Feel Good Sunday: Photobombed by Horses

by R.T. Fitch

“Last week a reader dressed me down, just a bit, for deviating off the course of equine advocacy with our traditional “Feel Good Sundays” and a part of me is in full agreement, BUT we will continue to attempt to bring a smile to your lips and an uplift to your heart on this day of rest.  Granted, we may slam an article of concern down on the table later in the day but at least we can start the day with a little bit of equine sunshine.  Have faith and please be safe, my friends.” ~ R.T.


If you are fortunate enough to live with horses and donkeys, or at least visit them often, you are well aware of the multiple and different personalities that each of them poses.  Every one of them is as unique as a snowflake and twice as special and with that singularity often runs a strain of comedy, every pasture has a class comedian or village idiot; that’s what makes life so very special.

Just a few quick glimpses to share with you, today, to reinforce the opinion that when it comes to horses a comedy show is not far behind.

“CHEESE”

 

First up is a young woman who thought she was taking a happy picture standing in front of her horse when just as the shutter clicked, or iPhone, the horse broke out into his own happy smile that, if you look closely, appears to match that of his human buddy.  Remarkable.

 

“SMILE”

 

 

 

Another one of my personal favorites is a big ole Drafty who decides to add a little extra to a family photo taken of a little girl who is standing in front of him.  As a guardian of a big ole Belgian/TB cross I can tell you that there is a funny, and gentle, gene that resides in their great big, giant hearts.  One of the most remarkable things I have observed about horses is how they react and become so very gentle around human children.  It is stunning.

 

 

A camera is a sure fire way to ensure that the “Hey, look at ME!” syndrome is quickly awakened in any equine as comically demonstrated in the video below.

And in conclusion, I offer firm evidence that I know of what I speak as Terry and I were continually interrupted by one of our equine children as we attempted to tape an outreach segment, at our home, for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.  I share this video with a heavy heart as the antagonist is our Harley, a former racing TB who suffered a slab fracture to his left front knee and was on his way to the Kaufman, TX slaughterhouse until his owner intervened and entrusted us to give him a new life.  We did just that for almost 20 years until his bad TB feet could no longer bear him.  Drugs, abuse and greed surround horse racing but I digress.  He gave us years of wonderful companionship and comic relief because he always was the big “Sh*tstirrer” in the pasture.  We all miss him greatly.

This video is long but Harley owns the beginning and he most certainly is in charge of the finish.  Thank you Harley.

Wild Horse & Burro Crisis – Your Action Is Urgently Needed

Support from our good friends at Equine Advocates

Wild Horse Crisis!

Survival of America’s Wild Horses & Burros Threatened!

Horse Slaughter Crisis!

This Repulsive and Un-American Practice Could Return to U.S. Soil for the First Time Since 2007!

Both of these vital equine issues are now hanging like large clouds over our country where the vast majority of Americans disagree with what some politicians are trying to pull off to satisfy special interests in the ranching, oil & gas, mining and horse industries. The history of both issues are long and complicated.

For right now, however, we have a RED ALERT, so please take action now:

The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the Stewart Amendment which would allow for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Department of Interior to kill 92,000 healthy Wild Horses and Burros. Most will end up being slaughtered. This is not only outrageous and barbaric, but goes directly against the will of 80% of the American People who want them preserved and protected. The Senate Interior Appropriations Committee can do the right thing and decide to prevent the killing of these animals when they hold a hearing on this matter during the week of September 18th.

  1. Please take the time to call your two U.S. Senators. You can reach them at this number: (202) 224-3121 which is the switchboard for the U.S. Senate.
  2. Please identify yourself, providing your name and address.
  3. Tell them that you want the protections of Wild Horses and Burros in the 2018 Spending Bill for the Department of the Interior to remain and prohibit the killing and slaughter of our Wild Horses and Burros.
  4. Also call the two leaders of the Interior Appropriations Sub-Committee, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM) and express the same sentiments to them.

There is no time to waste!  Please act now!   Thank you!

After you act, please read on:

  • What we do know is that Americans do not want Wild and Domestic Equines slaughtered for food. We want a law banning horse slaughter and horse slaughterhouses from operating in the U.S. as well as banning the transport of any live equines from the U.S. across our borders into Mexico and Canada for slaughter or to any other country for that purpose.
  • We want our Wild Horses and Burros preserved and protected. We want the round-ups to stop and we want the Wild Mustangs and Burros being held captive in holding facilities “managed” by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) turned back out on the range. We want the BLM dismantled and a new agency with real experts who can get together on ways to humanely manage and preserve these animals on the range to take over with a new approach that honors the will and sentiment of the vast majority of the American People on this issue.

However, right now, there exists a political climate in this country unlike anything we have seen in more than a decade.  There are more horse slaughter proponents in the current administration assuming positions of power than ever before, including two Cabinet members, Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue.

In addition, Forrest Lucas, billionaire oilman (Lucas Oil; Lucas Oil Stadium), rancher, horse slaughter proponent, and founder of the anti-animal lobbying group, Protect the Harvest, has been given access to the executive branch and has used his influence to add horse slaughter proponents and those committed to the destruction of our Wild Horses and Burros to this administration.  These are just three of many horse slaughter supporters, including Members of Congress, Governors and other elected and appointed officials working to take this country backwards and return horse slaughter to U.S. soil.

No Wild or Domestic Equine has been legally slaughtered in this country since 2007.  There also have been many Scientific Studies and White Papers released since 2010 to further support the many reasons why horses should not be slaughtered for food. One is the 2010 landmark study on the serious health risks for people who eat the meat of equines treated with the common drug Phenylbutazone or “Bute” for short. Click here to read that study.

Another is the 2015 Chapman University Study documenting the presence of horse meat in some chopped meat products in the American food supply.  Click here for this study.

On August 1, 2017, the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) issued a White Paper, the result of years of research. It exposes the corruption within the BLM and its shocking and deadly agenda for America’s Wild Horses and Burros.

The WHFF documents vast discrepancies in BLM records, including the numbers of horses in certain BLM holding facilities, the numbers captured, the ones that disappeared, as well as many discrepancies pertaining to financial matters, including the misappropriation of funds.

Please take the time to read this important WHFF White Paper and the Exhibits (exhibits are on a separate tab at the bottom of the page).

What More You Can Do:

  • Please use these important documents and take them to your elected officials to illustrate why horse slaughter should be banned entirely and not allowed to return to the U.S. and why Wild Horses and Burros should be preserved and protected – and not destroyed which is the government’s agenda right now.
  • Please use Equine Advocates’ Horse Slaughter Fact Sheet 2016 as a guide as well.
  • It is imperative that you contact your members of Congress in the House of Representatives (we all have just one) and your two U.S. Senators as soon as possible (preferably during this month of September 2017) and let them know that you oppose the return of horse slaughter and that you want protections of Wild Horses and Burros restored and their sale to slaughter banned.

Please stay tuned as we provide updates and new developments about these two vital issues facing America’s horses.  To receive our online alerts, please click here:

Time is of the essence!

Thank you!

 

 Hayden & Nelson, rescued Wild American Mustangs residing at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY.  Photo by Kara Heniges.

Feel Good Sunday Video: A Horse Lover’s Prayer

“It’s time to pause, dismount, loosen the cinch, pull off the headstall and bit, let your trail-buddy graze while you pull up a cool spot under a tree and sip on one of my homemade Wrangler Iced Teas…yes, it’s been a tough battle and the war is far from being won. 

This next week is going to be a rough one so take a few minutes to sit back, reflect and recharge on why we do what we do.  Whether you are lucky enough to live with equines or not, this video will give you pause and bring a tear to your eye. 

I raise my drink in honor of all those I stand shoulder to shoulder with; we will win, we will save them, each and every one of them.  May God bless you all!  Cheers!” ~ R.T.

Feel Good Sunday: Tearful Moment As Dying Stable Hand Feeds Horse One Last Time

Source: Mini News

Former stable hand, 87, smiles as he is granted his dying wish to feed a horse one last time just three days before he passed away at a hospice. A pensioner smiled in his hospital bed after he was granted his dying wish to feed a horse for the last time – just three days before he died.

Patrick Saunders, 87, from Braunton, Devon, in the UK had spent most of his adolescence around horses, and began his working life at a stable.

The Big Win in Wyoming

Source: Western Watersheds Project

Welfare Ranchers Get a Boot in the Butt!!!

Western Watersheds Project is not primarily known for its defense of the U.S. Constitution. We tend to focus on federal laws and policies relating to the environment and public lands. But now, thanks to a Tenth Circuit Court win and a successful but protracted battle in Wyoming, you can count us among the defenders of free speech!

It all started when Jonathan Ratner, our dedicated Wyoming Director, started gathering evidence of livestock-caused water pollution on public lands and submitting his data to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). His results of significant fecal coliform contamination were so threatening to the political establishment of the “Cowboy State” that rather than clean up the water, Wyoming ranchers started to seek ways to shut us up.

In 2014, anti-environmental attorney (and potential Trump pick to lead the Bureau of Land Management) Karen Budd-Falen and a group of ranchers claimed Jonathan must have trespassed on their private property in order to gather water quality samples from public lands grazing allotments. She wound up the loser. This frivolous lawsuit was resolved in 2016 through a settlement agreement that ultimately penalized the ranchers through their legal fees, and WWP agreeing to follow the same laws it always follows regarding private lands.

Then, in 2015, the Wyoming DEQ decided not to accept any of WWP’s data: “Any submission submitted by such organizations should not be accepted due to their inherent bias towards one of Wyoming’s leading economic industries.” If an organization cares about water quality and native fish habitat more than cows, the data be damned.

Also that year, the DEQ decided to change the rules about E.coli in 76 percent of the waterways in the state – effectively legalizing the extreme pollution levels that Jonathan had been documenting. The rule change, requested by the livestock industry, went into effect in February 2017 despite broad opposition by non-ranchers, recreational users, and federal land management agencies.

In addition to working against WWP and the public’s interest in healthy waterways, the Wyoming State Legislature decided to take special interests’ right to wreck the environment to another level by passing legislation making it illegal to cross “open land for the purpose of collecting resource data.” WWP and our allies were alarmed by the fact that the laws – dubbed “Jonathan’s Laws” by our staff – would seek specifically to punish people who intend to communicate data to the government; this is a restriction on free speech and targets a specific class of citizens (data collectors) in a way that the U.S. Constitution prohibits.

After the Wyoming legislature modified the laws in 2016, Wyoming had our case in District Court dismissed. But WWP and our co-plaintiffs weren’t fooled by the tweaks in language, and we appealed the case to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s dismissal and concluded that plain reading of the statute demonstrated that Wyoming was seeking to regulate an activity that occurred on public land and that resource data collection is within the definition of the creation of speech – protected under the First Amendment and essential to public participation in numerous federal environmental statutes. The case now goes back to district court.

Wyoming counties have also taken up the charge to block public access in public lands. In Lincoln County, for years the public used a county road to reach the Raymond Mountain Wilderness Study Area on public lands. In 2013, the county sold a strip of land along the road to an Idaho rancher and subsequently made the private portion of the road impassable. According to emails revealed in litigation, this was done specifically to block WWP’s access to a long-troubled grazing allotment.

WWP is enormously grateful to our attorneys at Public Justice and our co-plaintiffs National Press Photographers Association and Natural Resource Defense Council for standing with us on this appeal. We’re also enormously proud of Jonathan Ratner’s work to expose and address the harmful impacts of public lands livestock grazing in the “Cowboy State.”

While we wait for this next round of litigation, we hope that Wyoming’s next move is simply to clean up its act and stop letting the livestock industry foul the state’s precious waters with impunity. 

https://www.westernwatersheds.org/

WATCH: These Texas cowboys are saving pets and livestock after Hurricane Harvey

BY Lora Strum as published on PBS

They started on foot, but as the rains let up, they’re bringing in the cavalry — the horse cavalry, that is.

The Texas Animal Health Commission, a state agency dedicated to protecting livestock and pets from natural disasters and disease, is assisting in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. They are sending in their official cowboys to wrangle livestock and free trapped pets.

The agency’s cowboy rescuers, known as the Horseback Emergency Response Team, ride horses into disaster areas to aid in animal recovery efforts. Volunteers accompany them, wading into flood waters to rescue strays.

The NewsHour spoke with Thomas Swafford, public information officer for the Austin, Texas-based agency, about what his agency is doing to ensure the safety of pets and livestock amid the intense flooding in the region.

Seventy-four shelters in Texas accept evacuees with pets, while even more animal shelters are evacuating pets to shelters in other states to make room for lost or abandoned pets, according to the agency. For livestock that cannot be moved, the agency recommends owners cut a hole in any fencing to allow animals to seek higher ground. As hard as it may be for owners, these animal rescuers asked they not to stay with their pets in flooding situations, as it increases their chances of being trapped.

Opinion: Scheme to Kill Nevada’s Wild Horses Built on Greed

By Charlotte Roe as published on The Reno Gazette-Journal

Zinke claims “humane euthanasia” (e.g. killing) is the only solution to overpopulating “starving” wild equines that allegedly harm the range and wildlife. No evidence substantiates his spin.

Longtime Horse Slaughter Proponent, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, wants America’s Wild Horses and Burros Killed/Murdered.

In Southeast Nevada’s high desert Silver King Herd Management Area, wild horses coexist with elk, deer, antelope and sage grouse. They are vastly outnumbered by cattle and sheep.  Although federally protected, they are in peril. The Bureau of Land Management intends to round up nearly 1,000 to achieve its absurdly low population target of 60 adults and foals, leaving one horse per 10,000 acres. In the huge Antelope Valley and Triple A Complex, the BLM plans to remove over 7,000 mustangs. The Trump Administration wants captured horses sent to slaughter.

In April 2017, Congress directed the BLM to economize by presenting a “a plan to achieve long-term sustainable population on the range in a humane manner.”  Instead, the BLM’s inhumane, unsustainable FY18 budget request, pushed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, proposes to eradicate up to 92,000 wild horses and burros, by selling those in holding to slaughterhouses and destroying those arbitrarily deemed “excess” on the range.

 This despicable plan was conceived through propaganda, deception and what conservative columnist David Horowitz terms a takeover by the cattle lobby. Zinke claims “humane euthanasia” (e.g. killing) is the only solution to overpopulating “starving” wild equines that allegedly harm the range and wildlife. No evidence substantiates his spin. BLM estimates there are 73,000 wild equines in 32.6 million acres of public lands, an average of one horse per 456 acres.  Federally subsidized cows and sheep number in the millions.

The BLM’s wasteful system makes millionaires of a few helicopter contractors. It distracts attention from the devastating damage done by livestock overgrazing and by commercial exploitation of federal lands. Humane management solutions for wild horses and burros have long been available. They include safe, reversible birth control vaccines; the repatriation of captive wild equines to the 21 million acres the BLM removed from their historically designated ranges; readjusting “appropriate management levels” (AMLs); and ending the agency’s counterproductive system of roundup and removal. In its 2013 report, the National Academy of Sciences stated that roundups increase reproductive rates, and that AMLs are arbitrary, inflexible and groundless.

 Secretary Zinke urges further eroding of environmental regulations and undoing federal monuments to accelerate the development of public lands by extractive industries. Wild horses and burros are an obstacle to this greedy plan.

Wild mustangs run in harmony with herds of elk in Nevada’s Antelope Valley. Free-roaming equines graze down fire-prone vegetation and underbrush. They break ice and dig water holes, helping other wildlife to survive harsh winters. They attract visitors from around the world to struggling rural communities. The vast majority of Americans want them safe and free. Please urge your senators and representative to maintain the ban on selling wild equines to slaughter and to oppose budget language that allows killing these iconic animals.

http://www.rgj.com/story/opinion/voices/2017/08/31/scheme-kill-nevadas-wild-horses-built-greed-opinion/621805001/

East Texas Equine Evacuation / Disaster Relief Network

“Elaine Nash is hard at it again…if you can help, please do so.” ~ R.T.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/EastTexasEquineEvacuationNetwork/

Man Behind Controversial Horse Video Charged with Animal Cruelty

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.

Animal Emergency Preparedness for those in the path of Hurricane Harvey

This probably isn’t your first rodeo, but we’re still going to post this for our friends in the path of floods and high winds. – Debbie

Source:  Thehorse.com

Texans Should Prepare for Flooding, High Winds from Harvey

With the probability of extensive rain and high winds throughout much of the state from the resurgence of Hurricane Harvey, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts are asking Texans to take measures to prepare their houses, farms, and ranches for what could come.

“We’re expecting Harvey to bring a lot of rain and flooding over a large area of the state and as he intensifies, some strong winds as well,” said Andy Vestal, MEd, PhD, AgriLife Extension specialist in emergency management, in College Station. “The storm system may also spur tornadic activity.” Vestal said people in both urban and rural areas of the state should take steps to prepare for what could come from this storm system to minimize damage and reduce the impact of its aftermath.

He said the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (Texas EDEN) at texashelp.tamu.edu has a variety of materials on disaster preparation and recovery.

Vestal said to avoid being trapped by a flood, it’s best to evacuate before flooding starts.

Read the rest of this article HERE.