News analysis: Lawyers to debate what makes a wild horse wild

By Dave Tomlin / Ruidoso News, N.M. (TNS) as published in the Albuquerque Journal

“How does the Livestock Board distinguish this herd from the Placitas herd in the Court of Appeals case?”

photo courtesy of wildhorsesofalto.blogspot.com

photo courtesy of wildhorsesofalto.blogspot.com

As the lawyer for the New Mexico Livestock Board stood before him last week, District Judge Dan Bryant asked what is sure to be a key question if the lawsuit over the future of the wild horses of Alto goes to trial.

“How does the Livestock Board distinguish this herd from the Placitas herd in the Court of Appeals case?” Bryant asked Asst. Atty. Gen. Ari Biernoff.

The judge was referring to a case in which the appellate court ruled last year that the Board shouldn’t have treated a free-roaming herd of wild horses near Placitas as if they were “estray” livestock, just as they tried to do with the Alto herd.

To those who love Lincoln County’s free-roaming horses, the answer is self-evident. There’s no difference at all between the Alto horses and the Placitas horses, and the Livestock Board is wrong again.

The horse advocates may be exactly right. But that doesn’t mean lawyers won’t find plenty to argue about as they belabor what may look to equine-loving eyes like the obvious, if and when Bryant takes the bench to preside over Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) v. New Mexico Livestock Board.

Here are some of the legal and factual points a trial may raise:

1. The Court of Appeals opinion accepted WHOA’s claim that the Board “took the auctioned Placitas horses directly from public land before auctioning them.” But the Alto herd was penned up by a private landowner who summoned the Livestock Board to collect them.

We’ll discuss later why it might matter a lot where the Board picked up the horses. But one side, or maybe both, may argue that the Court of Appeals was misinformed about where the Placitas herd was picked up and by whom.

Corrales attorney David G. Reynolds, an attorney for one of the private landowners who intervened in the Placitas case on the Livestock Board’s side, told the News last month that the herd was actually captured on private property just like the Alto herd.

The point was never hashed out in court because 2nd District Court Judge Valerie Huling dismissed the case. The Court of Appeals sent it back to her for trial, but last week Huling dismissed it again because the Placitas horses are all gone and there’s no longer any herd to argue over. As lawyers say, the case is “moot.”

But since Bryant may have to decide whether the Court of Appeals ruling controls the outcome of the Alto case, he might hear arguments or evidence that the relevance of the appellate court opinion should be discounted because it was based on incorrect facts.

2. The New Mexico Livestock Code defines a wild horse as “an unclaimed horse on public land that is not an estray.”

The wording of this statute is the reason it might matter where the Board picks up any given group of unclaimed horses. The Court of Appeals ruling never says what an unclaimed horse on private land might be, because it presumed the Placitas herd was on public land as the statute appears to require.

Biernoff told Bryant last week that this is a “critical” difference between the Placitas and Alto cases. But even if the facts show that both herds were actually taken by the Board from private land, the Board may still argue that the Court of Appeals ruling doesn’t apply to the Alto herd.

Bryant could end up scratching his head over how much the extensive reasoning in the Court of Appeals decision depends on where the horses happened to be picked up.

He also may be asked to consider whether the legislature really intended to say that a wild horse suddenly stops being wild whenever it strays or is lured or led from public land onto private land.

Reynolds told the News a wild horse on public land turns instantly into “a large packrat” on private land in the eyes of the law. Since neither the statute nor the Court of Appeals ruling says anything about a free-roaming unclaimed horse on private land, he said, such a beast has no more legal standing or protection than a varmint.

But Albuquerque attorney Steven K. Sanders, who has represented WHOA in both cases, told the News last week before the hearing that this would be “a travesty” and could not have been what the legislature meant the law to say.

3.The Livestock Code says “public land” does not include federal land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service or state trust land controlled by the state land office.

When you take all that away, plus all private property, an awful lot of Lincoln County is off the table as the kind of land on which a free-ranging horse can be considered legally wild, if the statute means exactly what it says.

Bryant ruminated aloud about that in court last Friday, even though nobody had asked him to. He seemed to conclude that in dealing with this case he will have to decide whether the Alto herd could have spent significant time on “public land” as the Livestock Code defines it.

It’s hard to say how important that will be to the case. But if Bryant was already thinking about it on his own in a preliminary hearing, a smart lawyer would probably have to consider it very important.

4. The only other definition in state law of a “wild horse” besides the one in the Livestock Code doesn’t seem to fit the Placitas and Alto herds.

The Court of Appeals opinion cited a New Mexico Administrative Code section that said a wild horse is a feral horse in an “untamed state having returned to a wild state from domestication.”

That doesn’t describe the wild horses in these cases, which everyone seems to agree have never been owned by anyone in their lives.

But it’s still possible the code section may come into play anyway. Read on.

5. State law defines livestock as “domestic or domesticated animals.” WHOA says that means the Placitas and Alto herds can’t be livestock. The Livestock Board begs to differ.

Biernoff indicated in last week’s hearing that the Board may try to portray the Alto herd as domesticated.

“We’ll have testimony about how this herd was living,” Biernoff told the judge. “We believe that the horses were being fed, having social interaction with people. We might need more evidence on this.”

Biernoff questioned some of Sanders’s witnesses about the Alto horses’ docile behavior. Then he called Caroline McCoy to the stand. McCoy is the property owner who penned up the 12 Alto mares and foals for the Livestock Board to take away. She described how she led them easily into an enclosure while riding her all-terrain vehicle.

Finally Biernoff called a Lincoln County rancher named Ashley Ivins to testify. His main goal with Ivins seemed to be to have her describe her familiarity with the kind of mustangs found on federal Bureau of Land Management ranges and how different they are from the Alto horses.

“They’re true wild horses,” Ivins said. “They’re mean and wild. They won’t eat out of your hand or be near people.”

So the definition of “domesticated” may be among the points Bryant will be asked to consider. And even if he agrees with the Board that the Alto horses have displayed domesticated behavior, he would have to weigh that against the fact that they’re also unclaimed and free-roaming.

Not many cases give a district judge the chance to address important gaps in the law left by both the state’s legislature and its second highest court. The novelty of the judicial opportunity could have been one reason Bryant put a stop to the Livestock Board’s attempt to auction the Alto herd.

But the judge was clearly troubled by the possibility that the Livestock Board is finding it easier to win wild horse cases on the auction block than in the courtroom, especially after the Placitas judge concluded that if the herd is gone, the case goes away too.

Bryant asked Biernoff during the hearing how a court could ever get a chance to review the Livestock Board’s actions and decide the legal issues surrounding New Mexico’s unclaimed, free-roaming horses if the Board were allowed to keep selling them off as soon as it gets its hands on them.

Biernoff uttered some words in reply to the judge’s question, but they didn’t contain a good answer. That’s because there probably isn’t any.

Update: Hold your Horses…Wild Burros and Horses not to be Murdered by BLM, YET!

“In my Humble Opinion” ~ R.T. Fitch, president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Last Friday, with only one dissenting vote, the BLM’s appointed Advisory Board recommended that all horses and burros in holding should be either killed or sold. That’s it, down and dirty.

Message to the BLM Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board

Message to the BLM Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board

The above inane recommendation came as no surprise to many of us as we have been saying for years that the BLM is deliberately creating a crisis by pulling wild horses and burros off from their rightful range and placing them on contractor’s land across the country at taxpayers expense. Such an idiotic plan is not sustainable and they are hoping for some drastic action to take place to get rid of the native wild animals so that their welfare cattle bedfellows can have the public land all to themselves.

Getting the hand picked and appointed special interest members of the board to vote to do so kept the BLM’s hands clean and allowed the lemmings on the board to be their fall guys, although they are too dense to know it. The recommendation was/is non-binding BUT it opens up the door and begins the discussion, again.

Back in 2011 the sitting “Boared” recommended researching and experimenting with sterilizing wild mares in the field, and five years later what did the federal governments most corrupt agency attempt to do, conduct experiments on sterilizing wild mares in the field. (Plans now nixed)

Tom Gory, mouthpiece for the BLM, stated yesterday that the BLM, proper, had made no decision to murder (and that IS the correct word) 45,000 wild equines in holding and will continue to care for the horses and burros that they have ripped from their rightful land, separated from their families and shoved into gender specific herds.. Everything is okay, don’t bet on it!

There IS a silver lining to this gross and demonic recommendation, though:

  1. It has revealed to the public the corrupt and cruel intent of this handpicked board of fools. They are an embarrassment to this country and should all be removed from their volunteer positions. Good air is being wasted.
  2. The wild ones finally found a voice in the mainstream press, although the story might have been skewed a bit people still sat up and paid attention, that is a mega-win for the horses and burros.
  3. Super bad press for the BLM; their idiot plan backfired and although they did not make the recommendation, they were whispering in the ears of their little demented buddies to do so. It is always a good day when the horse haters get a little bad press as they speak nothing but lies and untruths to the press and public. Good to see their big fat backsides singed a little bit.

But don’t let your guard down, this has been the plan of the BLM for years and the only way to stop it is to either wrest the control of the wild ones out of their bloody little fists or legally chop them off at the knees and stick a fork in them.

What would be YOUR preference?

SAFE Food SAFE Horses Grassroots Coalition Will March on DC with Wild Horses, Public Lands and Horse Slaughter Risk Warnings

News provided by SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition

September 22 open-to-public rally at Capitol links slaughter of U.S. horses to food safety risks and wild horse removals to public “land grab” attempt

Simone, John Holland of EWA and R.T. Fitch of WHFF protesting in D.C.

Simone from Respect4Horses, John Holland of EWA and R.T. Fitch of WHFF protesting in D.C.

STUART, Fla., Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition (www.safefoodsafehorses.org) invites the public to the “March on DC” on September 22, 2016 to urge our lawmakers to protect our wild horses and public lands from needless destruction, and Americans from the grave health risk resulting from their unknowing consumption of toxic meat from slaughtered U.S. horses entering the U.S. and global food supply.

Highlights of the March are expert presentations by Congressman Patrick Meehan, Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation, Cameron Harsh of the Center for Food Safety, John Holland , R.T. Fitch, Freddie Hudson and others.  The rally begins at the USDA Whitten building on Jefferson Avenue with speakers, followed by a short “March” to the Capitol Plaza for more presentations and speeches.

On the following day (September 23), a free double-feature will be held at the Capitol Visitors’ Center, showing the award-winning documentary “From the Kill Pen”, followed by the true Cinderella story of “Harry and Snowman”.

The goals of the March are to:

  • Demand Congress enforces the spirit and intent of the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Protection Act of 1971 and rejects the BLM WH&B Advisory Committee’s recommendations to destroy America’s captive wild horses being held in long and short term holding.
  • Alert Americans to a congressional “Public Land Grab” plan to hand over taxpayers’ public lands to the states, to be sold to private corporate interests for mining, fracking and welfare cattle grazing.
  • Compel Congress to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act S.1214/HR.1942 to protect our food supply by banning the slaughter, and transport to slaughter of U.S. horses.
  • Alert Americans to the health risks that the slaughter of U.S. horses creates: A study published in 2015 reported that the US food supply is contaminated with horse meat. U.S. horses do not meet Federal standards required for food animals, and may harbor FDA-banned drugs, toxins and deadly diseases. The US imports millions of pounds of “beef” from Mexico into the US annually, which has been shown to contain up to 40% horse meat
  • Expose serious horse-related food safety issues involving the USDA, which is responsible for food safety, yet due to lack of funding and oversight, allows egregious violations of USDA policies . A prime example is the Slaughter Horse Transport Program which has only two people assigned to monitor safety at twelve U.S. border crossings.

Please join “We the People” in protecting our food, families, public lands, horses, and American heritage.  Media contact:  contact@safefoodsafehorses.org

SAFE Food Safe Horses Coalition is a non-profit entity representing over 20 organizations and 1.75 million people. Its missions are to protect the food supply by banning the slaughter of American horses and protect our wild horses and public lands.

Video – http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/PRNA/ENR/FromtheKillPenTrailerFinal.mp4

SOURCE SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition

BLM Wild Horse Advisory Board Proposes Euthanasia of Excess Mustangs: Q&A With Ginger Kathrens

As published on HorseNation.com

Horse Nation spoke with Advisory Board volunteer Ginger Kathrens, who voted in opposition to the controversial proposal calling for the euthanasia or sale of 45,000 mustangs currently in BLM holding facilities.

BLM Antelope attack in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM Antelope attack in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board consists of representatives from both the public and multiple (special?) interest groups, serving to discuss key issues and help advise to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding the (mis)management of wild horses on public lands. In its meeting at the end of last week, the Board visited Herd Management Areas, or HMAs, to observe wild horse ecosystems at work. The Board also deliberated over the pressing issues of mustang management across the American West, culminating in a proposal that reads as follows:

Follow the stipulations of the Wild Horse and Burro Act by euthanizing or offering for sale without stipulation all suitable animals in short and long term holding facilities.

This radical proposal has already been met with massive waves of public outcry as news rippled across social media on Friday, September 9. To help readers understand the issue, here are some key facts and figures, as stated by the BLM:

  • Under protection, wild horse and burro populations have grown an estimated 15-20% annually, which required the BLM, the government agency charged with protecting wild populations, to created Appropriate Management Levels, or AMLs. AMLs state the number of horses each HMA can handle to sustain a balanced ecosystem with wildlife, vegetation, soil, water and in some cases, livestock.
  • The current total AML for BLM public lands is 26,715.
  • Censuses estimate that as of 2015 there were over 67,000 wild horses living on public lands.
  • Long- and short-term holding facilities operated by the BLM currently house 45,000 wild horses.
  • About two-thirds of the BLM’s annual budget supports horses in holding facilities — about $50 million.

The proposal for sale or euthanasia was voted in favor by seven of the eight members of the board. The sole vote in opposition was cast by Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation: Kathrens has spent an estimated 12,000 hours observing and documenting wild horses all over the west, most famously the Pryor Mountain herd on the Wyoming/Montana border. Her work in chronicling the mustang stallion Cloud and his social band and family in a PBS documentary series has brought the mustang crisis to a personal level for Cloud’s fans and followers, and The Cloud Foundation has worked hard to educate the public and encourage the public to get involved in mustang advocacy.

Horse Nation spoke with Ginger Kathrens to learn more about her reasons for opposing the proposal and her thoughts on alternative solutions.

HN: The concept of euthanizing 45,000 horses is horrific — that aside, what was your reasoning for opposing this proposal?

Because I believe that healthy horses shouldn’t pay the price for government mismanagement that’s gone on for decades. There have been alternatives to manage horses on the range for years, and they were not being utilized. Some herds right now are already able to do this: the tools available are used to manage their numbers on the range and only require small or even no roundups at all. The Pryor Mountain herd is one example.

Unlike other hooved mammals, horses have a unique social structure — the males don’t just come in and breed and then leave; the stallions stay with family bands in social units. The helicopter roundups shatter these social bands: families are broken up, the remaining horses restructure socially and then there’s a spike in reproduction accordingly.

HN: Can you could pinpoint one turning point where you feel the BLM went wrong in managing wild horses?

They were never managing the range. In 1971, the Wild Horse and Burro Act was passed and the BLM was charged with managing the herds and the range. In 1972, 1973, they did their censusing of wild horse populations, and in 1974 they completed their reports on where they would set up management areas. In 1978, they reported 54,000 horses living in 339 herds on management areas. A recent count reports 179 herds.

The BLM set the Appropriate Management Level [AML] at 26,715 and no one really seems to know how that number was determined. It appears to be a low number based on what was already out there at the time.

Now, we have herds that are too small to maintain genetic viability — Dr. Gus Cothran of Texas A&M did research that found that you need around 150 members for genetic viability, and most of the herds are not even at that bare minimum. Now, there are a few herds that are far larger; there’s a herd in Nevada of over 1,000 animals living on a million acres.

The cheatgrass crisis has hit everywhere. Cheatgrass is an opportunistic invasive, and the only way to get rid of it is by tilling up the earth and replanting. The BLM has described that the crested wheatgrass is the only plant that will out-compete cheatgrass. Of course, you can only till and replant in certain areas — that won’t work in rocky, rugged areas.

HN: What would you offer as an alternative solution to the current crisis?

There are certainly much more humane alternatives for sure — we need to use PZP! Using the PZP vaccine involves a lot of hard work but it’s been proven to be effective. The Pryor Mountain herd currently has zero population growth through the use of PZP. Rounding horses up with helicopters is easy and PZP is going to involve much more work.

More of the horses in short-term holding can be moved to long-term holding facilities — there are more long-term holding facility contracts coming in now to open up more opportunities. Some of these horses from short-term holding can be repatriated on Herd Management Areas (HMAs) where horses have been removed, as non-producing animals: stallions can be gelded so the mares are not exposed. It costs an estimated $5.50 per horse per day to keep an animal in short-term holding, and about $2 a day per horse in long-term holding. The majority of horses are in long-term holding right now.

At that point, PZP needs to be used aggressively on the existing wild populations to really cut back on births so we can achieve zero population growth. PZP-22 has a multi-year factor.

Yes, it will take a lot of hard work — it will take a lot of volunteers to be out there in the field. It’s easy to push a pen and paper around at a desk all day and it’s hard to go out there and document where the horses are, who they are, how many, where the food and water sources are. But we have over 100 volunteer trained darters — myself included — who are not in places they need to be because the BLM has not used the resource.

HN: One of the big criticisms of PZP for population control is that there are horses in inaccessible places where they cannot be routinely darted.

Yes, there are — I spoke with some of the people involved in a herd removal in a rugged section of Nevada and they know there are still horses out there. That would be a good place to repatriate a gelding-only group from short-term holding.

There are many places where it’s going to be difficult, but it’s always possible — the key is knowing where the horses are. For example, in the Pryor herd, at certain times of the year we know exactly where the horses will be because they won’t be on top of the mountains in the snow. It’s going to require a really solid knowledge base — we will need to build a database on the horses themselves, documenting what they look like, their markings and identification, as well as the geography of an HMA, where the water and feed is — we can use technology like drones, trail cameras. In areas that we can’t easily access the horses, we can use bait and water traps and use small dart guns.

It’s not going to be easy, but it’s possible.

HN: If you’re recommending repatriation of horses from short-term holding, do you believe that overgrazing is an issue on the range?

Overgrazing comes from livestock. The horses have become the scapegoat.

We visited an HMA that hadn’t had any livestock on it for eight years — part of it looked good, part of it not so good. The cheatgrass came into the area because it had been overgrazed by sheep. I’m glad we got to look at that particular area, because it let me see the extreme and compare it to the normal.

But this “the sky is falling and the horses are taking over the range” mentality is not correct.

HN: Let’s talk about the Advisory Board proposal — do you believe that there’s a possibility this recommendation could come to pass?

Absolutely I do. A few years ago there were secret meetings taking place in the BLM about how many horses they could kill annually. These only came to light thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and it somehow never got the press coverage I felt it deserved. Some of those people are still in high-level positions at the BLM.

This recommendation could come to pass because it’s easy. It’s not easy to go out there and actually euthanize those horses, no — but it’s an easy solution when compared to the hard work it would take to resolve the crisis through other means. Now, there are wonderful people in the BLM, don’t get me wrong — but there are plenty of others who would be willing to carry that out.

It’s still a difficult thing to do — no one wants to go out and tell their employees to go euthanize thousands of horses.

HN: How do you think it came to this point — that this recommendation is even a feasible option? Is this a power-play move to try to leverage more funding?

I still don’t understand it. Congress would have been willing to give the BLM more money — or so I hear from my Congressional representative on the Appropriations committee.

No one discussed this recommendation with me prior to introducing it. The subcommittee discussed it prior for some time, but when it was introduced at the board meeting I was fairly rattled.

It still doesn’t have to come to this: it’s possible to do on-the-range management. It will take real censusing, mapping, going out there. I’ve been working so hard to get volunteers out there on the ground. All of these tools have been available for a long time but never utilized.

HN: Do you think this recommendation might work as a scare tactic to encourage more public involvement with mustang management?

I certainly hope so! There was a massive public pushback on the proposed mare sterilization project and that project was canceled just recently. There’s going to be even more public outcry about this proposal.

I always encourage people to do something positive: it doesn’t do any good to just scream and yell on social media. Get out and volunteer, if you can. If you can’t, write a politely-worded letter to your government representatives. Do something positive and we can affect change.

Please Comment Directly at Horse Nation, tell them we sent you:  http://www.horsenation.com/2016/09/13/blm-wild-horse-advisory-board-proposes-euthanasia-of-excess-mustangs-qa-with-ginger-kathrens/

Susan Wagner, Pres. of Equine Advocates, on how the upcoming Presidential election can affect horse slaughter, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 9/14/16)

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Join us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Sept. 14, 2016

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 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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susan-and-mariclare-for-the-web

Susan Wagner, President & Founder of Equine Advocates, with Mariclare

Our guest tonight is Susan Wagner, President & Founder of Equine Advocates. Susan will tell you what you need to know about how the upcoming Presidential election can affect the fate of wild and domestic equines and horse slaughter. She will also tell you what can be done prior to the election, and before the next President takes office, to try to end horse slaughter.

Susan will tell you the important tools that every serious advocate and activist needs to make convincing arguments to lawmakers and the media, with proof and documentation, on why horse slaughter must be banned.

Here is a link to Susan Wagner’s article “In the Race for the Presidency, America’s Horses could be the Biggest Losers”

Susan has also started a petition at https://www.change.org/p/barack-obama-obama-biden-end-the-slaughter-of-america-s-horses?recruiter=168695384&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

Please Sign the Petition!

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

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

In the Race for the Presidency, America’s Horses Could be the Biggest Losers

by Susan Wagner, President & Founder, Equine Advocates

All of the progress that has been made since the last horse slaughterhouse operating in the U.S. closed in 2007 is in danger of being reversed. This is why we are now urgently calling on President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to end horse slaughter before they leave office with an executive order and federal policy change to remove equines from the food chain entirely.  PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION HERE.

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Ken Salazar was one of the worst Interior Secretaries of all time and a disaster for horses. If he heads Hillary Clinton’s Transition Team, our hopes to finally see an end to horse slaughter could be quashed.

 

 

Both major Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have announced some disturbing appointments. If Hillary Clinton becomes President, Ken Salazar, the former Interior Secretary, ranked by many as one of the worst in American History (along with Albert Fall, James Watt and Gail Norton), has been named to head her Transition Team. Salazar was a huge proponent of horse slaughter long before he became Interior Secretary. In 2013, he resigned his position as Interior Secretary under questionable circumstances. It was revealed that under Salazar’s watch, Tom Davis, a known horse dealer and rancher, bought  1,794 Wild BLM Mustangs for just $10 apiece  and sold them for slaughter in Mexico. We believe having Ken Salazar in any position of power would be a continued threat to the safety and protection of America’s wild and domestic equines. Please read this article that appeared in the Washington Times:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/24/blm-illegally-sold-thousands-wild-horses-slaughter/

Salazar’s agenda to “industrialize” the West and America’s Public Lands amplifies the threat to America’s remaining wild horse and burro herds. We believe the damage he did while he was in office continues to have detrimental and dangerous effects on the wildlife and the land. We implore Secretary Clinton to reconsider her appointment of Ken Salazar to her administration if she wins the election.

Equally horrendous is the list of horse slaughter proponents that Donald Trump has selected as part of his “Agricultural Advisory Committee.”  They include:

  • Forrest Lucas, oilman (Lucas Oil) and rancher- His political action committee (PAC), Protect the Harvest is, in our opinion, the most dangerous anti-horse/anti-animal PAC in the nation. He said of his PAC, “…we’re out here organized…” and “…we need to get horse slaughter back.”
  • Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma, who had signed a bill to legalize horse slaughter in her state
  • Bob Goodlatte, Congressman from Virginia and former chair of the House Agriculture Committee, a major force in blocking legislation to ban horse slaughter for years.

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Forrest Lucas, head of the anti-animal/ pro-horse slaughter PAC, Protect the Harvest, is on a mission to bring horse slaughter back to the U.S. He is just one of numerous horse slaughter proponents named to Donald Trump’s Agriculture Advisory Committee.

For a complete list of Trump’s proposed Agricultural Advisory Committee members, click here:

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/trump-campaign-announces-agricultural-advisory-committee

In addition, Trump has former Georgia Congressman, Jack Kingston as one of his advisers and also as a media spokesperson. Kingston was a member of the infamous 2011 Congressional Conference Committee that voted 3-1 (along with Senator Ray Blunt and former Senator Herb Kohl) to bring horse slaughter back to the US. They based their votes on the special interest-driven Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report #11-228 on Horse Slaughter. John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance successfully proved that the GAO Report was, in fact, fraudulent:

http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/How_the_GAO_Deceived_Congress-final.pdf

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Newbie BLM Advisory Board Member Attempts Justification of Wild Horse & Burro Murder Recommendation

Reply from and Facebook post by BLM Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board member Ben Masters

“Wet behind the ears, eager to make a name for himself and an ego the size of Texas newly appointed BLM Advisory Board member Ben Masters gives a weak and misguided explanation on why he would just LOVE to see the blood of 45,000 wild horses and burros spilled.  The father of the most inhumane concept in modern human history falls flat but welcomes comments on his idiotic attempt to make a name for himself at the expense of tens of thousands of innocent equine souls.

Important to remember:

  1. This is only a recommendation from a corrupt group of appointed special interest individuals whose intent is known to all.  They are an embarrassment to the American Way and fly in the face of Federal checks and balance systems.
  2. Do not confuse the name of Ben Masters with several really great people out there…it is not their fault that this dark lord was given the same first name as they.” ~ R.T.

The State of Wild Horses & Burros – September, 2016 WH&B Advisory Board Meeting

"Come here 45,000 ponies, we have a big surprise for you!", BLM Advisory Board

“Come here 45,000 ponies, we have a big surprise for you!”, BLM Advisory Board

The current situation with BLM Wild Horses, Burros, and the habitat they and wildlife depend on is an emergency. Yesterday we finished the Advisory Board Meeting in which I am the volunteer sitting in the Wildlife Management chair. The meeting was intense and the incredibly difficult recommendation to the BLM was made “To follow the stipulations of the Wild Horse and Burro Act by offering 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.” Here is how this recommendation came to be.

For those of you unfamiliar with the “plight” of the mustangs, here it is in a nutshell…
The Ancestors of Wild Horses evolved in North America but went extinct in the Great Pleistocene Extinction over 10,000 years ago. Fortunately, they migrated across the Bering Strait prior to extinction where they were eventually domesticated, breeds developed, artificial selection occurred, and horses were ultimately brought back to the Americas during European Expansion. Horses escaped, were set free to breed, and multiplied in a “Wild” or “Feral” state for hundreds of years. As the West was settled, these Wild Horses, often called mustangs, were rounded up to the point that Velma Johnson, AKA Wild Horse Annie, pushed for legislation to protect the remaining Wild Horses. This culminated in the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 that protected the 15,000 or so Horses and Burros remaining in the American West. Today Wild Horses and burros are managed on about 32 million acres of land in about 179 Herd Management Areas (HMAs).
Under protection, the Wild Horses and Burro populations grew about 15-20% annually and threatened overgrazing on the rangelands that they shared with wildlife and in some cases livestock. So the BLM, the government agency in charge of managing the Wild Horses, created Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) which is the number of horses that each Herd Management Area (HMA) can supposedly sustain in a thriving ecological balance with wildlife and in some areas livestock. Currently, the total Appropriate Management Level nationwide for Wild Horses and Burros is 26,715.
The Appropriate Management Level on the range is 26,715 but the current population is about 75,000 horses, nearly 3X the AML. I’m getting that number from censuses (conducted in the manner recommended by the Academy of Sciences) on March 1, 2016, which was 67,000 plus the additional number of foals that have been born since then. The BLM is supposed to gather excess horses to prevent overgrazing but they can’t because they’ve already gathered and are boarding 45,000 Wild Horses and Burros in holding pens. The BLM is spending $50 Million annually (2/3 of its Wild Horse and Burro budget) on hay and pasture bill for the horses in holding. This expense has eaten into funds that could be used for on-range management or adoption incentives. The BLM doesn’t have enough money to conduct enough gathers to control populations on the range and they don’t have a place to put them even if they did gather them.
So why can’t we just leave the horses alone? The reason is simple. Overpopulated grazers (whether horses, cattle, sheep, elk, or deer) will and can overgraze the land that they depend on. In the delicate Western desert ecosystems that our Wild Horses and Burros depend on, overgrazing can lead to devastating effects that can last far beyond my lifetime. Right now we are witnessing an ecological disaster on tens of millions of acres of our beloved Western Landscapes. It is affecting reptiles, mammals, birds, invertebrates, migrating species, amphibians, threatened and endangered species, plant communities, soil health, and even water availability. I have seen it firsthand.
During this Advisory Board Meeting, we took a field trip to the Antelope Valley HMA Complex. The Complex is East of Elko, NV and is 1.3 Million Acres of High Desert that gets about 5 inches of precipitation a year, mainly as snow. It is a very delicate ecosystem that can take decades, if ever, to recover if it is overgrazed. The Appropriate Management Level for the Antelope Valley HMA Complex is 278-464 horses. The current population is 3,360 horses, over 700% of the Appropriate Management Level.
On the way to the Antelope HMA Complex, we saw about 100 horses drinking from a pond next to the road. Bruce, our tour guide, explained that the main water sources for all 3,360 horses were on private land. That means that the water for all these horses is dependent on private landowners who could very easily and legally fence out the horses. In this particular case, the private landowner was a mining company that bought the ranch for the water rights for future mining activity. This shocked me. It seems extremely risky to me to depend on the water generosity of private landowners or businesses that own the surface and water rights…(Click HERE to continue reading and to comment directly to Darth Vader on his Facebook post)

Update: Alto horse herd talks move forward, public meeting planned

Dianne L Stallings, Ruidoso News

““Per the judge’s encouragement, they have agreed to release the horses to someone in Ruidoso…”

Wild horses were feeling frisky on a fall afternoon.(Photo: Courtesy/Kristen Kandros)

Wild horses were feeling frisky on a fall afternoon.(Photo: Courtesy/Kristen Kandros)

A discussion about returning 12 members of the wild horse herd of Alto is underway between officials with the New Mexico Livestock Board and members of a group that has spearheaded efforts to bring home the mares and foals penned by a landowner and hauled to Santa Fe by board employees last month.

A meeting to update supporters of the wild horse herd of Alto is planned for Tuesday. Details about time and place will be updated online as they become available.

District Court Judge Dan Bryant last week issued a temporary restraining order to stop the sale of the horses and urged a return of the herd to Lincoln County pending the outcome of a lawsuit to determine their status as estray or wild.

“With Judge Bryant’s ruling, the bid process has stopped,” William Bunce, livestock board executive director, said Monday. “The horses are fine, and discussions regarding acceptance of the horses by others are occurring.”

“We didn’t know if they would make contact with us directly or through attorneys, but he called Shelley McAlister,” Melissa Babcock said Monday. The two women were among the first to organize efforts to save the horses and to focus attention on providing a safe refuge for them, if needed. “Per the judge’s encouragement, they have agreed to release the horses to someone in Ruidoso. There are some stipulations to that agreement, which is kind of what we said at the beginning of the (public) meeting (Aug. 29). They have to be kept together per the judge’s order. But the livestock board’s conditions are obviously, we can’t just let them loose.

“They have to remained penned. There is a quarantine period of 15 days, I believe. They are supposed to be faxing us the conditions, but one is a quarantine. What we were wanting to do was let everyone know that, and that the livestock board has asked people to stop calling. We want to let people know that’s kind of where we are until it goes through court.”

Group members find themselves almost at the point they were with the horses and livestock board on Aug. 29, when livestock board officials indicated McAlister or some other landowner with appropriate property could take custody of the horses, she said.

“We want people to feel the decision is everyone’s decision,” Babcock said. “Shelley has 10 acres, but wherever we put them first, they definitely have to stay for the quarantine period. Then if there is someone else in the community with more land, but keep in mind, it is not just a matter of saying you can use my land. You have to take legal responsibility for them and it is a huge deal. One of the conditions from the livestock board is that it can’t just be someone with land, it has to be someone with land and experience with horses.”

Babcock and McAlister want to brief supporters and see who may step forward with an offer of land, she said.

“Shelley is fine with them staying there, but she doesn’t want people to think she’s the one who gets to make that decision,” Babcock said. “We don’t want anyone to think it was just the committee of six that was making all the decisions. We want to make sure people feel like they have a say and opinion. There are some things we can’t change and their opinion wouldn’t change, such as (the horses) must be kept. They cannot be turned loose.”

Money still is being raised to cover veterinary bills, food and other upkeep of the herd until the court renders a decision. The livestock board didn’t mention a minimum acreage size, she said.

“We’re open for people to make suggestions,” she said. “Forty acres would be nice, because we need as much secure space as possible to keep them in an environment that feels wild, so when we win this, they will be ready to bring them back to where they were picked up or close by and release them.”

Herd advocates don’t want to foster dependence on humans any more than absolutely necessary, she said.

One of the advantages of staying on McAlister’s 10 acres is that it is in Alto and there’s a possibility the stallion, Big Boss, may find his mares, Babcock said. “We’ve had (offers of land) from Nogal and all over,” she said. “That’s great, but being somewhat close would be nice for feeding.”

http://www.ruidosonews.com/story/news/local/2016/09/12/alto-horse-herd-talks-move-forward-public-meeting-planned/90283650/

The BLM Abandons Plans to Do Gruesome Sterilization Experiments on Wild Mares, Call to Action

By Carol Walker ~ WHFF Director of Field Documentation
As published on Wild HoofBeats

“We have stopped the first part of the plan, now it is time to work on stopping the second…”

With amazing public outcry beginning in April of this year, with 50,000 emails and letters sent and three legal actions filed, the BLM finally got the message that the American public would not stand for the barbaric sterilization experiments they had planned for 225 wild mares in a filthy holding facility in Burns, Oregon. The BLM called off the Wild Mare Sterilization Project at 3 am on Friday, September 9, 2016.

I personally want to thank all of you who wrote, emailed and called, some of you every day, Oregon State University to try to discourage them from participating in this inhumane butchery that the BLM had planned for 225 wild mares. Thank you to those of you who wrote articles in magazines and newspapers, who told your friends, and who spread the word. Thank you to the three groups/organizations who filed legal actions: Front Range Equine Rescue, The Cloud Foundation, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and Citizens Against Equine Slaughter, Oregon Wild Horse & Burro Assn., Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition, and Wild Equid League of Colorado.

We do make a difference and we can make a difference.

When in late June this year, Republicans on the Federal Lands Sub-Committee launched a full out assault on wild horses on public lands in the West we found out what the plan was – to eradicate wild horses on our public lands using sterilization, and to euthanize the 45,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities.

We have stopped the first part of the plan, now it is time to work on stopping the second. When the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board voted to recommend on Friday, September 9, 2016 to euthanize (actually the correct word is kill) all 45,000 “unadoptable” wild horses that have been stockpiled over decades in BLM holding facilities, (the lone “no” vote being Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation) the gauntlet has been thrown down, the challenge is on for the second part of the plan.

Hundreds of people have been writing me “what can I do to help?”

Here is my answer…(CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE)

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/news/the-blm-abandons-plans-to-do-gruesome-sterilization-experiments-on-wild-mares-call-to-action

Open Letters: What do YOU think about BLM Advisory Board’s Recommendation to Slaughter 45,000 Innocent Wild Horses?

R.T. Fitch ~ Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“You know MY thoughts and it is way too early to commit my words to text; not many of them are multi-syllable and most only have four letters. (I have managed to create an entire sentence utilizing only one cuss word, and it makes sense)

Link to unedited transcript from Bogus BLM Murder Board Meeting, yesterday: https://app.box.com/s/xo1xlqq58stg8fdg99guskpk59u1nxr0

Listed below are thoughts from many of our esteemed colleagues and I strongly encourage you to add yours AND to forward them to the email addresses supplied by Carol Walker, below. The bloody bastards! (sorry, that just slipped out)” ~ R.T.


The Perfect BLM Long Term Holding Facility

The Perfect BLM Long Term Holding Facility

Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for WHFF

“The Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board has just voted in favor of killing all the wild horses currently in short term and long term holding, approximately 44,000 horses. The only NO vote on the Advisory Board was from Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation.

Being extremely fond of euphemisms, the BLM uses the term “euthanasia” which is incorrect.

Definition of Euthanasia: “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”  This is in fact murder, not euthanasia.

The intent behind this vote was to send a strong message to Washington, DC so that this might happen. Dean Bolstad, Division Chief had been alluding to killing the captive wild horses earlier in the meeting.

This is BLM’s endgame for our wild horses.

Please speak up – send comments to the Advisory Board ASAP at this address: whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov

You can email the bloody-minded Advisory Board individually as well:

June Sewing: mustangs@infowest.com; Fred Woehl: prtfred@gmail.com; Robert Cope: cowdoc75@hotmail.com; Julie Weikle: jweikeldvm@yahoo.com; Sue McDonnell: suemcd@vet.upenn.edu; Steven Yardley: steven.leslieyardley@yahoo.com; Ben Masters: benmasters@unbrandedthefilm.com

and you can thank Ginger Kathrens for standing strong in the face of such complete and utter disregard for the interests of our wild horses and burros: Info@thecloudfoundation.org.

Tell Dean Bolstad what you think: dbolstad@blm.gov

Then call Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior:(202) 208-3100

Then write your Congressmen and Senators.

This outrage must not stand.”

Published on Wild Hoof Beats: http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/news/breaking-news-blms-wild-horse-advisory-board-just-voted-to-kill-all-49000-captive-wild-horses-in-holding

Dr. Don and Toni Moore:

We are writing to voice our overwhelming objection to the “Board’s” recommendation to brutally kill “unadoptable” wild horses in long term holding.

The majority of these animals should have not been removed in the first place.

Unauthorized, illegal recommendations such as these has raised the question in our minds that this board must be disbanded and all recommendations disregarded. This Board had superceded the statutory authority granted by the Department of the Interior and is making recommendations that will certainly not be implemented. This “Board” is wasting taxpayer dollars with ludicrous recommendations and functions only to promote special interest groups seeking eradication of wild horses and burros from public lands.

We are simply speechless at this latest maneuver, but make no mistake the actions and recommendations made by this “board” have united humane groups, wildlife enthusiasts including supporters of wild horses, and yes, the general public.

Who would have thought the actions of so few, this Advisory Board, attempting to carry out the BLM directive of management to extinction will change the face of public land mismanagement.

Congratulations, you will now begin answering to all Americans, not just a select few.

Dr. Donald Moore
Toni Moore

Grandma Gregg:

We have been set up, my friends. This mass murder of thousands of our wild horses and burros proposal is not something that just popped up today. This has been the strategy of BLM for many years. There is documentation of this fact.

The Board members are hand-picked by BLM (DOI and DOA). Bolstad knew exactly what was going to be announced at the meeting – because he has admittedly been talking to members of Congress “almost every week”. And what do you think he was telling them? And why do you think that Congress recently had a big “staged” meeting about the wild horses and burros? And why has the BLM been publishing bogus population figures and increases for so long – such as one herd increasing 775% in ONE year which means that 40 burros had 270 surviving foals in ONE year and there are many more examples of this. And why has BLM not put video devices on the helicopters when they do aerial population counts? Because it would prove that there are NOT the bogus numbers that they put in their bogus population reports – that’s why. All lies… the only thing that BLM does well is lie.

And why do you think that BLM has been crying about the cost of housing our wild burros in their feed lots when it costs we taxpayers nothing for the wild ones to live on their legal lands? And why do you think that when BLM’s Sally Spencer was proven to have sold our wild ones to a kill-buyer that it was covered up? And why do you think that when Spur livestock (a BLM holding contractor) was proven to have sold our wild horses to a kill-buyer that it was covered up? And why do you think that everyone associated with the BLM has been pushing sterilization and pesticides for our wild ones? And why has FOIA request data been ignored and covered up for years on end? And did you hear today at the meeting that our wild horses are considered by them to be valueless if they cannot be trained? So in their minds, if there is any wildlife that cannot be made to jump hoops then it is valueless? Wild is wild and should remain wild for the value of being wild. But BLM has thrown big money toward training these wild horses and burros instead of training humans to value them for what they are … which is wild for the value of being wild.

There is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures … because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros but even after 22,200,000 acres were stolen from the American people by government agencies the remaining 31,600,000 acres could support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today. The recent National Academy of Sciences study found no evidence of overpopulation of Wild Horses and Wild Burros. Obviously the government employees and the government’s actions toward the wild horses and burros needs to be closely and independently investigated and the animals left on and returned to their legally designated herd land. There is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures … because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their congressionally designated land.

And on and on and on … think back now on what we have been seeing BLM do in recent years. And “we” the public have fallen for the BLM lies and so they have practiced on us to see how much we were paying attention and how far we would go to believe their lies … and we fell for it lock, stock and barrel. And it all boils down to one thing … there are NO EXCESS wild horses and burros on their legally protected lands – these are our wild horses and our wild burros and our wild lands.

The entire plan to murder all captured wild horses and burros in holding has been the BLM’s (secret) Golden Rule for a long time. And these people are all guilty of many things including violating Title 18 (18 U.S.C. § 1001). Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial 18 U.S. Code § 1519 – Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.) US Code Per the US Department of Justice, the purpose of Section 1001 is “to protect the authorized functions of governmental departments and agencies from the perversion which might result from” concealment of material facts and from false material representations. This violation is punishable by both monetary fines and imprisonment … but instead of that, they walk around free and spew their lies as we heard them do again today. And we fell for it … and now our wild ones will be going to their deaths because of it. I am ashamed of what I was taught and was “America the Beautiful”.

“Though men now possess the power to dominate and exploit every corner of the natural world, nothing in that fact implies that they have the right or the need to do so.”  – Edward Abbey “A Voice in the Wilderness”

Lets here your comments AND forward to the Bogus Board, please!!!