Wild horses vs cattle: Who will win the waterhole?

Source:  Heber Wild Horses

Public lands ranchers, in their effort to convince Forest Service and others that the wild horses need to be removed from the Sitgreaves National Forest, often fall back on their old propaganda spiel that the horses guard the waterholes and won’t let the cattle drink.  So we uploaded this little video showing what really takes place at a waterhole on a regular basis when cattle and wild horses wind up at the same waterhole at the same time.  Observe the drama unfold as you watch this action packed video of wild horses picking on poor little cows…see the terrified looks on the faces of the cattle as the horses plot against them!  LOL

Public Records Sought on EPA, Beef Lobby Collusion to Weaken Water Protections

Press Release from: Biological Diversity.org

Livestock operations have polluted 35,000 miles of U.S. rivers and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. Each year American beef production creates 489 billion pounds of manure.

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a Freedom of Information Act request today seeking communications between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and beef-lobbying groups. The filing seeks information about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s participation in a promotional video for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in which he urges ranchers to flood the agency with comments in favor of repealing the Clean Water Rule.

“It’s bizarre and appalling that our nation’s chief environmental official starred in a beef-industry infomercial attacking protections for our water supplies,” said Jennifer Molidor, a Center senior food campaigner. “Americans deserve to know why Pruitt would support the private interests of this incredibly polluting industry.”

Livestock operations have polluted 35,000 miles of U.S. rivers and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. Each year American beef production creates 489 billion pounds of manure. Improperly stored manure creates toxic byproducts that frequently leak into rivers, lakes and streams. In addition 167 million pounds of pesticides and 17 billion pounds of fertilizer used to grow animal feed leak into waterways.

The Clean Water Rule, a clarification of the Clean Water Act ordered by the Obama administration, prohibited the dumping of waste in “navigable waters” without a permit. The rule exempts most agricultural drainage ditches.

As the attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt sued to halt the rule. Industry groups filed similar lawsuits. In all cases the rule was ultimately upheld.

“Pruitt took office already determined to slash Obama-era safeguards like the Clean Water Rule without concern for the dangerous fallout of losing these protections,” said Molidor. “It’s the EPA’s job to protect our environment from big polluters, not the other way around.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2017/beef-lobby-09-14-2017.php

Range Riders-a false solution for predator-livestock conflicts

By as published on Wildlife News

“…these conservation groups conveniently ignore and fail to inform their membership and media of the multiple ways that livestock production harms wildlife, and ecosystems, no doubt while receiving big donations for their silence. They are, thus, directly culpable for helping to continue the livestock hegemony and destruction of our public lands.”

Private Cattle being herded onto public land at Antelope AS wild horses are being stampeded away ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Tom Sawyer would be proud of the “progressive” livestock producers who “love” predators.  These ranchers are continuously held up as a “win-win demonstrations” by collaborating so-called conservation groups who promote these operations as examples of how wildlife and ranching can co-exist.

You know the names, in part, because there are so few of them around the West that the same operations are continuously written up in the media and promoted by conservation groups-Malpai Borderlands group in Arizona and New Mexico, Lava Lake Land and Livestock Company in Idaho, JBarL in Montana’s Centennial Valley, and the Tom Miner Association adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.

The problem is that all these feel-good examples have two problems.

One they are the exceptions, not the rule. In all cases, they are livestock operations owned by wealthy individuals or those who have some connection to wealth. As a result, they can implement management practices that cannot be scaled up across the landscape. The Malpai had the support of the late Drum Hadley, Anheuser-Busch beer heir. Lava Lakes is owned by Brian and Kathleen Bean, who live in San Francisco where Brian is an investment banker. The B Bar Ranch in Tom Miner Basin is owned by Mary Ann Mott of Mott Applesauce fame. And the JBarL is owned by Peggy Dulany, heir to the Rockefeller fortune.

The sad thing about all these ranching operations is that the owners are wealthy enough that they don’t need to run livestock at all—likely it is a tax write off.  Indeed, if they were truly interested in helping wildlife instead of promoting the cowboy myth, they would volunteer to retire their public lands grazing allotments and contribute their vast fortunes towards retiring other grazing allotments.

Some of their holdings are substantial—the Bean’s Lava Lakes ranching operation includes 24,000 acres of private lands and controls over 900,000 acres of public lands allotments. Imagine if they retired their grazing allotments instead of running vast herds of sheep on them.

Instead, these “progressive” ranching operations are fawned upon by conservation organizations and receive numerous accolades and promotions of their livestock products (higher priced “grass fed beef and/or lamb). This includes groups like NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife (DOW), Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Montana Audubon, and the Nature Conservancy, among others.

All the while these conservation groups conveniently ignore and fail to inform their membership and media of the multiple ways that livestock production harms wildlife, and ecosystems, no doubt while receiving big donations for their silence. They are, thus, directly culpable for helping to continue the livestock hegemony and destruction of our public lands.

It would analogous to the American Cancer Society promoting filtered cigarettes arguing that they were slightly healthier than unfiltered smokes, and failing to acknowledge that cigarette smoking was a major cause of cancer.

To give an example of this collusion between ranchers and so-called conservation groups, I recently received an email about a “Range Rider” program at the Anderson Ranch in Tom Miner Basin (link here https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=e8f5b5d8e3&view=att&th=15b71e2eda289a5f&attid=0.1&disp=safe&realattid=f_j1jblcbx0&zw).

For a mere $600 you can ride a horse around in the mountains, and for dinner eat grass fed beef of animals you helped to keep out of the mouth of a wolf or grizzly.

You will learn how to harass predators like grizzlies and wolves so the ranchers can continue to run livestock on our public lands with a minimum of losses from predators.

In addition, there is the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get knowing that, according to the ranch website, range riders help the ranch document predator losses so they can obtain more money from the state predator reimbursement program (again why do wealthy people need our tax dollars to maintain their ranching operations).

The people who fall for this gimmick no doubt believe they are saving predators. That is the message that supporting national organizations like NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife try to put forth.  Want to save wolves—come help harass public wildlife so that ranchers won’t kill them.

Unfortunately, the Anderson Ranch and supporting so called wildlife groups are perpetuating wildlife conflicts, not ultimately eliminating them.

Keep in mind that cattle and/or sheep grazing on public lands are consuming forage that would feed elk and other native wildlife which is the food base for native predators. Funny how TNC, GYC, DOW and NRDC and other groups never mention this as a cost of public lands livestock operations.

The mere presence of livestock socially displaces native wildlife like elk which avoid areas actively being grazed by domestic animals. And therefore, are pushed into less suitable habitat. Again, this harms the natural prey of predators like wolves and grizzlies. Again, no mention of this by the collaborating groups.

Nor do these so-called wildlife groups point out that you as a range rider are there to harass predators so someone’s private livestock (like the Anderson Ranch) can profit from public lands, while native predators like wolves and grizzlies are displaced from their natural habitat.

These groups also don’t mention the collateral damage from livestock. The spread of weeds. The soil compaction. The pollution of waterways from manure. The destruction of biocrusts. The spread of disease from domestic animals to wildlife. The trampling of riparian areas. The fences that block wildlife migration. The hay fields that require irrigation which drains our rivers and destroys aquatic ecosystems.

And I have yet to see any of these groups drawing the connection between livestock methane production and global warming.

Indeed, I would venture to bet that these so-called “wildlife friendly” ranch operations have these impacts—which overall are far worse for the ecological health of our public lands than the loss of an occasional wolf or bear—regrettable as that may be…(CONTINUED)

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2017/04/17/range-riders-a-false-solution-for-predator-livestock-conflicts/

The Most Shocking 1.5 Min Video the World Must See!

by COWSPIRACY: the sustainability secret

“Just imagine what this does, in the form of welfare ranching, to our public lands and it’s effect on wild horses, burros and all other wildlife, let alone ourselves!” ~ R.T.

Nevada Politicians Skew Figures and Falsify Facts in Public Propaganda War Against Wild Horses and Burros

“Once again Western Special Interest Politicians are grasping numbers out of their backside where their heads reside most of the time. Without science, fact or evidence they spout out numbers and figures that paint a false representation of what is really going on upon our western public lands. It is Babel speak as usual with the horses and burros catching the flack for the damage to the land that is, instead, caused by tens of thousands of privately owned cattle and sheep. According to these false prophets only the horses eat and poop while the welfare cattle and sheep simply live on air alone…it’s all so very disgusting. Time to vote into office individuals who speak the truth, listen to the public and truly care about our public lands; do such politicians exist? We can only hope.” ~ R.T.


Story By Henry Brean
Las Vegas Review-Journal

“…birth control treatments, “humane euthanasia,” roundups, adoptions and other efforts to shrink herds…”

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Republicans in Congress want the Bureau of Land Management to answer for an “ineffective” strategy that has failed to halt the explosion of wild horse and burro populations both on the range and in captivity.

In a Nov. 4 letter to BLM director Neil Kornze, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei from Nevada and 18 other lawmakers requested a detailed report on what the agency is doing now and what it plans to do in the future to bring horse populations under control.

According to the letter, current strategies “have been largely unsuccessful” across the West, leading to overcrowding in BLM herd management areas and holding facilities, poor herd health and damage to range land.

“Almost half of the 100,000 horses under the purview of the Bureau of Land Management are located in holding facilities off the range, and adoptions have fallen by almost 70 percent in the last 10 years,” the letter says.

The lawmakers are asking the BLM for details on birth control treatments, “humane euthanasia,” roundups, adoptions and other efforts to shrink herds to the agency’s own “appropriate management level” for the West, which calls for a total population of no more than 26,715 horses and burros across 10 states.

As of March 1, there were some 58,150 horses and burros living free on the range, more than half of them in Nevada, according to BLM estimates.

In addition to information on current efforts, Congressional Republicans want Kornze and company to produce four to six detailed plans, including timelines and cost estimates, to “effectively curb the overarching trend of overstocked” herd management areas.

BLM spokesman Craig Leff said the agency is still reviewing the inquiry from Congress and is “committed to improving the health of the horses and the land.”

Leff said the bureau is already working to put its horse and burro program “on a more cost-effective, sustainable track” consistent with the recommendations of a 2013 report by the National Academy of Sciences that determined wild horse and burro populations on federal land in the West were growing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent annually.

“As part of our long-term strategy, the BLM in partnership with universities and the U.S. Geological Survey is developing more effective fertility control methods,” Leff said in an email.

The agency is also “promoting public-private eco-sanctuaries or off-range pastures to hold excess wild horses removed from western public rangelands and working to boost adoptions by making more trained horses available to the public for adoption,” Leff said.

The GOP letter comes two months after the BLM removed more than 200 wild horses said to be on the verge of starvation in the Spring Mountains northwest of Las Vegas. At least 28 of those animals collected from around the tiny community of Cold Creek were later killed because they were deemed too far gone to save.

The BLM’s appropriate management level for the 102,000 acres surrounding Cold Creek is 66 adult horses. In May, the bureau counted about 470 horses in the area.

The BLM rounded up 250 horses from the same herd in 2007 and treated some of the remaining animals with birth control chemicals. One of those mares and her newborn foal were among the horses removed from the range in August.

Heller spokesman Michawn Rich said the federal government has a responsibility to address the wild horse issue, especially in Nevada, where almost 87 percent of the land is under federal control.

“Without proper and responsible management,” said Rich in an email, “these wild horses will continue to suffer and have a devastating impact on range land, sage-grouse habitat, and other agricultural and natural resources.”

BLM backs down to cattle activists

While the BLM cites the drought in the West to remove wild horses and burros from public lands PERMANENTLY, the BLM doesn’t enforce drought-related grazing restrictions in northern Nevada when cattle ranchers flagrantly defy the grazing restrictions.  – Debbie

SOURCE:  Elko Daily Free Press

BLM Allows Grazing on Closed Allotment to Avoid Confrontation

by Dylan Woolf Harris

ELKO – The Bureau of Land Management says it didn’t give ranchers permission to graze on a closed allotment made up of public and private land, but instead indicated that it “would not interfere” with the cattle turnout.

The Battle Mountain Complex, an area near Valmy that comprises both the North Buffalo and Copper Canyon allotments, falls in “checkerboard” land. Grazing was closed there in a 2013 decision, according to Nevada BLM spokesman Rudy Evenson.

With fewer and fewer spots available to graze due to drought, Dan and Eddyann Filippini decided to run cattle Tuesday on North Buffalo while the closure is in appeal.

The vast majority of AUMs on the allotment are privately held.

Acting BLM State Director John Ruhs told Eddyann Filippini that the agency wouldn’t attempt to stop the ranchers, according to Evenson. Instead, Ruhs reminded permittees that the federal land was still off limits.

“We’re not going to come out there and have a big confrontation,” Evenson said.

There aren’t fences, however, separating the land by ownership.

Former assemblyman and longtime rancher John Carpenter, who participated Tuesday to support the Filippinis, said whether the cows wander onto public lands shouldn’t be a problem.

“It’s not a resource issue because there’s plenty of grass,” he said. “There’s all kinds of grass there.”

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

Source: Cowspiracy.com

Official Trailer

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.

As Andersen approaches leaders in the environmental movement, he increasingly uncovers what appears to be an intentional refusal to discuss the issue of animal agriculture, while industry whistleblowers and watchdogs warn him of the risks to his freedom and even his life if he dares to persist.

As eye-opening as Blackfish and as inspiring as An Inconvenient Truth, this shocking yet humorous documentary reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet, and offers a path to global sustainability for a growing population.

cowspiracy“There is a link from a screener floating around the internet and in good faith, I did not insert it, here, out of respect for the producers of this documentary.  Instead, I went to their website and purchased the documentary for one dollar and received the email, below, hence my refusal to post the link but instead recommend that our readers follow my lead as we are a group with ethics and morals…even though the ones we fight are bereft of such virtues. Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

Thank you so much for purchasing our film. Please be aware that this digital download is intended for home viewing only. Uploading, file sharing, burning, copying, selling or otherwise distributing the film in any form compromises our licensing agreements with distributors and would put us in a tough spot legally. Thanks for understanding!

Horseback Protest Targets BLM, but Environmentalists Say Whoa

as published in the LA Times

“The sneering whine of self-serving profiteering is heard across the plains as a band of welfare ranchers plods along a trail to D.C. to protest an attempt to save the public land on which their private cattle graze at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.  Please excuse me for feeling no sympathy as I think of all the native wild horses that had been pulled from the same land while we shouted, ‘What about the damn cows?!?!’  The time to reconsider the practice of private individuals profiting from exploiting public lands is long over due.” ~ R.T.


Environmentalists defend BLM order to remove livestock on public lands in Nevada amid drought”

Photo: WWP. Grazing damage from welfare ranching on the Argenta allotment, July 2014.

They’re a dozen men and women riding horseback on a modern-day cross-country cattle drive, but with fistfuls of petitions instead of a herd of steers. Their wide-brimmed hats tipped low against the sun’s glare, they’re riding from Bodega Bay, Calif., to Washington.

They call themselves the “Grass March Cowboy Express” and they want the Bureau of Land Management to remove “an abusive federal employee” and “end BLM tyranny.”

The group contends that Doug Furtado, manager of the bureau’s Battle Mountain District, has unfairly blocked their legal right to graze their cattle on public land in central Nevada.

But environmentalists have lashed out at protesters as a selfish, entitled group with no business running private cattle on public lands, especially during years of prolonged drought.

Six months after Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s well-publicized face-off with bureau officials over grazing rights on public lands north of Las Vegas, tension still exists between many cattlemen and the federal government.

Bundy in April attracted an army of self-proclaimed citizen militia members, many of them with semiautomatic weapons, who challenged officials who had moved in to remove hundreds of cattle from federally administered land. The bureau later called off the roundup, but federal officials promise that Bundy could be held accountable in the courts for more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.

Organizers of the Cowboy Express, which started in Bodega Bay in Northern California on Sept. 26, say they have no connection to Bundy. They just want the Bureau of Land Management off their backs.

But in a message to supporters, one nonprofit criticized the riders for singling out Furtado because he had “the temerity to order drought-induced reductions in commercial grazing.”

The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility also mocked the protesters for their use of the hard-bitten cowboy image often seen in cigarette commercials.

“The Marlboro Man evoked iconic cowboy imagery to sell cancer sticks,” it said in a news release. The “stunt called the ‘Cowboy Express’ also seeks to harness this romantic image to mask deeply selfish and destructive ends.”…(CONTINUED)

Judge Rules BLM Violated Grazing Laws in South-Central Idaho

Sources: Multiple/Story by

BLM Breaks the Law for Benefit of Bedfellow Welfare Ranchers

BLM destroying the last of Wyoming's Wild Horses for the benefit of Welfare Ranchers ~ photo taken last week by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM destroying the last of Wyoming’s Wild Horses for the benefit of Welfare Ranchers ~ photo taken last week by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BOISE IDAHO – A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management once again violated federal laws when it issued grazing permits instead of analyzing how grazing could harm sage grouse in four allotments in south-central Idaho.

In a ruling released Monday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill found that the BLM failed to consider stopping grazing in any of the proposed management plans in the agency’s Burley Field Office.

The decision is round two of a lawsuit led by conservation group Western Watersheds Project that is challenging nearly 600 BLM grazing allotments spread across southern Idaho.

Winmill agreed that the BLM is allowed to automatically renew grazing permits without conducting lengthy environmental reviews.

However, it must still comply with federal laws requiring the agency to study rangeland degradation.

Spencer Lennard: Subsidies turn Emigrant Wilderness into grazing nightmare

By Spencer Lennard Special to The Bee

“Instead of the pristine trout creek we expected, the otherwise spectacular Kennedy Creek was lined with thousands of steaming piles of cow dung, swarms of black flies, cow-trampled banks and waterways and green algae-filled water.”

Spencer Lennard is an avid hiker, mountaineer and public lands advocate who lives in Oregon.

Spencer Lennard is an avid hiker, mountaineer and public lands advocate who lives in Oregon.

Several friends and I recently embarked on what we hoped would be a wilderness adventure in California’s high country. What we found was nothing like that.

When we picked up the wilderness permit for our hike in the Emigrant Wilderness in the Stanislaus National Forest, we envisioned the Sierra high country to be wonderful fish and wildlife habitat lined with huge, picturesque ponderosa pines and white granite cliffs. The otherwise helpful rangers made no mention of the ecosystem wreckage we were about to encounter.

Instead of the pristine trout creek we expected, the otherwise spectacular Kennedy Creek was lined with thousands of steaming piles of cow dung, swarms of black flies, cow-trampled banks and waterways and green algae-filled water. Instead of what should have been lush, wildflower-strewn meadows at Kennedy Lake, we sunk into a green quagmire of muck created by a steady stream of cows cooling themselves in the shallows.

As we scurried to get above the algae-clogged Kennedy Lake, we encountered several fly fishers, horse packers, photographers and hikers – all aghast and expressing the same sense of disappointment as we were. Why would the National Forest Service and the California legislative delegation continue the taxpayer-subsidized damage to some of the state’s best sub-alpine habitat, especially here, in this increasingly popular recreational area?

As we swatted flies and stepped over the excrement, we were struck by the notion that this hiker’s paradise should not be a taxpayer-subsidized feedlot. We understood that grazing allotments were grandfathered into many wilderness bills – obviously including the Emigrant Wilderness – when they were designated as such. We know that policy change is slower than molasses, especially when ranching culture and environmental issues are being discussed. But we could not understand how the U.S. Forest Service and California’s blue congressional delegation could let such taxpayer-subsidized harm continue to degrade one of our most preciously beautiful places, especially when species and habitat loss are also at stake.

Holding our noses from the stench of urine and feces, we asked ourselves, “Why is this occurring in our diminishing wilderness, some of the best fish and wildlife habitat left in the Sierra?”

According to the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign, grazing programs operated by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management receive an annual taxpayer subsidy of almost $445 million to facilitate a program that doesn’t benefit the public, wildlife or the land. This defacement of our national treasures is occurring just so a few ranchers can cash in their welfare checks.

Private, unirrigated rangeland in the West rents for an average of $11.90 per cow and calf, while monthly grazing fees on federal lands are currently a paltry $1.35. Despite the extreme damage done, western federal rangelands account for less than 3 percent of all forage fed to livestock in the United States. If all livestock were removed from public lands in the West, beef prices would be unaffected.

Cattle destroy native vegetation, damage soils and stream banks, and contaminate waterways with fecal waste. After decades of livestock grazing, once-lush streams and riparian forests have been reduced to flat, dry wastelands; once-rich topsoil has been turned to dust, causing soil erosion, stream sedimentation and wholesale elimination of some aquatic habitats. The now cow-trodden ecosystem has been robbed of its natural function, as is painfully evident on the landscape…(CONTINUED)