Idaho Helicopter Ruling a Victory for Wilderness, Wildlife

as published on The Idaho Statesman

“BLM; Take Note!” ~ R.T.


“It is intolerable that agencies entrusted with enforcing our laws are themselves wantonly violating them…”

collared-wolfConservation groups cheered when a federal judge ruled last month that the Forest Service and Idaho Department of Fish and Game violated federal law by landing helicopters in an Idaho wilderness area to attach tracking collars to elk and wolves. The court also ordered the data gathered through these illegal activities destroyed. The now-halted project gives every appearance of an unscientific witch hunt, tailor-made to scapegoat wolf predation as the cause of elk population declines and to justify a wolf-killing program in wilderness.

During the 1980s, a controversy raged in Alaska over whether wolves caused the decline of the Nelchina caribou herd. Vic Van Ballenberghe, a Forest Service scientist, re-examined the issue and discovered that harsh winters started the Nelchina herd on a downward trajectory. Failing to recognize the decline, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game made it worse with overharvest. Ultimately, the scientific community concluded that weather and hunting — not wolves — caused the caribou herd’s decline. Now history is repeating itself in Idaho.

Wilderness was always intended to be wild and free from human control. Here, according to the lyrical requirements of the law itself, wilderness is directed by law to encompass land “retaining its primeval character and influence,” “affected primarily by the forces of nature,” which is “untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

Turning a wilderness into a heliport with helicopter landings, fitting out elk and wolves with thick leather necklaces, and ultimately waging an air war against wolves, are unnatural in every respect and completely incompatible with wilderness values…(CONTINUED)

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article134378629.html#storylink=cpy

Erik Molvar is a wildlife biologist published in the science of ungulate behavior and population dynamics, and is the executive director of Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit environmental group.

Utah Flips-Off Feds by Voting To Butcher Protected American Wild Horses

By | The Salt Lake Tribune

Subsidized Welfare Cattle Okay – Federally Protected Wild Equines to be Slaughtered

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Federal management of wild horses has been a dismal failure, resulting in ecological and economic havoc on Utah’s public ranges, according to new legislation that seeks repeal of the 1971 statute protecting free-roaming horses and burros.

Two bills and an appropriation request promote state management that envisions sharply reducing horse numbers through slaughter and permanent sterilization — measures sure to draw stiff opposition from horse advocates.

But Utah lawmakers and county commissioners are fed up with the Bureau of Land Management‘s approach, which they say allows horses to proliferate at the expense of range health, livestock operators and native wildlife while wasting $50 million a year confining horses that could be slaughtered for their meat.

“The fragmentation coming out of D.C. is tremendous,” Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, told the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday. “This is a hell for the ecosystem, it’s is a hell for the wildlife species, it’s is a hell for those on the ground who are told the solution is to cut back their livelihoods and their herds. It’s a hell for the animals themselves; they are starving and dying. Clearly we can do this better.” Ivory is the sponsor of HCR22, a resolution calling on the federal government to either take immediate steps to “humanely preserve the feral horse and burro populations in the West at established population management objectives” or cede that authority to the state.

Horse advocates reject the premise of this measure, which is one component of a package of legislative actions targeting wild horse management.

Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, is seeking $1.1 million to manage Utah’s 19 herds, whose population now exceeds 5,000, or about 2½ times the BLM’s target. He is also sponsoring a bill that lays out a state management plan. Stratton and others have made it clear state management could entail slaughtering horses, but horse advocates say such proposals would face a buzz saw of controversy.

“Utah is a beautiful state. I would hate to see it get a black eye with these crazy inhumane plans,” said filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the Cloud Foundation and member of the BLM’s wild horse advisory board. “You would have to have the law changed where Utah is this special place where they get management and their plan is to kill them. That’s jumping through an awfully narrow hoop. It irks me that they are so blind to the benefits [of free-roaming horses] and can’t see beyond their ignorance. They are so out of step with what the American public wants. When you talk about killing healthy animals and trafficking them to Mexico, it’s just disgusting.”

But lethal population control is in line with positions advocated by Interior Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke as well as the BLM advisory panel, which urged the agency last September to offer “all suitable animals in long- and short-term holding deemed unadoptable for sale without limitation or humane euthanasia. Those animals deemed unsuitable for sale should then be destroyed in the most humane manner possible.” Advisory panel members said they were not endorsing slaughter for meat, but after a negative public reaction, the BLM pledged it would not destroy healthy horses and burros.

Ironically, Utah’s new legislative push comes as the BLM conducts its most aggressive roundups in Utah in years. Last month, 700 horses from the Sulphur herd were gathered in Beaver County and the agency is currently rounding up the Cedar Mountain herd west of Tooele. So far, 534 horses have been gathered with a goal of 600 to 700. In both these gathers, the BLM planned to administer a fertility vaccine to 200 mares and return them to the range with an equal number of stallions. That decision prompted a lawsuit from Beaver County, alleging the BLM should not return horses to the Sulphur herd area, where horse numbers still exceed the “appropriate management level.”

The Utah operations deploy birth control known as PZP-22, which activates the immune system to thwart conception. This drug is effective for a year or two, and Utah lawmakers want to see something longer lasting. In addition to lethal measures, Ivory’s resolution calls for scaled-up use of GnRH-based vaccines, a new fertility-control technology that “can permanently sterilize a young horse by inhibiting the hormones that would make it sexually mature.”

Most horse-advocacy groups endorse PZP, but that is not the case with GnRH, or GonaCon, which they say has not been proven safe…(CONTINUED)

http://www.sltrib.com/home/4967398-155/utah-lawmakers-the-time-has-come?ref=yfp

BLM and University of Wyoming Continue Dangerous Radio Collar Study on Wild Mares

Source:  www.wildhoofbeats.com

“They are disturbing the horses, and risking the lives of these mares with this dangerous radio collar study.  They can die from getting tangled up with these collars.  Direct observation is much more humane and more relevant.  I am hoping that all these mares survive the two years they have to endure wearing these collars, and that I will see them with other horses this summer.”     –  Carol Walker

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Notice the collar is not behind the ears, but much further down

by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

On Sunday I headed to Rock Springs, as I was told I would have an opportunity to view the release of the next group of wild mares back into Adobe Town with radio collars on their necks. If you have not been following my blogs on this you may be wondering incredulously “why would anyone do anything so cruel and dangerous to wild mares?”
Well read on and you will see.

Last week, the last mare to be released, Dove, who ran off with her family, had a radio collar that had slipped way down her neck, into what is NOT the correct position for the collar. Many people have been commenting on this, and I am still waiting for an explanation from USGS and the BLM about this. Here are the guidelines for the radio collars:

“The collar should rest just behind the ears of the equid and be tight enough so it does not slip down the neck, yet loose enough that it does not interfere with movement when the neck is flexed. The collar must fit snugly when the head is up to minimize rubbing. USGS researchers used 0-1 finger between collar and neck, depending on season collar is deployed to give consideration to the potential for weight gain. Other studies (e.g. Committee on Wild Horse and Burro Research 1991) have had problems with the fitting of collars due to animals gaining weight in spring, or losing weight in winter, causing collars to become too tight or too loose. In the USGS study, researchers did notice collars were looser or tighter at different times during the year, but it did not affect the behavior of collared mares or jennies, or cause sores or wounds on mares or jennies. Whenever collars are deployed they should be fitted by experienced personnel who can attach the collar quickly but proficiently to minimize handling stress on the animal.”

I am very concerned that this collar must be too loose, can slide around, and probably quite easily get caught in a hoof or a branch or a cliff or a fence. In my opinion, the University needs to immediately trigger the mechanism that they claim can remotely release the collar. I will keep you posted when and if I receive a response and explanation.

10 wild horses from Adobe Town are still at the Rock Springs facility. The longer they are there. the more likely they are to get diseases or become injured. They need to release these horses back into Adobe Town, where they were captured, immediately.

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The first mare to be released

There were three mares in the trailer Monday morning as I followed the line of BLM and researchers out to the release sites. I was again the only member of the public along. We drove for over 2 1/2 hours before arriving at our first stop, which was in the northeast portion of Adobe Town, very near where the last mare, Dove had been released with her family.

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Dulcinea, looking calm

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She trots down the road toward the incoming family band

This grey mare was older, and moved slowly out of the trailer, no panic for her, just curiosity as she looked back at us. I am calling her Dulcinea. She moved along familiarizing herself with where she was, for she had been trapped probably 15 miles from this area. Suddenly we see a family of wild horses moving along the hillside straight toward the road. She sees them, and lifts her head, then trots across the road toward them.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Link to Daily Gather Reports:

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/2017-Adobe-Town-Wild-Horse-Gather

BLM glosses over coverup of 213 wild horse deaths on the Scott City, KS, feedlot

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Photos of wild mares at Teterville (photo: Carol Walker)

By Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Copyright 2017   All Rights Reserved.

After no news for 2 years by BLM on their promised investigation and report to the public on the deaths of wild horses at Scott City, KS, after our 2/2/17 report titled “196 wild horses died at BLM’s Scott City feedlot (a BLM Auschwitz for wild horses),” the BLM was suddenly able to muster up a little something for the public on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website in only about a week.

It popped up under “news” and it seems the BLM was careful to not mention deaths or draw too much attention to the issue at hand in the headline, by titling their “news” “Status of Off Range Corral in Scott City, KS.”

In fact, buried at the end of the 3rd paragraph, the BLM (with more current information) finally stated that 213 mares died (out of the 1,493 wild mares) between June 2014 and October, 2016.

So, about 14% of the wild horses that the BLM shipped to that feedlot, died on that feedlot.

It seems that in the very little offered as a “news” report to the public, the BLM tried to cover up their actions (and more importantly, their lack of action), resulting in the deaths of so many wild horses.

In BLM’s “news” version (HERE) of what happened to wild horses on the Scott City feedlot, they cited “crowding at the feed bunks most likely resulting in some horses not receiving the protein and energy required to support their needs. The BLM made adjustments and the animals began to acclimate and show improvements in their overall health, which resulted in a dramatic decrease in the monthly mortality rate. “

SO WHY DID SO MANY WILD HORSES DIE BEFORE THE “ADJUSTMENTS” WERE MADE?  In an August 2014 article on EquiMed, USDA veterinarian Dr. Al Kane stated “in addition to increasing the amount of feed being offered during feedings, we’ve worked with the onsite veterinarian and the operator to increase the energy density of the horses’ feed by increasing the ratio of alfalfa to grass in the hay mix.  This helps support the horses’ nutritional needs during the transition from open-pasture to the corral environment”..

WHY WASN’T THE CORRECT FEED PLANNED BEFORE THE WILD HORSES ARRIVED AT THIS FEEDLOT?  The BLM has been “managing” wild horses for about 45 years and still can’t get it right.

The BLM still didn’t inform the public that 87 of the 196 wild horses were euthanized, or that 41 wild horses died of colic or that 14 wild horses died of fractures of the spinal cord (neck and back) and 6 horses died of leg or pelvis fractures.  The BLM’s version of the “news” didn’t mention the wind storms that were noted by the local veterinarian in his reports to them, or the many cases of sand colic suffered by the wild horses, or the fact that a squeeze chute wasn’t brought to the feedlot until almost 2 months after the horses arrived. 

Note that the BLM’s “news” did not provide you with the name of the contractor for the Teterville Off Range Pasture (ORP) in Kansas.  (And, also note that the BLM doesn’t disclose the names of ALL of the ORP contractors for the public anywhere on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website.)

While omitting so many important facts for the public in their “news,” the BLM managed to hone in on a couple of mistakes in our article.  We corrected these immediately.  However, we didn’t kill 213 wild horses and the BLM can’t “undo” what they did.

The real issue is that 213 wild horses (that we know of), died on this feedlot, no matter what the time frame, and the BLM didn’t issue a promised report to the public until now.

If the BLM would give more information to the public, there would be no mistakes.  We request that the BLM, in the spirit of transparency, post the spreadsheet containing the freezemark numbers of the horses that died, the dates of deaths and causes of death, and all of the veterinary, necropsy and blood pathology reports of the Scott City wild mares on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website.

We can only hope the BLM will apply some focus to noticing and correcting their mistakes in their own statistics and data, and in their management of the Wild Horse & Burro Program.

 

 

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 BLM Continues Lack of Transparency in Adobe Town Wild Mare Radio Collar Study

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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Only 3 mares in the trailer?

by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

On Sunday morning I waited at the parking lot next to the corrals at the Rock Springs BLM facility. It was 1 degree above zero, and I was bundled up accordingly. I am the only member of the public there, unaffiliated with the BLM or University of Wyoming. One trailer and two trucks drive in front of me, and I am waiting for the other trailer. There are only 3 mares in this trailer, I am assuming three of the four mares that had radio collars put on on Friday. But there were 5 other mares that I had been told by Kate Schoenecker of USGS had not been collared because they were too young. In the Environmental Assessment, it states clearly that they were only going to collar mares 5 years old and older. Young mares who are still growing can be strangled by the collars. But where were the 5 other mares? They flagged me to follow, and I pulled out of the facility. When we took a break I asked where the other mares were. I was told they were still at the Rock Springs facility and they were being “re-evaluated.” What does that mean? They are either too young for the study, under 5, or they are not. Are they being kept for some other purpose? Both the EA and the BLM’s own press release state that none of the horses from Adobe Town are to be removed – they are all supposed to go back to the Herd Management Area. So what is the BLM not telling us?

These mares need to be released back to the area where they were trapped IMMEDIATELY.

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Robin comes out of the trailer

We drove to Bitter Creek Road, which is about 30 minutes from Rock Springs, and we started down the road. After we got off of the paved portion of the road, conditions got worse, from occasional mud to water and ice flooded areas. It was a challenging drive. After we passed Eversole Ranch, about 10 miles later the trailer stopped and the first mare was released, a little bay I named Robin. She ran as fast as she could once she hit the ground, only turning back to look at us when she had gone what she thought was a safe distance. There were no other wild horses in sight, and I learned that all three of the mares had been trapped about 30 miles south of this area.

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Robin looks back at us

We got back in our cars and continued driving for about 8 miles before stopping again to let another mare out of the trailer, this time a little sorrel I named Felicity. She turned around immediately after jumping out, looking for her friend, the grey mare in the back of the trailer. I noticed a cut over her eye that looked swollen. Any time you transport wild horses there can be injuries. It did not look deep and it did not prevent her from running off when one of the contractors shooed her away. There were no other horses around her either.

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Felicity comes out of the trailer

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Felicity looks back at her friend in the trailer

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Felicity finally runs away

Read the rest of this story HERE, including this:

One thing that really puzzled me was that I saw piles of panels used for traps, all stacked on a semi. Neither team of contractors had a new trap set up. When I asked they told me some decision was being made at 7pm this evening, they did not tell me what. According to the BLM’s own web page on the bait trapping, they had trapped for only 5 days, starting Sunday February 5. They gathered by their own report 27 horses over the four days, and shipped 9 mares to the Rock Springs corrals. The information on the study in the EA said they would be trapping in 3-5 locations. Why then were they only trapping in two locations, and had not set up any traps after Thursday? In the EA, the BLM had written that if bait trapping “fails” they would go to a helicopter roundup. I hardly think that 5 days only is enough time to “fail.” it takes time to accustom wild horses to a trap and to let them get used to it and come in. That is what they are currently doing in Sand Wash Basin, where they have given far longer than 5 days to trap the horses.  This seems to me to be a setup to fail. If they are not continuing to bait trap then they are getting ready to bring the helicopters in. Wild horses are injured and killed when driven with helicopters. There is no justification for subjecting the wild horses of Adobe Town to a helicopter roundup when they are not even over the Appropriate Management Level for their area.

The BLM should continue to use bait trapping if they have to finish getting 16 more mares for this ill-conceived research study, or better yet, they need to go back to the drawing board and redesign the study so that the researchers use non-invasive, safe direct observation, not dangerous radio collars.

Link to Daily Gather Reports:

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/2017-Adobe-Town-Wild-Horse-Gather

Stunning Lack of Tranparancy in BLM’s and University of Wyoming’s Adobe Town Wild Horse Study

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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USGS holding radio collars, the one on the right is for the study

by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The BLM and the University of Wyoming are conducting a Radio Collar Study on wild mares in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area. I have done several blog posts about this study, calling for people to send in comments and calling for more clarification on how this study is going to be conducted. Some of my concerns are the the health and well being of the mares that will be captured by bait trapping, trailered to Rock Springs, put into squeeze chutes and have these collars put on. These collars will remain for 2 years. Then the mares will be transported back supposedly to where they were captured and released. This alone will be very traumatic for the mares and their families who will lose a family member.

But what happens when the mare gets her foot caught in the collar, or it grows into her neck because it is being put on when she is at her thinnest, and she will put on weight in the summer especially if she is pregnant? How will they be able to release the collar if she is in trouble?

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Moving the mares into the shed to put collars on

These were not popular questions at the Q and A that USGS conducted yesterday at the Rock Springs corrals. I was told that they “left room” in the collars for the mares to gain weight – wouldn’t that allow her to get it caught on something more easily? And yes there were studies of mares being injured and dying in the field due to radio collars but supposedly this design was much improved. They do have a tag they can put into the mane instead but these will fall off too soon. I did ask about using direct observation as a way of gathering data but that was deemed impossible, even though it is much less intrusive. The researchers would rather track the mares on their computers rather than on the ground, in the field. I also asked weren’t they concerned about the mares being released all alone, not with their families? There was no answer to that.

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The geldings in the front corral know something is going on

Before I even went to Rock Springs I had been very concerned about the lack of observation of the whole process that the BLM was allowing. Public observation helps to prevent abuse of the horses, and I am a firm believer in this.  A week ago American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign asked attorney Nick Lawton of Meyer, Glizenstein& Eubanks to write a letter asking for the opportunity to observe the bait trapping and the collaring as well as the release of the mares, as well as giving sufficient notice of at least 2 days so I could get out there. The BLM did not change its stance on the bait trapping and the collaring or the notice but did say that “the mares will be held at the facility for 24 hours after they are radio collared, and the public will be able to observe the mares from the overlook during this time period.”

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Mares that were not collared

This did NOT happen. The mares after they were collared were being kept in a pen that was completely not visible from the overlook and when I asked it if could see the mares I was told no, that they have to be be kept quiet. Somehow all the torment that these mares went through was totally acceptable but having members of the public view them, even at a distance, was too hard on them.

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Where the collaring was done

I could see the heads of the mares that did not have collars on, and occasionally their bodies, using my long lens. Apparently they captured 9 mares who they brought to the facility, but 5 were too young. Even I could see one of the mares looked like a yearling or at the most a two year old filly – how on earth could the people trapping the horses not be able to tell the difference between very young and mature mares? And why put these poor young mares though the stress of taking them away from their families, hauling them to the facility then hauling them back, for nothing? If they had allowed me to observe the bait trapping I could have told them these mares were too young because I have spent 13 years observing these wild horses in Adobe Town.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HEREYou’ll want to find out more about this…

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Tracking device to track collars on the ground

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/blog/stunning-lack-of-tranparancy-in-blms-and-university-of-wyomings-adobe-town-wild-horse-study

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/

NM Senate Committee Passes Horse as Livestock Bill

Dianne L Stallings , Ruidoso News

“Wild Horse Advocates fear new provisions could lead to the elimination of wild herds…”

Members of the wild herd rounded up last year were photographed crossing at their designated point on the highway leading into Alto and Ruidoso.(Photo: Courtesy/Melissa Babcock)

Members of the wild herd rounded up last year were photographed crossing at their designated point on the highway leading into Alto and Ruidoso.(Photo: Courtesy/Melissa Babcock)

Local advocates for wild horse herds in New Mexico piled into a bus at 3:30 a.m. Thursday and headed to Santa Fe to voice their views on an amended version of a state senate bill they feared would lead to the elimination of wild horse herds that roam the Alto area north of Ruidoso.

Despite the efforts of advocates, they reported that members of the Senate Conservation Committee passed the bill in less than five minutes. A series of hearings led to modifications of the original bill submitted by State Sen. Pat Woods, a Republican from Quay County, that eliminates the classification of domesticated horse.

While under the amended version horses still would be lumped into the broad definition for livestock that fall under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Livestock Board, specific exceptions were included for Spanish colonial horses and for a “wild horse” defined as an “unclaimed horse without obvious brands or other evidence of private ownership that is determined by the board to originate from public land or federal land or to be part of or descended from a herd that lives on or originates from public land; but does not include horses that are subject to the jurisdiction of the federal government pursuant to the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.”

Public land does not include federal land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service or state trust land.

Under the amended version, a wild horse captured on private land in New Mexico at the discretion of the livestock board “shall be” humanely captured and relocated to state public land or to a public or private horse preserve; adopted by a qualified person (for an adoption fee); or humanely euthanized provided the option is the last resort when the horse is determined by a licensed veterinarian to be crippled or otherwise unhealthy or cannot be relocated to a public or private wild horse preserve or adopted.

A new section throws in another wrinkle for the future of “wild horses” such as the herds in Alto. That section in the amended bill provides when requested by the board to determine the viability of a specific New Mexico wild horse herd on the range they occupy, the range improvement task force of New Mexico State University will evaluate the range conditions to determine the number of wild horses that the range can support while maintaining its ecological health.

The task force will report the results of the evaluation to the board. “If required, the board may cause control of the New Mexico wild horse herd population through the use of birth control and may cause excess horses to be humanely captured” and relocated, adopted or euthanized…(CONTINUED)

http://www.ruidosonews.com/story/news/local/2017/02/09/senate-committee-passes-horse-livestock-bill/97712106/

Carol Walker on the BLM’s dangerous Radio Collar Study on Adobe Town wild horses, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 2/8/17)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Feb. 8, 2017

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

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Wild family in Adobe Town, mare in front (photo: Carol Walker)

Our guest tonight will be Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proceeding with a Radio Collar Study of wild mares in the Adobe Town Herd Management despite overwhelming public comment against it and an IBLA Appeal that was filed.  The BLM plans to use bait trapping to capture 30 wild mares in 3-5 different areas within the HMA to track movement.  Huge concerns have been raised about the welfare and safety of the mares because Radio collars are dangerous and can cause injury and death.  Carol Walker has spent 13 years observing and photographing wild horses in Adobe Town.

This show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2017/02/09/carol-walker-on-blms-dangerous-radio-collar-study-on-adobe-town-wild-horses

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

1/20/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horse and burros. Listen HERE.

1/27/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on threats to shoot wild burros in Arizona. Listen HERE.

2/8/16 – Representatives of 4 major wild horse & burro advocacy groups and advocates speak out against BLM’s plans for barbaric sterilization experiments on wild mares. Listen HERE.

2/10/16 – Jonathan Ratner, Western Watersheds Project’s Director for Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, talks about the environmental toll of privately owned livestock grazing on public lands. Listen HERE.

2/24/16 – Kirsten Stade, Advocacy Director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), on BLM’s skewed data minimizing the effects of livestock grazing on public lands. Listen HERE.

3/2/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League, joined by local wild burro advocates fighting to save the wild burros of the Black Mountain Herd Management Area in Arizona. Listen HERE.

3/23/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation interviews Susan W. Watt, Executive Director, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, located in South Dakota. Listen HERE.

5/4/16 – Gail A. Eisnitz, author of the book “Slaughterhouse” and Chief Investigator for the Humane Farming Association (HFA). Listen HERE.

6/22/16 – Charlotte Roe, Founder of Wild Equid League of Colorado, on BLM’s cruel experiments on wild horses and burros, including sterilization of pregnant wild mares, that are a launching pad for widespread use as “population suppression.” Listen HERE.

8/3/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League with guests. Listen HERE.

8/10/16 – Gene Baur, Pres. & Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary, on factory farming and the Farm Sanctuary. Listen HERE.

8/17/16 – Advocates Carla Bowers and Bonnie Kohleriter on why 83% of wild horse and burro herds are on the brink of collapse. Listen HERE.

8/31/16 – Steve Hindi (President and Founder) and Janet Enoch (Investigator) of SHowing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK) on rodeo cruelty and more. You can see all of SHARK’s rodeo exposés on YouTube by clicking here. Listen HERE.

9/7/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation , on BLM plans to remove all wild horses from three of the largest remaining herds in Wyoming. Listen HERE.

9/14/16 – Susan Wagner, Pres. & Founder of Equine Advocates, on how the upcoming Presidential election can affect the fate of wild and domestic equines and horse slaughter. PLEASE SIGN EQUINE ADVOCATES’ PETITION HERE. Listen HERE.

9/21/16 – Mae Lee Sun, co-author of “Brumby: A celebration of Australia’s wild horses” and Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist and the author of the book “The Wild Horse Conspiracy” on the culling of the brumbies (wild horses) of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. Listen HERE.

9/28/16 – Laird Lucas (Executive Director) and Talasi Brooks (Staff Attorney) of Advocates for the West, a public interest, nonprofit environmental law firm with an 85% record of legal success protecting the wildlife and wild places of the American West. Listen HERE.

10/5/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League reports on the 2016 Donkey Welfare Symposium. Listen HERE.

10/12/16 – Nancy Watson, President of SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition, has been raising worldwide awareness to the loopholes in U.S. legislation that allows U.S. equines (horses, donkeys, mules and burros) which are laden with pharmaceuticals, into the global food supply. Listen HERE.

10/26/16 – Hilary Wood, Pres. and Founder of Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) and Bruce Wagman, a partner with Schiff Hardin law firm in San Francisco, talk about the BLM, horse slaughter and more. Listen HERE.

11/2/16 – Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist and author of the book “The Wild Horse Conspiracy.” Listen HERE.

11/16/16 – Elaine Nash, Founder and Director of Fleet of Angels, a grassroots movement of horse lovers who own trailers and help transport equines to safety when their lives are in danger, on recent rescue efforts. Listen HERE.

11/30/16 – Keith Nakatani, California Oil & Gas Program Manager, and Matt Davis, California Communications Director, of Clean Water Action, on fracking wastewater being used to irrigate crops, and aquifer exemptions that allow certain oil and gas and mining activity to occur in groundwater that would otherwise be protected as a drinking water source. Listen HERE.

12/7/16 – Nick Jans, author of “A Wolf Called Romeo.” Listen HERE.

12/14/16 – Amy Hanchey, Pres. of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association, that is striving to protect the wild horses on the main post at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Listen HERE.

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