USDA’s Wildlife Services Sued Again: Enviro Orgs Ask Court to Halt Wildlife-Killing Program in Idaho

Story by Dan Zukowsk as published on EnviroNews.TV

“Conservationists contend that Wildlife Services operates primarily for the benefit of ‘ Welfare’ Ranchers…”

(EnviroNews Nature) — Four conservation groups filed a lawsuit on May 11, 2017, aimed at stopping the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from killing Idaho’s wild animals. The USDA’s Wildlife Services (WS) program killed more than 280,000 mammals and birds in Idaho during 2016. The animals axed include 3,860 coyotes and 72 gray wolves, along with cougars, black bears, feral dogs and more than 273,000 European starlings.

Plaintiffs in the suit include the Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity (the Center) and Predator Defense. The suit alleges that the USDA has never prepared a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“Most people in Idaho would be shocked to learn how many animals Wildlife Services already kills in our state,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a Senior Attorney at the Center. “Now this reckless agency wants to slaughter even more of our black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, ravens, and other wildlife using nightmarish methods like poisons and aerial gunning, without even studying the environmental consequences. Such a lackadaisical approach to wildlife management is not permitted by the law.”

Wildlife Services, an arm of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), is described on the agency’s website as a program to “help people resolve wildlife damage to a wide variety of resources and to reduce threats to human health and safety.” APHIS received $1.1 billion in federal funding for fiscal year 2017.

Conservationists contend that Wildlife Services operates primarily for the benefit of ranchers. The program was the subject of a 2016 exposé in Harper’s Magazine. In a related interview with National Geographic, the author, Christopher Ketcham said, “Since its founding in 1885, Wildlife Services has served one purpose—to clean up the American West for the ranching industry, so they wouldn’t have to deal with predators or other animals they deemed pests.”

EnviroNews has previously reported that, nationwide, WS slaughtered 2.7 million wild animals in 2016. “Wildlife Services is stuck in the barbarism of the 19th century, before the full value of predators in ecosystems was understood,” said Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project.

The USDA’s obscure, century-old wildlife-killing program traps and poisons these great many animals. It swoops in to shoot them from the air using both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Both neck and foot snares are used — methods considered inhumane by many prominent animal rights advocates. It kills coyotes with controversial M-44 cyanide bombs.

In what might be called “collateral damage,” reports of pets being killed are not uncommon. In March, 2017, a cyanide bomb left by Wildlife Services in Pocatello, Idaho killed a dog and poisoned its owner, a 14-year old boy. Between 1985 and 1993, 21 people in Arizona were injured by M-44s. A Utah man was left permanently injured and unable to work after being poisoned by one of the dangerous devices.

“It isn’t just wildlife that is directly harmed by the killing programs,” said Brooks Fahy, Executive Director of Predator Defense, in the press release. “These lethal weapons pose a risk to recreational users of public lands, their pets and the ‘nontarget’ species that die by the hundreds every year.”..”CONTINUED

http://www.environews.tv/051217-usdas-wildlife-services-sued-enviro-orgs-ask-court-halt-wildlife-killing-idaho/

Special Report: KPVI Investigates Cyanide traps and the USDA

story by as broadcast/published on KPVI.com

“This is not the first time the USDA had a run in with the Gate City…”

It’s almost been two months since a Pocatello family lost their dog and almost their son to a cyanide trap set 300 yards behind their house. Since then the USDA says they’ve taken all the traps out of the Gem state. But that hasn’t changed anything to investigators who say they were never notified of the deadly chemical, meant to kill predators, planted around Bannock County.

The incident began in the Buckskin area back in March. Canyon Mansfield says, “I panicked and sprinted down to get my mom.” The 14-year-old and his dog Kasey were 300 yards away from their house. He describes, “Suddenly there’s like a pop and then orange gas spews out.” The Mansfield family dog died and they almost lost their son as well. Theresa Mansfield, Canyon’s mother says, “We didn’t want to believe it was from Cyanide poisoning, but deep down it scared the crap out of us.”

The Cyanide trap was placed on BLM land with no warnings in sight. Investigators found a second trap not far from the first. Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen says, “We’re not Alaska. There are wilderness places where people go. I don’t care what the purpose is. If it’s endangering public it shouldn’t be there.”

Since the death of Kasey there’s been a worldwide outcry. The Bannock County’s Sheriff’s office has launched their investigation. The city has also stepped in. In March Pocatello’s Mayor Brian Blad wrote a letter to the USDA asking them to stop manufacturing Cyanide Traps, or M-44’s, in the city. Since then the agency reached out to the mayor. He says he toured the facility, learned about their safety precautions and products “They’re going to continue to do their practice until congress acts,” said Blad.

This is not the first time the USDA had a run in with the Gate City. Seven years ago the agency was responsible for illegally setting “Quick Kill” traps, meant for Rock chucks within city limits. Obtained by KPVI in an incident report by Pocatello’s animal control, an elderly woman called them after finding a cat trapped alive in a “quick kill” trap or Conibear trap in her backyard. She admitted to the city she requested the traps from the USDA. She says at least three cats had been killed before and they were removed by the local USDA representative Todd Sullivan. Sullivan is the same man involved in the Mansfield investigation. In 2010 the charges against Sullivan were dismissed by a federal judge.

The city and USDA came to an agreement that they would not place Conibear traps in Pocatello without notifying the city first. The USDA declined to speak to KPVI on camera, but gave us a written statement answering our questions. They told us, the incident involving the Mansfield Dog is still under investigation and can’t comment. But claimed they had “107 M-44’s set on 16 properties in the state and all have been removed.” Our request to tour the Pocatello manufacturing facility was denied, they say because of security concerns.

The agency tells us the Pocatello location has been manufacturing M-44 deceives since 1969. And also handles, “Gas cartridges for fumigating rodent burrows, rodent grain baits…, predator lures, and repackages other products such as order control products and animal immobilization drugs.”

The sheriff’s investigation is now left in the hands of county prosecutors to find if any state laws were violated. In the meantime, the sheriff says this to residents, “We now have to be aware of our surroundings. If there is something that is out there that is not part of… leave it alone, leave it alone,” Nielsen said.

Federal Bill to Ban Lethal Wildlife Poisons Introduced after Kids Exposed & Three Dogs Killed by M-44 “Cyanide Bombs”

Source:  Predatordefense.org

14-year-old Canyon from Idaho,
pictured with his best friend Kasey,
a 3-year-old lab. They are laying in
one of their favorite spots, behind
Canyon’s back yard, where he
accidentally triggered an M-44
“cyanide bomb” on March 16, 2017.
It killed his dog in front of him.

March 30, 2017 – This month three dogs were killed by M-44 “cyanide bombs” in Wyoming and Idaho. In both cases children were present and put at grave risk of poisoning. This is beyond unacceptable.

M-44s are indiscriminate sodium cyanide ejectors set by USDA Wildlife Services agents and local wildlife agencies for “predator control.” Details | Diagram There is no justifiable excuse for the use of M-44s. It is insane to set poison traps in the great outdoors.

We’ve been pressuring for an M-44 ban since 1990, collaborating with Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oreg.). We are thrilled to announce that on March 30 Rep. DeFazio introduced the legislation we’ve been working on in Congress. The bill is called H.R. 1817, “The Chemical Poisons Reduction Act of 2017.” It would ban both lethal M-44 sodium cyanide devices and Compound 1080, which are used unnecessarily by government wildlife agents for predator control.

What we need now is your help to get this legislation passed into law. This is a nonpartisan, public safety issue, and there honestly are no valid arguments against banning wildlife poisons. Learn how to help

Background on March M-44 events

Early in March 2017 we began working with a family in Wyoming who went out for a beautiful pre-spring walk on the prairie–one they’d taken many times before–and lost two dogs in horrifying circumstances.

We’re also spreading the word about the other devastating event in Idaho, where a 14-year-old boy in Pocatello, Idaho accidentally set off an M-44 behind his back yard and watched helplessly as his dog died an excruciating death. The boy had to be hospitalized and is being closely monitored. He and his family are devastated and outraged. Here’s what our executive director, Brooks Fahy, had to say about this case in The Oregonian:

“[The] Idaho poisoning of a dog and the near poisoning of a child is yet another example of what we’ve been saying for decades: M-44s are really nothing more than land mines waiting to go off, no matter if it’s a child, a dog, or a wolf. It’s time to ban these notoriously dangerous devices on all lands across the United States.”

On March 28, 2017, we joined a coalition of environmental and wildlife groups asking for an immediate ban on M-44s in Idaho and removal of all existing devices in the state.

How You Can Help

Media Coverage

Learn More

Read more HERE.

Public Lands Issues effect on wildlife and wild horses and burros

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

by Bonnie Kohleriter

Our public lands are now under attack which has enormous consequences for our wild horses and burros and for our wildlife.  The attacks are coming from Trump’s cabinet members, particularly the Dept. of Agriculture and the Dept. of the Interior, and from Congressional Republicans.

First, Rep. Jason Chaffetz R UT, introduced a bill early in January, 2017, to sell off 3.3 M acres of Federal land to states.  With an outcry from conservatives and sports groups, he withdrew that bill.

Then Rep. Jason Chaffetz R UT, introduced a bill later in January, 2017, called the Local Lands Act, wherein Federal law enforcement on our Federal Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, will be supplanted with State law enforcement with the States being given block grants.  The bill is currently in the Natural Resources Committee: Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.

Then Rep. Don Young (R) AK, moved a bill, House Joint Resolution 69, through the Congress in February, 2017, wherein the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Federal Alaskan lands will no longer manage its Federal wildlife, and its Federal wildlife will be managed by the State of Alaska.  Resolution 69 went to the Senate, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) AK and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) AK, moved the resolution through the Senate in March, 2017.

It is concerning as attempts are in process to take away Federal land and give it to the States, to take away Federal law enforcement on Federal lands and give it to the States, and to take away Federal management of Federal wildlife on Federal land and give the management to the States.  What’s next?  In addition to give aways, the Senate voted 51-48 to kill the 2.0 plan which was developed by the Dept. of the Interior.  That plan authorized public lands stakeholders to give input into the use of the land.  The killing of the 2.0 plan is designed to give the local and state governments more control over the Federal public lands for development such as use for businesses.

Now Ken Ivory, a Rep. in the Utah State Legislature, under House Concurrent Resolution 22, is asking the President and Congress to repeal the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and grant authority and resources to the States to manage feral horse and burro populations within their jurisdictions.  The Legislature and Governor maintain the horses and burros are damaging the rangelands for wildlife and livestock that share the same areas.  This bill would authorize the States to geld the stallions.  Some outspoken ranchers and hunters want our public land for their gains.  The ranchers in Utah have expressed they want to “harvest” (slaughter) the horses and burros like they harvest cattle.

What else is coming?  Environmental groups have identified “Public Lands Enemies.  Interestingly they are all Republicans. They are:

Sen. Mike Lee           Utah    Sen. Lisa Murkowski Al    Rep Mark Amodei        NV

Sen. Orin Hatch        Utah    Sen. Dan Sullivan      AL    Rep Dean Heller           NV

Rep. Rob Bishop       Utah    Rep. Don Young        AL    Rep Tom McClintock   CA

Rep. Jason Chaffetz Utah    Sen. Jeff Flake           AZ     Rep Doug La Malfa      CA

Rep. Chris Stewart    Utah   Rep. Paul Gosar        AZ     Rep Steve Pearce        NM

Rep. Mia Love            Utah   Sen. Barrasso            WY   Rep Raul Labrador       ID

In California, McClintock is from the Central Valley and La Malfa is from NE California.  La Malfa is a 4th generation rice farmer and has received $ 5M in federal commodity subsidies starting in 1995, or on average a quarter of a million dollars every year from the federal government.  Now that’s the real “welfare” food stamps subsidy.

While Republican Congressional Representatives primarily supported by ranchers and hunters in their respective states, wrangle in Congress to take from the Federal government and give to the States, the Wildlife Services within the U.S. Department of Agriculture yearly brutally kills millions of carnivores and omnivores on our public lands to appease the hunters and ranchers.  The hunters claim the carnivores and omnivores kill the herbivores they want to hunt and the ranchers on our public lands claim the carnivores and omnivores kill their livestock.  The killings are brutal: aerial gunning, cyanide poisoning, steel jaw and leg trapping… In 2016 the Ag Dept. Wildlife Services killed 2.7 M animals on our public lands.  415 gray wolves, 77,000 coyotes, 407 black bears, 334 mountain lions, 997 bobcats, 21,000 beavers, 4000 foxes, …

Our public lands are to have a multiple use mandate, but it seems the powerful, monied hunting and ranching lobbies, as well as now, the gas, oil and mining lobbies in Washington are dictating what will go on with our public lands through their elected congressional representatives.  Get involved.  Contact your elected congressional representatives, especially those on the natural resources, agricultural, and appropriations committees in the House and the agricultural, nutrition, forestry, and environmental and public works and appropriations committees in the Senate.  Tell your representatives what it is you want on our public lands.

 

BLM glosses over coverup of 213 wild horse deaths on the Scott City, KS, feedlot

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Photos of wild mares at Teterville (photo: Carol Walker)

By Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Copyright 2017   All Rights Reserved.

After no news for 2 years by BLM on their promised investigation and report to the public on the deaths of wild horses at Scott City, KS, after our 2/2/17 report titled “196 wild horses died at BLM’s Scott City feedlot (a BLM Auschwitz for wild horses),” the BLM was suddenly able to muster up a little something for the public on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website in only about a week.

It popped up under “news” and it seems the BLM was careful to not mention deaths or draw too much attention to the issue at hand in the headline, by titling their “news” “Status of Off Range Corral in Scott City, KS.”

In fact, buried at the end of the 3rd paragraph, the BLM (with more current information) finally stated that 213 mares died (out of the 1,493 wild mares) between June 2014 and October, 2016.

So, about 14% of the wild horses that the BLM shipped to that feedlot, died on that feedlot.

It seems that in the very little offered as a “news” report to the public, the BLM tried to cover up their actions (and more importantly, their lack of action), resulting in the deaths of so many wild horses.

In BLM’s “news” version (HERE) of what happened to wild horses on the Scott City feedlot, they cited “crowding at the feed bunks most likely resulting in some horses not receiving the protein and energy required to support their needs. The BLM made adjustments and the animals began to acclimate and show improvements in their overall health, which resulted in a dramatic decrease in the monthly mortality rate. “

SO WHY DID SO MANY WILD HORSES DIE BEFORE THE “ADJUSTMENTS” WERE MADE?  In an August 2014 article on EquiMed, USDA veterinarian Dr. Al Kane stated “in addition to increasing the amount of feed being offered during feedings, we’ve worked with the onsite veterinarian and the operator to increase the energy density of the horses’ feed by increasing the ratio of alfalfa to grass in the hay mix.  This helps support the horses’ nutritional needs during the transition from open-pasture to the corral environment”..

WHY WASN’T THE CORRECT FEED PLANNED BEFORE THE WILD HORSES ARRIVED AT THIS FEEDLOT?  The BLM has been “managing” wild horses for about 45 years and still can’t get it right.

The BLM still didn’t inform the public that 87 of the 196 wild horses were euthanized, or that 41 wild horses died of colic or that 14 wild horses died of fractures of the spinal cord (neck and back) and 6 horses died of leg or pelvis fractures.  The BLM’s version of the “news” didn’t mention the wind storms that were noted by the local veterinarian in his reports to them, or the many cases of sand colic suffered by the wild horses, or the fact that a squeeze chute wasn’t brought to the feedlot until almost 2 months after the horses arrived. 

Note that the BLM’s “news” did not provide you with the name of the contractor for the Teterville Off Range Pasture (ORP) in Kansas.  (And, also note that the BLM doesn’t disclose the names of ALL of the ORP contractors for the public anywhere on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website.)

While omitting so many important facts for the public in their “news,” the BLM managed to hone in on a couple of mistakes in our article.  We corrected these immediately.  However, we didn’t kill 213 wild horses and the BLM can’t “undo” what they did.

The real issue is that 213 wild horses (that we know of), died on this feedlot, no matter what the time frame, and the BLM didn’t issue a promised report to the public until now.

If the BLM would give more information to the public, there would be no mistakes.  We request that the BLM, in the spirit of transparency, post the spreadsheet containing the freezemark numbers of the horses that died, the dates of deaths and causes of death, and all of the veterinary, necropsy and blood pathology reports of the Scott City wild mares on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website.

We can only hope the BLM will apply some focus to noticing and correcting their mistakes in their own statistics and data, and in their management of the Wild Horse & Burro Program.

 

 

Scotts-Monsanto GM Grass Threatens National Forests, Rivers, Ranchers, and Farmers

Source:  anh-usa.org

grass-web-702x336

by ANH-USA

Now biotech companies want local residents to pay the costs of clean-up! Action Alert!

Over a decade ago, Scotts partnered with Monsanto to market a GM bentgrass resistant to glyphosate (Roundup). It was planted next to the Malheur National Forest in test plots ostensibly controlled by Oregon State University. Unbeknownst to most people, it was also planted all over the US—in California, Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and seventeen other states.

It was supposed to be confined and controlled, but it very quickly escaped and spread out of the test plots in Oregon into Idaho, and crossbred with natural grasses to create new breeds that were also resistant to glyphosate. It clogged up irrigation ditches, threatening food crops and contaminating pasture-raised cattle with GMOs. In addition to the immediate threats to farmers and ranchers, grass seed—which is among Oregon’s top five commodities—is now under threat.

Initially, Scotts-Monsanto tried to stop the spread and clean up the contamination. But it was unable to do so because the original bentgrass (and now the other grasses it cross-pollinated with) are glyphosate-resistant. More toxic herbicides have been brought in to try to keep irrigation ditches clear, and to stop the grasses from clogging and eventually killing waterways important to wildlife and humans.

Now, according to The Oregonian, Scotts-Monsanto is walking away from the monster it created, leaving farmers, ranchers, wildlife, and eventually the fishing industry (if it spreads to the Columbia River) to deal with it. The current conundrum is that herbicides necessary to kill the invasive GM grasses are toxic to aquatic life, including fish. Soon the grasses will become resistant to even the most toxic chemicals, and nothing will eradicate the invasive grasses but heavy equipment.

Worst of all, the effects of GM products replacing natural grasses and plants on wildlife were completely predictable.

Scotts-Monsanto was fined $500,000, the maximum penalty under the Plant Protection Act, and agreed never to sell GM bentgrass. In addition, the companies were ordered to eradicate the GM nuisance in irrigation districts so farmers could continue farming.

But the federal government is apparently stepping in to help Scotts-Monsanto avoid liability. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently deregulated the GM grass, a move that shifts the burden of controlling GM bentgrass from Scotts-Monsanto to local landowners and American taxpayers.

The law is clear: if a plant poses a risk, the USDA is not to deregulate it. Scotts-Monsanto has already signed an agreement not to sell the product. So why is the USDA violating the law and deregulating GM bentgrass? Why would Scotts-Monsanto ask that it be deregulated when it has agreed not to sell it? It may be because GM bentgrass has been planted all over the United States, and when it’s discovered that the Oregon scenario is happening in every state, Scotts-Monsanto can pin it on the government and the taxpayers avoiding responsibility for costly clean-ups.

There are precedents for farmers and consumers holding biotech companies legally accountable in these scenarios. Midwestern corn growers filed a class-action lawsuit against Syngenta last year, claiming the company’s GM corn contaminated their crops and cost them billions in international sales. In 2011, Bayer paid $750 million to Southern rice growers in a similar scenario.

We hope justice is done in Oregon, and the parties responsible for this mess are forced to clean it up.

Action Alert! Tell the USDA to stop offering legal liability protection to biotech companies. Please send your message immediately.

Take-Action

Nancy Watson, Pres. of SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 10/12/16)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Oct. 12, 2016

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

nancy-on-the-mallNancy Watson on the Mall in Washington D.C.

Our guest is Nancy Watson, President of SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition, representing 1.75 million members in support of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act from coalition partners. Nancy was raised in a Standardbred racing family, and immersed herself in advocating for a ban on horse slaughter after she learned that the fiscal budget had been altered to allow for USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. in 2011.

The SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition has been raising worldwide awareness to the loopholes in U.S. legislation that allows U.S. equines (horses, donkeys, mules and burros) which are laden with pharmaceuticals, into the global food supply, and a “public hearing” on the wild horses to dispel myths and bring the truth to light.

On Sept. 22 & 23, 2016, the SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition held a rally in front of the USDA building in Washington D.C., where UN Members of CODEX were attending a food safety meeting at the USDA to discuss veterinary drug residue in the global food supply. The SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition wanted to make sure the UN members knew that the U.S. is responsible for the slaughter pipeline which results in toxic horsemeat around the globe.

SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition rally in Washington D.C. (R.T. Fitch, Freddie Hudson, John Holland and Cameron Harsh in the center, with advocates)group-pic-from-usda-rally

march-on-the-mall

times-square-nyc

SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition Rally shown in Times Square, New York City

This show will be hosted by R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

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Failed prosecution in US underscores uphill battle to end horse slaughter

Source:  The Guardian

Animal welfare advocates left exasperated with Proposition 6, a law that has done nothing to stop California horses from ending up on foreign dinner plates

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No horses have been legally slaughtered for human consumption in the US since 2007, when the last operating horse slaughterhouse in Illinois was closed down. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

by Daniel Ross

In 2014, Billy Ray Brown Jr, a prolific livestock dealer on the west coast, was charged with buying two old rodeo horses in California, and shipping them to Washington state before selling them to be slaughtered across the border for human consumption.

The case was expected to have far-reaching implications. It was the first time in its 18-year history that someone had been charged under Proposition 6 – an obscure California law intended to crack down on horse slaughter. And the time and resources that the local sheriff’s department had dedicated to the case was unusual for an investigation involving livestock.

But at a preliminary hearing for the case this month, the charges against Brown were dropped, leaving animal welfare advocates exasperated with a law that has done nothing to stop California horses from ending up on foreign dinner plates.

“Tons of horses are crossing the border every week for slaughter. This was the one chance to hold someone accountable,” said Caroline Betts, a University of Southern California professor, and founder of Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue. “I think this will embolden California horse traders. They’ve been getting away with this stuff for 18 years. The law’s well written, but with zero enforcement, it’s meaningless.”

No horses have been legally slaughtered for human consumption in the US since 2007, when the last operating horse slaughterhouse in Illinois was closed down. An effective federal ban on commercial horse slaughter – which essentially pulled funding for inspections of horse slaughter plants – put the brakes on an industry already on the decline. In 1990, nearly 350,000 horses were slaughtered in the US for consumption. By 2006, that number was a little over 100,000.

Welfare was the deciding factor in the ban. Frequently on long journeys to slaughter, horses were crammed tightly without food and water into trucks ill-equipped to haul horses great distances. Many were found fallen and trampled during transit, often resulting in terrible injuries including broken bones. Some died even before they reached the slaughter plants. Other studies linked slaughter plants to high local crime levels and environmental pollution.

In the wake of the 2007 suspension of horse slaughter, Mexico and Canada picked up the slack. According to the US Department of Agriculture, a total of 130,707 horses left the US for slaughter in Canada and Mexico last year, worth an estimated $45.6m of horsemeat combined.

The slaughter industries in both Canada and Mexico have come under scrutiny in recent years. The EU suspended the import of horsemeat from Mexico on the back of a damning 2014 audit that showed how lax identification standards opened the door to banned drugs making their way into the food chain. A subsequent EU audit of Canadian slaughterhouses also raised similar concerns, though no such EU suspension has been enacted against Canadian horsemeat imports as yet.

But the sale of horses for slaughter outside of the US is still widely permitted. Only a handful of states like Texas, New Jersey and Illinois have enacted similar legislation to California’s Proposition 6, attempting to tackle the issue at the state level.

With these laws on the books, animal welfare advocates have hoped to save horses from days-long journeys across the border, and the slaughter practices used in foreign plants. Multiple investigations have found that the captive bolt – a cattle gun method of stunning horses – sometimes fails to render horses unconscious before they’re hung upside down and butchered. Many saw Proposition 6 as an important step towards a federal ban on the export of horses for commercial slaughter altogether.

But it hasn’t worked out that way.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

 

Banned substances on horses undercut compliance claims

by Paul C. Barton, Tennessean Washington Bureau

“Has there ever been any sporting event with that rate of cheating?”

SoringWASHINGTON – Putting mustard oil, kerosene, diesel fuel and other blistering agents on Tennessee Walking Horses has long been part of the cruelty of soring — the infliction of pain on the animals’ front legs and hooves so that touching the ground causes them to recoil in agony and achieve a higher-stepping gait.

But Department of Agriculture documents show the horses frequently face a second set of chemicals as well — those used to mask scars and numb a horse’s pain to fool inspectors.

And walking horses at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville — which starts Wednesday — test positive for masking and numbing agents more often than not, leaving critics to doubt the industry’s claim that at least 97 of every 100 horses are free of soring and their owners and trainers are in compliance with the Horse Protection Act of 1970.

USDA‘s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has a long list of banned substances its inspectors test for at events like the Celebration. They are banned because they can be used to hide evidence of soring. They include many substances associated with industrial processes, such as making dyes and pesticides, bleaching wood pulp, and making paper and packaging.

Some, such as o-Aminoazotoluene or anthraquinone, are animal carcinogens. Still another, sulfur, is sometimes mixed with motor oil to make a paste that is rubbed on a horse’s damaged areas to cover up soring.

And pain-blocking chemicals like lidocaine are applied in amounts calculated to keep a horse quiet during inspections but wear off in time for the pain to return in the show ring when the horse needs to demonstrate the exaggerated “Big Lick” gait, the American Veterinary Medical Association contends.

USDA records show 67 percent of horses examined at the Celebration in 2013 tested positive for substances that could mask soring.

“Has there ever been any sporting event with that rate of cheating?” said Teresa Bippen of Friends of Sound Horses, a St. Louis-based organization.

The masking and numbing agents wouldn’t be needed if soring were as limited as Big Lick owners and trainers contend, say supporters of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act. The proposed bill in Congress would amend the 1970 Horse Protection Act and significantly bolster USDA’s ability to police the practice.

“The percentage of prohibited foreign substances found at Tennessee Walking Horse shows in recent years speaks volumes regarding the high degree of soring that still occurs within the Big Lick segment of this breed,” said Keith Dane, a specialist on equine issues for the Humane Society of the United States.

Dane and other PAST Act supporters see the prevalence of substances used to hide soring as rigging the Horse Protection Act compliance statistics cited by bill opponents.

Jeffrey Howard, spokesman for the Shelbyville-based Performance Show Horse Association, one of the major groups representing the industry’s Big Lick faction, declined to answer questions about the results for banned substances, saying they were based on “fundamentally flawed” information coming from “other parties,” a reference to groups like the Humane Society and the USDA itself…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story

Center for Food Safety backs up concerns about 2,4-D, an “approved” herbicide BLM uses on public lands

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation                 Copyright 2014   All Rights Reserved.

I made a public comment and posted an open letter to the BLM pointing out some possible risks of the use of the herbicide 2,4-D in the BLM’s Environmental Assessment for the “Desatoya Mountains Habitat Resiliency, Health, and Restoration Project” in Nevada (2012).  Recently, the Center for Food Safety has also voiced concerns about the possible risks of 2,4-D.

The Center for Food Safety recently wrote this:

Over a hundred million additional pounds of toxic pesticides associated with cancers and birth defects are coming to a field near you. UNLESS YOU STOP IT!

“Agent Orange” crops are genetically engineered by Dow Chemical to promote the use of 2,4-D, one of the herbicides in the toxic mixture Vietnam veteran’s know as Agent Orange.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is on the cusp of approval, even though they acknowledge the use of this toxic pesticide will skyrocket.

There is a 30-day public comment period and it MIGHT BE OUR LAST CHANCE to stop this chemical assault – Sign the petition today!

USDA’s announcement is an outrageous abdication of the agency’s responsibility to protect our health and our food supply.”

And ‘“USDA’s decision represents a huge setback for farmers and sustainable agriculture.  Independent scientists have linked 2,4-D to cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other maladies.  Introduction of 2,4-D resistant corn and soybeans will dramatically increase use of this toxic herbicide, leading to more disease, environmental harm, and increasingly intractable weeds for farmers,” said Bill Freese, Science Policy Analyst at Center for Food Safety.’

To read Center for Food Safety’s entire article, click HERE.

For a list of BLM’s approved herbicides, click HERE.

To read the “open letter” to the BLM regarding their Desatoya Mountains Habitat Resiliency, Health, and Restoration Project” in Nevada , click HERE.

The BLM ohorse_with_blindersnly considers their use of 2,4-D (or anything, for that matter) on one specific area, and not the cumulative use on the nearby areas, that would include not only their use of 2,4-D, but also the amount of of 2,4-D used by nearby farms.  It all adds up, and the cumulative amount could possibly add up to an unsafe level.

(This reminds me of how the BLM “blows off “your public comments by saying they are “outside the scope of” their Environmental Assessment.)

The BLM seems to function like a horse with blinders on.

 

THIS IS A PORTION OF THE PUBLIC COMMENT LETTER TO THE BLM REGARDING 2,4-D:

In BLM’s Environmental Assessment, they stated “Within the project area, up to approximately 32,705 acres of ground disturbing treatments are proposed over a ten year period including…herbicide treatment…In fact, 2,4-D has limited residual activity (2 weeks); therefore any incidental contamination risk to non-target plants would likely be negligible.”

This was my public comment:

When considering plants, animals, water and humans, note that:

The EPA says that 2,4-D is seventh largest source of dioxin in the U.S.
Dioxin DCDD that contaminates 2,4-D herbicide is not tested, measured or monitored by the EPA, or even regulated.  A Canadian research paper states that dioxin DCDD may have large public health implications due to its prevalence in our food and environment.

DCDD is one of the hundreds of kinds of dioxin – (TCDD is the worst, but DCDD may be equi-potent):
NOTE: “2,4-D is contaminated with an unmonitored form of dioxin,
2,7-dichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,7-DCDD)… There is very little research on this form of dioxin, but in 1986 2,7-DCDD was found to be “equipotent” to the very toxic 2,3,7,8-TCDD in a test of immunosuppression.  Given the wide use of herbicides that are contaminated with 2,7-DCDD there may be large public health implications of this contamination of our food and environment.”

I am requesting that you read the information on the link above, since this has implications for human health, and that the BLM prepare an EIS.

The BLM also stated in the Environmental Assessment:  “The herbicide proposed to be used in the Cold Springs fuel break is imazapic, and 2,4-D would be used for rabbitbrush and decadent sagebrush control.  The environmental risks of these herbicides were analyzed in the Vegetation Treatments Using Herbicides on BLM lands in 17 Western States Programmatic EIS (2007).  The application scenarios for the risk categories for terrestrial animals were direct spray, off-site drift (wind erosion), indirect contact with foliage after direct spray, ingestion of contaminated vegetation or prey, and runoff, which includes percolation to the root zone, at typical and maximum application rates.  The Proposed Action would not exceed the maximum application rates.”

Here was my public comment about that:

The BLM is only considering the “proposed action” alone, and is not considering or factoring in cumulative use in the area.  The BLM needs to do an aggregate risk assessment considering exposures to humans, animals, water, drinking water, plants from COMBINED SOURCES in the area.  BLM should do Drinking Water Level of Concern (DWLOC) testing and use the Forward Calculation Approach to include in an EIS (which I am now formally requesting, in writing, in this public comment).

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2,4D,

Exposure to 2,4-D has been reported to result in blood, liver, and kidney toxicity (1, 2, 4). Chronic oral exposure in experimental animals have resulted in adverse effects on the eye, thyroid, kidney, adrenals, and ovaries/testes (1).  Experimental animal studies have demonstrated delayed neurobehavioral development and changes in neurotransmitter concentrations in offspring exposed during pregnancy or lactation (5-9).

Low concentrations of 2,4-D have been found in groundwater in some states. Agricultural run-off containing 2,4-D may contaminate groundwater in some areas.

Experimental animal studies of chronic oral exposure have reported adverse effects on the eye, thyroid, kidney, adrenals, adrenals, and ovaries/testes (1).  In addition, some experimental animal studies have reported teratogenic effects (birth defects) at high doses, including increased fetal death, urinary tract malformation, and extra ribs (15, 16).  When adult female experimental animals were exposed to 2,4-D during their pregnancy and lactation periods, their exposed offspring exhibited neurological effects, including delayed neurobehavioral development (5) and changes in several neurotransmitter levels or binding activities (6-9, 17) and ganglioside levels (18, 19) in the brain.  Delayed neurobehavioral development was manifested as delays in acquisition of certain motor skills such as the righting reflex (5).
If the EPA reports this, how can this BLM EA, without considering cumulative uses in the area, state that risks will be “negligible?” (see below)

“The risk assessment concluded that in general, imazapic, even at high doses, does not adversely affect terrestrial animals, including invertebrates, as it is rapidly metabolized in urine and feces and does not bioaccumulate in animal tissue.  The document did state that during pregnancy mammals may be more at risk and long-term exposure had negative effects on birds. However, application of imazapic would occur in the fall/winter, which is outside of the gestation period for most animals that may use the project area; therefore these risks would likely be negligible (BLM 2007b, BLM 2007c).”

“2,4-D can present risk to some wildlife species due to direct spray, consumption of the recently sprayed vegetation, and consumption of contaminated insects.”

Please prepare an EIS.

SOURCES:

https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/22103/34552/35952/Desatoya_Habitat_Restoration_EA_March_2012_No_appendices.pdf

http://group.bmj.com/docs/pdf/8_3_s10.pdf

http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class2/hydraulicfracturing/wells_hydrowhat.cfm

http://naturalsociety.com/millions-of-pounds-of-toxic-dioxin-to-flood-us-farmland/

http://naturalsociety.com/carcinogenic-dioxins-epa-kneels-to-big-agriculture-monsanto/