“Fake News” and Lies Fuel Debate to Violate Federal Law and Kill Wild Horses and Burros

‘In my most Outraged Opinion!’ by R.T. Fitch

“Is it just me…?”

Secretary Zinke and BLM Plan for Wild Horses and Burros

For years we U.S. Taxpayers, who have decried the excessive removal of protected wild horses and burros from their rightful range, have been deluged with bogus numbers, bad science and just plain bull crap by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and their deep pocketed bed-fellows. Today, we are seeing it reach new heights and becoming even more toxic for the wild horses and burros; it has to stop

It’s bad enough that we have a long time horse slaughter advocate, Ryan Zinke, appointed as Secretary of the Department of Interior, (Remember back in 2009 when Montana Rep. Zinke promoted “Red” Ed Butcher’s bill to legalize horse slaughter plants in Montana? Now he has the reins of the DoI and already is attempting to send wild horses and burros in holding and on the range into mass graves.) But now we have Horse Eaters of the past crawling out from underneath their moldy rocks in an effort to taste the blood of our iconic symbols of the west.

In a recent ‘news’ article, long time Horse Hater and former member of the BLM’s rigged Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board, Callie Hendrickson has reared her horse killer head and assumed the thorny throne of chief disseminator of rumor, innuendo and trumped up numbers.

“The bottom line is we have pushing 100,000 excess horses and we have to do something,” she said.

What the hell? 100,000 excess horses, where did you dig up that number? Have you actually been sitting out on the range with your iPad and taking notes or is that, obviously, a number that was just pulled out of your backside as a matter of convenience?

Nobody, and I mean nobody has an accurate account of how many horses are on the range and the BLM has no interest in counting. Wild Horse advocates who spend time on the range estimate anywhere from between 27,000 to 36,000 wild horss are still on the range and most of the whittled down herds are no longer genetically viable due to the BLM’s unlawful practice of ripping herds apart in direct violation of federal law. So what makes you so special, Callie, and who made you the SME on a subject that you know nothing about.

Oh yeah, and what the crap does “excess horses” mean? What is the definition and where is the data to support such BS? (being rude to bulls, here) This is just the sort of misinformation that the BLM and Zinke are laying on Congress and the Senate in an effort to have the wild horses an burros killed.

Zinke is asking Congress to remove the limits on destroying healthy, unadopted equines or selling them for slaughtering and processing for commercial products; gotta love it and this is all going on in plain view and little is being done to counter it. Where is the outrage?

Hendrickson said public lands will support 27,000 of the animals, but there are 72,000 out there not counting this year’s new foals, as well as another 47,000 in holding facilities, which costs taxpayers $50 million a year for feed and care. Every year, another 15,000 wild horses are being born, she said.

More BS as the numbers change and continue to climb every time you read an article in mainstream news. Where are the documented sources and where is the data? The only number that is close to correct is the number of horses that have been stripped from their rightful range where costs were ZERO, ZIP, NADDA and now are held in herds of broken families waiting for their lives to end. Easy fix; put them back on their rightful range, where you took them from and now allow welfare cattle to graze, and put the cows back on the cattle ranches. Cost = ZERO! Cows on ranches, wild horses on wild horse ranges…simple; make sense?

The horses and burros are coming up to a cross roads as we have never had, at any one point in time, such a concentrated effort to kill all of the horses in holding and murder the remaining horses and burros on the range. That reality is with us, right now.

We must stop this, we need to put this debate behind us and educate our legislators on the fact that the BLM and Zinke are feeding them nothing but Fake News, misinformation and pure unequivocal lies.

The threat is real, the fix is in our hands…please click (HERE) for more information on how to help and make a difference, we can make it happen. We HAVE to make it happen.

Saturday (7/8/17) Wild Horse & Burro Radio with Ginger Kathrens (Exec. Dir., The Cloud Foundation), John Holland (Pres., Equine Welfare Alliance), Katlin Kraska (lobbyist, ASPCA), Cory Golden (Advocacy Coordinator, Return to Freedom) and R.T. Fitch (Pres., Wild Horse Freedom Federation) on saving wild horses & burros from slaughter

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, This is a SPECIAL Saturday show on July 8, 2017

10:00. a.m. PST … 11:00 a.m. MST … Noon CST … 1:00 p.m. 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.

Our guests are:

Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Exec. Dir. of The Cloud Foundation, and member of the BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board.  The Cloud Foundation is dedicated to preventing the extinction of Cloud’s herd through education, media events and public involvement and to protect other wild horse herds on public lands.

John Holland, Pres. of Equine Welfare Alliance.  Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and its members are involved in a grass roots effort dedicated to ending the slaughter of American Horses and the preservation and protection of our Wild Horses & Burros on public lands.

Katlin Kraska, Equine Lobbyist for ASPCA.  The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is one of the largest in the world.

Cory Golden, Advocacy Coordinator for Return to FreedomReturn to Freedom is dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity, and habitat of America’s wild horses and burros through sanctuary, education, advocacy and conservation

R.T. Fitch, Pres. of Wild Horse Freedom Federation. Wild Horse Freedom Federation is dedicated to putting people between wild equines and extinction.

Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and/or top Bureau of Land Management officials have ordered all wild horses & burros currently in short term holding facilities be categorized by weight and age in anticipation of the approval of the federal budget. The current recommendation for this budget would allow for “sale without limitation” many or most of the wild horses & burros currently in holding. This can lead to the barbaric slaughter of our iconic wild horses & burros.

Listen to find out more information on this issue and the actions you can take to help save the wild horses and burros from slaughter!

   

Left to right above, Ginger Kathrens (Exec Dir., The Could Foundation), John Holland (Pres., Equine Welfare Alliance), Katlin Kraska (Equine Lobbyist, ASPCA), Cory Golden (Advocacy Coordinator, Return to Freedom) and R.T. Fitch (Pres., Wild Horse Freedom Federation)
This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

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

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE. Continue reading

Are wild horses & burros being categorized for slaughter?

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation at Palomino Valley

SOURCE:  The Cloud Foundation

Press Release:  For immediate release

Are Wild Horses being Categorized for Slaughter?

Colorado Springs, CO 07-01-2017 – The Cloud Foundation received an anonymous tip that Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and/or top Bureau of Land Management officials have ordered all wild horses currently in short term holding facilities be categorized by weight and age in anticipation of the approval of the federal budget.  The current recommendation for this budget would allow for “sale without limitation” many or most of the wild horses currently in holding.  This, of course, can eventually lead to the barbaric slaughter of our iconic wild horses.  The tipster stated that this categorization was to ensure the BLM was ready to ”ship out” horses older than five years of age.  The only place to “ship out” these horses would be to slaughter.  The caller stated that the shipping would start with the smaller facilities so that wild horse advocates wouldn’t be able to impose an injunction before the plan was already started.  Although anonymous, the caller also told The Cloud Foundation that direction has been given to the one of the government’s top transportation official to prepare for this shipping.

Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation said, “Surely Secretary Zinke would not allow for this devious, clandestine and under the radar ploy to destroy wild horses when 80% of Americans are against slaughter.  If only Secretary Zinke and other DOI and BLM officials would have implemented tried and proven on-the-range-management ideas as we have asked for over a decade, we would not be where we are today.”

“There are currently in excess of 50,000 wild horses that have been rounded up, torn apart from their families, and corralled at the taxpayer expense because on-the-range-management has not been implemented as hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep graze at little or no cost,” says Lisa Friday, volunteer Vice President of The Cloud Foundation.  “Our indigenous American icons deserve better.”

###

Media Contacts:

Lisa Anne Friday

The Cloud Foundation

1(804)389-8218

info@thecloudfoundation.orgLisa_Friday@chs.net

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.

 

Neda DeMayo (Pres. & Founder) and Cory Golden (Advocacy Coordinator) of Return to Freedom, to tell you about the action needed to save tens of thousands of wild horses & burros from slaughter, Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 6/28/17)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, June 28, 2017

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.

In honor of Mystic, one of the first stallions to arrive at Return to Freedom in 1999. He was captured during the total removal of 279 horses from Hart Mountain-Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Est. DOB 1984 – Captured 1998- died October 31 2014

Our guests today are Neda DeMayo, Founder and President, and Cory Golden, Advocacy & Communications Director, of Return to Freedom, dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity and habitat of America’s wild horses through sanctuary, education, advocacy and conservation.

Tonight our guests will talk about the need for ALL of us to urge Congress to stand against a presidential budget proposal that threatens the lives of tens of thousands of horses.

The president’s budget would slash the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program budget by 12%, about $9.7 million. The majority of the program’s budget goes to warehouse some 47,000 captured wild horses and burros living in short and long term government holding facilities.

The budget would cut those costs by allowing the BLM “to conduct sales without limitation,” eliminating the current policy of captured wild horses and burros being offered for sale without limitation when they reach 10 years of age or fail to be adopted three times. Many sold would likely fall into the hands of kill buyers.

Neda DeMayo, Founder and President of Return to Freedom

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

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

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2017/06/29/neda-demayo-founder-amp-pres-cory-golden-advocacy-of-return-to-freedom

1/8/17 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation on BLM’s dangerous Radio Collar Study on the Adobe Town wild horses in Wyoming. Listen HERE.

2/15/17 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and donkey advocate David Duncan (Donkey Rescue World), talk about the killing of the world’s donkeys for ejiao. Listen HERE.

3/8/17 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Australian donkey advocate Andrea Jenkins, a member of Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary, on the ejiao issue in Australia. Listen HERE.

4/12/17 – Dawn Vincent, Head of Communications for The Donkey Sanctuary UK, and Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation. In January 2017, The Donkey Sanctuary (UK) issued a report titled “Under the Skin,” about the global demand for donkey skins used to produce a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) called ejiao. Listen HERE.

5/24/17 – ELAINE NASH, Founder and Dir. of Fleet of Angels, and Palomino Armstrong, founder of CHILLY PEPPER – MIRACLE MUSTANG, on the logistics of the rescue of the ISPMB horses and about the many wild horses that still need to be adopted. Listen HERE.

6/14/27 – Nancy Turner, Pres. of This Old Horse, a Minnesota nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide sanctuary to retired, rescued, and recovering horses, and Elaine Nash, Founder and Dir. of Fleet of Angels, a not-for-profit organization offering crisis management and transportation assistance during equine-related emergencies, talk about the ISPMB horses that still need to be adopted. Listen HERE.

6/21/17 – Bonnie Gestring, Northwest Circuit Rider for Earthworks, on contamination of U.S. waters in perpetuity, caused by mining. Bonnie is co-author of the report Polluting the Future: How mining companies are polluting our nation’s waters in perpetuity. Listen HERE.

Call to Action: Wild Horses and Burros Need Your Voice NOW

Open letter by Grandma Gregg

There is no time to waste! Please feel free to use the sample letter below and using the form (link below) send your own message to the US House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations.” ~ Grandma Gregg

https://appropriations.house.gov/contact/contactform.htm


photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Do not allow the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States Forest Service (USFS), Farm Bureau and the extraction and mining giants and the domestic livestock grazing associations to pull the wool over your eyes. There are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. Per the unanimously passed United States 1971 Congressional Wild Horse and Burro Act, the land is to be devoted principally although not exclusively to the wild horses and wild burros’ welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands.

The recent National Academy of Sciences study found NO evidence of overpopulation of Wild Horses and Wild Burros. Obviously, the government’s actions toward the wild horses and burros needs to be closely and independently investigated and the animals left on their legally designated land and those already captured must be returned to their legal lands. The American people and members of Congress are being lied to by our government agencies that are mandated by Congressional Law to protect these animals. Our government agencies (BLM and USFS) are truly managing our wild horses and wild burros toward extinction.

There is no reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures because there is no “over-population” of wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros but even after 22,200,000 acres were robbed from the American people and the wild horses and burros by government agencies the remaining 31,600,000 acres could easily support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today. It is currently independently estimated that only about 20,000 – 30,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.

There is a legal term for how the BLM operates. It is “Regulatory Capture”. Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest instead advances the special interest groups’ desires that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure and it creates an opening for behavior in ways injurious to the public and in this case injurious to the wild horses and burros that belong to American citizens.

In addition, the BLM is in clear violation of Title 18; falsifying legal documents. A few of many examples include, but are certainly not limited to, but prove this violation by the BLM’s statements of annual population increases such as the Buckhorn herd area 237% (71 total horses giving birth to 168 foals) in one year and the Black Rock herd area 418% (88 horses giving birth to 368 foals) in one year. Wild horses and burros have an eleven-month gestation period and give birth to only one foal. The above BLM annual population increase statements are biologically and mathematically impossible but this is the type of non-credible data being stated by the BLM and provided to you. Another example of BLM’s mathematics is their statement that the Black Mt. herd area wild burro population before capture/removal was 175 animals and after they captured and removed 80 animals, the remaining population was 635! Since when does 175, minus 80, equal 635? There are many, many other examples of the false and highly deceitful data that BLM provides to the public and to Congress.

https://www.blm.gov/

Since Congress is concerned with the cost of long-term holding of wild horses and burros, and our public lands, please allow me to remind you that these wild horses and burros already have legal lands in the wild for them to live on which cost the tax-payer nothing. In contrast, private/corporate livestock grazing on public lands has cost the taxpayers $1 Billion over past decade. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported the federal government spends at least $144 million each year managing private livestock grazing on federal public lands, but collects only $21 million in grazing fees—for a net LOSS of at least $123 million per year.

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2015/grazing-01-28-2015.html

http://www.taxpayer.net/user_uploads/file/factsheet_Grazing_Fiscal_Costs(3).pdf

 As an environmental researcher, United States citizen and taxpayer concerned with the fate of the North-American wild horses and wild burros, I urge you to not be taken in by the biased testimony you recently heard from anti-wild horse/burro Utah Representative Chris Stewart.

The testimony of Secretary of Interior Zinke was clearly a deliberate attempt to con and to deceive in order to further the extremely unfair and dishonest victimization of our nations overly reduced, overly restricted, American wild horses and burros. The testimony was not at all scientifically supportable and therefore not at all credible and must be stricken from public record and true, scientifically supportable testimony must be given to Congress.

These wild animals are being illegally deprived of their legal habitats and resources within their lawfully declared areas on the public lands; both BLM and US Forest Service. This is being done to gratify and indulge the contemptible and domineering demands of many public lands ranchers, including both cattle and sheep, as well as to other wild-horse/burro-enemies, such as certain big game hunters, land developers, giant mining and energy extraction corporations, and others who have been taken in by all the disinformation provided to them by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.

What we have now is a very illegal and corrupt wild horse and wild burro program managed by the BLM and USFS that dishonors the wild horse and wild burro heritage and natural place in America. This is contemptuous of the true and core intent of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and of Congress itself, which unanimously passed this law of the United States. For decades, wild horses and burros have been protected by a ban on the slaughter of healthy animals or any sale that “results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.”  The current 2018 budget proposal would allow “euthanasia and unrestricted sale of certain excess animals.” If this does pass, it will cause thousands of innocent wild horses and burros that belong on their Congressionally designated lands to be slaughtered. These wild horses and wild burros belong to me and to all American citizens and by Congressional law MUST be protected.”

A Plea to Save our Wild horses and burros, written by advocate Bonnie Kohleriter

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

by Bonnie Kohleriter

PLEASE CONSIDER TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF WILD HORSES AND BURROS ALLOWED ON

  29 M ACRES OF OUR PUBLIC LANDS IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THEIR CONTINUED VIABILITY

CONCURRENTLY PLEASE CONSIDER TO DECREASE THE NUMBER OF ALLOWABLE LIVESTOCK IN

THOSE SAME AREAS TO PRESERVE THE RANGELANDS

THESE STEPS TAKEN WILL PROVIDE A COST SAVINGS TO THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS

The BLM manages 245 M acres of our public lands and the USFS manages 191 M acres. Wild horses and burros (WHBs) are limited to 27 M acres on BLM land and 2 M acres on USFS land. Only 26,600 WHB are allowed on the BLM 27 M acres and only 2000 on the USFS 2 M acres. In addition, some 400,000 livestock are allowed on the same 27 M acres as well as uncounted wildlife.

The BLM claims it wants “healthy” horses on “healthy” rangelands. The current allowable numbers appear to be arbitrary. The BLM manages 168.25 Herd Management Areas (HMAs) with assigned allowable numbers (AMLs) for each HMA. (See attachment) If assigned numbers are maintained as proposed, 107 of the 138 horse herds and 27 of the 30 burro herds will be genetically compromised and unsustainable. The 1976 FLPMA Act calls for sustainable yields.

Recently horse and burro numbers have increased threefold within these areas.  This has put a strain on the rangelands as well as on the relationship between the public lands ranchers (permittees) and the WHB advocates. Livestock are allowed not only on the 29 M acres of BLM and USFS land, but on 229 M acres of BLM and USFS land as well.  It is important to keep in mind, the conflict here has to do with the 29 M acres and not with the 200 M acres.

The grazing fee for the public land rancher is $1.87 per cow/calf (an AUM), but the fee for the private rancher is on average $20.10. Taxpayers pay $143 M per year for permittees’ grazing but receive from them around $18 M, a loss of $125 M. The permitees maintain they feed the world but only provide 2.7% of all the US meat from the 229 M acres and ½ of 1 % from the 29 M acres.

To appease the ranchers, wildlife carnivores are destroyed yearly through brutal poisoning, aerial gunning, and trapping costing the taxpayer $60-$70 M yearly. Then to appease the ranchers, massive gathers, removals, and off-range housing of wild horses and burros is also done costing the taxpayer another $60 M yearly.

It is time to consider to increase the number of allowable wild horses and burros on the range to sustainable populations with then applying fertility control measures to maintain and stabilize the herds. It is time to consider to increase access of the WHB into their Herd Areas (HAs), areas around the HMAs that once was where they were found in 1971.  It is time to decrease the number of livestock within the 29 M acres to preserve the rangelands. The increases and decreases would more likely insure the continuation of our wild horses and burros on our public lands for viewing and for tourism, and would decrease the costs to the taxpayers for subsidized ranching, for killing the wildlife carnivore, and for holding the WHB in off range facilities.

We as Americans are at a crossroads in regard to the use of our public lands. Do we want our public lands for ranching, for mining, for hunting, for gas and oil fracking, solely for profit taking, or do we want our public lands for connecting with wildlife and with nature, for feeding our soul, or do we want a balance? To ignore the health of our wild horses and burros, to brutally slaughter them on and off the range because only an arbitrary number of 26,600 or 2000 is wanted by a few, and to not avail use of modern day contraceptives  as proposed in Zinke’s and Trump’s budget is insensitive, is reverting back to the “good ol’ days of “just shoot ‘em,” and is unconscionable. Have we as a nation forgotten compassion? Have we developed no other tools in our toolbox except to “shove ‘em, “knock ‘em down,” kill ‘em?”

SOURCES OF INFORMATION:

  • A Report on the US Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services Program, Revised January 2017, Wild Earth Guardians. In 2014 the cost for killing was $66 M of govn. funds, the latest year currently disclosed, and in 2015 1.6 M were reported killed.
  • Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands, Center for Biological Diversity, 2015, Chuck Romanello, Karyn Moskowitz, and Christine Glazer.
  • BLM National Statistics and Budget,
  • Wild Horses and Burros (WH&B)-The National Picture, 2013, Carla Bauer.

ATTACHMENT:

THE HEALTH OF THE BLM WILD HORSES AND BURRO HERDS

Gus Cothran, the retained geneticist for the BLM, states a “minimum” of 150-200 horses or burros should be retained within a herd with 50 effective breeding animals to maintain genetic variability and long term viability with a slow rate of loss. He adds, if herds are adjacent to one another and are intermixing, the 150-200 rule may not need to hold. Then, if the allowable numbers (AMLs) are below 150, 1-2 horses may be imported into a herd to help variability though the 1971 Law says the horses are to be where found.  Below are the number of herds state by state with their low allotted numbers. Each herd is given a high and low number. Herds are gathered and removed to the low number, allowed to grow to the high number, and then gathered and removed again.

AMLs above and below 150-200

SUMMARY:

The BLM currently has 168.25 wild horse and burro herds on 27 M acres of BLM land. Of the 138 horse herds only 31 of them have allowable numbers of 150 or more in them. The other 107 horse herds are genetically compromised. Then of the 30 burro herds only 3 of them have allowable numbers of 150 or more in them. The other 27 burro herds are also genetically compromised.  80% of the herds are not genetically sustainable over time as stand alone herds. The BLM claims some herds intermix, but no formal research has been done to verify these claims. Allowing only 17,000 to 26,600 horses or burros in 10 Western states in 168. 25 different locations appears to render these animals as threatened or endangered as a species. The bottom line is, in spite of the rant of the greedy and monied on our public lands to decimate the wild horses and burros on our public lands, we need to increase their allowable numbers if we are to have healthy horses (and burros) on our public lands.

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

Story by Dan Zukowsk as published on EnviroNews.TV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOURS LEFT TO STOP CONGRESS FROM AUTHORIZING BACKDOOR KILLING OF WILD HORSES & BURROS

Source: American Wild Horse Campaign

Stallion of Antelope Valley HMA ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Over the weekend, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees restored language to the 2017 Omnibus spending bill that opens the back door to killing potentially thousands of wild horses and burros. The language amends the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act by stripping them of their federal protections and transferring them to state and local governments ostensibly for use as “work animals.”

With no limit to the numbers transferred and no definition of “work animal,” the language provides a vehicle for delivering thousands, and potentially tens of thousands of wild horses and burros, into the hands of government agencies that actively push for mass roundups and slaughter of these national icons. The Section 116 language can be found on page 804 of this link.

Congress did include prohibitions on commercial slaughter and some restrictions on “euthanasia,” signalling their intent to prevent the destruction of healthy wild horses and burros. However, the restrictions are not enforceable, there is no penalty for violating them, and the many ambiguities and loopholes leave the language open to abuse.  Especially troubling is a provision to allow the killing of “advanced age” animals, a term that is undefined and could result in the destruction of thousands of healthy middle- to older-aged horses and burros.

While defeating this language at this late stage is going to be difficult, the spending bill only funds the government for the next five months. So taking a strong stand now will set the stage for fixing this problem when Section 116 expires on September 30, 2017. 

What You Must Do NOW!

1. Please immediately call these numbers and voice your objections to the committees that approved this devastating last-minute addition to the spending bill. If you don’t reach them this afternoon, please try again in the morning!

** Please remember: the best way to help the horses is to be polite! **

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Chair, Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
DC office: (202) 224-6665
AK office: (907) 271-3735

Sen. Tom Udall, Ranking Member, Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
DC office:(202) 224-6621
NM office:(505) 346-6791

Rep. Ken Calvert, Chair, House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
DC office: (202) 225-1986
CA office: (951) 277-0042

Rep. Betty McCollum, Ranking Member, House Interior Appropriations Committee
DC office: (202) 225-6631
MN office: (651) 224-9191

Here’s what you need to say: I am very upset that Congress has included language in Section 116 of the Omnibus spending bill that will strip up to 50,000 wild horses and burros of federal protections that were passed unanimously by Congress and have been in place for nearly 50 years. Unfortunately, restrictions put in place to prevent the killing of healthy horses and burros are not sufficient to protect these animals, and thousands that currently enjoy federal protection could be killed, or worse, enter the slaughter pipeline.  I urge your office to remove this destructive language from the Omnibus, and if unable, then it must be removed when this spending bill expires later this year.”

Click (HERE) to help further by sending an email

https://act.americanwildhorsecampaign.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=24755

Drugging wild horses is not sound wildlife policy

The drug PZP can be administered by darts (pictured) or through a hand-delivered jab stick. (Photo by Phil Taylor, E & E Reporter)

Source: Elkodaily.com

Commentary by Michael Ray Harris  (Michael Ray Harris is the director of the Wildlife Law Program for the animal advocacy organization Friends of Animals. He is located in Colorado.)

There is a lot of talk going on regarding whether the fertility drug porcine zona pellucida (PZP) is a magic bullet to control what some believe is an overpopulation of wild horses in the West. Organizations like the Humane Society of the United States and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign claim that PZP is a safe and effective way to “responsibly manage” the horses. As such there is a huge push to get state and federal wildlife officials to dart as many wild mares as possible with the drug this year.

The assertion that the use of PZP does not “harm” the horses is, however, scientifically questionable. While scientists associated with the Humane Society have researched the efficacy of the drug on controlling fertility, these pro-PZP researchers have ignored research on the negative effects the drug can cause the horse.

Independent research shows that PZP — which is derived from pig ovaries and is registered as a pesticide by the Environmental Protection Agency — can have lasting adverse effects on wild horses. According to Dr. Cassandra Nuñez, PZP is associated with ovulation failure and can alter the birthing cycle of wild horses, resulting in birth out of season where the foal can die for lack of available food.

Dr. Nuñez also found that PZP has significant consequences on social behavior of wild horses. Normally bands of wild horses are very stable, and mares will stay with males for much, if not all, of their lives. However, when mares have been treated with PZP and cannot get pregnant, they may leave their bands. This creates instability in the bands and effects the health of the group members. The instability caused by PZP causes increased mortality, and can cause the parasite load of animals in the group to go up because of increased stress.

Thus, the fundamental problem with PZP, from an animal activist’s perspective, is that the drug can deprive the horses of what the renowned American philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum has called “species-specific, basic capabilities:” life, bodily health, bodily integrity, play, sense/imagination/thought, emotion, affiliation, and control over one’s environment.

What is ignored by the pro-PZP community is that wild horses darted with PZP to inhibit their ability to naturally reproduce aren’t really, well, “wild” anymore. “Wild,” means “living in a state of nature” as opposed to being “tamed or domesticated” to be more useful to humans. Accordingly, opposition to PZP is based on an ethical belief that wild animals should be free of human manipulation.

Read the rest if this commentary HERE.

Read the EPA Pesticide Fact Sheet HERE.

Range Riders-a false solution for predator-livestock conflicts

By as published on Wildlife News

“…these conservation groups conveniently ignore and fail to inform their membership and media of the multiple ways that livestock production harms wildlife, and ecosystems, no doubt while receiving big donations for their silence. They are, thus, directly culpable for helping to continue the livestock hegemony and destruction of our public lands.”

Private Cattle being herded onto public land at Antelope AS wild horses are being stampeded away ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Tom Sawyer would be proud of the “progressive” livestock producers who “love” predators.  These ranchers are continuously held up as a “win-win demonstrations” by collaborating so-called conservation groups who promote these operations as examples of how wildlife and ranching can co-exist.

You know the names, in part, because there are so few of them around the West that the same operations are continuously written up in the media and promoted by conservation groups-Malpai Borderlands group in Arizona and New Mexico, Lava Lake Land and Livestock Company in Idaho, JBarL in Montana’s Centennial Valley, and the Tom Miner Association adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.

The problem is that all these feel-good examples have two problems.

One they are the exceptions, not the rule. In all cases, they are livestock operations owned by wealthy individuals or those who have some connection to wealth. As a result, they can implement management practices that cannot be scaled up across the landscape. The Malpai had the support of the late Drum Hadley, Anheuser-Busch beer heir. Lava Lakes is owned by Brian and Kathleen Bean, who live in San Francisco where Brian is an investment banker. The B Bar Ranch in Tom Miner Basin is owned by Mary Ann Mott of Mott Applesauce fame. And the JBarL is owned by Peggy Dulany, heir to the Rockefeller fortune.

The sad thing about all these ranching operations is that the owners are wealthy enough that they don’t need to run livestock at all—likely it is a tax write off.  Indeed, if they were truly interested in helping wildlife instead of promoting the cowboy myth, they would volunteer to retire their public lands grazing allotments and contribute their vast fortunes towards retiring other grazing allotments.

Some of their holdings are substantial—the Bean’s Lava Lakes ranching operation includes 24,000 acres of private lands and controls over 900,000 acres of public lands allotments. Imagine if they retired their grazing allotments instead of running vast herds of sheep on them.

Instead, these “progressive” ranching operations are fawned upon by conservation organizations and receive numerous accolades and promotions of their livestock products (higher priced “grass fed beef and/or lamb). This includes groups like NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife (DOW), Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Montana Audubon, and the Nature Conservancy, among others.

All the while these conservation groups conveniently ignore and fail to inform their membership and media of the multiple ways that livestock production harms wildlife, and ecosystems, no doubt while receiving big donations for their silence. They are, thus, directly culpable for helping to continue the livestock hegemony and destruction of our public lands.

It would analogous to the American Cancer Society promoting filtered cigarettes arguing that they were slightly healthier than unfiltered smokes, and failing to acknowledge that cigarette smoking was a major cause of cancer.

To give an example of this collusion between ranchers and so-called conservation groups, I recently received an email about a “Range Rider” program at the Anderson Ranch in Tom Miner Basin (link here https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=e8f5b5d8e3&view=att&th=15b71e2eda289a5f&attid=0.1&disp=safe&realattid=f_j1jblcbx0&zw).

For a mere $600 you can ride a horse around in the mountains, and for dinner eat grass fed beef of animals you helped to keep out of the mouth of a wolf or grizzly.

You will learn how to harass predators like grizzlies and wolves so the ranchers can continue to run livestock on our public lands with a minimum of losses from predators.

In addition, there is the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get knowing that, according to the ranch website, range riders help the ranch document predator losses so they can obtain more money from the state predator reimbursement program (again why do wealthy people need our tax dollars to maintain their ranching operations).

The people who fall for this gimmick no doubt believe they are saving predators. That is the message that supporting national organizations like NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife try to put forth.  Want to save wolves—come help harass public wildlife so that ranchers won’t kill them.

Unfortunately, the Anderson Ranch and supporting so called wildlife groups are perpetuating wildlife conflicts, not ultimately eliminating them.

Keep in mind that cattle and/or sheep grazing on public lands are consuming forage that would feed elk and other native wildlife which is the food base for native predators. Funny how TNC, GYC, DOW and NRDC and other groups never mention this as a cost of public lands livestock operations.

The mere presence of livestock socially displaces native wildlife like elk which avoid areas actively being grazed by domestic animals. And therefore, are pushed into less suitable habitat. Again, this harms the natural prey of predators like wolves and grizzlies. Again, no mention of this by the collaborating groups.

Nor do these so-called wildlife groups point out that you as a range rider are there to harass predators so someone’s private livestock (like the Anderson Ranch) can profit from public lands, while native predators like wolves and grizzlies are displaced from their natural habitat.

These groups also don’t mention the collateral damage from livestock. The spread of weeds. The soil compaction. The pollution of waterways from manure. The destruction of biocrusts. The spread of disease from domestic animals to wildlife. The trampling of riparian areas. The fences that block wildlife migration. The hay fields that require irrigation which drains our rivers and destroys aquatic ecosystems.

And I have yet to see any of these groups drawing the connection between livestock methane production and global warming.

Indeed, I would venture to bet that these so-called “wildlife friendly” ranch operations have these impacts—which overall are far worse for the ecological health of our public lands than the loss of an occasional wolf or bear—regrettable as that may be…(CONTINUED)

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2017/04/17/range-riders-a-false-solution-for-predator-livestock-conflicts/