BLM seeks public comment of Environmental Analysis for Wild Horse Gather in Southeastern Utah

NOTE:  The link to documents in the BLM notice below isn’t working.  Here is a working link to the planning documents:  https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=renderDefaultPlanOrProjectSite&projectId=93501&dctmId=0b0003e880e86803

News Release

Utah State Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 20, 2018

Media Contact: Lisa Reid  (435) 743-3128

BLM seeks public comment of Environmental Analysis for Wild Horse Gather in Southeastern Utah

Price, Utah—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Price Field Office is seeking public comment on an environmental assessment (EA) analyzing a proposed wild horse gather, removal and fertility treatment in the Muddy Creek Herd Management Area (HMA).

The Muddy Creek HMA is located in Emery County, approximately 20 miles south of Ferron, Utah, in the San Rafael Swell. It consists of approximately 283,400 acres of public and state lands.

The EA analyzes a proposal to gather and remove excess wild horses and apply fertility control between two and four times over a ten-year period. The EA, including maps, is available on ePlanning at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front- office/eplanning/nepa/nepa_register.do; search for project name “Muddy.”

Written comments will be accepted by letter or e-mail until May 20, 2018. Special attention will be given to those comments that contain new technical or scientific information relevant to the proposed action. Comments should be as specific as possible. Comments that contain only opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response but may be considered in the BLM decision-making process. Please reference “Muddy Creek Wild Horse Gather Plan EA” when submitting comments.

Written comments may be mailed or e-mailed using the following:

Mail
BLM Price Field Office
Attn: Price Field Office Manager
125 S. 600 W. Price, UT 84501

E-mail
blm_ut_pr_whb@blm.gov

Those who provide comments are advised that before including their address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information, they should be aware that the entire comment – including the personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While those commenting can ask in their comments to withhold personal identifying information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that they will be able to do so.

For additional EA-specific information, please contact Mike Tweddell at (435) 636- 3600. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question with the above individual. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.

-BLM-

Follow us on Twitter @BLMUtah

Feel Good Sunday: Benny the Therapy Donkey visits UT Law School

as published on The Statesman.com

“Leave it to the women of Wild Horse Freedom Federation to lead the way and shout volumes for the voiceless wild horses and burros.  Be it Debbie Coffey and her massive research and legal eagle stuff, Carol Walker out in the field documenting the beauty that is our wild equines, Terry Fitch behind the scenes keeping the books straight and donors informed to this week with our Director of Legal Affairs Dawn Reveley (also a law professor at the University of Texas) and our Director of Wild Burro Affairs, Marjorie Farabee…making news and ensuring that people, in this case law students, are getting the message.  Thanks to all of you for who you are and for what you do.  I am so privileged to call you my friends.” ~ R.T.


Click on Image to view video

Congress demands wild horse and burro plan from BLM

By Charlie Booher as published on Wildlife.org

“The status quo still isn’t working for our wild horses and burros, the ecology on the range, or the American taxpayers”

BLM attacking wild horses – photo by Carol Walker

When Congress passed the omnibus appropriations bill last month, legislators included a mandate for the Bureau of Land Management to provide a new wild horse and burro management plan. The mandate was joined by a $5.55 million cut to the program.

The statements accompanying the appropriations bill for 2019 said the House and Senate committees that oversee the Interior Department, including the BLM, were “extremely disappointed” in the agency’s failure to produce a comprehensive plan that was originally requested in the FY17 spending package. Legislators said they wanted a plan “to address the fast-rising costs of the Wild Horse and Burro program and overpopulation of wild horses and burros on the range,” and asserted that continued “failure to address these problems is irresponsible and will result in irreparable damage to the landscape and the welfare of the animals protected by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act” of 1971.

Congress requested a plan from the BLM that:

  1. reduces the complexity and cost of contracting policies and procedures;
  2. eliminates unnecessary environmental reviews;
  3. simplifies and expands the use of partnerships and cooperative agreements;
  4. identifies statutory and regulatory barriers to implementing the plan; and
  5. has the goal of reducing costs while improving the health and welfare of wild horses and burros, and the range.

The statement directs the BLM to provide the plan within 30 days of enactment of the act, but it is still unclear if the deadline will be met. Until the BLM provides a comprehensive plan and corresponding legislative proposals, legislators said the appropriations committees will “maintain the existing prohibitions and reduce the resources available for the program.”

The BLM is working on the “final stages of developing a plan to Congress” describing “several management options aimed at putting the Wild Horse and Burro Program back on a sustainable and fiscally responsible track,” Amber Cargile, BLM’s acting national spokeswoman, told E&E News.

This strong statement expresses Congress’ continued frustration with the growth of wild horse and burro populations, the cost of sustaining current management practices and the political challenges facing the program. The administration’s recent budget proposals have also expressed a need for policy and management changes.

The House Appropriations Committee made changes to wild horse and burro management in its FY18 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill in an attempt to improve the program’s outcomes, but this bill never made it to the Senate.\

“The status quo still isn’t working for our wild horses and burros, the ecology on the range, or the American taxpayers” Rep. Ken Calvert, R-California, chairman of the House appropriations subpanel on interior department spending told the Associated Press.

As of March 2017, the BLM estimated more than 73,000 wild horses and burros existed across 27 million acres of federal herd management areas in 10 western states. More than 45,000 additional horses and burros are held in off-range corrals and pastures. This is 90,000 more animals than the agency’s established population objective, known as the Appropriate Management Level, of less than 27,000. AML is set in land use management plans based on the health of the rangelands, and in balance with other uses on the range including wildlife and livestock grazing. When populations exceed this level, the ecologically feral species negatively impact the rangelands.

In 2016, The Wildlife Society testified at a House Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing, expressing the need for more active management of wild horse and burro populations. The National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board has also expressed frustrations with the program and made strong recommendations to change the current management paradigm at its previous meetings.

http://wildlife.org/congress-demands-wild-horse-and-burro-plan-from-blm/

US Court Overturns Round-Up of Wild Horses in Oregon

as published on USNews.com

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management violated environmental law by conducting an emergency round-up of wild horses in eastern Oregon because the agency did not fully consider the impact of its actions.

Steens HMA wild horse family ~ photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management violated environmental law by rounding up wild horses in eastern Oregon without fully considering the impact of its actions, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon’s ruling could mean that some of the horses will be returned to the Three Fingers Management Area in Malheur County, the Capital Press reported. The judge is expected to rule separately on what to do in light of the violation.

The nonprofit group Friends of Animals sued after the BLM gathered up the horses following a 2016 wildfire that made water and forage scarce. The agency had planned to gather up 50 horses before the blaze, but instead decided to do an “emergency gather” of 150 horses because the fire had burned up so much available grassland and made water scarce.

Friends of Animals alleged the emergency action “went far beyond what was necessary to control the immediate impacts” of the fire without a proper review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.

Instead of permanently removing the horses, BLM could have relocated the horses, used fencing to keep them out of fire-damaged areas or provided extra water sources, the group argued.

The BLM should have conducted a new analysis of the environmental impact after the fire and not relied on its earlier analysis, Simon said.

Lucinda Bach, attorney for the government in this case, said she couldn’t comment on the ruling.

Capital Press was unable to reach an attorney from Friends of Animals for comment.

Louisiana’s Wild and Free Roaming Horses

“The remarkable beauty of one of Louisiana’s best kept secrets is threatened”

Local reporter, Rickie Smith, from The Leesville Leader, has published an article about the unique herds of wild horses seen on Peason Ridge. The article, Wild Horses Embedded in Peason History   highlights the uniqueness of the this area and its wildlife, especially the wild horses who have thrived here for over a century. Please take a moment to read and share the article, as well as show your appreciation to Mr. Smith for getting the word out about the unique herds of culturally significant wild horses in Louisiana.

Recap on the Peason Ridge Heritage Tour:

The Peason Ridge Annual Tour, held on March 30th, 2018 was truly amazing. Mr. Rickey Roberson, our tour guide and local historian, shared his extensive knowledge about an area in west central Louisiana, known as Peason Ridge. The Ridge is situated between the Sabine River and the Red River, called the Neutral Zone where Native Americans and settlers traded during precolonial times.  We learned the locations of each homestead and what crops they grew. Some of the fruit trees still thrive to this day. We learned where each fresh water spring is located, as well as locations of natural salt licks! These natural resources are still providing key nutrients to the wildlife in the area; such as, the unique herds of gaited wild horses, wild turkeys, bobcats, wild hogs, cougars, black bears and the red-cockaded woodpecker which is classified as endangered, just to name a few.

Wild horses and cattle were driven right across vast un-fenced area of what is now Sabine Parish to the livestock markets in Natchitoches in the 1800’s. (Sabine Parish is only 14 miles from Texas border). Saddle horses and wild horses were documented as being sold in 1800’s estate sale records in the Kisatchie region, where Native Americans traded horses before and into the turn of the century.

One of my favorite parts of the tour was when Mr. Robertson explained to all in attendance that the wild and free roaming horses are the last standing reminders of our ancestors in this vast Louisiana landscape know as Peason Ridge.

Brigadier General Patrick D. Frank,  new JRTC Commanding General, kicked off the tour with a speech thanking the Heritage Family members for their sacrifice of loosing their land, which was taken by the Military via imminent domain in 1942, forcing homesteaders to leave.

The tour was escorted by a US Army Captain Jason James. In his opening statement Capt James mentioned how the US Army cares about the environment and preservation of it, as well as the preservation of the old homesteads and artifact areas (most of which are marked with orange stakes). Capt. James even specifically said how they “take care and protect the Red-cockaded Woodpeckeras well as the Horses”.

All in attendance loaded onto an Army bus and spent four hours touring the area. There is so much land to cover and the horses seem so small on this vast Louisiana landscape, its truly breathtaking! The next tour of Peason Ridge is scheduled for October 2018.

In addition to the footage from Peason Ridge, I received several photos from the Drop Zone area of Fort Polk. The video above shows the two distinct areas of concern, which are approx 30 miles apart.

  1. Peason Ridge
  2. Main Base / Drop Zone.

The video is rather long but there are so many wonderful pictures that needed to be shared for everyone to see the remarkable beauty of one of Louisiana’s best kept secrets.

The majority of the public is against these wild, free roaming horses being systemically removed from these wildlife areas, where they and their progeny have coexisted in this rich environment for a century . The locals, as well as all who have come to know and appreciate them, view the wild horses as a unique reminder of days gone by in this historic region of precolonial Louisiana.

It is vital that the public CONTINUE to engage decision makers.

Make your voice heard TODAY.

Please take a moment to contact federal and state officials asking them to protect Louisiana’s wild and free roaming horses!

Take action by ALDF
http://aldf.org/blog/take-action-protect-louisianas-wild-horses/

Mike Strain
(225) 771-8942
info@mikestrain.org
commissioner@ldaf.state.la.us
File a Complaint: 225-922-1234
Buying/Selling/Transport without certificate
Livestock: 800-558-9741

Bill Cassidy
(202) 224-5824
http://www.cassidy.senate.gov
https://twitter.com/BillCassidy
https://www.facebook.com/billcassidy

John Kennedy
(318) 445-2892
(337) 436-6255
(202) 224-4623
https://www.kennedy.senate.gov/public/email-me
https://www.kennedy.senate.gov/public/

John Bel Edwards
(844) 860-1413
(866) 366-1121
govpress@la.gov
https://www.facebook.com/LouisianaGov/
https://twitter.com/LouisianaGov

Jeff Landry
(225) 326-6079
(225) 326-6200
ConstituentServices@ag.louisiana.gov 
https://www.facebook.com/LandryforLA/

Billy Nungesser, Lieutenant Governor
ltgov@crt.la.gov
(225) 342-7009
(504) 433-1200

Go to @fortpolkhorsesPEGA for more info or http://www.pegasusequine.org

Brazil Debates Fate of Millions of Idled Donkeys

APODI, Brazil—The dependable donkey once did it all here in northeast Brazil, from hauling in the harvest to carrying children to remote schoolhouses. Now so many of these ubiquitous beasts of burden populate this vast swath of rural Brazil that they have become a problem—and for some, an opportunity.

Modernity and the skyrocketing sale of motorcycles have demoted the burro from its long-held status. Once cherished here for their hardy load-carrying, donkeys are increasingly seen as a nuisance as they saunter into traffic or munch greenery in people’s yards.

“Today, a donkey is born and nobody wants it,” lamented Eribaldo Nobre, 53, whose family used donkeys to lug fresh water home when he was a child. “Progress made this animal worthless.”

Enter China, where soaring demand for protein has put donkey meat on the menu. But Chinese consumers hanker after more than just the meat. They also have a growing craving for ejiao, a gelatinous substance made from boiled donkey hides, which is said to boost health, reverse aging and serve as an aphrodisiac.

Brazil, with 1 million donkeys and world-class slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants, is now looking to cash in. The plans to do so have touched off an emotional struggle between those who see donkeys as animals to exploit, even to consume, and those who want to protect what they see as a steadfast emblem of Brazilian rural life.

The front line of that fight lies here in the northeast, where 90% of Brazil’s donkeys can be found meandering among small farming communities.

“Donkeys are a symbol of Brazil’s northeast,” said Geuza Leitão, president of an animal-rights group in Ceará state north of here and author of “Your Excellency, The Donkey,” a book eulogizing the humble burro. “We want them to leave the donkey alone.”

A slaughterhouse focusing on donkey-derived exports to China is being built here just outside of Apodi, a town of 36,000 where donkeys often impede the very cars and motorcycles that made them obsolete. It will be the second donkey abattoir designed with the Chinese market in mind, after a facility in Bahia started small-scale donkey slaughtering last year in a pilot program that Brazilian and Chinese officials hope will soon expand.

“We want to open the door to this market as soon as possible,” said Luis Rangel, an official at Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry who oversees safety standards and has been working with Chinese officials to further exports. “We’re looking for new agricultural products, because we’re already champions in the traditional ones,” he added, referring to Brazil’s huge cattle industry.

Brazil hasn’t yet issued the sanitary licenses necessary to enable regular shipments of donkey products to China, nor has China approved the import of products from the two donkey slaughterhouses. But both sides are so confident that shipments of donkey products to China will begin later this year that they are already hatching joint plans to go beyond the current feral or semi-feral population and genetically improve donkeys, which have long gestation periods and don’t lend themselves to large-scale production like cattle.

The Chinese government and Dong-E-E-Jiao Co., one of the country´s largest ejiao producers, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In some parts of the world, China’s appetite for donkey meat and hides is viewed with revulsion. Several African countries that had been big providers of donkeys have recently prohibited donkey sales. According to a report by the Donkey Sanctuary, a British animal-rights group, those animals were often stolen before their skins were shipped to China.

The demand for ejiao has caused China’s own donkey population, once the world’s largest, to fall by nearly half to 6 million animals since 1990. More than 1.8 million donkey skins are traded annually, according to the Donkey Sanctuary, which estimates a market for some 10 million hides a year.

Some here see northeastern Brazil filling the void, but there is ample resistance to the notion in a place where people have a special place in their hearts for the burro. Singers have dedicated ballads to them in this region, where donkeys, not dogs, are considered man’s best friend.

José Sena de Lima, who is 96, still keeps three donkeys on the ranch where he lives near Apodi. When the family house was built in the 1930s, he said, his father had the help of two donkeys and a mule.

“If you didn’t own a donkey, you would often have to carry stuff on your own back,” said Mr. de Lima, who still talks about the animals with gratitude.

Adailton Torres Filho, 53, remembered how his baby sister, suffering from a nutritional deficiency, got stronger when their parents fed her donkey milk.

But there are also cautionary tales about the out-of-control population. Geneclayton de Gois Almeida, 40, a veterinarian, said his father was killed 20 years ago when his car hit a donkey lying on the road after having been hit by another vehicle. “In the northeast, we all know someone who was involved in a car accident somehow related to a donkey,” he said.

 Those hoping to save the animals from the slaughterhouse are seeking ways to make them worth more alive than dead.Adroaldo Zanella, a professor at the University of São Paulo veterinary and animal-science shool, is working with a student researching the viability of milking donkeys, with an eye taking advantage of the liquid’s high nutritional content and pleasant flavor to help infants with special nutritional needs and children who have trouble digesting cow’s milk.

“Donkey milk is very close to human milk in terms of nutritional value,” Mr. Zanella said, adding that it sells in Europe for 15 to 20 times more than cow’s milk. Given that donkeys can be had for free here, Mr. Zanella said, a startup farm to produce donkey milk could work in Brazil, too.

In Ceará state, where the road department spends nearly $1 million a year to collect burros and other animals wandering on roadsides, road superintendent Igor Vasconcelos Ponte said he was considering creating a visitation center for veterinary students and others interested in researching the animals on the ranch near Santa Quintéria where they are kept.

The ranch could even become a tourist attraction, he said, having noticed how Brazilians from other parts of the country like to pose for pictures when they see the donkeys here.

“It’s as if they were in Australia and found a kangaroo,” Mr. Ponte said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/brazil-debates-fate-of-millions-of-idled-donkeys-1523098801

The Lives of More Than 45,000 Wild Horses Are Still at Risk as Congress Waits for the Bureau of Land Management’s Plan

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com

by Carol J. Walker, Director Of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

I want to personally thank all of you who called, emailed, faxed, wrote and met with your Senators and Representatives on behalf of our wild horses and burros before the Spending Bill was passed last week.  Congress did maintain protections for wild horses and burros BUT they demanded that the Bureau of Land Management, who is tasked with managing and protecting wild horse and burros on our public lands submit a “comprehensive plan and any corresponding legislative proposals” within 30 days.

Why is this a reason for concern?  Because the very language of the directive to the BLM points at drastic measure.  “the failure to address these problems is irresponsible and will result in irreparable damage to the landscape and the welfare of the animals protected.”

This leaves the door wide open for the BLM to recommend killing (this is NOT “euthanasia”) the 45,000 wild horses and burros in holding as well as the 45,000 still on our public lands who are deemed “excess”and allowing the BLM to to remove protections from wild horses and burros that are in captivity and transfer them to federal, state, and local agencies, send them overseas and put them in “partnerships” that are not in their best interests.  All of these alternatives will expose them to possibly being shipped to slaughter.

Wild Horses and Burros need to be humanely managed on the range, while wild and free on our public lands. Destroying them to pander to the Cattleman’s Association is not the solution.  We are concerned that once the report is delivered to Congress before the end of April that the BLM could start killing and transferring wild horses and burros very quickly.

Please continue to follow our alerts and posts and requests for action during this very crucial time.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit

www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

Update on wild horses of Fort Polk and Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana

We received this update on wild horses of Fort Polk and Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana from our friend Amy Hanchey of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association:

Objections Filed in Case to Project Louisiana’s Free Roaming Wild Horses

Objections to the March 9th Report and Recommendation were filed on March 23rd, 2018

Link to Objections herehttps://pegasusequine.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/03-23-18-68-1-mem-re-objections-to-rr-1.pdf

Link to Report and Recommendation herehttps://pegasusequine.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/03-09-18-67-rr-on-pi1.pdf

Recap:
On Friday, March 9, on narrow grounds a Western District U.S. Magistrate Judge chose not to recommend that the Court stop the elimination of wild and free roaming horses at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

However the Court denied the Army’s two motions attempting to block Pegasus’s evidence on the issue and accepted the evidence on the record of the preliminary injunction.

The Magistrate Judge relied on two factors to find that harm to the plaintiff is not “irreparable”: Pegasus had not proven that the Army will eliminate all of the horses before the Court could rule on the merits. And Army clarified on the record that it will not remove any horses from the surrounding Kisatchie Forest land (including the land used by the Army for training). Because of this, the Magistrate Judge would not recommend the “extraordinary remedy” of a preliminary injunction against the Army at this time.

It should be noted that the Court did not find that Pegasus failed to prove the other three elements of the Preliminary Injunction: likelihood to prevail on the merits, public interest, and balance of harms.

Additionally, the Court has not yet ruled on the merits or on which extra-record evidence will be allowed in the record on the merits.

A few items of consideration: While it is true that volumes of horses have already been removed from areas near or from elaborate catch pen and corral system on army drop zone land (that borders Kisatchie National Forest), it should be understood that like other migratory grazing wildlife, wild horses do not stay in one area on tens of thousands of acres. Rather, they migrate between foraging areas, water sources and tree cover of Kisatchie National Forest and army land. Because the wild and free roaming horses don’t know where unfenced boundaries between Kisatchie National Forest and army drop zone areas are, they could continue to be removed, as long as the migratory horses are in the area.The majority of the general public is against the systematic removal of Louisiana’s Wild and Free Roaming Horses, from these wildlife areas, tracing their existence back decades, in this historic region of precolonial Louisiana.

It is vital that the public CONTINUE to engage State and Federal Officials ( contact info below)

Take action by ALDF
http://aldf.org/blog/take-action-protect-louisianas-wild-horses/

Mike Strain
(225) 771-8942
info@mikestrain.org
commissioner@ldaf.state.la.us
File a Complaint: 225-922-1234
Buying/Selling/Transport without certificate
Livestock: 800-558-9741

Bill Cassidy
(202) 224-5824
http://www.cassidy.senate.gov
https://twitter.com/BillCassidy
https://www.facebook.com/billcassidy

John Kennedy
(318) 445-2892
(337) 436-6255
(202) 224-4623
https://www.kennedy.senate.gov/public/email-me
https://www.kennedy.senate.gov/public/

John Bel Edwards
(844) 860-1413
(866) 366-1121
govpress@la.gov
https://www.facebook.com/LouisianaGov/
https://twitter.com/LouisianaGov

Jeff Landry
(225) 326-6079
(225) 326-6200
ConstituentServices@ag.louisiana.gov 
https://www.facebook.com/LandryforLA/

Billy Nungesser, Lieutenant Governor
ltgov@crt.la.gov
(225) 342-7009
(504) 433-1200

Advocates Urge Court to Immediately Stop Army’s Illegal Seizure of Horses, Slaughter Plan 

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association files preliminary injunction motion to protect Ft. Polk horses

January 9, 2018

Contact: media@aldf.org

New Orleans — This week animal advocates filed a motion for a preliminary injunction asking a federal court to take immediate steps to stop the Army’s illegal roundup and sale of Louisiana’s wild horses pending their lawsuit’s resolution.

In 2016, Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA), led by attorneys with the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, sued the Army over plans to evict roughly 700 wild horses from a western Louisiana Army base and national forest areas that are used in trainings. The lawsuit alleges the Army violated laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, by asserting it did not need to prepare an environmental impact statement for the removal of the horses. The Army also omitted other requirements, such as ensuring nonprofit organizations could put groups of horses up for adoption, rather than the horses being sold for slaughter.

The plaintiffs filed today’s motion in an attempt to restrict the Army from moving forward with its plan, pending the lawsuit’s resolution. The Army has recently ramped up its efforts to evict the horses, leading to speculation it will try to moot the lawsuit by completing its plan before the issues can he heard.

For decades the horses have been living on, and part of, historic Fort Polk and Kisatchie National Forest areas. Horses have ranged free on this property long before Fort Polk existed. Animal advocates fear that the Army’s current, controversial plan will result in the slaughter of the majority — if not all — the wild horses due to the difficulty in rehoming horses who have been wild for generations.

“There are several unique herds of truly wild horses in Louisiana, that are of value both environmentally and culturally, especially to the inhabitants of the area, but also to all Americans,” says Amy Hanchey of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association. “The horses should be preserved and protected. Regardless if they have been abandoned, generationally wild or otherwise wild, their welfare is at stake.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund works with law schools across the country to expand their curriculum of animal law related classes and clinics. The organization’s expert animal law attorneys provide support and advice to programs, such as Tulane Environmental Law Clinic.

Link to Press Release Here:
http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/advocates-urge-court-immediately-stop-armys-illegal-seizure-horses-slaughter-plan/

Vern Buchanan Gets Horse Slaughter Ban and Funds to Fight Red Tide Across the Finish Line

Source:  Sunshine State News

Vern Buchanan Gets Horse Slaughter Ban and Funds to Fight Red Tide Across the Finish Line

“Red tide poses a serious threat to our environment, marine life and economy,” Buchanan said on Friday, noting the impact on the Suncoast. “We need to understand more about the toxins in red tide so we can stop the damaging effects.”

Vern Buchanan

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., scored some wins this month as his proposals fighting red tide and horse slaughter were signed into law.

Back in August, Buchanan announced that he would offer amendments to a government funding bill on those issues and protecting the Florida panther.

“Banning the slaughter of horses, curbing harmful red tide and funding the Endangered Species Act are important issues to the people in my district and the rest of Florida,” Buchanan said in August. “It’s time for Congress to end partisan gridlock and pass common-sense policies.”

Buchanan’s amendment on horse slaughtering would prevent the “reopening of horse slaughter facilities in the United States by prohibiting federal funding for health and safety inspections which is required by law at all meat processing plants.” Earlier in August, Buchanan announced his “Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act” had garnered 150 co-sponsors in the U.S. House. The proposal, which would end slaughtering horses for human consumption in the U.S. and stop exporting horses to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, also has a companion measure in the U.S. Senate. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Bob Menendez, D-NJ, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, introduced the Senate companion that same month.

With the federal ban on horse slaughter set to expire at the end of last week, Buchanan was able to bring the language of his amendment into the federal omnibus spending bill that President Donald Trump signed into law.

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that must end,” Buchanan said on Monday, giving credit to congressional colleagues from both chamber and both paries as well as animal welfare groups for ensuring his language was included in the final bill.

“This was a successful team effort,” Buchanan, who helps lead the Animal Protection Caucus, said. “I hope we can build on this success and pass my legislation to permanently end the practice.”

Read the rest of this article HERE.

We Bought the Ponies Some Time, So Whats Next?

OpEd by Susan Wagner, President of Equine Advocates

“It’s not over until it is OVER!”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Now that the new spending bill has passed with the language we needed to temporarily protect America’s wild and domestic equines, where do we go from here?

Thanks to the friends horses have on The Hill, especially our champion, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico who led the charge to protect them, as well as the passion and persistence of so many of you who took the time to call and send faxes to your lawmakers, the status quo, at least for now, has been maintained.

a. Horse meat inspectors will remain defunded so that horse slaughterhouses cannot open and operate in this country.

b. Wild horses and burros will not lose the minimal amount of protection they still have so that the ones being held captive in BLM holding facilities will not be executed and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will not be able to authorize their sale “without limitation,” which means slaughter.

That was all good.

However, in order to move forward, we need:

1. A Federal Ban on Horse Slaughter with Strong Language for Enforcement and Stiff Penalties.

– It is doubtful that a stand-alone animal bill will ever pass this Congress. In fact, the closest this country ever came to passing a federal bill banning horse slaughter was in 2006 with the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act which passed in the House but was blocked in the Senate. The good that did result from that bill even though it did not become law, was the addition of language defunding horse meat inspectors to our federal spending bills as a way to prevent horse slaughterhouses from reopening here. That language does not prevent live equines from being shipped over our borders into Mexico and Canada for slaughter, but at least the numbers of horse going over are down to an estimated 100,000 annually. That’s still way too many, but if slaughter plants were to reopen here, those numbers would balloon to 250,000-350,000 a year because indiscriminate and over-breeding would explode, just as was the case in the 1980’s and 1990’s when horse slaughterhouses still operated here. The last one closed its doors in 2007 and at least the defund language has kept horse slaughter from returning to U.S. soil. When President Obama was still in office, several attempts were made to attach language banning horse slaughter to other federal bills, but none got to the floor for a vote. We hope that powerful lawmakers who care will try that again. Otherwise we will be right back to where we were all over again fighting to add language to defund horse meat inspectors to the next federal spending bill and have to repeat this process all over again and hope it doesn’t go the other way.

2. A Complete Change in the Current Policy for Wild Horses and Burros With a Return to the Provisions Passed in the “Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burrs Act of 1971.”

– Wild horse and burro issues are at a standstill and there is no hope for any real progress unless we have an interior Secretary who is interested in working to protect and preserve them. Clearly, Ryan Zinke is not. In fact, he is driving them to extinction, as has been the case with several of his predecessors. What we need is an end to the round-ups, an end to deliberately destroying the viability of the herds by stockpiling more and more captured animals in BLM holding facilities. The ones still in captivity need to be returned to the range. Right now, unless we have allies on our side who control money – meaning that they have the attention of lawmakers because they are powerful and part of business and industry equal to those on the other side in ranching, (the Cattlemen) and fossil fuels, hunting interests, etc., we will get nowhere. What we do have is 80% of the American People who are in favor of protecting and preserving these animals, but the different proposed plans by which to achieve that goal never seem gain any traction, especially when “welfare ranchers” believe they are entitled to use, ruin and deplete the range lands for their own greed and profit. These are not small family ranchers. No, these are the big, factory industrialized businesses that deal with millions of head of cattle and do not care if our wild horses and burros are destroyed, along with other native species.

…So where do we go from here? Think about it.
There’s a lot of work to be done.