Alexander Urges Zero Tolerance for Illegal Horse Soring

Source: WDEF.com

“Republicans Close Ranks to Squash Inhumane Horse Soring…”

Legislative Asst. Barry Londeree, Terry Fitch and Jerry Finch listen to Rep. Whitfield discuss bill to help stop the "soring" of Tennessee Walking horses

Legislative Asst. Barry Londeree, Terry Fitch and Jerry Finch listen to Rep. Whitfield discuss bill to help stop the “soring” of Tennessee Walking horses.  Photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Washington, D.C. (WDEF) – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) finalized a rule that would give the agency authority to ban all action devices and require USDA selected inspectors:

“I am in favor of wiping out the contemptible and illegal practice of horse soring, not wiping out the century old tradition of showing Tennessee Walking Horses as this rule could do. I and other members of Congress introduced legislation last Congress that would end horse soring. I would hope the new Secretary of Agriculture will not concur with this overreaching rule announced during the last few days of the Obama administration and instead will work with Congress to enact legislation that punishes trainers, owners and riders who abuse horses while preserving the opportunity for law abiding horse enthusiasts to participate in competitions that are the basis of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.”

The Tennessee Walking Horse industry supports more than 20,000 jobs nationwide and pumps $3.2 billion into the nation’s economy.

On Jan. 13th, USDA published the final rule: “Horse Protection: Licensing of Designated Qualified Persons and Other Amendments.” The final rule requires USDA to assume responsibility for training, screening, and licensing horse inspectors and bans the use of all action devices.

In the last Congress, Alexander, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced legislation to take additional steps to end horse soring, while preserving the Tennessee Walking Horse tradition.

Feel Good Sunday: How Smart Are Horses?

by as published on NPR.org

“This study is the first to show that horses possess some cognitive basis for this ability of understanding others’ knowledge state in social communication with humans,” 

Photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Dogs are celebrated everywhere these days for the clever things they and their brains can do, and the science of dog cognition continues to soar in popularity.

As a cat person, I can’t help but add that cats, too, show off their savviness for science.

Now, some cognitive scientists are asking about another domesticated animal companion that’s been comparatively neglected: horses.

Japanese scientists Monamie Ringhofer and Shinya Yamamoto of Kobe University have published online in the journal Animal Cognition the results of the first research to investigate how horses respond to the state of knowledge or ignorance of their human companions. The results are impressive.

Ringhofer and Yamamoto designed research to test eight thoroughbred horses in a paddock at Kobe University’s equestrian club. The horses watched as a research assistant put a carrot in a food bucket. The bucket wasn’t accessible to the horses, only to a human caretaker. In one experimental condition, the human caretaker witnessed the food going into the bucket (knowledge state). In a second condition, the caretaker did not watch as the carrot was placed into the bucket (uninformed state). The horses’ responses were videotaped and compared between the two conditions.

The authors acknowledge that follow-up studies are needed. It’s an important result, though, because it points not only to advanced cognition but also to flexible cognition, with the horses adjusting their communicative behavior to the humans’ knowledge state.

“This study is the first to show that horses possess some cognitive basis for this ability of understanding others’ knowledge state in social communication with humans,” Ringhofer and Yamamoto write.

Some non-human primates do this but, of course, horses are evolutionarily far more distant relatives of ours than chimpanzees. So what about dogs: How do they respond?

Ringhofer and Yamomoto write that in a similar experiment carried out by other researchers, dogs didn’t do what the horses did — they didn’t look at, touch or push their caretakers. Instead, the dogs alternated their gaze between the uninformed human experimenter and the hidden food’s location.

In other words, the dogs directed the humans’ attention also — just in a different way. It could be that it’s, perhaps, in keeping with their different evolutionary history as herding, hunting, service and rescue animals. Each species has in its own way fine-tuned a skill leading to effective communication with humans.

Science journalist and equestrian Wendy Williams, author of The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion, told me via email that: “This break-through study has been a long time coming.”

“For most of the history of horse domestication, we’ve assumed that communications between humans and horses was unidirectional. Humans order. Horses obey. But in this study, we see that communication could be a two-way street. Horses do try to communicate with humans. Most of us just don’t try to learn their language.”

Williams pointed out that social signaling is important among horses in a herd:

“Horses are highly social animals. In a natural state, they depend on each other for information that provides for the survival of the whole band. If a predator, for example, appears on the horizon, one horse immediately alerts the others through a wide variety of signals. Snorting, pricked ears and stamping are only a few of these signals. There’s no reason why they wouldn’t try to communicate with humans as well.”

Lead researcher Ringhofer said, via email, that not all the horses responded during the experiment in the same way. This is interesting and also expected: Animals’ behavioral tendencies and personalities vary.

“Most horses used visual and tactile signals to request the [attention of the] caretakers. However, two horses seemed to use extra behavior. They stood near the caretaker and located their face in front of the caretaker (very close to the caretaker’s face). Then, both of them finally hit the caretakers’ face with their face,” Ringhofer said.

Ringhofer couldn’t determine if the face-hitting was accidental or purposeful on the horses’ part, and so didn’t include it in her analyses. But she does wonder if those two horses might have come up with quite a startling way of social signaling!

Direct comparison of intelligence across species doesn’t work well, because there is no single standard of what “smart” means across differently evolved animals. Asking if horses and dogs are equally smart, then, doesn’t really make much sense.

The bottom line here is all about the horses themselves.

Together with other recent research showing that horses can use symbols to communicate with humans, this new study tells us that horses think carefully about what’s going on around them.


Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. She often writes about the cognition, emotion and welfare of animals, and about biological anthropology, human evolution and gender issues. Barbara’s most recent book on animals is titled How Animals Grieve, and her forthcoming book, Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat, will be published in March. You can keep up with what she is thinking on Twitter: @bjkingape

Stop Slaughter of Yellowstone Bison

by GEORGE WUERTHNER as published on the Billings Gazette

“Again, the Feds team up with Welfare Ranchers to destroy and slaughter yet another species of America’s wild four legged National Heritage” ~ R.T.

bison-slaughter-yellowstoneThe proposal to butcher another 900-1,000 of Yellowstone’s genetically unique wild bison is a crime against the world’s global heritage.

It reflects badly on the people of Montana that they tolerate this annual slaughter to go on. It also exhibits poor judgement on the part of hunters, tribal members, and others who participate or sanction this crime against nature and our national patrimony.

Yellowstone’s bison herd is one of the few bison herds in the country free of cattle genes, and one of the only bison herds that have remained continuously wild. There is genuine aesthetic and ecological value in wildness. But by slaughtering Yellowstone’s bison (or to use the clinically sanitized term “culling”), we are destroying Yellowstone’s wild bison.

Furthermore, the annual removal of bison has real ecological consequences for other wildlife basically taking food out of the mouths of wolves, grizzlies, coyotes, ravens, magpies and other animals that kill or scavenge bison.

The park’s bison have gone through several genetic bottlenecks. At one time, the population numbered 25 animals. And previous years of slaughter and capture/shipment by the livestock industry and others outside of the park means the park’s bison have gone through repeated genetic reductions. Last year, for instance, 600 bison were killed.

This is made worse by the fact that bison are a tournament species, whereby dominant bulls do the majority of all breeding. This means the “effective” breeding population is much lower than the actual population numbers and, as a result, so is the genetic diversity.

The bison are being slaughtered under the pretense of protecting Montana’s livestock industry from brucellosis. This is a sham because there is no documented instance of a wild bison transmitting brucellosis to livestock.

For transmission to occur, a bison with active bacteria would have to abort her fetus. Then cattle would have to lick the aborted fetus or its fluid during the short time when the bacteria is still alive and before scavengers like coyotes, ravens and magpies find the dead fetus and consume it. Bison bulls and calves are regularly killed, demonstrating the fraudulent reasoning behind the bison slaughter.

Cattle can be vaccinated against the disease, and when combined with other strategies like preventing the overlap of bison and cattle use of pastures, the risk can be contained and is negligible.

What the livestock industry really fears is the spread of bison on public lands. Bison and cattle consume nearly the same foods. What the livestock industry wants to avoid is a debate over whether public bison or private cattle should get preferential access to public lands forage.

The other reason is that the livestock industry wants domination over our public wildlife. The control they exert over bison is part of a larger goal of controlling other wildlife species, including elk.

Killing Yellowstone’s bison is artificially skewing the bison herd to a younger age, and removing the natural processes of predation, starvation, and other factors that normally affect these animals.

The state of Montana is particularly culpable in the continued destruction of the park’s wild bison. The state has outlawed the shipping of live bison outside of a small zone except for transfer to slaughterhouses. This policy makes it impossible to relocate bison to other suitable public lands in Montana or to Indian reservations that want to start bison herds of their own.

Yellowstone’s wild bison must be recognized as a valued wildlife animal in Montana and throughout the West. Its unique genetic heritage is worthy of protection. We have a moral obligation to enhance and expand Yellowstone’s bison to the American West.

 George Wuerthner is an ecologist and author of 38 books, including three on Yellowstone National Park. He lives in Livingston and Oregon.

 

Breaking! France Passes Historic Bill Ordering Cameras In All Slaughterhouses

By Carole R. Davis as published on World Animal News

“The new law includes an independent commission, a national slaughterhouse ethics committee and comes loaded with stiff penalties for animal cruelty violations…”

image-2The French national assembly passed a bill for mandatory cameras in slaughterhouses today. The controversial measure, to be implemented in 2018, follows a remarkable intensification of public outcry after a series of shocking undercover investigations were released to the French media by local animal rights organization L214. The vote to monitor slaughterhouse practices and workers for animal cruelty, safety and hygiene violations passed 28 to 4 (opponents of the bill were from the right and center political parties).

Before it is brought to the senate in March to be passed into law, the measure will be implemented first (by July 2017) through “experimentation,” in 263 slaughterhouses, placing cameras in all areas where animals are “moved, held, immobilized, stunned and killed.”

Stakeholders, including animal protection professionals, slaughterhouse management and government officials will have access to the footage to determine how to craft the final legislation.

The French government, subtly bending to pressure from powerful animal agriculture lobby groups, wants the “initial opportunity to evaluate the current conditions” ahead of passing a final legislation brought forth by socialist Olivier Falorni, titled “respect for the animal in slaughterhouses law.” During the session earlier today, Minister of Agriculture Stephane LeFoll, invoked the “farmers’ crisis” and “respect for slaughterhouse workers” in order to assuage the growing anger of agricultural workers — men who have indulged in media-hungry stunts by dumping truckloads of manure in front of ministries, blocking traffic with trucks, burning tires and hanging pigs from highway overpasses. The agriculture unions are pushing for further government relief for “Made in France” meat and dairy products while they battle waning meat sales, low milk and meat prices and push for higher wages, higher prices and an end to “unfair” competition with other countries. Animal rights, environmental and progressive healthcare advocates want an end to meat and dairy government subsidies and want public money to be spent promoting the production of sustainable, healthy, plant based food.

The new law includes an independent commission, a national slaughterhouse ethics committee and comes loaded with stiff penalties for animal cruelty violations — 6 to 12 months of prison and fines from 7500 to 20,000 Euros ($8000 to $21,000).

L214 has gained legitimacy in France by conducting risky undercover investigations to expose just how wide-spread and routine shocking incidents of cruelty to animals are. The organization has exposed footage of animals being tormented, brutalized and butchered by callous workers while still alive.

Several weeks ago, a dozen activists from 269Life Liberation Animale were arrested after breaking into a slaughterhouse to “witness the killing” and to stop the production line. They stood their ground on the killing floor for several hours, cameras rolling, before they were removed by police.

Animal rights protests are attracting increasingly large crowds in Paris, Nice and Lyon, helping make France one of the leading countries where animal protection is considered an important social justice cause linked to environmental efforts to limit climate change.

BLM Boosts Pryor Mustangs’ Maximum Population Number

Written by  as published in The Powell Tribune

“I think, quite honestly, one of the biggest obstacles to their continued survival is their gene pool,”

The Pryor Mountains can support another five to 15 head of mustangs, according to a new reckoning by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

A judge ordered the bureau to recalculate the appropriate management level (AML) in 2015, said Nancy Cerroni of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center in Lovell.

In July, U.S. District Judg

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

e Susan Watters noted that the bureau had stated, in a 2009 decision, that it would recalculate the appropriate management level within five years.

“The court finds that federal regulations, case law and its own representations to the public bind BLM to this commitment,” Watters said. 

In a Dec. 21 notice, the bureau announced it had “completed an analysis of monitoring information and recalculated the AML.”

“In summary, the recalculation formula indicates a maximum AML of 98 to 121 adult wild horses; therefore the report states the current AML of 90 to 120 adult wild horses would achieve a thriving natural ecological balance on the PMWHR (Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range),” the notice from the U.S. Department of Interior/Bureau says.

Cerroni said she supports the work of the bureau’s Billings field office.

“I think the management plan is really good,” Cerroni said, saying it’s flexible, adaptive to range conditions and employs porcine zona pellucida (PZP) — a form of birth control for the horses. The bureau’s aim is a healthy population. It does not manage for specific colors in the horses. The bureau cares about the Spanish influence in the mustangs’ blood and a strong genetic pool, she said.

Cerroni’s son, Matt Dillon, has been tracking the herd’s lineage since the 1970s, she said.

“I think, quite honestly, one of the biggest obstacles to their continued survival is their gene pool,” Cerroni said.

The bureau is working with the center and Ginger Kathrens to watch genetics, Cerroni said. Kathrens is executive director of the Cloud Foundation, a Pryor wild horse advocacy group.

The herd has averaged around 160 head for years, Cerroni said.

There were 160 adult horses on the range in 2016, but there are no plans in the immediate future to gather the horses for later sale, said Jim Sparks, Billings field manager for the bureau.

Colt control

The Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center supports the use of PZP to prevent pregnancy in mares, but its leaders want to observe how it affects fertility when a mare is taken off the drug, Cerroni said. The bureau has been sharing its Pryor-PZP data.

The bureau is administering PZP to achieve a birth rate equal to the wild horse death rate, Sparks said.

Darting horses with PZP can be effective if the herd is small enough to distinguish individual mares, and if shooters can get close enough for a shot.

In herds ranging in the thousands, PZP is not so successful, Sparks added.

Cerroni said she believes the range can support 160 adults, because it has for years.

The population has averaged 155 adults for the last nine years, according to the bureau’s recalculation document.

Quoting Gus Cothran, Cerroni said the herd must have at least 150 adults to maintain healthy genetics. Cothran is the director of the Equine Blood Typing Research Laboratory at the University of Kentucky-Lexington.

A minimum herd size of 50 effective breeding animals with a total population size of about 150-200 animals is recommended, Cothran said in the bureau’s 2010 fertility control environmental assessment comment section.

Water & fewer foals

In 2009, the bureau undertook some water projects to encourage the horses to stay put longer in the mid-level of the Pryors to allow the upper (summer) and lower (winter) ranges to recover from grazing, Sparks said. If nutritious flora are  overgrazed, they will die off or be unable to compete with other less-beneficial plants.

The higher and lower grounds are at less than their potential, Sparks said.

The horses migrate to the upper range every summer, he said, “just like a herd of elk.”

Speak up

The public is welcome to comment on the recalculation and/or the report. Send comments to Bureau of Land Management, Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, Montana, 59101-4669. The deadline is the close of the business day on Jan. 24.

The center will review the reports, Cerroni said.

The Pryor herd is doing OK, Sparks said. “They’re healthy.”

http://www.powelltribune.com/news/item/15611-blm-boosts-pryor-mustangs-maximum-population-number

Wild Horses get Favorable Hearing in Battle with California Welfare Ranchers over Sanctuary

as published on The Sun Herald

“Judge Robert L. Wilkins called a government assertion “factually unsupported,””

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A top federal court on Wednesday appeared ready to force changes in a Forest Service plan that reduced wild horse protections in a remote Northern California county.

With tough questions and some pointed statements, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit revealed their apparent skepticism about management of the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory in Modoc County. The Forest Service shrank the territory by about 25,000 acres in 2013.

“You’ve got a problem here,” Judge Patricia Millett told a Justice Department attorney.

At another point during the 30-minute oral argument, Judge Robert L. Wilkins called a government assertion “factually unsupported,” while Judge David Tatel offered that the wild horse advocates “still have a case” even if the government prevails on one issue.

The tenor and the content of the oral argument held before what is often called the nation’s second-highest court suggested eventual victory for the advocates who are challenging the Forest Service. Underscoring the stakes, an attorney for the California Cattlemen’s Association, the state’s farm bureau and other groups sat at the table alongside the federal government’s team…(CONTINUED)

http://www.sunherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article125890144.html

Turning Horse Blood into Profits

Source: The Dodo

“This story first appeared in ‘The Dodo’ back in October of 2015 yet it is bubbling back to the surface as of late.  Several readers have been forwarding petitions and news snippets in an effort to help get the word out and we whole hardheartedly agree that this topic is something that we need to shine the light of day upon and chase away as an unacceptable practice within our contemporary society.  Again, it is often a true embarrassment to carry the burden of the title ‘Human’ when such things have not an ounce of humanity within them.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


A close look at the Serum & PMSG Industry in the United States, Argentina and Uruguay.

A new undercover investigation carried out by Animals Angels, Inc. (AA) and their European partner, Tierschutzbund Zuerich/Animal Welfare Foundation (TSB/AWF), reveals yet another way humans have found to exploit horses; this time to garner multi-million dollar profits for none other than pharmaceutical companies.

WARNING GRAPHIC

Shocking evidence has uncovered the existence of “blood farms” in the U.S. as well as in countries like Argentina and Uruguay. Blood farms are a high dollar enterprise where “donor herds” of horses are kept for blood extraction purposes only. The blood drawn from the horses kept on these farms is used by companies throughout the U.S. and abroad for a variety of applications such as biological research, diagnostic manufacturing and veterinary drugs. The blood taken from pregnant mares is especially in high demand, because it contains a precious hormone used to produce a veterinary drug needed by the pork industry. PMSG, or Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin, is the main ingredient of several products that will artificially induce heat in weaned sows to achieve a faster and more regulated reproduction.

AA determined that several U.S. companies are involved in the trade, some even maintaining their own herds for collection purposes. Others purchase the finished product from their international affiliates, who in turn obtained the PMSG straight from sources in Argentina or Uruguay. While a relatively unknown industry, the horse blood trade is a huge business. For instance, Syntex Uruguay SA, one of the largest producers of PMSG, exported $8 million dollars’ worth of the product to the EU in 2014 alone.

“This industry has, for the most part, remained hidden from the public. For the first time, an animal welfare organization has managed to obtain pictures of the process.” said Sonja Meadows, Lead Investigator and President of Animals’ Angels, Inc.

AA and their EU partner TSB/AWF conducted investigations in the US, Argentina, and Uruguay to find out just what the horses are forced to endure in this mostly unregulated and undocumented business.

Inspections by governmental agencies are virtually nonexistent. Supervision? Enforcement? Oversight? There is none. Remarkably, there are no specific laws or regulations in the U.S., Argentina, or Uruguay to protect horses in this unique environment. There is absolutely nothing in place to regulate just how much blood is taken or how often. While guidelines exist for blood farms to follow, there are no consequences when they fail to comply, making the guidelines useless.

“These animals are basically invisible. Enforcement agencies need to step up and ensure that the horses’ welfare and well-being are considered. These companies can basically do what they want with these horses unabated with no fear of reprisal” said Meadows.

Strict regulations are exactly what this industry needs if the recent AA/TSB investigation is any indication. Below are just a few of the horrific observations documented in Argentina and Uruguay:

Mares are continuously kept pregnant so as to have their blood extracted as often as possible. If the mares become too weak during the extraction period, the foal is aborted by workers who destroy the sac with their bare hands to prompt the abortion of the fetus.

Stronger mares are allowed to deliver their foals. However this is not good news. If female, they are raised to join the production line. If males, they are sold off to slaughter. Once mares cannot get pregnant any longer, they are also shipped off to slaughter.

In between extraction cycles, mares are kept in Eucalyptus forests and vast pastures to recover. Workers do not check on them on a regular basis, so injuries, illness, and miscarriages often go unnoticed. Investigators found that horses often die without assistance.

A horse should have just 15% – 20% of its total blood volume taken during a 4 week period. However, no regulations are in place to ensure that not more blood is taken. Former workers report that it is common practice for 10-12 liters to be taken in a single extraction which can lead to hypovolemic shock and even death. Undercover footage from Argentina seems to confirm this, since a mare was seen collapsing and struggling right after blood extraction.

Undercover footage also shows violent handling and abuse. Horses are beaten with wooden boards and sticks, and tortured by excessive electric prod use.

Public records indicate that U.S. companies, such as Intervet Inc. d/b/a/ Merck Animal Health, sell products (P.G. 600) containing PMSG obtained from horses in Uruguay. Others, like Sigma Aldrich admit to the fact that their product uses PMSG obtained from herds within the U.S.

When it comes to regular horse serum, a company called Central Biomedia located in Missouri is of particular concern. The donor herd at this location has approximately 200 horses made up of Draft geldings. Although the company’s website espouses the conditions under which the horses live, Animals’ Angels investigators witnessed different circumstances indeed. Thin Draft horses with ribs showing and horses struggling to walk through muddy pens as they sank into the muck well over their ankles weren’t exactly described in detail on the website. In addition it is of great concern that these horses, like at so many other blood farms, might end up at slaughter when their usefulness has ended.

But worse yet, as with other blood farms, these horses are “invisible” as is the facility. They operate with seeming impunity. USDA/APHIS does not carry out welfare inspections or in fact, any type of inspection at these blood farms, since the Animal Welfare Act does not apply. This is obviously a serious gap in the enforcement aspect that needs to be corrected immediately to provide the protection these animals deserve.

AA strongly urges the U.S. Congress to amend the Animal Welfare Act to include stringent regulations for the humane handling and care, as well as welfare inspections, for the horses used on blood farms in the United States. Additionally, AA calls upon the industry itself to end all PMSG production and replace it with available, synthetic solutions.

Until then, AA and their international coalition partner, TSB/AWF, are calling upon the EU Commission and the U.S. Government to stop the import of PMSG from Uruguay and Argentina.

To learn more about this issue, please read AA’s in-depth report.

To view petitions click (HERE)

Snowfall Delays BLM Wild Horse Removal Operations in Northwest Colorado

Latest on Lantry SD Former Wild Horses: Court Showdown Looms

as published in the Rapid City Journal

“…if a judge approves the transfer of ownership, the two groups said, they will attempt to place the horses in safe homes…”

15894876_10212499251582885_2861906781713127176_nDUPREE | State and local authorities have filed a motion to permanently remove hundreds of wild horses from a troubled north-central South Dakota sanctuary, and lawyers on both sides of the case will make arguments to a judge later this month.

The motion, filed Thursday at the Ziebach County Courthouse in Dupree, seeks to transfer ownership of the horses to “a suitable caretaker.” The motion does not name the caretaker, but a pair of nonprofit organizations said in a joint release Friday evening that they would assume the role.

They are Fleet of Angels, a North American network of trailer owners that provides emergency assistance and transportation to at-risk horses, and Habitat for Horses, a rescue group based in Texas.

If a judge approves the transfer of ownership, the two groups said, they will attempt to place the horses in safe homes, including sanctuaries and rescue organizations. Another group, California-based Return to Freedom, would assist with the adoptions.

“This would be one of the largest known equine rescue and adoption efforts in U.S. history,” the release stated.

An estimated 540 horses remain at the small, overgrazed ranch of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB) near Lantry, where 810 horses were impounded by state and local authorities in October following a finding of neglect by a state-employed veterinarian. Fleet of Angels already has overseen the adoption of 270 of the horses, the organization reported.

The horses have been under the care of Dewey and Ziebach counties since the impounding began. Court documents filed with Thursday’s motion say the counties have borne a total of $156,735 in costs, of which $52,000 has been covered by the ISPMB, $11,714 has been covered by donations to the counties and $15,000 has been covered by a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, leaving the counties on the hook for $78,021.

According to the nonprofit groups that want to assume ownership of the horses, The Humane Society of the United States and other donors have contributed to a fund that will cover the counties’ remaining costs if the transfer of ownership is approved.

Court documents also show that the ISPMB has retained attorneys Nathan Chicoine and Quentin Riggins of the Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore law firm in Rapid City ahead of a hearing scheduled later this month before state Fourth Circuit Court Judge Randall Macy.

The ownership-transfer motion was filed jointly by Sherri Wald, deputy attorney general for the South Dakota Animal Industry Board; Steven Aberle, Dewey County state’s attorney; and Cheryl Laurenz-Bogue, Ziebach County state’s attorney.

Donations sought for care of wild horses

Ongoing costs to feed, care for and treat the 540 wild horses impounded in north-central South Dakota will be an estimated $40,000 per month, according to the nonprofit groups who want to assume ownership of the horses and find new homes for them.

The groups are encouraging donations to the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance, either online at wildhorsesanctuaryalliance.org or by mail to The Animals Voice, 1692 Mangrove Ave. #276, Chico, CA 95926.

Anyone interested in adopting a horse or horses is encouraged to contact Fleet of Angels by email at HoldYourHorses@aol.com or go to the ISPMB Horses/Emergency Adoption Mission page on Facebook.

When allegations of starving wild horses surfaced at a sanctuary in remote north-central South Dakota, it seemed like a stunning and sudden fa…

WY Welfare Ranchers Shift Blood-Lust from Wild Horses to Coyotes

By Mike Koshmrl Jackson Hole Daily

“These contests and their impacts on public resources will be significant,”

Jackson Hole animal advocates are pushing back against coyote-killing derbies they allege are illegally taking place on federal land in Wyoming.

coyote-derbyWyoming Untrapped Program Director Kristin Combs argued to the Bureau of Land Management office that coyote derbies that operate around the state lack necessary permits.

One contest, the $50-per-person Wyoming Coyote Classic, is set for outside of Rock Springs on Saturday.

In a letter to BLM’s Rock Springs office Combs contended that because the Coyote Classic and similar events are a commercial and competitive use of the land, they need a special recreation permit to be legal. By not requiring one, she said, the BLM is violating the code of federal regulations.

“These contests and their impacts on public resources will be significant,” Combs wrote, “and should be fully reviewed by the agency and the public prior to granting a permit.”

Wyoming Untrapped gathered environmental and animal rights groups to sign, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project.

Kristen Lenhardt, BLM’s deputy state director for communications, stood behind unpermitted killing derbies. Contestants, she said, are no different than regular hunters.

“There is a misperception out there right now regarding these coyote hunts,” Lenhardt said. “The reason why this event does not need a special event permit is because it isn’t beginning and ending on public land and there is no designated route that ensures the public will be using BLM lands. And there’s no significant threat that shows that there will be significant damage to natural resources.”

A company that’s making money leading people on tours of BLM lands, Lenhardt said, would be an example of a commercial activity that would require a special recreation permit.

Although no such events occur in Teton County, coyote-killing derbies take place regularly in Wyoming. At least two typically happen in Sublette County each winter, there’s an annual Cheyenne event, and on Feb. 4 the “Best of the Best” coyote hunting tournament comes to Rock Springs.

The land where the 30 to 50 Wyoming Coyote Classic contestants will hunt Saturday is a checkerboard-style of private and BLM property, said Eric Adams, a longtime participant.

“So there’s as much hunting on private property as public,” he said.

The Wyoming Coyote Classic, a 15-year-running Rock Springs tradition, Adams said, is “just a bunch of guys hunting.” Coyote derbies, he said, are unfairly vilified. He pointed out that all animals killed are skinned and their furs put to use.

“Whether I’m hunting on the weekend or in a contest, whatever animal I’m going to kill, it is as ethically and humanely as possible,” Adams said. “Coyotes are so smart, and I treat them with just as much respect as I do deer or elk…(CONTINUED)

http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/jackson_hole_daily/local/mass-coyote-kills-take-heat/article_a48f45fd-c857-592b-8f92-2ee685aa2a8f.html