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/

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).

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

Can Utah’s Mike Noel Run the BLM, an Agency He Despises?

By | The Salt Lake Tribune

“The BLM manages some of the America’s most spectacular and iconic landscapes, landscapes that are integral to outdoor recreation, sportsmen, biodiversity, and native Americans’ and America’s high quality of life,”

As Utah state Rep. Mike Noel actively courts support for his bid to become the next director of the Bureau of Land Management, conservation and outdoor business interests are questioning the Kanab lawmaker’s ability to effectively run an agency he has relentlessly condemned since quitting it 20 years ago.

“The BLM manages some of the America’s most spectacular and iconic landscapes, landscapes that are integral to outdoor recreation, sportsmen, biodiversity, and native Americans’ and America’s high quality of life,” said Black Diamond Equipment founder Peter Metcalf. “We need a BLM leader aligned with this mission, one who recognizes the role these well-stewarded landscapes play in the vibrancy of one of America’s most important and sustainable economic sector.”

“Mike Noel,” Metcalf said, “is the opposite.”

The retired CEO joined 15 other Utah business leaders and conservationists in penning a letter to the Trump administration opposing Noel’s possible selection as BLM director.

An influential Republican, Noel has staked his political career on challenging federal land management and sparring with environmentalists and Salt Lake Democrats over limiting resource extraction to protect Utah’s striking red rock landscapes, wildlife, rivers and archaeological resources. Noel believes such limits do more to harm the land than protect it and suck the life out of rural communities that traditionally rely on access to forage, timber and minerals.

Noel did not respond to a request for comment.

Several Utah agencies and political leaders. meanwhile, have eagerly lined up behind his BLM candidacy.

The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration also sent a letter to the Trump transition team calling Noel an “excellent choice.” Most of SITLA’s 3.2 million acres are 640-acre islands scattered in a sea of federal lands. BLM policies complicate SITLA’s efforts to generate revenue off these isolated sections, according to the Nov. 18 letter signed by trust lands board Chairman James Lekas.

“We look forward to working with a Department of Interior led by people who can change the direction of public lands management back toward BLM’s traditional multiple use mandate,” Lekas wrote. “Rep. Noel would be a great addition to that team.”

If Noel has his druthers, the BLM would no longer exist as an agency, at least in Utah, where he is leading the state’s charge to seize title to 31 million acres of public land — most of it administered by BLM.

But worse from environmentalists’ perspective is Noel’s unwillingness to engage with stakeholders who disagree with his notion of “multiple use.”

In recent years, Noel has promoted the ideas that law enforcement on pubic lands should be overseen by county sheriffs; Utah should invest millions of dollars in a lawsuit to take title to the lands owned by all Americans; grazing and energy extraction are the best uses of places that others value for scenery and ancient American Indian artifacts; the state should cover legal costs of county commissioners who get in trouble standing up to federal authority on behalf of their constituents.

“Rep. Noel has also demonstrated his disregard for the thoughtfully and collaboratively crafted management plans of the Bureau he hopes to direct, instead throwing his support behind illegal protests on BLM land and the extraction companies that hope to expand their activities on public lands to the detriment of the protection and other uses of those lands,” states the conservationists’ letter, sent Wednesday by Alliance for a Better Utah to Vice President Mike Pence and Interior Secretary-designate Ryan Zinke. “His history strongly suggests that he will not be a good steward over these public lands that all Americans use and enjoy.”

Noel, who runs a ranch and the Kane County Water Conservancy District, worked as a realty specialist in BLM’s Kanab field office before leaving after the 1996 designation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. A former colleague in the Kanab office contends Noel is the wrong person to lead BLM because of “his disdain for federal government management and his personal and biased agenda.”

“The next BLM director will need to ensure the BLM mission to provide enduring values and uses of those lands is sustained. Noel does not have that vision and is not that leader,” wrote Verlin Smith, now retired and living in Murray, in a letter to the editor.

Noel has since become a leading extremist in the movement to blunt conservation prerogatives on public lands, according to Metcalf, and in the process has earned a reputation as a dogmatic bully.

“This intransigent nature would hamper Rep. Noel in performing the duties that come with being BLM director, which include balancing all of the competing needs and uses that arise in managing our vast public lands,” the letter states.

http://www.sltrib.com/home/4858088-155/can-utahs-mike-noel-run-the

Wild Horses: Please Comment on BLM’s Plan to Reduce North Lander Complex in Wyoming Herds to Dangerously Low Numbers

by Carol Walker~Director of Field Documentation at Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Published on: Wild Hoofbeats and Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Horses in the North Lander Complex Herds in Danger of Extinction

The Bureau of Land Management’s Lander, Wyoming Field Office has released a Scoping Document for the North Lander Complex in Wyoming. The most current population count has the numbers of the wild horses in the North Lander Complex to be 1026. They do not differentiate between foals and adult horses in their number, they say 1016 “individuals,” so it is misleading – the BLM is not supposed to count the current year’s foal crop because mortality is high for foals in their first year.

Here are the four Herd Management Areas in the 368,000 acre Complex:
Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte, Muskrat Basin, Rock Creek Mountain
They call it a “complex” because “there is no geographic separation of the HMAs and the gates between them are left open a significant part of the year.”
This is the excuse given for bringing the numbers in 3 of the 4 herds down way below the level needed for genetic viability. However, if there is no separation at all, why are there four different herd management areas?
Horses tend to stay in familiar areas, areas they know where the waterholes, shelter and grazing are located. I would seriously doubt that there is very much intermixing of herds – when visiting the Red Desert Complex, where there are adjacent areas, the horses tend to stay in their range, and there is very little intermixing.

They plan to bring the herds down to these numbers:
Conant Creek 60
Dishpan Butte 50
Muskrat Basin 160
Rock Creek Mountain 50

and end up with a total number of horses for the North Lander Complex of 310.
According to Gus Cothran, the leading geneticist for wild horses, a herd needs a population of at least 150 adults to maintain genetic viability. This plan of the BLM’s which not only brings all but one of the herds down to dangerously low levels also includes giving birth control to all the mares that are released. If the herds are at dangerously low levels it makes absolutely no sens at all to give them birth control. Herds below the minimum number of wild horses for genetic viability should NOT be given any type of birth control. That is dooming them to extinction.
The other issue is that fall is the exact wrong time of year to give PZP to the mares – it should be done in January – March to ensure that it works – they are planning the roundup for the fall of 2017.

They are planning to use helicopters to round up the horses – using helicopters to terrify wild horses so that they run into traps and injure themselves is cruel and inhumane. If they need to round the horses up they should use the far more humane and far less costly method of bait trapping. And they need to keep the families of horses together – this is much less stressful for the horses.

My recommendation is to not remove any of the wild horses from the North Lander Complex, keep the herds at genetically viable levels, and to use bait trapping to round them up and give birth control to the mares at the correct time of the year. If they are going to give them PZP they need to follow up in the next few years because otherwise they will not be able to maintain the numbers of the wild horses. Management of these wild horses should be done on the range. Wild Horses should not be removed from their families and their homes and warehoused at holding facilities with no shelter where they become a burden on the taxpayer and are likely to end up at slaughter. Yes, the Scoping Documents and Environmental Assessments should include what happens the the wild horses that the BLM proposes to remove after they are removed – this is extremely relevant to the action that they are proposing.

Please comment by January 31, 2017 by 4pm Mountain Time, and use your own words – the BLM counts the group emails that you sign your name to as one.

Here is the scoping document:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/70450/93476/112583/North_Lander_Scoping_2016.pdf

and here is where you can send your comments:
Please email your comments to:

wy_north_lander_gather@blm.gov

Comments may also be mailed or hand delivered to:

Mr. Clay Stott
Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
BLM
Lander Field Office
1335 Main Street
Lander, Wyoming 82520
(307) 332-8400

This scoping notice and all other future documents corresponding with this action will be posted on the BLM’s ePlanning site at:

http://bit.ly/2017_North_Lander_Gather

The website can be accessed by the general public. The EA will be posted to this site and there will be a 30-day comment period at that time.

You may obtain a paper copy of these documents by contacting the BLM Lander Field Office at the address or telephone number listed above.

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/blog/wild-horses-please-comment-on-blms-plan-to-reduce-north-lander-complex-in-wyoming-herds-to-dangerously-low-numbers

WY Welfare Ranchers Shift Blood-Lust from Wild Horses to Coyotes

By Mike Koshmrl Jackson Hole Daily

“These contests and their impacts on public resources will be significant,”

Jackson Hole animal advocates are pushing back against coyote-killing derbies they allege are illegally taking place on federal land in Wyoming.

coyote-derbyWyoming Untrapped Program Director Kristin Combs argued to the Bureau of Land Management office that coyote derbies that operate around the state lack necessary permits.

One contest, the $50-per-person Wyoming Coyote Classic, is set for outside of Rock Springs on Saturday.

In a letter to BLM’s Rock Springs office Combs contended that because the Coyote Classic and similar events are a commercial and competitive use of the land, they need a special recreation permit to be legal. By not requiring one, she said, the BLM is violating the code of federal regulations.

“These contests and their impacts on public resources will be significant,” Combs wrote, “and should be fully reviewed by the agency and the public prior to granting a permit.”

Wyoming Untrapped gathered environmental and animal rights groups to sign, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project.

Kristen Lenhardt, BLM’s deputy state director for communications, stood behind unpermitted killing derbies. Contestants, she said, are no different than regular hunters.

“There is a misperception out there right now regarding these coyote hunts,” Lenhardt said. “The reason why this event does not need a special event permit is because it isn’t beginning and ending on public land and there is no designated route that ensures the public will be using BLM lands. And there’s no significant threat that shows that there will be significant damage to natural resources.”

A company that’s making money leading people on tours of BLM lands, Lenhardt said, would be an example of a commercial activity that would require a special recreation permit.

Although no such events occur in Teton County, coyote-killing derbies take place regularly in Wyoming. At least two typically happen in Sublette County each winter, there’s an annual Cheyenne event, and on Feb. 4 the “Best of the Best” coyote hunting tournament comes to Rock Springs.

The land where the 30 to 50 Wyoming Coyote Classic contestants will hunt Saturday is a checkerboard-style of private and BLM property, said Eric Adams, a longtime participant.

“So there’s as much hunting on private property as public,” he said.

The Wyoming Coyote Classic, a 15-year-running Rock Springs tradition, Adams said, is “just a bunch of guys hunting.” Coyote derbies, he said, are unfairly vilified. He pointed out that all animals killed are skinned and their furs put to use.

“Whether I’m hunting on the weekend or in a contest, whatever animal I’m going to kill, it is as ethically and humanely as possible,” Adams said. “Coyotes are so smart, and I treat them with just as much respect as I do deer or elk…(CONTINUED)

http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/jackson_hole_daily/local/mass-coyote-kills-take-heat/article_a48f45fd-c857-592b-8f92-2ee685aa2a8f.html

First WY Ranchers Target Wild Horses, Now Other Wildlife in Their Gun Sights

Source: Animal Legal Defense Fund

Take Action: Help stop 2 coyote killing contests on BLM controlled federal land

dead_coyotes2

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and a coalition of animal protection organizations submitted a written request to the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) urging the agency to enforce its own regulations regarding two Rock Springs, Wyoming coyote-hunting contests scheduled to take place in the coming weeks. These contests are slated to take place partly on BLM-managed federal land—and contest organizers have failed to obtain the requisite permits.

The first of these upcoming contests, the “Wyoming Coyote Classic,” is scheduled for this Saturday, Jan. 7—the second, “Wyoming Best of the Best” is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4. In light of the impending dates, we need you to contact BLM and politely urge them to hold these contests to the law.

Click (HERE) to send letter!!!

http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/51 54/p/dia/action3/common/public /?action_KEY=23967&okay=true

BLM to Begin Utah Frisco Wild Horse Removal and Sordid Research Project

Unedited article from KCSG.com by BLM’s Lisa Reid

“Dangerous Tracking Collars to be Installed on Wild Horses”

Wild Horse CollarCEDAR CITY, Utah – The Bureau of Land Management Cedar City Field Office will soon be gathering and removing excess wild horses from within and outside the Frisco Wild Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) in western Utah.

The BLM will gather approximately 150 and remove 90 excess wild horses from the Frisco HMA to achieve a research population of an estimated 100 animals on the HMA. Some horses will be fitted with tracking devices and returned to the range as part of a research project. This will provide data on free-roaming horse locations and movement to help the BLM improve understanding of herd behavior.

Helicopter drive-trapping operations are scheduled to begin Friday, Jan. 6. Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided the safety of the animals, staff and observers are not jeopardized and operations are not disrupted.

The BLM will conduct escorted public tours to gather observation sites. Details will be announced daily on the BLM gather hotline, (801) 539-4050.

Those interested in participating should meet at the KB Express Convenience Store/Subway at 238 South Main in Milford, Utah, where tours will depart at 6:30 a.m. MST.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh winter field conditions. Binoculars and four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicles are also strongly recommended. Please note that no public restrooms will be available once the tour begins.

Public lands will remain open unless closures are deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Outdoor recreationists and visitors to the gather area should be aware that there will be low flying helicopters and should avoid recreational use of drones near the Frisco Mountain area. Brief road closures may also be needed to allow movement of horses during gather operations.

Gather updates and information will be posted at: http://bit.ly/CongerFriscoGather

Anyone interested can get updates on Twitter by following @BLMUtah or searching #CongerFriscoGather.

Animals removed from the range will be made available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Those that are not adopted will be cared for on off-range pastures, where they retain their protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Details on the EA and the gather can be found on the BLM’s planning documents website: https://goo.gl/pNIggw . More information on the population control research project is available from the BLM’s Fillmore Field Office at (435) 743-3100.

To learn more about the wild horse and burro program or to obtain an adoption application, visit the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro website at: http://on.doi.gov/2h11lDS .

For additional information on participating in public observation days, contact Lisa Reid, public affairs specialist, at (435)743-3128 or lreid@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question for Lisa Reid. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.