Stop the Execution Order for Wild Horses and Burros

In Defense of Animals has produced a one click means of contacting your U.S. Senators

Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild horses and burros are facing the greatest peril since the mid twentieth century, when hundreds of thousands were run down or shot from helicopters and made into pet food. The government is now making moves to gut legal protections intended to stop mass wild horse killings so they can kill wild equines and push them to the brink of extinction. We can’t let this happen!

The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act gives wild horses and burros the right to live freely on public lands, but they now occupy only a small fraction, while cows and sheep are grazed by ranchers on the vast majority. The Bureau of Land Management has removed wild equines from 22 million acres historically designated for their use and continues the relentless roundups that are dangerous for horses and expensive for taxpayers. This failed policy causes population spikes and leads to more suffering.

The majority of Americans oppose equine slaughter and want wild horses and burros to be protected, not eradicated.

In July, the House Appropriations Committee flaunted the will of the people under the guise of cost-saving and “population control.” It approved an amendment by Representative Chris Stewart of Utah that authorizes “euthanizing” healthy wild horses and burros, unlimited selling of those held captive including sending them to slaughterhouses, and lethally removing “excess” wild horses on the range.

In essence, the House version of the 2018 budget bill for the Department of Interior calls for government-sponsored extinction of wild horses and burros.

Lawmakers who approved the mass horse execution are doing the bidding of the ranchers, extractive industry executives, and trophy hunters who want to use more and more of our public lands for their private gain. This rich, greedy lobby put its muscle and money into persuading House members to choose eradication and slaughter.

Supporters of In Defense of Animals and allied advocate organizations have spoken up, but we are in an uphill fight. In a few days, the Senate Appropriations Committee will decide whether or not America’s wild horses and burros will fall victims to this despicable plan. We can make a difference with bold, timely action!

What you can do:

 

 

1) If your senator is on the Appropriations Committee, please call his/her office. If your state is not represented on the committee, call one of more of the key senators starred. State your name, telephone number and organization you’re affiliated with, if any. Be courteous and respectful.

You may wish to say:

Wild horses and burros are living memorials to our history and love of freedom. They do not deserve to pay with their lives for government mismanagement. Americans do not want to go back to the days of mass extermination.

Please reject the House-passed Stewart amendment language. I ask you to maintain the Congressional ban on killing or euthanizing healthy wild horses and burros and on unlimited sales of captive animals. We want solutions, not slaughter!

Senator

Phone

(CHAIR) Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)  202-224-5054
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)  202-224-5744
* Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)  202-224-6665
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) 202-224-4843
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)  202-224-3841
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)  202-224-4041
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)  202-224-5042
* Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 202-224-3041
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HW)  202-224-3934
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)  202-224-2152
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)  202-224-6521
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  202-224-2541
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)  202-224-4623
* Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)  202-224-2523
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)  202-224-4654
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)  202-224-5721
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)  202-224-2644
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)  202-224-2651
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)  202-224-2841
* (RANKING) Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) 202-224-6621
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)  202-224-2551
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)  202-224-5754
* Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)  202-224-3753
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)  202-224-4642
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)  202-224-5972
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)  202-224-4944
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 202-224-0238
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)  202-224-2621
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) 202-224-5653
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)  202-224-6472
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)  202-224-3954

Click (HERE) to go to Letter

https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=3124

Livestock grazing extremists obscure real-world solutions

by Debbie Coffey

In my opinion…

We need to find a fix for the unhealthy populations of non-native, domestic cattle and sheep on public lands.

Imagine a proposal to introduce privately owned livestock onto the public lands of the American West.  The owners of the privately owned livestock would successfully gain use of 229 million acres of public lands in the West.   The livestock would be owned by a politically powerful industry that attracted a passionate following — people who love using public lands for their private profit so much that they influence the federal management of their privately owned animals so that they would rarely, if ever, be restricted by law.  Some of them would be so passionate that they would take over and occupy government buildings for 41 days, and end up costing taxpayers at least $9 million, including $2.3 million on federal law enforcement and $1.7 million to replace damaged or stolen property.

The downside of these privately owned livestock would be that they destroy native vegetation, damage soils and stream banks, and contaminate waterways with fecal waste.  After decades of livestock grazing, once-lush streams and riparian forests have been reduced to flat, dry wastelands; once-rich topsoil has been turned to dust, causing soil erosion, stream sedimentation and wholesale elimination of some aquatic habitats; overgrazing of native fire-carrying grasses has starved some western forests of fire, making them overly dense and prone to unnaturally severe fires.  Not to mention that predators like the grizzly and Mexican gray wolf were driven extinct in southwestern ecosystems by “predator control” programs designed to protect the livestock industry.

Livestock grazing of privately owned livestock on public lands is promoted, protected and subsidized by federal agencies.  A new analysis  finds U.S. taxpayers have lost more than $1 billion over the past decade on a program that allows cows and sheep to graze on public land.  Last year alone taxpayers lost $125 million in grazing subsidies on federal land.  Had the federal government charged fees similar to grazing rates on non-irrigated private land, the program would have made $261 million a year on average rather than operate at a staggering loss, the analysis finds.

Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands

Just imagine what would happen if this livestock industry continued to thrive while all other natural resources were exhausted and while wildlife starved, died of thirst or became extinct.

Clearly, this is a difficult scenario to support.  Congress needs to overhaul the outdated livestock grazing program and reign in the use of livestock grazing on public lands.  These “welfare ranchers” treat public lands as if they are their own private lands and don’t want to share public lands with wildlife (unless that wildlife can be hunted).  The Bureau of Land Management is supposed to to “maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple use relationship” but it heavily favors the livestock grazing industry, even though livestock grazing has damaged 80 percent of the streams and riparian ecosystems in the West.

There are currently very powerful lobbying efforts using misinformation to convince Congress to “euthanize” (kill) or sterilize over 46,000 wild horses and burros in BLM holding facilities, and tens of thousands more on public lands.  But what about the millions of privately owned cattle and sheep on public lands?

There was recently a secretive meeting (closed to the public) in Salt Lake City, Utah, called the National Wild Horse & Burro Summit.  The only groups invited were special interest groups that promote livestock grazing, and academia/universities who rely on money from these special interest groups and government agencies who favor these special interest groups.  The Summit focused on the supposed damage done by wild horses and burros on public lands, while ignoring the real source of the widespread and well documented damage to water and rangeland ecosystems:  domestically owned livestock.   Since they talked about killing our wild horses and burros, this conference was aptly dubbed the “Slaughter Summit.”

Cattle slurping up water in the West (photo: EPA)

Go to the websites of the livestock industry, and you’ll notice that there’s no mention that millions of domestically owned livestock graze on public lands and overgraze or harm wildlife species.  There is no mention that cattle and sheep are not native to North America, since they arrived on Spanish and English ships about 500 years ago.

These extremists try to justify their interests by claiming they grow food, but only 3% of beef grown in the U.S. is grazed on public lands.  Most privately owned livestock graze on privately owned land.

The wild horse & burro population estimates used by these special interest groups are compiled by the BLM and have been found to be scientifically impossible, since the BLM, per its own population estimates, has claimed some wild horse herds increased by as much as 750% or 1250% in only one year.

Fringe “cowboys” have been effective at lobbying for the slaughter of old, unadoptable – or really any – horses.  The BLM has taken away over 22 million acres from Herd Areas, which were supposed to be the federally protected areas for wild horses and burros, and allows livestock grazing on most of the remaining, smaller Herd Management Areas (in addition to millions of other acres on public lands).

It’s easy for people in the other 40 states to be swayed by the livestock grazing extremists.  They look like real cowboys.  But many “ranchers” are large corporations.  Their efforts are responsible for the current situation, in which taxpayers support their private businesses of grazing millions of privately owned livestock on public lands, leaving us with no end in sight, not in numbers, not in funding, not in ecological damage.  What is a real-world solution?

Along with Wanting to Slaughter America’s Wild Horses and Burros, Ryan Zinke is Erasing ‘Public’ from Lands He’s Meant to Guard

as published in The Seattle Times

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s actions show his priority is to fossil-fuels companies and whether they will be able to profitably access the public lands they’ve long relied on for cheap natural resources.

‘Dinky’ Zinke, “I’ve had a hankering to slaughter those wild horses and burros for years. Just check my past record, it speaks for itself you turkeys.”

Shortly after taking office in March, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke declared his department would work on increasing access to America’s public lands. This sounded laudable — of course it should be easier for Americans to visit and enjoy our forests, mountains, deserts and rivers. But there was a catch: Secretary Zinke wasn’t really interested in making it easier for families to visit our public lands, only in greasing the skids for the industries that exploit those same lands.

Last week the National Park Service announced it intends to raise the entrance fees at the 17 most popular national parks to $70 per vehicle starting next year. This would almost triple the entry fee to Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks, the two parks in our state that would be impacted. The price of a weeklong entry pass for a noncommercial vehicle would go up to an astounding $70 under the proposal, from the current $25.

This proposal, if implemented, will be a de facto barrier to entry for many of us wishing to visit some of the country’s grandest landscapes. National Parks visitation already skews whiter and older than the general population. The Interior Department has acknowledged this must change if our national park system is to remain relevant. But raising entrance fees by 180 percent will only further skew the demographics of park visitation.

Two other moves by Zinke show he is worried whether fossil fuels companies will be able to profitably access the public lands they’ve long relied on for cheap natural resources.

Back in March, Zinke rescinded the federal moratorium on coal leases on public land. The halt had no effect on existing coal leases or mining but prohibited the Interior Department from offering new leases. The moratorium had been put in place last year by Sally Jewell, the previous Interior Secretary under President Barack Obama, so that the department could evaluate coal’s impact on climate change (40 percent of U.S. coal comes from public lands).

Zinke, however, scoffed at the notion of a societal cost of carbon and claimed the moratorium was unnecessary. He quickly cleared this impediment to coal companies’ access to the resource under public lands.

Then, in August, he repealed an Obama administration rule that ended a scam coal, oil and gas companies had long relied on to make deceitfully small royalty payments to the federal treasury.

The rule put an end to the practice of these companies extracting natural resources from public lands, selling the resources to affiliated companies at artificially small markups, and then having the affiliates resell the materials at a substantially higher price. Royalties paid to the public were calculated on the low initial sales price to the affiliates rather than on the price of the resource on the open market.

After receiving “numerous comments from the regulated community,” Zinke repealed the rule. Fossil-fuels companies can once again shortchange the public out of its royalties.

What truly rankles about Zinke’s selective concern for public-lands access is that the additional revenues raised from jacking up park entrance fees would be more than lost by canceling the rule that had fixed the royalty scam. Interior estimates higher entrance fees would raise an additional $70 million, while Taxpayers for Common Sense has calculated lost annual revenue from reopening the royalty loophole at $75 million.

We can expect to see more examples of this one-sided concern for public lands access. Last month came reports that President Donald Trump will follow through on Zinke’s recommendation to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Shrinking the monuments would open up additional public lands to fossil-fuels development while doing nothing to make those lands more accessible to the general public.

Be aware, when Zinke talks of improving public access to federal lands, he has an extremely narrow subset of the public in mind.

 What can we do? The good news is there’s still time for the public to fight back the proposed fee increase, as the National Park Service is taking comments until Nov. 23. More broadly, Congress needs to prohibit the Department of the Interior from giving special access to the fossil-fuels industries through rules that enable and encourage profiteering on our public lands.

Wild Horse & Burro Slaughter Endorser, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Is Embroiled In More Than One Scandal

by as published on ThinkProgress.org

“It started with trying to legalize horse slaughter plants in his home state and has only gone down hill from there…”

Dinky Zinke asks; “Filly Fillet in this hand and Bucking Bronc Burger in this hand, which would you pick?”

A controversial contract benefiting a small company based in his hometown is only the latest possible corruption scandal linked to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has come under fire for his spending habits as well as his connections to special interests and potential misuse of campaign funds.

On Monday, nonprofit watchdog group the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) accused Zinke’s dormant congressional campaign of dodging rules prohibiting individuals from converting political donations into individual revenue. According to an official Federal Election Commission complaint, the campaign allegedly purchased an RV from Zinke’s wife, then sold it to a friend at a steeply discounted price a year later, lowering the car’s price from $59,100 to $25,000. The recipient, Ed Buttrey, is a Montana state senator rumored to be in the running to be nominated Interior assistant secretary.

The CLC cited the RV sale along with Zinke’s earlier hotel stays in the Virgin Islands and New York — trips he took on the Interior Department’s dime — as possible efforts to skirt federal contribution campaign rules.

“When you combine the disregard for campaign finance laws when Zinke was a candidate with the disregard that Zinke as Interior secretary has shown for the ethics laws, you certainly get a picture of an individual who may not be taking his responsibilities as an officeholder seriously,” said Brendan Fischer, who submitted the complaint on behalf of the CLC.

Zinke’s other ethical close-calls, as the CLC noted, are plentiful.

Last week, a two-person for-profit private company from Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana secured a $300 million contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory has struggled for over a month following a devastating hurricane and much of the island stills lacks access to power and water. But many officials questioned the decision to award Whitefish Energy Holdings the contract and even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) criticized the deal. The company eventually lost the contract amid “significant concerns” about its ability to adequately perform necessary relief work, as well as increasing scrutiny and calls from Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to cancel the deal. An audit of the deal is underway on both a federal and local level.

Zinke has denied any connection to the contract, blaming the growing scandal on coastal elitism and a bias against small towns.

“I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico,” the interior secretary wrote in a statement on Friday.

“Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding of influencing any contract involving Whitefish [Energy Holdings] are completely baseless,” Zinke continued. “Only in elitist Washington, D.C., would being from a small town be considered a crime.”

But the Whitefish controversy has very little to do with the small town roots of Whitefish Energy Holdings and far more to do with alarm over possible corruption. Zinke has been connected to a number of other scandals — many of them ongoing and drawing increasing scrutiny.

As the overseer of approximately 500 million acres across the United States, Zinke plays a crucial role in crafting President Trump’s domestic climate policy. Under Trump’s budget, the Department of the Interior faces steep cuts, including an 80 percent reduction in funding for climate efforts.

Zinke himself has taken an apathetic approach to climate change and environmental protection on a broader level. He has called the Paris climate agreement — signed by virtually every country in the world apart from embattled Syria — a “badly negotiated deal” and has supported Trump’s decision to leave the landmark decision. He has also questioned the impact of climate change — claiming that “no models” exist proving the phenomenon’s impact on the planet — and sought to heavily downsize national monuments, despite outcry from activists and indigenous tribes.

As a Montana congressman, Zinke took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies, many of whom drill on the same public lands he now oversees. Zinke received a total of $345,000 between 2013 and 2017 from donors like these, with one oil-and-gas executive giving the now-secretary as much as $11,600, according to Federal Election Commission data. These numbers have caused many to worry Zinke’s stances are being shaped by oil, gas, and coal lobbyists, as well as by climate skeptics more generally.

The secretary’s lavish trips are also alarming watchdog groups. This summer, Zinke took a $12,375 chartered flight from Las Vegas to an area near his Montana home, when a commercial equivalent would have cost around $300. That trip was aboard a private plane owned by a Wyoming oil-and-gas exploration firm, once again concerning climate activists.

In March, Zinke also took a taxpayer-funded trip to the aforementioned U.S. Virgin Islands, where he attended a Republican Party fundraiser and donors paid up to $5,000 per couple for a photo with the secretary. That event was one of many Zinke attended with major donors and other political figures on Interior Department-funded trips, according to documents reviewed by Politico.

Earlier this month, 26 House Democrats wrote in a letter that Zinke’s trips “give the appearance that you are mixing political gatherings and personal destinations with official business.” Other figures have also expressed concern — Zinke’s Virgin Islands trip, which are mentioned in its complaint, attracted CLC’s attention three weeks ago.

“This activity constitutes impermissible solicitation of political contributions if event organizers conditioned the opportunity to take a photograph with Secretary Zinke on paying a higher fee,” CLC’s senior director for ethics, Walter Shaub, wrote to the Justice Department’s Office of Special Council. Shaub requested a Hatch Act investigation in order to determine whether Zinke violated rules restricting federal employees from partisan political events and dealings.

Monday’s complaint comes amid a Special Counsel investigation into Zinke’s spending habits, as well as a separate investigation opened by Interior Department’s inspector general.

Audits into Puerto Rico’s canceled contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings are also ongoing.

https://thinkprogress.org/zinke-scandals-papertrail-26c2e725f345/

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Congress Targets our Wild Horses and Burros

Many thanks to Susan Wagner, Pres. of Equine Advocates, for writing this excellent OpEd for the New York Daily News.

SOURCE:  New York Daily News

photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

by Susan Wagner, Pres. of Equine Advocates

Special interests in the ranching, oil and gas and mining industries and the lawmakers who do their bidding have a nefarious but underreported agenda: to round up and destroy the wild horses and burros on America’s public lands.

This is not the first time they’ve tried, but this time, the stars are aligned in the worst way, and they just might succeed.

First, some quick history. Back in the 1950s, wild horses were at the brink of extinction. They had no federal protections. People known as Mustangers were chasing, rounding up and selling them for slaughter by the thousands. Anyone who has seen the classic 1961 Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe film “The Misfits” has a sense — albeit a sanitized, Hollywood sense — of this dirty work.

That changed when activist Velma Johnston, famously known as Wild Horse Annie, inspired the passage of the Wild Horse Annie Act in 1959, which provided some protection for these animals. That law was followed by even stronger legislation — the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. It expressly prohibited the hunting, capture, injury and disturbance of wild horses and burros.

Over the years, however, lawmakers have chipped away at this legislation, removing many of its vital protections. Tremendous damage was done by the 2004 Burns Amendment; it passed without so much as a hearing and permitted the sale of these animals for commercial purposes. Many ended up at slaughter.

The biggest threat to wild horses today is a group of ranchers — known as “welfare ranchers” — who use federal lands to graze their cattle. They have made it clear that they want the horses and burros gone. They believe they are entitled to the land and water rights for their livestock.

Though they style themselves as independent pioneers, these ranchers are given huge subsidies by the federal government, enabling them to lease our public lands for a pittance, while the wild horses and burros are rounded up and sent to holding facilities operated by the Bureau of Land Management, a division of the the Interior Department.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, this program has cost the American taxpayer more than $1 billion over the past decade and is “ruinous to the public lands and the wildlife that inhabit it.”

There is no doubt that our wild horses and burros can be managed humanely, but that is not what is going on. Nearly 50,000 healthy animals are now being held captive in Bureau of Land Management holding facilities. Many suffer and die horrible deaths during the roundups, which are cruel and unnecessary.

Making matters worse, a five-year investigation released in July by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation accuses the bureau of deliberately trying to deceive American taxpayers and members of Congress about the costs and consequences of their actions.  READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

 

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THE TRUTH #11 – The BLM authorized the adoption of a wild horse to a woman who was later charged with animal cruelty. Although the wild horse survived, the fact that this horse was subjected to animal cruelty illustrates what happens when the BLM fails to do adequate, if any, compliance checks

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 #11 – The BLM authorized the adoption of a wild horse to a woman who was later charged with animal cruelty.  Although the wild horse survived, the fact that this horse was subjected to animal cruelty illustrates what happens when the BLM fails to do adequate, if any, compliance checks.

When looking at FOIA records regarding the fate of wild horses born in BLM holding facilities, we came across a horse (Freezemark #10183695) that the BLM approved for a Private Care and Maintenance Agreement (PMACA) adoption to someone in Loxahatchee, FL. This caught our eye because of the investigations by Richard Cuoto of Animal Rescue Mission that exposed illegal slaughter farms in Loxahatchee, FL, including Medina Farm. Luckily, this wild horse didn’t end up on Medina Farm, but we found out that the adopter, Janet Greene, was charged with animal cruelty. We have provided links to two newspaper articles, a timeline of events and BLM FOIA documents below.

Horse owner formally charged with animal cruelty (Read this article HERE.)

Janet Greene (photo: Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office)

“Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control seized 14 horses Nov. 7

…Janet E. Greene, 47, of Port St. Lucie, is charged with 13 counts of felony cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor count of unlawful abandonment or confinement of animal.

Feed bills show that 16 horses were being fed a total of 51 pounds of hay per day, well below the recommended amount of 320 pounds of hay, according a statement from Animal Care and Control Sgt. Max Sharpe.”

And we saw this article:

Woman charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty in Loxahatchee Groves horse-death case (Read this article HERE.)

“…the county’s top animal investigators said that in the span of two months, one sick horse ended up becoming two dead horses and 13 sick ones, and they placed that blame squarely on Janet Greene, the horse’s owner of record.”

Veterinary assistant Nancy Rogero, left, and animal care specialist Rosemary MacDougal care for one of 14 emaciated horses that were brought to Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.

In reviewing the FOIA records regarding the PMACA (Private Maintenance and Care Agreement) adoption and timeline of events after the BLM turned over the horse to Janet Greene, it looks like this:

10/9/11 – Janet E. Greene fills out a BLM Application for Adoption of Wild Horse(s) or Burro(s) (undated) and on 10/9/11, BLM’s John D. Parsons authorized a Private Maintenance and Care Agreement for Wild Horse(s) or Burro(s).

11/7/12 – About thirteen months later, Janet E. Greene is arrested for animal cruelty.

3/15/13 – Over seventeen months after the adoption, the BLM case file log shows that BLM sent a title application to Janet Greene, but it was returned as undeliverable. It also notes “Talked to Mr. Green, got new address and re-mailed title app

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

 

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/

Time to ban horsemeat trade in all of North America, as investigation in Mexico uncovers horse sold as beef

by Wayne Pacelle as published on A Humane Nation

“A new study in six Mexican cities has found horsemeat in nearly 10 percent of meat products that are being sold as beef…”

American horses and burros, both wild and domestic, are NOT food animals. – photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Mexico is forging ahead on animal protection. Earlier this year, its Congress made dogfighting a felony throughout the nation. Mexico City adopted an extraordinary charter on animal protection. A number of major food retailers in Mexico have said they will change their purchasing practices to stop buying eggs and pork from operations that confine hens and pigs in small confinement cages and crates. Our Humane Society International/Mexico office and partner organizations are working hard to keep this important and strategic country trending in the right direction and to also crack down on other abuses of animals.

One of those abuses involves the slaughter of horses for human consumption. A new study in six Mexican cities has found horsemeat in nearly 10 percent of meat products that are being sold as beef or that are not clearly labeled. The samples of meat were collected from common vending points, including butcher shops, supermarkets, street markets, and street stalls.

The study, commissioned by HSI and conducted by researchers at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, also found high levels of a veterinary drug commonly prescribed for horses, clenbuterol, in some raw meat samples. Clenbuterol is not approved for food producing animals, and can be harmful to humans.

The researchers collected 433 samples of cooked and uncooked meat from an assortment of vendors across Mexico, of which nearly 10 percent tested positive for horsemeat. Samples were collected in six cities: Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Pachuca, and San Vicente Chicoloapan. The samples included four types of meat samples (ground meat, regular tacos, crispy tacos, and thin steaks [bistec]) and were either unlabeled or labeled as beef. The samples that tested positive for horsemeat were obtained at informal selling points such as street stalls and markets, and most vendors appeared to be unaware that there was horsemeat in the products they were selling.

Mexico is the second largest horsemeat producer in the world, after China. According to the Mexican Ministry of Trade, between January and August 2017, Mexico exported almost 1,500 tons of horsemeat, worth more than $4 million, to Japan, Russia, and Vietnam. Mexico not only kills thousands of its horses for human consumption each year, but also slaughters tens of thousands of perfectly healthy American horses. U.S. kill buyers acquire working, racing, and companion horses and even children’s ponies and try to make a fast buck by funneling them to horse slaughter plants over the northern and southern borders. Just this year, as of September, kill buyers have shipped more than 60,000 horses to Canada and Mexico to be killed for human consumption.

Horses in the United States are raised as companions and partners in work and sport, and not as food animals. As a result, they are commonly treated with drugs deemed unfit for human consumption. In 2014, the European Commission suspended the import of horsemeat from Mexico to the European Union due to food safety concerns. The HSUS has documented, via undercover footage, the incredible suffering faced by animals: downed, injured horses slaughtered for human consumption despite being ill, horses suffering in export facilities on U.S. soil, and horrific welfare problems during transport. The same drugs would put at risk Mexicans, Canadians, and the Japanese, as well as visitors to those countries and others who would sit down to a horse steak – either knowingly or not. No one is immune from drugs long deemed unfit for human consumption.

Beyond the issue of self-interest and public health, Mexico should not be complicit in this grisly trade, and the United States should not use Mexico as an export market for an enterprise that’s illegal on our soil. The practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption should stop across North America. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 113/S. 1706, which would cement the existing prohibitions on domestic horse slaughter and build on that provision by stopping the export of horses for slaughter abroad, is just one important policy vehicle to help us achieve that goal.

The evidence that we’ve obtained in Mexico reveals that this ugly enterprise is trying to trick Mexican vendors and consumers. It’s a disreputable industry, and the country’s lawmakers should build on their recent good works and establish protections for animals who have changed the course of North American history for the better. It’s a small act of reciprocity for North Americans to honor the role of the horse in North American settlement, commerce, and recreation and end the most extreme form of human-caused exploitation of these noble animals.

P.S. Americans can take action today to protect U.S. horses from being slaughtered for human consumption. As our companions in sport and leisure, we owe it to them to make sure that their lives do not come to a terrifying end in a slaughterhouse to feed the international demand for horsemeat.

https://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/10/time-ban-horsemeat-trade-north-america-investigation-mexico-uncovers-horse-sold-beef.html?credit=blog_post_103017_id9361

Big Cattle, Big Gulp: Cowboys and cows are soaking the American West dry

Source:  New Republic

“Every stream on public lands grazed by livestock is polluted and shows a huge surge in E. coli bacterial contamination during the grazing season,” says Marvel. “No wonder we can’t drink the water.”

Marvel, who retired from WWP last year, spent two decades haranguing and suing the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the government bodies that are supposed to regulate ranching on the public domain. “Forest Service and BLM staffers see their job as the protection and enabling of ranchers. They are the epitome of what is meant by agency capture.”

by Christopher Ketcham

The American West faces its fifteenth year of low rainfall, sparse snowpack, and warming temperatures in what climatologists believe is only the beginning of a climate-change-induced megadrought that may last a century or more. Major cities across California recorded historically low precipitation levels in the last two years. At least 78 percent of the state is now categorized as suffering “extreme drought,” including the state’s Central Valley, the nation’s most productive agricultural region. California hasn’t been this dry in 1,200 years.

We tend to blame the exurban sprawl dweller for water waste. The profligate of the cul-de-sac, he obsesses over car washes, floods the Kentucky bluegrass on his lawn, tops off his swimming pool, takes the kids to water parks, and tees off at green golf courses tended among cacti. He is the wrong object of our ire, however. Personal and industrial consumption for drinking, washing, flushing, watering the lawn, detailing the car, and cooling nuclear plants, accounts for less than 10 percent of water use in the eleven arid states of the West.

We’d do better to look at what we eat when casting about for villains of the water drama. Food production consumes more fresh water than any other activity in the United States. “Within agriculture in the West, the thirstiest commodity is the cow,” says George Wuerthner, an ecologist at the Foundation for Deep Ecology, who has studied the livestock industry. Humans drink about a gallon of water a day; cows, upwards of 23 gallons. The alfalfa, hay, and pasturage raised to feed livestock in California account for approximately half of the water used in the state, with alfalfa representing the highest-acreage crop. In parts of Montana, as much as 90 percent of irrigated land is operated solely for the production of livestock feed; 90 percent of Nevada’s cropland is dedicated to raising hay. Half of Idaho’s three million acres of irrigated farmland grows forage and feed exclusively for cattle, and livestock production represents 60 percent of the state’s water use. In Utah, cows are the top agricultural product, and three-fifths of the state’s cropland is planted with hay. All told, alfalfa and hay production in the West requires more than ten times the water used by the region’s cities and industries combined, according to some estimates. Researchers at Cornell University concluded that producing one kilogram of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing one kilogram of grain protein. It is a staggeringly inefficient food system.

One obvious and immediate solution to the western water crisis would be to curtail the waste of the livestock industry. The logical start to this process would be to target its least important sector: public lands ranching.  READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Public comments needed to make sure wild horses & burros are protected in amendments to BLM’s Land Use Plans in CA and NV

(photo:  Carol Walker)

Your comments are needed to make sure wild horses and burros are protected in possible amendments to very important BLM Land Use Plans (LUPs) in California and Nevada.  You can cite this report: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/lup/90121/123510/150623/SO3353-report.pdf   (wild horses are noted on page 37, the second box from the bottom).  Tell the BLM you want our wild horse & burro herds to be maintained in viable numbers.  Per the equine geneticist hired by the BLM, Dr. Gus Cothran, the minimum wild horse and burro herd size should be 150-200 animals. Within a herd containing this number, about 100 animals would be of breeding age.  Of those 100, approximately 50 horses or burros would comprise the genetic effective population size.  Dr. Cothran has stated that 50 is a minimum number.  A higher number would decrease the chances for inbreeding.  (A decreased genetic effective population size leads to both inbreeding and the loss of alleles by genetic drift, increasing the probability of population extinction.)   Also, if the BLM skews the sex ratio to favor males, the number should be higher.

Members of the public can convey comments to the BLM via a website and via email.

For more information please contact Matt Magaletti, BLM Nevada State Office, at 775-861-6472

Source:  Elko Daily Free Press

RENO – The Bureau of Land Management announced opportunities for the public to comment and share issues on the agency’s consideration of potential amendments to its Nevada and California land use plans, specifically elements of land use plans that address greater sage-grouse conservation. Meetings cover Northern Nevada, including one slated for Elko on Nov. 8.

On Oct. 5, the Department of the Interior announced its intention to revisit land use plans in 10 western states to improve greater sage-grouse conservation and to strengthen communication and coordination between western states and the federal government. The existing plans, which were amended in 2015, provide guidance and direction to BLM managers in Nevada for the management of greater sage-grouse habitat.

The public scoping meetings will be held in Reno, Elko and Ely to provide venues in areas covered by the sage grouse plan. BLM staff will be on hand to gather information about potential issues to be considered related to any plan amendments.

Meeting Locations:

Reno

Location: The Nugget, Sierra Room 1, 1100 Nugget Ave., Sparks

Date and Time: Tuesday, Nov. 7, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Elko

Location: Elko Convention Center, 700 Moren Way, Elko

Date and Time: Wednesday, Nov. 8, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Ely

Location: Bristle Cone Convention Center, 150 W. Sixth St., Ely

Date and Time: Thursday, Nov. 9, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Members of the public can also convey comments to the BLM via a website and via email.

For more information please contact Matt Magaletti, BLM Nevada State Office, at 775-861-6472.

How much forage does the BLM allow livestock to eat on public lands vs. what they allow for our wild horses & burros?

Fax this to your Congressional Representatives:

SOURCE:  Animal Welfare Institute

“of the total number of livestock and wild horses and/or burros known or authorized to graze within HMAs and their associated grazing allotments, 1.8 percent are wild horses, 0.4 percent are wild burros and the remaining 97.8 percent are livestock.”

We encourage all people interested in public lands issues to be sure to read the Animal Welfare Institute report (2012) Overview of the Management of Wild Horses & Burros.  AWI presented this to the National Academy of Science.  Although this report was issued in 2012, the issues are all current.  This report gives an excellent overview of wild horse & burro issues and the mismanagement of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program.  We will be pulling out a few excerpts for some articles, since this report counters all of the false information by sources at the recent National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting, by the livestock grazing activists and in the media.

AUM is Animal Unit Month – The BLM has defined this as the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month. (AML is Appropriate Management Level)

Pages 145-149 of this AWI report indicate the following:

 Figure National – 7

For the ten western states occupied by wild horses and/or burros, BLM data reveals that the total number of authorized AUMs for 2011… included actual AUM use of 8,297,403 for cattle, yearlings and domestic bison, 53,119 for domestic horses and burros, and 708,280 for domestic sheep and goats.  The 2011 estimated combined population size for wild horses and burros within HMAs was 33,805, while the combined high AML for wild horses and burros was 26,576.
 
These figures correspond to AUMs of 31,537 (for the estimated population) and 25,225 (based on combined high AML). Consequently, the number of AUMs for livestock within the ten western states in which wild horses and/or burros are found are 287 times the AUMs based on estimated wild horse and burro population size and 359 times the AUMs for wild horses and burros based on high AML.  It is worth noting that, in a number of instances, the permitted use AUMs designated by the BLM were well in excess of the active AUM level (amount of use that could be allowed); a discrepancy that could not be explained by a BLM official.
Figure National -8
According to the BLMs Rangeland Administration database (accessed in September 2012), a total of 4,565,208 livestock (i.e., cattle and yearlings, domestic bison, domestic sheep, domestic horses and burros, and goats) have be en grazed on the estimated 669
allotments found entirely or partially within HMA boundaries within the past BLM billing cycle. This equates to 4,286,252 permitted use AUMs. When adjusted to compensate for the percentage of each allotment found within or outside of HMA boundaries, the total number of stock grazed is 1,302,259, which correlates to 1,626,450 seasonal/annual permitted use AUMs. When compared to the combined high AML for wild horses and burros for 2012, which corresponds to 299,562 annual AUM s, total livestock AUMs on HMAs is 5.4 times higher than the AUMs for wild horses and burros.
 
This is only an estimate since livestock use is not consistent across an allotment. This is because the animals tend to utilize those portions of an allotment that are most suitable in regard to water, forage, shelter, and other requirements. For the purpose of this analysis, the number of AUMs and individual livestock obtained from various BLM data sets was multiplied by the percentage of the allotment found within each HMA. Due to the lack of equal distribution of livestock a cross an allotment, these figures may under-or over-estimate actual use.
Livestock authorization and stocking rates are not static, but frequently change over time as a consequence of rangeland condition, economics, environmental factors (such as prolonged drought), changes to allotment permit conditions, changes in the type of
livestock grazed, and other factors. For the ten states that harbor wild horses and burros, livestock AUMs are highly variable. For example, based on BLM data, total livestock AUMs were 9,708,638 in 1996, declining to 9,058,802 in 2011.
In sum, based on the BLM data referenced above, 1,302,259 livestock are authorized to graze within HMAs occupied by an
estimated 24,264 wild horses and 5,017 wild burros as of February 2012. Therefore, of the total number of livestock and wild horses and/or burros known or authorized to graze within HMAs and their associated grazing allotments, 1.8 percent are wild horses, 0.4 percent are wild burros and the remaining 97.8 percent are livestock. At the state, individual HMA, or HMA complex level, these
statistics differ. Regardless of the geographic scale of the analysis, however, the number of livestock grazing on HMAs is far in
excess of the number of wild horses and/or burros.