THE TRUTH #15 – FOIA documents include a report by BLM’s Lili Thomas on problems with wild horse long term holding facility contracts and a “management crisis for 33,000 wild horses in long term pastures.”

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #15 – FOIA documents include a report by BLM’s Lili Thomas on problems with wild horse long term holding facility contracts and a “management crisis for 33,000 wild horses in long term pastures.”

Debbie Coffey, V.P. of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, received FOIA documents that include an email from Lili Thomas, the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) for the BLM’s wild horse long term holding facilities, stating that there were “problems going on with these contracts.”

In the report titled “Current Status of Long Term Pasture Contracts” prepared by Lili Thomas, it states:

“Several conference calls were held in the spring of 2013 between Danny Lavergne (Contracting Officer who is with the NOC)  Zach Reichold (Senior Wild Horse & Burro Specialist in Washington) Holle Hooks (Wild Horse & Burro Budget in Washington) and Lili Thomas (Contracting Officer’s Representative, Wild Horse & Burro Specialist, Reno, NV).  These calls were to work out how the program could accomodate the legal requirements under the Anti-Deficiency Act.” 

(The abbreviation “NOC” above refers to the BLM’s National Operations Center and the abbreviation LTP below refers to Long Term Pastures)

Lili Thomas described the issue as:

“At this time we still have not issued a new solicitation for LTP contracts and the 6 month extension will expire on March 31, 2013…Once that extension is up the Program will need to remove the horses, since the BLM will no longer have a contract with these ranches.  (Approximately 28,000 wild horses are affected by the new solicitation that is still needed).”

“Conflicts and infighting between the NOC, Washington Office along with WO260 Program management not making decisions regarding these contracts has produced a crisis for the Program with these contracts.”

Read the rest of this article and see the FOIA documents HERE.

 

(Note:  The BLM does NOT put wild burros in long term holding facilities.  Please be sure to ask the BLM why they don’t put wild burros in long term holding facilities.)

Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

Read all of THE TRUTH and see other FOIA documentation HERE.

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

Carol Walker on BLM’s refusal of help to get Wyoming’s 1,968 captured wild horses adopted so they won’t be sold to slaughter (on Wild Horse & Burro Radio, Wed., 1/17/18)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018

6:00 p.m. PST … 7:00 p.m. MST … 8:00 p.m. CST … 9:00 p.m. EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520, or call in to ask questions during the last half hour of the show, by calling (917) 388-4520, and then pressing the number 1

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

This beautiful Salt Wells Creek family is somewhere……
Axtell? Bruneau? Rock Springs? Mexico?

Our guest tonight is Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation. Carol spent 3 weeks in September and October of 2017 observing the roundup and removal of 1968 wild horses from Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek, three of the largest remaining Herd Management Areas in Wyoming and the country.

The BLM sent the majority of these wild horses to be held on private property at the BLM’s Axtell (Utah) and Bruneau (Idaho) off range corrals, where the public is not allowed to see them. It’s also harder to get older horses adopted, and if they aren’t adopted, they’ll likely be sold and end up going to slaughter. The BLM is planning to offer many wild horses on internet adoptions, but this is a quick way to most of them to get 3 strikes and be sold to slaughter. Carol will tell you about the BLM’s cold-hearted refusal of the help offered to get these wild horses adopted and save them from slaughter.

You can write or call these people:

Lisa Reid, Public Information Specialist, Utah: lreid@blm.gov W 435-743-3128
cell: 435. 979.2838

Holle Hooks, Wild Horse and Burro Program: 405 579-1862 hhooks@blm.gov

Krystal Wengreen, Public Information Specialist, Bruneau, Idaho: kwengreen@blm.gov (208) 329-4534

Gus Warr, Wild Horse and Burro Lead, Utah: 801-539-4057, gwarr@blm.gov

Axtell, Utah Holding Facility Owner, Kerry Despain: 435-528-3990

You can read Carol’s article HERE.

Carol’s website is http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/ and you can see her photography of wild horses at http://www.livingimagescjw.com/

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey (V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com

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

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/

6/21/17 – Bonnie Gestring, Northwest Circuit Rider for Earthworks, on contamination of U.S. waters in perpetuity, caused by mining. Bonnie is co-author of the report Polluting the Future: How mining companies are polluting our nation’s waters in perpetuity. Listen HERE.

9/27/17 – Stephen Nash, the author Grand Canyon for Sale.” An extraordinarily powerful few are controlling public lands that belong to all Americans. Grand Canyon For Sale is a carefully researched investigation of the precarious future of America’s public lands: our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, and wildernesses. Listen HERE.

10/4/17 – Sam Jojola, a former Deputy Resident Agent-in-Charge for U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement, on wildlife trafficking, trophy hunting, Safari Club International, the poisoning of birds by the mining industry and kill permits for the wind energy industry. Listen HERE.

11/1/17 – George Wuerthner, Exec. Director of Public Lands Media (a project of the Earth Island Institute), Vice Pres. of the Board of Directors for Western Watersheds Project and author of 38 books, on the multiple ways that the livestock industry impacts the West. Listen HERE.

11/17/17 – Carey Gillam, an investigative journalist, a former senior correspondent for Reuters’ international news service, a Research Director for U.S. Right to Know (a consumer group whose mission is: “Pursuing Truth and Transparency in America’s Food System”) and a Board Member of Justice Pesticides, on her new book, Whitewash, about glyphosate, Monsanto’s Roundup, and corporate influence on our government. Carey Gillam’s website is careygillam.com Listen HERE.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2018/01/18/ts-radio-wild-horse-burro-radio-wcarol-walker

 

 

Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) involved in BLM’s wild horse warehousing

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #14 – FOIA documents include a “Fact Sheet on Long Term Holding Contracts” that was sent to wild horse long term holding contractors, including Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman)

FOIA documents requested by Debbie Coffey, V.P. of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, include an email from ex-BLM employee Lili Thomas, who was the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) for wild horse long term holding facilities, to the long term holding contractors.

This email included a “Fact Sheet on Long Term Holding Contracts,” which highlights some of the main requirements of wild horse long term holding facilities.  It is important to note that the land must be privately owned, or the contractor must have long term control of the offered lands.

It is also interesting that the BLM only requires fences to be a minimum of 48″ in height and “shall consist of 4 strands of barbed wire (or other acceptable fencing material).”  Do you think a 4′ high barbed wire fence is appropriate fencing material for wild horses?  Members of WHFF did not think this type of fencing was adequate  when they saw this type of fencing at the Catoosa Long Term Holding facility in Oklahoma.  This low, barbed wire fence was all that separated the wild horses from a highway that was very near to the pasture.

Also interesting is that Lili Thomas included Ree Drummond (AKA “Pioneer Woman”) and wife of BLM wild horse long term holding contractor Ladd Drummond, on this email to all long term holding contractors.  This email seems to indicate that Ree Drummond is involved with the business of the long term holding facility.  The subject of the email included the solicitation for contractors that were “up for re-bid.”

See ALL of the FOIA documents HERE.

The Damage Done by Trump’s Department of the Interior

by Elizabeth Kolbert as published in The New Yorker

Under Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, it’s a sell-off from sea to shining sea.

“Killing Innocent Animals is KOOL!” ~ Dinky Zinke

On his first day as Secretary of the Interior, last March, Ryan Zinke rode through downtown Washington, D.C., on a roan named Tonto. When the Secretary is working at the department’s main office, on C Street, a staff member climbs up to the roof of the building and hoists a special flag, which comes down when Zinke goes home for the day. To provide entertainment for his employees, the Secretary had an arcade game called Big Buck Hunter installed in the cafeteria. The game comes with plastic rifles, which players aim at animated deer. The point of the installation, Zinke has said, is to highlight sportsmen’s contribution to conservation. “Get excited for #hunting season!” he tweeted, along with a photo of himself standing next to the game, which looks like a slot machine sporting antlers.

Nowadays, it is, in a manner of speaking, always hunting season at the Department of the Interior. The department, which comprises agencies ranging from the National Park Service to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, oversees some five hundred million acres of federal land, and more than one and a half billion acres offshore. Usually, there’s a tension between the department’s mandates—to protect the nation’s natural resources and to manage them for commercial use. Under Zinke, the only question, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, is how fast these resources can be auctioned off.

One of Zinke’s first acts, after dismounting from Tonto, was to overturn a moratorium on new leases for coal mines on public land. He subsequently recommended slashing the size of several national monuments, including Bears Ears, in Utah, and Gold Butte, in Nevada, and lifting restrictions at others to allow more development. (In December, acting on these recommendations, President Donald Trump announced that he was cutting the area of the Bears Ears monument by more than three-quarters and shrinking the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument, also in Utah, by almost half.) Zinke has also proposed gutting a plan, years in the making, to save the endangered sage grouse; instead of protecting ten million acres in the West that had been set aside for the bird’s preservation, he’d like to see them given over to mining. And he’s moved to scrap Obama-era regulations that would have set more stringent standards for fracking on federal property.

All these changes have been applauded by the oil and gas industries, and many have also been praised by congressional Republicans. (Before Zinke became Interior Secretary, he was a one-term congressman from Montana.) But, to some members of the G.O.P., Zinke’s recent decision to open up great swaths of both coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling represents a rig too far.

Last week, Zinke backtracked. Following a brief meeting with the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, at the Tallahassee airport, the Secretary said that he was removing that state’s coastal waters “from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.” The move was manifestly political. In the past, Scott has supported drilling for oil just about everywhere, including in the Everglades, but, with Trump’s encouragement, he is now expected to challenge Florida’s senior senator, Bill Nelson, a Democrat, in November.

“Local voices count” is how Zinke explained the Florida decision to reporters, a remark that was greeted with jeers from elected officials in other states, who noted that some “local voices” were more equal than others. “Virginia’s governor (and governor-elect) have made this same request, but we have not received the same commitment,” Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, tweeted. “Wonder why.” Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, noted that the Florida coast happens to be home to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s winter White House cum dues-collecting club. He suggested that the Secretary “look up ‘banana republic’ ” and then “go fly a Zinke flag to celebrate making us one.”…(CONTINUED)

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/22/the-damage-done-by-trumps-department-of-the-interior/amp?__twitter_impression=true

BLM Sets Hearing on Wild Horse Mismanagement

Story by the Idaho Mountain Express

The BLM is inviting the public to submit comments as part of a statewide hearing regarding motor vehicle and helicopter use in wild horse management operations on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 1-2 p.m. at its Challis Field Office.

The public hearing is being held to obtain information, views and suggestions about the BLM’s use of helicopters and motorized vehicles in managing wild horses in Idaho during the coming year (February 2018 to January 2019).

The Challis Field office is at 721 E. Main Ave., Suite 8 in Challis.

 Anyone unable to attend the hearing to submit comments can submit written statements to BLM_ID_WHB_MotorizedHearing@blm.gov. Comments should include address, phone number and e-mail.

BLM Set to Stampede and Remove 1,500 Wild Horses from their Rightful Range

Unedited propaganda as published in BLM Press Release

2018 Triple B Complex Wild Horse Gather

The gather will tenatively begin on January 23.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Purpose of Gather:

The purpose of the operation is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The BLM strives to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve, ensuring public safety is not at risk due to the overpopulation of wild horses and providing opportunities for economic growth with space for traditional uses.

Details of Gather:

The BLM plans to gather 1,500 wild horses and remove approximately 1,000 excess horses.  The BLM will release approximately 250 mares that will have been treated with the fertility control vaccine PZP-22 to slow the population growth rate of the animals remaining on public lands.  PZP-22 is a temporary fertility-control vaccine that can prevent pregnancy in wild horses for 1-2 years.  In addition, approximately 250 gathered stallions will be selected and returned back to the range.

Public Observation:

Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations.  The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands.  The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will begin on January 23, 2018, weather and logistics permitting.  Those wanting to view gather operations must notify Public Affairs Specialist, Greg Deimel at (775) 388-7078 prior to the desired viewing date to be added to the attendee list and receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food.  The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions and a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle.  Public restrooms will not be available onsite.

Background: 

The Triple B Complex is located in both the BLM Ely and Elko Districts and consists of the Triple B HMA (Ely), Maverick Medicine HMA (Elko), Antelope Valley HMA west of Hwy 93 (Elko), and Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory (Elko).  The gather may also take place in areas outside of those HMAs where wild horses have moved in search of food and water and are creating a public safety hazard by traveling regularly across Jiggs Road.

The current population estimate for the Triple B Complex is approximately 3,842 wild horses.  The cumulative Appropriate Management Level for all the Herd Management Areas within the targeted gather area is 472 – 884 wild horses.  AML is the level at which wild horse populations are consistent with the land’s capacity to support them and other mandated uses of those lands, including protecting ecological processes and habitat for wildlife and livestock.

The decision record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy can be accessed at the national NEPA register. For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email wildhorse@blm.gov.

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/nevada/2018-Triple-B-Complex-wild-horse-gather

The Bureau of Land Management Blocks Public Observation and Adoption of Wild Horses Rounded Up in Wyoming’s Checkerboard

SOURCE:  wildhoofbeats.com

Great Divide Basin Family

The Forgotten Horses – at least that is what the BLM wants them to be.

1/10/2018

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

I spent three weeks in September and October of 2017 observing the roundup and removal of 1968 wild horses from Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek, three of the largest remaining Herd Management Areas in Wyoming and the country.

Great Divide Basin wild horses

Although the Environmental Assessment prepared by the BLM prior to the Roundup said that they would remove 1560 wild horses total from all three Herd Management Areas, they illegally proceeded to remove a total of 1968 wild horses, contending that the 408 captured and removed foals and yearlings “didn’t count.” Although the BLM’s own numbers showed that they would only be able to remove 1560 wild horses total without bringing each Herd Management Area below Appropriate Management Level, which is illegal, and despite a lawsuit brought to stop this from happening, the horses were removed, with great and unseemly haste.

Older Salt Wells Creek stallion and mare and their young filly

This beautiful family on the run from the helicopter

I have observed the last few roundups in these three areas, in 2014, 2011, 2010, 2005 and never have I seen horses removed and shipped so rapidly, with such unseemly haste. In the past, wild horses captured would be loaded into trailers and taken to a “temporary holding facility” where they would be sorted by age and sex, left to settle and then finally after a few days to a week shipped to the short term holding facility where they would be given freeze brands, vaccinations, have blood drawn for a Coggins test, if male, they would be gelded, and then all of them would be available for public observation. If they were younger than 10 years old, they would be available for adoption, and if they were older than 10 they would be available for sale.

Salt Wells Creek stallion and his foal

Young bachelors in Salt Wells Creek

Now, for this 2017 Checkerboard Roundup the Cattoors were shipping the horses from the temporary holding facility within hours of capture, before we were even able to see them. We would finally be allowed to enter the area where the horses were being held after hours waiting and after seeing huge semis pull out filled with horses, only to see very few horses left in the temporary corrals.

Salt Wells Creek older horses and foal

In past roundups in these Herd Management Areas, the majority of the horses would be shipped to the BLM facility at Canon City, Colorado or to the facility at Rock Springs, Wyoming. Both of these facilities are open to public observation and adoption and sale of the horses. Instead, we were told that there was a “problem with the contract” with Canon City, so as a last minute change the majority of the horses would be shipped to a private facility in Axtell, Utah and several hundred would be shipped to another private facility in Bruneau, Iadaho. When I learned this, I was immediately alarmed. How would anyone be able to adopt them if they could not see them? When I asked two of the Public Affairs Specialists who were working this roundup this question, Heather Tiel-Nelson and Jason Lutterman, they both repeatedly assured me that all the horses would be prepared for adoption and the BLM would not keep the public from observing and adopting the gathered horses.

Salt Wells Creek mare and youngster

Salt Wells Creek Stallion Maestro and youngster

After the 2014 Roundup, Ginger Kathrens and I traveled to the Canon City Facility in November and photographed and filmed the horses that had been rounded up and posted photographs and videos online and used our social media contacts to spread the word very widely. We were extremely effective in getting many more horses than usual adopted, especially the older horses whom I am most concerned about and whom are always harder to place. The staff at Canon City were extremely helpful to members of the public who called and emailed wanting particular horses, and aiding in reuniting wild horse family members who had been torn apart during the roundup. They acted as though they wanted the horses to be adopted, sold and placed in good homes.

Salt Wells Creek family playing Peek a Boo

I traveled to Rock Springs as as well at the end of February, 2015 when the facility reopened and was ready to allow the public to observe and adopt horses, and I again photographed the horses and spread the photographs far and wide. The staff at Rock Springs was extremely accommodating, going to great lengths to help members of the public, including me, to find particular horses and assist in reuniting families. They genuinely wanted to help as many horses as possible find good homes.

Adobe Town family

Adobe Town Family

My experience has been vastly different this time. I have gone to considerable trouble, as has Ginger Kathrens, trying to get access to the holding facility in Axtell, Utah where most of the 1968 wild horses rounded up have been sent, and also the facility in Bruneau, Idaho. We were told no or ignored.

Older Salt Wells Creek stallion

Salt Wells Creek Family

This is what Lisa Reid, Public Information Specialist from Utah had this reply to our request to go photograph and video the horses in order to facilitate adoption and sales of the horses:

“Since the UT corral is not open to the public, the horses will be offered for adoption or purchase through upcoming internet events and other events throughout the country.  The corrals that received the horses from the gathers will not be taking requests from the public to hold specific horses.  If you are interested in taking home a wild horse from this gather, please get pre-approved and be ready for the first events in the New Year! If this changes, I will let you know.”

Great Divide Basin Mare and foal

Gus Warr, Wild Horse and Burro Lead for Utah did not reply to my email and voicemail messages.
Dean Bolstad, Division Chief for the Wild Horse and Burro Program had this reply:
“Thanks for your concern and willingness to assist.  I need to defer to the managers of the Axtel and Bruneau facilities in regards to public visits and when the horses are ready for adoption (freezemarks, health certificates, etc).  This message is brief as today is my last day at work before I retire from BLM tomorrow.  I will pass on your interest to assist.”

Salt Wells Creek stallion

Krystal Wengreen, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist for Bruneau facility wrote me this email:

“I received your email regarding the WY Checkerboard horses at the Bruneau Off-Range Corrals. Since the Bruneau Corrals are not open to the public, the horses will be offered at events and other BLM corrals after they foal and the foals are old enough to be weaned. As in Utah and Wyoming, the Bruneau Corrals will not be taking requests from the public to hold specific horses, but as the horses are able to be shipped (after foaling and weaning) to other locations they will be available for adoption or purchase.We have an annual public tour in the late spring/early summer each year and the public will be able to view and photograph the horses during the tour. At this time we do not have a date identified, but it will most likely occur between May and June, as it has the past two years. Please let me know if you have any other questions. ”

When I asked why the public would not be able to get specific horses this is what she said:

“In our experience, when people are ready and prepared to adopt, they will adopt. Unfortunately, we do not have the staff time available to track certain horses and retain those horses with the hope that someone who has placed a hold on one will indeed adopt them in the end. Adoptions are based on a first come, first served protocol at most of the adoption events.”

Salt Wells Creek

In the trap

Last, Ginger contacted Holle Hooks (Wadell), Wild Horse and Burro Program, and we were finally told that 800 of the horses would be sent to the Delta short term holding facility in late February early March and we could come in then.

Salt Wells Creek

Salt Wells Creek family

What about the rest of the 1168 horses? There are about 200 at Rock Springs, and they just had an adoption event for 60 mares last weekend, but where are the rest of the horses? What are they doing with these horses? Why won’t they let us see or photograph or video these horses?

The youngest horses may be offered at adoption events but not the older horses. What am I supposed to tell the people who are contacting me, wanting to adopt specific horses? Too bad? Good luck?

Great Divide Basin

Great Divide Basin

As we are waiting for Congress to vote on the 2019 Budget, are they assuming that Congress will vote to kill the 46,000 wild horses in holding, and hoping that we will forget about these recently rounded up Checkerboard horses? Why aren’t they motivated to help us get these horses placed? Have some of them already been shipped to slaughter?

Yes the facilities at Axtell and Bruneau are private – but they have contracts with the BLM to hold these horses, they are being paid huge sums of our money to keep the horses there and we all need to remember that THESE ARE OUR HORSES. The BLM should not be able to hide them away, or to ship all the horses over 5 years old to long term holding facilities where they never allow horses to be adopted from. The BLM staff should not be able to decide that it is too much trouble for them to help the public identify and adopt particular horses when doing so facilitates more adoptions. The BLM is behaving as though all they want to do is to do away with all these horses. This is not right. This should not be allowed. I will NOT forget about these horses and neither should the American public.

Adobe Town

Adobe Town family

If you want to help, I am providing email addresses and phone numbers below of the people who should be bothered to do something to help these horses.  Please spread the word. What I want is for Ginger Kathrens and I, Carol Walker to be allowed to visit all the wild horses brought in during the Checkerboard Roundup that are now at the facilities in Axtell, Utah and at Bruneau, Idaho and to be able to photograph them and video them, and get the word out in order to help them get placed by adoption or sale. I would also like the cooperation of BLM staff to facilitate this so that people can contact them about adopting particular horses. I feel that this is the very least they can do.

Salt Wells Creek stallion

Lisa Reid, Public Information Specialist, Utah: lreid@blm.gov     W 435-743-3128
cell:  435. 979.2838

Holle Hooks, Wild Horse and Burro Program: 405 579-1862  hhooks@blm.gov

Krystal Wengreen, Public Information Specialist, Bruneau, Idaho: kwengreen@blm.gov (208) 329-4534

Gus Warr, Wild Horse and Burro Lead, Utah: 801-539-4057,   gwarr@blm.gov

Axtell, Utah Holding Facility Owner, Kerry Despain: 435-528-3990

Read this article HERE.

Animal rights group presses Army on wild horse roundups

by By JANET MCCONNAUGHEY as published in Stars and Stripes

Animal rights advocates want a federal court to make an Army base in western Louisiana stop rounding up hundreds of wild horses on land it owns or uses…

Horses graze in front of an armored Humvee at Fort Polk, La., on Sept. 20, 2014. Animal rights advocates want a federal court to make an Army base in Louisiana stop rounding up hundreds of wild horses on land it owns or uses. Court papers filed on Jan. 8, 2018, say Fort Polk began escalating efforts in November and may be trying to eliminate the herds before a judge can decide whether the roundups are legal. WILLIAM GORE/U.S. ARMY

Fort Polk began escalating efforts in November, and some captured horses are treated poorly and many may be slaughtered, the Pegasus Equine Guardian Association said in court papers backing up its request for a preliminary injunction.

People and groups that might adopt the horses, “are being arbitrarily rejected and removed from the potential adopter list, increasing the likelihood that ‘kill buyers’ will be able to acquire the horses,” the association wrote.

Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said in an email that the department cannot comment on pending litigation.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay scheduled a hearing Jan. 30 in Lake Charles.

The association sued the Army and Fort Polk’s commanding officer in December 2016 over plans to get rid of about 700 “trespass horses” the Army considers a safety risk in training areas.

Most of the horses are on about 48,000 acres (19,400 hectares) in the Kisatchie National Forest — part of 90,000 acres (36,400 hectares) of forest land that the base uses for training, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jim Caldwell has said.

The Army has lists of tax-exempt rescue groups and people interested in taking the horses. Its plan calls for notifying them after roundups of up to 30 horses. Any rescue group unable to take every horse from one roundup is struck from the list. Individuals who can’t pick up the number of horses they commit to within five days also are removed.

The horses have been there for decades, possibly more than a century. Some people speculate that the herds are descended from Army cavalry horses. Monday’s court filing, however, asserts the horses have roamed the area at least since the early 1800s. Fort Polk was founded in 1941.

Some look like descendants of horses acquired by Choctaw Indians from Spanish colonists, according to a letter from Jeannette Beranger, senior programs manager of The Livestock Conservancy, filed in the court record.

Some horses from isolated areas should get a closer look, which might prompt DNA tests to see if they are “Choctaw horses” or similar strains, wrote Phillip Sponenberg, a professor at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, in another document filed Monday. He said such horses would be valuable for conservation.

In a another court document, Jeff Dorson, head of the Humane Society of Louisiana, said he received complaints this month from tipsters who aren’t Pegasus officers about inhumane treatment of the horses.

Pegasus has received other allegations that “current contractors or subcontractors are not treating the horses humanely, failing to provide adequate and non-moldy hay and sufficient clean food and water, using inhumane round-up techniques, or engaging in practices that will favor moving the horses to kill buyers over animal welfare organizations or humane adopters,” the organization said.

One contractor or subcontractor, Jacob Thompson, “has been in legal trouble with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture, State of Texas, and State of Oklahoma for abuse, theft or other violations involving livestock,” according to Pegasus’ filing.

Thompson was fined $3,150 on Friday for violating five Louisiana regulations including selling livestock without a permit, Veronica Mosgrove, spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, said in an email. She said his only state-licensed business is Thompson Horse Lot. The lot’s Facebook page states that it’s in Pitkin, which is near Fort Polk.

A call to the number on Thompson Horse Lot’s Facebook page was answered by a man who said, “We’re not interested in no press.” The man said he was not Jacob Thompson and hung up when asked his name.

https://www.stripes.com/news/army/animal-rights-group-presses-army-on-wild-horse-roundups-1.505920

Will Trump put a ‘hired gun’ for ranchers in top BLM post?

by Tay Wiles as published on High Country News

The president is considering a BLM director who has continually fought the agency

Karen Budd-Falen

Nearly a year after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the agency that manages 246 million acres and that is critical to the functioning of the American West still has no permanent leadership. In November, Brian Steed, the former chief of staff for Utah State Rep. Chris Stewart, R, became the third person in 11 months to temporarily take on the duties of Bureau of Land Management acting director. One potential pick for the director job is Karen Budd-Falen — a long-time antagonist of the bureau. In other administrations, her background would make her an unlikely pick. In the Trump administration, she’s a contender.

Budd-Falen is a polarizing figure in the West. She is one of the region’s preeminent property rights lawyers, known for representing ranchers in disputes with federal land agencies like the BLM and U.S. Forest Service.

By the time she was 32, in 1991, Newsweek had dubbed Budd-Falen the “hired gun of choice for ranchers facing court action from federal agencies.” That reputation has only grown; her supporters say she’ll bring positive change to the BLM to curb federal overreach fueled by environmentalists. “Karen will certainly take a look at multiple use from a different set of glasses than previously administrations have,” Utah Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Brent Tanner said. “One of the advantages of Karen … is she has based her career around the legal issues affecting livestock grazing on public lands.”

Critics say Budd-Falen is anathema to the stated mission of the BLM, which is to manage land for multiple uses, not just for ranching or the extractive industry. The attorney has long been a harsh critic of the agency she would lead. “Karen Budd-Falen has attacked the Bureau of Land Management over and over, and now she is trying to secure the top post,” said Land Tawney, director of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. “This tragic irony must not be ignored.”

It’s not just Budd-Falen’s apparent disposition to the mission of the BLM, critics say. Her history would follow her to the agency and could be an added challenge. “I think first and foremost she would have a significant perception challenge with public lands stakeholders,” said Bob Abbey, who served 34 years in state and federal government and was the BLM director from 2009 to 2012. “It will take her months to earn the respect and trust within the organization and among public lands stakeholders. … I don’t think she’s the right person for the job right now.”

Budd-Falen is a fifth-generation Wyoming resident, originally from Big Piney, population 521. Her family members have long been active in Western politics on the side of the Sagebrush Rebellion. Her father, Dan Budd, a rancher who served in the Wyoming legislature from 1981 to 1992, opposed the foundational 1976 Federal Land Policy Management Act, in part because it allowed the BLM to retain vast acreages instead of continuing to pass the land into private ownership, as had been the previous policy since the 19th century.

Budd-Falen earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wyoming. After law school, she worked as a lawyer at the Denver-based Mountain States Legal Foundation, a non-profit founded in 1976 as part of a wave of conservative resistance to new environmental laws, such as FLPMA and the Endangered Species, Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. She served as a law clerk to the assistant solicitor for Water and Power and in the office for land and minerals, both at the Interior Department under former President Ronald Reagan. More recently, she was part of Trump’s Interior transition team. She now lives in Cheyenne and co-owns a law firm with her husband, Frank Falen, which focuses on property rights.

Federal land management

Budd-Falen has not publicly taken a stance on the conservative Western movement to transfer federal land to state control. But in November she spoke at a public event in Hamilton, Montana, that also featured a presentation from Republican State Sen. Jennifer Fielder. Fielder is the head of the American Lands Council, a non-profit whose mission is to transfer lands from the federal government to the states. (In an interview, Budd-Falen told High Country News she didn’t know that Fielder would be speaking at the event.) That appearance is one of many examples critics say explain her position on federal land management. “(Budd-Falen) may say she has no opinion on (land transfer) but her career has been spent propping up that ideology,” Greg Zimmerman, deputy director of the progressive nonprofit Center for Western Priorities, said.

For her part, Budd-Falen said she understands that the notion pushed by many land transfer advocates, that the federal government can’t legally administer land in the West, is not upheld by the courts. “Supreme Court rulings have very clearly said… the federal government can hold these federal lands,” she said. “Until you get the Supreme Court to change its mind, then that’s the current interpretation of the Constitution.” When asked if she agreed with that interpretation, Budd-Falen said she did. The Wyoming attorney also said it would be too costly for her home state to take on managing all of its federal lands. “I don’t think it’s feasible,” she said.

On the topic of national monuments, however, Budd-Falen has lauded Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for their 2017 review of designations over 100,000 acres. “I think there is enough land out there, and people are smart enough, that we can have multiple-use and still protect the land (without large monuments),” she told Fox News in May. At the Montana event in November, she criticized the Obama Administration’s monument designations: “If you read the Antiquities Act, it says you are to designate the smallest area possible to protect the artifact you are trying to protect. I looked at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, surely that’s not the smallest area possible to protect these things,” she said. As head of the BLM, Budd-Falen would oversee both monuments, which public lands advocates say were essential to protecting valuable scientific and cultural resources.

Property Rights

The importance of property rights is foundational to Budd-Falen’s worldview. In 2011, at a Constitutional Sheriffs panel event in Yreka, California, she said that all rights in the U.S. Constitution are “based on the right of ownership of private property.” This interpretation stems from an established school of thought in which property rights hold a supreme position in the Constitution, says Gregg Cawley, a professor of environmental politics at the University of Wyoming. In this view of the Constitution, Cawley says: “‘Property’ was a kind of short hand symbol for everything an individual needed to live their life as they wanted…. a ranch is ‘property’ in the sense of land but (that ranch) is also a means for the owners to secure their ‘rights’ to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’”

This exalted view of property rights inspires Budd-Falen’s work in defense of ranchers. She has spent much of her career defending ranchers’ rights to water, easements, and grazing federal land. Early in her career, Budd-Falen took on a client who is now one of the West’s most notorious cattlemen, Cliven Bundy of Bunkerville, Nevada, over a grazing rights dispute. Bundy is now known for leading an armed standoff against federal agents in 2014 over his illegally grazing cattle. Back in the early 1990s, he was just one of about a dozen southern Nevada ranchers Budd-Falen represented in court…(CONTINUED)

http://www.hcn.org/articles/public-lands-will-trump-put-karen-budd-falen-a-hired-gun-for-ranchers-in-top-blm-post?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

Challis wild-horse policy is biased

Wild horses on the Challis Herd Management Area in Idaho (photo: BLM)

The Idaho Mountian Express just posted an OpEd by Marybeth Devlin.  Although her comment was edited a bit, Marybeth stated “You never know who will be receptive to the message of Truth.  I am grateful to Idaho Mountain Express.”

SOURCE Idaho Mountain Express

By MARYBETH DEVLIN

The population management level at the BLM’s Challis Herd Management Area (185 to 253 horses) is a political construct. Per the 167,848 acres—262 square miles—of this horse-herd management area, the management level’s high bound—the maximum number of horses that BLM claims the range can support—limits the population to one wild horse per 663 acres, which is more than a square mile.  However, its low bound—the number down to which BLM manages the herd—restricts the stocking density to one wild horse per 907 acres, which is about one and a half square miles. Even if there were 292 wild horses present, as the BLM says, it would mean one horse per 575 acres.  No reasonable person would deem that excessive.

Contrast that with the livestock density:  Per the typical six-month season, the stocking density that BLM approved for livestock in the Challis wild-horse habitat is one cow and calf pair (or five sheep) per 88 acres. That equates to just over seven pairs—14 cows or calves (or 35 sheep)—per square mile.

Livestock get most of the grazing slots. Within the Challis Herd Management Area—where the mustangs are, by law, supposed to receive principal benefit of resources—livestock have been awarded most of the animal-unit months: 11,439 AUMs (84 percent) to commercial livestock and 2,220 AUMs (16 percent)—to wild horses.

The BLM claims the Challis herd increased from 241 horses in 2016 to 292 horses in 2017, a growth rate of 21 percent. Gregg, LeBlanc and Johnston (2014) found the average birth rate across wild-horse herds to be just under 20 percent. But they also found that 50 percent of foals perish before their first birthday.  Thus, the birth rate is just a temporary blip in the data.  To find the herd growth rate, we start with the surviving foal rate (10 percent) and then subtract a conservative estimate of adult mortality (5 percent).  So, the expected, normative herd growth rate is, at most, 5 percent.

The BLM’s claimed rate is more than four times the normative growth rate. The likely explanation for the discrepancy is that the BLM incorrectly used the somewhat-higher-than-average birth rate as the growth rate.  However, given BLM’s 13-year history of injecting the Challis fillies and mares with the pesticide-sterilant PZP, the birth rate should have been significantly lower than average.  Not only is it higher, but it is misreported as the growth rate.

The BLM says it plans to conduct an aerial census soon. However, that’s not encouraging. Read the rest of Marybeth’s OpEd HERE.