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

Source:  www.wildhoofbeats.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The first mare to be released

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

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Dulcinea, looking calm

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She trots down the road toward the incoming family band

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

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Link to Daily Gather Reports:

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2017   All Rights Reserved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Scientists Agree: It’s Time To End The War On Wildlife

By Collette Adkins, Contributor as published on The Huffington Post

“Wild horses and burros survived centuries in perfect balance and harmony without the intervention of humans.  The removal of natural predators upsets the natural balance and the crisis rolls downhill initiating even more violent intervention by humans.  If we, as humans, would step back and cease attempting to manage something that does not require to be controlled the world would be a much better place to live for humans and animals alike.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


“Today’s predator control is widespread in the American West…”

coyote-crueltyKilling large predators to reduce livestock conflicts or benefit game populations has long been thought to be ineffective — and devastating for ecosystems — and a growing body of scientific literature criticizing the widespread practice is confirming those fears.

Most recently, this month, the Journal of Mammalogy — a highly respected international scientific journal and flagship publication for the American Society of Mammalogists — published a special collection of articles criticizing lethal control of predators such as wolves and grizzlies.

Today’s predator control is widespread in the American West and has its origins in barbaric 20th century, government-sponsored predator eradication programs. Those utilized poisons and bounties to drive grizzly bears and wolves to the brink of extinction.

Thanks to the protection of the Endangered Species Act — which has saved more than 99 percent of the plants and animals under its protection and put hundreds on the road to recovery — the grizzly bear and wolf have begun to recover. But as these large carnivores expand their population size and range, people have once again called for lethal control to address livestock depredations and inflate game populations.

In states where gray wolves have lost their federal protections, such as Idaho, state managers dead set on killing the predators established aggressive hunting seasons and lethal depredation controls. After the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing Yellowstone grizzly bears from the list of federally protected species, states like Montana moved quickly to establish hunting seasons.

Then there’s the coyote, a predator lacking protection at state or federal levels and a primary target of predator control programs across the U.S. Tens of thousands of these resilient predators are killed each year by a highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services.

The numbers of predators killed by Wildlife Services is staggering. The latest kill report shows Wildlife Services in fiscal year 2015 killed more than 3.2 million animals, including 68,905 coyotes (plus an unknown number of pups in 492 destroyed dens), 385 gray wolves, 284 mountain lions, 731 bobcats and 3,437 foxes.

This level of human-caused mammalian predator mortality is damaging native ecosystems and biodiversity. The lead article in the Journal of Mammalogy’s special feature on lethal control — “Carnivore conservation: shifting the paradigm from control to coexistence” — summarizes studies on the essential role of apex predators like wolves and grizzlies and mesopredators like coyotes and foxes in maintaining ecosystem function. A well-known example is how wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone created a trophic cascade that enriched riparian songbird communities.

Given the ecological importance of wolves and other predators, scientists are calling for implementation of nonlethal methods to prevent livestock depredations.

The authors of “Adaptive use of nonlethal strategies for minimizing wolf-sheep conflict in Idaho” in the special feature document a seven-year pilot project in prime Idaho wolf habitat, highlighting the adaptive use of a suite of nonlethal deterrents to protect sheep. Those nonlethal methods reduced sheep depredation by more than three times the reductions seen on sheep allotments in Idaho that used lethal control.

Another study featured, “Cattle mortality on a predator friendly station in central Australia,” found that ending lethal control may in itself — even without implementing nonlethal methods — reduce livestock losses by simply enabling the predator’s social structure to stabilize.

Not only are aggressive lethal controls ineffective, they have actually been found to increase livestock losses, as was found among gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. Scientists demonstrated similar results from aggressive lethal control of cougars, which replaces adult males with immigrating adolescent males that are more likely to depredate. Other studies show that lethal control of wolves may be merely shifting depredation from cattle to sheep because coyotes replace the wolves and target smaller livestock.

As for predator control to benefit game populations, a meta-analysis of 113 predator removal experiments found that the intended beneficiary prey population actually declined in 54 of them.

In addition to the ecological and wildlife policy concerns with lethal control of predators, public acceptance of lethal predator control methods appears to be declining. While the public supports the need for livestock producers to protect their animals, foot or leghold traps, snares and poisons are viewed by the majority of the public to be so inhumane their use should not be allowed.

With all the issues surrounding lethal predator control, one would hope livestock producers would have help in implementing nonlethal alternatives. Yet very few states have any permanent programs to protect livestock from depredations using nonlethal methods comparable to the federal Wildlife Services lethal control program.

With scientific evidence against carnivore controls mounting, it is time to finally stop the cruel, senseless killing and start utilizing smart, nonlethal methods that actually work, benefiting both livestock and these majestic wild animals.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scientists-agree-its-time-to-end-the-war-on-wildlife_us_58a77e73e4b026a89a7a2b08

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

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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Only 3 mares in the trailer?

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

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

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

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Robin comes out of the trailer

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

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Robin looks back at us

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

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Felicity comes out of the trailer

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Felicity looks back at her friend in the trailer

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Felicity finally runs away

Read the rest of this story HERE, including this:

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

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

Link to Daily Gather Reports:

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

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

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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

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

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

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

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Moving the mares into the shed to put collars on

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

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The geldings in the front corral know something is going on

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

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Mares that were not collared

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

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Where the collaring was done

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

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

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Tracking device to track collars on the ground

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

Utah Wild Horses Lose Bid for Freedom in Federal Court

story by as published in Courthouse News

Friends of Animals fail to convince Federal Judge…”

i-said-noWASHINGTON (CN) – An animal-rights group lost their court battle to block the U.S. government from removing hundreds of wild horses from Utah’s Cedar Mountains.

The Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency tasked with managing public lands, performs roundups periodically across the country to keep the wild horse population from deteriorating the rangeland.

Though the bureau counted 800 horses in the Cedar Mountain herd in March 2016, an aerial survey this past December showed that the herd had increased to approximately 960.

The bureau proposed a plan to round up 600 from the herd, permanently remove no more than 300 of them, and return the rest to the wild after treating them with a contraceptive vaccine called PZP, or porcine zona pellucid.

On Feb. 7, a day before the scheduled roundup, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington rejected a demand by Friends of Animals for an injunction.

Friends of Animals had accused the bureau of violating the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to conduct a new environmental assessment, something the group said the agency was required to do because it would gather more horses this time than it did nine years ago.

Cooper notes in the 23-page ruling, however, that the bureau’s proposal seeks to permanently remove 150 fewer wild horses than it did in 2008, making the overall number of horses affected about the same this time around.

That renders a new environmental assessment unnecessary, Cooper determined.

Friends of Animals also wanted the bureau to review recent studies on possible adverse side effects of PZP on horse health and birthing cycles.

In rejecting this move, Cooper said federal agencies are not required to consider every study that crosses their desks, unless it shows a significant impact on the quality of the human environment the agency had not previously considered.

Here, Cooper found the bureau in compliance.

“BLM considered the studies offered by plaintiff in its comments and determined that they did not significantly change BLM’s prior analysis,” the ruling states.

“The bureau found studies on consecutive years of PZP treatment, for example, irrelevant to the proposed action because Cedar Mountain mares are treated in four to five-year intervals, not in consecutive years or breeding cycles,” the ruling continues (emphasis original).

Cooper also found that the BLM had already considered older studies with findings similar to those Friends of Animals wanted the agency to review.

“Given these reasoned determinations, the Court concludes that the BLM most likely acted within its informed discretion in refusing to find that the ‘new information’ offered by Plaintiff warranted additional environmental analysis,” the ruling states.

In opting not to grant an injunction to the group, Cooper called its claim that PZP has long-term and adverse health consequences on the horses “unsubstantiated by scientific literature.”

“Plaintiff points only to the declaration of its photographer-member to support it,” the ruling states.

Cooper additionally shot down the advocacy group’s claim that the BLM failed to consider range conditions and herd size in making its determination to remove wild horses to maintain an ecological balance.

As the bureau said in its final decision, which the ruling quotes, the “gather is necessary to remove excess wild horses and to reduce the population in order to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance between wild horses and other multiple uses as required under [the Wild Horses Act].” (Emphasis original.)

The logic underpinning that “appears simple and sound,” Cooper found.

On whether the BLM should be required to make a determination of excess before claiming the authority to treat young mares with PZP, Cooper found the bureau to be in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

“It is likely that BLM properly determined that there were excess horses in the Cedar Mountain HMA,” the ruling states, abbreviating herd management area. “And its decision to remove or otherwise manage that excess population does not appear to be in violation of the Wild Horses Act.”

https://courthousenews.com/feds-avert-challenge-to-roundup-of-wild-horses/

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

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

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

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dept. of Interior’s Office of Inspector General issues report on ethics violations by BLM Special Agent Dan Love

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BLM Special Agent Dan Love (photo: BLM Nevada)

In May, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management promoted Special Agent Dan Love, the BLM agent who oversaw security during the Cliven Bundy standoff in April 2014, to a new position overseeing the security of BLM facilities nationwide.

And now, the Dept. of the Interior Office of Inspector General has issued a report about Love’s ethics violations at Burning Man and more.  The report states:

“We also confirmed that the Supervisory Agent intervened in the hiring process by increasing the number of candidates that would be interviewed.  As a result, the Supervisory Agent’s friend, who had worked with the Supervisory Agent as a Federal air marshal received an interview and was ultimately hired as a BLM special agent.
 
During our investigation, the Supervisory Agent displayed a lack of candor when interviewed and tried to influence an employee’s comments prior to an interview.”

SOURCE:  Reno Gazette- Journal

Report: BLM agent broke federal ethics rules at Burning Man

by Jenny Kane

A Bureau of Land Management supervisory agent from Utah violated federal ethics rules after he used his position to get his family and girlfriend into Burning Man and influenced the hiring process for a friend, according to a report released Monday.

The Department of Interior’s Office of the Inspector General for a year and a half investigated three complaints about the agent.  The agent is not named in the report but is described as “the person behind many of the BLM requests” at Burning Man that were canceled in 2015, the report said.

Those requests — which included a more than $1 million VIP compound complete with flushing toilets and 24-hour access to ice cream for BLM officials at the annual event in the Black Rock Desert — were pushed by Utah’s former Special Agent in Charge, Dan Love, who oversaw law enforcement at Burning Man for several years.

The VIP compound was an unprecedented request of Burning Man, the organization that hosts 68,000-person artistic campout over Labor Day weekend in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.  When details of the compound leaked to the Reno Gazette-Journal, members of Congress and the public expressed outrage.  After the event, Love was reassigned.

Love, who is best known for his chief law enforcement role during the 2014 Bundy standoff, did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday or Wednesday.  He is expected to be a key witness in the Bundy trials, according to an article published last year by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  The first phase of the trials are set to begin Monday.

Inspector General’s Office officials said that the agent’s name was withheld in the report because he is not a top official within the agency, and because it is considered a personnel matter that BLM officials will handle.

According to the Inspector General’s report, the unnamed agent used his official position to buy three sold-out tickets to Burning Man; had five on-duty BLM officers escorting his father, family-friend and girlfriend during the event; and also changed the hiring process so an unqualified applicant, a personal friend of his, would be hired.

“Federal ethics regulations prohibit soliciting gifts from a prohibited source.  Ethics regulations also prohibit federal employees from using any authority associated with their public position for the private gain of friends and relatives,” the report said.

The agent’s visitors also received unauthorized access to the Burning Man headquarters for BLM officials and they received overnight lodging in BLM-leased facilities.

When word spread that the agent had complaints filed against him, he used intimidation to discourage his co-workers from speaking with investigators.

“You know, if you don’t side with me, grenades are going to go off and you’ll get hit,” the agent told an employee who later spoke with investigators, according to the report.

Read the rest of this article (HERE).

UW, BLM to Begin Controversial and Inhumane Wild Horse Movement Study

Source: UWYO.edu

“From the destruction of wild horse’s genitals to the installation of dangerous collars the rogue federal agency, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), continues to enlist the aide of America’s institutions of higher learning to be partners in their crimes.” ~ R.T.

It works on cows

“It works on cows, duuuuuhhhh!”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the University of Wyoming are beginning a study to learn more about wild horse seasonal use and movements in the Adobe Town herd management area (HMA).

The study will begin with a bait-trap gather and radio collaring of up to 30 wild mares during February. No wild horses will be removed during this nonhelicopter gather.

UW scientists Derek Scasta and Jeff Beck, both in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, are heading the research. Jake Hennig, a Ph.D. student in the department, also will participate. They will use the information gleaned from the radio collars to learn more about how wild horses interact with their environment. Specifically, the researchers will study migration patterns and herd movements in the HMA. The BLM says it will use the study results to ensure wild horse herds continue to thrive on healthy rangelands.

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture has provided $120,000 to start the research. The BLM also has contributed funding.

Bait-trapping involves setting up temporary corrals within the HMA to attract wild horses safely into the corral. When a certain number of horses has entered the pen, the gate to the corral is closed. Once the horses are gathered, trained personnel will load and transport selected mares to the Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility. After the horses arrive at the facility, staff from the U.S. Geological Survey will place collars with GPS tracking devices on the horses. The horses will then be returned to the HMA.

The 20-30 mares that BLM will select to wear GPS collars will be 5 years old or older. All other wild horses gathered will be immediately released shortly after the selected mares are sorted and held for collaring. All mares will be released at or near the same location where they were gathered. The selected contractors are in the process of identifying trap site locations and will begin the bait-trapping process soon.

Corrals could be set up in stages over a period of days to allow the horses to grow accustomed to the enclosures. About three to five trap sites are required to distribute radio-collared mares throughout the entire HMA. Bait-trapping is an effective method for capturing small numbers of selected horses.

The number of people in the trap area will be limited to key personnel to ensure a successful and safe gather for the horses.

Public viewing opportunities will be limited. Public viewing is always allowed at the wild horse holding facility overlook in Rock Springs, where the mares will be taken to be collared. Public viewing also will be allowed at the release sites of the collared mares. The BLM will keep a list of people who would like to attend the releasing of the collared mares and notify them at least one day before the releases. Media and interested public can view and photograph the mares being released with the GPS collars. To add your name to the list for public viewing, contact BLM Public Affairs Officer Tony Brown at (307) 352-0215.

The BLM’s Rawlins Field Office released the decision record and finding of no significant impact for the Adobe Town HMA Wild Horse Movements and Habitat Selection Research Gather Environmental Assessment Nov. 9, 2016. The decision was to allow enough wild horses to be gathered by bait trapping, so up to 30 selected mares could be outfitted with GPS collars. The BLM will use two separate contractors to conduct the bait-trapping operations.

Click (HERE) to view BLM Press Release

196 wild horses died at BLM’s Scott City feedlot (a BLM Auschwitz for wild horses)

IMG_20140823_132107_665Wild horses next to bison at the Beef Belt Feedyard in Scott City, Kansas in 2014

NOTE:  Our original post erroneously stated the Robert Hughes was the contractor for Teterville.  Mr. Hughes is not the contractor for Teterville in Kansas. 

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

Copyright 2017   All Rights Reserved.

In the middle of June, 2014, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) moved 1,493 wild horses from the Teterville Long Term Holding pastures in Kansas to the Beef Belt Feedyard in Scott City, Kansas.  Over 13% of these wild horses died at this feedlot.

191 of the wild horses died in less than a year (7/7/14 – 6/30/15).

In a BLM “news” release dated 8/15/14 (over two years ago), the BLM announced that 57 wild horses had died at the BLM’s Scott City, Kansas “corral.”  In this news release, the BLM stated that it had “launched an investigation” into the cause of deaths, and promised that “Once the investigation is concluded, the team will complete a report that will be made publicly available.”

To date, over two years later, the BLM has not made any report available to the public about the Scott City feedlot deaths.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and found out that 196 horses died at the Scott City feedlot from 6/17/14 – 8/2/16.  

87 of the 196 wild horses were euthanized.

41 wild horses died of colic.  Many of these deaths were from sand colic.  As late as 4/13/15 (10 months after the wild horses were shipped to this feedlot), local veterinarian Corbin Stevens wrote to BLM’s Joe Stratton “Be sure hay and bunk is free of sand and rocks (try to only throw hay from feed alley into the bunk eliminating road material)” and “A necropsy was performed on one dead horse from pen 2 today and was diagnosed as a colic with small pebbles and sand present in the large colon and cecum.”  However, BLM’s FOIA did not provide WHFF with a necropsy report dated 4/13/15.

14 wild horses died of fractures of the spinal cord (neck and back).  6 horses died of leg or pelvis fractures.  On just one day, 4/3/15, 3 horses died of a brain/head injury and 2 of a broken leg/pelvis.  With the comment “Inspected by Dr. Stevens.  Result of windstorm – ran into fence.”

Timeline:

March 24, 2014 – Long Term Pasture contractor for Teterville in KS gives short notice to the BLM by informing them he decided to renew his existing 5 year contract, but only for a reduced number of horses.  He informed the BLM that he wanted to remove 1,900 wild horses (about 1,400 mares and 500 geldings) by June 1, 2014.

(The BLM seems to have never thought of or planned for an emergency, so they begin to scramble for a place to put 1,900 wild horses on short notice.  The BLM was able to find space on other Long Term Pastures for the geldings, but not for the wild mares.)

May 28 (or 27) 2014 – Pat Williams, the WH& B State Lead for New Mexico inspected the Scott City, KS, feedlot for NEPA analysis.  Although a working facility with a squeeze (“tilt”) chute was required,  the contractor for Scott City, Phil Jennings, didn’t want to install that infrastructure until the contract was signed.  Phil Jennings, who was going to lease the Beef Belt feedlot for this emergency contract worth over $2 million, is the contractor for the BLM’s Pauls Valley facility in Oklahoma.

June 4, 2014 – BLM signed the contract.  BLM’s Zach Reichold was designated as the COR (Contracting Officer’s Representative).

June 14, 2014 – BLM began moving wild horses from Teterville Off Range Pasture (long term holding) to Scott City, KS.   The BLM crew at Teterville LTH was Scott Fluer, Bea Wade, Richard Williams, Jimmy Galloway and Pat Williams.  3 horses were euthanized before leaving Teterville.  The BLM crew at Scott City was Jerome Fox.

June 22, 2014 – BLM concluded the transfer of mares to Scott City.

July 7, 2014 – Local veterinarian, Dr. Corbin Stevens, states 3 times in a report that less than 2% of horses have a body condition score of 3 or lower.

July 17, 2014 – Dean Bolstad discovered there was no squeeze chute or BLM Project Inspector onsite and discussed the need for this with Zach Reichold (the COR).

July 25, 2014 – Dean Bolstad informed Greg Shoop that there was no squeeze chute or BLM project inspector onsite at Scott City.

July 2014 – 35 wild horses died during this month.

August 5, 2014 – after veterinarian Dr. Stevens met with BLM’s Joe Stratton, Stevens states in a report that 5% of horses were in poor body condition when they arrived at the feedyard. (this differs substantially from the 2% that Stevens claimed several times in his July 7 report)

August 8, 2014 – BLM issues it’s news release.

Aug. 11, 2014 – BLM began “transitioning” Joe Stratton as the COR of Scott City.

Aug. 12, 2014 – BLM’s Pat Williams and Al Kane (USDA APHIS veterinarian) arrive at Scott City to perform an inspection.

Aug. 13, 2014 – Joe Stratton was “to go onsite.”   The squeeze chute was to finally arrive and plans were made for working facilities to start to be made and installed.  (almost 2 months after the horses arrived)

Aug. 28, 2014 – In a KMUW news article, BLM’s Paul McGuire stated “The first full-month report we had from the facilitator operator came at the end of July.  And it was at that time that we saw numbers on the order of about 47 horses had either died or had to be put down during that time.”  (However, the records WHFF received indicate that 35 wild horses died at Scott City during July, 2014, and only 3 horses died the month before.  That totals 38 at the end of July, not 47.  WHFF found several instances of mortality numbers not matching on BLM records in connection with Scott City.)

August 2014 – Another 46 wild horses die by the end of this month.  (total 81)

September 2014 – another 25 horses die by the end of this month.  (total 106)

June 19, 2015 – Dr. Stevens informs Joe Stratton that there is a mare with a vaginal growth that appears to be infected and that Naxcel and surgery may be warranted.  No freezemark number or description was given.

Feb. 2, 16 – Dr. Stevens informs Joe Stratton that a mare with a tumor extruding from vulva needed to be euthanized.  (It is not apparent from any records if this palomino mare was the same mare with the vaginal growth from 6/19/15, that may not have received needed surgery, but since this was the only mention of a vaginal growth, it could be likely.)

May 17, 2016 and May 19, 2016 – About 2 years after horses were shipped to Scott City, even though the Teterville contractor had given the short notice that lead to this crisis, the BLM ships 5 truckloads of horses BACK TO TETERVILLE.  The BLM started shipping horses out of Scott City after April 25, 2016 (1,311 were there end of month).  By end of May, 2016, 576 were there.  Shipping records from June 2016 show that more horses from Scott City were shipped to other long term holding pastures.  Per BLM’s Dec. 2016 Off Range Facility Reports, Scott City is no longer listed as warehousing any wild horses.

Oct. 14, 2016 – AP reporter Dave Philipps writes an article (that reads like a propoganda piece for the BLM), titled “Success Spoils a U.S. Program to Round Up Wild Horses.”  This article, filled with misinformation, contained a video of wild horses at Teterville, a quote from BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board member, Ben Masters (who voted to kill all the wild horses in holding), and a quote from Dean Bolstad, the Wild Horse & Burro Division Chief, stating that “We’re in a real pickle…”  (No, Dean, the BLM isn’t “in a real pickle,” the wild horses and burros are “in a real pickle.”)  There was no mention in Philipps’ article about what happened to the wild horses from Teterville at Scott City.

There were necropsy reports for 24 horses sent in response to our FOIA request for all necropsy reports.  One of the necropsy reports did not have a date or time on it, and a couple of them didn’t identify the freezemark numbers of the horses.

Excerpts from necropsy reports of wild horses at Scott City:

8/6/14, 5 p.m. – #4805 – atrophy of fat around heart.  Natural causes/old age.  Collected blood prior to euthanasia.

8/6/14, 5 p.m. – #2687 – old age.  Liver failure.

8/6/14, 5 p.m. – #6404 – natural causes/old age.

8/12/14, 5 p.m. – #020937 – small intestine hemorrhage.  Cecum torsion.  Colon enlarged and full of feed.  Died of colic.

8/12/14, 5 p.m. – #945088 – natural causes.  Old age.

8/16/14, 5 p.m. – #6940.  Natural causes.  Collected blood prior to euthanasia.

8/27/14, 6 p.m. – #8737 – cecum enlarged, displaced.  Colic.

9/6/14, 12 p.m. – #05180369 – inflammation around pericardial sac.  Died of heart disease/failure.

9/6/14, 12 p.m. – very large, infected coronary arteries.  Heart failure.

9/12/14, 6 a.m. – #3675 – small intestine inflamed.  Cecum inflamed.  Feed material in abdomen.  Colic.  Ruptured gut.

9/18/14, 5 a.m. – #0041 – colic.

10/20/14, 4:30 p.m. – #7435 – cecum enlarged & hemorrhage (sand).  Colic.  Twisted gut.

10/21/14, 4:30 p.m. – #1062 – cecum enlarged/hemorrhagic/full of sand.  Sand colic.

10/21/14, 4:30 p.m. – #9240 – cecum enlarged/hemorrhagic/full offals.  Colic.  Impaction.

11/12/14, 5 a.m. – #6761 – bloated.  Cecum ½ full of sand.  Died of sand colic.

12/15/14, 6 p.m. – #97175205 – bloated, cecum & colon full of feed.  Colic.  Impaction.

1/13/15, 6 p.m. – “mustang mare” (no ID) – bloated.  Colic.

3/11/15, 6 p.m. – #19964528 – ulcers.  Bleeding ulcer.

4/17/15, 9:30 a.m. – “grey mare” – bloated.  Cecum hemorrhage & inflammation, colon hemorrhage & inflammation – sand.  Died of colic.  Sand in large intestine.

5/11/15, 12:30 p.m. – #2074 – bcs<3.  Unable to maintain weight due to age.

5/18/15, 6 p.m. – #8724 – ulcerations & hemorrhage, bleeding ulcer

5/20/15, 5:20 a.m. – #8513 –  Bloated and cecum full of sand.  Died of sand colic.

5/20/??, 6 p.m. – #6532 – bcs<3.  Unable to maintain condition.

No date or time listed for this necropsy – #3756 – heart enlarged and infarcts.  Heart failure.

By not issuing a report regarding Scott City to the public as promised, or in a timely manner, the BLM seems to just want to sweep what happened at the Scott City feedlot under the rug.  Wild Horse Freedom Federation will not ever forget even one wild horse or wild burro that has suffered at the hands of the BLM’s mismanagement.

WILD HORSE FREEDOM FEDERATION HAS POSTED FOIA DOCUMENTATION ON SCOTT CITY ON OUR WHFF WEBSITE DOCUMENTS PAGE – CLICK HERE.

SOURCES:

BLM news release (8/15/14) :  https://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/august/NR_08_15_2014.html

KMUV news article:  http://kmuw.org/post/80-mustangs-die-after-move-scott-city