When the BLM Talks Wild Horses and Burros, They Lie

There is an age old adage that asks, “How do you know when ‘so and so’ is lying, when their lips are moving.”  That does a pretty good job of describing one of America’s most corrupt federal agencies, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

For years the BLM has lamented how they have too many horses and burros in long term holding, because they keep ripping them off from their legal and rightful home, and in so doing they have created an artificial fiscal emergency where they have even whispered about KILLING the horses in an effort to save money. 

Now that a federal judge has stopped them from illegally assailing wild horses in Wyoming, and deemed that they have broken the law doing so in the past, they are crying that they will not have enough horses to adapt out, below, which is a program they have pointed to as a failure over and over again.

You can’t have it both ways and this is, again, clear evidence that the BLM speaks out of both sides of their mouths and uses mainstream media as a tool to lie to and influence the tax paying public.  Disgusting.

So please, let the reader beware, if a sentence or headline has the acronym BLM in it you can pretty much be assured that it will be filled with untruths, bad science and inaccurate figures all paid for with your tax dollars.  We really, really can do better than that.” ~ R.T.


the-ranger

http://www.dailyranger.com/story.php?story_id=25339&headline=ruling-on-wild-horse-roundup-could-affect-honor-farm

Feel Good Sunday: Halloween is only an Excuse to Embarrass your Equine Companions

It’s that time of year again where humans dress their defenseless little two and four legged children in unimaginable costumes in an effort to forever damage their frail egos and to humiliate the living crap out of them.  (Sniff) it is shameless what is done and as a male who cares about the mental integrity and emotional well being of our four legged charges I will have nothing to do with this alleged custom and will continue to protect our hairy kids from such abuse…but, the photos below are worth a giggle or two.  It all goes to prove that some people just have way too much time on their hands.  Have fun.” ~ R.T.


Giraffe

Spider

Unicorn

Invisible Horse

Kid-Safe Pony

Turkey

Frozen Trio

Little Bo Peep and Her Sheep

Rocking Horse

Poodle

Carousel Horse

Breyer Horse and Rider

Dragon

Superman and Superwoman

Tiny Scarecrow

Fish and Angler

Grapes

Skeleton Horse

Elephant

Cousin It

Harry Potter

Mary Poppins and Her Carousel Horse

Kermit Driving Miss Piggy

Mermaid and Her Seahorse

A Pony in Jail

For photo credits and text: http://www.wideopenpets.com/25-of-the-best-horse-halloween-costumes/

 

Police from 5 States Escalate Violence, Shoot Horses to Clear 1851 Treaty Camp

Source: SacredStoneCamp.org

“One rider was reportedly hit with up to four rubber bullets his horse was reported to be hit in the legs by live rounds. Another horse was shot and did not survive.”

Photo by Jonathon Klett

Photo by Jonathon Klett

Cannonball, ND – Over 300 police officers in riot gear, 8 ATVs, 5 armored vehicles, 2 helicopters, and numerous military-grade humvees showed up north of the newly formed frontline camp just east of Highway 1806.  The 1851 Treaty Camp was set up this past Sunday directly in the path of the pipeline, on land recently purchased by DAPL.  Today this camp, a reclamation of unceded Dakota territory affirmed as part of the Standing Rock Reservation in the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1851, was violently cleared.  Both blockades established this past weekend to enable that occupation were also cleared.

In addition to pepper spray and percussion grenades, shotguns were fired into the crowd with less lethal ammunition and a sound cannon was used (see images below).  At least one person was tased and the barbed hook lodged in his face, just outside his eye. Another was hit in the face by a rubber bullet.

A prayer circle of elders, including several women, was interrupted and all were arrested for standing peacefully on the public road.  A tipi was erected in the road and was recklessly dismantled, despite promises from law enforcement that they would merely mark the tipi with a yellow ribbon and ask its owners to retrieve it.  A group of water protectors was also dragged out of a ceremony in a sweat lodge erected in the path of the pipeline, wearing minimal clothing, thrown to the ground, and arrested.

A member of the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) that had her wrist broken during a mass-arrest on October 22nd was hurt again after an officer gripped her visibly injured wrist and twisted it during an attempted arrest. At least six other members of the youth council verified that they had been maced up to five times and were also shot and hit with bean bags. In addition to being assaulted, an altar item and sacred staff was wrenched from the hands of an IIYC member by police. Several other sacred items were reported stolen, including a canupa (sacred tobacco pipe).

Two medics giving aid at front line were hit with batons and thrown off the car they were sitting on. Then police grabbed another medic, who was driving the car, out of the driver side while it was still in motion. Another water protector had to jump into the car to stop it from hitting other people.

Members of the horse nation herded around 100 buffalo from the west and southwest of the Cannonball Ranch onto the the DAPL easement. One rider was reportedly hit with up to four rubber bullets his horse was reported to be hit in the legs by live rounds. Another horse was shot and did not survive.

A confirmed DAPL private security guard was spotted among the protectors with an automatic rifle heading towards camp. Water protectors acted swiftly to stop the man who was attempting to flee the scene in his pickup. One protector stopped the assailant’s vehicle with their own before the security guard fled to nearby waters, weapon in hand. Bureau of Indian Affairs police arrived on scene and apprehended him.

Three water protectors locked themselves to a truck in the middle of the road and surrounded it with large logs.   After several hours of standoff, the police advanced in a sweep line and moved people approximately 1 mile back down the highway towards the main encampment on the Cannonball River.  Water protectors then retreated to the bridge over Highway 1806  and erected a large burning blockade that the police were unable to cross.

Law enforcement from at least five states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Nebraska) were present today through EMAC, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.  This law was passed by the Bill Clinton administration and allows states to share law enforcement forces during emergencies.  It is intended for natural disasters and has only been used twice for protests; once in the summer of 2015 during the demonstrations in Baltimore and here on the Standing Rock Reservation. Over 100 were arrested today in total.

Kandi Mossett, Indigenous Environmental Network stated, “I went to the frontline in prayer for protection of the Missouri River & found myself in what I can only describe as a war zone. I was sprayed in the face with pepper spray, the guy next to me was shot by something that didn’t break the skin but appeared to have broken the ribs & another guy beside me was randomly snatched violently by police shoving me into the officers who held me off with batons then tried to grab me.  I’m still in shock & keep waiting to wake from what’s surely a nightmare though this is my reality as a native woman in 2016 trying to defend the sacred.”

Ladonna Bravebull Allard of Sacred Stone Camp says, “My people stand for the water, and they attack us. My people stand up for the graves of our people, and they attack us. My people stand up for our sacred places, and they attack us. My people pray, and they stop us, dragging us from our prayer, and throw us in the dirt. I know this is America- this is the history of my people. America has always walked though the blood of my people.

How can we stand in the face of violence? Because I was born to this land, because the roots grow out of my feet, because I love this land and I honor the water. Have we not learned from history? I pray for each of the people who stand up. We can not live like this anymore. It has to stop- my grandchildren have a right to live. The world has a right to live. The water, the life blood of the world? has a right to live. Mni Wiconi, Water of Life. Pray for the water, pray for the people. Stop Dakota Access- killer of the world.”

Eryn Wise of the International Indigenous Youth Council stated, “Today more than half of our youth council were attacked, injured or arrested. In addition to our brothers and sisters being hurt and incarcerated, we saw police steal our sacred staff. I have no words for what happened to any of us today. They are trying to again rewrite our narrative and we simply will not allow it. Our youth are watching and remember the faces of the officers that assaulted them. They pray for them.”

Shotgun into the crowd: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BysUexxOGui6a3BXQ3NWdDJ5TTQ/view?usp=sharing

Peppersray: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BysUexxOGui6VFZJemhaMU9Iek0/view?usp=sharing

Prayer Circle: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BysUexxOGui6NUJodDVKZDAxLTA/view?usp=sharing

The Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is Not Maximizing Efficiencies or Complying With Federal Regulations

From: Office of Inspector General – Department of Interior

BREAKING NEWS:  The Department of Interior’s own investigation agency has uncovered the facts that the BLM is mismanaged, shoots from the hip, has no plan and violates federal law.  OH MY GOODNESS, I am SHOCKED, STUNNED…the sky is falling and we must tell the king.  Duhhhhhhh, why does this make the pain in my chest hurt more?  STUPID permeates the agency that is entrusted with protecting the well being of our wild horses and burros.  As usual, I am NOT impressed!” ~ R.T.


BLM Management Team - and damn proud of it

BLM Management Team – and damn proud of it

We conducted a review to determine whether the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) cooperative agreements and contracts for wild horse and burro off-range holding facilities are cost effective and comply with applicable Federal laws and regulations.

We found that BLM does not maximize the cost-effectiveness of its off-range holding facilities. Specifically, BLM’s contracts do not ensure best value for services, BLM does not maximize the use of its pastures, and BLM has no strategic plan to manage wild horse and burro populations. We also found that some of BLM’s cooperative agreements with correctional institutions do not comply with Federal laws and regulations. We made four recommendations to address the issues we identified.

Click (HERE) to download the official report

‘No Ambiguity:” Court Tells BLM It Cannot Treat Public Land as Private

by Arno Rosenfeld  as published on the Casper Star Tribune

The appeals court ruled that while the BLM claimed it was justified in treating the entire checkerboard as private, given the “unique land management situation” the agency lacked the authority to make this judgement.

Destruction of Wyoming's Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Destruction of Wyoming’s Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management may not treat public lands as private out of practical considerations, a federal appeals court wrote in an opinion released this week.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an Oct. 14 ruling that concluded the BLM’s 2014 roundup of wild horses in the checkerboard region was illegal. Monday’s decision explained the court’s reasoning.

The judges wrote that the BLM violated the Wild Horses Act due to the difficulty of rounding up horses in the region, where public and private land alternate in one-square-mile plots in south-central Wyoming.

 “Its methodology was to treat public lands as private lands,” Judge Monroe McKay wrote in a concurring opinion. “But, though the BLM’s solution to the problem presented by the checkerboard may seem reasonable, it is not in accordance with the [law].”

The case originated in 2013 when the Rock Springs Grazing Association sued the BLM demanding the agency remove wild horses from their land in the checkerboard.

The BLM agreed to do so and determined the only way to keep horses off the grazing association land was to remove them from the public plots of land as well, given that the area is unfenced and horses move around on a daily basis.

But horse advocates sued the BLM claiming that while the agency can unilaterally remove horses from private land, it must go through an extensive review process before removing horses from public land.

A U.S. District Court in Wyoming initially sided with the BLM but the 10th Circuit decision overturned that ruling and agreed with the argument made by horse advocates.

 The appeals court ruled that while the BLM claimed it was justified in treating the entire checkerboard as private, given the “unique land management situation” the agency lacked the authority to make this judgement.

There is “no basis for BLM to construe the terms ‘privately owned land’ and ‘private lands’ to include the public land sections of the checkerboard,” the court wrote.

“[P]ractical realities do not provide BLM with the authority to construct the [Wild Horses] Act in a manner contrary to its plain and unambiguous terms.”

While the ruling released earlier this month halted the BLM’s checkerboard roundup planned for Oct. 18, Monday’s full opinion may set a precedent for similar cases around the West.

The groups that sued the BLM, including American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and the Cloud Foundation, argued that the BLM’s actions in the checkerboard posed a wider threat to public land management.

If the BLM was allowed to treat public lands within the checkerboard as private for purposes of horse roundups, the groups argued the agency could also treat other public land as private if it helped them meet their land management objectives.

But the 10th Circuit decision may put this concern to rest.

“[T]here is simply no ambiguity in the terms ‘public lands,’ … and ‘private lands,’” the court wrote.

Hilary Wood, Pres. of Front Range Equine Rescue and Bruce Wagman (partner, Schiff Hardin law firm) on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 10/26/16)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Oct. 26, 2016

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show  (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

hilary-shadow-use-09

Hilary Wood is the President and Founder of Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) and works as the Director of Programs and Operations.  Front Range Equine Rescue, founded in 1997, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to prevent the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education.  In 2005, Front Range Equine Rescue launched its “Save the Wild Horses” campaign in direct response to the Burns Amendment.

Recently, Front Range Equine Rescue filed a lawsuit to stop the BLM’s plans to conduct surgical sterilization experiments on 225 wild horses, many in various stages of pregnancy, and potentially thousands of more horses over time.  FRER’s lawsuit contended that the BLM’s intended sterilizations would cause harm and suffering and were in violation of federal law.  Six weeks later, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management withdrew its program to perform experimental sterilization of wild mares in Oregon.

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Bruce Wagman is a partner with Schiff Hardin law firm in San Francisco, and has represented FRER in all of its legal horse work. Bruce has an almost exclusive animal law focus, involving litigation, education, legislative counseling, and consultation.  Bruce’s clients include numerous animal protection organizations and private individuals.  He is a co-editor of the casebook Animal Law, and coauthor of A Worldview of Animal Law.  He has been teaching Animal Law since 1996 and currently teaches at three Bay Area law schools.  In the past five years, Bruce has focused much of his time on issues involving wild horses, horse abuse cases, and the slaughter of American horses for food.

billbrd-wild_-horses

This show will be hosted by R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2016/10/27/whb-radio-hilary-wood-pres-of-front-range-equine-rescue-and-bruce-wagman

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

1/20/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horse and burros. Listen HERE.

1/27/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on threats to shoot wild burros in Arizona. Listen HERE.

2/8/16 – Representatives of 4 major wild horse & burro advocacy groups and advocates speak out against BLM’s plans for barbaric sterilization experiments on wild mares. Listen HERE.

2/10/16 – Jonathan Ratner, Western Watersheds Project’s Director for Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, talks about the environmental toll of privately owned livestock grazing on public lands. Listen HERE.

2/24/16 – Kirsten Stade, Advocacy Director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), on BLM’s skewed data minimizing the effects of livestock grazing on public lands. Listen HERE.

3/2/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League, joined by local wild burro advocates fighting to save the wild burros of the Black Mountain Herd Management Area in Arizona. Listen HERE.

3/23/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation interviews Susan W. Watt, Executive Director, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, located in South Dakota. Listen HERE.

5/4/16 – Gail A. Eisnitz, author of the book “Slaughterhouse” and Chief Investigator for the Humane Farming Association (HFA). Listen HERE.

6/22/16 – Charlotte Roe, Founder of Wild Equid League of Colorado, on BLM’s cruel experiments on wild horses and burros, including sterilization of pregnant wild mares, that are a launching pad for widespread use as “population suppression.” Listen HERE.

8/3/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League with guests. Listen HERE.

8/10/16 – Gene Baur, Pres. & Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary, on factory farming and the Farm Sanctuary. Listen HERE.

8/17/16 – Advocates Carla Bowers and Bonnie Kohleriter on why 83% of wild horse and burro herds are on the brink of collapse. Listen HERE.

8/31/16 – Steve Hindi (President and Founder) and Janet Enoch (Investigator) of SHowing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK) on rodeo cruelty and more. You can see all of SHARK’s rodeo exposés on YouTube by clicking here. Listen HERE.

9/7/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation , on BLM plans to remove all wild horses from three of the largest remaining herds in Wyoming. Listen HERE.

9/14/16 – Susan Wagner, Pres. & Founder of Equine Advocates, on how the upcoming Presidential election can affect the fate of wild and domestic equines and horse slaughter. PLEASE SIGN EQUINE ADVOCATES’ PETITION HERE. Listen HERE.

9/21/16 – Mae Lee Sun, co-author of “Brumby: A celebration of Australia’s wild horses” and Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist and the author of the book “The Wild Horse Conspiracy” on the culling of the brumbies (wild horses) of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. Listen HERE.

9/28/16 – Laird Lucas (Executive Director) and Talasi Brooks (Staff Attorney) of Advocates for the West, a public interest, nonprofit environmental law firm with an 85% record of legal success protecting the wildlife and wild places of the American West. Listen HERE.

10/5/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League reports on the 2016 Donkey Welfare Symposium. Listen HERE.

10/12/16 – Nancy Watson, President of SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition, has been raising worldwide awareness to the loopholes in U.S. legislation that allows U.S. equines (horses, donkeys, mules and burros) which are laden with pharmaceuticals, into the global food supply. Listen HERE.

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Call to Action: Please Comment to Stop the Dangerous and Cruel Adobe Town Wild Mare Radio Collar Study

by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Published on WildHoofBeats

“This herd is not even above AML by the BLM’s own count, only 648 adult horses in the flyover count in April 2016”

Adobe Town mare and foal - by Carol Walker

Adobe Town mare and foal – by Carol Walker

The BLM is planning to roundup wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area in 5 separate locations in order to put radio collars on 30-40 wild mares. The study will begin in December 2016 and end in 2020.

All the documents are here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=80504

This study, which will be conducted by the University of Wyoming’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management  has the following purpose:

“The Proposed Action is to implement a five (5) year research study (Appendix 1) that would document habitat selection, movement between habitats, seasonal use, and migration patterns of wild horses, within and outside of the ATHMA. The research objective is to understand how horses move across the Colorado-Wyoming border, how the removal of horses from the checkerboard portion of the HMA influences the movement of mares from non-checkerboard portions of ATHMA (i.e. creation of a void), how horses select landscape resources relative to their proportional availability, and how site fidelity of horses is influenced by season.”

Originally they were considering using bait trapping to capture the mares which would have much less chance of injuring or killing the horses than a helicopter roundup. They do not even discuss it as an option in the EA despite the response to the public’ comments to the Scoping Document which requested them to use this much less stressful and harmful method. Bait trapping also allows the family bands to be kept together, intact, much more easily.

The BLM dismisses very easily any impact on the wild horses that are rounded up using helicopters. Many will be injured and die, most will lose their families, foals will be separated from their mothers, and they will most likely be disrupted in a very substantial way from their normal areas and routines which DOES impact the outcomes of the study. Helicopter roundups use fear to drive the wild horses which is inhumane and also leads to extreme fear of helicopters.

This herd is not even above AML by the BLM’s own count, only 648 adult horses in the flyover count in April 2016.

My second biggest problem with this study is the use of radio collars which in past studies have led to injury and death when horses become entangled with brush or on fences or get a hoof caught. They say that they have remotely detonated release mechanisms on the collars so they can release the collar if the collar stops moving – but there are a tremendous number of questions that are unanswered:

  1. Why are they not using breakaway collars that break if the horses re in trouble, which have been used successfully before?
  2. How close to the collar does the person have to be to trigger the remote release mechanism?
  3. Does it work from say 70 miles away at the Rawlins BLM office or does the person have to be within view?
  4. What happens in winter when it is impossible to drive into the area?
  5. If they cannot drive into the area do they have the funds to charter a helicopter to fly over so they can detonate the remote release? If so, have they considered the stress upon the horses when a helicopter gets near them?
  6. Will it work when the temperatures get below -10 Fahrenheit? I was at a “gather” in Adobe Town in December 2013 when they released 40 wild mares and it was -19 degrees before I got to the highway.
  7. Does it hurt the horse when the release remotely “detonates?”
  8. What if the remote release fails? How can they help the mare that is in trouble?
  9. How often are they monitoring the collars to see if one has stopped moving? What about weekends?
  10. What about the reactions of the mare’s family members to this strange device now around her neck? What if she is rejected by the other horses because of it?

(They cite testing the collars at a short term holding facility, Palomino Valley. This is a completely different situation than the horses will face in the wild. Horses are not in families in holding facilities and there are not brush and fencing to get hung up on).

  1. Why can’t they use a small GPS under the skin? This would be so much safer and less intrusive for the mares. These “collars” are very old and low tech.

For all of these unanswered questions and because wild horses have been injured and died because of radio collars in previous studies: https://www.nap.edu/read/18466/chapter/5  I again suggest that they do NOT use radio collars but instead use Interns to follow, track, observe and photograph horses from specific areas.

This would remove the need for a helicopter roundup, which would provide far less stress and injury on the horses, and if would also provide more accurate data from people on the ground. Ten horses in Adobe Town are very colorful, and easily distinguished, so it would not be impossible to follow specific horses. It does not matter than some horses are less easy to find and see because if they have a few horses from each area, it does not matter which horses are less easily observed. If you round them up by helicopter this will be a complete disruption to the horses’ families and movement patterns. If you observe them without rounding them up you will obtain much more accurate data on where the horses are and move to.

My final argument is that this study is in no way, shape or form in the best interests of the horses. The researchers are seeking to prove that wild horses will “move into a void” created by rounding up and removing horses from the Checkerboard, so they can “prove” that it impossible to remove horses from the Checkerboard and keep them out. They are also hoping to “prove” that wild horses degrade riparian areas. There is no attempt to account for livestock grazing. They do not care about wild horse behavior or band fidelity, or they would use human observers. This cruel and dangerous study which is slanted toward proving that wild horses have no place on the HMAs in the Checkerboard should not be allowed to move forward. Since BLM has now formally withdrawn the 2016 Checkerboard Removal Decision Record – which was not the case at the time it issued the Draft EA – BLM should not move forward with the radio collar research because a major underlying premise (that 500+ wild horses would be removed from the Checkerboard before the radio collar research began) has now been eliminated.  In other words, the entire purpose behind this roundup was to see how horses move in response to a Checkerboard roundup; since there will be no Checkerboard roundup, there is no legal basis for the radio collar research as currently described in the Draft EA.

Please select alternative 2.2 No Action

This study is poorly conceived and planned and does NOT take the well being and humane treatment of the wild horses involved into proper consideration. This is not managing wild horses in the least invasive way possible, as they are mandated by the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. They should spend the next few months revising the study and if then they do decide to move forward they should use another capture method, which is bait trapping which they said they would discuss in the EA but failed to do. It is far more humane and will result in many less injuries and deaths. They should come up with a new EA including Bait Trapping or no rounding up at all but using direct observation as alternatives. And they should use a newer, safer  technology if they do wish to proceed with tracking the horses and eliminate the proposed use of radio collars.

The earliest they could start this roundup is December. They should not do it in December – it can get very cold, the horses are at greater risk of colic and injury when run in extremely cold temperatures. They should wait until next year in late summer or fall and address the questions that I have listed about the study and issue a new EA.

Please send your comments to the BLM here by November 1, 2016 at 4pm Mountain Time:

Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
Bureau of Land Management
Wyoming High Desert District
Rawlins Field Office
1300 North Third Street
P.O. Box 2407
Rawlins, Wyoming 82301
Fax: (307) 324-4224

Electronic comments must be sent to the following email address to be considered:

blm _ wy _ adobetown _ hma@blm.gov

(Please include “Adobe Town EA Comment” in the subject line.)

From the BLM: Public comments are most helpful if they are specific. The regulations (40 CFR 1503.3), state that comments on a proposed action ‘ shall be as specific as possible and may address either the adequacy of the statement or the merits of the alternatives discussed or both.” The most valuable comments are those that cite specific actions or impacts in the document and offer informed analysis of what is presented.

Also, pleased do send personalized comments in your own words. The BLM will count all of the form letter comments as one, which is not helpful for the horses.

Baby Wild Horse Killed, Mutilated along Salt River AZ, Suspects Sought

Story by Monique Griego as published on Channel 12 TV

“They’re like family and to see something like this happen it just breaks your heart,”

MESA, Ariz. – A family of Salt River Wild Horses went from 9 to 8 members after one of the band’s youngest foals, a 6-month-old horse called Kai by local observers, was chased down shot and killed.

knxv-salt-river-horse“This is absolutely horrible to us, these horses are our family,” said Simone Netherlands, the president of the Salt River Wild Horses Management Group.

SRWHMG is a non-profit that tracks and watches over the various bands of wild horses in the area.

Netherlands says shots from what’s believed to be a shotgun also injured two other horses, and the horrific brutality didn’t end there.

“We can’t imagine who would do such a thing and the most horrible part of it is that the genitals were removed off of the dead horse,” she said.

Volunteers say someone mutilated Kai after the baby horse went down from multiple gunshot wounds, some to the head and neck.

READSuspect allegedly killed, mutilated Salt River horse

Another wild horse, named Dotty, was shot and killed near the Salt River around this same time last year.

“An animal you’re not going to eat, it’s not bothering you, it doesn’t attack you,” said volunteer Jake Jacobson.

“They’re like family and to see something like this happen it just breaks your heart,” said Mary Ann Jacobson, another volunteer with the management group.

Volunteers tracked the band of horses Monday night to check on the two also injured. The good news is that they seemed to be healing on their own.

The suspect is only described as a man, wearing a dark green shirt and black shorts or underwear. Witnesses told investigators he was with two other people.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s office said Monday night it was mobilizing a mounted posse to look for evidence and investigate the shootings.

“It’s getting out of hand, they’ve got to stop this guy whoever it is,” said Jake.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call MCSO. A reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

The Salt River Wild Horse Management group is trying to increase the reward money with a GoFundMe page.

http://www.12news.com/news/local/arizona/baby-horse-killed-mutilated-along-salt-river-suspects-sought/341138997

http://www.abc15.com/news/state/mcso-searching-for-suspect-who-shot-three-salt-river-horses-killing-at-least-one

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/mesa-breaking/2016/10/24/mcso-seeks-gunman-who-shot-salt-river-horses-killing-least-one/92680528/

Making Sense of Fort Polk Wild Horse Plan

as published on The Washington Times

“ideally there would be a way to find space for the horses within the 40,000 acres that the Army does not use for training.”

FORT POLK, La. – Horse advocates continue to raise questions and concerns about whether removing horses from Fort Polk is necessary, and about how it will be done.

fortpolkwildhorsesOne such group of advocates is the Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA). Its vice president, Pinckney Wood, said that “the goals of Pegasus are to preserve the wild horses that range on Fort Polk lands, and to prevent any of the horses from ending-up in the ‘slaughter pipeline.’ We have sought to do (this), while at the same time respecting the mission of Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center.”

Some of PEGA’s ideas to meet this goal include using herd management techniques to keep horses away from training areas, and fertility control methods to reduce the population.

In response to PEGA’s questions surrounding the number of horses on the Army base, which they think seems drastically inflated, Troy Darr, Public Affairs Officer on Fort Polk, said, “last year the estimate was 700 horses, so we assume it is a slightly higher number this year.” He pointed out that there had been a scientist on staff to perform the task of estimating how many horses are actually living on the land at Fort Polk. This type of assessment generally involves counting a measured part of the population, and then extrapolating the approximation of the entire population from that count.

PEGA has suggested that “ideally there would be a way to find space for the horses within the 40,000 acres that the Army does not use for training.” This solution includes using pens and fencing to keep horses away from training areas.

Of this, Colonel David “Gregg” Athey, Garrison Commander, said, “the land that we train on is very large; it’s very vast.” He pointed out that Fort Polk “just went through land purchase for 45,000 acres. “This was done to expand our training area,” he said, “because we have a deficit. The brigade combat teams we train are much larger than they used to be, therefore they require much more land. We also have our own brigade here and we have the responsibility to provide them with the training they require to maintain their readiness.”

Creating a horse sanctuary “would be taking a huge step backwards by giving up property that we just got, as authorized by Congress. It would be cost prohibitive,” stated the Garrison Commander.

PEGA has raised questions about sterilization of hours in the wild herd and suggested the horses could be relocated within the Kisatchie National Forest.

When asked about herd management via fertility control, referred to as “sterilization” in the PEGA blog, Col. Athey explained that the Army has partnered with the LSU Agriculture Department to assist in these endeavors and assure that they are taking proper care of the horses while administering a form of contraception called porcine zona pellucida, commonly known as PZP.

The American Wild Horse Preservation has pointed out that the FDA, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and animal care committees all carefully review protocols for PZP use, and more than 20 years of data, carried out under these sets of rules, clearly show that wild horses are neither injured by the drug, nor do aberrational behaviors occur as a consequence of its application.

HSUS assures that the vaccine is used only to slow reproduction and may not be used for the extermination of entire herds. PZP is designed to bring about short-term infertility and is reversible, if not used beyond five consecutive years.

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sees this type of fertility control as a way to reduce horse removals, to place fewer horses in short- and long-term holding facilities, and to achieve budgetary savings,” said Don Glenn, Acting Group Manager of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, Washington.

During the past two to three months LSU started utilizing PZP fertility control treatments on the Polk horses by “darting the females.” Athey explained that “the initial stage of this process was LSU coming to study the herds and identify behaviors. They advised us the best way to go forward is to treat the mares because if you sterilize the stallions it breaks down the social networks within the herds.” He said this is the first part of the implementation of the Course of Action (No. 7) selected by Brig. General Gary Brito to eliminate the horses from the post.

If horses must be removed in order to achieve the Army’s primary mission of providing superior training at Fort Polk, PEGA would like to ensure that the horses will be treated humanely and will be placed into caring hands, as opposed to being sold for slaughter, or other such inhumane treatment.

The horse advocates pointed to an article by Jerry Finch, a senior correspondent for Habitat for Horses, where he writes that horse slaughter schemes are often covered by a “set of fronts and organizations that make a monetary profit out of defending the existence of horse slaughtering, either directly or indirectly. It’s not about equine welfare, humanity, professionalism, or reliability.”

The worry is that a nonprofit may be a front for someone who feigns love of horses, but rather intends to sell them to slaughter for personal, monetary, gain.

The Garrison Commander said “this month we will be bating these animals into pens and that will start the full cycle.” This part of the process brings up PEGA’s interest in wanting to know what will happen next for these horses.

The Army’s chosen course of action determines that “the horses will be adopted, given away, sold, and relocated.” Specifically, in partnership with LSU, 25-35 horses at a time will be corralled into approximately two-acre lots. They will then be offered to 501(c)3, nonprofit organizations, who will take possession of the horses and administer an adoption program for private individuals.

One such group which has come forward to take some or all of the horses is the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT), the largest and longest-standing nonprofit animal rescue and adoption organization in North Texas.

It serves over 25,000 animals annually through its various programs. HSNT’s mission, according to its website, is to “act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and ensure their legal, moral, and ethical consideration and protection.”

Col. Athey said HSNT “thinks they may be able to accommodate all of the horses and they will identify the right families to take them. That is what they do, and this is just a bigger project for them.”

PEGA has expressed concern regarding the intentions, and documented history, of inhumane behaviors of some organizations who have also expressed interest in participating in the process of removing horses from Fort Polk. Athey said, “if there is significant credible evidence supporting this kind of thing, we are going to do what’s right.” He said, if there is evidence, such as court documents, of potentially questionable treatment of horses by a nonprofit group, “we will present it to the Commanding General who will make the decision.”

From the point when the nonprofits take over, the Garrison Commander stated, “we count on these organizations to do the vetting” of individuals who intend to adopt horses.

Troy Darr said that HSNT “adopted out 700 horses last year and 600 horses the first half of this year.” Fort Polk is going to try to make available 200-250 horses per year.

Any horses which may remain will be offered to the general public on a first-come, first-serve basis. PEGA wants to ensure that whomever the horses end up with have good intentions for them, and that it can be guaranteed they will not be sold for slaughter or treated inhumanely in any way.

Darr explained that these individual citizens, who may or may not have an opportunity to take horses from Fort Polk, depending on how the process evolves with the nonprofits, “are not vetted. They are Americans who will have all the responsibilities and advantages of owning a horse. It’s not within our purview to supervise horses owned by the American people. We don’t have the legal authority to tell somebody what they can do with the horse. If someone breaks the law, once they’ve got the horse, that’s up to the sheriff, or the state police, or the FBI, and horse advocates” at that point.

PEGA also raised questions about whether it is ethical to remove “wild” horses from this land. Amy Hanchey, PEGA President said, “wild or not, we are humans and we are expected to be humane. The Army has a responsibility to the surrounding community and other people around the country.” She continued, “human life is paramount, but the horses also have a right to be treated well.”

Wood presented a 2004 joint resolution of the Louisiana House and Senate. Of this he said, “resolutions don’t have the weight of law. However they express the will of the Legislature, and as such, they ought to be taken seriously.” He continued, “it addressed the horse situation at Fort Polk, and was authored by State Representative Warren Triche during the 2004 Regular session of the Louisiana Legislature.”

To summarize, the joint resolution states that “there are hundreds of unclaimed, unbranded horses living in free-roaming bands on the pubic lands of … Fort Polk Military Reservation.” It continues, saying “the U.S. Army has effectively managed these wild animals for decades and has and should retain the authority to continue to do so in a manner that is best for the well-being of the animals.”

One portion of the joint resolution mentions that the Environmental Assessment (EA) developed by the Army must regard “the wild horses that roam freely on the lands in Kisatchie National Forest used by the Army as training areas;” Col. Athey said Fort Polk does not own or train on National Forest land.

There has been no DNA testing done on these particular horses on Fort Polk, but Col. Athey said “we rely on what the courts have already determined,” and that is “these are not protected animals. These are feral animals and they have been abandoned,” which is why they have been deemed “trespass” horses.

Horses which are qualified and determined to be labelled as “trespass,” are not protected under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

Colonel Athey said the nonprofits, mainly the Humane Society of North Texas, will begin claiming horses at the end of this month. He stated that they “are doing this in manageable numbers.” It is expected that this process will take about two to three years, within continuous reassessment of the process, with adjustments made as needed.

Athey reiterated that “removing the horses from Fort Polk is for the safety of the soldiers and horses, the maintenance of the integrity of the JRTC program, and the prevention of damage to equipment.”

PEGA and other horse advocate groups maintain an important role in this process, ensuring that the horses have advocates who will speak for them and work to ensure that they are treated humanely in any and all contexts.

Feel Good Sunday: “Just Like Them Horses”

Story by By Laura McClellan, forward by R.T. Fitch

“It’s Feel Good Sunday and time to lift ourselves up in preparation for another week of intensive warfare, be it fighting to survive on the job, struggling for ways to keep horses and burros on the range and free of slaughter or just getting through the evening news…we need strength.

Often, here, we laugh and slap each other on the back in an effort to bolster ourselves up and prepare for that slide out of the bed on Monday morning but it is also important to remember that many times it is necessary to look deep within prior to looking forward and out upon the horizon of life, and today we do just that.

The link to this video was sent to me by someone who works quietly behind the scenes, here, at Straight from the Horses Heart as many do because this is a community and not a one man show.  During the week she sends me various links to newsworthy stories and always throws in a few FGS (Feel Good Sunday) stories for good measure.  Her assistance has freed up much of my early morning time and allowed me to write more frequently versus searching for the latest and greatest to share…today is a case in point and after watching this video, I am both moved and anxious to step out the door of the house with my little boarder collie assistant and get to cooking breakfast for the horses, our equine children.  I am blessed to, now, spend each and every daybreak with our horses, Roxy my canine keeper, the Koi and even our little monarch butterfly community where we are on our 4th batch of baby caterpillars this season.  The quiet beauty, the deep feeling of connection and retrospective look back gives me strength, centers my soul and propels me forward into the harsh daylight of the intense and often times stressful day.

Sit back, breath deeply, wrap the lyrics of show business’s most delightful woman around you and claim this day to be your own, you most assuredly deserve it.  Peace to you, my friends.” ~ R.T.


Reba McEntire‘s “Just Like Them Horses” video is an emotional tribute to her late father, Clark McEntire, who passed away in 2014. The black-and-white scenes begin with a somber monologue from McEntire herself, asking tough questions in the wake of her father’s death: “How do you say goodbye? How do you say goodbye to somebody who made you, raised you, taught you, disciplined you, loved you? How do you say goodbye?” she says before the music comes in.

The ballad begins with just piano and McEntire’s powerful, emotive vocals as the video shows the artist walking through farm land alone reflecting, alternating with scenes of beautiful horses as well as McEntire’s own real-life mom driving a truck to meet her daughter.

“Mama had to be in the video. She was and still is the glue to our family,” McEntire said of the decision to include her mom. The scenes even took place on the McEntire family farm. “We shot the entire video in Chockie, Okla. on the McEntire home-place. Those old hills mean a lot to me. I lived there 21 years and they still call me back time after time.”

Written by Tommy Lee James and Liz Hengber, McEntire heard the song when choosing tracks for her Love Somebody album and decided to have it played at her father’s funeral.

“The minute I heard it, I knew I wanted it played at Daddy’s funeral. When my producer Tony Brown heard it, he loved it so much, that he insisted on putting it on the album,” she said.

McEntire says she dedicates the music video to her father, as well. It ends with several images of majestic horses running on the farm and the artist riding away on the back of the truck from earlier in the song. A photo memorial of her father appears over the last scene as a dedication.

Love Somebody is McEntire’s 27th studio album, released in April 2015. It debuted at No. 1 and has since sold more than 180,000 copies. “Just Like Them Horses” is the third single from the record, following “Going Out Like That” and “Until They Don’t Love You.”

Read More: Reba McEntire Honors Late Father with Video for “Just Like Them Horses” | http://tasteofcountry.com/reba-mcentire-just-like-them-horses-video/?trackback=tsmclip