U.S. Court Finds Wild Horse Territory Cut Illegally

Congratulations to Carla Bowers, Return to Freedom, American Wild Horse Campaign, Animal Legal Defense Fund and Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks on this win!  –  Debbie

Wild horses in Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory (Photo:  U.S.) Forest Service

SOURCE:  Horse Canada

by American Wild Horse Campaign

On August 4th, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned a decision by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to cut the size of the habitat area for California’s largest remaining wild horse herd.

The federal agency had planned to remove 23,000 acres from the middle of the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in the Modoc National Forest. They claim this land was mistakenly added to the wild horse territory in the 1980s and that removing it now would cause “no significant impact.” The Court, however, characterized the move as “arbitrary and capricious.”

The Court found that: “The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and other plaintiffs filed suit alleging that the Service’s revamping of the territorial lines violated numerous federal laws. We agree. A 23,000-acre tract of land and two decades of agency management cannot be swept under the rug as a mere administrative mistake. We accordingly reverse in part and remand for the Service to address rather than to ignore the relevant history.”

“This is a precedent-setting victory making clear that federal land management agencies cannot exclude federally protected wild horses or other key uses of public lands without grappling with the implications of such actions on the environment,” said William S. Eubanks II, of Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks, who along with David Zaft, pro bono counsel for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, represented the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), Return to Freedom and California citizen Carla Bowers in the appeal.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Politics Of Wildfire: A Burgeoning Government Business Enterprise?

an open letter from Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.

“Everywhere in the world wherever a species of large herbivore has its population depleted or eliminated, vegetative (fuels for fires) materials (grasses & brush) become excessive resulting in a scenario where catastrophic wildfires take-over on an annual basis…”

Twin Peaks HMA Rush Fire on Rye Patch Road August 18, 2012 (Photo by BLM)

Somehow over the past century the notion of what it is to be a ‘civil servant’ and having the great privilege of serving ‘We the People’ has morphed into the current notion of being elected as a demigod, and being above the people. We see it all around us today in politics… so that statement is self-evident.

I think we’re getting snowed by many officials and politicians, and it’s to the point now where they don’t even seem to care if we even know or believe that. It’s really time for a change! And we can’t afford to sit on our hands and hope President Trump can do it all. Even if he’s inclined, he needs all Americans to start acting like we care for our beloved ‘America’ and all that it encompasses, as well as our own hard earned money, which pays for what has become the greatest ‘show’ on earth.

Few people are aware that the United State Forest Service (USFS) is now spending half (50%) of their total budget on fighting wildfires, and doing so when there is a readily available, simple cost effective (virtually free) method for abating the dry grasses and brush that fuel these explosively hot and disastrous wildfires.

As I write this, catastrophic wildfires are devastating many western states.

The dead and dying trees are no doubt fuel for wildfires in our forests. But as any Cub Scout can tell you, you can’t ignite a dry log with a match, dry hot summer weather or not; it takes a lot of kindling to accomplish that feat. So when we think of previous burns as well as dry forests, the fact that grasses and brush reappear annually and once dried by summer heat provide the ‘kindling’, abating grasses and brush is a key initiative to mitigating wildfire risk.

The math is very important because, even marginal mitigation of wildfires that cost many $-billions annually, would likely represent hundreds of $-millions in real savings for all American taxpayers.

Everywhere in the world wherever a species of large herbivore has its population depleted or eliminated, vegetative (fuels for fires) materials (grasses & brush) become excessive resulting in a scenario where catastrophic wildfires take-over on an annual basis. The science is crystal clear and incontrovertible on this point.

According to Science Magazine:

“By altering the quantity and distribution of fuel supplies, large herbivores can shape the frequency, intensity, and spatial distribution of fires across a landscape. There are even unique interactions among large herbivore populations that can influence fire regimes. For example, facilitative interactions between white rhinoceros and mesoherbivores result in reduced fuel loads and fuel continuity, and consequently fewer large, intense fires (71). Other factors can influence the frequency and intensity of fires, particularly in locations where the total area burned is strongly related to ungulate population size. For example, Serengeti wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) populations irrupted after the rinderpest virus was eradicated in the 1960s, and the subsequent increase in grazing pressure led to a widespread reduction in the extent of fires and delayed recovery of tree populations (72). The removal of plant biomass by browsing also reduces fire fuel loads and decreases fire susceptibility. Thus, there is scant evidence of fire in much of Australia until the megafauna disappeared after humans arrived (5).”

And it’s no coincidence that here in the western United States where wildfires are turning forests into ash year after year, we have depleted herbivore populations. And in other locations, deer and elk are virtually non-existent.

As one of many examples I could easily make: In the state of California the deer population has plummeted from about 2-million animals to under 400,000 deer in the entire State. And this too is the ultimate result of defective management of large predators by California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

You would think people who call themselves ‘managers’ would know-about and understand the foregoing science and the reports given the large amount of peer-reviewed studies that have been published. Sorry, that’s not the case; the forest and wildlife managers, including many people at the BLM are instead focused on two things in this order; ‘money’ & ‘power’, both of which are extracted from the people of America.

But as most people know, these managers answer to their masters, the politicians and bureaucrats, who bear most of the blame for these wildfires.

‘Money’ as in enriching their budgets and protecting their new wildfire enterprise that creates more state and federal jobs at taxpayer’s expense of both cash and forest resources, and diminishment of critical watersheds.

Is it dishonest and immoral to adopt a forest management plan, which concurrently rejects sound wildfire abatement concepts (such as ground fuel reduction via herbivore reintroduction), while currently allowing forests and property to be devastated annually simply to create more government-based jobs that are to be paid-for by already overburdened taxpayers?

Managing an annual disaster with a focus as a revenue model is what I would call malfeasance. And given the obvious neglect of prioritizing a preemptive solution-based focus, as opposed to a reactionary response model, the use of the term malfeasance may not be unfair. And it certainly might be called incompetence.

And ‘power’ is the ability to rule citizens using political deceptions, lies and methods of deflecting blame and discarding citizen input out-of-hand regarding any solutions forward by people outside the political and bureaucratic circles; they want to retain all power within their circles of influence.

This is not how our founding fathers intended for our Constitutional Republic system of government to function; it’s currently a sham!

Having spent many decades in and around the mountains of northern California and southern Oregon growing-up on the family’s working ranch, I have had a great opportunity to study first-hand the recurring wildfires and the socio-economic and environmental impact of catastrophic wildfires, along with the devastating effects of the closure of the logging industry.

Recently I drafted an article, which posited a wildfire fuel abatement methodology using large herbivores, which unlike any other options, offers tremendous economic and environmental advantages, as further outlined herein.

Many of America’s remote forested areas are not suitable for livestock grazing, even though there is an abundance of grasses and brush; the terrain is far too difficult for livestock management, which also makes fighting wildfires in these areas far more difficult and costly to fight, and firefighters die, while many others are injured.

The article titled ‘Fire Brigade – The Value Proposition of Wild Horses’ was sent to my local County Supervisors as well as to the representative of my Congressman, Mr. Doug LaMalfa – (CA Dist. 01).

Sadly and frustratingly I had the first-hand experience of being ‘brushed-off’ by a representative of my own Congressman, Doug LaMalfa (I wonder if he knows how his constituents are treated?).

It’s funny how they only want to hear from citizens when they want even more of our money, or need to get reelected. Of course I think those days are coming to a quick end.

In an email (herein below) from Erin Ryan, the representative of my Congressman (Doug LaMalfa) regarding my Fire Brigade proposal, I was told in no uncertain terms that “none of this is news” in regard to my novel idea for abating wildfire fuels using large herbivores “.  Her observation was manifestly incorrect.

I had sent my articleFire Brigade’ in its entirety to Ms. Ryan, along with an introduction, some wildfire cost metrics and photos of examples of trees that had obviously benefited from the effect of symbiotic mutualism with large herbivores (in this case, wild horses).

So when I received the response (below) from Ms. Ryan, I was of course astounded that it seemed clearly designed to discourage and defer my initiative by incorrectly alleging what I had proposed was nothing new, and incorrectly inferring that it somehow involved ‘tree cutting’, which would attract litigation, also incorrect since there is no “tree cutting” involved.

The trend in the government methodology of ‘sidelining‘ citizens has been in widespread use by bureaucrats and politicians far too long, and it has inflamed citizens to elect Donald J. Trump as our President. Another tactic is making themselves completely unreachable except through so-called ‘gatekeepers’ who seem to meter access according to the size of your wallet.

And now as we see, career politicians and bureaucrats seem to be revolting against our elected President, as they fear the voice of the people may be carried-out to some extent or another by President Trump. Time will tell, but this paradigm of government for and by the government must be brought under control.

It seems like smart politicians would want to listen to citizens who pay the bills and who might have something valuable to contribute to a very serious subject that costs taxpayers $-billions of dollars annually. But alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Here is that incredibly disappointing reply:

—–Original Message—–
From: Ryan, Erin Marie <ErinMarie.Ryan@mail.house.gov>
To: Capt. William E. Simpson – USMM <gemmaster7@aol.com>
Sent: Tue, Jun 27, 2017 3:24 pm
Subject: RE: Removing Fuel Load Reduces Wildfire Risk & Intensity = Saved Money

Environmental lawsuits using the Equal Access to Justice Act are largely to blame.  They sue every single management plan that involves tree cutting – even in the burned areas.  None of this is news and it is not within the control of the board of supervisors as I’m sure you are aware.  I could go on and on and on but have a meeting.  You get my drift.

Erin Ryan  |  Congressman Doug LaMalfa CA-01
530.515.7135 cell   Facebook | Twitter | Website | eNewsletter
IN GOD WE TRUST … ALL OTHERS WE QUESTION

As to her cute little byline I say: ‘In God We Trust, Politicians Must Take Polygraph’

Again, to be crystal clear, Ms. Ryan was provided the entire article and an informational intro, none of which mentioned “tree cutting”.

Fires are devouring our forests, destroying habitats, killing thousands of animals and obliterating watersheds nationally as I write this.  It’s in the national news as I write this!

Watching all the wildfires around the U.S. burning forests and homes this early in the season, suggests that the losses may be monumental this year ($20-50 Billion?) in a now recurring annual nightmare!

Just in and around our own County (Siskiyou) here in CA costs and losses have been in the billions of dollars!

http://ijpr.org/post/wildfire-conundrum-0

http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article39167664.html

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/01/25/ap-newsbreak-1-billion-insured-losses-in-california-fires.html

So as we learn from the response by the Congressman’s (LaMalfa) aid, ideas are quickly shot-down without even bothering to actually read them, and this further exemplifies the myopic and defective reasoning (stuck thinking in a small box) where they have clearly and undeniably missed connecting the idea of returning a native species back into their habitats to clean-up the fuel grasses and brush off the forest floors.

In the case of Siskiyou County, CA (5th largest county in CA): By relocating the horses from the local BLM corrals over in Modoc Co into the more remote county, state and federal forested areas where there are no commercial grazing herds creating a competitive issue, the horses would naturally abate the excessive ground fuel loading at the rate of 30-pounds of dry grass and brush per horse, per day. . And it seems reasonable that the BLM would give other Gov. Orgs. a sweetheart deal on horses to save their storage costs for horses.

Just 10,000 horses can abate 300,000 pounds of dry grass and brush in a day. In just one-month that’s 4,500 tons of grass and brush abated!  This amount of abatement is very significant! 40,000 horses can abate 1.2-million pounds of dry grasses and brush daily.

Here’s a guide that helps with a general understanding of the weight of dry fuel on the ground and fire burn-rates, etc.: https://gacc.nifc.gov/rmcc/predictive/Fire%20Behavior%20Fuel%20Model%20Descriptions.pdf

DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke has discussed the slaughter of ~40,000 wild horses currently being held in multiple west coast BLM corrals, which according to one Associated Press story alleges will save the BLM $10-million.
However, these same horses could be parceled-out into the various remote western state wilderness forest areas where there are no cattle competing for grazing, in remote difficult-terrain areas that are at high wildfire risk from excess ground fuel (dry grasses and brush) due to an acute lack of large herbivores.

And those same 40k wild horses would abate 18,000 tons of dry grass and brush monthly. It would cost taxpayers many tens of $-millions of dollars annually to have men do this tough and dangerous job in rugged terrain. And many of these areas would not suffer any mechanized efforts very well.

Respectfully, I call upon a U.S. Navy Seal and our now Secretary of the Department of the Interior Mr. Ryan Zinke to honor his oath, and put the American people and their hard-earned dollars first, by carefully considering the concept of the wild horse fire brigade.

Instead of destroying a living American legacy that is innate to the spirit of the 40,000 wild horses in BLM holding pens, let these horses do their part for America and give them the job of abating the ground fuel to mitigate these catastrophic wildfires in select areas.

Horses have served mankind with honor and loyalty for centuries, let’s give them back a little of what they have given mankind for so long.

Wild horses are a native species according one of the world’s most respected and authoritative experts, Dr. Ross MacPhee – Curator of Vertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History. So only the uneducated would debate otherwise.

Let’s Do The Math:

So with even minimal abatement of dry fuel grasses and brush that fuel wildfires representing an annual $20-50 Billion wildfire problem, it’s easy to realistically project saving to taxpayers in the many tens of $-millions of dollars annually.

So does it make any sense whatsoever to kill the wild horses that are the solution for a measly $10-M in relative savings to the BLM budget? Let’s not overlook that the wild horse solution would work year-round every year. And furthermore, that these horses could be located where they would not present competition to cattle for grazing and that all of the stallions among the 40,000 wild horses have been gelded, so they will not present a breeding problem.

Time is of the essence in potentially implementing the wild horse Fire Brigade solution in that, these horses all may be killed sometime before year-end and currently sit in corrals instead of converting wildfire fuel into humus via their manure, which helps soils and forests.

Citizens/Taxpayers:  Please share this article with your groups, email lists and via Social Media.

“When the people fail to run their government, it will run them.” — Capt. William E. Simpson

New Government Report on Trespass Livestock

Source:  Western Watersheds Project

“For decades our wild horses and burros have been scapegoated as the primary reason for ecological destruction on our western public lands while in reality, the documented destruction has come from private, welfare livestock allowed to graze our land at subsidized prices while far out numbering the federally protected wild equines. 

This may come as a bit of a shock (tongue in cheek) but several of our federal agencies (BLM and USFS for example) are critically ate up with collusion and cronyism leading to a system of ‘good ole boy’ favoritism towards federally subsidized welfare grazing with little or no control YET the agencies, along with their welfare ranching buddies, point fingers at the wild horses and burros for grazing damage while they hold actual research at bay that verifies it is their private cows and sheep that are doing the damage and NOT the wild horses and burros.

Instead of reducing or eliminated grazing permits the BLM and USFS spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to attack, harass, capture, abuse, torture, experiment upon, warehouse and even sell horses and burros off to slaughter AGAINST the will of American taxpayers and  politicians.

Although today’s installment does not address wild horses and burros specifically it speaks to the problem that is used as an excuse for the corrupt agencies to illegally remove the protected equines from public lands while welfare cattle and sheep run amok.  It is all so screwed up that it is difficult for a sane mind to wrap itself around, but for the sake of the wild horses and burros we need to “get it” and continue to fight and speak on their behalf.  Become conversant on the subject, please, and ensure that all who you know are equally aware as it is only through the force of numbers will we be able to win this war.  Keep the faith my friends and keep on keeping on.” ~ R.T.


July 29, 2016
Online Messenger #335

photo by Jonathan Ratner

photo by Jonathan Ratner

A recently released report from the Government Accountability Office conclusively found what many WWP members already suspected: 1) Trespass livestock grazing is a pervasive problem; 2) It causes widespread ecological damage on public lands; 3) Land management agencies don’t adequately document these violations; and 4) Forest Service trespass fees are too low to serve as a deterrent. These facts add up to a very grim picture about illegal grazing activities on the lands owned and cherished by all of us.

WWP has been documenting trespass livestock grazing for years, reporting observations of cows and sheep in the wrong pastures, staying too long on an allotment, and on sensitive areas that are supposed to be protected from damaging hooves. These types of reports don’t get taken seriously and the agencies – despite BLM regulations requiring them to take action – often just deal with permittees through a casual conversation rather than formal documentation.

The GAO report verifies that the agencies are intimidated by dealing with high-profile repeat offenders and anti-government protestors, leading to a cycle of increased trespass grazing. The GAO found that even when the agencies do deal with trespassers, the penalties assessed are often too low to act as a deterrent.  This is especially true for the Forest Service where the penalty for trespass grazing may be even less than the cost of permitted grazing elsewhere!  Some ranchers consider these penalties “the cost of doing business” – within a business model that already steals value from our public trust lands.

As if these findings weren’t bad enough, add them to the fact that the GAO found much the same thing in 1990. The agencies largely ignored the government’s recommendations then; will they pay any heed now?

The report is a useful update on the general status of this overlooked issue, and it is due to the hard work of WWP staff in D.C. that this report was requested by Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Congressman Grijalva released his own press statement on the GAO findings. Grijalva stated “federal agencies’ first responsibility is to ensure the public receives a fair return for the use of public land. Right-wing anti-government rhetoric should not prevent agencies from enforcing laws written to protect the environment and economy of Western states.”

Thank you, Congressman Grijalva. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Surprise, Surprise: BLM and USFS Fail to Identify, Track, Penalize or Deter Unauthorized Welfare Livestock Grazing on Public Lands

Source: The Wildlife News

“…but both the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service have PLENTY of time to exploit, harass, roundup, hold and spread rumors and bogus propaganda about a handful of federally protected wild horses and burros on their rightful public land.  Something is WAAAAAYYY out of alignment and skewed totally to benefit federally subsidized welfare ranchers…the “Good Ole Boy Club” smells more like rotting fish than simple cow poop!” ~ R.T.


“The report also highlights the extent to which public lands livestock grazing is heavily subsidized by American taxpayers.”

Giant BLM Bovine Mowing Machine ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Giant BLM Bovine Mowing Machine ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week detailing the extent to which the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have failed to follow agency regulations in documenting and penalizing unauthorized or trespass livestock grazing on federal public lands. The report, entitled Unauthorized Grazing: Actions Needed to Improve Tracking and Deterrence Efforts, was requested by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee. The request came in response to several high profile cases of trespass grazing and a recognition of the devastating ecological impacts it can have on wildlife habitat.

The report came to several important conclusions. Trespass grazing is pervasive and causes widespread degradation of public lands, agencies do not document it adequately, and the Forest Service trespass fees are too low to be a deterrent.

The report also highlights the extent to which public lands livestock grazing is heavily subsidized by American taxpayers.  In 2016, BLM and the Forest Service charged ranchers $2.11 per animal unit month for horses and cattle, and $0.42 for sheep and goats. But, average private grazing land lease rates in western states ranged from $9 to $39.

In a separate press release, Grijalva stated, “We know we’re leasing public land at well below market value. What we don’t know nearly enough about is the extent or impact of unauthorized grazing on public lands. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management need to bring grazing fees in line with the modern economy and take illegal use of public lands more seriously going forward.”

In addition to the agencies’ failure to document or penalize trespass grazing, the report states that according to agency personnel, “high-profile cases of intentional unauthorized grazing and related antigovernment protests can affect agency decision making regarding enforcement … (and) that not taking enforcement action on violators is likely to encourage more unauthorized grazing.” The report also states that “lack of support from higher-level managers for strong enforcement action does not incentivize field staff to act on unauthorized grazing and, in some cases, lowers staff morale.”

The report also acknowledges the significant ecological damage that trespass grazing can cause. The report states, “(U)nauthorized grazing may create various effects, such as severely degrading rangelands under certain conditions.” This damage was witnessed firsthand by the GAO investigators. “During our field visits, we observed locations where unauthorized grazing had resulted in severely damaged natural springs, overgrazed meadows, and trampled streambeds.”

“Western Watershed Project (WWP) has been documenting these types of abuse for years. Our reports often fall on deaf ears or are purposefully ignored by agency land managers who refuse to follow the law and punish or even document illegal grazing on public lands,” said Jonathan Ratner, the groups Wyoming Director.

Because the agencies rarely track and report on unauthorized grazing, the GAO concluded that the frequency and extent of unauthorized grazing on agency lands are largely unknown. The report found that rather than report and penalize unauthorized grazing as required by agency regulation, agency personnel are far more likely to handle incidents informally with no subsequent documentation. This leads to both a lack of institutional knowledge and makes identifying and prosecuting serial violators much more difficult.

“Trespass grazing occurs far more often than the agencies are willing to admit. We often find cows grazing inside exclosures, in the wrong pastures, or long after the permitted season of use. In fact, this is more the norm than the exception,” said Josh Osher, WWP’s Montana Director.

Even when trespass grazing is reported and the agencies take action, the GAO found that the penalties assessed are often too low to act as a deterrent.  This is especially true for the Forest Service where the penalty for trespass grazing may be even less the cost of permitted grazing elsewhere.  The report points out that agency field staff stated, “that penalties for unauthorized grazing are rarely or never an effective deterrent … some told us that there are permittees who view the penalties for unauthorized grazing as a cost of doing business because paying the penalties is cheaper than seeking forage elsewhere.”

A previous GAO report on trespass grazing in 1990 reached similar conclusions, including “when offenders were detected, BLM frequently exacted no penalties and, for the more serious violations, seldom assessed the minimum penalties its own regulations required. As a result, unauthorized grazing was not adequately deterred, which could lead to degradation of public rangelands, among other things.”  At that time, GAO made recommendations to the BLM including that all incidents of unauthorized grazing be documented and that compliance inspections be expanded to “provide systematic compliance coverage.”  Unfortunately, these recommendations were largely ignored by the agency.

“A culture of willful ignorance is pervasive within the BLM and Forest Service. The agencies rarely inspect grazing allotments and even when violations are found, corrective actions are rarely taken and violators are rarely punished,” said WWP’s Idaho Director Ken Cole.

In this latest report, the GAO makes similar recommendations to the agencies about identification, documentation, and deterrence of trespass grazing. While the BLM and Forest Service generally agree with the conclusions of the report and claim they will make changes to agency policy, based on past experience, WWP is not confident that changes will occur or that local field managers will change current practices.

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2016/07/14/agencies-fail-to-identify-track-penalize-or-deter-unauthorized-livestock-grazing-on-public-lands-according-to-a-new-report-from-the-government-accountability-office/

GAO Report: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-559

Ochoco National Forest Revamping Wild Horse Plan

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin /

Current Big Summit herd guidelines have been in place since 1975

OchocoHorsesThe Ochoco National Forest is set to revise a 40-year-old management plan for a wild horse herd near Prineville and is looking for help from the public in the revision.

“We are basically going to redo the plan,” Tory Kurtz, rangeland management specialist for the national forest, said Tuesday.

Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971, and four years later, in 1975, the Ochoco National Forest established a 27,300-acre management area for the Big Summit herd of wild horses. The act protects wild horses in designated areas, which include the more than 42-square-mile Big Summit management area. The management plan for the Big Summit herd, also known as the Ochoco Mustangs, has not been updated since 1975.

Revising the plan is not related to the planned roundup of wild horses east of Lakeview in south-central Oregon. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management began preparations Monday for the roundup of more than 1,000 wild horses in the Beatys Butte herd, drawing criticism from wild horse advocacy groups.

The Big Summit herd is the only wild horse herd in Oregon and Washington solely managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The BLM manages most herds in Oregon.

In the middle of the Ochoco National Forest, just west of Big Summit Prairie, the Big Summit herd management area is predominantly wooded.

Each June, the national forest teams up with volunteers to count the wild horses. The count is conducted on foot or horseback because of the terrain.

This past June, the count showed about 150 wild horses, Kurtz said. While horses in the herd have been captured or adopted in the past, she said that hasn’t occurred since 2010 in part because of the aging management plan. The revised plan probably would detail how to conduct captures and adoptions.

In October 2013, six horses from the herd were found shot, five were dead and one was so badly wounded it was euthanized , all near Big Summit Prairie. The case remains open, according to Ochoco National Forest and Forest Service law enforcement officials.

National forest officials are inviting the public to join a stakeholder group, convened by the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, to develop plan recommendations. Starting in December, the group is set to meet monthly for at least two years, according to the national forest. Overhauling the plan is expected to take up to three years.

The current plan is outdated and does not address modern issues about wild horses, said Gayle Hunt, president of the Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition. She is glad the plan is set for an update.

“It’s way overdue,” she said. Established in 2002, the nonprofit aids in the management of wild horses in Central Oregon, particularly the Big Summit herd. Hunt said Ochoco National Forest officials have worked well with people advocating for wild horses.

Issues likely to be tackled in the revised plan include wild horse birth control and adoption programs, both aimed at keeping herd size in check. Kurtz said the current plan does not have a target number for the herd.

What will be in the new plan depends on the direction taken by the stakeholder group.

“We don’t really have anything set in stone,” Kurtz said.

Public Lands Cowboy-Livestock Mentality Dominates Wild Horse and Burro Captures and Removals and Many Eventual Sales to Slaughter Associates

LEDE: A white stallion, right, looks over his band of wild mustang mares on BLM land near Susanville, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. BLM plans for an early August roundup of 1,800 wild horses near Susanville that has legal groups, animal rights activists and enviromentalists in an uproar.

Photo of Braveheart and his Family by Leslie Sterling

Compiled by Grandma Gregg but Inspired by George Wuerthner, co-editor of “Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West”. http://www.publiclandsranching.org/book.htm

The continuing Wild Horse and Burro abuse by the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service is a demonstration of the public lands “cowboy-livestock” mentality the industry uses to address any problem. Instead of using its brains, it resorts to brute force. But of course, slaughter is the ultimate goal for the cowboy-livestock mentality so brute force should not be a surprise. If left unchallenged, I believe and as we have seen, the industry’s harsh tactics pose a threat to all free roaming wildlife everywhere.

When you review the true facts, it is impossible to believe that minimizing the Wild Horses and Burros because of the range conditions is really the motivating force behind the BLM & USFS capture and removal (and now non-reproducing herds and massive sterilization) actions. Reasonable and legal options that could address their concerns about range health are ignored in favor of deadly force. This can only be explained if the range conditions are hiding another motive – destruction and thievery of our public lands and public resources by private/corporate, domestic livestock.

As made clear by the Wild Horse and Burro Act’s implementing regulations, the BLM “may close appropriate areas of the public lands to grazing use by all or a particular kind of livestock . . . if necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury.” 43 C.F.R. § 4710.5(a). Removal or reduction of domestic livestock which provides financial gain for any private or corporate owned institution must be activated in favor of protecting the land and the wildlife and wild horses and wild burros and their habitat that belong to the American people. By law the BLM and USFS can and should close appropriate areas of public lands to grazing use by all domestic livestock, to provide habitat for wild horses or burros.  It is the law of the United States of America.

Many in the livestock industry in the west fear the 1971 WH&B Act and fear those few American people who do know about it and speak loudly about this unanimously passed Congressional law. Why? Following the 1971 law of wild free roaming wild horses and burros comes at the expense of the public lands private/corporate livestock industry wallets. The industry, realizing this threat, has historically and is currently attempting, with the help of their big dollars and political and governmental associates in destroying any and all wild horses and burros as fast as they can – and other wild animals, as well.

No attempt to determine and admit the real risks of range devastation are performed because this risk is without a doubt the public lands corporate/private domestic livestock and they are owned and controlled by the public lands cowboy-livestock mentality ranchers and their associates – who highly paid lobbyists in Washington, D.C. It’s all about the money – BIG money.

The agencies don’t admit this to the American public because they want to create a crisis situation to justify their extreme actions. It’s way past time to question the public lands cowboy-livestock mentality of brute force as a solution to any problem or conflict. The problem is there is no value put on wildness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainable Cowboys or Welfare Ranchers of the American West?

Source:  THE DAILY PITCHFORK

Report analyzes taxpayer bailout of U.S. public lands ranching [Part II of a series on ranchers]

by Vickery Eckhoff

Cliven-Bundy-on-Horseback-e1423775080754-620x264 Public lands livestock operators each cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars in subsidies over the last decade. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

Five hundred million dollars[1]. That’s what 21,000[2] ranchers who graze their livestock on America’s iconic western rangelands are estimated to have cost US taxpayers in 2014 — and every year for the past decade. This averages out to an annual taxpayer subsidy of $23,809 per rancher — approximately a quarter of a million dollars each since 2005. So why does this small subset, representing just 2.7% of US livestock producers, protest the “welfare rancher” label?

 The public lands grazing program is welfare.

That $23,809 — and it’s a lowball figure — is a form of public assistance similar to other welfare programs. The only difference is, it doesn’t arrive as a check in the mail. It instead represents a loss covered by taxpayers: the very large difference between what public lands ranchers pay in fees to the US government and what public lands grazing costs taxpayers every year. But it’s still a subsidy, as a newly updated economic analysis, Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands, makes clear. And the recipients aren’t low income; a large number are millionaires and some are billionaires and multi-billion dollar corporations. Cattle barons, if you will.

Public lands ranching costs western ecosystems, wildlife and taxpayers.

“Several federal agencies permit livestock grazing on public lands in the United States, the largest being the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Agriculture’s United States Forest Service (USFS).

The vast majority of livestock grazing on BLM and USFS rangelands occurs in the 11 western states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Rangelands are non-irrigated and generally have vegetation that consists mostly of grasses, herbs and/or shrubs. They are different from pastureland, which may periodically be planted, fertilized, mowed or irrigated.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

FEDS STAND BY AS UNBRANDED, FEDERALLY-PROTECTED WILD HORSES ARE CAPTURED AND SENT TO SLAUGHTER AUCTION

Source: The Cloud Foundation

Documents Implicate Feds in Horse-Laundering Scheme

Eye to the Soul by Terry FitchWinnemucca, NV…. On August 11th, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) notified a coalition of wild horse advocacy and conservation groups that it was “issuing a stop order” to helicopter wranglers hired to roundup hundreds of wild horses on USFS, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and tribal lands on the Ft. McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Reservation on the Nevada/Oregon Border and transport them to a slaughter auction.

The Forest Service’s decision to pull out of the roundup operation came after the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and its parent organization, Return to Freedom, The Cloud Foundation and the Western Watersheds Project sent two letters to the USFS outlining the multiple ways in which a stealth agreement between the Service to conduct the operation violated federal law.

However, the Forest Service also informed the coalition that the tribe was proceeding with the roundup, and, in fact, had captured 277 horses and already shipped 130 of them to the Fallon Livestock Exchange as of yesterday afternoon. The Forest Service also stated that it also had “no specific information about whether any of those animals came off National Forest or outlying [Bureau of Land Management [BLM] lands.”

The participating agreement between the Forest Service and the Fort McDermitt Tribal Council and a separate agreement between the BLM and the Forest Service, previously authorized the tribes to push wild horses from public lands onto reservation lands for the purpose of capture and sale to a slaughter auction. The area in question is in close proximity to the BLM Little Owyhee Herd Management Area (HMA) where federally-protected mustangs live.

“The Forest Service and the BLM have a responsibility to protect unbranded horses in this roundup. It is well documented that horses from the Owyhee Complex range outside the HMA to the border of the Forest Service lands in question,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director. “Although the Forest Service has issued a ‘stop order’ to the helicopter wranglers in response to our legal letters, serious questions remain about whether the federal government continues to be complicit in this shady operation where federally-protected wild horses are headed to a slaughter auction this Saturday. ”

“The Forest Service and BLM should be equally as concerned about these horses as we are if the are to uphold their legal responsibilities under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act,” said Neda DeMayo, President of Return to Freedom, AWHPC’s parent organization. “In our negotiations, the Forest Service was willing to guarantee that any unbranded horses captured in this operation would be returned to federally-protected wild horse areas. This responsibility does not end now. We call on the BLM and the Forest Service to ensure that no unbranded wild horses captured from public lands around the Fort McDermitt reservation are sold at the auction for slaughter.”

“The Forest Service cannot just wash its hands of this situation now, after putting in place a stealth agreement to roundup these horses and send them to slaughter, and after admitting that the tribes have been working ‘for days’ to push horses off public lands and onto tribal lands toward the traps,” said Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “This is a betrayal of the American public and our wild horses. This entire matter must be investigated and the sale of all unbranded horses must be halted immediately.”

Today the groups sent another letter to the Forest Service demanding that officials verify the origin of all horses sent to auction by the tribe and prevent the sale of any unbranded horses at the Saturday auction. They also released the agreement between the Forest Service and the Tribe, which documents the intention of the FS to turn all horses – branded and unbranded – to the tribe, as well as use tax dollars to pay for the roundup and to ship the horses for slaughter.

MURDERER’S CREEK WILD HORSES – LESS THAN ZERO?

Guest Editorial by Grandma Gregg

Twin Peaks Horses, photo by L. Sterling

Twin Peaks Horses, photo by L. Sterling

Referring to today’s upcoming capture list – it says 100 wild horses will be bait/water trapped on the Murderer’s Creek HMA in Oregon starting tomorrow!  This HMA is jointly “managed” by BLM and USFS, who said in their recent EA:  “The AML for wild horses within the HMA is 50-140 wild horses with an objective of managing for a herd size of 100 animals.”

Now, take a look at the map that shows the census count.  The census count as of the spring of 2012 was 171 (foals not counted) and I have the payment invoices from the bait trap contractor to BLM that says last fall they trapped 100 wild horses and then last winter they trapped 100 more … and now they have authorized another 100 wild horses be captured.

Assume that the 200 (last fall and last winter) would include the original 171 wild horses plus the foals and likely some on private property/outside HMA but there is no way there will be another 100 taken this summer and still leave 100 which was the stated plan in the EA.  ZERO or more accurately stated … minus zero will be the result and thus Murderer’s Creek HMA will be the next HA land since there will be no horses to manage … thus no HMA.

And this will be the continuous plan (already going strong) for all of our WH&B … except for a few in a “zoo”.  I hope I am wrong!

MurdersCreekCensus

 https://rtfitchauthor.com/2012/08/06/wild-horse-and-burro-bait-trapping-going-going-gone/

A Life and Death Plea for HELP from our Braying Buddies

Lots more to learn and little time to do it – our comments are due TODAY – 4/5/2013

In our opinion, this Hickison Wild Burro Complex (USFS/BLM) proposal is a gigantic step toward zeroing out ALL the Wild Burros.  We quote the USFS document: “…the authorized officer should consider setting the AML at zero.”   Yes, it does say ZERO – read it for yourself on the below link.

Per BLM stats, Nevada has lost (zeroed out) over 10 million acres that were legally designated by Congress as Wild Horse and Burro land already and this looks like they plan to add the Hickison Wild Burro Complex to this.

To give us a generalized idea how many burros could be supported by this Hickison Complex, BLM has stated that it could take up to 240 acres to support one horse per year.  The Hickison Complex (USFS/BLM) is 109,845 acres thus it could support over 400 burros.

Livestock grazing uses 1,100 AUMs per year and these AUMs by law belong to the Wild Burro and could support more than 92 MORE burros.

Wild burros are legally DESIGNATED on the Hickison Complex and livestock are PERMITTED.

Definition of the word “designated” is to “set aside for” or “assign” or “authorize”.  Definition of “permit” is to “allow” or “let” or “tolerate”.  The Hickison Complex land is set aside by Congress for the authorized use of Wild Burros whereas the livestock is only allowed or let to use the public range resources.

Any regulation or policy by any agency that does NOT come under the umbrella of the LAW is thus illegal.  The law is the law not only for me to follow but especially for our governmental agencies and their employees to follow.  The Wild Horses and Wild Burros and their legally designated land belongs to YOU and ME.  Please give your voice for our braying buddies.

“Hickison Wild Burro Territory Appropriate Management Levels and Management Actions Project”  … more information:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTUwMTAwgAykeaxRtBeY4WBv4eHmF-YT4GMHkidBvgAI6EdIeDXIvfdrAJuM3388jPTdUvyA2NMMgyUQQAyrgQmg!!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfS000MjZOMDcxT1RVODBJN0o2MTJQRDMwODQ!/?project=40995

AND

http://a123.g.akamai.net/7/123/11558/abc123/forestservic.download.akamai.com/11558/www/nepa/93330_FSPLT2_382343.pdf

To provide comments on the Proposed Action, please go to:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/htnf/hickison
(their email form)

USFS District Ranger, Austin Ranger District
100 Midas Canyon Road, P.O. Box 130
Austin, Nevada 89310

More Wild Burro information:
https://www.facebook.com/Wild.Burro.Protection.League
www.facebook.com/SavingAssInAmerica