Horse News

Here We Are with the Wild Ones in 2020

Update by Charlotte Roe

Greetings to friends and partners of the Wild Equids

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Threading through the latest rubble of this new year has been a major challenge.  Where are our wild horse and burros and threatened wild lands amidst the drums of war, democracy on trial, the unending conflagrations in Australia reminding us, this time more forcefully than ever, that Our Climate House is On Fire?  I still see them front and center.  Wild equines are an essential part of the ever fragile ecological balance, whether simply by their ancient presence on the land, foraging on fire-prone vegetation, dispersing nutrients, opening water sources for other wildlife, or by being the canaries in the mine as they stand in the way of livestock overgrazing and the fossil fuel economy’s ever-encroaching hunger for public land development.

For a thoughtful look at where we are, let me share a post from Elise Lowe-Vaughn:

And, for those that may not have yet caught this, a 2019 year’s end ride with Ginger Kathrens:

Good news and bad news reported by the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Latest Assaults

Tangled in the web of inequities faced by wild horses and burros are the bold attacks on public lands by this Administration and its fans in the Congress and the extraction industry world.  Here’s a straight-talking take on the latest of these:

A recent oped by Ginger K. capsulizes the latest bonehead move by Congress approving a big part of BLM’s request to shave down wild equid herds to near-extinction levels and open doors to the agency’s persistent threats of sterilization.  (We note that this package was supported by ASPCA, HSUS and RTF — friends like these the animals do not need!)

Marty Irby of Animal Wellness Action reported on a letter by Representative Raul Grijalva and a bipartisan group of lawmakers aiming to head off this BLM line item in the Appropriations bill:

My Congressman, Joe Neguse, pushed against this move by demanding accountability from BLM, starting with its way overdue Report to Congress.  Though the BLM line item passed, the fight is not over.  It’s worth urging your Congressional Rep and Senators to follow up on this:

Please Take Action on the Fish Springs Captive Horses!

Just out — Ginger Fedak’s alert for In Defense of Animals points to an immediate response needed from all who care about the fate of these world-renowned mustangs.  Please take time to make a call on their behalf:

Odds and Ends – and Reason for Hope

Encouraging climate change activists and other environmental proponents to understand WHB issues is an on-going job – here’s my most recent try, published in High Country News:

Stopping the scapegoating of wild horses is deeply connected with the effort to spread awareness of their role as a native American species.  An update on Dr. Beth Shapiro’s Original Horse Project gives rise to new hopes:

Let me end with an awesome video by Willy Nelson, who’s never stopped singing the praises and basic needs of these wonderful animals:

P.S. Here’s a quick note from Marty at Animal Wellness Action: Here’s our latest edition of The Political Animal Podcast we released this morning: Suzanne joined us in discussing the wild horses, thought you all might be interested.

2 replies »

  1. THANK YOU Charlotte
    Here’s something else that readers may not have seen.

    FoA files lawsuit against BLM for its assault on California’s wild horses

    Friends of Animals has filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management for its Decision to reduce the size and slow the growth of California’s Twin Peaks wild horse herd over 10 years. The plan calls for several detestable approaches, including rounding up by helicopter-drive trapping and bait-and-water trapping, as well as fertility control and castration to reduce the herd to the low end of its so-called appropriate management level of 448 wild horses on approximately 800,000 acres.

    “The scope of this 10-year Decision is unprecedented in this area and authorizes rounding up and removing more than 80 percent of the wild horses from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area as well as castrating an undisclosed number of stallions,” explained Jennifer Best, assistant legal director for Friends of Animals. “With these long-range plans, BLM is trying to avoid further scrutiny of its overall plan to zero out wild horse populations on public lands and Friends of Animals will not stand by and do nothing.”

    Adding insult to injury, 1,060 cattle and 13,000 sheep are allowed to graze in the Twin Peaks grazing allotment.

    “BLM keeps trying to paint wild horses as an abundant population that is damaging to our public lands, when the culprits are doomed cattle and sheep,” Best said. “This decision shows how BLM is once again putting the interest of ranchers ahead of a balanced ecosystem that includes wild horses and other wild animals.”

    The 10-year Decision was issued pursuant to a new Rule that eliminates the opportunity for the public to review or comment on the BLM’s decisions. The Decision and new Rule not only drastically change the way BLM is managing horses in the Twin Peaks area, they violate the law in several respects, the lawsuit states.

    First, the Decision violates the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act requirement that BLM make a determination that such animals are excess before removing wild horses and burros, that removal is necessary and that such determination be based on current information; violates BLM’s obligations to conduct management activities at the minimal feasible level; and violates its obligations under NEPA to: (1) prepare an environmental impact statement, (2) consider reasonable alternatives, and (3) fully evaluate the impacts and alternatives to the proposed decisions.

    Furthermore, the BLM issued the new rule in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act because it didn’t provide the public notice of the new rule before implementing it, solicit comments on the new rule as required by the APA or offer a reasonable explanation for the rule change.

    “BLM’s decision thwarts public participation and puts BLM on a path to continually harass wild horses and burros behind closed doors for the next 10 years,” Best said. “Friends of Animals hopes the lawsuit puts an end to this criminal practice and holds BLM accountable to the public and to its legal obligation to protect America’s wild horses and burros.”

    Darien,Conn.-based Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals, free-living and domestic around the

    Liked by 1 person

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