Warning: Video Could Be Disturbing To Most
The following is a news release from the Teton County Wyoming Sheriff’s Office.
On Friday, August 25, a Teton County Deputy Sheriff issued Forrest Stearns a citation for cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor in the State of Wyoming. The cruelty to animals case stemmed from an incident that occurred on Tuesday, August 8, whereby Mr. Stearns was videotaped next to a horse he had tied to the ground. The horse eventually died.
Earlier on August 25, Deputy Doug Raffelson interviewed a witness to the incident involving Forrest Stearns tying the horse to the ground. The witness had left the area soon after the incident of August 8 and went on a backpacking trip and therefore was unavailable for an interview. The witness had not returned to the area until this week.
The witness was able to provide credible evidence that the horse was tied to the ground for a minimum of three hours. Prior to receiving this statement, investigators did not believe there was enough substantiation of evidence to warrant the citation. Forrest Stearns was issued a misdemeanor citation and given a court date of August 31, 2017.
The case will be forwarded to the Teton County and Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for the possible filing of the charges.
Many thanks to RTF and Neda DeMayo for this update!
“Senate Says NO to Horse Slaughter“
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved, on a voice vote, an amendment barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture from hiring horsemeat inspectors – keeping alive the effort to prevent legal horse slaughter from returning to our country.
That’s good news — but there’s still much to be done.
In the days ahead, the Senate Appropriations Committee will take up the interior appropriations bill, which includes the Wild Horse and Burro Program.
Despite the same committee voting against horse slaughter today, recent votes in the House show that we cannot take it for granted that the committee will reject proposals to kill wild horses.
The situation in Washington, D.C., is much too precarious not to keep pushing.
Please call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (if you reach a full voicemail, look for district office phone numbers on your senators’ webpages and call them) and tell your senators:
* I oppose any provision that allows the Bureau of Land Management to kill wild horses,
* and I oppose any attempt to remove sale restrictions, opening the door for BLM to sell wild horses to kill buyers.
Proven, humane solutions that would enable the BLM to manage wild horses on the range are available. We do not need to kill national icons.
Return to Freedom appreciates the bipartisan leadership of anti-slaughter amendment sponsor Sen. Tom Udall and co-sponsors Sens. Lindsey Graham, Christopher Coons, Susan Collins, Dianne Feinstein, Jack Reed and Jeanne Shaheen.
Most of all, though, we at RTF and other advocacy groups are grateful for all of you who have called Congress – whether for the first time or the 50th – and encouraged friends and family to do the same. Thank you!
It is true that we are up against powerful interests intent on ridding the West of wild horses.
The opposition has been effective in sowing mistruths about wild horses starving across the range and casting doubt on fertility control vaccines recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and proven safe and effective at our own sanctuary and in many other projects and studies.
Not on our watch, we say.
What wild horses have on their side that can be even more powerful than our opponents’ deep pockets are the voices of the American people, who consistently and overwhelmingly reject slaughter and continue to stand by these living symbols of freedom.
So, keep going. Keep calling. Keep spreading the word.
The future of America’s herds depends on all of us.
“Public lands » Utah argues BLM is failing its duty to manage wild horses, while advocates decry ‘inhumane’ roundups…”
A federal judge on Tuesday tossed a lawsuit brought by Utah ranchers demanding the Bureau of Land Management remove “excess” wild horses from several areas in the West Desert they say are overrun with free-roaming horses that displace their cattle.
Represented by Karen Budd-Falen, a Wyoming lawyer who sources say is undergoing final vetting to serve as the BLM’s next director, the ranchers argued that federal law requires the removal of horses that exceed population targets the agency has set for particular herd areas. But U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish ruled that roundups are not compulsory, unless certain conditions are met.
“Once BLM determines that an overpopulation in fact exists in a given area, the agency has wide discretion in how it addresses that overpopulation,” wrote the former Utah Supreme Court justice in her ruling. “BLM may address the identified overpopulation through removal or through other methods it deems more suitable.”
In recent years, the BLM has been working with contraceptives as a less costly, more humane alternative to the endless cycle of roundups on Western ranges that have resulted in 50,000 horses incarcerated for life in private pastures off the range.
Current federal law prohibits selling these animals for slaughter to nations where horse meat is commonly used for human consumption, although pending legislation in Congress could relax these restrictions.
The Utah ranchers, angry with BLM requests that they slash their cattle’s time on the public rangelands, formed the Western Rangeland Conservation Association in 2014, pooling their money to bring the lawsuit. The Utah Farm Bureau Federation, national Public Lands Council and Iron and Beaver counties all pledged financial support and filed amicus briefs, while the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign intervened on the BLM’s side.
The ranchers’ suit sought to compel removals from particular management areas where horse numbers exceed designated “appropriate management levels,” or AMLs, which set high and low target populations. In Utah and many other Western states, horse numbers chronically remain two to three times the upper limits of AML, creating endless conflict with the ranchers who hold grazing allotments in those areas and their allies on rural county commissions…(CONTINUED)
Attention now turns immediately to the 2018 Interior Appropriations Bill that could potentially threaten the lives of tens of thousands of America’s wild horses and burros.
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation and other advocacy groups on Wednesday expressed disappointment in the House Appropriations Committee’s vote opening the door to horse slaughter, but urged supporters of wild horses and burros to keep the pressure on Congress.
“While today’s vote is disheartening for the overwhelming majority of Americans who oppose horse slaughter, there may be critical votes as soon as next week that could further threaten the lives of tens of thousands of wild horses and burros,” said Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom.
“We must redouble our efforts and stand strong for America’s wild horses.”
The full House Appropriations committee voted 27-25 to reject the Roybal-Allard/Dent horse slaughter defund amendment to the Fiscal Year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Find out how members of the Appropriations Committee voted by clicking here.
Because there is no permanent federal ban on horse slaughter, advocates push annually for an amendment barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture from hiring horsemeat plans inspectors to effectively keep a ban in place. Advocates may have another chance to turn back slaughter when the Ag Appropriations Bill goes to the full House for approval in the weeks ahead.
Attention now turns immediately to the 2018 Interior Appropriations Bill that could potentially threaten the lives of tens of thousands of America’s wild horses and burros.
A draft version of the Interior Appropriations Bill OKed by the House Interior Subcommittee, also on Wednesday, does not include provisions called for by the administration that would have allowed the Bureau of Land Management to kill healthy horses or sell captive animals without restriction.
While that’s good news, advocates must not be complacent. An amendment calling for inclusion of those deadly provisions could be offered when the full committee meets again, likely next week, so it’s critical that advocates continue making themselves heard.
- Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to be connected to your representative;
- Tell staff that your wish to urge your congressperson to oppose any provision that would allow the Bureau of Land Management to kill wild horses or to remove sale restrictions that would open the door for BLM to sell horses and burros to someone who would sell them for slaughter;
- If your representative voted against the horse slaughter defund amendment, politely express your disappointment to staff and urge your representative vote against slaughter when the bill goes to the floor;
- If your representative voted for the horse slaughter defund amendment, please thank her or him.
- If your representative is not on the Appropriations Committee, please urge him or her to oppose horse slaughter when the Ag Appropriations Bill goes to the floor, as well as any provisions that could harm wild horses in the Interior Appropriations Bill.
- Please be sure to mention that humane solutions that would enable the management of wild horses and burros on the range have long been available.
These solutions include not only using safe, proven fertility control but revisiting population targets, based on a fair interpretation of multiple-use land management; providing incentives for ranchers who reduce livestock grazing in wild horse Herd Management Areas; increasing range stewardship, including much-needed water source restoration; and relocating horses, but only if truly necessary.
“…Remember this?’ ~ R.T.
June 11, 2009
BLM’s Secret Planning Documents “Alternative Management Options”
Documents obtained by the Freedom of Information Act:
Documents Reveal BLM Secret Plan to Destroy Wild Horses
Documents obtained from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) via the Freedom of Information Act by a Phoenix-based non-profit, The Conquistador Program, reveal shocking and detailed plans to destroy healthy wild horses in government holding facilities as well as those still remaining in the wild on public lands.
BLM employees as well as a USDA veterinarian held weekly “Implementation Team” meetings beginning in July of 2008 in which they discussed and developed strategies aimed at ridding BLM of thousands of mustangs. In October they completed a 68 page document entitled “Alternative Management Options”. Tactics included in this document are reminiscent of those used to wipe out Native American tribes in the 1800s.
The BLM team created scenarios for killing mustangs using barbiturates, gun shots, or captive bolts. Bodies would be disposed of through rendering, burial or incineration. They discussed killing 1200-2000 wild horses per year. The document states that “the general public would be prohibited from viewing euthanasia.” Additionally, the Team felt that “increased support from public relations and management staff would also be needed to insulate those doing the actual work from the public, media and Congressional scrutiny/criticism.”
“Minutes from these meetings as well as the Draft Plan reveal what amounts to ‘the final solution’ for the American mustang,” states Ginger Kathrens, filmmaker and Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Despite a huge outcry from the American public last year regarding BLM plans to kill wild horses in holding, the agency is still pressing forward with a plan to destroy our American mustangs both on and off the range.”
Division Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program Don Glenn told The Cloud Foundation that “no decision has been made to move forward on a large scale with this plan, yet.”
BLM meeting minutes speak for themselves. “Security at facilities and at gathers would need to be increased to combat eco-terrorism. Having the people that are willing to put down healthy horses at gather sites could be a problem. Having vets putting down healthy horses at preparation facility[ies] could also be a problem.” Meeting minutes reveal the psychological toll that employees would pay-“have counseling for employees and contractors that have to euthanize the healthy horses because it is very stressful.”
The report created an option in which wild horses of all ages could be sold “without limitation”. In other words, horses could be sold directly to killer buyers in unchecked numbers. The Team admitted that “some wild horses will go to slaughter”.
Team Members formulated ways in which they could circumvent the National Environmental Policy Act, asking “How many (wild horses) could be euthanized during a gather (roundup) without having NEPA?” BLM discussed ways to circumvent the federal carcass disposal law (43 CFR 4730.2). Conversations included how many wild horses could be rendered at the Reno Rendering plant or “disposed of in pits”. The Team concluded that “there will not be large numbers of horses euthanized during gathers or in the field. This is due to state environmental laws.”
Recommendations include the creation of gelding herds, and sterilization of mares to create non-reproductive herds in the wild in place of natural herds. The team recommended changing the sex ratio from the normal 50% males and 50% females to 70% males and 30% females. Then the experimental two-year infertility drug, PZP-22, would be given to all mares that are returned to the wild. Plans call for rounding up the wild horses every two years to re-administer the drug.
“Mares on the drug will cycle monthly and, with the altered sex ratio, the social chaos will be dangerous and on-going,” Kathrens explains. “Any semblance of normal wild horse society will be completely destroyed.”
Kathrens has spent 15 years in the wild documenting mustang behavior for her PBS television documentaries which chronicle the life story of Cloud, the now famous pale palomino stallion she has filmed since birth. “Even Cloud and his little herd in Montana are in serious danger if BLM implements these options,” she continues. “The BLM plans a massive round up in Cloud’s herd beginning August 30, 2009.”
“Any person or any agency who says that wild horses are not native to North America is just uneducated…”
First of all, let’s set the record straight:
Wild horses are an American native species, according to Ross MacPhee, Ph.D., Curator of the Division of Vertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Given this man’s impeccable credentials and experience, his findings are beyond reproach or debate.
Here is an article by Dr. MacPhee that is crystal-clear: Wild horses are native to America.
This finding is also shared by many other highly credible scientists, including Dr. Jay F. Kirkpatrick.
Any person or any agency who says that wild horses are not native to North America is just uneducated, misinformed or intentionally lying for some reason, usually motivated by greed, mindlessly repeating hearsay or following rank-and-file orders, as is the case with some people at the Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM is at great risk of seriously and irreversibly damaging its reputation across the board, rightly and permanently earning the overall mistrust of Americans by sticking with the lie that wild horses are not native to America. It is just a flat-out lie.
Americans are sick and tired of government agencies lying to them, and that in part was what propelled Donald J. Trump to the presidency. It’s sad that some good people who work at the BLM are tainted by association and because in some cases they are not resisting what they know is wrong, because of job security and retribution issues at the BLM.
But the real question on a personal level is what is more important: honor and integrity, or money? Money comes and goes, while honor and integrity are not fungible assets.
Is there malfeasance at the BLM? Here is just a small sampling of easily-discovered examples online:
Making matters worse is that some managers of national monument lands, some of which land is the ancient native habitat for some small herds of symbiotic wild horses, have adopted the policy of excluding wild horses from monument lands, using the defective reasoning and excuse that wild horses are not a native species (the lie).
Given all that is at stake, including the health of the ecosystems, I believe this is a most unwise policy. And when you lose the trust of the American people, it’s just a matter of time before that house of cards falls in on itself.
Because wild horses co-evolved in North America over the millennia, many complex symbiotic mutualisms evolved between horses and many species of plants and animals on the plains and in our forests as a result of the horse’s presence in those ecosystems in North America and elsewhere.
And make no mistake, even though some people get carried away with environmental obsessions, I don’t believe that I can legitimately be accused of such, given my published stance on intelligent (as opposed to emotional) public-land management and use, including the harvesting of game animals, predator control, and proper management of wild horses through range design and fair-handed land allocations, sticking to the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
It’s shocking that our Congress set aside over 50 million acres on the basis of scientific recommendations, cogent animal management experience and, most importantly, the will of the American people, only later to have an overlord at the BLM unilaterally roll back the land allocation under the Act to just over 30 million acres, taking roughly 20 million for their own purposes. Theft? Malfeasance?
Congress enacted the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971, an Act of Congress expressing the will of the majority of the American people that these animals be preserved. But we seem to have a serious problem related to some power-hungry overlords running this agency fiefdom known as the BLM.
So when Obama expanded the monuments in America, I stood against that expansion (in many places) because in addition to the abuse of the Antiquities Act, it also expanded unreasonable exclusion areas for our American wild horses because of the false claim by the BLM that the wild horse is not native. Now, in addition to the horses being squeezed out of their federally-designated lands by the BLM, the monument lands are also off-limits.
So now, thanks to Obama, the exclusion areas for native wild horses include many niche habitats where the animals are critically important to the health of the forests and watersheds. I have expounded further on that in an article you can read here.
Due to excessive fuel loading of ungrazed wild grasses and shrubs — things horses eat — the removal of wild horses, the loss of deer populations through predator mismanagement, and reckless forest management practices, over a million acres of our forests in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere have been burning to the dirt on nearly an annual basis. Much of the wildfire danger stems from abundant dry grasses and could be abated simply by allowing the wild horses back where they belong. It is logical and most reasonable that a portion of grasses be grazed by native mammals, including wild horses.
In other words, the BLM is driving our American native wild horses and burros into extinction by eliminating access to all of their traditional American habitats that extend back through the millennia.
More clues as to the lies of the BLM:
There are horse fossils from past millennia right here in America, in Oregon and other states. There are horse fossils on the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. And even an amateur geologist knows that it takes thousands of years for fossils to form. This means that the horse fossils found in the American landscape are from the horses that evolved right here in America centuries before the Vikings and Spanish explorers arrived on the shores of the North American continent. So the entire fairy tale being promoted by the BLM, U.S. Forestry Service and others about horses being “introduced” onto the North American continent is just a load of cow dung that’s stinking up what should be a more honest debate about government malfeasance and mismanagement of public lands and animals.
If the BLM continues in its malfeasance and in its programs of misinformation aimed at the American people, the people will have to take the BLM to task in courts around the country and in the court of public opinion via mass media.
And furthermore, people should start evaluating litigation against administrators personally when they lose their immunity as a result of any breach of their fiduciary duty to the public trust.
And when the BLM wants anything from the American people in the future, whatever it is, maybe the answer to them must be a “no,” at least or until the BLM changes its ways and drops the criminal levels of malfeasance. If some of the administrators of the BLM and Forestry Service were subject to the laws imposed upon administrators in the private sector of business, like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, many more of them would be in jail for malfeasance.
The BLM has already done enough damage to the public lands and to the animals with whose management it is entrusted. It’s time for the citizens of America to step in and get this fixed. We need to be more than a squeaky wheel; we need to be heard all the way to President Trump’s office!
The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 protected the wild horses and burros so Americans (that’s us and apparently not them) would have the opportunity to enjoy them, so a critical part of our American heritage and living history was safe and protected and could be also enjoyed by our future generations. Now we are the aggrieved party in that this promised benefit to Americans by the government is not being honored. There are legal claims that can be made as a class, and also other civil and criminal actions that can be pursued via our courts. We also need to press our legislators for more penalties to deal with agencies and administrators who violate the public trust with acts of dishonesty and malfeasance.
It’s a darn shame when Americans have no choice except to sue their own government in order to get it to do what it already knows it should be doing.
If John Wayne were alive today, he’d have a bone to pick with the BLM …
It has been a long and difficult journey for the 907 horses that the State Attorneys in South Dakota found to be suffering from serious neglect last October. From freezing temperatures and soupy mud, all of the unadopted horses healthy enough to make the journey have been relocated to a safe staging area in Colorado. (or to a new adoptive home.) We’ve come so far and we couldn’t have done it without you!
Story by Nancy Harrison, KPNX
“Local Sheriff allegedly believes disgruntled gardener could be responsible…”
HEBER, Ariz. – A Heber man is concerned that someone is shooting wild horses in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. Robert Huchinson says he found two dead wild horses in the forest this week, both with gunshot wounds.
He says the horse carcasses are about 5 miles from his home. He’s lived in the area for 25 years. Huchinson says he’s not sure who is responsible, but says bear hunters may be to blame. He admits he’s a wild horse lover, but knows some people in the area are not.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture animal services department tells 12 News shooting wild horses is illegal anywhere in our state.
Jim Molesa of the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office says his agency is investigating, but has no leads at this time. He says there are some people near Holbrook who look at the horses as pests, rather than majestic animals. He adds the animals are sometimes known to trample gardens and vegetation…(CONTINUED)
“When we consider the harm done to animals as equal to the harm done to members of our own species, we can begin to change cultural perceptions of animals…”
As news reports and undercover investigations reveal, animal abuse occurs with troubling regularity in the United States. No species of animal seems to be immune from this cruelty: from companion animals to circus animals to farmed animals, animal abuse is an increasingly concerning issue.
Perhaps more concerning is how little protection and justice animals are afforded under the law. Very often, animal abuse is simply ignored by authorities. When it is charged as a crime, defendants often get away with insignificant misdemeanor convictions and trivial fines as their only punishment. For example, a New Jersey woman who starved her dog, stuffed him into a trash bag, dumped him into a garbage disposal, and left him to die only received a $2,000 fine and 18 months of probation for her crime. In another case, workers who viciously kicked, stomped on, and beat dairy cows at an Idaho dairy farm received nothing more than minuscule $500 fines.
These disproportionate results may be because historically, animal abuse has not been considered a particularly serious crime. However, there are a number of reasons why animal abuse should be taken much more seriously and considered a “violent crime” deserving of stronger punishment.
What is a “Violent Crime?”
A “violent crime” is one where the victim of the crime is harmed by or threatened with violence. Under U.S. law, violent crimes include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, and assault. Such crimes are considered especially serious and are thus closely tracked by law enforcement and typically punished more harshly than other crimes.
Currently, a violent crime only qualifies as such if the victim of the crime is a human being. This means that an act of violence committed against an animal – no matter how egregious – is not technically considered a violent crime, and it is not punished as such.
Why Isn’t Animal Abuse Currently Considered a Violent Crime?
Astonishingly, animals are still considered property under the law, much the same as a table or chair. Because violent crimes contemplate harms committed against people and not against property, animal abuse does not qualify as a violent crime, despite the fact that animal abuse very obviously involves violence.
Instead, animal abuse is often treated as an infraction or low-level misdemeanor, typically punished by no more than a fine and probation.
Animal Abuse Should be Considered a Violent Crime!
There are a number of very important reasons that animal abuse should be considered a violent crime in our legal system.
First, we know based on personal experience and countless scientific studies that animals are not things. They are nothing like other “property” such as tables and chairs. Animals are sentient beings with the ability to feel a range of emotions, and they are harmed both physically and psychologically by violent abuse, much as human beings are. They deserve to be treated under the law as the complex creatures that they are.
According to a report made by the family lawyers Melbourne team, animal abuse is strongly linked with other forms of abuse, such as domestic violence and child abuse. One study found that animal abuse occurred in 88 percent of homes where child abuse had been discovered. Another study found that up to 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers also abuse the family pet. In fact, animal abusers are five times more likely to abuse people…(CONTINUED)