Wild Horses: Please Comment by Oct. 7th on Proposed Destruction of Red Desert Wild Horse Herds

SOURCE:  wildhoofbeats

wild horse, Antelope Hills Herd Area, Wyoming, roundup, stallion, mares, foal, helicopter

2011 Roundup in Antelope Hills HMA

by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Proposed Removal of over 1700 Wild Horses in the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming

Wyoming is on a Campaign to Wipe Out its Wild Horses

The BLM is currently accepting public comments on a plan to remove 1700 wild horses from Wyoming’s Red Desert Complex, which includes the following herds: Lost Creek, Stewart Creek, Green Mountain, Crooks Mountain and Antelope Hills.

Initially, when the BLM released their Scoping Document for public comment in February, the proposed action was to treat the mares with a birth control drug, PZP-22, then release them. Now the BLM has changed course and despite the thousands of comments from the public against this action, and requesting bait and water trapping rather than the cruel and inhumane method of using helicopters to chase and drive the horses, has stated that Alternative 2 which includes removing 1700 horses, 45% of all the horses left in Wyoming, and only giving fertility control to 23 mares is now the proposed action.

Alternative 1 is to remove all wild horses outside of HMA boundaries and utilize fertility control on mares to be released back to the HMA. In this alternative, 482 wild horses outside the boundaries of the HMAs would be removed and 713 mares would be treated with PZP fertility control and released along with 607 stallions. This alternative is preferable to the proposed action, but rather than removing the horses outside of the boundaries of the HMA, they should be returned to the HMA.

Read the EA here:

http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/rfo/red-desert.html

Please comment by 4pm Mountain Time on October 7 to this email address:

RedDesertComplex_HMA_WY@blm.gov

wild horse, Antelope Hills Herd Area, Wyoming, roundup, stallion, mares, foals

Antelope Hills wild horses running from the helicopter

Personalized comments work the best, so I am going to give you some items to cover, but please use your own words:

Alternative 1 should be used. Removals of wild horses from their homes must be avoided – there is no place to put them and already 50,000 wild horses filling holding facilities to capacity. Use of PZP fertility control to control the population of these herd areas should be used instead of removal.

Alternative 1 should be modified in one respect – the horses outside the HMAs should be returned to the HMAs rather than being removed.

Three of the five herds have AMLs too low to insure genetic diversity of these horses. Removal of wild horses to the low end of AML in these Herd Management Areas will jeopardize the health of these herds.

During the roundup, horses should be kept in their family bands, and they should definitely be kept within the HMAs that they came from. Horses have a complex social and family structure and should not be treated like livestock.

The public should be given 14 days notice of start date of the roundups so that interested citizens have adequate time to arrange to observe the roundups.

Land Use Plans should be revised to allow AMLs to be raised for all of these Herd Management Areas, and livestock grazing should be reduced. Wild Horses should be managed as the principle species where they are found, according to the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

Again, please comment by 4pm Mountain Time on October 7:

RedDesertComplex_HMA_WY@blm.gov

and here:

Benjamin Smith, Wild Horse & Burro Specialist
BLM Rawlins Field Office
1300 N. 3rd Street
Rawlins, WY 82301
(307) 328-4200
Email: reddesertcomplex_hma_wy@blm.gov
Jeremie Artery, Wild Horse & Burro Specialist (Acting)
BLM Lander Field Office
1335 Main Street
Lander, WY 82520
(307) 332-8400
Email: reddesertcomplex_hma_wy@blm.gov

#FightingForFreedom

___________________________________

Carol Walker is the Director of Field Documentation on the Board of Directors for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, which is dedicated to stopping the roundups and keeping our wild horses wild and free.  Carol’s websites are:  wildhoofbeats.com and Living Images by Carol Walker

image

Eleven years ago, Carol began photographing wild horses. As she followed several herds in Wyoming, Colorado and Montana, she became aware of how precarious their situation on public lands has become.  Since then, she has dedicated herself to educating people with her photographs and stories about the wild horses. She is one of the leading advocates working to keep America’s wild horses wild and free on our public lands.  Her award-winning book Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses The book was released winter of 2008 and is currently in its third printing. Carol’s second book, Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers is in its second printing. Carol’s third book, Mustangs: Wild Horses at the Heart of the American Legend was published in October 2014 in France.

Proceeds from the sales of Carol’s artwork and books fund her work to keep America’s wild horses wild and free.  Carol produces a calendar of her image each year to benefit Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

 

 

27 comments on “Wild Horses: Please Comment by Oct. 7th on Proposed Destruction of Red Desert Wild Horse Herds

  1. Here are some past figures for the Red Desert – assume they are about the same today. 7-11 times more forage to privately owned cattle and sheep
    than to federally protected wild horses on the land that is DESIGNATED for the wild horses.
    65,471 AUMs livestock authorized within HMAs
    5,760 AUMs – 8,688 AUMs for legally designated wild horses within the HMAs.

    As made clear by the Wild Horse and Burro Act’s implementing regulations, the BLM “may close appropriate areas of the public lands to grazing use by all or a particular kind of livestock . . . if necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury.” 43 C.F.R. § 4710.5(a)

    Liked by 3 people

    • GG – I hope I live long enough to actually SEE them close areas of public lands to grazing use! I’m 77, so it has to happen before too long!!!

      Like

  2. What are the legal and humane and moral and viable options for these wild horses? A major step would be the removal of all domestic livestock from each of the HMA lands and all of the HA lands – all legally designated wild horse and burros lands – known as Herd Areas. This would necessitate the re-establishment of the original legal herd area acreage and the halting of any captures/removals and contraception and sterilization of the herd along with the acceptance of predators and termination of predator hunting within the herd area – in other words following the 1971 law and the laws of nature. This is a simple and environmentally responsive and cost effective and legal and natural way to develop a “thriving ecological balance” on these public lands.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely right. Rounding these horses up is in direct response to pressure from Wyoming Governor Mead who has made it his mission to eradicate Wyoming’s wild horses. You NEVER hear about the BLM talking about the welfare of these horses being a priority.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. there is no reason to get rid of the horses, let alone the way you do it , always some die, some are hurt, and for what , more cattle to come in on the range? BLM stinks, once you get them up , you don’t even give them enough water, some times moldy hay….let them alone, others come out west to see the wild horses–do you think they will still come out west?

    Like

  4. Please consider humane and ethical handling of these horses
    Americans are really sick of seeing our horses treated callously.. As seen all over the country.
    It’s basic science …. You can not drastically change and Eco-system without a drastic outcome.
    Ethical. Humane, low stress management is needed. Leave the horses they serve a purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tell me what calling will do.we’ve been on this mw=y go round before. A lawsuit will be required to stop them. Someone has absolutely got to put a lawsuit in place because they dont really care what the public thinks. Who’s going to do it. Your gonna have to fight hard. Obviously the Wyoming Congressman dont care either. To bad i dont have my law degree yet id be thereby now.

    Like

  6. The whole premise is to keep the horses wild why are we compromising. They need to have a lawsuit slapped across the face and let people know we’re tired of their shenanigans and we the public are going to fight back. If I had my law degree I would have already been there doing it. Soon enough but not soon enough for this who is going to step up to the plate and file a lawsuit against the federal government and BLM.
    Being nice doesn’t make a difference anymore you have to fight fire with fire.

    Like

  7. This is so very sicking…we lived in WY for a few years and yes I often rode out into the areas where the wild horses lived…if I saw them at all they were incredible and full of life and heart. I grew up in the Blue Mountains of Oregon…there was a summer when I was about 12 when we had wild stallions break our fences to try to breed our mares…one mare was badly cut up but she lived and came back strong. My Dad did not like them but he also knew they were horses who needed care and humanity. Did we protect our mares from them, you betcha…but we honored the wild horse and also our broke horses. These horses are not doing anything wrong…people wake up! God made horses to have in their DNA the fear or flight response…they can not help that they fight for their lives…wouldn’t you? Come on America…the wild horses are not the issue…treat them with dignity and humanity.

    Like

  8. Here’s a thought. If WY is literally dead set about removing all the wild horses from their windy state, they should expect to receive an equivalent reduction in federal funding for all their wildlife management programs, and perhaps an equivalent dollar reduction in grazing lease subsidies to compensate for fobbing off the costs of removals and warehousing on the American taxpaying public.

    These actions should lead to financial consequences to all citizens of Wyoming.

    Also, the square mileage emptied of these wild horses (protected by and for ALL Americans) should be opened up elsewhere in an equivalent size, in another state.

    NO NET LOSS to taxpayers should be the guiding directive. If Wyoming wants to be horseless, they will, but it should not be a boon to their people or their Governor paid for by the rest of America.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. WYOMING 2004
    From PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

    WYOMING WILD HORSE HERD ON BRINK OF STARVATION
    Emergency Removal of Horses But Not Cattle Inspector General Report on Grazing Enforcement Stalled
    Posted on Aug 03, 2004
    http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2004/08/03/wyoming-wild-horse-herd-on-brink-of-starvation/

    Citing the threat of imminent starvation, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has announced an emergency removal of all wild horses from northwest Wyoming, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Between August 5 and 8, BLM will permanently remove approximately 140 wild horses from the 83,000-acre Fifteenmile Wild Horse Herd Management Area (located between Casper and Cody) because range conditions have deteriorated to the point where the current 210-horse herd can no longer be sustained.

    “Responsible range management has been utterly abandoned by BLM in Wyoming,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch whose organization nearly a year ago requested an investigation by the Interior Office of Inspector General into obstruction of BLM-Wyoming’s enforcement against overgrazing violations. “Things are pretty pathetic when an 83,000-acre refuge can no longer support 200 head of horses.”
    A continuing drought is the principal cause of the poor forage but BLM has contributed to the problem by catering to cattle ranchers while ignoring deteriorating range conditions

    “Parts of the public range in Wyoming resemble the most devastated stretches of the Sahel in Africa,” Ruch continued. “As long as ranchers can use political chits to keep the maximum number of cattle on the range even in drought-stricken areas, the downward spiral in Wyoming will continue.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. WWP Sues State of Wyoming for Unconstitutional Laws
    http://www.westernwatersheds.org/2015/09/om-322/

    A coalition of five national non-profit organizations filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Wyoming against the state’s recent passage of two ‘Data Collection Statutes,’ new laws that target citizen efforts to report environmental violations.

    Western Watersheds Project and our co-plaintiffs National Press Photographers Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Center for Food Safety brought the suit against WY Governor Matt Mead and the WY Attorney General, as well as the Director of the Wyoming Department of Water Quality and the county attorneys of Fremont, Lincoln, and Sublette counties.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What can I say: the blm has never listen to us, no matter how true we were. Why they even bother taking our comments. The numbers are never right. They just said, we have 4 – 500 horses in our mt. Our gentleman here in Pahrump, he goes
    all over our range. Their aren’t that many horses. BLM exaggerates their numbers. they said they would take the horses to one place and didn’t. They said they wouldn’t kill any of the horses, yes, they bait them, but they killed 64. Their word is not worth. Different ones, horse people said, if they fed the horses correctly
    they could of saved a lot them. They manage our land, not horses, they do a crappy job at that. They are destroying the land, not the horses. By leasing, selling to mining co., fracking, oil drilling. In fact they have an open comment period for exploration oil well preliminary. Chris Handfield. Northern Nevada. The BLM is not going to be happy till all the horses are gone, No horses NO problem, they can do what ever. NO MATTER THE COST

    Like

  12. DECLARATION OF LLOYD EISENHAUER

    Katherine A. Meyer
    Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal
    1601 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
    Suite 700
    Washington, D.C. 20009
    (202) 588-5206
    Timothy Kingston
    408 West 23rd Street, Suite 1
    Cheyenne, WY 82001-3519
    (WY Bar No. 6-2720)
    (307) 638-8885

    Attorneys for Defendant-Intervenors
    IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
    FOR THE DISTRICT OF WYOMING
    Rock Springs Grazing Association, Case No. 2:11-cv-00263-NDF
    Plaintiff,
    v.
    Ken Salazar, et al.,
    Defendants,

    DECLARATION OF LLOYD EISENHAUER
    Lloyd Eisenhauer, declare as follows:

    1. I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I am a former Bureau of Land Management
    (“BLM”) official with extensive experience in the Rawlins and Rock Springs Districts in Wyoming and intimate familiarity with the public lands under BLM management in those areas. I have reviewed the consent decree proposed by BLM and the Rock Springs Grazing Association (“RSGA”) in this case and provide this declaration based on my longstanding knowledge of, and management of, wild horses and livestock grazing in the Rock Springs and Rawlins Districts.

    2. I grew up in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming with a livestock and farming background, served in the Marines for four years, and then owned a livestock business from 1952-1958. I enrolled in college in 1958, studying range management. From 1960-1961, BLM hired me to assist with collecting field data for vegetation assessments and carrying capacity surveys related to livestock and wild horses. These surveys were conducted in the Lander, Kemmerer, and Rawlins Districts. When I graduated in 1962, BLM hired me full-time to serve in the Rawlins District in Wyoming, where most of my work focused on grazing management involving sheep, cattle, and wild horses. From 1968-1972, I was Area Manager of the Baggs-Great Divide Resource Area in the Rawlins District. In 1971, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was enacted, and in the spring of 1972, on behalf of BLM, I conducted the first aerial survey of wild horses in Wyoming, recording the number of horses and designating the Herd Management Areas (“HMAs”) for the Rawlins District. After a stint as an Area Manager with BLM’s Albuquerque, New Mexico office, in 1975 I took over as the Chief of Planning and Environmental Analysis in BLM’s Rock Springs District for three years. I was the lead on all planning and environmental assessments. During that time, I also served as the Acting Area Manager of the Salt Wells Resource Area, which is located in the Rock Springs District. In 1979, BLM transferred me to its Denver Service Center to serve as the Team Leader in creating the agency’s automated process for data collection. I received an excellence of service award from the Secretary of the Interior commending me for my work as a Team Leader. In 1982, I became the Head of Automation in BLM’s Cheyenne office, where I managed and implemented the data collection and processing of various systems related to BLM programs. I retired from BLM in 1986, and have stayed very involved in the issue of wild horse and livestock management on BLM lands in Wyoming, and have written articles about the issue in local and other newspaper outlets. I have won various journalistic awards, including a Presidential award, for my coverage of conservation districts in Wyoming. Along with a partner, I operated a tour business (called Backcountry Tours) for six years, taking various groups into wild places in Wyoming – without a doubt wild horses were the most popular thing to see on a tour, in large part due to their cultural and historical value. I also served six years on the governor’s non-point source water quality task force.

    3. Based on my longstanding knowledge of wild horse and livestock management in the Rawlins and Rock Springs Districts, and in the Wyoming Checkerboard in particular, I am very concerned about BLM’s agreement with RSGA, embodied in the proposed Consent Decree they have filed in this case, under which BLM would remove all wild horses located on RSGA’s private lands on the Wyoming Checkerboard.

    4. The Checkerboard is governed by an exchange of use agreement between the federal government and private parties such as RSGA. However, due to state laws, property lines, and intermingled lands, it is impossible to fence the lands of the Wyoming Checkerboard, which means that both the wild horses and the livestock that graze there roam freely between public and private lands on the Checkerboard without any physical barriers. For this reason, it is illogical for BLM to commit to removing wild horses that are on the “private” lands RSGA owns or leases because those same horses are likely to be on public BLM lands (for example, the Salt Wells, Adobe Town, Great Divide, and White Mountains HMAs) earlier in that same day or later that same evening. Essentially, in contrast to other areas of the country where wild horses still exist, on the Wyoming Checkerborad there is no way to distinguish between horses on “private” lands and those on public lands, and therefore it would be unprecedented, and indeed impossible for BLM to contend that it is removing all horses on RSGA’s “private” lands at any given time of the year, month, or day, considering that those horses would only be on the strictly “private” lands very temporarily and intermittently on any particular day .

    5. Another major concern with BLM’s agreement to remove all horses from the private lands of the Wyoming Checkerboard is that BLM is undermining the laws that apply to the Checkerboard, and wild horse management in general, which I implemented during my time as a BLM official. Traditionally, BLM officials (myself included) have understood that, pursuant to the Wild Horse Act, wild horses have a right to use BLM lands, so long as their population numbers do not cause unacceptable damage to vegetation or other resources. In stark contrast, however, livestock (sheep and cattle) have no similar right to use BLM lands; rather, livestock owners may be granted the privilege of using BLM lands for livestock grazing pursuant to a grazing permit that is granted by BLM under the Taylor Grazing Act, but that privilege can be revoked, modified, or amended by BLM for various reasons, including for damage to vegetation or other resources caused by livestock, or due to sparse forage available to sustain livestock after wild horses are accounted for. BLM’s tentative agreement here does the opposite and instead prioritizes livestock over wild horses, by proposing to remove hundreds of wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard without reducing livestock numbers – which, in my view, is contrary to the laws governing BLM’s actions as those mandates were explained to me and administered during the decades that I was a BLM official.

    6. While I do not agree with every management action taken by BLM over the years in the Rock Springs District, I can attest – based on my longstanding employment with BLM and my active monitoring of the agency’s activities during retirement – that BLM has generally proven capable of removing wild horses in the Rock Springs District, including by responding to emergency situations when needed and removing horses when necessary due to resource damage.

    7. Considering that wild horses exhibit different foraging patterns and movement patterns than sheep and cattle, and also than big game such as antelope and elk, no sound biological basis exists for permanently removing wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard at this time. In particular, wild horses tend to hang out in the uplands at a greater distance from water sources until they come to briefly drink water every day or two, whereas livestock congregate near water sources and riparian habitat causing concentrated damage to vegetation and soil. For this reason, the impacts of wild horses are far less noticeable on the Checkerboard than impacts from livestock.

    8. In addition, because livestock tend to eat somewhat different forage than wild horses (horses tend to eat coarser vegetation such as Canadian wild rye and other bunch grasses, whereas cattle and sheep mostly eat softer grasses), there is no justification to remove wild horses on the basis that insufficient forage exists to support the current population of wild horses. Also, because cattle and sheep have no front teeth on the front part of their upper jaws, they tend to pull and tear grasses or other forage out by the root causing some long-term damage to vegetation, whereas wild horses, which have front teeth on both their front upper and lower jaws, act more like a lawnmower and just clip the grass or forage (leaving the root uninjured), allowing the vegetation to quickly grow back. These differences are extremely significant because if there were a need to reduce the use of these BLM lands by animals to preserve these public lands, it might be cattle and sheep – not wild horses – that should be reduced to gain the most benefit for the lands, and which is why BLM, during my time as an agency official, focused on reducing livestock grazing.

    9. BLM’s agreement with RSGA states that RSGA’s conservation plan limited livestock grazing, primarily by sheep, to the winter months to provide sufficient winter forage. This is a good example of “multiple use” management, since wild horses and sheep have very little competition for the forage they consume and the seasons during which they use parts of the Checkerboard. During winter, sheep use the high deserts and horses utilize the uplands and breaks (i.e., different locations) for forage and protection. During the summer, when sheep are not present, wild horses use various landscapes on the Checkerboard. This multiple use should continue for the benefit of the livestock, the wild horses, and the public and private lands involved.

    10. I am also very concerned about BLM’s agreement with RSGA to permanently zero out the Salt Wells HMA and the Divide Basin HMA, leaving no wild horses in those areas that have long contained wild horses. I have been to fifteen of the sixteen HMAs in Wyoming, and to my knowledge none has ever been zeroed out by BLM. It is my view, based on everything I know about these areas and the way these public lands are used by wild horses and livestock, that BLM has no biological or ecological basis for zeroing out a herd of wild horses in an HMA that existed at the time the wild horse statute was passed in 1971, as is the case with both the Salt Wells and Divide Basin HMAs. And, again, because the wild horses have a statutory right to be there, whereas livestock only have a privilege that can be revoked at any time by BLM, there also is no authority or precedent, to my knowledge, for the agency to zero out these two longstanding wild horse herds simply to appease private livestock grazers.

    11. The zeroing out of wild horses in the Salt Wells and Divide Basin HMAs is also concerning because it would mean that, in those two longstanding HMAs, there would no longer be the “multiple use” of these public lands as required by both the Wild Horse Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Currently, while there are other uses of this public land, such as by wildlife, hunters, and recreational users, the two primary uses in those HMAs are by wild horses and livestock. If BLM proceeds with its agreement with RSGA to zero out wild horses in those HMAs, the only major use remaining would be livestock use, meaning that there would be no multiple use of those BLM lands. Not only will that potentially undermine the laws that BLM officials must implement here, but it has practical adverse effects on the resources – multiple use is very beneficial for the environment, and particularly for sensitive vegetation, because different users (e.g., livestock, wild horses) use the lands and vegetation in different ways. When that is eliminated, the resources are subjected to an unnatural use of the lands which can cause severe long-term damage to the vegetation. As a result, zeroing out these herds would likely bedevastating for the vegetation in these two HMAs, because livestock would be by far the predominant use in this area.

    12. Turning the White Mountain HMA into a non-reproducing herd, as the agreement between BLM and RSGA proposes to do, is also a farce, and violates the meaning of a wild and free-roaming animal. This is essentially a slow-motion zeroing out of this HMA, and is inconsistent with any wild horse management approach I am familiar with that BLM has implemented on public lands.
    Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

    Lloyd Eisenhauer

    Like

  13. Casper Star Tribune
    http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/gov-mead-announces-he-ll-cut-state-budget-by-up/article_e3663f07-2a79-5f9e-b27a-1b0417d12af2.html#utm_source=%5Bdomain%5D&utm_campaign=%2Femail-updates%2Fbreaking%2F&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline

    Gov. Mead announces he’ll cut state budget by up to $200M

    Facing declining revenues from oil, natural gas and coal, Gov. Matt Mead said Wednesday morning he is preparing to cut up to $200 million in coming weeks from state govenment…

    Like

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