Urgent: Our Horse Nation Needs YOUR Help

Our nation is at a critical juncture and America’s wild horses and burros are in the crossfire. Following the troubling news that the President’s budget request for 2018 would strip federal protections for wild horses and burros and put over 80,000 healthy wild horses at risk for slaughter, wild horses are now in danger more than ever before. We were deeply troubled to discover that dangerous language that would reopen the door for horse slaughter was quietly inserted into the U.S. House’s massive spending bill for next year’s budget.

Click (HERE) to join Wild Horse Freedom Federation, The CANA Foundation and many other wild horse and burro advocacy groups in taking ACTION to save the last of the few herds that still remain alive and free!

A Biologist’s View on Wild Horse and Burro Fake News

Commentary by Robert Bauer

“…any devastation of western rangelands, is due rather to an overpopulation of cattle, which have been found to outnumber the wild horses 100 to 1…”

photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

As a biologist, I have been involved in documenting the issues concerning this nation’s wild horses for years, along with many others. While keeping in mind the emotional effect that the wild horses have on millions, both in a negative and positive way, I have also devoted myself to understanding and communicating, from an objective and scientific standpoint, the truth about wild equine. Nature has proven herself to be able to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance, untouched and unmanaged, if allowed, without artificial intervention by mankind. This, also incorporates this nation’s wild horses. Wild horses and burros are not overpopulated as many have attested, nor are they a detriment, but rather an overwhelming benefit. On our western rangelands, indeed, any devastation of western rangelands, is due rather to an overpopulation of cattle, which have been found to outnumber the wild horses 100 to 1.

Photographic evidence has shown that the grazing habits of cattle, coupled with their physiological makeup, has caused an uprooting of vegetation, as well as the destruction of riparian habitats and other water sites. This in turn has had a destructive effect on wildlife, including the wild horses who use these same natural resources. The positive effects of wild horses on our western rangelands can be understood by reflecting on these following truths.

1. It must be realized that nature through its own mechanisms is fully able to maintain natural ecological balance, without human intervention. It does this through physiological differences, found within each species inside any given ecosystem. Each of those differences, contribute as a vital factor in a broad ecological equation, allowing each species, including wild equine to fill a vital niche in the balance of nature. It also accomplishes this through the numbers or density of any given species of animal or plant within that system, in conjunction with competitive species, and the carrying capacity of the land. Sterilization and or contraceptives have been proposed to check wild equine population growth disregarding the presence of its predators, natural environmental factors, and competitive grazers. Natural predation and environmental impacts are vital in regulating the numbers of ungulates and ruminants alike in any given area. Density dependent inhibition, however, must not be ruled out and plays an important role as well. In this scenario, the numbers or density of wild equine, versus competing ruminants, as the pronghorn antelope, will each fluctuate in response to the other based upon the carrying capacity of the land, yet always in perfect balance. The Pronghorn and other ruminants, therefore, need the presence of wild horses and burros and vice versa. Each population will have the effect of keeping the numbers of another competing population at levels that are ideal for the carrying capacity of the land. As an added note, it is deep in my heart to convey the truth that nature through its own mechanisms is fully able to maintain natural ecological balance, without human intervention to adjust it, even though it is necessary to monitor nature, communicate those facts, for the purposes of adjusting mankind to accommodate nature so that it can be itself.

2. Within the physiological and behavioral makeup of the wild horses and burros, there also exist what could be called self-regulating mechanisms. These mechanisms serve to govern reproduction and subsequent population growth or the lack thereof. An increase in the gestation period of wild horses, (delayed implantation), and spontaneous abortion come into play during periods of environmental stress within a system, as well as selective breeding by a stallion within a band, if indeed the stallion breeds at all. In short, environmental stress has the overall effect of limiting reproduction. Added to this are annual mortality rates established in a NAS study which range between 14% to 50% in wild horses up to 1 year, and 5% to 25% for horses older than this. These above mechanisms do, indeed maintain the proper density of wild horses in any given area, perfectly, in balance with competitive grazers and predators. It does this without sterilization, without the PZP contraceptive, and without roundups. It therefore establishes at any given time, nature’s own appropriate management levels, levels which nature adjusts continually, based on the above biological factors.

3. Also, what must be understood is that nature is dynamic, and not static. This infers that it continuously fluctuates and adjusts itself, through its own feedback loops, from the molecular, all the way up the scale of organisms. Because it is dynamic and not static means that its functions cannot be confined to finite thinking, and fixed statistics but must be allowed, through its own mechanisms to maintain itself, hands off, so to speak. In other words, nature cannot be limited at any given time to a given number, or average of numbers, that mankind deems appropriate. An example of this is the Bureau of Land Management’s, “Appropriate Management Level”, of wild horses in their legally designated lands. Mankind’s sole responsibility must be focused on keeping the restrictions off nature, so that nature can be itself, and not an offspring of man’s seemingly brilliance. The moment mankind seeks to alter nature according to a fixed number, or an average of numbers, is the moment that nature and balance itself begins to break down. At first it occurs little by little, yet as artificial alteration persists, the breakdowns become greater and greater. This has occurred in every branch of nature, where mankind has endeavored to manage natural balance, assuming nature to be static and not dynamic.

4. Another issue that must be considered is that the numbers of the wild horses remaining in the wild are not even in the teens of thousands anymore, contrary to the assertions to the contrary. This statement may seem bold yet is based upon Bureau of Land Management statistics, factoring in reproduction, PZP, adjustment of sex ratios, and the thousands of wild horses and burros that have been continually removed. Factored in also, are mortality rates, already mentioned above, both first year and adult, that nature herself applies. These issues combined, have driven numbers in most areas out west down to levels where genetic viability has been compromised and far below total numbers that the BLM have stated as still existing in the wild. Also, with continued use of the PZP contraceptive, population growth will be driven down even further. Reproduction will continue to decrease dramatically because of PZP, but mortality percentages will remain the same. With the use of the contraceptives, or sterilization methods, therefore, mortality will completely overwhelm reproduction, accelerating population decline in our wild equine.

5. It is said by some that because of the vast removals, nature compensates with a population explosion of wild horses, serving to reinforce the elevated population claims. Incorporated into this thought, are low levels of predators, in many areas. It must be remembered, however, that the varied mechanisms of ecological balance do not work independently of each other, but always in concert. Where one mechanism may lack, as the predators, other facets of balance will engage more vigorously yet always governed by the carrying capacity of the land. Predator, Prey studies and statistics have consistently affirmed that predator numbers and prey numbers follow each other. Simply speaking, when prey numbers are high, nature compensated by increased numbers of predator species. The opposite is true also. When predator species decrease, density dependent inhibition engages more vigorously, causing the prey species, in this case wild horses, to reach a limit based upon the carrying capacity of the land, and then decrease in number. Equine mortality on the range, as mentioned above is shown to be very high in the first year of life, not to mention adult mortality, again not all by predators. This and common sense reproductive facts of wild horses, oppose every allegation of population explosions in wild horses.

6. The free roaming habits and social behavior of the wild horses and burros, allow them to harmoniously coexist with every competing ruminant. Their physiological makeup coupled with continual movements have a revitalizing effect on soil and vegetation. This in turn positively impacts other grazers, and subsequently predators as well, who prey upon them. The presence of wild equine in a multitude of ecosystems has proven to result in a beneficial cascade effect, rejuvenating entire areas where they have been reintroduced, both in terms of flora and fauna. This has been documented in many geographical locations throughout the world. Noting these indisputable facts, the wild horses and burros can without question be considered a keystone species. Removing our native equine from their legally designated areas and or tampering with their numbers has and will continue to have a reverse and detrimental effect on our western rangelands.

Conclusion. The answer to ecological balance, therefore, in our western ranges doesn’t lie in experimentation, sterilizations, contraceptives, adjustment of ratios, the institution of removals, or mass euthanasia. The answer lies in the termination of all roundups and a release of the wild horses and burros, in holding facilities, back into the areas from where they were taken. All that is necessary for a “Thriving Natural Ecological Balance”, is to keep the restrictions off nature, and allow her to regulate herself untouched.

The wild horses and burros will continue as the powerful symbol of this nation’s freedom, yet vital components of ecological balance if, and only if, we allow nature alone, through its own dynamic methods to dictate the numbers in the wild that are to exist, at any given time.

Robert C. Bauer
Biologist

Aide to wild horse opponent Rep. Stewart named BLM deputy director

Source: Return to Freedom

“…no evidence that wilderness land designations result in positive economic outcomes for local economies.”

A BLM contractor’s helicopter pursues a stallion as cattle graze undisturbed during a 2016 roundup at Blawn Wash Herd Management Area in Utah. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

The Bureau of Land Management has appointed Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart’s former chief of staff as the agency’s new deputy director of programs and policy.

Brian Steed, who served as Stewart’s chief of staff since 2013, has already started the job, according to sources. He is listed in the position on an organizational chart on the agency’s website.

Steed’s connection to Utah and its Republican-led congressional delegation is no accident. His appointment comes as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that President Trump reduce the size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments in Utah. Grand Staircase-Escalante is managed by BLM, and Bears Ears is overseen by BLM and the Forest Service.

Stewart and other members of Utah’s congressional delegation have been vocal critics of those national monument designations by Presidents Clinton and Obama, respectively. Steed would likely be in charge of overseeing any changes in management if both monuments are reduced in size or eliminated altogether.

BLM’s deputy director of programs and policy position is a political appointment and separate from acting Deputy Director of Operations John Ruhs, a career Senior Executive Service employee who oversees the day-to-day functions of the agency’s roughly 10,000 employees.

It’s not clear what Steed’s specific duties will be, though he is expected to help the agency carry out Trump administration priorities, including increasing oil and gas drilling and mining activities on federal lands.

As a political appointee, Steed likely will be heavily involved in the ongoing effort by the Interior Department to reorganize BLM and other agencies. That reorganization effort has already resulted in the removal of three BLM state directors in Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico.

A BLM spokeswoman declined to answer questions about Steed, referring inquiries to Interior. The department’s communications staff did not respond to requests for comment on this story in time for publication.

But Steed was introduced to members of BLM’s executive leadership team during a conference call this week, and sources said he made a positive first impression on the career employees.

Prior to becoming Stewart’s chief of staff in January 2013, Steed served as the congressman’s campaign manager, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Before that, he taught economics at Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, as well as political science at the university. He served as deputy county attorney in Iron County, Utah, from May 2003 to August 2005, according to the LinkedIn profile.

Steed was the co-author with other Utah State University researchers of a paper published in the fall 2016 edition of the Journal of Private Enterprise titled “Boon or Bust: Wilderness Designation and Local Economics.”

Its authors concluded there is “no evidence that wilderness land designations result in positive economic outcomes for local economies.” Rather, wilderness designations “impose costs on local economies” that call for the need to develop “a consensus-building approach to new wilderness area designations.”

He earned a doctorate in public policy from Indiana University Bloomington in 2010 and a law degree from the University of Utah in 2002.

Sources said it is unusual for the agency to name a permanent top political deputy prior to the appointment of a permanent director.

BLM is currently being led by acting Director Mike Nedd.

Steed’s duties are likely to be similar to his predecessor in the Obama administration, Linda Lance.

Lance was heavily involved in energy policy, helping BLM develop a rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands and mitigation plans for large-scale solar power projects.

Lance had decades of Beltway policy experience that was the polar opposite of Steed’s.

She was senior counsel for former Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) before joining BLM. She was associate director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality during the Clinton administration and, after that, a lobbyist for the Wilderness Society from 2001 to 2008 (Greenwire, Jan. 14, 2014).

While at CEQ, Lance worked with then-Chairwoman Kathleen McGinty on the Clinton administration’s designation of the 1.7-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

https://returntofreedom.org/2017/10/04/aide-to-wild-horse-opponent-rep-stewart-named-blm-deputy-director/

Wild Horse & Burro Crisis – Your Action Is Urgently Needed

Support from our good friends at Equine Advocates

Wild Horse Crisis!

Survival of America’s Wild Horses & Burros Threatened!

Horse Slaughter Crisis!

This Repulsive and Un-American Practice Could Return to U.S. Soil for the First Time Since 2007!

Both of these vital equine issues are now hanging like large clouds over our country where the vast majority of Americans disagree with what some politicians are trying to pull off to satisfy special interests in the ranching, oil & gas, mining and horse industries. The history of both issues are long and complicated.

For right now, however, we have a RED ALERT, so please take action now:

The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the Stewart Amendment which would allow for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Department of Interior to kill 92,000 healthy Wild Horses and Burros. Most will end up being slaughtered. This is not only outrageous and barbaric, but goes directly against the will of 80% of the American People who want them preserved and protected. The Senate Interior Appropriations Committee can do the right thing and decide to prevent the killing of these animals when they hold a hearing on this matter during the week of September 18th.

  1. Please take the time to call your two U.S. Senators. You can reach them at this number: (202) 224-3121 which is the switchboard for the U.S. Senate.
  2. Please identify yourself, providing your name and address.
  3. Tell them that you want the protections of Wild Horses and Burros in the 2018 Spending Bill for the Department of the Interior to remain and prohibit the killing and slaughter of our Wild Horses and Burros.
  4. Also call the two leaders of the Interior Appropriations Sub-Committee, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM) and express the same sentiments to them.

There is no time to waste!  Please act now!   Thank you!

After you act, please read on:

  • What we do know is that Americans do not want Wild and Domestic Equines slaughtered for food. We want a law banning horse slaughter and horse slaughterhouses from operating in the U.S. as well as banning the transport of any live equines from the U.S. across our borders into Mexico and Canada for slaughter or to any other country for that purpose.
  • We want our Wild Horses and Burros preserved and protected. We want the round-ups to stop and we want the Wild Mustangs and Burros being held captive in holding facilities “managed” by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) turned back out on the range. We want the BLM dismantled and a new agency with real experts who can get together on ways to humanely manage and preserve these animals on the range to take over with a new approach that honors the will and sentiment of the vast majority of the American People on this issue.

However, right now, there exists a political climate in this country unlike anything we have seen in more than a decade.  There are more horse slaughter proponents in the current administration assuming positions of power than ever before, including two Cabinet members, Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue.

In addition, Forrest Lucas, billionaire oilman (Lucas Oil; Lucas Oil Stadium), rancher, horse slaughter proponent, and founder of the anti-animal lobbying group, Protect the Harvest, has been given access to the executive branch and has used his influence to add horse slaughter proponents and those committed to the destruction of our Wild Horses and Burros to this administration.  These are just three of many horse slaughter supporters, including Members of Congress, Governors and other elected and appointed officials working to take this country backwards and return horse slaughter to U.S. soil.

No Wild or Domestic Equine has been legally slaughtered in this country since 2007.  There also have been many Scientific Studies and White Papers released since 2010 to further support the many reasons why horses should not be slaughtered for food. One is the 2010 landmark study on the serious health risks for people who eat the meat of equines treated with the common drug Phenylbutazone or “Bute” for short. Click here to read that study.

Another is the 2015 Chapman University Study documenting the presence of horse meat in some chopped meat products in the American food supply.  Click here for this study.

On August 1, 2017, the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) issued a White Paper, the result of years of research. It exposes the corruption within the BLM and its shocking and deadly agenda for America’s Wild Horses and Burros.

The WHFF documents vast discrepancies in BLM records, including the numbers of horses in certain BLM holding facilities, the numbers captured, the ones that disappeared, as well as many discrepancies pertaining to financial matters, including the misappropriation of funds.

Please take the time to read this important WHFF White Paper and the Exhibits (exhibits are on a separate tab at the bottom of the page).

What More You Can Do:

  • Please use these important documents and take them to your elected officials to illustrate why horse slaughter should be banned entirely and not allowed to return to the U.S. and why Wild Horses and Burros should be preserved and protected – and not destroyed which is the government’s agenda right now.
  • Please use Equine Advocates’ Horse Slaughter Fact Sheet 2016 as a guide as well.
  • It is imperative that you contact your members of Congress in the House of Representatives (we all have just one) and your two U.S. Senators as soon as possible (preferably during this month of September 2017) and let them know that you oppose the return of horse slaughter and that you want protections of Wild Horses and Burros restored and their sale to slaughter banned.

Please stay tuned as we provide updates and new developments about these two vital issues facing America’s horses.  To receive our online alerts, please click here:

Time is of the essence!

Thank you!

 

 Hayden & Nelson, rescued Wild American Mustangs residing at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY.  Photo by Kara Heniges.

Killing Wild Horses & Burros is NOT Enough, Zinke Now Puts Cross-Hairs on U.S. Taxpayers

Press Release from Center for Western Priorities

Zinke stacks the deck against the working American public

DENVER—Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced members of a new “Royalty Policy Committee” which will advise the Interior Department on how to “modernize” public land management.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“Talk about stacking the deck. This committee is hand-picked to give oil, gas, and coal companies what they want while ripping off taxpayers. The committee members from ‘Academia and Public Interest Groups’ don’t represent a single public interest group. The political members of the committee represent Republican governors, while states with Democratic governors don’t get a seat at the table.

“When Secretary Zinke took office, he inherited a department that had already taken large steps toward modernizing America’s oil and gas royalty rates, ensuring taxpayers get their fair share for resources owned by the American people. Under his leadership, the Interior Department has rolled back all of those programs, and replaced it with an advisory group that has collectively dedicated hundreds of years to drilling and mining on public lands and waters without regard for our air and water, or the best interests of taxpayers.”

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Opinion: Scheme to Kill Nevada’s Wild Horses Built on Greed

By Charlotte Roe as published on The Reno Gazette-Journal

Zinke claims “humane euthanasia” (e.g. killing) is the only solution to overpopulating “starving” wild equines that allegedly harm the range and wildlife. No evidence substantiates his spin.

Longtime Horse Slaughter Proponent, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, wants America’s Wild Horses and Burros Killed/Murdered.

In Southeast Nevada’s high desert Silver King Herd Management Area, wild horses coexist with elk, deer, antelope and sage grouse. They are vastly outnumbered by cattle and sheep.  Although federally protected, they are in peril. The Bureau of Land Management intends to round up nearly 1,000 to achieve its absurdly low population target of 60 adults and foals, leaving one horse per 10,000 acres. In the huge Antelope Valley and Triple A Complex, the BLM plans to remove over 7,000 mustangs. The Trump Administration wants captured horses sent to slaughter.

In April 2017, Congress directed the BLM to economize by presenting a “a plan to achieve long-term sustainable population on the range in a humane manner.”  Instead, the BLM’s inhumane, unsustainable FY18 budget request, pushed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, proposes to eradicate up to 92,000 wild horses and burros, by selling those in holding to slaughterhouses and destroying those arbitrarily deemed “excess” on the range.

 This despicable plan was conceived through propaganda, deception and what conservative columnist David Horowitz terms a takeover by the cattle lobby. Zinke claims “humane euthanasia” (e.g. killing) is the only solution to overpopulating “starving” wild equines that allegedly harm the range and wildlife. No evidence substantiates his spin. BLM estimates there are 73,000 wild equines in 32.6 million acres of public lands, an average of one horse per 456 acres.  Federally subsidized cows and sheep number in the millions.

The BLM’s wasteful system makes millionaires of a few helicopter contractors. It distracts attention from the devastating damage done by livestock overgrazing and by commercial exploitation of federal lands. Humane management solutions for wild horses and burros have long been available. They include safe, reversible birth control vaccines; the repatriation of captive wild equines to the 21 million acres the BLM removed from their historically designated ranges; readjusting “appropriate management levels” (AMLs); and ending the agency’s counterproductive system of roundup and removal. In its 2013 report, the National Academy of Sciences stated that roundups increase reproductive rates, and that AMLs are arbitrary, inflexible and groundless.

 Secretary Zinke urges further eroding of environmental regulations and undoing federal monuments to accelerate the development of public lands by extractive industries. Wild horses and burros are an obstacle to this greedy plan.

Wild mustangs run in harmony with herds of elk in Nevada’s Antelope Valley. Free-roaming equines graze down fire-prone vegetation and underbrush. They break ice and dig water holes, helping other wildlife to survive harsh winters. They attract visitors from around the world to struggling rural communities. The vast majority of Americans want them safe and free. Please urge your senators and representative to maintain the ban on selling wild equines to slaughter and to oppose budget language that allows killing these iconic animals.

http://www.rgj.com/story/opinion/voices/2017/08/31/scheme-kill-nevadas-wild-horses-built-greed-opinion/621805001/

Federal and State Horse Haters Lock Out Media and Advocates from Utah Sponsored “Slaughter-fest”

Article by Max Roth of Salt Lake Fox 13

“Propaganda, Lies and Deceit Permeate Secret Wild Horse and Burro Planning Meeting to Organize Murder and Extermination of National Icons”

Click on Image to View Video

SALT LAKE CITY — Wild horses bring out the romance and the longstanding divisions at the heart of the American West, and that dynamic was clear as the Bureau of Land Management, the State of Utah, and a number of private and non-profit groups met in a closed-door meeting in downtown Salt Lake City to discuss the animals’ fate.

The deputy chief of staff to Utah Governor Gary Herbert expressed both the romance and the sense of cold reality.

“We love them and they’re an iconic part of our landscape,” Mower said, adding, “There’s just simply not enough feed for the horses and not enough water.”

A collection of Wild Horse advocates gathered on the sidewalk outside of the Marriott Hotel, where the Wild Horse and Burro Summit was taking place.

“I serve on the BLM’s national wild horse advisory board as their humane advisor and yet I was not invited,” said Ginger Kathrens, a filmmaker and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation.

Alongside Kathrens were representatives from the Wild Horse Campaign, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, and a number of Utah volunteers like Shauna Muztafago.

“I felt compelled to be here today to be a voice to those who have no voice,” said Muztafago, who took the day off from her job at a mortgage company to protest the event she couldn’t attend.

The Director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Michael Styler, said his goal is all about being humane to the horses.

“They’re running out of feed. They’re running out of water. How could you be so heartless as to let horses starve or die of thirst by mismanagement?” Styler asked.

The state and the Bureau of Land Management say sustainable population levels for wild horses are somewhere near 27,000 animals and the current population is closer to 73,000.

The advocates who were not invited to the meeting say those numbers are more a reflection of the government’s priority on profitable livestock over wild horses. They cite a 2013 study conducted by the National Academy of Science that found no basis for the 27,000 horse population target. They also cite their own work with horses.

“We actually manage wild horses on the range, we document them, we have stats and data on each and every wild horse,” said Simone Netherlands, Executive Director of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.

Netherlands said her volunteers regularly dart the horses on their range in Arizona with a chemical called PZP-22, which slows reproduction rates to maintain herd populations.

That’s likely among the solutions discussed by the Wild Horse and Burro Summit, though that’s impossible to know because the news media was also not invited into the Wild Horse Summit discussions, just to a brief press conference in a separate room.

Arizona Advocate Alleges FOIA Indicates U.S.F.S. Violated Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act

Guest article compiled by: “Heber Wild Horses

“A very interesting and positive sidebar to the release of Wild Horse Freedom Federation‘s informative and timely White Paper coupled with WHFF’s FOIA based “The Truth” series is the information that has flooded in from other volunteer advocates doing their personal parts in attempting to help/aid America’s wild horses and burros.  Today’s installment showcases the fact the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does not hold a monopoly on the abuse and mismanagement of our National Icons.  Many thanks to the Heber Wild Horse advocate who  forwarded this article to us for sharing.  If any of our readers have similar stories that they would like to share, please feel free to forward to my attention and we will review for publication.  Keep up the great work and continue to endeavor in getting the White Paper and Exhibits before your legislators.  Keep the faith my friends.” ~ R.T.


Heber Stallion

When I first found out a few years ago that Arizona’s Heber Wild Horse Herd was under the U.S. Forest Service I was relieved.  I thought, hey, much better than the BLM.  Forest Service = Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl … they have to be FOR animals.  I could not have been more wrong!  My disillusionment with an agency I had always felt a fondness for soon turned into fear for the wild horses my family and I had been observing for a decade.  As it turned out, I had a legitimate right to my fear that these beautiful creatures would be rounded up and sent to auction for sale to the highest bidder without limitation.  While digging into the history of these wild horses through vast research and filing of FOIA requests my fear was joined by anger.  My anger was at the corruption of a federal agency which is mandated to protect these horses according to the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, but was actually behind the illegal captures and removals of the horses.

Part of my discovery included agreements between the Forest Service and public lands ranchers.  The agreement (below) is dated 1989.  It names the Gentry Allotment which covers nearly half of the dedicated Heber Wild Horse Territory.  So obviously the FS was making agreements for ranchers to literally take protected wild horses off of their Territory to be as FS often puts it, “disposed of” and it clearly states they are to be taken to auction by the ranchers!  Let it sink in… the Forest Service, in violation of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, paid public lands ranchers to remove protected horses and those horses went to auction.

As was reported in The Pioneer newspaper, “the horses were sold to the slaughterhouse for pennies a pound, much of the horse-meat ending up in restaurants in Europe and Asia” … and they got away with it!

Click on Image to Enlarge

However, the absurdity does not stop there.  On the ‘Heber Wild Horse Territory: Frequently Asked Questions’ information page, the Forest Service has the audacity to claim: “Over the next 20 years (after the 1973 establishment of the Heber Wild Horse Territory) the herd size remained very small.  The last census of the Territory taken in 1993 found two mares.”  This falsely implies the herd died off of natural causes.  They conveniently neglect to state that they had been paying ranchers for YEARS to remove wild horses.  For the record, the Heber wild horse herd never died off in spite of the efforts of the Forest Service and the public lands ranchers to eliminate them from our public forest land.  Not surprisingly, to this day, the FS still maintains that all the wild horses died off and the horses currently in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are feral trespass.

Regardless of what the Forest Service says…there were wild horses on the land now designated as the Heber Wild Horse Territory and the surrounding forest land when the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (WFRHBA) was passed… and every day since then.  Those descendants do come under the protection law today.

Passage of the current draft of the Interior appropriations bill, which includes the Wild Horse and Burro Program, will severely and adversely affect ALL of America’s wild horses in holding or in the wild whether they are under the agency of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).  At this time, the Forest Service is in the planning stage of a Heber Wild Horse Territory Management Plan.  The Heber Wild Horse Herd is very much in danger of having a mass reduction leaving a non-viable number of horses with the likelihood of the legally protected Heber Territory wild horses that are removed going to auction and slaughter.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/HeberWildHorses/

Update: Wild Horse & Burro Advocate Takes to Facebook Live to Save America’s National Icon

Source: Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s President, R.T. Fitch, speaks on newly released White Paper outlining BLM’s deception of US Public and Congress

The People Behind the Paper, the Board of Directors of Wild Horse Freedom Federation. Left to Right, Marjorie Farabee, Carol Walker, R.T. Fitch, Debbie, Dawn Reveley and Terry Fitch


Long time Wild Horse & Burro advocate and co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation spoke to the release of their detailed and informative White Paper on the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, with a Focus on Problems Related to Holding Facilities.

Released just last Wednesday, July 26th 2017, the detailed report outlines years of deception initiated by the renegade federal agency who, to date, attempts to dissuade, delude and deceive the citizens of the United States and the very legislators that write the laws and control federal budgets.

“We have spent over five years gathering and cataloguing our evidence through FOIA and eyewitness accounts. We have actual BLM documents that the public and Congress have never reviewed; the evidence is damming by the BLM’s own account,” says R.T. Fitch. “What we present in the paper is only the tip of the iceberg and with the specter of the mindless murder of tens of thousands of wild horses and burros looming over the wild ones this information is critical and must be presented to the Senate and Congress, NOW! ”

 

“I am, personally, treading into unknown technical territory as I have never done this before but we feel this is the best way to help to explain the current way forward in the fight to save our wild equines,” R.T. explained. “ We are just normal, stick-in-the throat, regular Americans doing our level best to make a difference. We hope our viewers will be able to look beyond any amateur fumbling; the point is that it is all about the wild horses & burros and we all need to take action and the time for that action is now.”

Keep the Faith

Co-Author of White Paper, Animal Law Attorney Bruce Wagman with R.T. and Terry Fitch

Cover Letter: White Paper on BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program

Cover letter from R.T. Fitch ~ President and Co-Founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Howdy Team, remember last week, in one of these forwards, I alluded to the fact that we were going to give you a tool for your Advocate toolbox; well here you go. 

We just gave you a BLM Factory Tool, one Big Friggin Hammer (BFH). 

The five year project of the White Paper was compiled and written FOR Legislators, Lawmakers and Government leaders in an effort to pry their eyes open to the fact that the BLM has been generating false numbers and has been skewing the facts for years, they are doing it right now, as you read this.  So even though this was not geared towards public consumption, put together by one of the finest Animal Law Attorneys in the universe, we are hoping that advocates will download it, become familiar with the facts contained within and then ensure that this important Paper gets in front of their Senators and Representatives, PRIOR to the Appropriation Committees votes on horse slaughter and the wild ones. 

This could turn the tide. 

Any sane person should not vote to believe the numbers that the BLM and Zinke are throwing around and surely would not vote to kill and murder the wild ones in an effort to save money when they don’t even know the truth on how many equines are involved or how much money has been spent and where…it would make no sense. 

So please, get this out there as it is not about us, the advocates, it is ALL about the wild horses & burros. 

Below is an example of the cover letter which can be downloaded, along with the paper and exhibits, at http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/white-paper/


July 27, 2017

To: ______

_____

Re:       White Paper on the Wild Horse & Burro Program

Dear :

Enclosed please find Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s White Paper on certain aspects of the federal government’s Wild Horse & Burro Program. The White Paper is the result of several years of detailed research, including the collection of thousands of documents obtained from the Bureau of Land Management, independent investigations, and legal analysis of the implications of our findings in light of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1340 (“Wild Horse Act”).

While much has already been written about various aspects of the Wild Horse & Burro Program, the White Paper focuses on and exposes systemic problems that have not been adequately addressed by the BLM or other horse advocacy groups. It is WHFF’s intention by the preparation and submission of this White Paper to both alert the public and the government to significant problems with the administration of the program, and to suggest a path forward that will benefit all stakeholders.

As you may know, the fate of America’s wild horses and burros – some of the most important and iconic animals in American history – is at a pivotal stage this month, as Congress considers amendments to the Wild Horse Act that could open up unlimited opportunities to kill wild horses on the range and in captivity. Before any such decision is made, the data and conclusions in this White Paper must be considered and addressed openly – in Congress, at the federal agency level, and in the public eye.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or would like to further discuss our findings. We would be happy to meet with you to further explore opportunities to turn around the current trend towards elimination of America’s wild horses and burros.

Sincerely,

R.T. Fitch