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

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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

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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/

 

USDA Responds to Horse Slaughter Plant Appeal

By Pat Raia as published in The Horse

“…the USDA has consistently ignored those obligations in a rush to begin horse slaughter…”

USDAThe USDA said its Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is not forbidden by law from inspecting horse processing plants, according to the agency’s response to an appeal filed in the 10th District Circuit Count to stop horse processing in at a New Mexico plant and elsewhere.

Horse slaughter has not taken place in the United States since 2007 when court rulings and legislation shuttered the last domestic processing plants. Prior to 2007, USDA personnel carried out inspections at horse processing plants until Congress voted to strip the USDA of funds to pay personnel conducting those inspections. In 2011, legislation reinstated USDA funding for U.S. horse processing plants and, in June 2013, Valley Meats Co. LLC in Roswell, N.M., received FSIS permit, which allows placement of personnel at the plant to carry out horsemeat inspections.

In April 2013, the Front Range Equine Rescue and the Humane Society of the United States announced that they would bring a federal lawsuit challenging any permit issued to Valley Meats on grounds that the USDA failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the plant’s potential environmental impact.

On Oct. 31, Albuquerque, N.M.-based U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo allowed the lawsuit to expire without ruling on the case. Attorney Blair Dunn—who represents the owners of Valley Meats as well as the owners of Rains Natural Meats, another plant hoping to process horses in Gallatin, Mo. —said the expiration cleared the way for Valley Meats to begin processing horses in New Mexico.

However, on Nov. 4 the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colo., issued an emergency temporary injunction barring the USDA from inspecting the plants pending further order of the court. The ruling once again stops the opening of both the Valley Meats and Rains Natural Meats plant.

In a Nov. 6 response to the appeal, the USDA cited the Federal Meat Inspection Act saying that the act applies to “cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, and other equines,” and “imposes a non-discretionary duty on FSIS to grant inspections at slaughter facilities meeting the requirements of the act.” At the same time, the USDA response said claims that the Valley Meats and Rains Natural Meats plants, in addition to a horse processing plant currently processing cattle in Iowa, will do “irreparable harm” to their environments are unsubstantiated.

Hilary T. Wood, president and founder of Front Range Equine, believes the USDA has long ignored its legal requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act.

“Rather than undertake the Congressionally mandated and open public review of the potential tragic environmental consequences of horses slaughter, the USDA has consistently ignored those obligations in a rush to begin horse slaughter,” she said.

The case remains pending.

Click (HERE) to read the story in it’s entirety at The Horse

Grand Opening Of Horse Slaughter Plants Foiled Again

This is an excellent article by journalist Vickery Eckhoff.  Once again, Vickery does great research and gives the public the truth.

SOURCE:  forbes.com

Vickery Eckhoff, Contributor

Fallon-Livestock-sign-no-sick-horses

176,000 U.S. horses were sold to slaughter in 2012 through livestock auctions and feedlots like this one in Fallon, NV

The opening of three slaughter facilities looking to butcher horses on U.S. soil hit another roadblock Monday when a federal appeals court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from inspecting horse slaughter plants.  The length of the injunction—issued after a request by Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and other groups and individuals—was not indicated.

Once that issue is resolved, though, no U.S. plants will be starting up overnight for a host of reasons: first, because the USDA will then need to train inspectors, a process that could take weeks.  Without inspectors on hand, no plants can operate.

A second obstacle is that two of the plants presently looking to slaughter horses—Valley Meat in Roswell, NM, and Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, MO—have other legal issues at the state level that may hold the plant openings up according to Bruce Wagman, the attorney for FRER and related parties.

So Will Horse Meat Be Produced Anytime Soon in the U.S.?

Don’t count on the media to tell you that. For the better part of two years—including as recently as November 1—it has been announcing various impending grand openings of Valley Meat or plants in other states, most of them quoting its owner, Rick De Los Santos, and his attorney, A. Blair Dunn.  And yet not a single plant has opened.

The reasons for this are long and complicated.  They have mainly to do with the highly unregulated equine slaughter industry’s specific talent for promoting its virtues over its rather sordid history of environmental and humane violations, expensive court battles, unpaid fines and disregard for court orders.  Couple that with an unwary news media prone to taking the industry at its word, without fact-checking and with even less appetite for making corrections, and you have a recipe for misinforming the public.

Given their legal problems, why did Valley Meat’s owner and attorney on November 1 tell the Associated Press (AP)—and by extension, the American public—that they’d be up and running within seven to ten days, then?  Or that Rains Natural Meats would be packing horsemeat as early as three days ago?

Were they planning on opening and operating illegally?  Or were they simply jerking the press around, regardless of the facts, in order to generate PR?

The AP, for its part, has produced 17 articles since June, 2012, giving Mr. De Los Santos, Mr. Dunn and their supporters an open platform for doing just that.  And while the AP has defended its coverage of Valley Meat as balanced and factual, an analysis of seven consecutive stories published between June, 6, 2012 and April 13, 2013 shows otherwise.

While roughly the same number of sources both in favor or against the slaughter plant were interviewed by the AP, the study shows that the views of Mr. De Los Santos and horse slaughter proponents and industry groups commanded a 69.4% share of voice while sources presenting a counter or anti-slaughter view had only a 12.7% share of voice. That is not balanced reporting—and Mr. De Los Santos and Mr. Dunn’s problems with being factual make it especially concerning.

A close reading of the AP’s more recent articles reveals more of the same.  To read them is to wonder if the AP has some kind of stake in these plants slaughtering horses for export.

Critical Facts Wrong in 17 Articles, But AP Won’t Correct Them

It’s a fact that Valley Meat and Rains Natural Meat can’t open because they have unresolved legal problems and no USDA-trained inspectors.  So to state that the plants are about to open when they can’t is just plain false.  Should the AP have fact-checked Mr. De Los Santos and Mr. Dunn on this?  Absolutely.

A bigger worry, however, is the historical events, data and context that the AP gets wrong, doesn’t examine or seem to understand, and the insupportable conclusions it draws for the U.S. public as a result.

It has, for example, consistently maintained across its coverage of Valley Meat that Congress’ defunding of horse slaughter plants effectively shut them down in 2006, including a November 5, 2013 article, “Federal Appeals Court Halts Horse Slaughter After Humane Society Appeal” by Jeri Clausing, picked up by ABC News, NBC, The Huffington Post, and other mainstream media.

According to the article:                                                                                             “Valley Meat Co. owner Rick De Los Santos has been fighting for two years for approval to open. He converted his small, struggling cattle slaughterhouse in southern New Mexico to take advantage of a shift in Congress that lifted a ban on funding for inspections at horse slaughterhouses.  A vote to end that funding in 2006 had effectively banned horse slaughter until the money was restored in 2011.”

To be sure, Congress’ banning slaughter in 2006—along with the idea that the shutdown was bad for horses—is a staple of Ms. Clausing’s and the AP’s extensive reporting on Valley Meat.

But that premise is flat out wrong on three counts.  First, because the plants shut down in 2007, not 2006.  Second, because what shut them down wasn’t Congress’ 2005 vote to defund slaughter inspections, but state bans on horse slaughter in Texas and Illinois that were upheld by federal court judges.  Third, actual data between 2005 and 2010…           To read the rest of this article, CLICK HERE

Animal Law Expert Wants Court to Ban Horse Slaughter in the U.S.

SOURCE:  Food Safety News

By    Dan Flynn

Four months into litigation aimed at preventing horses from being legally slaughtered in the United States, animal law attorney Bruce A. Wagman is already citing Front Range Equine Rescue v. Vilsack as one of the “illustrative representations” of his experience.  Others might just call it a win.  M. Christina Armijo, chief U.S. District Court judge for New Mexico, has already granted Wagman’s clients a temporary restraining order in the case.  He wants a permanent injunction against USDA inspecting any horse-slaughter facilities in the U.S.Wagman and Rocky N. Unruh, an expert in complex trials, are San Francisco attorneys from the national Schiff Hardin law firm, which has 400 attorneys based out of Chicago.  Among the 15 plaintiffs Wagman and Unruh represent is one definitely large enough to pay their fees, the Humane Society of the United States.

With prestigious offices on L Street in Washington, D.C., and annual revenues that were approaching $200 million when last reported two years ago, HSUS is a nonprofit that can easily keep Wagman and Unruh in its legal stable.

In addition to more than two decades of experience litigating animal law cases, Wagman literally wrote the book on the subject.  His “Animal Law: Cases and Materials” is in its fourth edition as a law school textbook.

Wagman’s job this time is to stop three small businesses located in rural areas of Iowa, Missouri, and New Mexico that saw an opportunity two years ago when the federal government’s ban on horse slaughter was lifted.  All three went through an extensive process in requesting a so-called “grant of inspection” from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Plaintiffs filed to block that from happening just as USDA decided to provide inspection services to the three businesses, Responsible Transportation in Iowa, Rains Natural Meats in Missouri, and Valley Meats in New Mexico.  All three planned to pack horsemeat for export.

That’s when Wagman won the temporary restraining order.  Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys for the three named defendants in the case — Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen and FSIS Administrator Al Almanza — then suggested speeding up the case by skipping all preliminary arguments.

Wagman and Unruh agreed.  For the past six weeks, there’s been a flurry of motions and arguments going back and forth. And while there has been no scheduled or target date announced for Armijo’s ruling on the merits of the case, Wagman seems to be winning the preliminary decisions.

For example, Armijo ruled against the government when USDA sought to have the Declaration of Dr. Daniel L. Engeljohn entered as a supplement to the administrative record.  Engeljohn is arguably USDA’s top expert on horse slaughter and was the official directly in charge of the administrative process.

Also, the magistrate judge responsible for processing requests for injunction bonds denied the request of Rains Natural Meats. Valley Meats and Responsible Transportation, which were both included in the original injunction, did require bonds, but Rains was not because it came later.

However, since USDA was enjoined by additional court action from providing inspection services to Rains, that business faces similar jeopardy.

In addition to the plaintiffs represented by the Schiff Hardin attorneys, the State of New Mexico has intervened on their side of the case. Assistant Attorney General Ari Biernoff is representing New Mexico.

DOJ attorneys Alison D. Garner, Andrew A. Smith and Robert G. Dreher are representing USDA.  Dreher is the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. for environment and natural resources.

The three business and numerous others have intervened on the government side.  The most active attorney among several for those interests is A. Blair Dunn of Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, the law the Oklahoma Legislature passed last May to permit horse slaughter in that state takes effect on Friday, Nov. 1. Under the new law, any horse-slaughter facility would require approval from USDA, and officials say there are no applications in the works at this time.