/2017.  Photo copyright Craig C. Downer 2017

Craig C. Downer, wildlife ecologist, has issued a report, including research by Marybeth Devlin, on 5 wild horse herds and Herd Management Areas in Oregon.

These include the South Steens HMA, Kiger Mustang HMA, and Three Fingers Wild Horse HMA in southeastern Oregon, the Paisley Desert HMA in south-central Oregon (managed by the BLM) and the Big Summit HMA (managed by the Forest Service) in the Ochoco National Forest.
You can read the report HERE.