Horse News

New Video Release Details Wild Stallion’s Agonizing Death

BLM’s Criminal Cruelty Documented

Brett Bowen, of Animal Rescue Unit1, has released a new video with exclusive footage of the brutal and agonizing death of the wild stallion dubbed “Blue Moon” by wild horse advocates.  The gruesome death took place on November 6th, 2010 during the bloody BLM Warm Springs helicopter stampede.

Time and time again the heartless cruelty of Obama’s BLM is showcased yet the agency continues to relentlessly chase, capture and destroy herds and individual wild horses and burros with total impunity.  To date, the President of “Change” has not given so much as a cursory nod to the millions of advocates from around the world crying out for a moratorium on the murders.

The video, below, is not for the faint of heart as it contains graphic scenes!

(Note that in the first 10 seconds the Helicopter hits the horses!)

118 replies »

    • I see they are flagging comments as spam. I hit show comment and “not spam” and voted thumbs up. I tried to post a comment 4 times and it just says error, try again. I’ll try again but I’m thinking they don’t want comments, wonder why perhaps their happy little video isn’t the final word after all.

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  1. I cried the first time I saw this and the second. Now I just get angry. On another board posting this story a defender posted:
    “These guys didn’t mean for this to happen. Haven’t you ever had an Oh shit! moment and wished you had it to do over?”
    That angered me so much I quit reading and went out to ride. I should have answered. I have had an “oh shit” moment. I have injured a horse and wished I could take it back. The difference is I have never done the same thing again. We learn from our mistakes.

    This isn’t the first of second time the BLM has had this happen. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Either the BLM is insane or they meant for this to happen. I actually think the BLM doesn’t mind when a horse that is brave enough to fight for freedom gets killed. That type of horse is easier to remove dead than alive.

    Also I noticed that in the Oregon gather, deaths were only explained on the days that observers were allowed. On the other days all deaths were listed as non gather related with on explanation.

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    • May I suggest that you (or someone) do an in-depth study of this gather [and all gathers] and compare all BLM acknowledgement of animal deaths at this gather with the vet reports and the dates of deaths and the reason for the deaths plus include vet reports of serious injuries that are posted on their websites. The reason that I suggest this is for future information if it comes to any legal action. I have done this on a previous “gather” and found that the BLM vet reports and the BLM comment notes and the reasons for authorization and/or animal deaths do NOT jive! Not to mention that although the BLM SAID there would be a vet onsite during roundups and procedures … there was not. I can explain further if anyone wants details … but the point is that we need to follow what they “say” is happening with what they can “document” is happening ……….. I think you will find the two do not match and hopefully we can catch them with real documentation “with their pants down” (sorry for the cliché). This may not seem important in an immediate way … but this kind of research is much needed and may help our wild ones in the future.

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  2. I truly hope Obama is being bombarded with these clips of what is really going on with our nation’s icon(s). This cannot be ignored any longer.
    If there was truly a way to allocate our tax dollars to prevent this you can sign me up! As it stands, the American people have no voice anymore……………..

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  3. I’m hearing whomever is with the camera saying they don’t believe we don’t need to manage the horses, but that they could possibly do a better job. Yet I’ve never heard what that is?

    This was unfortunate, but you’ll notice you’re only seeing one tragic moment, and not how many horses came in nicely. I also believe it was the angle of this particular camera that made it look a though a horse was hit. I have not seen that in the other footage that has been shown. Everything I saw (video) looked like the pilot was taking his time with the horses.

    I was present on Friday when they stopped without bringing any horses in. They felt they’d driven them far enough and didn’t want to push them anymore. I would hope that true advocates would applaud this decision.

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    • I only have a minute but there is bait trapping and water trapping. Funny I never saw these horses coming in nicely. All pics and videos I’ve seen show the same with the heli hitting the horse and there are plenty more. The horse laid there dying and the wranglers continued to flag around him. Got to go.

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    • Are you kidding me? “This was unfortunate”????? This horse was killed because they have not solved a problem they have had more than once or twice before. I don’t care that they got some of the horses in without incident. Some of these horses will go easily because they have been gathered before and learned that the only safe place in this situation is inside the steel bars. (Cloud very clearly demonstrated his ability to make this decision in his last gather.) Others horses are terrified by the entire process and will fight for their lives every time. There are equine behavior experts out there who could be consulted to show them how to change their methods. If the methods were easier on the horses most of them would go quietly on later gathers which would quiet the terror of the younger ones. A 1% gather related death rate is unacceptable especially when we have deaths that can be anticipated due to using methods that have caused death in the past.

      As for applauding the contractor for not pushing the horses too hard on Friday, I don’t believe this story for a moment. I’d bet they quit on Friday because the animals were in severe distress and they didn’t want to bring them into view in this condition. A colt was destroyed on Saturday because he tied up. When an animal ties up they recover nicely if treated in the first few hours. I suspect this colt tied up on Friday and was left to suffer and be destroyed on Saturday when his condition had progressed too far for him to recover.

      Desperate Housewife, I’ve given these guys the benefit of the doubt in the past. They tell us they care about the horses and are trying to do what is best for them in the long run. I don’t believe them anymore. When they get advice that can help them avoid a disaster the ignore it. They push forward with their plan. They don’t listen to requests from congress or rulings from the courts. BLM is literally our of control.

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    • There are people on this blog who are much better educated than I am on wild horse management, so I hope they’ll also reply to you, desperate housewife. You have a valid question: Basically, how could we manage horses better?
      First, let’s start with the fact — and it is a solid fact — that no one including the BLM knows exactly how many horses and burros currently live in the wild. It doesn’t make sense to round them up on “guess-timates” in wild population. It’s a waste of time and money, and it’s dangerous to the horses and burros.
      So, the first plan of action is to stop round ups. Second, an independent series of studies need to be conducted (possibly by the National Academy of Sciences) to document accurate WH&B numbers, what their true population increase & decrease numbers are, how they actually damage and/or benefit the environment, what business interests come into play on public lands and the level of those damages to the environment. Also more study needs to go into the risks, benefits and consequences of using fertility control on wild herds. Some studies indicate that the use of PZP and changing sex ratios can actually increase population. It may also sterilize young females. We need to know before we shoot up herds of mares and set them loose.
      Until the above is acted on, current management strategies for wild equine are meaningless.
      THEN, after the studies are done, we can look at real management — which may mean leaving them alone completely and allowing nature to balance itself.
      Those are just my thoughts…

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    • I unsuccessfully tried to do a frame-by-frame analysis of the first 10 seconds, but did manage to catch a still where the horse seemed to have been grazed across its back by the helicopter before it disappeared into the sagebrush. The immediate reaction of the observers was most telling. Once the horse had recovered its footing, it moved toward the trap and pretty much stopped with it’s head down (a sign of pain?), then lifted it’s head (adrenaline rush?) and moved toward the trap when the pilot circled and resumed the pressure.

      The fact that the helicoper skids are dark made it difficult to deternine its exact position in relation to this horse and also the rest of the bunch. I think the key is watching the contrast between both the skids and the white supports in relation to the horses. This footage was obviously shot with a telephoto lens, which tends to compress the image, but the relative size of helicopter to horse tells me this guy was literally on top of them, especially the horse that went down.

      Blue Moon’s drawn out struggle was clearly inhumane. The wranglers just turned and walked away from a downed horse for how long? Aren’t these guys armed? Not even a “kind” bullet for a horse they must have known was paralized and would not recover? I think I heard a crack at about the 5 minute mark, but there was so much wind I couldn’t be sure.

      As to the question of animal cruelty, do these supposed “experienced wranglers” enjoy some kind of immunity as contractors for the BLM? Maybe this comes under the heading of “on the job training”, since they obviously had no idea how to set up a trap.

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      • Sun J, the contractors, just incorporated on Aug. 31st of this year. Apparently they were “trained” by the Cooks. Not a good thing. It is on the job training, which is why that helicopter almost crashed into the hill at the 10 sec mark and why a stallion suffered needlessly and died. These people are idiots and the fate of our horses are in their hands.

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    • I believe an advocate had to ask them to stop because the stampede had gone on too long. Correct me if I am wrong. They would not have stopped of their own volition. You cannot drive horses for hours. It is the definition of inhumane.

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      • Deb Coffey spoke to the BLM agent present and then he/she spoke to the Contractor. It was decided to stop then. No horses had been brought in but many hours (4 or 5+) the bird flew after wild horses. mar

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    • Also, the only reason we are seeing this is because they allowed people in for a couple of days. How many die without anyone there to see it and film it? How many foals are left on the range because they can’t keep up with a helicopter driving them FOR HOURS!!!!

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    • Desperate Horsewife there is no “bright side” to any of this. I am insulted that you propose we think there is,…and your “whitewashing” it doesnt speak well for you. How DARE you speak of “true advocates” cause you obviously havent a clue what a true advocate is. No “true advocate” would be “ok” with these actions in any way shape or form. You need to take your BLM PROTECTIONISM elsewhere cause you are not making any “wild horse and burro horsie freinds” here with that attitude. Open your eyes to see the truth,…. NO equines “come in nicely” ……….they are all always run hard, panicked, confused and scared to death. Wouldnt you be if you were run out of your home and seperated from your family like that? Huh.You sound just like someone from the “Wallis” Camp. Why dont you go hang out with them (somemore?)

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    • One tragic incident is one to many…another stallion go killed a few weeks back..there are photos of horses in the pens trapped legs,. heads…it is very distressing for the horses to be rounded up by a helicopter…these are wild animals terrifiied to an inch of their precious lives…..blm needs to re think their ways of round ups………………

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    • more than “unfortunate” that only the BLM feels its ‘ok’ to have wild animals bash into steel pipe (that breaks bones!on any wild animal) on top of that they cram wild animals right into trailers!!

      That is more than unfortunate, its downright knowing animals will die when they are treated that way.

      If you’re not an experienced horse person, please look up ‘road founder’ and find one horse breeder who would treat their OWN foals and horses like the BLM does. Run them the same distances in the same conditions. You won’t find any.

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    • Here’s a humane way—STOP! The BLM, by their own math has already surpassed the number of horses they say can survive on the range, around 26,000. They have over achieved this goal. They removed 9,000 last year, over 10,000 this year and they said they started with 36,000. The only answer is a complete moratorium. There is no reason to round up another 15,000 they have marked for 2011. Don’t you see? We can’t afford to lose any more stallions. Period.

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      • Totally agree! Enough is Enough!!!! This is total madness by the BLM. How in the hell can they call this management of our wild ones? It’s insane to just continue this procedure, without the real facts, figures and the need for a more humane approach. KEEP documenting you guys and gals, because it WILL be needed to make your case. And, you certainly have one…truth will prevail!

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      • Speaking of losing herd stallions … did you know that all of the Twin Peaks gathered stallions [Litchfiled] have now been gelded? This means that another great piece of our future wild ones is now gone FOREVER.

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    • Desperate horsewife, I liked seeing your comment, and differing perspective amongst the others. I had the same thoughts while listening to the conversations in the background. It’s easy to say you could do a better job when you haven’t tried it yourself. It’s easy to come up with “better” suggestions while sitting at home – but get out there and applying on the ground is a completely different matter.

      I didn’t think that any horses were hit with the skid either. The pilot did look to be taking his time with the horses. I would get so discouraged doing that job! Must take a lot of patience to keep going back and forth repeatedly to move them in…

      It was a very sad and unfortunate event that the horse died, but look at how many did NOT die. The deaths that do occur are a very small percentage of the total horses gathered. And now those horses will be well fed, and the horses left on the range will have more forage left to them for the winter.

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      • But the pilots do not take their time. They run them at a very fast pace. And they run them for miles and miles. They had more horses coming in as Blue Moon lay paralyzed on the ground. Time is money to the for profit contractors. Safety and humane treatment are not a priority. The number of horses gathered in a day is priority. And the percentage of horses left on the range is pathetic. They are removing 85% of horses each time they do a round up. This is not management. This is not humane. This is not scientific. This is not sustainable. This is insanity. We are watching the extinction of the wild horse right before our eyes.

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    • If I were to venture a guess..this would be Maggie, the same Maggie that posted all the insane comments to ARU and then removed them..If Not-you are the same caliber..My guess, a “wildlife photographer” who regularly goes out and takes pictures of the wild horses..and becomes the “local” go to expert-because I heard the same spiel before..the fact that you go out and take pics..does not make you an expert on any kind of horse..I do know horsemen who do, such as Carol Walker and Tamara Gooch and others, and I also know many wildlife photographers who do not claim to be experts and are open to learn..you are not one of them..Neither does it make you a habitat expert or forage expert, you obviously never have read the RMPs nor the EAs to discover where the land went that the wild horses had originally been designated nor do you have any idea of the plans for that land once horses are removed..now perhaps you don’t get a real sense of the fencing and crossfencing that is a spiderweb on the HMAs while there-and need to study the cattle alotment EAs to get the REAL picture of how much land has been removed from WH use..and thats quite correct “desperate”-the WHs only need minimal management, but they do need their lands back, and if you still doubt that is the case..after extensive reading and research..I suggest you read the many lawsuits won by WWP that prove exactly what I am saying and their current legal challenge to the manner in which BLM has developed their RMPs across the west..and the RMPs are where the AMLs and AUMs are decided..Take the time necessary to educate yourself thouroughly on this subject and you will have answered your own question.

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      • Wow. You are something to make such a comment, assuming you know it all, and anyone who says otherwise must not. On the contrary, people who are out there on the ground — the wildlife photographers — are the ones with “local knowledge” that can go a long way in really understanding current conditions. That knowledge should be, and is, respected by many.

        We who sit on our computers, learn from blogs, newspapers, internet media, or like me books, science journals, etc only know what we read. The people who are on the ground have a different kind of knowledge that is based on first hand experiences. That, in my opinion, provides a great asset to learn more from.

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      • Jessie, Sandra and I know the ranges. We are some of the few who go out there. If you value what we have learned in the field and the work of our associates that is good. Nice to have you say so. My background is in wildlife management, equine science, photography and journalism. These disciplines have all carried respect in the past and continue to. I do see wild horses as wildlife. They are not feral but indigenous, returned native species. They fit in and are good for the land and most other species. When we can change management and get on with healing after this outrageous violence against the wild herds, there will be a time for all of us to work together. But BLM sucks and has not got the right to do as they have and for the multitude of reasons either. Keeping the wild ones West and intact will be a very hard won fight. But we are doing it. For the wild ones. mar

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  4. *THAT HELICOPTER hit that horse, no dought about it!!*
    You see the brown horse lifted, a few feet in the air…The helicopter, lifts back-up, and almost losses control, afterwards..Going sideways, then regaining, control..WHAT THE HELL was that. eh? I have friends who owned a helicopter, idiots and you r not even allowed to do this,,Flying too low, is not in the books,I think the driver is fade-up, of doing his stupid job here, and taking out his frustrations on the wild mustangs. (First-of-all, I must say, this whole procedure sucks!), and must cost a *fortune* to do! You know how much a helicopter, costs just to run!? Very expensive! BOY, you guys sure have money to waste, and sure have no respect or compassion towards these poor beaten-up souls. I am not a happy-camper here, to see & hear, what goes on in your state, there and neither the Horse-slaughter,buisiness round Canada, so,, WHY don,t you guys, get some other things to do, with your days..instead of Provoking these horses and the feelings of other people..Provoke, provoke, is what we see.. Shame on yous… (Qc.) Nov, 2010

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    • Water and food baited traps are the most humane way….and think of the money it would save,…but nooooooooo, …”real” cowboys just wanting to have a little fun. Cant you tell the they are having a ball?

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      • Food and water bait trapping are used when they can because it is a cheaper way to get some of the horses off the range. However, it’s not always possible.

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    • I cannot say for sure but I have reviewed this video more than once and I agree … it looks like the horse actually was lifted off the ground by the helicopter… and even IF it wasn’t … there is no doubt that it was being abused by the helicopter and this is against the law not to mention immoral and inhumane.
      THIS MAKES ME SICK
      Perhaps I am naive but can anyone (Humane Society or?) legally do anything to avoid this animal abuse in the future by using this video? I know that I would be arrested and tried as a felon if I did this to any animal … and justly so!

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  5. I cried the first time I saw this and the second. Now I just get angry. On another board posting this story a defender posted:
    “These guys didn’t mean for this to happen. Haven’t you ever had an Oh s**t! moment and wished you had it to do over?”
    That angered me so much I quit reading and went out to ride. I should have answered. I have had an “oh s**t” moment. I have injured a horse and wished I could take it back. The difference is I have never done the same thing again. We learn from our mistakes.

    This isn’t the first of second time the BLM has had this happen. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Either the BLM is insane or they meant for this to happen. I actually think the BLM doesn’t mind when a horse that is brave enough to fight for freedom gets killed. That type of horse is easier to remove dead than alive.

    Also I noticed that in the Oregon gather, deaths were only explained on the days that observers were allowed. On the other days all deaths were listed as non gather related with on explanation.

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  6. I agree with Diane, the only thing which is “unfortunate” in BLM’s eyes is that observers caught this on tape. Could someone please tell me what we are paying the BLM for? It is obvious that they cannot count horses or burros. They cannot “gather” horses or provide adequate care once gathered nor care for them in long term holding. Most of these services are outsourced because they are “not the “Bureau of Horses.” There ARE a handful of people involved in the adoption program, who seem to care and a bevy of security whose biggest job since the 90’s is to keep their traps shut. Just what services do the other BLM employees provide? The only other job I can think of is government mouthpiece. They are being paid for reporting lies and doing nothing.

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  7. Another patriarch murdered in front of his family for trying to protect them! Tortured and murdered! The BLM is an enforcer of Genocide and they are doing it completely illegally with OUR money!!! I dont agree to this, can I stop paying taxes!?
    Obama is a liar! I believed in him and am sorry about that, but with Palin murdering wolves from helicopters do we think that the mustangs would have been any better off there? The BLM are the horse nazi’s and each day that more herds are literally DESTROYED – we the American people are guilty of letting it happen! Very soon there will be no such thing as a wild horse! Our heritage and everything we have in this country in the way of settlement and development we OWE TO THE HORSE! Is this how we repay thousands of years of survival and advancement… really???
    I am disgusted with the humans! We absolutely SUCK!!!

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  8. Hi guys, let me go on the record… The roundup WAS going fairly smoothly for the first part of the day. When in view, the pilot was giving the horses a break here and there as they approached the trap site. However, the tempo and demeanor of the pilot, as well as the wranglers changed right about the beginning of the video, as he had a large group of horses SO close to going into the trap site, but just couldn’t quite get them all in there. He got one group in, while Blue Moon ran off, and one of those horses actually hit that same corner and went down, but got back up. When Blue’s group was captured, the wranglers didn’t give them a minute to calm down like they did with earlier horses, because the pilot was fast approaching with another group of horses that had split from that band. THIS is when the accident occured…
    @Desperate Horsewife… The voices you heard in the background weren’t from the camera man… I was running the camera, and you can only hear me say anything twice on the video… And I would like to point something out… I spent a great deal of time that day talking with our BLM representitive that was basically our “tour guide” for the day… She was genuinely concerned about the horses well being, and was visibly upset about the accident. I know its easier when there is a “Bad Guy” mentality when we are fighting for something, but I don’t think that direct approach will get us as far as calmly working together towards specific goals. Don’t get me wrong, I am DEFINITELY not Pro-BLM, but seeing that some of the employee’s hearts are in the right place makes me think that there might be some hope for our cause. I have seen Mr. Fitch on several occasions to remind us to harness our hostility, and think he is absolutely right.
    I am absolutely sick about what happened, I can’t watch the footage without getting choked up, even though I have seen it a thousand times… We have about 6 more hours of footage that still needs to be converted, but at $60 per hour of footage, its slowly getting done…
    Thanks for all you do Mr. Fitch!
    -Brett Bowen
    http://www.AnimalRescueUnit.com

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    • Brett-I also know BLM employees who truly care about the WHs and would love to see us get policy changed..however these people are not in a posistion to influence policy ..at all..and the people who are in charge and directing this policy don’t give a rats #ss about the wild horses..they have a misson and they are pursuing it, at high speed, in hopes they can get all the horses removed before they are stopped..This is your first experience-many of us have seen massacres..real frigging massacres..NOT “accidents will happen” …I hope you have read the “Alternative Management Options document” to get a real sense of what is going on here..in their own words

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  9. Help me out here. Anyone good at research. According the WFRHBA of 1971 the contractors can use helicopters only if they follow “humane guidelines as proscribed by the Secretary” (Secretary of the Interior). I can’t find these guidelines. If they don’t exist than the helicopters can’t be used.

    Anybody found anything I haven’t?

    Email me privately if you like.

    Diana@PureGeneticsAngus.com

    PS My cattle are raised on my own land.

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    • Diana I think you have hit on something important here. This definately needs to be looked into and I am betting there are no such guidelines ever issued by the Sec of the DOI. This is something that should be raised in one of them lawsuits already filed. They can always add things by amending the complaint.

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    • There are guidlines, I requested them back in March..I have again sent out an e-mail and requested them again..you have to ask for the PDF, have them sent as an attachment in an e-mail..the link is broken since march..probably for good reason..there was a revision in April..I could not find the original e-mail with the attachment..They do exist..they are very specific as to heights the helicopters must fly above the ground..and even more specific once they are in the trap site..The 9400 document will tell you how to file with SAFE COM for abuses with this policy..we have enough documented cases of low flying and touching of animals to call for a review of contractors license:

      Thanks Brian, I was able to acess the handbook via the attachment..however when I used the link and clicked on the WH&B handbook at

      On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 9:40 AM, sandra longley wrote:

      ———- Forwarded message ———-
      From:
      Date: Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 9:30 AM
      Subject: BLM WH&B
      To: sandra.longley@gmail.com

      Sandra,

      Here is the link to the Wild Horse and Burro Aviation Management Handbook:
      http://www.blm.gov/nifc/st/en/prog/fire/Aviation/avlibrary.html
      The last link under Policy/Manuals/Guides.

      Also, here is the Handbook as a PDF
      (See attached file: WH&B Handbook_h4740-1.pdf)

      Please let me know if this link does not work for you and if you need any
      additional assistance.

      Thanks and have a good day.

      Bryan Bitting
      Helicopter Program Manager
      Bureau of Land Management
      208-387-5173 Office
      208-890-0829 Cell

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  10. Thank you for posting this Mr. Fitch, hopefully it can end up in front of the right people. I have a question/idea for everyone… DesperateHorsewife brought up a good point. She heard people talking in the background (I was the one running the camera, and only talked twice :-)) about what needs to be done to make the proper changes. Is there a website that has a clear, concise list of what can be done? The right people to contact? I would be willing to create a page on the AnimalRescueUnit.com site that people can be directed to, that has a clear list of what we can do as individuals, and what we need to do as a team. I have seen lots of passion, rage, and other emotions from countless people on the topic, as well as some great ideas… Would this be something that could be befeficial, or is there already something like this? We are a BIG team, and if we all bombard the right people, it has to eventually open the right eyes…There is SO much that needs to get done, and we have a lot of “ammo”, so lets devise a game plan… There is NO EXCUSE for a single horse to have to die at a roundup, if anyone thinks things cant be better, they are out of their mind… NINE horses died at Warm Springs… Unacceptable. Period.

    On another note, we have lots of other great footage from our trip that we are working on releasing, but with 6 hours of footage, and close to $60/hr to convert the footage from the Mini Dv tapes, it is taking some time… So be patient, there is much more good footage to come!
    Feel free to re-post this video anywhere you feel beneficial…
    Knowledge is POWER!
    -Brett

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    • Brett — First, thank you so much for being on site and getting this footage. I know how heart-wrenching it must be for all observers to witness tragedies like this, and I appreciate all of your efforts to document and educate.
      I posted some ideas in an earlier comment about how things might be able to be done better.
      Truly, the best, most meaningful approach for all concerned is to stop round ups. The BLM simply cannot manage these animals without real, up-to-date data on current wild populations. The agency’s numbers are based on inaccurate science and a VERY questionable reproduction rate of 15 – 20%. The numbers reflect only population increases and never take into account the decrease in population due to predation, injuries resulting in death, etc. The numbers don’t even reflect the thousands of equine that have been removed from the range in recent years.
      So, at least in my estimation, the only way to correct this situation is to stop rounding up and stockpiling horses and burros in holding facilities, and start compiling census data of the equines that remain in the wild. There has to be a starting place.
      I think the anger that we all see — and many of us express — is the direct result of not being heard and watching the wild herds treated in ways that are completely unacceptable. In the private sector, there is not a single one of us that could get away with treating an animal with this kind of disregard. I also think that many here understand that this blog is an outlet for expressing feelings. I’m familiar enough with many of the commenters here to know that they rein in their emotions when making calls or writing e-mails to officials. The folks who are on site to observe keep their heads. But we all need a place to vent from time to time… 🙂

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    • Brett, I think the quickest way to stop all the round ups would be to re-launch the push for an immediate moratorium…particularly in light of all the new evidence we have of the intentional acts of cruelty inflicted upon those horses that were physically touched (assaulted) by the helio-pilots. There is a good chance, coupled with the injuries, the cruel transports and the inadequate shelter at the holding pens, how could anyone deny that these cruel round-ups need to stopped pending investigations. Someone bought up the fact that helicopters are only supposed to be use if done “humanely, according to the guidlines issued by the Sec. of the DOI.” I am betting these dont even exist, and this is something that can be explored once a moratorum is had. Be nice if we could get it up for a vote in the lame duck sesson of Congress. I think there already is a petition going around with lots of signers?

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      • If another moratorium is put on round ups, what will happen the following year when there are yet more horses that need to be removed? What is the purpose of the moratorium other than to delay, and let the horses populate another year? Is it hope for more humane methods of removal?

        I think in any handling or removing of horses, there is the possibility that a horse might be injured or die…The BLM’s hope that I can figure is that by gathering up excess horses, and treating some mares with PZP and gelding stallions to be returned to the range will eventually lead to a stabilization in horse populations. Then there will be less gathers, and less horses removed. Eventually, the horses that are removed might match the adoption rates — then not so many horses will end up on long term holding!

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      • Another? moratorium? There has yet to be a first.

        There are no HMAs or HAs that are overpopulated by wild horses or burros. There have not been for a longtime, despite the removals claim. The wild horses and burros of the West are not overpopulated anywhere and are very underpopulated now compared to all record keeping and historic numbers. The wild herds are fast disappearing. Now. The numbers will wipe them out shortly. The PZP, released geldings, vasectomies and other experimental birth control will add the few in the wild to be sterile/non reproducing for sometime years and few foals will be born going into the next few years.

        Removals are justified as less space is ‘allowed’ the horses and they must have their population adjusted each time BLM gives a herd less land to live on and more surrounding land to cattle and private industry. There has not been any overpopulation for years and years. This is a successful ruse and myth BLM continues to use. It must be debunked. We need to do a census. There must be a moratorium to do a good census. And the other studies.

        We are losing our wild horses so fast there will be only remnants left in months. Please realize there are over 100 wild herds gone already. BLM will destroy all they can. mar

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      • There was once a moratorium back in the 80s I believe which caused a spike in horse populations. I have to disagree with you on the horse underpopulation. There are in fact, many herds that are overpopulated and if not managed will eat themselves out of forage, drink themselves out of water, and degrade the rangelands while they are at it. This will not just impact the horses, who will die slowly, but also the native wildlife, vegetation, soil, etc. It takes a long time for an arid landscape to recover…

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      • OK, Jesse, tell me where they are. I am most curious to know. Then I will compare what you say with the status BLM has for the herds you are about to tell us about, then I would see how they look for real. Is this information you have from BLM? Have you been to these places yourself?? Have you seen how good all the horses look as they are removed from their ranges?

        I doubt any information you present here. It has a huge slant. mar

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      • Jessie said, “I have to disagree with you on the horse underpopulation. There are in fact, many herds that are overpopulated and if not managed will eat themselves out of forage, drink themselves out of water, and degrade the rangelands while they are at it. This will not just impact the horses, who will die slowly, but also the native wildlife, vegetation, soil, etc. It takes a long time for an arid landscape to recover…”

        Are you for real!? mar

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      • None of our wild herds need to be removed or is overpopulated at this time. Or will likely be for many years to come after what has been systematically done to them!

        You are very brainwashed by BLM. I have been on HMAs this year and to holding facilities. I have seen with my own eyes the condition of range for horses who have been zeroed out this summer. You are wanting a job with BLM? Your unscientific views will fit right in. mar

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      • I believe your information is just as slanted. Where do you get yours? Have you been out on the rangelands?

        We all care about these horses.

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      • My views are BASED on the science and literature that I have read and researched for the last 5 years. I’m taking it with me to conduct field work this summer, hopefully to help the BLM in their management strategies! Don’t we want that?

        I can see that talking to folks on this blog is pointless…

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      • Yes, I have been on the range lands. I do not think the wild horses would damage anything if the cattle were pulled off the horse and burro designated range. BLM has the herds hemmed in and their land shrinking around them. Do you understand how this is done and the numbers manipulated? This is known and GAO has sited it. You should do more research.

        If a person wants to learn about the wild horses they should read the Cloud Blog from the start and read all the links and information. It is a grand education on wild horses, grazing in the West, BLM treachery and advocate efforts to save them. Then read all of RT’s blog and you will have an idea about what has been going on for real. mar

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      • Something tells me you do not dig deep enough and I wonder why you are here if not to learn what is the TRUTH. Is that why you are here?

        If you are here to give an opinion that is not accurate, as you have, then you must expect someone will challenge you. I said some very particular things in regard to yours and now you want to cut and run and we are ‘YOU PEOPLE’, now??? I asked you some questions… there was a dialogue. Is it not worth a dialogue now??? I am trying to engage you in an exchange. I know about the digestion. What about the herds you said are going to Need to be Removed? Which ones? mar

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      • Jesse-You are obviously not up to speed..the BLM has admitted to Congress, they do not have accurate census counts..Do you know what that means Jesse??? As they are stripping horses from the land they have NO FRICKING idea how many are LEFT, We are asking the National Academy of Science to review their policies and data…THAT requires a moritorium-NOT ONE governmental agency is backing up BLM claims, the general concensus by those agencys is that the current policy is unsustainable

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  11. The cruelty of the BLM never ceases to amaze me but one thing is very evident, they are hell-bent on decimating these horses into oblivion and they don’t care how many they kill along the way. If there is such a thing as karma then there will be great suffering among the inhumane people of the BLM.

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  12. I agree with you Diana, accidents do happen, but with the blm it’s more than an oh shit, how many died getting gelded, how many foals lost their hooves, how many died from diet change, how many were shot, how many went off cliffs, how many killed on trucks, killed in traps how many right now getting butchered. We only know what happened when our warriors are there, I don’t want to think what goes on and has been going on for years, when no one watched. UNFORGIVABLE

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  13. Sounds like a good place to start cutting the federal budget to me. The BLM in its current form is outdated. America can no longer afford to have our land and natural resources managed through thugology. That may have worked in an earlier time when no one would have guessed that there is water running beneath some of the diest land in the country, or before we had the technology to understand that the chemicals necessary to extract metals and other material from mines were highly toxic, and that we do not currently have the technology to remove the toxins from the aquifers. Maybe before we realized that the BLM really isn’t using peer reviewable science to manage our lands, but the capricious political whims of the secretary. What is different now as opposed to 60 years ago is that we have the Internet and access to information and communication.

    We don’t need to have all these field offices, particularly if they are too inept to even walk the range and study the forage to determine which species is actually destroying the range. Thr trouble is that we know the answer and they must know the answer, too. As eager as they are to get rid of wild horses, if they could actually prove that horses are the problem, they would have done that. But horses are not the problem. We need people with good character who are educated in geology, ecology, agricultural sciences, water resource management, veterinary science, conservation, engineering, environmental science, on the government pay roll. Create an Academy of Natural Resources Management composed of scientifically trained public servants. If these contractors and BLM employees viewed themselves as public servants and stewards of our land, water and natural resources rather than foot soldiers for ranchers and other special interests, we could find our way through this.

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    • You’re comment was very good, though I disagreed on several points. The BLM is not trying to get rid of the horses. And I don’t think that the BLM folks are “foot soldiers” for the ranchers. In my thinking (which is shaped by environmental/resource management), the cattle ranchers are important people and are often viewed as “stewards” to the land. They own some of the last intact pieces of land that benefits wildlife, and they are on that land all the time to see and mitigate problems. Cattle ranchers are not the bad guy they are all too often painted to be!

      After talking to a BLM rangeland specialist, it sounds like they would love to find out who is doing the most damage, cattle or horses. But for lack of time, they have not been able to do the field work for this study. At least with cattle, they can give out less grazing permits if it looks like forage won’t be enough…

      Also, I do believe the BLM is comprised of people trained in the very backgrounds you suggested. I myself would like to work for the BLM and help manage our wild horses — and I would be a Resource Management specialist who focused her studies on rangelands and wild horses….

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      • If you are studying range lands and you do not already know from excellent research already done- that cattle are the most destructive of animals on public lands grazing allotments, where have you been? This is an ongoing and highly recognized problem with historic significance. The horses do not come close or even enter into the equation for doing damage to public lands!

        It seems to me you are studying a BLM approved curriculum. Get your sources balanced. mar

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      • Hm. None of my sources are BLM. Yes, cattle have in the past been the major contributors to rangeland degradation. But there is a different management regime now. I don’t know much about it, but I do know it has really turned things around for cattle ranchers. It is in their best interest, after all, to maintain good rangelands that will both support their cattle, and native wildlife.

        The question now is, who does the most damage currently? Cattle are on public rangelands part of the year, when forage is aplenty. Horses are out there all year long, they eat more, and compact the soil more. It is a study that needs more looking into, but preliminary results show that horses are ALSO a problem.

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      • What does this Management Regime have to do with science?

        All the HAs and HMAs are fenced, finite places. They have some natural boundaries but the horses are contained. Your source sounds very uninformed. Horses are fenced out of parts of their own HMAs and from water. Where have you been? I trust eyewitness accounts and my own eyes, too. I have seen these things and so have my associates here. mar

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      • Jessie, I’m going to put this up for your consideration. It’s part of a 2007 post that has a great deal of information in the comments. You are obviously welcome to agree or disagree with whatever you chose. Just some food for thought, and, perhaps, more investigation.

        This is part of a long and informative comment by TJ, a person I don’t know, but, hopefully, won’t mind that I’ve copied it:

        “Back in the 1950s, it was primarily out of concern over brush fires that Storey County, Nevada, passed the first wild horse protection law in the nation. A team of Russian scientists, part of a cooperative venture between the United States and Russia, came in 2001 to study the effects of grazing animals on riparian areas in Nevada. They tested streams for nutrients and examined the desert and Sierra to learn techniques to improve the environment of their homeland. The scientists found that cows, which tend to stay around water sources, cause more damage to the stream banks than wild horses, which tend to drink and move on: “When we saw horses drinking from creeks, we didn’t see much impact except for hoof prints. The water looked clean, had good overhanging branches and there was no sign of erosion on the banks. There was an abundance of insects and animals, including frogs and dragonflies and water-striders.” Areas extensively used by cattle had fewer nutrients in the water and showed signs of bank erosion and other damage, concluded the study.”

        What would Russians have to gain by fabricating observations? Nothing I can think of.

        This is the post and all comments:
        http://wolves.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/wild-horse-round-up-begins-due-to-their-overgrazing/

        And for anyone who knows how long I’ve been searching for info on ELK and other “big game” species”, I finally found some here. YEAH!!!

        So, Jessie, I guess in a way I owe you one. I don’t know if I would have found all this without you

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      • I’m not sure how I helped, but you’re welcome! haha I do agree with that little tid bit. I’m not saying that cattle don’t do damage. They do in fact do quite a bit of damage in riparian areas. Horses have other impacts, however that can also effect riparian areas that are different than cattle. For example, horses tend to compact areas (their trails) which leads to increased run off, which could get into streams and increase silt content. I haven’t found studies on this to confirm, just preliminary observations cited in literature I’ve read.

        There is still much to be covered in the ecology and impacts of free-roaming horses. I think we just need to stop blaming the BLM and pitch in and help! They need it. It is why they ask for suggestions and comments in their EIS and such. I for one am hoping to apply my thesis in a way that will benefit them 🙂

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      • You helped because, while I was looking for more on some of the things you and others said, I stumbled upon “wildlife” info I’ve been trying to find. Now I need to do some digging to find citations to back it up.

        In every EIS/EA response I’ve written, I always ask about grazing/browsing wildlife. Very few contain any meaningful data. Just, “Yep, they’re there.”, and not much else. I also ask that any and all human activities impacting the HMAs be included. The only way to come close to understanding this jigsaw will be when all the pieces are layed out on the same table.

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      • Horses definitely do make trails. I know this just from my own knowledge and I did a study on an exclusively horse use HMA using aerial photography to see these trails. They were numerous and spread out across the landscape.

        I got the info about cows and horses from some of Erik A Beever’s studies. He’s done a lot of work looking at the ecology of feral horses, their influence on the landscape, and some of their influence on small mammals, squamates, etc. Like I said somewhere above, studies on free-roaming horses is still evolving — so there is much to learn to help effectively manage them alongside all other uses on public rangelands (livestock grazing, native wildlife, recreation, etc). I hope to someday be a part of the solution (even if it’s a small part)!

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      • Jessie ~ If you really want to learn something, here are some links: Real documented info about how public lands ranching is destroying the American west -http://www.publiclandsranching.org/book.htm

        Inspector General’s report on BLM “science,” i.e. they don’t have any: https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BwxnQ91Hgo-LNzY5MzYwNjMtYmU5Zi00Mjg1LTg3NWEtNzY1MDQ2N2UxNTg2&sort=name&layout=list&num=50

        The cost of the public lands grazing program to tax payers: https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BwxnQ91Hgo-LZWZiOGQ4YjctYzNhMC00ZjUwLThhN2QtOWI0NjIzN2NkYzc3&sort=name&layout=list&num=50

        Katie Fite, investigative reporter for Western Watersheds Project: http://americanherds.blogspot.com/2010/01/katie-on-calico.html

        I could go on and on – GAO reports, calls from Congress to halt roundups until the true science of the situation can be gathered, etc. Surely this will be enough to get you to dig deeper than the BLM “official” reports for your information. P.S. NONE of the above reports were written by horse advocates.

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      • please don’t-we have plenty of so called specialists, whose hands on experience is limited to..I am too busy to find out who is causing the problem..There is 200 years of science already that proves it beyond a doubt..You are not seriously having an informed conversation about this..Take it upon yourself to find out more as we have done by putting thousands of hours into research

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      • I have put thousands of hours into researching free-roaming horses on rangelands. I know their impacts — their influences on the landscape and native wildlife. I know that they must be managed to prevent their death by starvation or dehydration, and degrading the rangeland in the process, thereby reducing forage for native wildlife, and damaging native vegetation. If this is allowed to happen, it would take years for the rangeland to recover.

        I plan to spend the rest of my career, perhaps my life, researching horses. I plan to be a help to the BLM so that they can better manage these horses on our rangelands to prevent deterioration of the herds, native wildlife and vegetation – to bring back healthy rangeland ecosystems.

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      • Jessie, In learning what we have we have read many things we do not agree with because the information is out there influencing people like you. If you have actually studied the wild horses you are very inflexible and narrow minded. This means you have an agenda that favors, 1) ranching, as you have already defended and 2) BLM who you sound just like at times…

        Frankly, there are not enough horses out there any longer to do the kind of damage you are describing. That era is gone. If you are a wildlife advocate, and I am one for 40 years, you would know that to manage the wild horses well- will benefit all wildlife present. You sound like you are stuck in the era past and think the horses are the bad guys all around. Some BLM and some ranchers still persist in this antiquated attitude.

        Do you think the wild horses are feral? Have you not learned they are reintroduced Indigenous Native Wildlife?

        You are not grasping that you can learn beyond where you are at. Why are you afraid to know the Current Truth? maybe you have been raised within a political ethic and do not want to upset the apple cart? That is not very scientific. mar

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      • Jesse, I am sorry to say you have wasted 999 hours of that research, we can’t afford more people like you in the BLM-you are already approaching this problem with a biased attitude, learning about this situation from the BLM handbook is contaiminated information..Its like Hitlers autobiography-its all good..and justifiable extinction..If you have been in the education system for 5 years and not learned how to research, i’d say give it 5 more years before you put anything into practice, and perhaps live and work on a cattle ranch with allotments in Nevada and amongst the wild horses and see what kind of perspective and “truth” you come up with on your own..and YES I have…

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      • Wow. I try to be nice, but all I get in return is attacked and told to get my facts straight. I get so tired of people telling me that I am wrong and I need to do more research. Well you know what? Right back at you. Maybe you should realize the biases in your research….biases are everywhere. Most of what I see on this blog is just as biased as anything else, if not more so.

        I do NOT get my knowledge from the BLM. I read textbooks about rangeland management and science articles. My knowledge is based on facts of environmental and wildlife management.

        I will see this summer horses on the rangelands for the first time, where I will be able to use my knowledge in field studies.

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      • Yes, wild horses were once here, 10,000 years ago when they were native. That does not make them native now. Too much time has gone by, and the environment is very different. It is much drier — which is why they went extinct from this continent in the first place. Climate change and resulting vegetation shifts resulted in their demise.

        Those that have returned are domestic horses turned loose by the Spaniards, but mostly these horses are descendants of ranchers, farmers, miners in the 19th century. The term “mustang” literally means “strayed livestock.” Horses were domesticated for a very long time before they were brought back to North America. They are a very different species than those that evolved here, and went extinct here.

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      • You have not allowed yourself to learn from coming here?? Pity. BLM will have fun shaping you to be another ‘yes’ man who will have no integrity and your science will be re written by the PR department.

        It is not about ‘being nice’ when you come here and want to waste our time with your narrow research likely paid for by cattlemen. You should always know who paid for research and why it was done.

        If we are biased we are racing against time and your future, glorious employer who wants to remove and or stop the reproduction of all wild horses. Or have you still the idea that BLM does not want to remove all the wild horses??? You are way behind us.

        We also know there are good ranchers out there but not in the numbers you imply. They are a rarity and I do not think you know any. They would be off the management criteria. mar

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      • I would like to point out that universities do have curriculum that is approved by various government agencies and Range Science is one subject that is geared towards government jobs. It does not mean you do not learn about these things but you are swimming with the current and have no idea what is going on outside this sphere. If you were to choose another tack for a graduate degree and actually do some real research you might learn where all the holes are in your current education. I have been there and I know. mar

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      • Mar, my graduate program is actually a very unique one. There are few like it in the country. It is not about “range management,” but just resource management. It is a mix of anthropology and geography — cultural and natural resource management. I’m on the natural resource management side, but am learning much about cultural resources also. With this, I’ve come to understand that horses are an American cultural resource. This program really excels at teaching us graduates about communication with different cultures, etc. As you can see, I’m still learning to interact with people with different worldviews than mine.

        If you are interested in my program, and what guidelines I am following, here’s a link to my program website. http://www.cwu.edu/~rem/

        You will see that I am on my own for rangeland science, free to form my own opinions based on primary texts, and articles as sources. No professors are shaping me in this subject.

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      • This is from Jesse’s blog;
        “Are the horses being removed to be replaced with cattle? — I do not think so as it just does not feel right, or make any sense. Are the horses being removed to control population? — Yes, I certainly believe that. That makes sense. Based on all my knowledge about how populations grow and what horses and large mammals can do to a landscape not accustomed to grazing, it makes sense that they (the BLM) has to act as “predator” by removing some. Do the cattle also have to be managed? Yes – and they are, correct? Grazing permits control the population of cattle. Why do cattle outnumber horses? Is it because of the time the spend on the rangelands? The amount of forage that is available while they are there eating with horses and native wildlife?”

        Does not Feel right or Make any Sense???? Yep, that rings a bell!

        We have been answering these questions by going to the HMA/HAs and we have seen the encroachment on horse ranges that is astounding! Cattle and private industry. Fencing horses out of their own resources and then removing them because their is not enough water and they are over population for the tiny area they have been allowed to remain in. This is BS all created to seem like it is science and as the advocates have come to call it “A shell game” and is done to remove horses because they are protected from lands that BLM has found other uses for. So they do not want a protected species hanging around.

        You think you see a larger picture but you do not know first hand how fast changes are occurring on the designated ranges. BLM policy is not law. The BLM has many policies that hurt wild horses and will continue to use them because they are removing them in order to take their lands. Policies changes are available that could clear up all the so called problems the horses are supposedly causing. We are hemmed in by idiotic policies and cultural ignorance and prejudice. Science is what we want used and given a new place in decision making. The very history of BLM and DOI are such that they will not give us any of this in the near future. Cattle can be removed from horses’ range. Signature. Fences and gates need to be removed that hinder seasonal migration and needs for water and forage. Signature. Horses have been squeezed out of their HMA but we have a cattle allotment next door and they can graze there, expanding their range where it is needed. Signature. I can go on and on. There are many simple answers and they are being pursued by us and denied by BLM. If you could learn the reality and see that we are actually trying to save the Last Of the Wild Horses. You may want to help do this also by using real science and creating new studies to help keep our wild ones alive and safe. But working for BLM you will never be able to do this. I am dead certain of this. You would be joining many others who have not found science or been able to help the wild horses. Why should you want to join the lie so quickly? But if we have challenged you I am so glad of it. You need to be challenged and have your head filled with the reality we are facing not some book learned BS that has not been updated and was never impartial to begin with. mar

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      • With only the best of intentions-think about applying to WWP for an internship-for in order to learn ‘best practices” you have to know “worst practices”..if you will do this- I know you will have both sides of the story-and be fully capable of making up your own mind and probably will make a great contribution..and nowhere is that needed more than the BLM..good luck in all seriousness-on your journey!

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      • All I can say Jessie is this, I can only pray you don’t ever work for the BLM now, or in the future. I believe those horses have suffered enough. As for your research, I don’t believe you know what real research is. If you did, you would see the abuse the BLM is dishing out to these horses. Just open your eyes.

        Desperate horsewife, same goes to you. How can you say that most horses went in the traps nicely? Did you and I watch the same video? I saw nothing nice about the whole situation!

        Last but not least, The BLM says that they honestly don’t know who ruins the landscape more? Horses or Cattle? Cmon, you don’t need a masters to know that horses roam and eat, a little here, a little there. They are constantly on the move. Cattle on the other hand, stay at the same place for days and days. When they finally leave, the ground is saturated with cow pies, and mud, and no vegetation left. You tell me?

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    • Jessie, I’m happy to hear you’ll be seeing wild horses for the first time next summer. I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but just one piece of advice. Don’t get attached, and, for heaven’s sake, don’t “fall in love” with any of the mustangs. The objects of your affection will likely be gone the next time you visit.

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  14. Christie — Thumbs up to this! “If these contractors and BLM employees viewed themselves as public servants and stewards of our land, water and natural resources rather than foot soldiers for ranchers and other special interests, we could find our way through this.”

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  15. Ok enough is enough here !!!! Lets get these copters grounded now !!! Procedure call proper authorities, I d be willing to bet these copters are operating with violations and also the pilots that are piloting them …. The need to be investigated …………

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    • Dear Arlene I had a long conversation with dean Bolsted this afternoon, funny I brought up the Sun J pilots and asked to completely investigate them for sporting horses during the round ups, these pilots are playing a death game with our National Treasures, it is very clear.. Called for a complete investigation, of Sun J there must be violations here of something……………………I just know there is…………..I am betting that they are in violation of no licensees , no experienced pilot ., would ever try to hurt horses………………….Sun J does something here smells that like a huge RAT>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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  16. In complicated matters , there is always a simple answer lets start with simplicity,,…………………… Get those copters grounded, no copters makes iit real hard to round up our Mustangs……………………..

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  17. Its creative thinking , on a small scale that just quite possibly get what we want …….Now the FAA may be who we are looking to call and get some investigation done on the copter companies and the pilots that work for them , believe me everything is not being done accordance to the Rules of the air !!! Its a simple idea but it may prove very fruitful for the Mustangs …. Maybe this isnt the answer but at least we will be creating a stir to say the least !!!!

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  18. Aside from the graphic nature of this video, and the painful death of Blue Moon, watching this made me sad from a more personal standpoint. I have a five year old BLM mustang gelding. When he came to me as a yearly, he was nearly paralyzed with fear. It took a long time for him to trust a human.

    Four years later, he follows me around like a puppy dog – I am his leader. He’s still very slow to warm up to strangers, and keeps his distance from all men. I did not “break” him in the traditional sense of the word. I do ride him now, and he’s a great trail horse, but it took a long time for him to trust me.

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  19. Answer to Jesses one question Doesnt take much knowledge to know who does more damage to the land ???? Cattle eat the roots and the entire plant leaving nothing but a barren wasteland in its path of food ! cattle destroy native perennials, cattle heavy grazers, horses light grazers, Horses in turn only eat the tops of foliage, allowing the land to replenish t itself horses do not digest seeds the seeds pass through the digestive system in tact and are replanted in the manure, horses also are able to use their hooves through the ice for water in turn helping other animals who can not!! case in point closed!

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    • Horses have a unique influence on the landscape, this is important to understand for management purposes. Many compare their influences to cattle use of the rangelands, but horses are unique. They are cecal digesters, which means that they are not selective in their forage. A low-quality diet means that horses will consume 20-65% more forage than a cow of an equivalent body mass. Horses also use the landscape heterogeneously, leaving many trails that are used repeatedly and go long distances. Cows, on the other hand, use the landscape in a more uniform manner. Their trails are not as used, nor as long – as Erik A. Beever observed. As a result of this, horse occupied sites have greater soil penetration resistance. Further differences between horses and cows are as follows: horses have a flexible lips and upper front incisors when compared to cattle. Such differences mean that horses can graze vegetation much more closely to the ground than cattle. This will delay the recovery of vegetation.

      Now that we know their unique influence on the landscape, they also have unique management plan when compared to cattle, and native ungulates. Horses are not as intensively managed as cattle. Cattle are managed on public ranges with fencing exclosures, rotation grazing, herding, and they are supplied with water. Horses are not fenced, and are managed with minimal strategies. Unlike with native ungulates, hunting of horses is not permitted, as they have federal protection under the Wild Horse and Burro Act, 1971.

      In conclusion, Beever’s purpose was to highlight the differences of horse influences when compared to cattle and native ungulates. He argues there needs to be careful monitoring for ecosystems that have had little, or infrequent, grazing over evolutionary time in order to avoid deterioration.

      Summary of: Beever, Erik A. (2003). Management Implications of the Ecology of Free-Roaming Horses in Semi-Arid Ecosystems of the Western United States.

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      • Jessie you are right about one thing. Horses are capable of biting the forage off shorter than cattle. That is because cattle don’t bite. they wrap their tongue around the forage and pull. In arid grounds this allows cattle to pull the vegetation up by the roots. And cattle don’t mind eating roots. Horses won’t eat anything that has been in the soil. In fine grasses you will see horses biting close to the ground then jerking back horizontally to break the grasses off. If the roots come up the horse will try to bite the grass free from the roots and failing that will drop the grass. He will actually leave the grass before he will eat the roots. If he keeps getting roots with the grass he will move on and graze elsewhere.

        Cattlemen are known for being stewards of the land, but that is on their own lands where they have more control of the entire program. They are not good stewards on public lands, especially when they are sharing the HMA’s.

        I don’t know where your info on the trails that cattle or horses make came from, but cattle make very heavily compacted trails. Horses having a single toe hoof don’t make as deep an impact and very often don’t make trails at all. They travel more side by side rather than in a single file as cattle often do.

        As for the amount of forage consumption, on good quality forage horses eat much less to maintain than cattle. Horses can stay fat on half the feed a cow needs. I don’t think the cattle could survive the winter on these ranges without supplemental feed, but the horses don’t seem to have a problem.

        With a low quality diet a horse may eat 20% to 50% more than a horse would eat if it were high quality, but that still won’t bring the horse’s consumption up to that of a cow.

        Cattle are only in the HMA’s about 25% of the time, but they outnumber the horses by more than 4 to 1 and eat more than a horse. Even though the cattle are not on the ranges year round, they use more of the forage than the horses and limit the stockpiles that should be there for the horses in the winter. This isn’t quite fair in an area that is to be managed with the horse as the principal user.

        I have my own land. I graze and feed cattle and horses in separate areas. I know who eats more and who does more damage.

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      • Horses definitely do make trails. I know this just from my own knowledge and I did a study on an exclusively horse use HMA using aerial photography to see these trails. They were numerous and spread out across the landscape.

        I got the info about cows and horses from some of Erik A Beever’s studies. He’s done a lot of work looking at the ecology of feral horses, their influence on the landscape, and some of their influence on small mammals, squamates, etc. Like I said somewhere above, studies on free-roaming horses is still evolving — so there is much to learn to help effectively manage them alongside all other uses on public rangelands (livestock grazing, native wildlife, recreation, etc). I hope to someday be a part of the solution (even if it’s a small part)!

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      • Emphasis mine ~

        Wild Horses — National Academy of Science field studies do not support the majority of claims that wild horses damage the environment. Responsible advocates understand that areas suffering from verified overpopulation are a different matter.

        Cows have no upper front teeth, only a thick pad: they graze by wrapping their long tongues around grass and pulling on it. If the ground is wet, they will pull out the grass by the roots, preventing it from growing back. Horses have both upper and lower incisors and graze by “clipping the grass,” similar to a lawn mower, allowing the grass to easily grow back.

        In addition, the horse’s digestive system does not thoroughly degrade the vegetation it eats. As a result, it tends to “replant” its own forage with the diverse seeds that pass through its system undegraded. This unique digestive system greatly aids in the building up of the absorptive, nutrient-rich humus component of soils. This, in turn, helps the soil absorb and retain water upon which many diverse plants and animals depend. In this way, the wild horse is also of great value in reducing dry inflammable vegetation in fire-prone areas. Back in the 1950s, it was primarily out of concern over brush fires that Storey County, Nevada, passed the first wild horse protection law in the United States.

        Footnotes:
        Rangeland Management: Improvements Needed in Federal Wild Horse Program RCED-90-110 August 20, 1990

        Public Land Management: Observations on Management of Federal Wild Horse Program T-RCED-91-71 June 20, 1991

        Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros: Final Report. Committee on Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros, Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington D.C., 1982

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      • Jesse-google public lands ranching and you will get 2 million articles you can read all by “experts” over the last 200 years that will explain and educate you on cattle grazing and the damage that has been done to public lands..Read WWPs lawsuits against the bad practices of public lands ranching..Its all there in glorious detail..not opinion but verifiable fact with photos..As to trails..as someone who has spent a lifetime on public lands..every animal species leaves trails-from rabbbits to coyotes to deer and elk trails..lets not get crazy about this-Diana is absolutely correct in what she said, horses and cattle forare in entirely different ways and cattle only move short distances from water, whereas horses range far and wide..If you are only familiar with “green pasture” grazing..you are not going to begin to comprehend the differences.

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      • Jesse, having read the very short summary of Erik Beever, on a subject that does not seem to be his field of study according to his biography, and going by the fact that most of his material is cited from other souces-approx. 1/2 from newspaper articles and works published from other authors for the 70s and 80s..I would like to post one of his conclusions you may have overlooked in your reading:

        Another behavior that may differ between
        domestic and free-roaming horses is grouping.
        Although domestic horses may exhibit social stratification
        (Hafez et al. 1969), they do not appear to
        exhibit the full complement of associations (e.g.,
        harem bands, multiple male and female bands, and
        bachelor groups) observed in free-roaming horses
        (Feist 1971, Berger 1977, Zarn et al. 1977, Miller
        1980). However, in domestic settings the proportions
        of horses that are mares, yearlings, geldings,
        and studs will greatly influence the diversity of
        associations observed. Thus,knowledge of the grazing
        ecology of domestic horses in captive settings
        (Hafez et al. 1969, Reiner and Urness 1982) may not
        accurately predict expected consequences of freeroaming
        horse grazing, due to differences in their
        behavior. Free-roaming horses are believed by
        some to possess harder hooves and have ability to
        last for longer periods without water than some
        domestic horse breeds (S. Kipping, BLM,
        Washington D.C., personal communication),
        though this contention has not been demonstrated
        with empirical data.
        In summary, because of the behavioral differences
        between captive and free-roaming horses
        (which may or may not reflect heritable traits),we
        cannot uncritically rely on studies of domestic horses
        to help us understand ecosystem response to
        free-roaming horses. More investigations are needed
        on free-roaming horse populations to predict
        how they will influence their surroundings”

        I would also have to contradict his findings that domesticated studs do not make “stud piles” erroneous, as I have owned multiples of stallions over the last 40 years-once studs reach a certain maturity-they all make stud piles

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      • Thanks for the info Sandra. I’ve read in several of Beever’s articles that comparison between domestic horses and feral horses cannot be made in management decisions. But had not seen that one, I don’t think. What was the source?

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      • Jesse, before you conclude your education and set out to find a ‘better way” I suggest you spend some serious hours looking at the maps showing the fencing in HMAs..the wild horses are heavily managed by fences, in some cases their migratory patterns are cutoff as well as their water sources, if you are familiar with the best grazing areas-the riparian areas with streams and water sources-those are being routinely fenced off for cattle grazing alone, the WHs are being managed by the cattle allotment fencing, whereas the horses are fenced off of cattle allotment areas-cattle graze the entire HMA-nothing is set aside for the primary use of the horses

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      • That is a copy and paste from his article you posted. I agreed with him, as this was not so much a opinion but his sense that more study needs to be done..and that is what we are all saying-there has been too much relying on years of propaganda from parties that have “self interest”..We have no “self interest” in this fight..this does not gain me a thing-but justice and fairplay, but as determined as the BLM is to get rid of them..I am 10 times as determined to see that they get a fair shake

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      • Steven Patterson PHD from the university Utah and his associates are currently doing studies in E Washington on a herd of horses..he was the featured speaker at the Wild Horse Symposium in Australia this summer, I have been in touch with him and looking forward to his findings, tho like many others he is researching the superior hoof structure of the wild horse

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  20. Ok, horses do make trails. I didn’t say they don’t ever make any. What I am trying to get across is that cattle make TRAILS while horses can make trails.

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    • Well so what if horses “make trails.” It’s THEIR FRICKIN PUBLIC LANDS, IS IT NOT? And to you, Desparate Lady…I know you’re trying real hard to make them brownie points for your BLM buddies, BUT THAT HELICOPTOR HIT THAT HORSE!!! My God, it slung him at least 5 feet!!! Man, some of you people who are nothing more then BLM apologetics, get real!

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  21. Jessie, We were invited to Denver in June for a workshop with BLM/WH&B Office and attempted for the 3rd time in 6 months to compromise with BLM and give them input and talk about many aspects of the Current management. The fact remains that BLM does not consider the average American to have any impact on the wild horses and burros being hauled off their homes. Many of us have sincerely wasted much time in cooperation with BLM while they countered our suggestions with a compressed schedule and less adjustment time for wild horses being taken from the field. BLM escalated the roundups in direct correlation with our increased desires and attempts to stop them. You seem unaware of the dire urgency the wild ones left on their ranges are in. Working with science to improve management for wild horses has never been a goal for BLM. It is a goal of advocates that science and study can protect the herds one day. BLM is removing the wild horses. mar

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  22. The Fact still remains, The BLM is a Betraying America and the Wild Mustangs !!!! Fact is they Lie , maim and murder what does not belong to them !! No overpopulation , no Starving, just Blatant Lies, and Betrayal ! Use taxpayers money for what ??? Just wasting it, it is for use to help the Mustang not to destroy them………………………………………Either these Judges get smart and fix this or the ramifications for the Future will be devastating……….. The Wild Mustangs have graced America for hundreds of years , there Stunning presence has been a joy for all……………How dare anyone try and remove them, it is total Blasphemy to even think it………. They are the Beauty America wants to preserve forever………………….. They have their place here why because America says they do ………………………………..They complete Americas true innocent Beauty !!!!

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  23. Thought I’d make my exit here so it’s known that I won’t reply to more comments directed at me. I can see that some people on this blog are not going to hear me. They are too busy telling me about my biases and faulty facts to see that maybe there is any possibility there’s might be as well.

    This world is built on biases and people’s own worldviews. I know this. I know there are biases in my research, just as there are biases in the “facts” provided here. I will stick to my own research track in hoping to someday actually make a difference in the management of our free-roaming horses.

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    • Not to say that I don’t hear what has been given to me here. I do absorb it and take it with me. It’s valuable to know both sides. But it’s hard to hear what I am being told when everything I say is being condemned, and I am being told I’m wrong, wrong, get my facts together.

      Maybe folks are right about fencing, etc. Maybe folks are right about the cattle. But that doesn’t solve the problem that horses will still need to be managed, even if every last cow is taken off the range….They have to interact with native wildlife and with a landscape that has not known their influences for 10,000 years. Even Beever says that must be taken into consideration. And like he always ends each article with, more field studies and research is needed!

      As I have said many times, that is my goal. I hope to apply it to the BLM to help them find management practices that are sustainable and good for the ecosystem and horses.

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      • Excuse me but just how many of our grazing ungulates were actually here 10,000 years ago?? We have already changed the very nature of our ranges with the overgrazing of 150 years. Wild horses began to migrate out of here between 5 and 7 thousand years ago and were here 10,000 years ago along with those animals like mammoths, giant sloths and saber toothed tigers who became extinct, along with giant camels, dire wolves and giant sheep. There are exotic plants that have taken over where our native grasses were so destroyed by cattle and sheep. Cattle and sheep belong in the green pastures of more temperate climes and not out on the arid range where you cannot have them without damage. Horses have bridged this gap because they went wild here, after they were returned. This wildness has become a dominant trait. It shows in colors and conformation and acclimation to the plants found here. The information available to all of us does cause us to see different things. You lack field experience. I have a lifetime of it. mar

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  24. Now that she has wasted our valuable time , getting educated ……………….. I think she just used all of us????? Sorry but this lady is already bias on her opinions, and none of us here will change that………………… What this lady needs is hands on education…………………………………. i suggest she does that on her own !!!! We have a urgent problem that needs are undivided attention………………When she does her hands on all will change for her and not until then……………………….She must find her self on her own, a horse will change her life I am sure !!!!!!!! we need not waste time with her…………………………………..

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  25. Do you think she is a BLM planted diversion????????????? I do, there is nothing better then to plant a diversion if you want to stop the progress , especially when they are getting way to close !!!! Its a war game tactic personified !!!! Tactics of the lowest kind !!! If it sounds like one , looks like one ,acts like one , therefore it is one !

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  26. You are so paranoid, it’s sad! Oh my gosh, I’m a government spy! I didn’t realize!

    I am quite educated about feral horses and know a fair bit about their management, and why they are managed. I will admit to lacking in field work and seeing the horses in person, but I’ve studied feral horses for years and done many projects, presentations, papers, and posters about them. This summer, I start my field research and look forward to helping the BLM respond to some of the comments they received on the “Draft Goals, Objectives and Posible Management Strategies” by providing them with my results. The BLM is really not the bad guy here.

    I also have a horse, thank you very much. He’s wonderful, and has taught me lots, as horses often do.

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    • Well, I never really thought you had any respect for those here and now you comeback gloating and I think I was right. Seems you have had ulterior motives all along. Do you get a big kick out of coming back and calling the wild horses Feral…. you think that will just upset us no end don’t you? Well, it is what we have learned to expect from people who are resistant to change and have their own agendas hooked onto the wild horses. Like you. Your ignorance stands before you.

      BLM is the bad guy. You have learned nothing because you only came here to insinuate yourself on us. There is another side and you were to narrow to find it. mar

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    • LOL, and to think I took the time to seriously address your remarks..Hey-the Pygmy rabbits are about extinct as well-there are a few more than wild horses left..but perhaps you could stomp around in the sage until they are all gone as well…LOL-BLM wasn’t kidding when they advertised “No special experience and Skills required” for job applications..

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      • Yes !!!! She is definetly BLM Material ………………….Her Subject is now closed for me !!!!!

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    • when you speak to the BLM can you ask them to please put up shelters and 24/7 webcams on all their facilities. The webcams can be set-up on their main page for the general public to observe.

      The shelters are needed because its not good for any animal to stand out in blazing desert sun or sub-zero snowstorms, no shelter. Even a non-horse person can understand this basic “management’ need.

      Another area that needs discussion and reports are all the wildfires, these past several years the wildfires are even worse in states like california.

      Remember the wildfire (recent) that was close and around the giant hollywood sign? well about 10 years ago the blm zeroed out the wild horses that lived in that area. Then brush and weeds grew very high, so the blm moved in GOAT herds to try to reduce the brush and weeds. That didn’t work and then the hollywood sign area had huge wildfires with costs of millions. As that area was used extensively as ‘background’ for movie sets its very easy to see the difference in the lands and how much the zeroing out of wild horses changed the plantlife into fire tinder lands.
      Horses can actually improve the lands and spread grass seeds. The seeds can even be included in some kind of basic feed to speed-up the restoration of land. I am sure this would cost much less than the billions in cost and damage from wild fires.
      Pemember hundreds of years ago there were millions of wild horses and the land was PRISTINE.

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  27. I will not waste any more time with this lady, OMG she has a horse , even he has taught her nothing because she does not listen !!!!!! !!!!!! There is nothing sadder then someone who hears but does not listen or feel…………………

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  28. Helicopters is a HUGE Issue here and now !!!! These boys are breaking Air Rules all over the place ,you can bet the Farm on this !!!! We need to address this, because I think we can get these boys in the Helicopters grounded , no helicopters no round ups….. or at least huge delays………………………… Ill also bet there licenses to fly are also defunct !!! GROUND THEM HELICOPTERS>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Its well worth the EFFORT !!!!

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  29. Braveheart’s Mare and Foal Reunited

    After being separated at a tragic BLM roundup, this beautiful mom and baby are back together again.

    On this Thanksgiving eve, we’re happy to share some good news: The valiant stallion Bravehear’ts mare and foal have been adopted, reunited and are set to become part of Return to Freedom’s Calico Rescue Project. You may recall that this beautiful pair of Nevada mustangs witnessed the tragic death of their steadfast protector during the BLM’s Silver King roundup last month. The mom and young colt were separated by BLM, never again to see each other, until AWHPC arranged for their adoption. We have named the mare Caliente, after the area in Nevada that was her home, and we call her foal Hero. We are grateful to Return to Freedom for stepping up, not only to provide sanctuary for Cali and Hero, but also to rescue two other Silver King mustang families. Stay tuned for their amazing stories in the coming weeks.
    Reno Gazette Journal Confirms: Wild Horses Native Species Not Feral Livestock

    “Modern horses evolved here and that’s an adequate reason to consider them native American species, and not ‘invasive’ or ‘introduced feral’ animals.”

    Investigative journalist Frank X. Mullen examines the evidence and concludes, “by definition, horses are North American natives because most of their evolutionary development took place on this continent.”

    In Mullen’s article, Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, director of the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana, states: “They are ‘native’ rather than ‘livestock-gone-loose,’ because they originated here and co-evolved with the American habitat.”

    The piece exposes the unscientific and biased use of the word “feral” when referring to wild horses. It’s great to see some fact-based reporting on the wild horse issue!
    With Gratitude . . . .

    As Thanksgiving approaches, the AWHPC Team offers our thanks . . .

    . . . to the people on the front lines who brave the elements and the heartbreak to observe the roundups and share their pictures and videos with the world.

    . . . to the people behind the scenes who work tirelessly to get the word out and motivate people to take action.

    . . . to the attorneys who have dedicated countless hours doing battle in the courts of law to bring justice for the mustangs.

    . . . to all the wild horse advocates who dedicate time, energy and resources to fighting for what is right and fair.

    Together we will remain strong and prevail.

    We also offer our special thanks to AWHPC’s founding sponsor,

    Road Ranger USA, for their vision, caring and support that makes our work possible.

    And finally, thanks to the wild horses and burros, who are our inspiration and teach us to value what is most important … freedom, family and gratitude for the wonder and beauty of nature.

    AWHPC Founding Sponsor Advocacy Sponsor

    The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for

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