Update: Celebrities Join Equine Advocates in Asking Obama to Stop Horse Slaughter, Forever

Tom Petty of the Heartbreakers, has publicly posted on Facebook that he supports and has signed the petition to President Obama to stop horse slaughter once and for all,

tompettyheartbreakersTom & Dana have signed this petition to end the unethical treatment and slaughter of horses. They urge you to help–horse meat is toxic!”


Likewise, Billy Joel and Graham Nash have added their support to Equine Advocates and other groups in asking for an Executive Action to put an end to the barbaric and predatory business of horse slaughter, won’t you add your name to the growing list of Americans who want to ensure the future safety and welfare of American Equines?

(The Board of Directors of Wild Horse Freedom Federation have signed and fully endorse this action)

Barack Obama: Obama/Biden: End the Slaughter of America’s Horses

Dear Horse Lovers and Advocates,

Susan Wagner, of Equine Advocates, and Mariclare ~ photo by Karen Wagner

Susan Wagner, of Equine Advocates, and Mariclare ~ photo by Karen Wagner

My name is Susan Wagner. I am the president of Equine Advocates, the national non-profit equine protection organization I founded in 1996.

I am reaching out to you to for your help to end horse slaughter by directly appealing to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. We need to gather over 100,000 signatures by Election Day in order for this appeal to get to the President’s desk.  It is not only critical, but extremely urgent to accomplish this before the next president takes office.

In 1994, I rescued my first two horses from slaughter, Gandalf and Rain Man. That event literally changed the direction of my life. Gandalf passed away in 2003 at the age of 35. Rain Man, a Miniature Horse now 25, is still with me and is a permanent resident at our horse sanctuary in Chatham, NY. His story, along with the ones of all of the others here, are daily reminders to me of why we do the work we do, and why it so important now more than ever to finally end horse slaughter.

Slaughtering equines for food is a serious threat to food safety, human health and consequently, extremely unethical. We now have scientific studies, irrefutable evidence, and factual documentation that horse meat is not only toxic, but it has entered our food chain. A landmark study published in Elsevier in 2010, clearly documents the serious health risks for people who eat the meat of equines treated with the common drug, Phenylbutzone or “Bute.” Here is a link to that study: http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/Food_and_Chemical_Toxicology_FINAL.pdf

However, most injectable, oral and topical medications administered to equines have this warning on the packaging, “Not intended for horses bred for human consumption.” The fact is that NO EQUINE is bred for human consumption in this country. Consequently, all wild and domestic equines should be removed from the food chain entirely and not just because the meat is unsafe but also because of the risks of food fraud. A 2015 Chapman University Study, also published in Elsevier, documented the presence of horse meat in some chopped meat products in the American food supply

Both President Obama and Vice President Biden are very well aware of the exposure, liability and all the reasons why horse slaughter should be banned. We believe that they have the ability to do what Congress has refused or been unable to do for years, which is to stop this unsavory and un-American practice once and for all.

It is extremely disappointing that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have chosen known horse slaughter proponents among their appointments to serve in their respective administrations, despite the fact that horse slaughter is opposed by the vast majority of Americans. Secretary Clinton has had an excellent voting record on animals and is on record as opposing horse slaughter, so her choice of former Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar to head her Transition Team is nothing short of mystifying. Donald Trump has no voting record as he has never held office before, but if elected, his list of individuals to serve on his “Agricultural Advisory Committee” is so disturbing that it’s like a Who’s Who of horse slaughter supporters. Among the most dangerous is Lucas Oil owner, Forrest Lucas. He runs the pro-horse slaughter/pro-puppy mill PAC, Protect the Harvest and is on Trump’s short list for Interior Secretary. Here is Trump’s proposed list for his Agricultural Advisory Committee:


Special interests in the horse and ranching industries have blocked legislation to ban horse slaughter for years. Now in the battle to protect the lives of America’s horses, we have the ammunition we need to win this war.  You can access this material in my new article, “In the Race for the Presidency, America’s Horses Could Be the Biggest Losers.”

President Obama now has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add the end of horse slaughter to his legacy. The lives of America’s wild and domestic equines depend on it.

Together we can make a difference to stop equine slaughter now. Please sign this petition and help to share and forward it far and wide so that we can reach our goal of 100,000 signatures by Election Day.

Time is of the essence!

With sincerest thanks,

Susan Wagner, President
Equine Advocates

This petition will be delivered to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden

Important Links Related to this Petition:

Full Article:
“In the Race for the Presidency, America’s Horses Could Be the Biggest Losers.”

Horse Slaughter Fact Sheet

Feel Good Sunday: Video Donkey Love

“With the entire World suffering from an intensely serious and chronic ‘Stupid Plague’ what better way to gain a little relief and revitalize ourselves than by spending a little bit of time enjoying the magic and wonder of baby donkeys.  From running about enjoying life just for the sake of sheer joy to finally having one’s batteries wear out and falling asleep just about as intensely as running about and playing.  Either the switch is on wide open or it is off, full stop.

As a special closure we have added a short vid on the magic of a donkey’s voice, there’s nothing like it.  Enjoy!” ~ R.T.

If You Starve an Animal to Death, YOU are a CRIMINAL

In my most OUTRAGED opinion by R.T. Fitch

(Warning, if you find the truth offensive or only think with a portion of your brain then do not continue, it will only serve to confuse you)

Oh boy, the ole blood is a boiling as my “Stupid Meter” is pegged at 100% and in the good ole words of Popeye the Sailor, “That’s all I can stands cause I can’t stands no more!!!”  This bloody ISPMB saga is totally out of control.

Courtesy Photo of emaciated horse in a pen at the International Society for the Protection of Wild Horses & Burros near Lantry, S.D.

Courtesy Photo of emaciated horse in a pen at the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Burros near Lantry, S.D.

For nine days I have remained quiet, for nine days I have watched good people work hard to do the right thing and for nine days I have witnessed lemmings follow a self-anointed expert who has conned them into being co-conspirators and accessories in the crime of murder; the abuse and neglect of starving wild horses to death.

In an effort to be fair and considerate I am publishing Karen Sussman’s latest letter and plea for money (below) where she discounts the evidence of her starving horses to death and has the unmitigated gal to wag her crooked, wart covered finger at those who did not and do not support her with a flow of hard earned dollars AND accuses THOSE very same people for the death of the horses; can you believe it, I can’t. The timing is perfect for a horror story just before Halloween, and we even have the evil, wicked, demented witch as a main character.

It’s just THIS simple ladies and gentlemen and it is NOT rocket science:

If you allow only ONE helpless animal to suffer the slow and painful death of starvation while under your care, you are an abusive criminal, hands down, full stop, no doubt about it. DONE DEAL. You can’t explain it away, you can’t sugar coat it, you can’t sweep it under the carpet cause you simply can’t polish a turd and YOU are that TURD.

Right now the important issue is to get feed/food to the horses and burros, God only knows what other horror stories are out there.

Next the ISPMB’s Board needs to step up to the plate, remove Sussman and manage the recovery and proper dispensation of the suffering animals i.e. adoption, transfer to other sanctuaries, etc.

Finally, local law authorities need to bear down on Sussman to the fullest extent of the law as a neglectful abuser and horse killer. She is no different than Meduna and perhaps even worse as she has pranced around for years as one of us while being a horse killer in advocate’s clothing, someone who both people and horses trusted only to find out that she has no heart and most definitely a forever damaged soul.

It is that simple and it should happen immediatly. There are people out there right now attempting to get hay to the horses and they are good folks who will take your money and convert it into what the horses need but shame on those who give to the abuser; the one who has mismanaged donations for years and now has been caught with the blood of wild horses on her hands, again.

It is THAT simple, Karen. Kill one and you are guilty…no one can save you from that shame and no amount of money will ever make that go away. So, how’s that for not remaining silent because in your words, below, silence is NOT a virtue…but in my humble opinion, telling the truth is!!!

If you want to be certain that your money makes a difference please click (HERE) to learn about viable donation options from the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary to the SD Dewey County Auditor’s Office.


Jatara also has a GoFundMe page set up, too…  https://www.gofundme.com/2s6e7j8

Below is the lament of an abuser:

Dear Mindless Lemmings – (I added that, it fit – R.T.)

I know just how deeply you care about the future of wild horses, which is why I am writing you today.  The need for your financial support at this time could not be more urgent!

The plunder of wild horses in America is a true horror story.  I know you know this.  To this day, even with protections afforded by the Wild Horse and Burro Act (1971), the Burns Amendment enacted by Congress (2004) now allows for commercial sales to kill-buyers … and the round-up and slaughter of these magnificent creatures continues

ISPMB now shelters over 600 wild horses at its conservation center in Lantry, South Dakota.  Our historic and unique herds were originally rescued from slaughter nearly 16 years ago and we have studied and preserved the integrity of their bloodlines ever since.

But it now costs ISPMB more than $50,000 a month to feed and care for all of these horses.  It shouldn’t cost this much, but the price of hay has skyrocketed from less than $50 to more than $90/bale, which has created a real financial crisis for ISPMB.

We are now forced to spend more than $10,000/week in hay alone, just to keep our herds strong and healthy … but we currently do not have enough hay to see us through to spring and are truly worried our horses won’t survive the winter without additional financial support

While we continue to solicit donations from everyone we know, many people have chosen to remain silent and have not responded to our urgent call for support.  We rely on contributions from caring people like you to provide for our horses.

How can anyone stand on the sidelines and pray someone else will come to our rescue at a time like this? The stakes are too high.  Surely, our horses will not survive the winter without this support!

It is truly a frightening thought.  We cannot let this happen.

Please come to our rescue today.

The great recession nearly brought our adoption program to a screeching halt.  Thankfully, we are now seeing an uptick of interest and inquiries from individuals seeking to adopt a foal, a family … and entire bands of horses, which will help reduce the size of our herds.  This is an important development and a key aspect to ISPMB’s long term survival.

We are also diligently working to mitigate the need to purchase so much hay in the future.

Our long range plan includes the purchase of a significantly larger ranch property with its own hay producing capacity.

ISPMB has already identified a suitable property that will truly help stabilize our financial operation in the long run.   We plan to launch a capital campaign in the spring to help make this vision a reality and acquire this property.   Its location also holds great promise for the future of ISPMB, providing a potential new source of revenue through increased eco-tourism.

I am sharing all of this with you, because I want you to know we are not simply wringing our hands or praying for a miracle.  We are actively pursuing a solution and truly need your help to avert a serious financial crisis.

Thank you for responding to this urgent call for support.  Please send us your gift today and help save our horses.

With gratitude,

Karen Sussman


P.S.  Silence is not a virtue.  Please encourage family and friends to join you in support of our mission.  Together, we can overcome this short term financial crisis. Thank again for your support.

Hurricane Matthew Evacuation Resources for Horse Owners

Source: HorseChannel.com

Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina will experience the impacts of the hurricane through this weekend.

emergprephorseHurricane Matthew has taken a devastating path through the Caribbean and is now bearing down on the coast of Florida. It is expected to move along the southeast United States coast through the weekend.

Residents of the areas of projected impact have been urged to evacuate. Here are some evacuation resources for horse owners in affected states:

Florida Resources:

A searchable database of relocation resources is available at evac.flahorse.com If you have space available in a safe location, you can also provide your information to help other horse owners.

Bar M Ranch Rescue has offered stabling and is compiling some evacuation resources on its Facebook page.

The Florida Horse Park in Ocala has offered stalls for evacuees for $10/night as well as trailer hookups for $25/night. Contact publicrelations@flhorsepark.com or call 352-307-6699

Floridahorse.com lists these resources on its website.

  • Sunshine State Horse Council – Searchable stable directory
  • Sumter Equestrian Center, Bushnell, FL – emergency stabling and camping – 352-303-4325 LEAVE A MESSAGE.
  • Marion County Animal Care and Control (352) 671-8900
  • Broward County Animal Care and Control (954) 359-1313
  • Palm Beach County Are and Control (561) 233-1201

Georgia Resources:

News4Jax.com lists these pet-friendly shelters:

Houston County * Horses ONLY* 60 Stalls
Georgia National Fairgrounds
401 Larry Walker Parkway
Perry, GA 31069

Sumter County
Sumter County Humane Society
108 Industrial Blvd
Americus, GA 31719

Tift County
Tift County Extension Bldg
1468 Carpenter Rd
Tifton, GA 31794

South Carolina Resources:

The Hippodrome in Aiken County has 300 stalls available. South Carolina residents can call 211 for more information about stabling at the Hippodrome, as well as finding pet-friendly accommodations as most shelters do not allow pets.

North Carolina Resources:

The Equine Disaster Response Alliance maintains a list of emergency facilities here.

There are two regional shelters available depending on the storm track.

Martin Center in Williamston

Hunt Complex in Raleigh

Virginia Resources:

The Virginia Horse Park in Lexington is offering free stalls for evacuees if the storm reaches Virginia before moving out to see. Contact the stabling office at (540) 464-2966.

Be prepared for a natural disaster in your area. Visit HorseChannel.com/Emergency for more resources for horse owners.

Likewise, Elaine Nash on Facebook has a wealth of information: https://www.facebook.com/elaine.nash?fref=ts

SD Dewey County Auditor Creates Way to Donate to Starving former Wild Horses

Source: The Rapid City Journal

Update:  The Dewey County Auditor has joined the ranks of those trying to help horses at a South Dakota ranch that are reportedly dying of starvation and other causes.

The horses are at the rural Lantry ranch of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, in north-central South Dakota about 110 miles northeast of Rapid City.

A Tuesday evening Facebook post by the Dewey County Sheriff’s Office says the Dewey County Auditor has set up an account, the ISPMB Horse Fund, to help feed the horses.

Money can be sent to: Dewey County Auditor, P.O. Box 277, Timber Lake, S.D., 57656, according to the post. People are asked to make checks payable to Dewey County and mark them for the ISPMB Horse Fund.

The post adds that the Dewey and Ziebach county sheriff’s offices are making a list of local farmers and ranchers with hay for sale that can be bought for the horses.

If sellers have grass hay available, they can contact Dewey County Sheriff Les Mayer at 605-865-3330 or Ziebach County Sheriff Gary Cudmore at 605-365-5177.

According to a former employee of the sanctuary who went public last week, a lack of control over the ranch’s ballooning horse population taxed the organization’s pastures and finances to a crisis point.

The former employee, Colleen Burns, said 30 or more horses have died since June for lack of grass, hay and veterinary care. Her photographic evidence shows badly emaciated horses, some dead and some dying, and some with overgrown hooves or grotesque injuries or wounds.

Mayer said last week that he has investigated the ranch and turned over his findings to the two state’s attorneys. A veterinarian for the state Animal Industry Board has also investigated the alleged neglect of the horses and is advising the state’s attorneys.

Several other wild-horse organizations have also stepped in to help, including Hot Springs-based Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

Susan Watt, executive director, said donations enabled two truckloads of hay to be dropped off at the Lantry ranch by Monday morning. Given the ranch’s estimated population of more than 600 horses, Watt estimated that amounted to only three days of feed.

She encouraged anyone wishing to donate money, hay or pasture space for the ailing horses to contact her at 605-745-7494 or iram@gwtc.net.

Watt said she’s willing to accept the donations or put contributors directly in touch with a hay seller. The website also notes that people can send checks to IRAM, Box 998, Hot Springs, S.D., 57747, marked “attention ISPMB Emergency Hay Fund.” Online donations can be made in $50 increments at wildmustangs.com/donate.

Private Horse Sanctuary Became Starvation Zone

By LACEY LOUWAGIE  as published on The Courthouse News Service

“I was working my dream job and able to apply my life and professional skills to help wild horses for an organization that has been saving them since 1960. … It was a dream … a dream that turned into the most horrific of nightmares.”

LANTRY, S.D. (CN) — With another harsh South Dakota winter just around the corner, a former employee at a wild horse sanctuary has released documentation of emaciated and dead horses at the ranch, hoping to get help for the others before the cold sets in.

“When I began working for and living on the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros ranch in April of 2015, I was full of hope and joy,” Colleen Burns wrote in a statement accompanying her documentation.

“I was working my dream job and able to apply my life and professional skills to help wild horses for an organization that has been saving them since 1960. … It was a dream … a dream that turned into the most horrific of nightmares.”

white-sands-foalBurns says that since June more than 30 horses have died of starvation, lack of veterinary care and other causes at the ranch.

She released her documentation of the deaths to the public and to The Animal Legal Defense Fund late last week.

(Editor’s Warning). The document is rife with harrowing photos of horses whose every rib is visible, hipbones jutting sharply out of flanks. One photo depicts a horse with a gruesome open wound on its neck.

NBC got wind of the documents early, running a story on Saturday. By Monday this week, the story had spread across South Dakota newspapers, into Iowa, and onto horse enthusiast websites, many of which reprinted the less-graphic of the troubling photos.

Burns’ fears about how the horses will fare in the coming winter are understandable. In 2013, an October winter storm killed up to 30,000 cattle in South Dakota, according to Weather.com.

When neither the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros president Karen Sussman or its board of directors heeded her concerns about the horses, Burns said, she began creating her 16-page document of photos, journal entries and stills from videos.

Five days after she posted her document to a public Google page, the society (ISPMB) updated its homepage with a flood of images dated Oct. 3. These images show clean, healthy and placid-looking horses surrounded by mounds of hay.

The number of horses at the ISPMB ranch has risen from 260 to 650 in the 16 years that it has been studying wild herds, according to the society’s website. Burns says the ranch does not have the money to adequately feed them all, nor enough grass on its 680 acres to support their grazing.

On Monday, Dewey County Sheriff’s Department announced on its Facebook page that it is investigating. Dewey County Sheriff Les Mayer has been visiting daily since Burns contacted the state veterinarian on Sept. 15, according to Burns’ documentation.

Mayer told the Rapid City Journal that Sussman must feed the horses daily or risk citation or arrest. The sheriff said she has complied.

The ranch has been in dire financial straits for years. As early as September 2011, Sussman issued a plea on the society’s website for help feeding the horses.

“Today, I am writing to ask for your help,” she wrote. “The severity and length of the economic downturn has hit charities hard and we are facing the upcoming winter without enough funding to purchase enough hay.”

Sussman is facing grand theft charges in nearby Perkins County, accused of writing a bad check for more than $9,000 to pay for hay, according to the Rapid City Journal.

The society has been sued at least four times in three South Dakota counties since 2015, accused of writing bad checks, not paying for hay or failing to repay loans, according to the Courthouse News database. The claims total more than $160,000.

Burns says food for the horses was delivered sporadically over the summer, and that horses were being fed only once a week by the end of August.

Susan Watt, director of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, has stepped in to help with $6,000 worth of donated hay, enough to feed the herds for three days, according to The Rapid City Journal.

The Dewey County Sheriff’s Department also is setting up a fund to help pay for hay for the troubled horses.

Burns says Sussman fired her after she released the documents. She said their relationship had been deteriorating since the beginning of September.

“I pray that the remaining horses are appropriately cared for and that the ISPMB president Karen A. Sussman and board of directors are forced to provide the necessary veterinarian care to those currently suffering and to ensure they have hay every day,” Burns says in the closing of her document. “If that happens, all of my pain will have been in the name of the wild horses, especially the ones who starved to death.”

The ISPMB, on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in north central South Dakota, claims on its website to be “a leader in the field of wild horse and burro protection and preservation.”

Its founder, Velma Johnston, was instrumental in passing federal legislation in 1971 that protected wild horses on public land, according to its website. Today, the society focuses on the study of wild horses and manages four herds. It aims to share its findings with the Bureau of Land Management for better wild horse management nationwide, the website says.

Sussman did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Those interested in contributing funds, hay or pasture space for the horses can call Susan Watt at 605-745-7494, email iram@gwtc.net or contact the Dewey County Sheriff’s Department.

Marjorie Farabee reports on the 2016 Donkey Welfare Symposium at Cornell University, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (10/5/16)


Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Oct. 5, 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.

Our guest tonight is Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League.

Marjorie will report on the 2016 Donkey Welfare Symposium that was held at Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2016. Marjorie was extremely disturbed that at the end of one discussion, a large animal rescue expert promoted slaughter as one form of “humane euthanasia”.

Marjorie will tell you about new and interesting information on donkeys, including the presentation by author Cate Folsom, who describes her book about Smoke, a therapy donkey for veterans. Smoke’s life brought value to donkeys worldwide and focused attention on equine assisted therapy for veterans.


Marjorie Farabee (center) with Cate Folsom (right)

This show will be hosted by R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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








Wild Horse Sanctuary President Denies Equine Neglect

story by Pat Raia as published on The Horse

““I cannot tell you much, but…”

stallionKaren Sussman, president of the International Society for the Preservation of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB), is denying accusations that 30 mustangs died of starvation at the organization’s South Dakota facility.

Founded by Velma Johnston, also known as Wild Horse Annie, to study and preserve wild horse herds in the west, ISPMB currently manages four wild horse herds and collects data on the horses’ social structures and herd dynamics.

Sussman told TheHorse.com that on Oct. 2, former ISPMB employee Colleen Burns posted accusations on the internet that Sussman had maltreated horses at the sanctuary and that 30 animals had died allegedly of malnutrition.

Sussman said Burns had recently been fired from the organization and denied the accusations.

“I cannot tell you much, but I can tell you that the 30 horses did not die of starvation,” she said, adding that her lawyer would issue a statement.

Burns could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, a Dewey County, South Dakota, Sheriff’s Department representative said an investigation into the alleged deaths is underway, but no one has been charged in the case.

The spokesman declined further comment on the ongoing investigation. He referred further inquiries to Dewey County State’s Attorney Steve Aberle.

Aberle was unavailable for comment.

New Lawsuit Filed to Stop BLM Wild Horse Roundup in Wyoming Checkerboard

Action Comes As Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Considers Legality of BLM Decision to Eradicate Wild Horses from Public Lands in the Area

photo by Carol Walker

photo by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Cheyenne, WY (October 4, 2016) – The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), Return to FreedomThe Cloud Foundation, and photographers Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl filed suit yesterday in U.S. District in Wyoming against the BLM, challenging the agency’s decision to conduct another wild horse roundup in the Wyoming Checkerboard in the southern part of the state. The wild horse advocates are represented by Bill Eubanks of the public interest environmental law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP.

The lawsuit is the latest chapter in an ongoing legal battle against over the BLM’s plan to eradicate wild horses from a two million acre area of public and private land at the request of the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGS). The RSGA owns or leases the private land blocks in the Checkerboard and views wild horses as competition for taxpayer subsidized livestock grazing on the public lands in the area.

On September 19, 2016 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the plaintiffs’ appeal of a lawsuit challenging the 2014 BLM Checkerboard roundup in which 1,260 wild horses were rounded up by helicopters and removed from the range. At issue in both cases is the legality of the BLM’s reliance on a request from private landowners to remove wild horses from private lands as an excuse to eradicate them from the public lands in the area as well. 

“The BLM is turning over control of more than one million acres of public land to private grazing interests that want wild horses eradicated from the range. This sets a terrible precedent that jeopardizes the safety and future of wild horses across the West,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of AWHPC. 

“The BLM’s concession to wipe out wild horses in Wyoming is not only illegal, but a blatant slap in the face to the majority of Americans who want to enjoy wild horses on our public lands,” said Neda DeMayo, CEO of Return to Freedom. “We’re committed to upholding the law and protecting our wild horses and public lands from special interests who monopolize the resources there.”

“It doesn’t speak well of BLM, when the agency jumps the gun while the jury is, literally, still out on this issue,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Until the Checkerboard lands are consolidated into large blocks of private and public lands, this controversy will continue.”

“The BLM once again shows blatant disregard for both legal statutes and the wild horses in its care. We should not have to fight to protect our wild horses from the BLM,” said Carol Walker, who has extensively observed and photographed the wild horses in the Wyoming Checkerboard.

The latest lawsuit challenges the BLM’s decision to round up an estimated 550 wild horses from the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas beginning on October 18. The plaintiffs will seek an injunction to prevent the BLM from beginning the roundup until the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the initial lawsuit.

I Picked Up My Horse Today

By R.T. Fitch

I picked up my horse today; should have done it sooner, the equine hospital had called days ago and said that he was ready but I resisted.

The members of his herd missed him, missed him lots. Everything in the herd dynamics was upside down because the boss was not there.

After breakfast, his best buddy Moose would linger at the barn’s entrance and stare at the empty stall with the closed door. He would simply stand and stare and then move under the barn’s porch and survey the lower pastures for a glimpse of his friend. His persistence was unrelenting.

I picked up my horse today for fear of retribution from the equine hospital, it had been long enough and it was beginning to look like I did not care and was a bad equine parent. But I fought it and did not know why.

The days had drifted away, one by one and the property was different without him, I should have gone and gotten him earlier but I languished. I was ashamed.

I picked up my horse today by getting in the truck, turning the key, adjusting the mirrors and backing out of the driveway. Today would be the day that I would bring him home but I felt no joy.

As I drove further out into the country the bright blue sky against the crisp green of the hay fields brought me no joy as I knew not where my heart was nor my soul, I should have done this weeks ago.

I pulled through the automatic gates of the hospital, parked the truck in the dusty gravel parking lot amidst a sea of parked working trucks with trailers and walked into the hospital waiting room.

There were several crusty, horsey types sitting in the hard, wooden straight back chairs but no one waiting at the window so I walked up and introduced myself to the young girl behind the counter.

“Howdy, I am R.T. Fitch and I have come to pick up my horse.” I said.

“What is your horse’s name, Mr. Fitch?” she countered.

“Harley!” I answered.

“Please stand at the double doors to the right,” she replied, “I will be right back.”

I walked over to the double swinging doors and waited; I could feel the eyes of the people waiting staring holes in my back as the stark walls of the waiting room offered nothing to entertain, but I fought the urge to turnaround and stare back.

I could hear footsteps coming down the hall behind the closed doors and my pulse quickened. I am sure that a fine sweat was breaking out on my bald spot but it was cleverly concealed by my straw hat. I looked down at my dusty boots and I heard the doors swing open before me so I looked up.

The girl from the service window said, “ Here’s Harley; tail, mane and ashes are all here.” she whispered as she thrust a 12X24 inch cardboard box into my hands. “We are sorry.”

I don’t recall how I responded, I hope that I was kind enough to have said thank you but I have no recollection as I was in the process of spiraling down into an abyss of pain, misery, regret and desperation.

Nor do I recall the looks on the faces of those who were in the waiting room as my eyes were blurred with tears and I could not feel my feet under me as I pushed open the hospital’s office door and stumbled across the gravel parking lot. I was lost in time, the lot was huge as the memories of Harley’s last day came crashing in on my consciousness and the tremendous pain of his last moments sized my soul and made all time stand still.

It felt as if I had been walking forever as I made my way to the truck, a month worth of grieving came rushing back at me with a vengeance. I knew I was staggering, I was aware that I must have been a spectacle but I was doing my best to navigate that long and lonely mile back to the truck so I could depart this place of despair.

After what seemed to be hours I reached the truck and put my hand on the back door’s handle to steady myself. I was breathing heavily and my glasses were smeared with tears and dust. I jerked open the door, set the box gently on the back floorboards and sat down on the truck’s side steps to gather my wits and to clean my glasses.

When I had finally caught my breath and had some strength back in my legs and stood up I turned around to look at the little white box that contained all that was left of my best friend and companion. It was then that I saw, delicately scrolled with the flourish of a black felt pen, the name Harley Fitch written on the box. I sucked air, lovingly reached out and stroked the little box.

“You are going home, Harley.” I sobbed as I petted the box, “I am finally taking you home.”

I picked up my horse, today.

painted by Leslie Anne Webb from photo by Terry Fitch

painted by Leslie Anne Webb from photo by Terry Fitch