Horse News

Equine Welfare Alliance and The Cloud Foundation ask Senator Durbin for Help as Wild Horse Roundup Begins

Cloud: Even the BLM cannot break his spirit - Photo by Terry Fitch

Chicago, IL – December 30, 2009—American wild horse and burro advocates, The Cloud Foundation (TCF) and the Chicago-based Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) are organizing a peaceful gathering today in Chicago. The public will assemble at noon in front of Senator Dick Durbin’s office at 230 South Dearborn in Chicago asking the Senator to help halt the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) massive roundup of thousands of mustangs living in the half million acre Calico Mountain Complex area in northwestern Nevada. The wild horse capture began Monday, December 28, despite a federal court ruling recommending that the action be postponed.

Monkia Courtney and Susan Sutherland during Pryor Mt. Roundup - Photo by Terry Fitch

“We’re having this peaceful assembly to tell our government we want to stop this unprecedented winter Calico roundup. It will assault the last stronghold of America’s wild horses. Despite federal law that protects them, they have been relegated to the most inhospitable areas of the range.  Still, they have adapted and survived. The BLM is handling an American treasure callously, without regard for what Americans want. We want Senator Durbin’s help to pass a moratorium on all roundups, including Calico, until the American public and Congress can craft a sustainable future for our legendary wild horses and burros.” —The majority of wild horses captured are in good condition. Despite federal protection, wild horses have been relegated to the most inhospitable areas of the range. Still, they have adapted and survived.Susan Sutherland, Chicago Area resident and Cloud Foundation member.

The Cloud Foundation and over 190 organizations, authors and celebrities, including Sheryl Crow, Viggo Mortenson, Lily Tomlin, Bill Maher and others, are calling for an immediate moratorium on roundups until the American public works with Congress to craft a sustainable plan that protects and preserves wild herds on public lands in the West.

The BLM has acknowledged that at least half of the Calico roundup will be held on private land where the public will be unable to view the roundup. The Cloud Foundation discovered this two days before the roundup’s scheduled start.  Despite a public statement to the contrary by the BLM wild horse and burro program chief Don Glenn on December 7, 2009, the public is prohibited from viewing.

All of our gathers are open to the public. The public is invited to come watch all the time.” Said Don Glenn of the BLM.  Glenn delivered this message to wild horse advocates as an unannounced planned roundup was already underway in Northern Nevada.

Emmy Award Winner Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation - Photo by R.T. Fitch

“We are hopeful that Senator Durbin will see through the BLM lies and deception and stop this unnecessary and cruel winter roundup. It insults the democratic process if BLM gets away with this. They have betrayed the trust of the American public.” —Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation and filmmaker for the popular PBS Nature programs detailing the birth and life of Cloud, the pale palomino stallion well-known to Americans.

In his December 23, 2009 decision, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman recommended that BLM postpone the Calico roundup of 2,700 horses in the more than half million acre Calico Mountains Complex in northwestern Nevada. BLM will instead, move forward to remove 80-90 percent of the estimated 3,000 horses living in the Calico Mountain wild horse complex. Low-flying helicopters will chase the horses over dangerous winter terrain into traps and temporary corrals. Respiratory illnesses, permanent injury and death are expected as horses are run, possibly over long distances, and foals are separated from their mothers.

“This is a devious ploy to displace the wild horses from their legal herd areas. It is very vicious and must be exposed and stopped.” —Craig Downer, Nevada Wildlife Ecologist and member of EWA

The government agency entrusted to manage our public land shows their disregard towards the U.S. District Court by going ahead with the roundup. In denying public access to the Calico roundup—one of the most controversial roundups—BLM also shows their disregard towards the public right to observe, by carrying out the largest-ever wild horse capture, defying what federal law requires: notification, transparency and the public right to offer comment.  The public insists that BLM has gone too far.

“To start this large-scale roundup on private land where members of the pubic are forbidden to attend, allows the BLM to hide the suffering and death that will happen during the capture of the mustangs.  The public outcry over this roundup has been massive, but this government agency is behaving as though they are accountable to no one, not the public, not even Congress.” — Mark Traverso, Chicago area resident and advocate.

Makendra Silverman (TCF) and R.T. Fitch (EWA/HfH) discuss BLM tatctics during Pryor Mt. gather - Photo by Terry Fitch

Little trust is left in the agency that has been charged by Congress to manage what many call the living history of the American West. Protests are being organized around the globe with the San Francisco event expected to be the largest.

“The whole world is watching—people are outraged by the latest assault on America’s wild horses. Protests are springing up worldwide: San Francisco ,London, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boulder, CO and Sun Valley Idaho, so far.” —Makendra Silverman, Associate Director of The Cloud Foundation

The Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance that represents over 85 organizations and hundreds of individuals throughout the US, Canada, the  UK, South Africa and Australia will be represented at the assembly.

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25 replies »

  1. A Beef Party
    Freedom is all of our responsibility, and must be maintained, be it the freedom of the mustangs, our land, America, or ourselves. We came to this land because of its freedom, and men fought and died to maintain and preserve it and threw their precious tea in the sea. Today their are those profiteers of our free lands who would wrongfully and inhumanely take our freedoms away. Freedom is just or equitably the right of all. Not only black or white, men or women, but the mustangs, nature, our land, One and All.
    To help maintain America, the land of the free, our liberty, the just right of All, the mustangs, you and me, Boycott Beef!
    Ecconomic sanctions on those who would take our freedoms away, will help maintain the freedom that All was truly meant to be.
    Time to throw a beef party, and throw the hamberger in the Bay.
    For freedom,



    • We are not anti-ag or beef, here. The amount of beef that is raised on public lands is around 3% and the bulk of that is exported so a boycott would do little. The decision to eat beef is a personal one but the welfare ranchers don’t make up a significant majority…but they still need to get the heck off from the horse’s land.


    • RT, you are right, and I’m not about never eating beef myself, but consider this:

      What if one boycotted all, most or even just some the products and services by those few corporations that do use our wild horses Public Lands?

      I heard Hewlett-Packard is one, I have used thier technical calculators for years – I could have used someone elses! I could have even bad mouthed thier product. And could still do so, letting them know why, and keep eating beef – just make the point that if it comes to a choice between the wild horses and them, they will suffer from the ill will of the consumer on some level!

      But just stopping or boycotting something isn’t enough – they have to know that you are doing it, and why you are doing it. If I can locate that old calculator, and I can confirm that Hewlitt-Packard is, in fact one of them, I will send it back to them with a protest letter – not against beef, but to take a stand for the wild horses.

      Why, I’ll even say they are welcome to some parts of my Public Lands and when the energy and mining people come after them, and we all know that is next – I’ll support their corporation against that – as long as they leave the wild horses land to the wild horses! So, it does not have to be anti-AG at all.

      No one gave up drinking tea after all, they just made a public stand based on a prinicipal that everyone could understand, that made the news.

      But if corporations want to be that greedy about a few horses, they can just take a lose on calculators, or whatever other products!

      I bet we all have a lot of products that came from some subsidiary of these corporations, and if we don’t, I bet we can find them at Salvation Army on 50% off weekends!


  2. A beef boycott is not for everyone, but perhaps for enough to free the mustangs and our public lands again. Freedom is as simple as choosing wisely what we eat. You have that freedom of choice but the mustangs on public cattle grazing land no longer do. Why? Its all about the beef.

    Do you have a better solution Mr. Fitch?



    • At the present, political lobbying, getting the truth out to the public on the illegal actions of the BLM, including the welfare ranching, and continued legal action to stop the carnage.

      BTW, we also would like to see the sheep removed along with the cattle. The land, by law, belongs to the horses.


    • it’s not JUST about the beef, but also the mining, the oil drilling, the alternative energy sources…….and just plain bad governmental management. while i wholeheartedly agree that we, as a nation, need to make a better choice in our eating habits, i honestly do NOT believe that this is going to save our mustangs & burros….& hear me when i say this, ’cause i’m one of those effing vegans that are getting bashed around in this debate (here as well as elsewhere in the blogpotato world). i don’t mean to offend you, mr. ahles, but i, vegan jo bunny, truly believe that it’s going to take a whole helluva lot more than changing our dietary choices to save these horses…rt’s right—political lobbying, increased publicity & awareness of the issue, investigations, lawsuits & legal actions, probably some congressional action…..& a bloody huge movement of people of all ages, from all walks of life & income brackets, representing all religions (& non-religions alike), with a myriad of educational backgrounds, working from all parts of the country, whether carnivore or veg*an, coming together, joining together as a united front to help save our nation’s wild horses and burros. THAT is what is going to help these horses, sir. not giving up bigmacs & sliders.
      so, now i’ve said it. i’m an effin’ vegan…..i kick ass & i take names.


  3. I think it will take multiple actions ffrom All Americans to protect and maintain the freedoms of America that we so enjoy. And as for solutions, the more simple the better, would you not agree? And also would you not agree that the beef industry, which is BLM, felt ecconomic preasure by the simple action of not eating beef, probably would free the west again? This action requires not even a fund raiser, just freedom of choice, even better yet.



  4. I don’t believe boycotting beef will directly affect the 3% Welfare Ranchers. What we do need to see is a list of the giant corporations that have grazing permits. I bet a lot of people would be surprised.


    • Barbara, yes thats what I was talking about in post above #3.

      An effective boycott could be done without even boycotting beef (your right to include that though should you want to).

      These corporations are not single business entities, they are multi product and multi service, and multi-subsidiary.

      Take note though, you will also be boycotting some of your retirment portfolios – worth it? I say yes?

      But I can say that because half of mine all went to an Enron type buyout – how do they call those buyouts, when the money is all going one direction away from the sellers – hum – different issue!


    • I agree. I think many people would be quite upset to find out they were subsidizing cattle grazing for large corporations, especially those that aren’t even American.

      I don’t think boycotting beef would make any difference. I just read that most of our beef is imported. So, we wouldn’t be affecting these parasite ranchers at all.


  5. I hope they have better luck with Senator Durbin than I have. I’ve sent him a dozen faxes/emails since Labor Day and received back lip-service descriptions of the BLM’s duties and responsibilities without even an attempt by his staff to get up to speed on the issue. Senator Roland Burris is more knowledgeable on the issues with BLM, LOL. Let’s hope Senator Durbin steps up now! It’s way past time. Keep calling the White House too! Takes awhile to get through but they are very responsive if you thank the person you talk to for being a volunteer. You can be very polite yet passionate at the same time! It feels like we have achieved some momentum again finally. Let’s keep it going!


  6. I just received an actual letter from Durbin in response to MY letter re: the prevention of equine cruelty act.
    I have received a canned response about the ROAM act from him, and the response I received from Burris is verbatim the same response that another TCF blogger received from HER senators.
    This started out for me about the wild horses (Cloud in particular) and their freedom; NOW it’s about this country, OUR freedom or lack there of, and how this relates not only to the BLM mismanagement of OUR land and OUR horses, but also of the mismanagement of our country and our freedoms by our elected officials. We put them in office, we pay them to do what WE want, and we are being ignored. it’s OUR money that is paying the Cattoors and the other BLM contractors, it is OUR money that pays the BLM, and I think it’s time for a change. About a year ago, I voted for change, I am very disappointed and disheartened that it is the same old politics as usua. I have written and emailed the President countless times, I have not received ONE response. I’m a teacher, if I didn’t respond to a parent who had contacted me that many times, I’d no longer be teaching. WE pay these people to serve us, if most of us did our jobs as they do, we’d no longer be working. Whatever we need to do, and today’s protests are a good start, we need to get on doing it; it is way past time for change.


  7. As we have come this far in only a few months from the Pryor roundup, which was the beginning of the new fight for the wild ones. We have all found what we can and cannot do. The protests are going to be good and bring us more and more supporters. What we do is what we are Able to do. The times are hard for some of us. But our voices are being heard from all we have done. Let the movement keep growing and gathering supporters. This is about the Wild Ones and about How We Have Been Treated By The OBAMA Administration and BLM/DOI. This Land Grab and lie spreading by the powers that be can be exposed just as the need for change can be embraced and we will pursue it all the way to that day. Now they know we are not stopping. We are stronger and more able and when the snow melts and Spring comes we will be doing even more. Mar


    • Well said, Mar. There have been moments since September when I have felt that all our efforts were in vain; but I see now that we are getting stronger and gathering more and more support from here in the US and all over the world, and I agree, the momentum is growing on the side of the wild horses and will continue to grow.

      My opinion is that cattle grazing is a factor,and changing our eating habits would benefit not only the horses, but also our health and the health of the world; but I feel that oil, mineral and energy rights are also driving this land grab, and those are harder to boycott.


      • jan, agree.

        And cutting down and/or out of oil, mineral and energy is harder, but not impossible. With concerted effort we could spread that word with ever even mentioning wild horses or public lands.

        But in our case, we are either making a choice in the favor of maintaining or expanding energy consumption or to the favor of our Wild Horses.

        I know we all feel like we’re doing all we can to conserve energy, I say, push just a little harder and we can get a lot more solar and other energy saving developments.


      • Jan, We just need to have a voice and the DOI/BLM has got to be made to include public input as it has in the past when laws were often obeyed rather than often broken by those who enforce it. When we save the horses and Properly, then we can be sure that not all our public land will be plundered for energy. We need to be cautious and respectful of our resources. There are many who would make their fortunes in a new and Greener world, but that world will have wild horses and buffalo and wolves, too. Mar


  8. If you want to help free the west, boycott beef.
    Freedom is as simple as choosing wisely what you eat.
    When the cattlemen demand the mustangs freedom, the mustangs will be freed.
    But not until then.
    Beef is the key to freedom.



  9. We can debate the utility of a boycott, ban or any other “anti-” campaign, but also consider the boomerang effect on the animals themselves. It has been reported that consumer concerns about “mad cow” disease in the past drove significant business to horse meat sellers in Europe, and the recent drop in milk prices led some milk producers to slaughter dairy cows.

    Every human choice–what we eat, wear and drive, where we live and who we elect–has consequences for animals. The question for me is how we ensure that the individual animals alive today, including animals that were bred for human use or enjoyment, do not pay the price for our bad choices, whether commercial or ideological.


  10. The preservation of freedom be it equally the freedom of the mustangs, our land, or ourselves is not up to our governors or rulers who so greedily take our liberties away, it is simply up to each and everyone of us, you and me. We are the government of the people, by the people. So ask not what our government will do, for surely their interests are not in freedom, but rather ask what each and everyone of us must or will do to preserve our rights our most justful Way, the true liberty or freedom of All.
    I am boycotting beef.
    And you?



  11. A footnote: I ask the Nevada Attorney Generals Office last week to stop the destruction of our freedom and was told it was out of their jurisdiction.

    And the Nevada Governor’s Office (I guess the Governor is busy with other things) gave me the phone number of Kathy Barcomb of the Wild Horse Commission, 775-849-3625 who before hanging up on me said humanely the mustangs should have a bullet shot through there brains.

    Does anyone think asking our government for help will help?



    • Hi MIchael, I believe I sense you have a great deal of perception (of course that may be because I agree with you in principal). Here are my thoughts to both of your questions:

      Yes, You are right, we are in this mess, not because of Obama, “W”, Clinton, or any of them. We are in this mess in spite of warnings from Eisenhower, Kennedy, even Ron Paul as far back as 1978 (not sure of the date, he has a taped interview on line that is an eye opener – I really don’t know much else about him). We are in this mess because we have become so divisive with “I am right about everything and you are wrong about everything, and I will not compromise” – that we have been led into this, nurtured along into apathy about really learning and thinking for ourselves – we just let someone else tell us (mom, dad, church, TV commercials, corporate run news media, even our employers, etc, etc) what to think – its much easier that way and we don’t have to give up anything that promotes us personally, anything cushy or fun or easy. I know because I have been there on so many levels at one time or another. The old “United we stand, divided we fall” has been maticulously and actually quit briliantly compromised. We are in this mess because of the consumer culture complicated lives that we have been brainwashed into “needing” that leaves no room or time for real thought or reason. Reality is there are not 2 sides up there at all anymore – until “personship” is striped from corporations, lobbiests are under control, this is just going on and on. Did anyone other than myself, sense a sadness in Obama at this acceptance speech? Someone here said its one thing getting elected and another thing being able to pull off the job. This all has to do with saving our wild horses and our liberties, freedom, democracy as you have so aptly percieved. And right now the buck stops with Obama, Salazar, Abbey, Congress, etc., regardless of where it may have started or escalated (and Bush DID give support to start this escalation over 8 years ago for ENERGY – ITS ON TAPE! Cattle people wake up! You are being led along like the cattle you think you “have to have” a paltry few more thousand of).

      Boycott, well, I cannot give up red meat medically, I will be searching to supplement with bison however as long as the cattle remain on wild horse land. I’d rather they join us in a crusade against energy than boycott directly against them. But, if we know who these corporations are I would boycott other of their products. There is a YouTube about a prison rodeo gone bad by “Shark” (Shark I think?). At the end they run a list of corporations who sponsor Rodeos. And because of that I will be making some changes, or at least telling them of my ill respect for them because of this sponsorship. I would join you in a boycott of corporations and their subsidiaries other products and services – how do we find out who they all are? And that could have a lot more impact, and will bring vegans and meat eaters together, rather than divided, at least for this cause.

      I’ll be calling Kathy Barcomb myself and hope I can get a few words out before she hangs up. I guess BLM has never heard of customer service , or rather how the lack thereof can destroy you – I hope they hang up on everyone that calls (but now I’m being divisive).

      Well, Michael I can only seem to write novelettes! Hang over from my employment, where we prepared for and replied to rebuttals before they happened, in anticipation of oppositon, but in teams, so we then whittled down the final product (I need a team!). I think I need to take a writing class.


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