Western Governors’ Association Endorses Gutting Endangered Species Act

PR from the Center for Biological Diversity

“…“can’t be a zoo for endangered species.”

WHITEFISH, Mont.— The Western Governors’ Association endorsed a policy resolution today that, if adopted into law, would substantially weaken the core of the Endangered Species Act.

Policy resolution 2017-11 recommends delaying lifesaving protections for at-risk wildlife and curtailing the ability of ordinary citizens to challenge agency decisions in court. The resolution would weaken critical habitat protections in areas needed for species recovery and tamper with the Act’s “best available science” mandate.

“All you varmints gonna DIE!”

This policy resolution was primarily driven by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, who has spearheaded his “Species Conservation and Endangered Species Initiative” over the past two years to develop recommendations for changes to the Endangered Species Act. Last week Mead stated that the Act is “not good industry, it’s not good for business and, quite frankly, it’s not good for the species,” and that Wyoming “can’t be a zoo for endangered species.”

“The Western Governors’ Association resolution is another cynical attack on the Endangered Species Act that will be used by congressional Republicans to justify gutting this landmark conservation law,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Politicizing science, disrupting the citizen petition process and gutting critical habitat won’t help a single endangered species move an inch closer to recovery. These governors should be ashamed of themselves.”

In February more than 280 environmental, animal-protection, faith-based, outdoor-recreational and social-justice groups sent a letter to the National Governors Association urging the organization to oppose any upcoming legislative changes to the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, the letter asks the national association not to support an ongoing effort led by the Western Governors’ Association to weaken the bedrock wildlife law.

On Tuesday California Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to the Western Governors’ Association opposing the resolution on the Endangered Species Act.

“Gov. Brown is absolutely correct that this resolution won’t help the recovery of endangered species at all,” said Hartl. “Republicans in Congress like Rob Bishop and John Barrasso aren’t interested in improving the Act — they want to see it disappear forever.”

In December Rep. Bishop (R-Utah) said “I would be happy to invalidate the Endangered Species Act” and wanted to pursue a repeal-and-replace strategy for legislation for the Act. Meanwhile Sen. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has sponsored or cosponsored eight bills attacking the Endangered Species Act since 2015 and voted against the Act nearly a dozen times since 2011.

“The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most successful conservation law and has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the plants and animals under its protection,” said Hartl. “This resolution is completely out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans that want to strengthen the Act and recognize that it has saved bald eagles, gray whales, American alligators and other iconic wildlife from the brink of extinction.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2017/endangered-species-act-06-28-2017.php

Call to Action: Wild Horses and Burros Need Your Voice NOW

Open letter by Grandma Gregg

There is no time to waste! Please feel free to use the sample letter below and using the form (link below) send your own message to the US House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations.” ~ Grandma Gregg

https://appropriations.house.gov/contact/contactform.htm


photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Do not allow the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States Forest Service (USFS), Farm Bureau and the extraction and mining giants and the domestic livestock grazing associations to pull the wool over your eyes. There are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. Per the unanimously passed United States 1971 Congressional Wild Horse and Burro Act, the land is to be devoted principally although not exclusively to the wild horses and wild burros’ welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands.

The recent National Academy of Sciences study found NO evidence of overpopulation of Wild Horses and Wild Burros. Obviously, the government’s actions toward the wild horses and burros needs to be closely and independently investigated and the animals left on their legally designated land and those already captured must be returned to their legal lands. The American people and members of Congress are being lied to by our government agencies that are mandated by Congressional Law to protect these animals. Our government agencies (BLM and USFS) are truly managing our wild horses and wild burros toward extinction.

There is no reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures because there is no “over-population” of wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros but even after 22,200,000 acres were robbed from the American people and the wild horses and burros by government agencies the remaining 31,600,000 acres could easily support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today. It is currently independently estimated that only about 20,000 – 30,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.

There is a legal term for how the BLM operates. It is “Regulatory Capture”. Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest instead advances the special interest groups’ desires that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure and it creates an opening for behavior in ways injurious to the public and in this case injurious to the wild horses and burros that belong to American citizens.

In addition, the BLM is in clear violation of Title 18; falsifying legal documents. A few of many examples include, but are certainly not limited to, but prove this violation by the BLM’s statements of annual population increases such as the Buckhorn herd area 237% (71 total horses giving birth to 168 foals) in one year and the Black Rock herd area 418% (88 horses giving birth to 368 foals) in one year. Wild horses and burros have an eleven-month gestation period and give birth to only one foal. The above BLM annual population increase statements are biologically and mathematically impossible but this is the type of non-credible data being stated by the BLM and provided to you. Another example of BLM’s mathematics is their statement that the Black Mt. herd area wild burro population before capture/removal was 175 animals and after they captured and removed 80 animals, the remaining population was 635! Since when does 175, minus 80, equal 635? There are many, many other examples of the false and highly deceitful data that BLM provides to the public and to Congress.

https://www.blm.gov/

Since Congress is concerned with the cost of long-term holding of wild horses and burros, and our public lands, please allow me to remind you that these wild horses and burros already have legal lands in the wild for them to live on which cost the tax-payer nothing. In contrast, private/corporate livestock grazing on public lands has cost the taxpayers $1 Billion over past decade. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported the federal government spends at least $144 million each year managing private livestock grazing on federal public lands, but collects only $21 million in grazing fees—for a net LOSS of at least $123 million per year.

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2015/grazing-01-28-2015.html

http://www.taxpayer.net/user_uploads/file/factsheet_Grazing_Fiscal_Costs(3).pdf

 As an environmental researcher, United States citizen and taxpayer concerned with the fate of the North-American wild horses and wild burros, I urge you to not be taken in by the biased testimony you recently heard from anti-wild horse/burro Utah Representative Chris Stewart.

The testimony of Secretary of Interior Zinke was clearly a deliberate attempt to con and to deceive in order to further the extremely unfair and dishonest victimization of our nations overly reduced, overly restricted, American wild horses and burros. The testimony was not at all scientifically supportable and therefore not at all credible and must be stricken from public record and true, scientifically supportable testimony must be given to Congress.

These wild animals are being illegally deprived of their legal habitats and resources within their lawfully declared areas on the public lands; both BLM and US Forest Service. This is being done to gratify and indulge the contemptible and domineering demands of many public lands ranchers, including both cattle and sheep, as well as to other wild-horse/burro-enemies, such as certain big game hunters, land developers, giant mining and energy extraction corporations, and others who have been taken in by all the disinformation provided to them by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.

What we have now is a very illegal and corrupt wild horse and wild burro program managed by the BLM and USFS that dishonors the wild horse and wild burro heritage and natural place in America. This is contemptuous of the true and core intent of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and of Congress itself, which unanimously passed this law of the United States. For decades, wild horses and burros have been protected by a ban on the slaughter of healthy animals or any sale that “results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.”  The current 2018 budget proposal would allow “euthanasia and unrestricted sale of certain excess animals.” If this does pass, it will cause thousands of innocent wild horses and burros that belong on their Congressionally designated lands to be slaughtered. These wild horses and wild burros belong to me and to all American citizens and by Congressional law MUST be protected.”

BLM Plotting War on America’s Wild Horses and Burros

By Wayne Pacelle as posted on Humane Nation

“Turning to mass slaughter would mark a U-turn on the government’s response to wild horse management programs…”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Department of the Interior, under the leadership of Secretary Ryan Zinke, has signaled its intention to strip decades-old federal protections for wild horses and burros and to allow them to be shipped to slaughter by the tens of thousands. Public comments and Congressional testimony from Zinke and other high-ranking government officials represents the most severe threat to wild horses since the ghastly and cruel killing practices of the 1960s prompted Congress to adopt the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

Turning to mass slaughter would mark a U-turn on the government’s response to wild horse management programs. It was only in April that Congress passed a spending bill with sensible wild horse provisions for the remainder of 2017. That bill included language preventing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and its contractors from sending wild horses to slaughter for human consumption. It further directed the BLM to create a plan to maintain long-term, sustainable populations on the range in a humane manner.

Now, just two months after President Trump signed the 2017 Omnibus spending bill into law, the Department of the Interior is saying it is going to default to slaughter because it’s possessed with no other options. In the president’s budget request for 2018, the department has asked for the ability to maintain wild horse and burro populations at dramatically reduced levels and to get there by slaughtering the animals.

While there are always going to be major challenges in managing wild horses and burros on our western public lands and in satisfying the diverse stakeholders in the debate, there are certain options that should never even be considered because they are simply outside the bounds of how animals should be treated. Mass slaughter is one of those dreadful ideas, an action that flies in the face of the now longstanding prohibition on slaughter and of the instincts of millions of Americans to protect these magnificent symbols of the American West.

The BLM has never been exemplary at managing horses. Far from it. For 20 years, the agency’s primary strategy for wild horse and burro populations has largely consisted of rounding up and removing the animals from our public lands – an effort that has resulted in tens of thousands of wild horses and burros being kept in holding facilities at a cost now approaching $50 million a year — more than half of the BLM’s annual budget for the entire wild horse and burro program. Partly because the costs of caring for so many captive horses are undermining the larger program, the agency has failed to commit any additional money to implement sufficient fertility control programs, which have been long recommended by The HSUS and the National Academies of Sciences.

The aggressive and widespread use of fertility control is the only way to confront this crisis in the long term. The horses need to be managed, but in a humane manner. Fertility control works, but only if there’s a serious investment in the enterprise on the ground. By preventing the birth of foals, the agency will find itself under less pressure to round up so many horses. Fewer round-ups mean substantial cost savings, since not as many animals need to be pastured and fed in short-term and long-term holding facilities. A capture-and-kill strategy, on the other hand, will only make matters worse, because it will cause the horses to compensate by reproducing at a higher rate on the range.

We cannot readily resolve the politics of managing the captive and free-roaming wild horse populations without a struggle. It won’t be easy to get a handle on this. But one thing is for sure: sanctioning the slaughter of tens of thousands of horses is a disgraceful, shameful idea. It is an unacceptable idea that will produce protests in the streets, from Reno to Washington, D.C. Mass slaughter will happen only over the cries, protests, and interventions of the American people.

Tell Secretary Zinke that you do not support the slaughter of America’s wild horses, by calling 202-208-7351.

Groups File Formal Petition to Ban Cyanide Traps in Wyoming

Story by as published on the Casper Star Tribune

“We’re not at war with native wildlife, and it is irresponsible to allow poison landmines to be sown anywhere in Wyoming,”

Star-Tribune File Photo

A coalition of environmental groups formally petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday asking for a ban of M-44s, a cyanide trap used to kill coyotes across the state.

Many of the groups, which include Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a similar petition in Idaho in March. Wildlife Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, decided to remove all M-44s from private, state and federal land in Idaho.

“We’re not at war with native wildlife, and it is irresponsible to allow poison landmines to be sown anywhere in Wyoming,” said Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “Wildlife Services got rid of M-44s in Idaho, and they should do the same in Wyoming before more pets, and even people, get hurt or killed.”

Trappers in Wyoming began using M-44s in 1975. The traps kill by injecting sodium cyanide powder into an animal’s mouth that releases hydrogen cyanide gas when mixed with saliva. Because the poison is metabolized instantly, M-44s are seen as a less hazardous way to kill predators than poisons like the now-banned 1080, which stays in carcasses and eviscerated populations of predators such as eagles and wolverines.

In the winter, the USDA Wildlife Services might have about 250 M-44s on the landscape in Wyoming, Mike Foster, state director of Wildlife Services, told the Star-Tribune in April.

The state Department of Agriculture also allows licensed commercial or private users to place the traps. The department’s predator management coordinator estimated about 300 were in the state in the winter.

Very few are on the landscape in the summer.

The petition addresses both Wildlife Services and the state Department of Agriculture.

Wildlife Services received the petition Tuesday and will respond directly, said USDA spokeswoman Lyndsay Cole.

Wyoming’s Department of Agriculture had not yet received a formal petition and as a result had no comment, said spokesman Derek Grant.

http://trib.com/lifestyles/recreation/groups-file-formal-petition-to-ban-cyanide-traps-in-wyoming/article_d6d4b320-09ad-5077-90de-14987261c0f5.html

Great News! New York Senate Votes to Increase Penalties for Animal Cruelty Offenses

Story by as published on One Green Planet.org

People convicted of serious animal cruelty crimes will now be banned from owning companion animals.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

We have some great news for animals! The New York state Senate passed legislation on June 6, 2017, that would increase penalties for those convicted of animal cruelty. This legislation was sponsored by Republican Senator James Tedisco, and it received support from both major parties. According to Tedisco, “It’s the most bipartisan, nonpartisan day of the session … It’s a privilege to have an animal; it’s your responsibility to take care of them.”

People convicted of serious animal cruelty crimes will now be banned from owning companion animals. Additionally, they voted to double the jail time and fines for these crimes, from two years in prison and a $5,000 fine to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Those convicted will also be required to undergo a psychological evaluation. There is also a bill before the assembly that would make harming an animal a felony during the act of another felony, such as a burglary.

This is amazing news considering so many cases of animal cruelty either don’t get reported or when they do come to court, the penalties are hardly enough to deter people from repeating similar offenses. We are thrilled New York has made this major step to fight animal cruelty, especially since cases of animal cruelty have often gone overlooked and underpunished. We hope this is a sign there will be more improvements in animal cruelty laws across the nation.

Please share this good news with your friends and family!

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/new-york-senate-votes-to-increase-penalties-for-animal-cruelty/

Washington Wildlife Officials Too Quick to Kill Wolves

Press Release from the Center for Biological Diversity

“Washington needs to protect its recovering wolf population — not make it easier to kill these amazing animals…”

Wolves in Washington state – Photo courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. This image is available for media use.

OLYMPIA, Wash.— Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials late Thursday released a new protocol that would allow wolves to be killed too soon after incidents with livestock and without enough oversight.

The new “wolf-livestock interaction protocol” guides when the agency will move to kill wolves in response to livestock depredations. Conservation groups are concerned that the protocol allows wolves to be killed under dubious circumstances and lacks sufficient requirements for ranchers to exhaust nonlethal measures.

“This protocol fails to protect the state’s small wolf population or prioritize scientifically proven nonlethal measures to safeguard livestock,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wildlife officials should have left much more room for nonlethal measures and allowed for occasional livestock losses. Washington needs to protect its recovering wolf population — not make it easier to kill these amazing animals.”

Under the new protocol, a kill order for wolves is considered after three depredations (deaths or injury to livestock) in 30 days or four depredations in 10 months. Affected livestock owners are required to have tried at least two proactive measures to deter conflicts with wolves at the time the livestock losses took place, but there’s no requirement in terms of how long the measures must have been in place to determine if they have been effective.

This protocol would allow wolves to be killed even for livestock deaths not confirmed as caused by wolves; provides for the same threshold for killing wolves on public lands as on private lands; and does not have stringent requirements for keeping livestock away from known den and rendezvous sites where wolves raise their pups. There is also no requirement, only a recommendation, for human presence near livestock, despite it being one of the most effective means known to deter wolf-livestock conflicts.

The new protocol does increase the number of nonlethal measures required under last year’s protocol by one, and does indicate that if nonlethal measures are not in place long enough in advance of a depredation, the Department will only consider issuing a kill order for wolves at a higher number of events and after nonlethal measures have been tried and failed. The protocol also acknowledges the Department has a responsibility to manage wildlife in trust for the citizens of Washington, and not just on behalf of any one special-interest group. The Department has been increasing its outreach efforts to livestock owners, to seek voluntary implementation of conflict-deterrence measures.

“Sadly, this protocol is setting Washingtonians up to foot the bill for even more ill-advised, scientifically unjustified and extraordinarily costly wolf-killing operations in 2017 at the expense of wolf recovery,” said John Mellgren, staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “Although certain provisions are an improvement over last year’s protocol, it is worse in others, and does not provide the stringent requirements that a legally binding rule resulting from an official public process provides, nor the accountability and public disclosure that the public deserves.”

Under last year’s protocol, the state killed nearly an entire wolf pack, the Profanity Peak pack in Ferry County, despite failure by state Fish and Wildlife staff and a livestock owner to use appropriate nonlethal conflict-deterrence measures to prevent conflicts in the first place or to take adequate responsive measures to halt the conflicts. Four years earlier the state had killed another wolf pack on behalf of the same livestock owner, despite his refusal to use conflict deterrents. The cost to taxpayers was $74,500 to kill the Wedge pack in 2012, and more than $135,000 to kill members of the Profanity Peak wolf family in 2016.

The Profanity Peak pack kill operation lasted nearly 11 weeks and resulted in the deaths of seven of the pack’s 12 members, including the breeding female, a three-and-a-half to four-month-old pup and one female who was mortally wounded but not located and put out of her misery until three days after first having been shot. The public was outraged and called for a massive overhaul of the protocol, no more killing of wolves on public lands, and management actions aimed at conserving wolves instead of capitulating to the livestock industry.

This year’s protocol, and last year’s, were both crafted with input from a state Wolf Advisory Group, a stakeholder group convened by the Department of Fish and Wildlife that includes agency staff and some representatives of the ranching, hunting and conservation communities. However, the advisory group’s composition does not represent the diversity of views of Washington residents. Additionally, its role in helping the state craft wolf-management policies and protocols does not have the same requirements as regulations formally adopted by the state wildlife commission to provide notice to the public, opportunity to review a draft document and then submit written comments or provide testimony on the document, along with a requirement that public comments and testimony be considered before the protocol is finalized. The new protocol released today was not circulated to the public for review before being finalized.

The Shocking Truth About What Happens to ‘Surplus’ Zoo Animals

by as published on One Green Planet

“These surplus animals are often sold and traded through an online database…”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

When we capture animals from the wild and put them in zoos, these animals become commodities. They are stripped of their ability to display natural behaviors and lead a stilted existence filled with stress and boredom. Despite the harm that life in captivity does to zoo animals, both mentally and physically, many zoos run captive breeding programs. As such, zoos can sustain their captive animal populations and the draw of a new baby animal is a great way to get paying visitors in their doors. The only downside to captive breeding is the occurrence of “surplus” animals.

Unlike the many sanctuaries that take in abandoned and abused animals to live out the remainder of their lives, zoos don’t always take care of their animals for life. According to the Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs, a surplus animal is one that has, “made its genetic contribution to a managed population and is not essential for future scientific studies or to maintain social-group stability or traditions.”

For the sake of minimizing any confusion, we’re speaking here specifically of surplus animals found in zoos. However, surplus animals are just as easily disposable when they’re coming from the pet trade, circuses and other roadside attractions.

What Happens to Surplus Animals

These animals can be adult animals who have been bred with a number of partners and are no longer needed to produce offspring for the zoo. Basically, any animal that does not “fit” into the zoos breeding program can be considered a surplus. Surplus animals can also be animals that the zoo no longer finds profitable, cubs that were a big hit the year before might be replaced by newer, younger animals. Since zoos are not responsible for lifetime care of animals, they can get rid of the animals who are no longer profitable or useful.

Many zoos have SSP programs in place that are designed to manage populations and keep them genetically diverse. Although these plans are often formed years in advance, there is no way to completely control how many surplus animals there may be.

Zoo animals are often given names, placed on small plaques displayed in front of the exhibit along with a short history overview or a few key personality traits for visitors to read. Anthropomorphizing these animals allows the public to feel connected. After all, we all have our favorite animals; but don’t allow this smoke screen to fool you: the animals are expendable. Breeding programs are set in place to benefit the population as a whole, not the individual.

Most AZA accredited institutions would dispute any claims that they don’t care for their animals, but one can’t help but question an institution’s motives when, upon further investigation, the business transactions that often take place are questionable.

The World of Online Zoo Animal Exchange

These surplus animals are often sold and traded through an online database: the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Animal Exchange. A password protected database that AZA-accredited institutions, certified related facilities and approved non-member participants are able to access. Although zoos frequently promote conservation of endangered species through their mission statements (which many do), animal welfare often takes a backseat when the monetary value of a particular animal is no longer worth the time and energy the zoo is investing in them.

Unless you’re someone who purchases seasonal zoo memberships visiting numerous times throughout the year, animal trading and transactions are usually overlooked because the public doesn’t notice when an animal goes missing or is replaced.

As an allegedly reputable source, zoos maintain that they only deal and broker with institutions that are accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association that value the welfare of the animal. Throughout the years, however, many claims have been made against a number of institutions that have sold animals, whether directly or indirectly, to individuals or establishments that do not have the animals best interests in mind. Some animals are sold directly to game reserves while others are brought to auction. The paper trail following where the animals go is not always easily accessible and most cases exposing these transactions have been through undercover work.

According to Alan Green of Animal Underworld, “It’s a long-standing nod-and-a-wink arrangement meant to provide the zoos deniability: They hand over their unwanted animals and hope that the dealers’ misdeeds aren’t traced to the source. It’s a sorry game of don’t-ask, don’t-tell, and it’s conducted in a way designed to bury the truth. If these publicly funded institutions have nothing to hide, why won’t they provide a full accounting of where all the unwanted animals went?”

According to Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue,”if the animals are lucky, they may be traded or sent to another zoo or accredited facility. Some get transferred to multiple zoos throughout their lives. But a large number of them go to private breeders, pet owners, circuses, roadside zoos, and canned hunting ranches.”

Once the animals are sold to other owners, the people who purchase them can do what they please with the animals. Baskin asserts that this often ends with the animals being sold to taxidermists or the seller will take the animals to auction where anyone can buy them. Given the lose regulations surrounding purchasing exotic animals in the U.S., animals can be traded far and with little thought or concern.

The Other Option: Zoothansia

If animals are not being traded out, another option that zoos consider is euthanasia. U.S. zoos favor the use of contraception to limit the number of unwanted pregnancies amongst animals, however in Europe, killing surplus animals is standard practice.

This past year, the world cried for an 18-month old giraffe named Marius who was shot and killed at the Copenhagen zoo in front of a group of students. Marius was killed because, as zoo officials stated, his genes were already well represented enough amongst the remaining giraffe populations. Despite breeding programs set in place meant to maintain genetic diversity, Marius was still born. In a failed attempt to justify the killing, the Copenhagen zoo scientists performed an autopsy on Marius in front of onlookers, all in the name of education. A few weeks later, four lions were killed in the same fashion at the Copenhagen zoo because officials had hoped to introduce a new male with the remaining breeding females…(CONTINUED)

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/the-shocking-truth-about-what-happens-to-surplus-zoo-animals/

Proposed Federal Budget Could Spell Annihilation for America’s Wild Horses and Burros

“The potential for our worse possible nightmare to become a reality is knocking on our barn door, as I type, and we need to stop it and stop it NOW!

Below is a video plea from our good friend, Ginger Kathrens and both myself and Wild Horse Freedom Federation stand shoulder to shoulder with Ginger and The Cloud Foundation in urging you to take action in an effort to block the possibility of our wild equines being slaughtered.

When I snapped this photo on my iPhone I had the shutter sound activated and I was promptly reminded by Ginger to deactivate it as you can see it stimulated Ohanzee’s curiosity, big time.  Thanks for the insight, Ginger.

Ginger’s video is especially poignant for me as her equine guest is Ohanzee, the son of Cloud. I was fortunate enough to be with Ginger when we first came upon Cloud and his newborn son on a beautiful May day in 2014. We spent several days watching, videoing and photographing the youngster while in the evenings we struggled to come up with a name for him.

After much research and a few sips of adult beverages we arrived at the perfect selection which was Ohanzee, a Sioux name meaning ‘Shadow’ which was just what he looked like.

Ohanzee become my totem and further sealed my conviction to fight for those who cannot speak for themselves so for him to be featured with Ginger further lights my fire to do what is right, just and whatever is necessary to ensure the future safety, health and well-being of our federally protected wild horses and burros.

Please call the White House and voice your concerns, although I do not believe this to be a premeditated assault on our wild equines it can and will turn into a death sentence for the horses and burros if we don’t stop the bean counters from pulling the trigger…Now!

Please act, this is your opportunity to make a difference.  Thank you, my Friends.” ~ R.T.


“The remainder of the funding decrease will be achieved by reducing gathers, reducing birth control treatments, and other activities deemed inconsistent with prudent management of the program. The long-term goal is to realign program costs and animal populations to more manageable levels, enabling BLM to reorient the WHB program back to these traditional management strategies.”

The BLM contends that the horses on the range exceed the ridiculously low national AML of 26,700 by over 40,000 animals. There are over 40,000 animals in long and short term holding. 80,000 could be killed if we, the American people do not speak up!

There has never been such a grave a threat to the existence of our wild horses as right now!

Use the links provided in the video to call the WHITE HOUSE, your U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, and your 2 SENATORS. We must flood and overload the phone lines with calls. This will take only 4 phone calls—probably 1 minute each.

Never has it been more important for you to speak up on behalf of the future of our wild horses and burros!

CALLING INSTRUCTIONS

1. Leave your name (spell it), and the town where you live

2. Give 2 or 3 short sentences on your explicit concerns for the preservation and protection of our wild horses and burros.

3. Give your name again and express thanks for the opportunity to give comments.

4. You will probably get a Voicemail—but that’s ok. These elected officials must understand how important this is to you, and phone calls are all logged. If 50,000 of The Cloud Foundation followers will call, that adds up to 200,000 phone calls to Washington DC!

Thank you! Now let’s all get to work and make those phone calls for our wild horses and burros.

Links to Documents:

BREAKING: Dog Meat Sales Banned at China’s Yulin Festival in Milestone Victory to End Brutal Mass Slaughter of Dogs

Source: Humane Society International, Duo Duo Project

“Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade..”

Dogs on their way to slaughter. HSI

Just weeks ahead of China’s annual dog meat festival in Yulin, at which thousands of dogs and cats are brutally bludgeoned to death and sold for their meat, animal campaigners Duo Duo Project and Humane Society International have received reports from Chinese activist and confirmed by three traders at Yulin’s biggest dog meat market Dongkou, that the Yulin government is set to prohibit restaurants, street vendors and market traders from selling dog meat at the event. The ban will come into effect on 15th June one week prior to the festival that begins on the summer solstice of 21st June. It will be strictly enforced with fines of up to 100,000 yuan and risk of arrest for violations.

The news is warmly if cautiously welcomed by Duo Duo Project, HSI and their respective Chinese animal group partners on the ground, all of whom have campaigned for years for an end to the brutality of Yulin and China’s year-round dog meat trade. While campaigners recognise that the ban is temporary and does not yet signal an end to the Yulin event in advance of which dogs are still likely to be killed, it is nonetheless a milestone victory in the ongoing campaign to end mass dog and cat slaughter at Yulin, and is evidence of growing political will from inside China to clamp down on the trade.

Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Project, says: “Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade. I have visited Yulin many times in the last two years. This ban is consistent with my experience that Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better. I am very impressed that the younger generation in Yulin and in China is as compassionate as their counterparts in the rest of world. Duo Duo Project also wants to congratulate Mr. Mo Gong Ming, Yulin’s new Party Secretary, for his progressive and visionary leadership. I hope this will turn out to be the beginning of the end of the dog eating habit in China.”

Peter Li, China Policy specialist at Humane Society International, says: “The Yulin dog meat festival is not over just yet, but if this news is true as we hope, it is a really big nail in the coffin for a gruesome event that has come to symbolise China’s crime-fuelled dog meat trade. Millions of dogs and cats are stolen each year, including pets, and driven thousands of miles across China to be bludgeoned to death in front of each other. As opposition to this trade has grown within China and across the world, much focus has been placed on the Yulin festival and so it is significant politically that the authorities are taking the outrage to curb this cruelty seriously. At last year’s Yulin festival there were roadblocks set up to deter dog trucks coming in, and now this ban signals further progress. Regrettably, many dogs and cats will still be killed for the Yulin festival in advance of the ban, so their suffering is not over yet, but this is certainly a milestone victory and we commend the Yulin authorities for taking this action.”

Duo Duo and HSI are urging Yulin authorities to make the ban permanent; make public service announcements warning against transporting dogs for the dog meat trade that highlight the new associated penalties; enforce food safety laws and regulations; and build a government facility to house dogs confiscated from the dog meat trade.

More than 10 million dogs and around four million cats are killed every year across China for their meat. Contrary to popular belief, the Yulin festival is not a traditional event but one invented in 2010 by dog meat traders to boost flagging sales. At its height an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 dogs were killed at Yulin, reduced to 2,000 to 3,000 in recent years. Most of the dogs are stolen pets and strays grabbed from the streets still wearing their collars when they reach the slaughterhouse where they are typically beaten to death. Most people in China don’t eat dogs, and pet owners and dog thieves have had numerous violent clashes. The dog meat trade also poses a threat to public health, with the World Health Organisation warning that the trade spreads rabies and increases the risk of cholera.

Last year, a petition with 11 million signatures was handed in to the Yulin government in Beijing on behalf of Humane Society International, Duo Duo Project, RaiseUrPaw, Care2 and Avaaz. The late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher and her dog Gary gathered with the campaigners outside the Chinese Embassy in London to send the petition on its way. Speaking at the event, Fisher said “There is so much animal suffering in the world, and much of it you feel helpless to end. But stopping the Yulin dog meat festival and ending all that suffering is easy. All the Chinese authorities need to do is declare it shut down, and the killing stops. These poor dogs need us to fight for them. Every single one of them is as precious as my dear Gary, every one of them is someone’s best friend.”

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., introduced a congressional resolution last year condemning the Yulin dog meat festival and urging China to end its dog meat trade. He reintroduced it this year, and H. Res. 30 already has the bipartisan support of 153 cosponsors.

http://www.hsi.org/news/press_releases/2017/05/yulin-dog-meat-ban-051717.html

In Memoriam: Well-Known Yellowstone White Wolf Dies Unnatural Death

by John Soltes as posted on Earth Island Journal

“Twelve-year-old alpha female deserved a wild end to her wild life, but that was not to be…”

Photo Neal Herbert/National Park Service
The wolf, pictured above, was one of three rare white wolves in the park and had 14 living pups. Park officials are offering a $5,000 reward for information on who might have shot her.

Officials at Yellowstone National Park first shared the sad news in mid-April: A well-known white wolf in the park had been found severely injured and was later euthanized. Then on May 11, after a necropsy by the US Fish and Wildlife Service forensics laboratory in Oregon, they shared the real shocking news: This wolf, the alpha female of the Canyon Pack, had “suffered from a gunshot wound.”

Details are still emerging on what happened, when and where; the investigation remains active.

It all began on April 11, when hikers discovered “a severely injured” alpha female wolf, according to a press release from Yellowstone National Park. The white wolf, well-known among wolf enthusiasts and park officials, was seen near Gardiner, Montana, the town at the north entrance to the iconic park.

Staff eventually found the wolf in “shock and dying from the injuries,” and made the difficult decision to euthanize the majestic canine. The necropsy confirmed the animal had suffered from a gunshot wound, and park officials believe the incident took place near Gardiner or the Old Yellowstone Trail, located along the park’s northern boundary. The shooting likely occurred on April 10 or 11.

“Due to the serious nature of this incident, a reward of up to $5,000.00 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this criminal act,” Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said in a press release.

When the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf, which can be gray, black or white in color, was taken off the endangered species list a few years ago, states were given the authority to set up their own wolf management plans. In 2015, Montana saw 210 wolves hunted or trapped. Yellowstone, which is nationally protected, is mostly in Wyoming with slivers of land in Montana and Idaho. Hunting and discharge of firearms are prohibited in the park.

There are approximately 100 wolves in Yellowstone, which is an impressive number given that the canids were once extirpated from the local wilderness. In 1995, wild wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park as part of an extensive recovery program. The population took hold, and now the park features several packs that fluctuate in numbers. The oasis that is Yellowstone is often seen as the best place in the world to view wild wolves.

Of the nearly 100 wolves in the park, only three were known to be white in color. The white wolf who was euthanized in April was 12 years old, twice the average age of a wolf in Yellowstone. She was a leader of the Canyon Pack and could be seen in many areas of the park. “For these reasons, the wolf was one of the most recognizable and sought after by visitors to view and photograph,” the press release states.

I think I saw that alpha female during a wintertime visit in January of this year. Of course, it’s difficult to 100 percent confirm that the sighting was of the Canyon Pack alpha female, but all signs point to this impressive 12-year-old animal being the one…(CONTINUED)

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/in_memoriam_well-known_yellowstone_white_wolf_dies_unnatural_death/