Army says nay to 700 feral horses roaming Louisiana base

The “forest” mentioned in the article below is the Kisatchie National Forest.  I spoke with the Forest Supervisor, who told me Fort Polk will decide what will happen to these 700 horses.   These horses are on the base, so the Forest Service is not involved.  We will look into this situation and give you an update.  We do not want these 700 horses going to slaughter.   – Debbie

SOURCE:  armytimes.com

635749848267770706-AP-120305056935
photo Lolita Baldor / AP

Herds of feral horses are roaming on thousands of acres in Louisiana where soldiers conduct intensive training, posing a danger and a nuisance to troops at risk of being kicked, bitten or unpleasantly surprised by random piles of manure, Army officials say.

“Sometimes training has to be halted while they shoo horses out,” said Kim Reischling, spokeswoman for Fort Polk, a 198,000-acre base about 20 miles from the Texas state line.

The officials are trying to find a way to deal with the approximately 700 “trespass horses,” and are holding a meeting Thursday to hear input from residents and animal rights groups, among others.

Most of the horses can be found on about 48,000 of the 90,000 acres of forest land that the base uses for training, said Jim Caldwell, spokesman for the 604,000-acre forest.

Some people speculate that the horses are descended from Army cavalry horses, and a local author has self-published a children’s book based on that tale. But it is more likely that they are descendants of area farm and ranch horses, said Reischling and Rita Bingham, director of the Humane Society of West Louisiana.

Others were almost certainly released fairly recently by people who could no longer afford to feed them, Caldwell said.

“These horses vary from being pretty untamed to coming up and eating potato chips out of your hand. So some of them have not been there that long,” he said.

Roundups are difficult because the horses spend much of their time in the forest, officials said. In addition to presenting a nuisance for the soldiers, they also put a damper on local hunters’ efforts, according to Caldwell.

“If you plant wildlife foods for deer or turkey, the horses are right on those foods because they’re fertilized, and more nutritious.”

They also snarf up sprouts from seed planted to control erosion, he said.

Reischling said one problem is what the horses leave behind: “horse manure in the areas used by soldiers.”

Reischling said a roundup in 1993 snared 41 horses, which were placed with two local ranches. Another in 2000 placed only eight with new owners.

In 2007, horses were caught, tested for infectious diseases, and sterilized.

As far as controlling the horse population goes, however, “the sterilization does not work,” Reischling said.

“With animals migrating in from other properties or being dumped, it’s been determined that the sterilization process will likely not even stop growth,” she said. “And in any case, it would take years.”

18 comments on “Army says nay to 700 feral horses roaming Louisiana base

  1. Very sad that now our Army is trying to rid our lands of WILD HORSES, even if it is on a base. Our soldiers will encounter far worse circumstances then a pile of manure, or a few horses that might get in their way from time to time. As far as these horses interfering with HUNTERS, The hunter should have taken hunter’s safety course, which teaches you never to fire your weapon unless you can see exactly what you are shooting at and exactly what is behind your target, there is a big difference between deer -n- bear and the horses running wild on these lands. Horses do not damage the land like so many portray them as doing. Why is any one putting food out for wild life in the first place where these horses are eating it? No one should be feeding wild life to where they get use to it, so when hunting season comes around people have a so called better chance of bagging their deer.
    I oppose any round up of these horses or any kind of removal where these beautiful animals will fall victims to the kill buyers and slaughter. We do not eat nor do we slaughter horses in the U.S.A. so we should not be allowing an avenue for our horses to be shipped across our borders.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Over here over there, the Yanks are commen, the Yanks are commen. Let us not forget the mud and crap those brave men and horses endured. Let’s not let them just fade away but honor them by sharing this land they also fought and died for.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good Lord! Soldiers heading into god-knows-what situations are being sheltered from random piles of dried out digested grass, and an occasional unexpected appearance of… something friendly? Seems like this would enhance their training in useful ways. I suppose they better run off any other wildlife as well, since they will surely be relieving themselves and living their lives out of some preconceived human sense of order. Unbelievable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sad….very sad…an emberassment that the government and army can’t figure out how to coexist with the wild horses but, just like the way the government solves all problems….. if you can’t deal with it just get rid of it. Just wait until certain segments if the population get in the way…… what then?

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  5. The Army built a ramp and catch pens on land with public access prior to the meeting. From what I read, 5 KBs taunted the 2 advocates – leading to a heated discussion – yet the outnumbered advos were removed by the police. To me, it’s obvious this was a done deal to remove them as soon as possible at a tidy profit long before the announcement. The meeting was merely window dressing.

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  6. Gee!

    Is THAT what today’s soldiers have become, a bunch of gutless whiners?!?!?

    What the devil do they expect to encounter on the fields of battle, primroses and daisies???

    My own father could tell all of you what it is really like out in battle, in the jungle – or – wherever war takes you. It definitely is not about some manure that is going to spoil your day!

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  7. What will happen to Fort Polk’s wild horses?
    http://www.thetowntalk.com/story/news/local/2015/08/14/fate-fort-polks-wild-horses-debated/31728373/

    Members of the public can submit comments or suggestions on the possible removal of the horses until Sept. 5. They can be submitted by email to usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil or by mail to:

    JRTC and Fort Polk
    Public Affairs Office
    Attention: Public Response
    7033 Magnolia Drive Bldg. 4919
    Fort Polk, LA 71459

    A plan of action will be developed, taking into account public input, and analyzed. A draft of the plan will be presented to the public again for input.
    Brig. Gen. Timothy McGuire, commanding general of Fort Polk and the JRTC, is expected to make a decision around the first of the year.

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  8. Are you kidding me?? There’s 700 horses on 198,000 acres and they can’t find space for them?? In addition the reasoning is the soldier step in horse shit?? GRASS AND WATER!! REALLY!! That bothers them??? I AM PRETTY SURE OUR SOLDIERS ARE TOUGH ENOUGH TO WALK THRU A LITTLE HORSE SHIT AND IF THEY ARE NOT, SHAME ON OUR PUSSY MILITARY!! Good god, don’t you think they will step in worse than that on the missions?? WHY IS THIS COUNTRY DETERMINENED TO EXTERMINATE ALL THE HORSES IN THIS COUNTRY??

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  9. A bit of history from 2004

    Thu May 13, 2004
    http://lists.envirolink.org/pipermail/ar-news/Week-of-Mon-20040510/024898.html
    S A V E T H E L O U I S I A N A W I L D H O R S E S

    For all concerned people (see “What You Need To Do” below)

    PLEASE at least e-mail the Army before May 15th (deadline for the
    Environmental Assessment 1st phase public comments) at
    . They will probably accept comments past the
    deadline at least until May 20th.
    Tell them you want the forest wild horses protected, not removed.

    (Formerly, the commanding general at Ft. Polk (Kisatchie National Forest)
    expressed a strong desire to keep allowing the wild horses to roam freely
    on their training areas in the forest, but the Louisiana Commissioner of
    Agriculture (the ogre in this) continues to pester the Army to remove
    them. The Army feels they should comply. Please read-on, but at least
    make contact with the Army so they can count how many people are
    concerned about the wild horses.)

    THE REASON ACTION ON YOUR PART IS NEEDED

    Hundreds of wild, free-roaming horses roam the piney woodlands of the
    Kisatchie National Forest in wild-horse bands. 129 horses have been
    counted in one large grouping (made up of several bands together). The
    Ft. Polk Military Reservation is located within the Kisatchie N.F. area,
    and the U.S. Army uses other parts (two predominantly) of the National
    Forest for training exercises and weapons firing. An environmental
    specialist at Ft. Polk has estimated that within these three areas there
    are approximately 350 horses. During exercises, the horses make
    themselves scarce. There are other segments of the Kisatchie N.F. in the
    region. No one really
    knows how many wild horses there are all together. Certainly there must
    be several hundreds of them.

    The Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
    (LDAF), Bob Odom, has asked the Army to get rid of the horses, and the
    Army feels it should comply with his request, believing it is coming from
    the State of Louisiana. Odom is a powerful Louisiana politician having
    held his elected office for a very long time. He has proliferated “canned
    hunts” (commercial operations where animals are shot within enclosures),
    and he has supported cockfighting. He is currently being prosecuted in
    federal court for impropriety in contracting the storage of federally
    contributed commodities for school children.

    Odom’s Livestock Sanitary Board established rules with regard to equine
    infectious anemia (EIA), a disease of horses and related equine animals,
    that are seriously extreme. The rules require that horses that test
    positive for exposure to the disease (i.e., having antibodies against the
    disease in their blood) must be killed. This has caused great economic
    loss for some, and great heartache for others who’s much loved pets they
    were forced to destroy, including childrens’ ponies. Attempts by horse
    owners to stand up to the LSB in valiant efforts to save horses have
    ended in rude abuse, dishonesty, and humiliation. Most states, not even
    Kentucky has such a policy. Kentucky: home of many preciously valuable
    race horses.

    The chief scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture –
    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Veterinary Services
    (USDA-APHIS-VS), Dr. Tim Cordes (DVM) said that EIA is currently regarded
    by him to be a disease of low transmissibility which requires a lot of
    exposure between animals to be transmitted. Dr. Cordes produced, along
    with Dr. Charles Issel (DVM,PhD) of the University of Kentucky, USDA
    documents (including uniform method rules which are recommendations for
    states to follow). Professor Issel is a researcher and world-
    renowned authority on EIA. He began his research on EIA while at
    Louisiana State University. Dr. Issel estimates (and the USDA reports)
    that, regardless of any other factors, when horses are separated by a
    distance of 200 yards, “the transmission of EIA is broken.”

    In a seminal paper on EIA, Tim Crawford, DVM and S. Lynn Kittleson, DVM
    state: “This irrational fear is a result of many distorted accounts of
    the severity and contagiousness of the disease …”. Here’s an indication
    of the rarety of natural transmission, even in conducive circumstances:
    EIA-negative horses that were kept for long periods of time (9 years for
    8 of the horses, and 15 years in one case), on a quarantine farm located
    next to the Florida Everglades among EIA-positive horses, continued to
    test EIA-negative.

    Yet Odom, reacting to the hysteria motivated “witch hunt” mentality
    within the LSB, has claimed that the Kisatchie wild horses are a
    reservoir of EIA infection, and he continues to pester the Army to get
    rid of them. Obviously, it is impossible, in any practical sense, for the
    wild horses to transmit EIA to owned horses even if it is assumed that
    they carry the EIA virus, which may or may not be so. A test conducted a
    few years ago of six captured Kisatchie wild horses showed that none of
    the six tested positive for EIA exposure. While the scientific inquiry
    regarding EIA has necessarily been based upon captive animals, and Dr.
    Cordes admits little is known about wild horses with regard to EIA, Dr.
    Issel believes that there would be some percentage of EIA-exposed horses
    in any population of wild horses. Accordingly, if Odom would have his
    way, all wild horses everywhere would have to be gotten rid of. Such a
    scenario would be abhorrent to most Americans.

    The Fund for Animal has successfully sued the Bureau of Land Management
    (BLM) over their “carelessness” in the adoption of wild horses (mustangs
    from ranges in the West). It appears that the majority of wild horses
    that are captured and “adopted” end up at the slaughterhouse in less than
    one year. Wild horses are not gentle animals. They may disappoint people
    who adopt them with unrealistic expectations. Also, some with criminal
    motives “adopt” wild horses to turn a profit at the slaughterhouse. The
    Army will make an effort to see that the horses are humanely treated and
    adopted. But saying that is one thing and doing it is another. The
    capture and handling of wild horses is extremely traumatic for the horses
    and results in casualties. The Army did not track the adoptions of the
    six horses (and one foal born after capture) that were taken in the test.
    They turned them over to a volunteer from a humane organization near Ft.
    Polk.

    If the Army actually pursues getting rid of the horses as they seem
    intent on doing, it will be costly to the government, and distract the
    Army from its primary mission in this time of world crisis. The horses
    are actually playing a role currently in some training exercises because
    they add an “element of realism” to the areas that are supposed to
    simulate a “3rd World” setting. If the Army troubles to remove the horses
    from their training areas, horses from other areas in the Kisatchie N.F.
    will surely be a source of re-population. The Army will have the same
    situation to again contend with year after year into the future.

    As a result of a settlement in a lawsuit in the U.S. Circuit Court (of
    Appeal) the Army is
    conducting an Environmental Assessment (EA) regarding the horses. The
    first public comment phase ends May 15th. While they say they are
    approaching the issue without pre-determining the outcome, they have
    already hired a contractor to consider removal of the horses, and the two
    public meetings they held were one-way affairs which did not permit
    public discussion on the issue. Comment forms to be completed in writing
    were handed out. The Army seems to be moving to comply with Odom’s
    request. Odom has no legitimate authority over the wild horses; no more
    than any other citizen of this nation.

    The wild horses were labeled “trespass horses” by an attorney at the USDA
    who was less than conversant with the issue. While this was contradictory
    to the opinion of an Army attorney, the court made it stick. This is an
    absurdity. The law in the U.S. Code that protects wild horses defines a
    wild horse as any unclaimed and unbranded horse on public lands of the
    United States. And, case law has recognized unclaimed and unbranded
    horses that join wild horse bands as being wild horses themselves. The
    Kisatchie wild horses have been there for generations, and are just as
    much wild horses as any in the United States. “Trespass” means they came
    onto the land unlawfully. These horses were born on that land (except for
    the few that may have joined them in more recent years). They are native
    to it.

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  10. A bit of history from 2004 (continued)

    Thu May 13, 2004
    http://lists.envirolink.org/pipermail/ar-news/Week-of-Mon-20040510/024898.html
    S A V E T H E L O U I S I A N A W I L D H O R S E S
    WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

    1. Write an appeal to save the horses, and send it to the Army at Ft.
    Polk at: or Public Affairs Office; Attn: Dan
    Nance; 7073 Radio Road; Ft. Polk, LA 7459-5342. If possible, please
    include any substantive information that supports the statements or
    arguments in your appeal.

    [The Army may respond with non-Odom/EIA related arguments about why the
    horses may need to be removed: the horses are in danger (they go away and
    hide in times of danger), and the horses get in the way on airfields and
    in drop zones, but these were never a serious concern of the Army, except
    there has been a bit of concern expressed about horses coming in to eat
    grass from re-seeded exercise plots denuded by Army operations with light
    cavalry vehicles. Surely there is a way to address this without removing
    the horses.]

    2. If possible, copy your appeal to the governor of Louisiana: Governor
    Kathleen Babineaux Blanco; State Capitol; P.O. Box 94004; Baton Rouge, LA
    70804.

    3. If applicable, contact your U.S. senator and your congressman. Tell
    them you want the Kisatchie wild horses to remain on the lands of the
    Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana; you don’t want the Army to remove
    them at the whim of a mis-guided Louisiana politician; and you want them
    afforded the same protection the government grants to any other wild
    horses under the Wild, Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.

    Thank you. The horses need your help.

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  11. This is based on the President Clinton’s signature on the 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 8 (h) that instructs parties to the conference to prevent, control, and eradicate alien species in states or parts of states where they are found to the extent practicable. The horse is not an alien species. There is no credible scientific evidence anywhere that is based on fossil + fossil+ paleontological + geological, and other evidence. The DOD was complicit with NPS and TNC in California in 1997 and 1998 when the NPS was attempting the complete eradication of horses and livestock from DOD land.

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