Scientists Agree: It’s Time To End The War On Wildlife

By Collette Adkins, Contributor as published on The Huffington Post

“Wild horses and burros survived centuries in perfect balance and harmony without the intervention of humans.  The removal of natural predators upsets the natural balance and the crisis rolls downhill initiating even more violent intervention by humans.  If we, as humans, would step back and cease attempting to manage something that does not require to be controlled the world would be a much better place to live for humans and animals alike.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


“Today’s predator control is widespread in the American West…”

coyote-crueltyKilling large predators to reduce livestock conflicts or benefit game populations has long been thought to be ineffective — and devastating for ecosystems — and a growing body of scientific literature criticizing the widespread practice is confirming those fears.

Most recently, this month, the Journal of Mammalogy — a highly respected international scientific journal and flagship publication for the American Society of Mammalogists — published a special collection of articles criticizing lethal control of predators such as wolves and grizzlies.

Today’s predator control is widespread in the American West and has its origins in barbaric 20th century, government-sponsored predator eradication programs. Those utilized poisons and bounties to drive grizzly bears and wolves to the brink of extinction.

Thanks to the protection of the Endangered Species Act — which has saved more than 99 percent of the plants and animals under its protection and put hundreds on the road to recovery — the grizzly bear and wolf have begun to recover. But as these large carnivores expand their population size and range, people have once again called for lethal control to address livestock depredations and inflate game populations.

In states where gray wolves have lost their federal protections, such as Idaho, state managers dead set on killing the predators established aggressive hunting seasons and lethal depredation controls. After the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing Yellowstone grizzly bears from the list of federally protected species, states like Montana moved quickly to establish hunting seasons.

Then there’s the coyote, a predator lacking protection at state or federal levels and a primary target of predator control programs across the U.S. Tens of thousands of these resilient predators are killed each year by a highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services.

The numbers of predators killed by Wildlife Services is staggering. The latest kill report shows Wildlife Services in fiscal year 2015 killed more than 3.2 million animals, including 68,905 coyotes (plus an unknown number of pups in 492 destroyed dens), 385 gray wolves, 284 mountain lions, 731 bobcats and 3,437 foxes.

This level of human-caused mammalian predator mortality is damaging native ecosystems and biodiversity. The lead article in the Journal of Mammalogy’s special feature on lethal control — “Carnivore conservation: shifting the paradigm from control to coexistence” — summarizes studies on the essential role of apex predators like wolves and grizzlies and mesopredators like coyotes and foxes in maintaining ecosystem function. A well-known example is how wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone created a trophic cascade that enriched riparian songbird communities.

Given the ecological importance of wolves and other predators, scientists are calling for implementation of nonlethal methods to prevent livestock depredations.

The authors of “Adaptive use of nonlethal strategies for minimizing wolf-sheep conflict in Idaho” in the special feature document a seven-year pilot project in prime Idaho wolf habitat, highlighting the adaptive use of a suite of nonlethal deterrents to protect sheep. Those nonlethal methods reduced sheep depredation by more than three times the reductions seen on sheep allotments in Idaho that used lethal control.

Another study featured, “Cattle mortality on a predator friendly station in central Australia,” found that ending lethal control may in itself — even without implementing nonlethal methods — reduce livestock losses by simply enabling the predator’s social structure to stabilize.

Not only are aggressive lethal controls ineffective, they have actually been found to increase livestock losses, as was found among gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. Scientists demonstrated similar results from aggressive lethal control of cougars, which replaces adult males with immigrating adolescent males that are more likely to depredate. Other studies show that lethal control of wolves may be merely shifting depredation from cattle to sheep because coyotes replace the wolves and target smaller livestock.

As for predator control to benefit game populations, a meta-analysis of 113 predator removal experiments found that the intended beneficiary prey population actually declined in 54 of them.

In addition to the ecological and wildlife policy concerns with lethal control of predators, public acceptance of lethal predator control methods appears to be declining. While the public supports the need for livestock producers to protect their animals, foot or leghold traps, snares and poisons are viewed by the majority of the public to be so inhumane their use should not be allowed.

With all the issues surrounding lethal predator control, one would hope livestock producers would have help in implementing nonlethal alternatives. Yet very few states have any permanent programs to protect livestock from depredations using nonlethal methods comparable to the federal Wildlife Services lethal control program.

With scientific evidence against carnivore controls mounting, it is time to finally stop the cruel, senseless killing and start utilizing smart, nonlethal methods that actually work, benefiting both livestock and these majestic wild animals.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scientists-agree-its-time-to-end-the-war-on-wildlife_us_58a77e73e4b026a89a7a2b08

The Philosophy of Animal Rights

by Tom Regan as published on Culture & Animals.org

“In memory of Tom Regan who passed last Friday, February 17th 2017.  There was an unbelievable crowd of critters waiting for Tom at the bridge; he was the voice for millions who had none.” ~ R.T.


“It is not larger, cleaner cages that justice demands in the case of animals used in science, for example, but empty cages: not “traditional” animal agriculture, but a complete end to all commerce in the flesh of dead animals; not “more humane” hunting and trapping, but the total eradication of these barbarous practices.”

The other animals humans eat, use in science, hunt, trap, and exploit in a variety of ways, have a life of their own that is of importance to them apart from their utility to us. They are not only in the world, they are aware of it. What happens to them matters to them. Each has a life that fares better or worse for the one whose life it is.

That life includes a variety of biological, individual, and social needs. The satisfaction of these needs is a source of pleasure, their frustration or abuse, a source of pain. In these fundamental ways, the nonhuman animals in labs and on farms, for example, are the same as human beings. And so it is that the ethics of our dealings with them, and with one another, must acknowledge the same fundamental moral principles.

At its deepest level, human ethics is based on the independent value of the individual: The moral worth of any one human being is not to be measured by how useful that person is in advancing the interest of other human beings. To treat human beings in ways that do not honor their independent value is to violate that most basic of human rights: the right of each person to be treated with respect.

The philosophy of animal rights demands only that logic be respected. For any argument that plausibly explains the independent value of human beings implies that other animals have this same value, and have it equally. And any argument that plausibly explains the right of humans to be treated with respect, also implies that these other animals have this same right, and have it equally, too.

It is true, therefore, that women do not exist to serve men, blacks to serve whites, the poor to serve the rich, or the weak to serve the strong. The philosophy of animal rights not only accepts these truths, it insists upon and justifies them.

But this philosophy goes further. By insisting upon and justifying the independent value and rights of other animals, it gives scientifically informed and morally impartial reasons for denying that these animals exist to serve us.

Once this truth is acknowledged, it is easy to understand why the philosophy of animal rights is uncompromising in its response to each and every injustice other animals are made to suffer.

It is not larger, cleaner cages that justice demands in the case of animals used in science, for example, but empty cages: not “traditional” animal agriculture, but a complete end to all commerce in the flesh of dead animals; not “more humane” hunting and trapping, but the total eradication of these barbarous practices.

For when an injustice is absolute, one must oppose it absolutely. It was not “reformed” slavery that justice demanded, not “re- formed” child labor, not “reformed” subjugation of women. In each of these cases, abolition was the only moral answer. Merely to reform injustice is to prolong injustice.

The philosophy of animal rights demands this same answer– abolition–in response to the unjust exploitation of other animals. It is not the details of unjust exploitation that must be changed. It is the unjust exploitation itself that must be ended, whether on the farm, in the lab, or among the wild, for example. The philosophy of animal rights asks for nothing more, but neither will it be satisfied with anything less.

10 Reasons FOR Animal Rights and Their Explanation

1. Rational
2. Scientific
3. Unprejudiced
4. Just
5. Compassionate
6. Unselfish
7. Individually fulfilling
8. Socially progressive
9. Environmentally wise
10. Peace-loving

10 Reasons AGAINST Animal Rights and Their Replies

1. Equating animals and humans
2. Rights: human vs animals
3. Vegetables vs Animals
4. Where to Draw Line
5. Experience Pain
6. Animals Respecting our Rights
7. Dominion Over Other Animals
8. Immortal Souls
9. Animal Overabundance
10. Other Problems

Feel Good Sunday: Hospice Patient Gets One Last Day at the Barn

By Leslie Potter as published on The Horse Channel

“Tissue Alert!” ~ R.T.

An 87-year-old lifelong horse lover has her wish to spend time with horses granted.

Click Image to View Video

Click Image to View Video

If you knew your time on earth was nearing its end, where would you want to spend your days? For most horse lovers, the answer is clear: at the barn. Phyllis Ryerson is no exception.

Ryerson, now 87, lived on a farm with her husband earlier in her life. She’s loved horses ever since she was young. Fox 17 in West Michigan reports that she has been diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer, and she’s making the most of her days with help from Emmanuel Hospice.

When Ryerson told hospice workers that she wanted to pet a horse, they brought her to Equine Assisted Development of the Great Lakes where she had the chance to pet and groom the horses in the barn and feed them treats.

A true horsewoman, Ryerson rubbed a horse named George with her coat so that she could bring home the smell of horses with her, according to a Facebook post from EADGL. In another post, Emmanuel Hospice says she joked that she’d be bringing the barn smell home, and that her husband wouldn’t like it. For horse lovers, some things never change.

Ryerson reportedly smiled throughout her afternoon with the horses and kept a positive mindset, telling Fox 17, “It’s a very comforting thing to know that I’m at the end of a long and wonderful life.”

http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-news/2017/02/hospice-patient-gets-one-last-day-at-the-barn.aspx

Congress Members Ask for Anti-Soring Rule Approval

By Pat Raia as published on The Horse

“Department of Engraving and Printing failed to publish it before former President Barack Obama left office…”

Effects of Horse SoringMore than 150 Congress members have signed a letter asking the Trump administration to expedite its final approval of a new USDA rule banning the use of pads, chains, and other action devices sometimes used in the training of Tennessee Walking Horses.

The new rule would boost the way the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service enforces the Horse Protection Act (HPA), which forbids soring.

Approved on Jan. 13, just before the Trump administration took office, the rule prohibits the use of action devices, including chains weighing more than 6 ounces, on Tennessee Walking Horses and Racking Horses at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions. The final rule also forbids the use of boots other than soft rubber or leather bell boots and quarter boots used as protective devices and associated lubricants. It also prohibits the use of “pads and wedges on Tennessee Walking Horses and Racking Horses at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions, except for therapeutic pads and wedges.”

The ban was slated to take effect in February, but the federal Department of Engraving and Printing failed to publish it before former President Barack Obama left office. As a result, the final rule was among other regulations put on hold pending review by the Trump administration.

In a Feb. 9 letter to President Donald Trump, a bipartisan group of 154 Congress members led by Representative Ted S. Yoho, DVM (R-FL), and Representative Kurt Schrader, DVM (D-OR) asked his administration to finalize the rule.

“It is unfortunate that a clerical error led to the finalized rule having to be withdrawn,” the letter said. “We request that your administration finalize the work already performed during the previous Congress, so as not to duplicate efforts, and consider expediting its reintroduction and finalization along with publication in the Federal Register.”

The letter also asks the Trump administration to support Prevent All Soring Tactics Act. Initially introduced in 2013 and reintroduced in 2015, the act would have amended the HPA to forbid trainers from using action devices and performance packages, increased federal penalties for anyone who sores a horse, and required the USDA to assign a licensed inspector if a Tennessee Walking Horse show management indicated its intent to hire one. The legislation died in previous Congressional sessions.

http://www.thehorse.com/articles/38833/congress-members-ask-for-anti-soring-rule-approval

Agents Seize Horse Meat, Genitals at Airport Outside Capital

S0urce: Multiple

“The women had a combined 42 pounds of horse meat concealed inside juice boxes…”

photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

STERLING, Va. – Customs agents have seen all sorts of things come through travelers’ baggage. And what they seized from two women at Washington Dulles International Airport last month may take the cake.

On January 29, two women arrived from Mongolia. Customs and Border Protection officers sent them for a routine agriculture examination. What was found inside might turn your stomach.

The women had a combined 42 pounds of horse meat concealed inside juice boxes. That includes 13 pounds of horse genitals that one of the women claimed were for medicinal purposes.

Horse meat is prohibited from entering the country unless the traveler has an official government horse meat certification from the country of origination. The concern is bringing foot and mouth disease into the United States and introducing it to livestock here.

Customs and Border Protection takes no pleasure in seizing and destroying travelers’ food products,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles. “We’re in the business of protecting America’s agriculture industries, like the livestock industry, from the potential introduction of animal diseases posed by these unpermitted food products.”

All of the meat was incinerated.

“Safeguarding America’s agriculture industries, and by extension our nation’s economy, remains an enforcement priority for Customs and Border Protection.  It is a mission that we take very seriously,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the mid-Atlantic region.

CBP agriculture specialists inspect more than 1 million people coming into the U.S. every day.

Don’t Slaughter Montana’s Bison

article by George Wuerthner

“As most of our seasoned readers are aware, the main thrust of SFTHH is to bring to the forefront the plight of our American equines be they domestic or wild.  But while being tuned into the misconduct of out of control government agencies we cannot help but be aware of the cruelty rained down upon other wild species such as the Bison, Wolves, Bears, Cougar and even Coyotes.  What is happening to yet another 4 legged treasure, the Bison, is unexcusable and a often witnessed example of government thinking with their pocketbook and not listening to the wishes of the citizens.  Today George Wuerthner shares more information and ammunition in the fight to save the bison.  We applaud his expertise and will move forward as suggested.  Keep the faith, my friends.” ~ R.T.


“Welfare Ranchers go after yet another native wild species…”

bison-slaughterThe Louvre Museum in France houses some of the most famous art works in the world, including paintings by such famous artists as Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

What would you think if you heard the famous Louvre Museum began to throw out and burn in the streets these priceless masterpieces saying they needed to make room for the remaining art work?

How do you think the art world would respond if they suggested that a way to save the art was for the museum to build another wing to house the paintings or even give the paintings to other museums who would gladly accept them?

But instead of following such sensible advice, the French government prohibited expansion of the museum or even the transport of the world’s heritage to other museums and argued the only solution they would considered was to burn paintings? I’m certain it would be an international scandal.

But this is exactly what the Montana government is doing by the senseless slaughter of our national mammal —Yellowstone’s genetically unique and wild bison. These bison are a global heritage that the state of Montana is treating as if they are expendable and valueless asset.

Even the paintings by art masters are not as priceless as the genetically pure Yellowstone bison that are a consequence of a long line of evolution, yet Montana is treating these magnificent beasts as if they were vermin.

Worse, the justification for this butchery is flawed. One excuse is that the livestock industry is threatened by brucellosis, a disease that can cause abortions in livestock. The other major reason given for rounding up bison and slaughtering them is some assert there are too many animals for the park.

Both are questionable assertions, but even if they were valid arguments, there are viable solutions that do not require the destruction of these animals.

Fact: there is no documented transmission of brucellosis from wild bison to livestock. The only examples of wildlife transmission to cattle is the result of elk, not bison.

Fact: Yellowstone’s bison are genetically unique. Most bison herds in the United States have cattle genes mixed into their genome, but Yellowstone’s bison are one of the few genetically pure populations.

Fact: There is an abundance of public land on the Custer-Gallatin National Forest and other state and federal lands outside of Yellowstone National Park where bison could winter or even live year-round.

Fact: There are other large blocks of public land within the historic range of bison that could support herds such as Montana’s Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming’s Red Desert, and the Vermillion Basin of Colorado.

Fact: There are numerous Indian tribes that wish to start or augment their own bison herds if only Montana would allow them to be transported.

Fact: Montana’s livestock industry will not lose its brucellosis free status simply because one or two herds are infected.

Fact: There are brucellosis vaccines that are available free of charge to ranchers that can reduce the chances of infection.

Fact: The only way that cattle can become infected with brucellosis is if they consume or lick an aborted bison fetus. This must occur before the bacteria dies or the fetus is consumed by scavengers like ravens, coyotes, and magpies.

Fact: Even if in theory bison cows could abort and transmit the disease to livestock, bison bulls and calves cannot transmit the disease, yet they make up a high percentage of the animals being slaughtered.

Fact: There is simply no scientific or even legitimate rationale for the continued slaughter of this priceless wildlife legacy. The real reason our collective patrimony is being destroyed due to the intransigence of the livestock industry.

Please call or write Governor Bullock and Montana’s Congressional delegation and ask them to work for a solution that treats Yellowstone’s wild bison as the priceless and precious global inheritance they represent.

George Wuerthner is an ecologist who has published 38 books. He divides his time between Bend, Oregon, and Livingston, Montana.

Show Your Horse You Care on Valentine’s Day

By Robin Foster, PhD, CAAB, IAABC-Certified Horse Behavior Consultant as published on The Horse

“What do horses value, need, and desire most? Friends, forage, and freedom, of course!”

Equine photographer Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation with several members of the rescued Fitch herd ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Equine photographer Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation with several members of the rescued Fitch herd ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Valentine’s Day is an occasion for exchanging gifts and celebrating time with a special sweetheart, so be sure to give your equine valentine a gift he or she will truly appreciate.

What do horses value, need, and desire most? Friends, forage, and freedom, of course!1 Most horses have access to a warm blanket and clean stall, but stable management practices can restrict how much time a horse spends with other horses, how often and what type of food they eat, how much freedom they move about, and the activities in which they participate. Below are a few fun Valentine’s Day gift ideas that will help your horse meet her need for friends, forage, and freedom.

Friends—The “Perfect Date” Package

Horses are highly social and generally drawn to other horses. One gift suggestion is to set up the perfect date for your horse with an equine friend. If the date is with a familiar friend, they can be turned out together in a pasture or arena to socialize, and to spend time mutually grooming, playing, or simply grazing side-by-side. If the date is with a new equine acquaintance, to be safe, they should greet each other over a gate or barrier. Exercise caution when first introducing any horses and watch their body language carefully; some horses might kick, strike out, or bite. If your horse has not been properly socialized, or if meeting-up with another horse isn’t possible, then spending quality time with a trusted human friend would be a perfect backup date.

Forage—A “Be Mine” Fruit ‘N’ Feed Bowl

Most healthy horses love to eat! February 14 is also known as the Feast of Saint Valentine, so express your love with the gift of grub. Many stabled horses are fed a narrow diet on a fixed schedule, but under natural free-ranging conditions, horses consume a varied diet and will graze for up to 20 hours a day. A slow-feed haynet is a gift that will stretch-out your horse’s feeding time and has lasting value.

Most horses also appreciate a tasty treat from time to time. They prefer nutritious, sweet-tasting feed, and tend to choose coconut and banana flavors over cinnamon and spearmint.2 Anyone with basic kitchen skills could whip up something special for an equine valentine, such as heart-shaped oat, molasses, and banana biscuits, or a “Be Mine” fruit ‘n’ feed bowl. To prepare the bowl, start with your horse’s regular feed or hay cubes, then mix in sliced bananas, apples, carrots, and strawberries—the distinctive Valentine’s Day ingredient. These treat recipes can be easily modified to meet dietary restrictions.

Freedom—The “Choose Your Activity” Gameboard

Freedom means being able to move without restraint or confinement, as well as having choice about how to spend time in different activities.3 A Valentine’s Day gift any horse would appreciate is extra turnout time, with an at-liberty to run, romp, and roll. Working horses might be especially grateful for the gift of freedom, since certain jobs can be a source of stress.4

For Valentine’s Day, I gave my horse a “Choose Your Activity” gameboard. The idea came from a scientific study in which horses learned to approach and touch symbols on a board to communicate their preference for wearing a blanket, or not; horses were more likely to choose to wear a blanket during cold, wet and windy weather.5 Using the same approach, my horse is learning to choose an activity by touching one of the symbol options. Learning to use the gameboard can take several weeks, but the positive reinforcement training is itself an enjoyable exercise. Activity symbols for “massage” and “carrot-stretches” are on my horse’s gameboard—what does your horse like to do?

Closing Remarks

If your current boarding facility doesn’t allow ad libitum access to friends, forage, and freedom, consider how you can give your horse the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift: Talk to you barn owner about making management practice changes, or even relocate to a different facility. However, if you’re already satisfied that your horse’s needs are met, why not open your heart and give back on Valentine’s Day by spending time a local equine rescue and sharing your love with horses in need?

http://www.thehorse.com/articles/38791/show-your-horse-you-care-on-valentines-day


People Are Killing Millions Of Donkeys Just For Their Skins

Story by as published on The Dodo

Warning: Graphic Content – What they’re used for is such a waste

Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro affairs at WHFF, and her good friend Miss Abby ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro affairs at WHFF, and her good friend Miss Abby ~ photo by Terry Fitch

For centuries, in rural cultures across the globe, one animal has been an important part of the family, helping to keep farms and villages running.

Not only do millions of people depend on donkeys for practical purposes — many donkeys are seen more and more as smart and loyal pets.

But this friendship between people and donkeys is increasingly threatened by a growing trade in something you’ve probably never even heard of: “ejiao,” (also known as “colla corii asini” or “donkey hide glue”) a kind of gelatin made from donkey skin — and demand for ejiao is killing literally millions of donkeys per year.

A new report from The Donkey Sanctuary in the U.K. shows just how massive this emerging global trade really is. At least 1.8 million donkey skins are being traded each year — but it could be between 4 million and 10 million. The trade is difficult to track and until now hasn’t been studied at such a large scale.

“Our report reveals the shocking scale of this global trade and how it’s causing a chain of welfare issues for the donkeys at every step, from sourcing to transport and finally to slaughter,” Mike Baker, chief executive of The Donkey Sanctuary, told The Dodo in a statement.

“Ejiao is a medicine with ancient roots and has been promoted as a product worthy of emperors,” the report says, explaining that traditional herbalists in China claim that ejiao can increase libido, slow aging and prevent disease. But ejiao has not been recognized as having medicinal properties by western medicine.

dead-donkeysThis belief means that donkeys are becoming more valuable for their skins, and therefore harder for rural families to afford. Even the loyal donkeys families already have are at risk. It is becoming more common for donkeys to be stolen right out of a family’s yard and slaughtered for their skins.

While exports of donkey skins come from South America and Asia, the largest source is in Africa, where donkeys (many of them stolen) are rounded up in “donkey markets,” where they are often packed together and left without shelter from the hot sun and without food or water, while they await slaughter.

Often, after the skins are removed, the bodies of the donkeys are burned.

“The market is far worse than I expected,” said Alex Mayers, program manager at The Donkey Sanctuary, from a donkey market in Tanzania last week. “There are about 700 donkeys basically coming here to wait to die. There’s no food or water. The donkeys are very stressed. There are lots of signs of dehydration and hunger.”

But there is hope.

Some countries have already taken action and banned exports of donkey skins, making their donkeys much safer. This includes the African countries of Niger and Burkina Faso, and Pakistan, in Asia.

The Donkey Sanctuary is calling for a stop to the trade of donkey skins worldwide, so that the damage already done to donkey populations and the people who depend on them can be assessed.

overview-mapIn particular, we urge other countries affected by this trade to follow the lead taken by Burkina Faso and Niger and ban the slaughter and export of donkeys for their skins,” Suzi Cretney, public relations manager for The Donkey Sanctuary, told The Dodo.

Cretney said that raising public awareness about where ejiao really comes from could help consumers make better choices.

“We are asking countries to follow the lead by Burkina Faso and Niger to end the slaughter and export of donkeys for their skins because it could help thousands, if not millions of donkeys — their welfare, and their real value supporting people’s livelihoods is at risk,” Baker said.

“This has to stop,” Mayers said, standing by a pen packed with donkeys awaiting their fate. “This absolutely just has to stop.”

To get action alerts about how you can help save these donkeys, join the campaign.

Click (HERE) for video and graphic photos!

https://www.thedodo.com/donkey-skin-trade-2230693220.html

Feel Good Sunday: Clydesdales Help Purina Deliver Surprise to Horse Shelter in Need

Source: Purina Mills TV

“Annually, many Americans wait to see the ultimate and final “Big Game” of the year which just concluded in our own backyard, here, in Houston.  But also there are many who may not be football fans but annually look forward to the next installation of the heart tugging, mini-sagas put forth by Budweiser featuring the gentle giants of the equine world, the Clydesdales.  This year, the fans of horses were disappointed when Budweiser benched the ponies and went a totally different direction and suffered poor reviews on their attempt to document immigration history.  The result was a lose/lose on both-sides with Bud slipping in the ratings and the Clydesdales fans left without a horse fix, so we are here to help correct that oversight, today.

We issue a “tissue alert” in advance and would also like to add that we are not endorsing any one horse rescue but instead tipping our hats to all of the fine organizations out there filled with good folks who donate their time, their money and their lives to the effort of finding good forever homes and futures for equines in need.  There is no need to identify them as you already know who you are and we love each and everyone of you bright points of compassion, caring and love.  May you have a wonderful ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and never give up the good fight.  Keep the faith!” ~ R.T.

Utah Wild Horses Lose Bid for Freedom in Federal Court

story by as published in Courthouse News

Friends of Animals fail to convince Federal Judge…”

i-said-noWASHINGTON (CN) – An animal-rights group lost their court battle to block the U.S. government from removing hundreds of wild horses from Utah’s Cedar Mountains.

The Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency tasked with managing public lands, performs roundups periodically across the country to keep the wild horse population from deteriorating the rangeland.

Though the bureau counted 800 horses in the Cedar Mountain herd in March 2016, an aerial survey this past December showed that the herd had increased to approximately 960.

The bureau proposed a plan to round up 600 from the herd, permanently remove no more than 300 of them, and return the rest to the wild after treating them with a contraceptive vaccine called PZP, or porcine zona pellucid.

On Feb. 7, a day before the scheduled roundup, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington rejected a demand by Friends of Animals for an injunction.

Friends of Animals had accused the bureau of violating the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to conduct a new environmental assessment, something the group said the agency was required to do because it would gather more horses this time than it did nine years ago.

Cooper notes in the 23-page ruling, however, that the bureau’s proposal seeks to permanently remove 150 fewer wild horses than it did in 2008, making the overall number of horses affected about the same this time around.

That renders a new environmental assessment unnecessary, Cooper determined.

Friends of Animals also wanted the bureau to review recent studies on possible adverse side effects of PZP on horse health and birthing cycles.

In rejecting this move, Cooper said federal agencies are not required to consider every study that crosses their desks, unless it shows a significant impact on the quality of the human environment the agency had not previously considered.

Here, Cooper found the bureau in compliance.

“BLM considered the studies offered by plaintiff in its comments and determined that they did not significantly change BLM’s prior analysis,” the ruling states.

“The bureau found studies on consecutive years of PZP treatment, for example, irrelevant to the proposed action because Cedar Mountain mares are treated in four to five-year intervals, not in consecutive years or breeding cycles,” the ruling continues (emphasis original).

Cooper also found that the BLM had already considered older studies with findings similar to those Friends of Animals wanted the agency to review.

“Given these reasoned determinations, the Court concludes that the BLM most likely acted within its informed discretion in refusing to find that the ‘new information’ offered by Plaintiff warranted additional environmental analysis,” the ruling states.

In opting not to grant an injunction to the group, Cooper called its claim that PZP has long-term and adverse health consequences on the horses “unsubstantiated by scientific literature.”

“Plaintiff points only to the declaration of its photographer-member to support it,” the ruling states.

Cooper additionally shot down the advocacy group’s claim that the BLM failed to consider range conditions and herd size in making its determination to remove wild horses to maintain an ecological balance.

As the bureau said in its final decision, which the ruling quotes, the “gather is necessary to remove excess wild horses and to reduce the population in order to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance between wild horses and other multiple uses as required under [the Wild Horses Act].” (Emphasis original.)

The logic underpinning that “appears simple and sound,” Cooper found.

On whether the BLM should be required to make a determination of excess before claiming the authority to treat young mares with PZP, Cooper found the bureau to be in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

“It is likely that BLM properly determined that there were excess horses in the Cedar Mountain HMA,” the ruling states, abbreviating herd management area. “And its decision to remove or otherwise manage that excess population does not appear to be in violation of the Wild Horses Act.”

https://courthousenews.com/feds-avert-challenge-to-roundup-of-wild-horses/