Western Governors’ Association Endorses Gutting Endangered Species Act

PR from the Center for Biological Diversity

“…“can’t be a zoo for endangered species.”

WHITEFISH, Mont.— The Western Governors’ Association endorsed a policy resolution today that, if adopted into law, would substantially weaken the core of the Endangered Species Act.

Policy resolution 2017-11 recommends delaying lifesaving protections for at-risk wildlife and curtailing the ability of ordinary citizens to challenge agency decisions in court. The resolution would weaken critical habitat protections in areas needed for species recovery and tamper with the Act’s “best available science” mandate.

“All you varmints gonna DIE!”

This policy resolution was primarily driven by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, who has spearheaded his “Species Conservation and Endangered Species Initiative” over the past two years to develop recommendations for changes to the Endangered Species Act. Last week Mead stated that the Act is “not good industry, it’s not good for business and, quite frankly, it’s not good for the species,” and that Wyoming “can’t be a zoo for endangered species.”

“The Western Governors’ Association resolution is another cynical attack on the Endangered Species Act that will be used by congressional Republicans to justify gutting this landmark conservation law,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Politicizing science, disrupting the citizen petition process and gutting critical habitat won’t help a single endangered species move an inch closer to recovery. These governors should be ashamed of themselves.”

In February more than 280 environmental, animal-protection, faith-based, outdoor-recreational and social-justice groups sent a letter to the National Governors Association urging the organization to oppose any upcoming legislative changes to the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, the letter asks the national association not to support an ongoing effort led by the Western Governors’ Association to weaken the bedrock wildlife law.

On Tuesday California Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to the Western Governors’ Association opposing the resolution on the Endangered Species Act.

“Gov. Brown is absolutely correct that this resolution won’t help the recovery of endangered species at all,” said Hartl. “Republicans in Congress like Rob Bishop and John Barrasso aren’t interested in improving the Act — they want to see it disappear forever.”

In December Rep. Bishop (R-Utah) said “I would be happy to invalidate the Endangered Species Act” and wanted to pursue a repeal-and-replace strategy for legislation for the Act. Meanwhile Sen. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has sponsored or cosponsored eight bills attacking the Endangered Species Act since 2015 and voted against the Act nearly a dozen times since 2011.

“The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most successful conservation law and has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the plants and animals under its protection,” said Hartl. “This resolution is completely out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans that want to strengthen the Act and recognize that it has saved bald eagles, gray whales, American alligators and other iconic wildlife from the brink of extinction.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2017/endangered-species-act-06-28-2017.php

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/

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/

Wild Horse & Burro Advocate’s Talent Featured on CBS Sunday Morning

Carl Mrozeck:

Carl MrozekCBS Sunday Morning will highlight the inauguration and post-election this Sunday morning -concluding with a short visit by short eared owls that I filmed in the fields of Cattaragus County in western NY.  Short Eared owls are found around the globe, but , in N.America they  mostly nest in Canada and  feed mainly on mice and other small mammals, but also on songbirds.

Enjoy the spectacle, ”

Carl

TS Radio: Wildlife Whistleblowers! Ashley Binetti of National Whistleblower Center

painyJoin us live November 17th, 2016 at 7:00 pm CST!

WB15:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen live HERE!

Call in # 917-388-4520

Hosted by Marti Oakley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

whistleWhistleblower’s is presented in coordination with Marcel Reid and the annual Whistleblower’s Summit in Washington D.C

Note:  Stephen M. Kohn was called away and Ashley Binetti will be filling in for him.

Our guest: Ashley Binetti

Upcoming Global Wildlife Whistleblower Seminar Series

Washington, DC – July 21, 2016 — The  (ELI) and the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) have announced an upcoming seminar series on Global Wildlife Whistleblowers, scheduled for early 2017.  The first seminar in the series will explore enabling whistleblowers around the world to improve the enforcement of over 44 wildlife laws. The second seminar will address technical skills for lawyers seeking to represent wildlife whistleblowers

Ashley Binetti is the Chief Operating Officer of the National Whistleblower Center.  Formerly, Binetti served as the inaugural Hillary Rodham Clinton Law Fellow with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, and previously worked with UNHCR and Amnesty International.  Binetti received her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, with certificates in Transnational Legal Studies and Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University with a bachelor’s in government and international relations.

 

Nevada Welfare Ranchers Cannot Compute the Wild Horse Debate

Editorial by John L. Smith of the Mesquite Local News (Reprint)

“Good Ole Boy” Mentality an Embarrassment to the State

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A horse walks into a bar.

The bartender comes over and says, “Why the long face?”

Who knows, maybe the equine was a mustang that had just heard about AB329, the malodorous pile of legislation that should be drawing flies and instead is attracting bipartisan support from Nevada elected officials who should know better. An element of the legislation, which has already passed a vote in the Assembly by a wide margin, changes the definition of “wildlife” to included “any wild animal, wild bird, reptile amphibian, mollusk or crustacean naturally found in a wild state whether indigenous to Nevada or not and whether raised in captivity or not. The term does not include any horse or burro.”

Not surprisingly, the bill was structured on behalf of Nevada’s ranchers, who have long protested the existence of wild horses on their rangeland. By “their” rangeland, of course, I mean the extremely arid federal land used for graze by their cows and sheep. Those wild horses, about 16,000 of them in the Silver State, compete for what grass exists in Nevada.

Not only that, but the horses drink from stock ponds and watering holes that are maintained by the ranchers, who accuse the mustangs of muddying the precious resources. The bachelor males are known to treat water holes the way rock stars trash hotel rooms.

Advocates for the wild horses believe the change in the legal language one day will mean ranchers will feel no compunction about driving mustangs away from water sources, which is a good way to thin their numbers and reduce the grazing competition. Some call the horse huggers paranoid. But they point to decades of history to illustrate their contention that their fears are justified: Many ranchers have wanted wild horses off the range and into the slaughterhouse for decades.

Backers of the measure contend the horse huggers are overwrought without cause. They say the bill is intended to prevent the federal government from grabbing new water rights aimed at serving the horses and unintentionally encouraging the growth of the already unwieldy population.

The trouble with wrenching any law that has an impact on the wild horses is two-fold: One, they’re federally protected by the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act and the Bureau of Land Management should be playing bartender on their behalf. Two, the horses have no shortage of advocates capable of splashing the cause of the animals in newspapers and on television sets all over the world.

Because the ranchers largely haven’t shown good faith in embracing the federally protected beasts, their credibility on the issue is reed-slim.

This battle has been fought and won by advocates of the wild horse. Instead of accepting the fact that wild horses and burros enjoy a modicum of federal protection, and taking advantage of their mystique by repositioning themselves in the public eye, ranchers and their allies in the Legislature insist on playing games of semantics and encouraging litigation that Nevada simply can’t win either in court or in the court of public opinion.

Perhaps the bipartisan brain trust that’s backing AB329 labored under the mistaken belief that such onerous and politically charged language might somehow slip into law without scrutiny while the rest of the state was busy fretting about the wobbly budget and the fragile economy. What they fail to take into consideration is the way this bill makes Nevada look in the eyes of the nation and horse-loving world.

In a word, cruel.

At least now we know why the horse that walked into the bar had such a long face.

He was parched and looking for water.

BLM Calls Abrupt Halt to Deadly Winter Wild Horse Roundup

Combined Press Release from the ASPCA and the HfH Advisory Council

Selective roundup removes 1,400 horses from Antelope Complex,  only 31 horses returned

 

Single Stampeded Pregnant Mare follows “Judas” horse into trap on last day of BLM Helicopter Stampede ~ Photo by Terry Fitch

Wells, NV – On Friday, Feb. 25 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) abruptly canceled the controversial wild horse roundup in Northern Nevada known as the Antelope Complex, while the following day the agency released twenty chemically sterilized mares and two studs back onto their federally protected public lands, nine had been released earlier in the roundup.

Equine journalist and Director of Habitat for Horses Advisory Council R.T. Fitch, who has been present at the roundup the past week with his wife and noted equine photographer, Terry Fitch, stated:

“Although we are elated for the remaining horses that will not be subjected to the horrors of the stampede and forever ripped from their rightful homes, we remain devastated by the unnecessary cruelty the captured 1,400 horses suffered at the hands of the BLM’s contractor.”

“Watching near full term pregnant mares being chased over hills and across rocks by an inexperienced helicopter pilot gives an entirely different meaning to animal cruelty”, he added.

The early conclusion of the roundup leaves the BLM nearly 600 horses short of the projected number they had planned to remove.

Speculation as to why the BLM abruptly concluded the roundup was verified during the release when BLM officials stated that the helicopter was bringing in far too many pregnant mares and the risk of injury or death had suddenly escalated.  On site observers stated that their careful documentation of the event was, in part, the reason for the early shutdown.

“It’s quite troubling that more than 1,000 horses had to be callously and unnecessarily removed from the Antelope Complex before the BLM decided to heed our appeal,” said Matt Bershadker, senior vice president of ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Anti-Cruelty.

Bershadker added, “We hope the BLM’s recent decision to reevaluate their failing practices will allow the agency to focus their vast resources on ensuring the National Academy of Sciences has the access and assistance it needs to provide a careful study of the wild horses, resulting in a more humane, sustainable management program.”

Of the 1,400 horses removed from the Antelope Complex, the BLM has only released a total of 31 horses  back to the range. The agency has confirmed nine fatalities.

“I am stunned that while the roundup was still under way hundreds of private cattle were being introduced to the very same range that only hours before our proud national icons once grazed”, stated Terry Fitch photographer for Horseback Magazine. “We couldn’t even leave the herd management area  due to the huge bovine mowing machine that blocked the road and covered the range.”

Earlier this year, several animal welfare, horse advocacy, and environmental protections groups joined forces to urge the BLM to postpone the Antelope Complex roundup and pursue a plan to construct holding facilities for the horses on private lands adjacent to their home range.

“Although we want this entire inhumane and barbaric process to stop”, added R.T. Fitch, “We will take every little victory for the horses we can get.  Today we celebrate the token release, tomorrow we will continue to fight for reform of this tragically broken and inhumane system.”

Wild Horses Symbolize U.S. Freedom

By Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) printed in The Hill

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu a Champion of the American Horse

The image of hundreds of wild horses freely roaming the open terrain in the American West is reminiscent of times past and our country’s trailblazing heritage. However, on July 10, the 200 wild horses galloping frantically across a breathtaking Nevada plain, with dust swirling around their sweaty bodies, were running in fear. With dry summer heat reaching 95 degrees, these horses were forced to run for miles over rough volcanic rock in an attempt to escape the government’s low-flying helicopter in pursuit. It is foaling season and many of the mares and foals were weak from their recent pregnancy or from giving birth.

The offending helicopter was part of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) effort to round-up and relocate 1,200 of our nation’s wild mustangs from this area. It is just one of dozens of planned roundups to permanently remove and relocate thousands of our wild horses.

The BLM states that the wild horse population is expanding rapidly, and it needs to relocate these animals to prevent the exhaustion of the region’s resources. The BLM has been stating this for more than a decade now, but has yet to implement a sound management plan.  In 1971, when the National Wild Horse and Burro Program was created, there were 54 million acres for wild horse and burros. Now, only 27 acres remain. And in every year since the BLM was entrusted with this program, populations have exceeded the agency’s appropriate management level by thousands of animals, reaching over 60,000 at one point. Enough is enough. It is time to find a more effective management plan for these horses that does not result in the careless death of so many.

As a result of the July 10 and July 11 roundups, 13 mustangs died.  Although horse advocates fought for a suspension of the roundups, their efforts were overruled and they continued the next weekend. The death toll now stands at 17.

The bloody tale of the recent roundups in Nevada is not unique. Last winter, during the 40-day BLM Calico Hills Roundup, the government captured 1,800 horses and about 80 died, some during the roundup and others at the holding facilities. Additionally, dozens of pregnant mares suffered miscarriages.

A report issued in April 2010 by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign found 43 percent of the deaths that resulted from the winter Calico roundup were due to diet and metabolic failure that was brought on by stress and trauma.

Currently, more than 32,000 horses have already been removed from the ranges and are being forced into overcrowded and inhumane holding facilities. Not only is this not a safe or desirable solution for the animals, but also it is costing the American taxpayers more than $30 million a year. There are an estimated 37,000 mustangs and burros that live in our Western states. We now have nearly that amount in custody, and the BLM plans to remove an additional 12,000 wild horses from the ranges at a cost of millions to the American taxpayer.

The actions of the BLM are contrary to The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971’s original intent to manage the wild horses and burros in their natural state and to protect them from capture and harassment. I have repeatedly called for an end to these roundups until a more humane and cost-effective solution has been put in place. The Obama administration should be ashamed that this is happening under its watch.

Congress took an important step forward last year when the Interior Appropriations Bill, at my request, directed the BLM to develop a new comprehensive long-term plan for wild horse populations by September 30. I was joined by Congressmen Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) in writing to Director Bob Abbey of the BLM urging a moratorium on the roundups that have caused so many horses unnecessary pain and suffering. We are making long-overdue progress, but more must be done.

The wild mustangs are living symbols of our country’s history and pioneering spirit. Anyone who has had the privilege of watching a wild herd graze freely and calmly understands what majestic animals these wild mustangs truly are. It is hard to fathom that hundreds of our wild horses have died at the hands of the federal agency entrusted to protect them. I will continue to urge the BLM to stop the inhumane roundups and work to find a better legislative solution.  Letting the death toll of America’s mustangs continue to rise is simply not an option.

Sen. Landrieu is the senior senator from Louisiana.

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Insist BLM Stop Bloody Helicopter Stampedes

Courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States

Result of BLM Helicopter Stampedes

We have the opportunity to stop the cruel and senseless killing of wild horses. The federal government is accepting public comments on its new policy for wild horse management until August 3, 2010. Please speak out now

The problem

Over the past 10 years, the Bureau of Land Management has removed some 74,000 wild horses and burros from the range, and it intends to remove another 12,000 horses this year.

Keeping these wild animals in captivity eats up more than 75% of the BLM’s budget for wild horse and burro management. The program is so expensive, that the agency has considered reducing the number of horses in holding facilities by euthanizing or selling them for slaughter.

The BLM must end the practice of removing wild horses and burros from the range and seriously reconsider its current policies and procedures. The HSUS has long struggled to convince the agency to reform a program that is clearly broken.

What you can do

The BLM it is accepting public input until August 3, 2010, on the proposal (called a Strategy Development Document) that it will use to develop a long-term plan. It intends to submit the plan to Congress this fall.

Please take a moment to submit your comments in your own words. Here are a few points to make:

  • The BLM must place an immediate moratorium on removing horses from the range except in emergency situations (i.e. severe droughts and other natural catastrophes)
  • It’s time for the BLM to initiate an aggressive sterilization program using immunocontraception [link] to stabilize and manage wild horse herds in a humane, effective, cost-beneficial manner.
  • The BLM must honor its previous commitment to care for these animals and work with organizations and agencies to develop humane, sustainable programs for managing these animals on the range and in holding centers.
  • Viable populations of wild horses and burros should be allowed to roam free on our public lands, and if need be, managed using humane, long-term, cost-beneficial methods, such as immunocontraception.

How to submit your comment

The BLM is only accepting comments via a form on its website. It will take a few steps to submit your comments, but it is essential that your voice be heard. Follow these steps:

1. Go to the planning document »

2. Click on this text (in blue) near the top center of the page: “Click Here to Submit Comments.”

3. A new page will open.

  • Type your comments in the text box (you can ignore the Selected Content and Comment Title sections).
  • When you’re finished, click “Add Comment”

4. The page will appear again.

  • The text box will be blank, but the “Comments” section at the bottom will show the number “1” under “Comment id.”
  • Click the “Next” button on the bottom right.

5. Fill in your personal information and click “Next.”6. Review your submission, and click “Submit” at the bottom right. A “Submission Successful” page will appear.

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