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Say NO to Federal Funding for Wild Horse Salazoos

Urgent Press Release from The Equine Welfare Alliance and Animal Law Coalition

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Wants to Move our Wild Horses to Mid-Western Death Camps

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, father of the

CHICAGO, (EWA) – The funding testimony for the planned sanctuaries dubbed by wild horse supporters as “Salazoos” outlined last October by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Energy and Natural resources on March 3, at 10am.

The outcome of the testimony will decide if our wild horses belong on their western public lands or in “zoos” in the East and Midwest and whether the BLM will commit millions upon millions of future dollars to warehouse wild horses and burros that would otherwise live without cost to the taxpayers in their natural habitat where they have lived for centuries.

The requested funding would increase the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) budget by $42M to purchase one of the seven planned “Salazoos.” The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and its over 100 member organizations, Animal Law Coalition, The Cloud Foundation and numerous Mustang advocate and welfare organizations are vehemently opposed to increased funding for the BLM for this incredible financial sinkhole.

America already has a management program in place for our wild equines. It’s called the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. It was inspired by a heroic Nevada woman, Velma Johnston, who as “Wild Horse Annie” gave these horses a sanctuary BLM has been trying to destroy ever since it was passed.

A management program for wild horses and burros on public land has yet to be proposed by the BLM or DOI that is compatible with current law. Their answer is to remove wild horses from the land, permit grazing by millions of cattle at below market rates and move our horses to a zoo like setting far from their home. In fact, the BLM was given appropriations to care for the wild horses in holding pens but has appeared to use the funding to round-up more horses. When citizens complained, they were denied access as armed guards prevented them from even viewing horses in captivity.

With no viable management plan in place, it is a disgrace and waste of critical tax payer dollars to increase funding to yet another mismanaged program. The 1971 law calls for wild horses and burros to be managed on their public lands – not in holding pens and not in zoos.

The BLM spent approximately $2M gathering a mere 2,000 animals at its Calico wildlife management area, a cost of $1,000 per horse. Once in holding, the animals will each cost the government approximately $500 per year to warehouse. Worse, the government charges ranchers only about 20 cents of every dollar that program costs taxpayers. “The Salazoo plan is yet another raid on the public funds by special interests”, says EWA’s John Holland.

BLM has spent more than $2 million in 2009 on a firm that stampedes wild horses with a roaring helicopter. At the Calico Nevada round-up, more than 98 have died as a result, including unborn foals and two babies who lost their hooves after a multi-mile run of terror.

The wild horses and burros represent a mere .05% of animals grazing on public lands. When the 1971 law was passed, wild horses were present on 54 million acres. Since then, over 200,000 horses have been removed along with 22 million acres of public land. Many herds have been zeroed out leaving public land available to return wild horses to their land. Congress should replace the lost acres with good grazing land for the animals BLM wants to place in its Salazoos.

The livestock grazing on public lands alone outnumber the wild horses and burros by over 200 to 1 and are subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Neither the BLM nor DOI has yet to explain how millions of privately owned livestock are sustainable or how neither agency can find room on the 262 million acres of public land it manages for less than 50,000 wild horses and burros. Neither has explained why the wild horses and burros are being blamed and removed for range degradation when the government GAO studies reflect the livestock are ruining the ranges.

The EWA and ALC call on Congress to deny additional funding and specifically defund wild horse and burro round-ups until the DOI and BLM can provide independent current range population counts, current range assessments and a viable management plan that upholds the 1971 law.

Both Sen. Mary Landrieu and Sen. Barbara Boxer have posed serious questions to the BLM on its management practices. Those questions should be answered immediately with facts, not spin.

Additional details on defunding the BLM for “Salazoos” can be found at Animal Law Coalition, article number 1188.

The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 100 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.


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24 replies »

  1. Why do we taxpayers have to purchase land in the Midwest and East when the wild horses have millions and millions of acres out West where they thrive? Wide open spaces as far as the eye can see. We already own this land out West. It’s public. Even though the BLM thinks they own it, they don’t. We do.

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    • We do. If there is any intelligent life on that sub-committee, they have to see what a scheming and baseless rip-off this is becoming. Kenny’s Bureau needs to do their jobs, the ENTIRE job, without a ‘bail out’. I’ve already paid for the WH&B Management Program AND the land the Equines live on. Show me where that money goes.

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  2. I think that the removal and zoo (aka death camps) proposition is the main point of the IDA/C. Downer lawsuit. The Salazoos violate the 1971 Act.

    I think a decision is to be made sometime in April.

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  3. Strategize & Re-strategize. I don’t know how it works or doesn’t for Salazar to get the budget money, or not. But if Republicans are involved, this might help some. And I preface this by saying I feel somewhat uncomfortable.

    For I campaigned for, contributed to, voted for Obama. He was for “change,” “transparency,” “*science,” “research,” “endangered species.” He co-sponsored the anti-horse slaughter bill (before election 3/08). He was for “humane” for animals…went on in some depth about our nation and the importance of caring for our animals…

    However, I also not only “feel” major betrayal by his administration’s “holocaust” of the wild horses (& wolves, endangered species…), the actuality and reality is, Americans are betrayed. And I know President Obama has other major, major issues on his table, but NOT to acknowledge, in some way, this unprecedented public outcry and advocacy across the nation for the wild horses!! That said, I believe he did say “no comment” to the Associated Press. Now that was a real “open” statement (;

    Never-the-less, on animals, i.e., wild horses, wolves, endangered species, Obama appeaars to talk the talk and NOT walk the walk, no matter Salazar is Secretary of the Interior. Obama IS Commander-in-Chief.

    Now for my “betrayal.”

    The Republicans have blocked Obama every step of the way in his Administration. Speculation is because the President is Obama and Republicans against the Democrats, every step of the way…

    So! My “betrayal” is to contact Republicans about the wild horses, most especially about the BLM funding $$$$$$$$$. Betrayal or not, we all know what Salazar wants is obscene and more mismanagement of the BLM budget and wild horses, the final result, elimination of these beauties who are entitled to run FREE. FREE, by Law & Nature. But if the Republicans hear it as again, another obscene amount of money doled out for capture, penning, zoos…who knows, they may object, big time.

    That all said, it is taking a risk, as who knows how this could backlash. But if we present it to the Republicans, condensed and simply put, as Salazar/Obama catering to “special interests, it might work as did Obama “catering” to Wall Street and the health care reform mess. And who knows, this could be the stimulus to set our American wild horses free.

    Just some thoughts. For again, when one thinks it cannot get any worse for the wild horses, yet another day, another circumstance, another ploy, another mismanagement when it does. Step-by-step we go along. Taking Salazar, the BLM on. Now and then we maybe need to up the ante?

    For it is more than obvious the BLM’s/Salazar’s goal is to rid the range of wild horses. “Zoos” and mare contraceptives and gelding. *And never forget the BLM secret documents uncovered by FOIA this past summer, detailing how to kill all the wild horses. And keep it from the public. And provide counseling for the veterinarians. And most likely, send to slaughter as the BLM has consistently done, one way or another…”undercover.”

    Amazing Grace for our Wild Horses

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    • Ronnie- You mentioned “The Republicans have blocked Obama every step of the way in his Administration…” Republicans may have “blocked” Obama on many issues that needed to be blocked for the sake of the nation and the fiscally responsible future of all of us. I for one will stand up for Obama again when he stops being so rigid in his thinking and irresponsible with our tax dollars. He has got to know by now how many millions of dollars are being spent by the BLM to mismanage our wild horses and burros. He must know about the violent extermination of wolves throughout the United States. The only conclusion I can come to is he does not care. What else are we to think?

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      • Not to get into a political debate, but lets face it, if the Republicans had all the answers how many terms have they had to put their miraculous solutions into place? It was under their watch that we ended up in this mess in the first place. For them to act like children and block everything that Obama inherited and is trying to fix just doesnt make sense.

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      • Sorry this was not the place for that comment and does not in any way support what his elected official Salazoo is doing. There are a lot of things that I do NOT agree with but just get irritated when our politicians act like children who cant get their own way.

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  4. Yep! Absolutely! Correct! Right on! You got it!

    You want to stop round-ups? Ask the committees and Congress to not fund equine issues conditional with rehoming, good science, observers, etc.

    IOW, don’t authorize or appropriate monies for land to relocate OR round-ups for the BLM/DOI. And no discretionary funds.

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  5. From the 1971 Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act:

    “Sec. 10. Nothing in the Act shall be construed to authorize the Secretary to relocate wild free-roaming horses or burros to areas of the public lands where they do not PRESENTLY exist.”

    I have never seen any subsequent redefinition or removal of the word “presently” (definition – “at present, now”) from the ORIGINAL 1971 ACT. Since it is still directly attached to the original Act without modification, I don’t see how the 54 million acres set aside for the wild horses and burros would not continue to apply.

    How do the Salazoos not qualify as “relocation”? If he wants to relocate them across the country , why couldn’t he relocate them back to at least some of those 54 million acres? Also, Salazar keeps referring to “wild horse sanctuaries” and/or “preserves”, but, once the horses are “processed”, don’t they become property of the BLM and come off the wild horse roles? Maybe the BLM will have to refer to them as “formerly wild horses”. Spin that to the public.

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    • You pose a serious question that concerns me greatly–are these captive and relocated horses the property of the BLM? Will the BLM run these “camps” for horses or contract out to the same types they always work with? Salazar is effectively gutting the FRWH&B Act by relocating them, stripping them of their rights by federal law.

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  6. Lots of great input to digest here, thanks to you all for your wonderful input, some of it is above my head when we get into the legalities etc. nut it is so consoling to know that we have such knowledgeable and caring individuals looking out for these horses.

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  7. There is no need for Salazar to formulate a new plan and place for these wild horses. Everything is already in the 1971 Law and HMAs have already been set up for them to live on. Millions of acres. Why does Salaczar want us to buy land? I am also concerned that these “sanctuaries” may be in states that are considering re-opening horse slaughter plants; IL, MO, KY.

    The law isn’t broken, the BLM is. Fix the BLM and no more wild horse problem.

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    • Some of the stipulations in the Act, mentioned several times:
      “recommendations from qualified scientisits….some of who shall be independent of Federal & State agencies…”
      “… as have been recommended by the National Academy of Sciences…have scientific expertise & special knowledge of wild horse and burro protection, wildlife management and animal husbandry as related to rangeland management.”
      Since the Interior and BLM are sticklers for the Letter of the Act, how is it these particular stipulations seem to get bypassed or bastardized?
      I’ve never found independent empirical scientific data in the BLM reports, only Advocate reports.
      Help me out here, folks… Has ANYBODY found independent scientific data in the BLM reports? If so, please point me in the right direction.

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  8. I hope I am wrong about the meeting on March 3rd. I hope it is not the farce and the ruse I think it is. There is a real threat of Cavel re-opening in Illinois. Montana poses the same very real threat with the Belgium investors opening a new slaughter facility.

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    • Monika sent me this today and it is from Laura Allen;

      From: Laura Allen
      To: STOP_HORSE_CRUELTY@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [STOP_HORSE_CRUELTY] CO bill would give taxpayer money to promote horse slaughter
      Date: Mar 1, 2010 6:33 AM
      A hearing is set Friday, Mar. 5 on Colorado Senate Bill 139 which would allow taxpayers to indicate on their tax returns that money should be given to the pro-slaughter corporation called “Unwanted Horse Alliance”. Help stop this fraud on the taxpayers and the continuing disinformation spread by pro-slaughter groups.

      This could be happening in every one of the states that have slaughter bills pending. We need to find out and do something. I have never seen an inside job like this and it is reprehensible. This is an outrage and will lead to actions taken by innocent people believing this to be a problem for them to address through their state taxes. I think someone needs to be arrested for this one… mar

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  9. Please, we all must tell everyone we are contacting for the meeting and committee members and any of our reps involved;

    NO MONEY FOR BLM FOR ANY NEW PROJECTS OR ROUNDUPS.

    mar

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  10. *DOI/SALAZAR BUDGET HEARING TO BE WEB CAST

    From the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources scheduling web site. It states the meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 10:00 AM, will be web cast.

    From Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources web site:

    “RESCHEDULED FULL COMMITTEE HEARING: to consider the President’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2011 for the Department of the Interior (Hearing Room SD-366).
    The purpose of this hearing, previously announced for February 10th, is to consider the President’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2011 for the Department of the Interior.”

    *Chairman: Jeff Bingham (D-TX) *Ranking Member: Lisa Murkowski (R-AL)
    *Witnesses: The Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

    ————————————————–

    To view web cam of this hearing, go to:
    http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.ByMonth

    Once there, click on the scheduled “Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources” hearing (above) and you should come to the web cam.

    I have tried to watch as many web cam’s of DC meetings as possible. Did for multi-meetings for national horse slaughter ban, Sen. Butcher in Montana (fascinating:), Congressional NTRA & more…

    A video is worth much more than a thousand words…or photos. Excuse the cliche, but true.
    Watching on web cam, one can see all the nuances, facial/body expressions, who disagrees, agrees, debates…
    And some of the stuff that comes out of these legislator’s mouths!
    You know, like we hear from Slaughterhouse Sue, etc.
    Hilarious, funny, obnoxious, if it were not so scary the power some of these legislators have. And (!) got elected!

    Can’t wait to see and hear Mr. Kenneth Salaczar…and his Bull….

    Too bad there is not a public comment period!!!!

    Hope the web cast link goes through.

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    • Watched the circus. Seemed like quite a few clowns disappeared toward the end.

      I’m glad Mary Landreiu slipped in that short comment about the horses when she first had the floor. I’m a long way from civics class, but as I remember procedure, once a topic has been introduced and time reserved for further comment, it has to be heard.

      She hit the high spots as best she could in the time allowed, but not the “preserves”. Maybe that will be part of future meetings with Salaczar. I don’t think the government will fund the Salazoo in 2011. Things are too tight.

      I’m wondering if he will use the Mississippi Delta restoration as incentive to back off the wild horses. the ol’ carrot and stick. Politics is a weird and scary game, and our “treasured icon” is contantly caught in the middle.

      At the risk of repeating myself, did anyone else hear Salaczar say there are now 30,000 more horses than the range can carry? 37,000 left – 30,000 excess = 7,000!!! Maybe I’m going deaf. I need to go back and re-view it once my stomach has calmed down.

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      • I think she did slip in the “preserve” question by her reference of the wild horses running free in the WEST. I caught that and thought she didn’t say–wild horses running free in the East. Watch Salazar’s facial expression right after Mary made her statements. He didn’t look very happy—good! Go get em Mary!

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  11. well,I am just going to e-mail my senators again and again till they get tired of it and decide to listen to the peoples out gry for these magnificent beautiful horses and burro’s and stop funding the BLM as all they do is destroy horses and put them in holding pens to die a very harmful death.they’re the most cold heartless people ever,they need to be fired and prosecuted for all that they have done and are doing th Gods creations.someone needs to let Salazar know that the BLM has created their own problem of over populating the holding pens,do away with the BLM and the holding pens turn all the wild horse free to roam on the ranges where they were born and let them run free and multiply to keep the wild horse herds alive and roaming free as they were intended to do.Blm is more interested in letting the cattlemen use the wild horse ranges then letting the wild horse have their homes.thats why we need to get rid of BLM and prosecute all of them for their cruel,inhumane treatment of these beautiful animals.

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  12. I am one of the probably thousands of people concerned with irregularities in the management of our Federal Lands. No private individuals should make money out of the sell of wild animals as wild horses and burros. No one should be allowed to kill our endangered wolves in national parks, or to have contests with bounty trophies in the parks or too close to them. We the people feel individuals have no right to privately sell and benefit from the meat of wild animals. Neither, support the missuse of federal land on killing our endangered wolves. We have in place regulations and laws. We should follow them. Loopholes that benefit the few, should be revised and if necessary reversed.

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