Horse News

Fort Polk Horses – Round Up 12 – August 2019

by Amy Hanchey of PegasusEquine.org

*** Just as I am completing this email, we’ve received notification of yet another round up, which will be Round Up 13. This email is focused on the events from Round Up 12 which occurred in August 2019***

Every time a round up occurs I think to myself how absolutely unnecessary these removals are.

Kisatchie: 604,000 acres
Fort Polk: over 150,000 acres and growing as they continue to purchase more and more land.

With reports stating there are less than an estimated 20-30 horses remaining in the North Fort Area, the Environmental Division at Fort Polk has all but annihilated these precious herds by removing 318 horses to date.

A direct consequence of their chosen Course of Action (COA7) is these wild horses are funneled into an already flooded domestic horse market, using Federal Dollars to do so, rather than using federal dollars to implement a herd management program. No they use your tax dollars to destroy biologically unique herds that have ranged on these lands for centuries, as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries.

One instance is that approx. 100k of federal grant money was used to contract with the Thompson Kill Pen last year for round up and capture. More about Federal Grant Money used to fund Thompson Kill Pen 

Further more, rescues have to absorb the cost of vetting because, God Forbid they use a cent to actually HELP the horses or rescues. And on top of that the Army has a “rescue”, known for sending horses to kill pens, at the top of their “501c3” list. And this fraud of a rescue remains on the top of the list until they FAIL to pick up the horses. And they will stop at nothing to remain on top, they already have transferred Fort Polk Horses to the “Thompson Kill Pen”

Rescues who are focused on preservation have to “wheel and deal” with the bogus rescue to ensure they don’t end up in a kill pen. In addition, approximately 44 Fort Polk Horses, from earlier this year, were picked up by Agents of Meridian Falls and they have all but vanished. So where did those horses end up?

Four years ago Fort Polk held a meeting regarding this removal. From day one the public has begged them to consider other options, to consider their significance, to at least treat these horses with respect and be conservative in their removal plans. This fell on deaf years … while the army was required by federal law to opened it up to public comment they didn’t bother to consider any sort of preservation and basically ignored the public.

A legal battle ensued and lasted from December of 2016 to 2019

In the end the ongoing fight to protect and preserve the wild and free roaming horses of Louisiana’s Kisatchie National Forest continues despite Judge Robert Summerhays decision, choosing to IGNORE significant evidence of their genetic and cultural importance.

Why was crucial evidence ignored by the court? Short answer is evidence was ignored on a date technicality.

Judge Summerhays cited the reason being…. that Pegasus Equine Guardian Association discovered and submitted after the June 2016 comment period ended. This evidence was collected as a result of Pegasus’ time and money to prove significance and could have only been collect and analyzed after the comment period because it takes time and money to collect and analyze evidence… this should have been done as part of the Army’s Environmental Assessment but conveniently this was ignored… and not done.

Sadly we lost our lawsuit; however we lost on narrow grounds. The info wasn’t available at that time the army closed their EA, back in 2016. Even during the hearing We could tell that minds of judges were being changed when they saw the potential of biologically significant horses. However the judge that heard the case was not the deciding judge and our case past through a few judges hands before Judge Summerhays ruled against us and ignored the evidence based on a date technicality.

It is important to note that a two equine research labs agreed to analyze and one has included some of the captured Fort Polk Horses blood in an ongoing research project that was a cooperative international effort.

Take action today: https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/take-action/

This is a collaborative effort by like minded individuals and grass roots rescue and  equine advocacy organizations.

Round Up #12 – August 2019 – 31 Horses

August 8th, 2019 – Notification Day
Fort Polk Public Affairs Office sent out a Capture Notification to almost all 501c3s on their approved list, with Meridian Falls Ranch (MFR) taking priority as the organization with first dibs to the horses.

** it is important to note that MFR has been at the top of Fort Polk’s list since May 2018. Approximately 44 taken by them, disappearing completely and another group given/sold to the Thompson Kill Pen.

August 19th, 2019 – Pick Up Day
After a week of negotiation with MFR, Haseya’s New Beginnings Animal Rescue picked up the 31 horses from Round Up 12. Representatives of Pegasus Equine Guardian were in attendance as well. Thankful for each volunteer that attended and helped load and transport to a holding location that has all the qualities of a sanctuary, albeit temporary.

“Loading and hauling 31 wild horses, who have never been handled by humans, is a sad, intense and often a terrifying experience. What makes them truly unique is that less than 3% of horses living and thriving in the wild have Iberian lines, such as Louisiana Wild Heritage Horses. It’s truly tragic, because once removed the long term viability of herds that have ranged on these lands for centuries is destroyed. Witnessing the destruction of that is absolutely heartbreaking. The only bright side is that these herds are now in the hands of people who truly care and exhaust all options to ensure they are treated with kindness, for that I am grateful to each person who played a role in securing this group. We do what we can in an impossible and unjust situation.”

August 21st, 2019 – Vetting Day
Vetting day went way better than I anticipated. Skilled Vets, expert handlers, and a team in sync, made all the difference Everyone fell into place… a little “easy does it” kindness goes a long way… don’t get me wrong we had explosive moments but skilled hands knew exactly what to do to calm and soothe even the most terrified and trembling wild horses. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for the team we had on the ground this day. No words can describe the gratitude in my heart ensuring these horses were treated with respect and gentleness.
Vetting Day – Part 1
Vetting Day – Part 2

6 replies »

  1. From AWHC

    It’s here: #WildHorseWeek in Washington. Today, we unify wild horse supporters around the country to make our voices heard!
    Mustangs and burros on our public lands are at risk, and we must ensure that the Senate stands strong to protect them. At issue is Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 spending legislation, which must reject a dangerous plan for mass wild horse roundups and must include a prohibition to stop the Forest Service from selling wild horses for slaughter.
    What we’re asking you to do today: Make the call to your Senators by calling 202-224-3121. Ask them to please reject this misguided proposal.

    Suggested message:
    Hi, My name is __________ and I live in [town]. I’m requesting that Senator [name] OPPOSE funding in the FY20 Interior Appropriations bill for a Cattlemen’s/ASPCA plan to round up and warehouse over 100,000 wild horses and burros over the next ten years. I’m also asking the Senator to SUPPORT language in the bill to prevent the Forest Service from selling wild horses for slaughter. Thank you for your time.
    As you know, a dangerous proposal is being circulated for mustangs and burros, and we must ensure that the Senate stands strong on our side and does not include funding language in the Interior Appropriations Bill.
    Today, we urge you to speak up on social media.
    What you can do
    :
    1. Send these automated tweets to our Senate targets using the links below.

    • Tweet 1
    • Tweet 2


    2. Download this graphic and post it somewhere (even in the comments!) on the following Senator’s Facebook pages.
    • Senator Udall
    • Senator Merkley
    • Senator Gardner
    • Senator Cortez Masto
    • Senator Rosen
    • Senator Feinstein
    • Senator Harris
    • Senator Collins
    • Senator Murkowski

    We are hearing that offices know where we stand, we just have to keep it up. Let’s make sure they hear us loud and clear.
    Thank you and post away!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Send these automated tweets to our Senate targets using the links below.
    • Tweet 1
    • Tweet 2
    2. Download this graphic and post it somewhere (even in the comments!) on the following Senator’s Facebook pages.
    • Senator Udall
    • Senator Merkley
    • Senator Gardner
    • Senator Cortez Masto
    • Senator Rosen
    • Senator Feinstein
    • Senator Harris
    • Senator Collins
    • Senator Murkowski

    Like

  3. These horses are an important part of Louisiana AND American history. The military must remember that it’s mission is to PROTECT NOT DESTROY

    Historic Preservation and National Defense Historic Preservation law DOES NOT interfere with National Security or Military Readiness and Training

    Section 2816 in H.R.4435, misleadingly suggests our national security is compromised because of sensible considerations established by the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966.

    Including properties on the National Register does not prevent Federal Agencies or the Military from taking action to advance its projects, activities, and programs, and to protect national security. Over the nearly fiftyyear history of the NHPA, the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Park Service (NPS), and the Advisory Council on History Preservation (ACHP) have not identified a single instance where the designation of an historic property has impeded military readiness. A National Register listing does require that Federal Agencies consider possible adverse effects of their actions on historic resources before making a final decision. However, the final decision about how to proceed resides entirely with the Federal Agency.

    The DoD, NPS, and the ACHP Do Not Believe this Legislation is Necessary. • Testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee, the DoD stated “we have not found compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) to be an impediment to our ability to meet our military readiness obligations” and that the NHPA does not threaten their ability to meet vital national defense missions, including training. • In its testimony, the NPS stated “the Department is unaware of specific cases where National Register, NHL, or World Heritage List designations have adversely affected national security.”
    https://www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/historicpreservationnationaldefmillandactonepager.pdf

    Like

  4. Important information to give to Congress
    From AWHC

    Genetic Diversity and Viability (excerpts)

    When the statistics for wild burro herds are isolated from wild horse numbers the picture is even more dismal. Of the 56 areas having wild burros, 14 contain viable populations.

    Using these BLM statistics, the number of wild horse and burro herds with an AML of over 150 animals, the absolute minimum population size to insure long term genetic viability, is startling. Out of 209 areas, only 52 areas met this minimum requirement. This means that 75% or 3/4 of the herds are in danger of extinction if managed at AML. (In calculating the total number of herd areas, areas with an AML of zero that had either wild burros or wild horses present in 1995 were included.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Some of these phone numbers are local office locations. If you can’t get through to one try another office location. They are all very busy right now

    Senator Udall (575) 234-0366 https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/contact
    Senator Merkley (503) 326-3386 https://www.merkley.senate.gov/connect/office-locations
    Senator Gardner Phone: (970) 352-5546 Phone:(719) 632-6706 https://www.gardner.senate.gov/contact-cory/office-locations
    Senator Cortez Masto P: (702) 388-5020 P: (775) 686-5750 https://www.cortezmasto.senate.gov/
    Senator Rosen Phone 775-337-0110 https://www.rosen.senate.gov/
    Senator Feinstein Phone: (415) 393-0707 : (619) 231-9712 https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/
    Senator Harris (619) 239 – 3884 https://www.harris.senate.gov/
    Senator Collins Main: (207) 780-3575 (207) 493-7873 https://www.collins.senate.gov/contact
    Senator Murkowski Phone: (907) 271-3735 https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/contact/office-locations

    Liked by 1 person

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