THE TRUTH #20 – National Park Service gives Mark Meyers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue all of the wild burros in Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #20 – National Park Service gives Mark Meyers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue all of the wild burros in Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.

Wild horses and burros on National Park Service lands fell through the cracks on being protected when the Wild Free-Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971 was passed.

The National Park Service (NPS) is not paying Mark Meyers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR) to remove all of the wild burros from Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve over the next 5 years.  NPS seems to just be signing a Memorandum of Understanding to give Mark Meyers/Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue an estimated 2,500 wild burros, the last remaining wild burros in this Park and Preserve, to do with as he will.  Mark Meyers has to come up with about $5 million to pay for this project.

NPS may have bypassed the U.S. Government’s contracting bidding process open to the public by just giving away the wild burros to Mark Meyers/Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue and only signing a Memorandum of Understanding.  However, in a 10/17/2017 email, Debra Hughson of NPS notes (in talking about Mark Meyers/Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue) “They appear to be worried about investing in this project and then us having someone come in and under cut them out of the process or directly competing with them.” 

Josh Hoines of the NPS initially contacted Mark Meyers about this project, but there was no mention in any of the FOIA records we received about any other burro rescue groups being contacted.

A rough draft of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is below, but it seems that this is still under review by the NPS legal team and is NOT a final version.  This is being posted so that the public can be aware of what is being considered at this point.

This MOU states “Upon capture, the NPS relinquishes any rights to the feral burros.”

Per this version of the MOU, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue “Maintains detailed records of animals collected from the Park and Preserve.”  However, unless PVDR gives these records to the NPS, the detailed records, including the exact number of wild burros that are captured and removed, will not be available to the public with the Freedom of Information Act.

The bottom line is that the NPS is relinquishing any rights upon capture, and these burros become the property of PVDR.  The public will never have accountability regarding what happens to these wild burros down the line.

In an Aug. 3, 2017 email from Mark Meyers to Josh Hoines of NPS, Meyers states “Also, I have been contacted by a person that is interested in underwriting a large part of this project.  More details to follow.”

The big question about this is who would donate almost $5 million for about 2,500 wild burros, and more importantly, why?

Read the rest of this article and see the FOIA documents HERE.


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Read all of THE TRUTH and see other FOIA documentation HERE.

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The Sad Truth of Using Public Lands for Cattle Grazing

as published on The Hill

“There is no shortage of severe damage from livestock overgrazing on public lands in my home state of Wyoming…

Thanks to a legal settlement between conservation groups and the National Park Service, Point Reyes National Seashore has now stopped blindly rubber-stamping long-term dairy and beef grazing leases on public land, and the agency will write a general management plan that hopefully will guide this cattle-bitten area toward a more environmentally sustainable future. Today, about one-fourth of the National Seashore is committed to intensive, industrial-scale agriculture on public lands that by law is supposed to be managed for “public recreation, benefit, and inspiration.”

There is no shortage of severe damage from livestock overgrazing on public lands in my home state of Wyoming, but when I first visited Point Reyes a year ago, I was appalled to find that livestock operations have completely converted the native coastal prairies to closely-cropped lawns of European annual grass on the lands where they operate. In the Intermountain West, one can at least find remnant patches of native vegetation; on Point Reyes pastures, non-native grasses dominate.

On Point Reyes, the Park Service allows ranches to plow under the grasses across thousands of acres of National Seashore land to plant invasive weeds, wild mustard and white charlock, as “silage” to feed the cattle. Ground-nesting birds use these silage fields for nesting, and when they are mowed during nesting season, these birds and their chicks are often killed. Silage weeds spread from the fields where they are planted to invade the surrounding grazing lands, and even lands that have been closed to grazing.

And throughout the grazed pastures, mounds of invasive milk thistle spring up everywhere like clumps of contagion to put the sickness of the land on full display.

These pastures serve as supplemental feed for open-air feedlots that accumulate piles of manure taller than a basketball player on Park Service lands. The manure is then liquefied and sprayed all over the tops of the bluffs, where the sea breezes waft the pungent sewage scent throughout the National Seashore.

It is a well-known fact that livestock operations produce significant amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Converting deep-rooted perennial grasses native to the region to shallow-rooted annual grasses from Europe in livestock pastures also depletes the land’s ability to sequester carbon. While ranchers claim they’re trying to reduce their carbon footprint, in reality livestock removal is a far more effective option from a climate change standpoint.

Meanwhile, the rare tule elk has been reintroduced at Point Reyes, and is starting to make a comeback. But the main population is imprisoned on a 2,600-acre spit of land called Tomales Point behind an eight-foot-tall fence, designed to keep elk away from the livestock operations. While there is plenty of fog on the central California coast, rainfall can be scarce at times. Drought conditions between 2012 and 2014 caused mass die-offs of elk at Tomales Point due to lack of available water (and perhaps dietary deficiencies due to the absence of diverse soil types on this small peninsula), in which 250 elk perished.

Add this problem to E. coli contamination of streams, estuaries, and even beaches, throw in miles of fences that entangle wildlife, and top it all off with the loss of threatened and endangered plants and wildlife from the coho salmon to the Myrtle’s silverspot butterfly, and commercial livestock operations are revealed as completely incompatible with the conservation requirements of the National Seashore.

The livestock industry is now scrambling to try to characterize modern beef and dairy operations as “historic ranches” that should be protected. Though they get some credit for being organic, they are still doing a tremendous amount of environmental damage to the lands, waters, and wildlife of the area.

Between 1962 and 1978, every single one of the private ranches on the National Seashore was bought up at fair-market value by the National Park Service, with the intention to phase out commercial agriculture. Beef and dairy operations were paid a total of $57.7 million to sell their lands to make way for a National Seashore, and in 2018 dollars, that’s an average of $12.5 million apiece. The Park Service even offered a bonus to sweeten the deal: “life estates,” which allowed the former ranch owners to stay on in houses owned by the Park Service, and run their livestock operations on leased National Seashore lands for a 25-year period.

Today, almost all of the life estates have run their course, and it is time for the agricultural operations to live up to their end of the bargain. Private lands abound in the surrounding region, making it relatively simple to relocate a ranch operation. It must be hard to give up the highly privileged lifestyle of living in National Park Service housing by the sea. But it’s time to phase out ranching and phase in the native grazers — the tule elk — just as the Park Service committed to do in its 1998 Tule Elk Management Plan.

Meanwhile, the fate of the one real historic ranch on the National Seashore — the Pierce Point Ranch — offers hope for a better future. Here, livestock were removed in 1973, never to return. These lands became the Tomales Point elk preserve. On the elk preserve, the rare native coastal prairies are returning, bringing an abundance of wildlife with it.

In place of stinking, degraded pastures dominated by invasive weeds, visitors now can enjoy a natural coastal landscape. It’s a gorgeous contrast to the degraded livestock zone, and provides a glimpse of what a recovered National Seashore will look like.

Point Reyes National Seashore is within an easy day’s drive of 7 million local residents, and already receives more than 2 million visitors a year. The agriculture industry controls the lands that are the gateway for most recreational visitors. In one of America’s most densely-populated regions, public lands with high recreation value are in short supply. We can no longer afford to saddle scenic National Park Service Lands with ugly, smelly, and high-impact agricultural operations. By tearing down the fences and returning these livestock-damaged lands to nature under the new General Management Plan, Point Reyes can take its rightful place as a second Yellowstone along the California coast, and a jewel in the crown of the National Park system.

Erik Molvar is a wildlife biologist and executive director of Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit conservation group working to protect wildlife and watersheds on western public lands. Western Watersheds Project was a plaintiff in the case that resulted in a settlement preventing long-term livestock leases on these Park Service lands and requiring a new Point Reyes General Management Plan.

The Lives of More Than 45,000 Wild Horses Are Still at Risk as Congress Waits for the Bureau of Land Management’s Plan


by Carol J. Walker, Director Of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

I want to personally thank all of you who called, emailed, faxed, wrote and met with your Senators and Representatives on behalf of our wild horses and burros before the Spending Bill was passed last week.  Congress did maintain protections for wild horses and burros BUT they demanded that the Bureau of Land Management, who is tasked with managing and protecting wild horse and burros on our public lands submit a “comprehensive plan and any corresponding legislative proposals” within 30 days.

Why is this a reason for concern?  Because the very language of the directive to the BLM points at drastic measure.  “the failure to address these problems is irresponsible and will result in irreparable damage to the landscape and the welfare of the animals protected.”

This leaves the door wide open for the BLM to recommend killing (this is NOT “euthanasia”) the 45,000 wild horses and burros in holding as well as the 45,000 still on our public lands who are deemed “excess”and allowing the BLM to to remove protections from wild horses and burros that are in captivity and transfer them to federal, state, and local agencies, send them overseas and put them in “partnerships” that are not in their best interests.  All of these alternatives will expose them to possibly being shipped to slaughter.

Wild Horses and Burros need to be humanely managed on the range, while wild and free on our public lands. Destroying them to pander to the Cattleman’s Association is not the solution.  We are concerned that once the report is delivered to Congress before the end of April that the BLM could start killing and transferring wild horses and burros very quickly.

Please continue to follow our alerts and posts and requests for action during this very crucial time.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit

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Great news in the 2018 Budget: America’s wild and domestic equines will be saved from slaughter and destruction


Thanks to all of YOU for making the many phone calls, sending faxes letters and visiting with your Congressional representatives. 

The language for the Omnibus Spending Bill has been released and it contains provisions against horse slaughter and protections for America’s wild horses and burros!

While none of this will be official until both Houses of Congress vote on the bill, it is being reported that the votes to pass it with this language are there.

When passed, horse meat inspectors will remain defunded so that no horse slaughterhouses can open and operate in the U.S. Wild horses and burros will be protected from execution by the BLM and they will not be permitted to be sold “without limitation,” which means slaughter.

Much work still needs to be done.  Language that threatens the horses is in the 2019 Budget.  We need to pass a federal horse slaughter ban and the round-ups of wild horses and burros need to end and the captive ones need to be released back on the range..But at least for now, life and hope have triumphed over death and destruction.

Please be sure to send an email of thanks to Congressional Representatives who helped to save domestic and wild equines and defund horse meat inspectors.


Urgent! Wild Horses Need Your Help on Take Action Tuesday

Last Chance to Call Congress to Save Our Wild Horse and Burros on Take Action Tuesday

Wild Horses Rounded up in October Who Are Among the 45,000 at Risk of Being Killed or Sent to Slaughter

Congress is set to vote this week on the Spending Bill for 2018. The House’s version calls for killing 45,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities and an additional 45,000 wild horses and burros deemed “excess” that are still free on our public lands. The Senate version protects our wild horses and burros. We need to call our representatives before the final vote at the end of this week. Please join us on Take Action Tuesday.

  1. Call the House and Senate leadership:“I’m calling to urge Senator/Representative _____ to keep horse slaughter out of 2018 spending legislation by maintaining the Senate versions of Agriculture and Interior Appropriations bills. Please stand with the 80% of Americans who oppose horse slaughter and want our wild horses and burros protected and not killed, “euthanized,” sterilized or slaughtered.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: (202) 224-2541
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: (202) 224-6542
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan: (202) 225-3031
  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (202) 225-2915
  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: (202) 225-4965
  1. Contact Your Senators: Your Representatives: them you stand with the 80% of Americans who oppose killing wild horses and burros, and want them protected and managed in viable herd numbers on our public lands.

Wild Horses in Captivity Need Your Help Now

Activists: Government plan to kill wild horses is all a profit scheme

photo:  Carol Walker


Activists: Government plan to kill wild horses is all a profit scheme

Trump’s Interior Secretary has some ugly plans for America’s wild animals

by Matthew Rozsa

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has raised red flags for a number of reasons during his short tenure. He seems to care less about protecting America’s national monuments than allowing them to be exploited by special interest groups and has been caught up in one corruption scandal after another. You would think that it’d be difficult for a man like that to do anything else that could make people who don’t bleed money-green to despise him.

Unfortunately, the lives of 50,000 wild horses and burros are in Zinke’s hands, because Congress is preparing to negotiate appropriations for the Interior Department and whether to allow for the unlimited slaughter of wild horses and burros.

It all stems back to the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 a bill that offered protections to the horses and burros that roam the United States — and, of course, was immediately opposed by special interests in Big Agriculture who were determined to erode its protections. The interests’ first major success in doing so occurred in 2004 after Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., attached a provision to an omnibus bill that removed most of the legal protections established in 1971 and privatized the animals themselves.

That’s where Zinke comes into play. In 2009, the Montana State House introduce a bill to build a horse slaughterhouse in the state at a time the country had been two years without one.

Zinke wanted to bring slaughter back so ranchers and others in the horse business could dispose of their unwanted, unhealthy or inconvenient horses quickly and for a profit,” Susan Wagner of Equine Advocates and Debbie Coffey of Wild Horse Freedom Federation told Salon by email. “The [Montana] bill did not pass but fast forward to today, and now all these animals are facing extinction. The Interior Department’s budget being slashed by more than $1 billion also doesn’t help.





BLM to Postpone National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting. (The BLM did not give the public 30 days notice.)

Thanks to Ginger Kathrens, The Cloud Foundation and American Wild Horse Campaign for threatening legal action to stop this meeting that was scheduled without enough public notice.  The BLM knows years in advance when the term of each Board member will be expiring, so this is a routine matter, not an “urgent” matter.

This really bad photo where the faces of Board members are very small and blurry:  BLM


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. – The Bureau of Land Management today announced that it was postponing its National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting scheduled for March 27-28 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The meeting was delayed when one of its members threatened to sue the BLM because it did not provide 30 days’ notice of the meeting.

The dispute arose when the BLM gave 15 days’ public notice, as required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act and – when “urgent matters arise” – BLM regulations.  For non-urgent matters, BLM regulations require 30 days’ public notice. In this case, the terms of three board members are expiring on March 31, and without them, the board would not have the quorum necessary in order to provide recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior.

A meeting for the board will be set when its new members are seated.

The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board was established pursuant to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and is regulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (Act, which governs the establishment and operation of advisory committees and by BLM advisory committee regulations.  The Act and the BLM regulations recognize the merits of seeking the advice and assistance of our nation’s citizens to the executive branch of government.

THE TRUTH #18 – Dean Bolstad’s Information Memorandums for the Director of the BLM give an overview of the BLM’s experimentation on wild horses & burros

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

March 16th is Freedom of Information Act Day.

THE TRUTH #18 – Dean Bolstad’s Information Memorandums for the Director of the BLM give an overview of the BLM’s experimentation on wild horses & burros

Below are 2 examples of an Information Memorandum for the Director sent by Dean Bolstad, then the Division Chief of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, to the Director of the BLM.  The first Information Memorandum is dated Sept. 14, 2016, and the other one is undated, but was likely issued after Jan. 1, 2016, since that was the time frame of our FOIA request.

Looking at the Sept. 14, 2016 Memorandum, #4 is “Testing a new surgical sterilization method in domestic mares:  oviduct constriction via nylon ligature.”  The reason the BLM is testing this at the University of Kentucky is to be able to try it on wild mares.  Even though this states “In progress – but early results not promising” it looks like this testing would go into 2018 and cost taxpayers $391,000.

Did they stop this experimental procedure when the results weren’t “promising?”

#6 is testing a new sterility drug in domestic mares (again, with the goal of using this on wild mares).  This experiment with Colorado State University is in progress, and to run into 2019 and cost taxpayers $798,000.

Most wild horses and burro herds are not even at genetically viable numbers, so the BLM’s sterilization experiments are frivolous.

#8 is developing and testing a new drug that targets ovarian cells.  The drug uses technology from cancer treatments to target gonad tissues.  This runs until 2019 at Louisiana State University and is costing taxpayers $850,000.

What is the name of this drug and can it cause sterility?


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Read all of THE TRUTH and see other FOIA documentation HERE.

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BLM Advisory Board Meeting Violates Federal Law

Source:  The Cloud Foundation

March 14, 2018
Contact: Lisa Friday, Director of Communications

BLM ADVISORY BOARD MEETING VIOLATES FEDERAL LAW                                                                                                  Last-minute board meeting is in violation of public notice regulations

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The Bureau of Land Management’s upcoming National Wild Horse and Burro
Advisory Board meeting is in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
The meeting, scheduled for March 27-28th, 2018, was announced today, in clear violation of the requirement
for 30 days of public notice prior to an advisory committee meeting. The BLM FACA Regulations state in 43
C.F.R. 1784.4-2:
“Notice of meetings: (a) Notices of meetings of advisory committees and any subcommittees that may
be formed shall be published in the Federal Register and distributed to the media 30 days in advance of
a meeting. However, if urgent matters arise, notices of meetings of advisory committees and any
subcommittees shall be published in the Federal Register and distributed to the media at least 15 days
in advance of a meeting. (b) Notices shall set forth meeting locations, topics or issues to be discussed,
and times and places for the public to be heard.”
“While a representative for the BLM has stated that the meeting is urgent due to the tenure of 3 board
members lapsing at the end of this month, this meeting also fails to meet the 15-day notice requirement for
urgent matters,” said Lisa Friday, Director of Communications for The Cloud Foundation. “Additionally, it is
difficult to understand how a tenure lapse of three board members could be urgent when the length of their
term has been known for three years. “
Members whose terms expire on March 30, 2018 include Ms. Jennifer Sall, Public Interest Representative; Ms.
June Sewing, Wild Horse & Burro Advocacy Representative; and Dr. Julie Weikel, DVM, Veterinary Medicine
BLM Meeting Announcement:
Federal Advisory Committee Regulations:
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.

Recommendations on Wild Horse & Burro Management

SOURCE:  Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Horse Freedom Federation would like to thank the many organizations and individuals who joined us in signing a letter for Recommendations on Wild Horse & Burro Management that was sent to members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Please feel free to copy the letter below and send it to your Congressional representatives.

Recommendations on Wild Horse & Burro Management

The undersigned groups and individuals consist of a unified major segment of those advocating for the welfare of wild horses & burros and for healthy public lands. We strongly oppose any plans to “euthanize,” kill or sterilize America’s wild horses & burros. The purpose of this letter is to address some frequently discussed issues, and to offer our recommendations on the management of America’s wild horses & burros.

Costs of wild horses & burros in BLM off range facilities

There is evidence that the number of horses & burros that the BLM claims are in the off-range holding facilities are not there. Using the BLM’s own records, obtained by FOIA, on the BLM’s reported numbers of wild horses in off-range holding facilities and comparing it to our evidence, we prove that more than half of the horses that BLM and their contractors claim are on many of the off-range pasture facilities are, in fact, not there. We have video, photographs and other evidence regarding this.

The BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program record keeping is also seriously flawed.

The cost of caring for wild horses & burros pales in comparison to the money that taxpayers lose on the BLM’s livestock grazing program: $125 million each year ($1 billion each decade).

Regarding an “excess” or “overpopulation” of wild horses & burros on public lands

The BLM’s population estimates remain wildly inaccurate. We’ve provided a review of BLM’s own statistics where, according to the BLM, some herds of horses have increased by as much as 750% to 1,250% in only one year. This is biologically impossible and scientifically absurd.

One independent report based on the raw data (received in response to a Freedom of Information Act request) from BLM flyovers while doing an aerial population survey over Twin Peaks HMA in 2013, showed the BLM was only able to document seeing 468 wild horses & burros, but issued a final written count of 1,750.

There is no scientific proof that there is an “excess” or “overpopulation” of wild horses & burros. Most BLM Land Use Plans, including Resource Management Plans and Environmental Assessments, do not even allow for numbers that are high enough to maintain a minimum viable herd number in their “Appropriate Management Level” (AML).

Dr. E. Gus Cothran, an equine geneticist used by the BLM for decades, has consistently stated that wild horse and burro herds need a minimum of 150-200 members, with at least 150 breeding age adult animals, to sustain genetic diversity in the herd and maintain a viable population.

Regarding wild horses & burros dying of starvation and dehydration

There is current documentation from many Herd Management Areas that the remaining wild horses & burros are healthy and in good shape.

However, other uses on most Herd Management Areas, including livestock grazing, mining and oil and gas, far outweigh the “use” by wild horses & burros. Even if livestock grazing is “not year round,” the BLM only counts livestock as one animal for a cow/calf pair, so both the numbers of privately owned livestock on public lands and the use of the resources, are far greater than most Americans realize.

The BLM does not use scientific methods to discern what damage on public lands is caused by livestock, but is being blamed on wild horses & burros. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) wrote a report titled BLM Weighs Wild Horse Impact Much More Heavily Than Cattle.” It can be read here:

As a matter of fact, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a federal lawsuit this year, because after 27 years of pledges to reform, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has yet to take even the most basic steps to stem illegal livestock grazing. Vast stretches of public rangeland continue to degrade because BLM does little to detect or deter unauthorized livestock grazing.

Our recommendations for the management of wild horses & burros are:

    • Do not “euthanize,” kill or sterilize America’s wild horses & burros
    • Reintroduce the wild horses & burros that are now in BLM off range facilities back to their historic ranges, where they can graze for free. When Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971 (16 U.S.C. §§ 1331–1340), the wild horses & burros were to be protected in their historic herd areas. In 1971, wild horses & burros occupied 53.8 million acres managed by the BLM, but the BLM now only allows wild horses & burros on half that original range area: on only 26.9 million acres. We recommend the reintroduction of wild horses & burros that are in BLM off range facilities back to their historic herd areas, and that the BLM use on-the-range management.
    • Revise and amend all BLM and Forest Service Land Use Plans, including Resource Management Plans and Environmental Assessments, to allow for wild horse & burro numbers that are high enough to maintain a viable herd in their “Appropriate Management Level” (AML), which would be a minimum of 150-200 animals, with at least 150 breeding age adult animals.