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:

BLM’s Requested Budget Cuts of $10 Million From Wild Horse & Burro Program Could Spell ‘Slaughter’ For Our Wild Equines

Story by as published on Horse Nation

Language in the Bureau of Land Management fiscal year 2018 budget justification, released Tuesday, specifically requests “the ability to conduct sales without limitations.”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The new 2018 budget proposal calls for a 9.2% reduction in spending for the Department of the Interior, which includes the Bureau of Land Management or BLM — this is the federal agency charged with overseeing and protecting the nation’s wild horse and burro population.

Traditionally, the BLM has managed the nation’s wild horse and burro population by setting management levels for herd management areas, and then conducting roundups to remove what it deems to be excess wild horses from areas when necessary. Gathered horses are available to the public for adoption, with unadopted animals living in long-term holding. Tens of thousands of horses have accumulated in long-term holding at the expense of the taxpayer.

The Bureau of Land Management has come under criticism for this method of so-called population control, with advocacy groups suggesting everything from birth control vaccination administered by dart (the PZP vaccine) to allowing nature to take its course and stopping gathers and any population control altogether. While advocates may not agree about the best course of action to take to manage wild horse numbers — or if management is even necessary — most agree that the BLM has not done the wild horse any favors with its current plan.

The BLM’s 2018 budget justification, which can be viewed by clicking here, calls for a $10 million reduction in spending in the Wild Horse and Burro (WHB) Program, describing the current situation as follows:

The consistent growth in annual costs for the program is unsustainable and constrains the Bureau’s ability to effectively address competing uses of public lands, as the number of animals on the range and BLM holding facilities grows.

The majority of the WHB Program’s budget has gone towards maintaining the tens of thousands of horses in holding facilities while numbers of horses on the range still continues to rise according to estimates, demonstrating clearly that the model of gathering horses and removing them from the range is not a sustainable long-term solution. To reduce this spending, the BLM suggests the following:

As such, the budget proposes to give BLM the tools it needs to manage this program in a more cost-effective manner, including the ability to conduct sales without limitations.

A BLM press release went even further, stating explicitly that this budget would allow for the humane euthanasia and unrestricted sale of “excess animals.”

The budget justification addresses advocate-supported methods of population control such as the PZP vaccine as well:

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.

One can only imagine how the BLM seeks to both reduce the need for gathers and reduce the number of wild horses on the range.

How can you affect change?

If you are opposed to this budget plan for fiscal year 2018 for its dramatic proposed changes to the Wild Horse and Burro Program, we urge you to contact your representatives in Congress and explain to them why. There are numerous online petitions in circulation, but the most effective and meaningful way to affect real change is to speak with your lawmakers and make your opinion known. If you need assistance finding your representation in Congress, you can find your representatives here and your senators here.

http://www.horsenation.com/2017/05/24/blms-requested-budget-cuts-10-million-from-wild-horse-burro-program/

Something Old, something New

From Rewilding Europe

“At the rate that the BLM is decimating our last remaining free roaming herds of wild horses and burros we may find ourselves taking notes on how the Europeans are bring wild equines back to their rightful ranges.” ~ R.T.


Looking to boost the benefical impact of free-roaming wild horses in the Coa Valley, Associação Transumância e Natureza (ATN) starts the Zebro Project.

Raising the grazing

Free living Sorraia horses in Faia Brava nature reserve, Western Iberia rewilding area, Portugal. Juan Carlos Múñoz / Rewilding Europe

Rewilding Europe wants Europe’s native herbivores to return in significant, naturally balanced numbers to the lands where they once belonged. With domesticated livestock numbers on the decline in many European countries due to land abandonment, such herbivores can play a vital grazing role, opening up landscapes and enhancing biodiversity.

To this effect, Rewilding Europe now supports natural grazing in 16 different pilot areas across nine countries. In Faia Brava, one of our largest natural grazing pilots located in northern Portugal’s Middle Côa Valley, wild Garrano horses are the herbivores now reshaping the landscape in a way that benefits a wide range of local flora and fauna.

Thanks to the efforts of Associação Transumância e Natureza (ATN), our partner in the Western Iberia rewilding area, another site in the Middle Côa Valley will soon benefit from wild equine grazing too. The Portuguese NGO has this year started the so-called Zebro Project, carefully selecting and cross-breeding Sorraia horses to maximise their wild characteristics. These animals will eventually be released as a herd at a site close to (but separate from) Faia Brava.

“Our eventual aim is to recreate wild, free-roaming horses that will replace those that have been lost from the Iberian ecosystem,” explains Pedro Prata, the Western Iberia rewilding area team leader and ATN’s executive coordinator.

“We want rustic equine and cattle breeds to take back their ancestral grazing role in the Middle Côa Valley in a natural and sustained way,” continues the Portuguese. “These herbivores can reduce weed density, create clearings, promote seed dispersal and favour populations of wild scavengers and predators.”

An equine experiment

The rewilding of horses began back in 2005, when ATN introduced five Garrano horses into Faia Brava. Further introductions since then have seen the number of free-roaming horses in the reserve rise to an estimated 60 to 70 animals. These are now part of Rewilding Europe’s European Wildlife Bank.

Like the Garrano, the Sorraia is an ancient horse breed that was once found wild across the Iberian Peninsula, but whose populations decreased dramatically under pressure from hunting and the rise of domestic livestock and mechanised agriculture. The Sorraia has a particularly interesting history, having once been called the “zebro” or “zebra” in Portuguese, due to its striped markings.

Hardy native animals that lived off uncultivated lands and salt marshes in Iberian river valleys, zebros were occasionally captured by farmers for agricultural work. A small population of Sorraia horses, thought to be direct descendants of the zebro, was discovered in the 1920s. It is from this stock that the lineage has been preserved, although the breed remains rare.

In its attempt to recreate the zebro, or a genetic approximation of this ancient wild equine, the challenge is to identify the right horses for breeding.

“It is difficult to find modern-day horses with the genotype, phenotype and behaviour of ancient breeds,” explains Pedro Prata. “We are looking  for animals with more rusticity, which are strong enough to survive in adverse conditions, resist pathogens and diseases, and generally adapt to wild conditions. These are now quite scarce.”

Since the beginning of 2017, ATN has acquired several stallions and mares displaying the Sorraia phenotype. The plan is to acquire further animals this year, using part of the ATN membership fee for acquisition, transport and habitat management, and to launch a new line of merchandising to celebrate the project.

While the European wild horse is officially extinct, its genome is not lost and still exists across several types of old horse – from Exmoor ponies in the United Kingdom to the Hucul ponies of Eastern Europe’s Carpathian Mountains. These primitive animals still boast many of the characteristics and genetics of their ancestors, making them particularly suitable for rewilding and the grazing of wild habitats.

Rewilding Europe’s brochure on rewilding horses can be viewed here.

https://www.rewildingeurope.com/news/something-old-something-new/

CBS Mother’s Day Tribute – Wild Horses – a little Late but it’s all Good

We leave you this Mother’s Day morning at Arizona’s Music Mountains, where mares and their foals run free. Videographer: Carl Mrozek

Update: Status on Massive Former Wild Horse and Burro SD Rescue

Source: Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance

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!

But we aren’t done yet! There are still 170 horses waiting to be adopted  and transported to their new adoptive homes, the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance members and partners continue to work hard to raise the $8,000.00 a week still needed to complete one of the largest horse rescues in U.S. history (bolded) as soon as possible.
Alliance members have been providing support to Fleet of Angels and its ground team by doing our part to raise funds for feed and care. With your help, and the support of the citizens and ranchers from Faith, S.D., 312 horses were relocated at the end of March to a well-equipped adoption hub in Ft. Collins Colorado.
Since last October, 712 of the 907 horses have been adopted minus some 24 horses that had to be euthanized due to medical reasons (like broken bones, cancer and other irreversible conditions). The numbers are staggering. It has been a challenge to get this far and it could not have been done without everyone’s help- every contribution and ‘share’ with friends has made a lifesaving impact.
The Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance will continue to do what we can to raise funds to help cover feed and labor until all the horses reach new homes. Weekly costs for board, feed and laborare over $8,000.00. Thanks to contributions from the ASPCA, all Coggins costs have been covered and thanks to Shirly Puga/National Equine Resource Network and The Unwanted Horse Coalition, all gelding fees have now been covered! 
This is a team effort and without the support of The Griffin-Soffel Equine Rescue Foundation, The Humane Society of The United States, the ASPCA, the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance, Victoria McCullough, Best Friends, and every individual or group that has contributed, more than 600 horses would have been sold at auction last December, with most winding up hauled to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.
Since October, when a ruling of neglect was made against the International Society
for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB), an outpouring of generosity (has) made it possible to feed the horses and reimburse costs incurred by two South Dakota counties.
That allowed the counties to call off a planned public auction of the ISPMB horses at which many would have fallen into the hands of kill buyers, and feed the horses and ground crew. At the same time, adoptive homes were found for over 270 of the estimated 907 horses originally found on the ISPMB property, and the health of most of the others began improving. Since then, all but 170 horses have been placed with safe homes- but we need help. Every dollar helps make this possible.
Now, we need your financial contribution to cover the remaining cost of housing and care for the 170 horses who are still in need of adoptive homes. We need to cover costs for hay, facilities and labor this week.
We are grateful to EVERYONE who has chosen to be part of this effort and remain committed—with your help—to leave no horse behind.
On behalf of the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance, please help us in this final stretch of reaching that goal.
Thank you and please help today,

To ALL Mothers Great or Small: We Love and Honor You This Day!

“It is my most sincere hope that no Mother visits this blog, today, but instead is with her family celebrating this day of life and hope.  But should some stray, animal loving mom stray a bit and visit us we would like to dedicate the blog to you and all mothers regardless off number of legs, wings or fins.

Today is yours, we love you all!!!” ~ R.T.


Wild horses found dead in Arizona’s Apache Sitgreaves Forest

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)

http://www.12news.com/mb/news/local/arizona/wild-horses-found-dead-in-apache-sitgreaves-forest/439006069

 

Should Animal Abuse be Considered a Violent Crime?

by as published on OneGreenPlanet.org

“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…”

Naysa with bullet wound to head Rescued June 9, 2007 ~ photo courtesy of Habitat for Horses

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)

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/should-animal-abuse-be-considered-a-violent-crime/

BLM Transfer Provision in Omnibus Outrages Advocates

by Scott Streater, as published on E&E News

“The provision in the latest omnibus bill was requested last year as part of President Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget proposal (Greenwire, Feb. 10, 2016).”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The omnibus spending package the Senate approved today contains a provision that would make it easier for the Bureau of Land Management to adopt out or transfer wild horses and burros, reducing the growing number of animals under the agency’s care.

But the provision has angered animal rights advocates, who say it contains too many loopholes to protect thousands of wild horses and burros from being slaughtered.

At issue is a section in the omnibus package to fund the federal government through September — originally requested by the Obama administration last year — that would allow the Interior secretary to “transfer excess wild horses or burros” BLM has removed from federal rangelands “to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals.”

The provision would authorize the secretary to “make any such transfer immediately upon request” of a government agency, such as the U.S. Border Patrol. The provision includes language stating that the animals cannot be killed or sold or transferred to any entity that would slaughter them “for processing into commercial products.”

But it allows transferred horses and burros to be euthanized “upon the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian, in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age.”

It’s that language that has wild horse advocates outraged.

Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation, said BLM “has a history of misinforming the public” about issues related to wild horses.

“Couple this with the vague ‘illness’ and ‘advanced age’ language” in the omnibus provision, “and the potential exists for the killing of thousands of horses,” said Kathrens, a member of the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board…(CONTINUED)

https://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/2017/05/04/stories/1060054082

‘Cactus Fire’ foal born near Bush Highway brush fire last week

Source: Tuscon News

“We recognize how lucky we are to still have this amazing natural resource in our backyard and despite facing many human-caused challenges, the Tonto National Forest remains one of the most magnificent pieces of “wild” we have left in Arizona.”

SALT RIVER – The Cactus Fire on Bush Highway may have left behind thousands of scorched acres.

But something good came from the ashes: a tiny foal was born, after a pregnant mare gave birth close to the fire.

One concern during the Cactus Fire was that the flames would endanger the Salt River wild horses in the area.

But now, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group reports that all wild horses in the fires’ vicinity have been located and are safe.

And that includes the very pregnant mare, who gave birth on Wednesday morning not even half a mile from where the fire was raging.

Despite starting his life at such a dangerous time with ashes falling all around, the group reports that the wild colt is doing great.

His name? “Cactus Fire,” of course!

The wild colt’s first day might not have turned out so well were it not for the quick action by Forest Service officials.

[READ MORE: Cactus Fire on Bush Highway expected to grow with planned burn, containment possible]

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group estimates that less than 1 percent of the horses’ habitat has burned.

[Slideshow: Cactus Fire burns in East Valley]

The group had a chance to thank the fire fighters in person and also sent a heartfelt letter to the forest service. The fire fighters stated that they loved the thank you cards with a picture of the new baby on it.

In the blink of an eye it could have all been gone , states Simone Netherlands, president of the group, “We recognize how lucky we are to still have this amazing natural resource in our backyard and despite facing many human-caused challenges, the Tonto National Forest remains one of the most magnificent pieces of “wild” we have left in Arizona.”

The SRWHMG, who also repairs the fences along Bush highway, is going to make sure that the fences damaged in the fire will be fixed to keep the horses safe. Anyone who sees an injured wild horse can call the emergency hotline.

 Letter to Editor from the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group:

“Letter of Gratitude: To all of the U.S. Forest Service employees, hot shot crews and each of the brave firefighters assigned to the Cactus Fire,

On behalf of 80 volunteers, and the public of Arizona, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group would like to express our deepest gratitude for your hard and brave work to fight the Cactus Fire.

We do not take lightly the commitment you have shown to our public lands and our community. By assigning the crews and resources – including the lifesaving “bambi bucket” helicopter — to contain a fire that could have threatened all of the Tonto National Forest you saved the critical habitat it provides for thousands of species, including the Salt River wild horses.

We greatly appreciate the open line of communication with the Forest Supervisor as well as with those fighting the fire – including the awesome helicopter crew who gave us fascinating insight into the fire’s progression and the efforts to contain it.
While the fire spread from 20 acres to 200 acres in a matter of hours, and later consumed 800 acres, it was not threatening structures or people and was not the only wildfire burning in Arizona. Yet, you did not take any chances with the Tonto National Forest and we are so grateful for that.

Hotshot firefighter crews battled until 1 a.m. on Tuesday night and on Wednesday, our people stationed at Goldfield, cheered loudly when we saw the green helicopter take off with the bambi bucket. Soon after that the black clouds turned to white and later to small puffs floating here and there. At that point we could, quite literally, breathe again.

For you brave men, we are aware that every time you go into a fire, you face danger and unpredictability and are risking your lives. We know this all too well, as one of our volunteer members is Amanda Marsh. Amanda is the widow of Eric Marsh, the superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who so tragically perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013. Amanda Marsh wants us to let you know that Eric, who loved the wild horses, would have been proud of the work that you have done to protect the Tonto National Forest from the Cactus Fire.

Not only did you protect our people, but also you stopped the fire from killing countless wild animals and destroying their habitat.
We are pleased to report that all Salt River wild horses have been located and are safe, including a very pregnant mare we were monitoring. She gave birth to a healthy foal Wednesday morning, less than a half a mile from where the fire was raging. We named the new colt “Cactus Fire.”

Despite facing many human-caused challenges, the Tonto National Forest remains one of the most bountiful and magnificent pieces of “wild” we have left in Arizona. We recognize how lucky we are to have this amazing natural resource in our backyard.”

http://www.SaltRiverWildHorseManagementGroup.org

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is an Arizona non-profit organization dedicated to protect, monitor and study the Salt River wild horses. The SRWHMG has documented the herd for almost twenty years and has been spearheading the effort to secure lasting protections for this iconic and beloved wild horse herd in the Tonto National Forest.