Dear Cloud Friends;
The Billings BLM has decided to accept emails (BLM_MT_Billings_FO@blm.gov) and faxes (406-896-5281) for comments on their Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) which calls for the permanent removal of 30 young horses (ages 1-3 years) from the Pryor Wild Horse Range during 2012. Comments are due by close of business (4:30 pm MST) January 6th.
The removal will bring the herd to the “Appropriate” Management Level of 120. This drastic plan is completely unacceptable and dangerous for the future survival of the Pryor Wild Horse Herd.
The herd currently numbers only 150 adults (one year and older), the bare minimum to maintain genetic viability.
In 2011, mortality equaled births which is exactly what BLM states as their goal for the herd.
Monday, October 3, 2011 — Washington, D.C. — Earlier this year, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) was honored to announce the exclusive release of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Wild Horses” – performed and produced by the legendary Willie Nelson and his family members. Now, Willie & The Nelson Family have followed up with the release of a video for the song featuring Willie, his daughter Paula, son Lukas and many others from the Nelson family. The video, filmed and produced by Luck Films, was shot at Willie’s ranch in Luck, Texas and features some of the over 40 horses, both wild and domestic, that Willie has helped rescue from slaughter. Willie & The Nelson Family are donating the proceeds from the sale of the song to AWI’s campaigns on behalf of wild and domestic horses. Willie and the entire Nelson family are long-time supporters of AWI and its efforts to end horse slaughter and preserve the right of wild horses to roam free.
“The BLM has been rounding them up at an alarming rate, supposedly for their own good. Sadly, there are more wild horses in holding pens than in the wild. Something is wrong with that, so we must act now before the BLM has managed these magnificent animals into extinction,” said Willie Nelson. “It’s time for the cowboys to stand up for the horses.”
The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was enacted in 1971 to halt the disappearance of these iconic animals from public lands in the American West. Since then, however, over 21 million acres of land set aside by Congress for wild horses have been removed from their range, even as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – the very agency charged with their protection – claims there is not enough land to support existing herds. The BLM is unnecessarily removing horses based on spurious claims of damage to range and other adverse impacts. The BLM’s mismanagement of America’s wild horses is largely designed to benefit a livestock industry that has, for decades, exploited western public lands while profiting from massive subsidies funded by taxpayer dollars. Willie & The Nelson Family and AWI are calling on the BLM and the Obama administration to immediately halt all wild horse round-ups, restore the land provided by law to wild horses and stop warehousing horses on private lands at even greater expense to the taxpayer.
Dear Friends of our Wild Horses and Burros,
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is accepting comments on their provisional committee members. The study will be reviewing the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. However, the current provisional committee makeup is vastly unbalanced.
An NAS committee is supposed to be balanced and free of conflicts of interest, as mandated by federal law. But the current committee members chosen for this study do not represent this impartiality. Some of the committee members have strong ties with largely anti-wild horse organizations, such as the Nevada Cattleman’s Association and the Wildlife Society.
The future of America’s wild horses and burros may rest in the hands of this NAS study. The scope of the study itself is expected to take two years to complete and is to include information on total populations, genetic diversity, annual growth rates, population control, immunocontraception, appropriate management level (AML) establishments or adjustments, and managing a portion of a population as non-reproducing.
I encourage everyone to make their own comments (which are only being accepted electronically here) on these tentatively selected committee members. Below are some talking points you can make in your comments.
You can submit your comments here no later than September 26th.
Dear Friends of Cloud, his family, and herd;
The time is rapidly drawing to a close for you to be submit your letter to help prevent another removal in Cloud’s herd in 2012. I know you all care deeply for Cloud and his family, just as I do, and it is of vital importance that we all stand together to help the Pryor herd. It is therefore of the upmost importance that you submit a letter in your own writing to the BLM Billings Field Office postmarked by August 30th.
We’ve written our letter, which you can read here. I encourage you to take a look at it, and use it to help you with your own letter if you haven’t written yours already. You can also read over some talking points to help you get started. A reminder that BLM is not accepting emailed comments (we crashed their server last time!), so you can mail them yourself to the address below or you can email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will mail them for you. You can also fax your comments to (406) 896-5281. Although we are all frustrated that this unique little herd is continually being threatened, please remember to be polite.
I hope you will all take a moment to help Cloud and the Pryor herd. Thanks so much!
Happy Trails! Ginger
You can mail your letters to:
Jim Sparks, Field Manager
BLM Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101
Dear Friends of Cloud, his family, and herd;
The BLM Billings Field Office mailed a Scoping Letter to interested parties on July 28th, stating their intent to reach an “Appropriate” Management Level (AML) of 90-120 adult wild horses, one year of age and older in the Pryor Mountains. If they carry out this plan 45 to as many as 75 horses would be removed in 2012. We cannot allow this to happen.
Our position is clear — there is absolutely no need for any removals.
It is important that you respond to an action which would threaten the continued existence of the Pryor Wild Horse Herd. Please write a factual letter to the BLM using some of the information provided here. Remember that BLM will not consider your response unless it is clearly your message — no copying of the list supplied here. Please use your own words to communicate your polite outrage at such an unwarranted proposal.
You will note in our list of recommended response topics, the support of PZP, the one-year infertility drug. This comes as a departure for TCF. However, the remotely delivered drug given at the correct time of year has reduced the foal population and it has given us a good argument to fight for no removals. We still strongly believe in the long-range goal of natural management without helicopters or bait traps or drugs. We see PZP as a means to an end, and that end is a hands off strategy in which Mother Nature calls the shots as much as possible.
August 9, 2011 – Chicago (EWA) – The Progressive Rancher Magazine has issued a response to the article in Time Magazine on the Madeleine Pickens proposed wild horse sanctuary. It is ironic that the response accuses equine advocates of “misrepresentations and distortions” of truth but is full of the authors’ own misrepresentations and distorted truth.
The story, which was not available online, was immediately distributed in a press release by Sue Wallis of United Horsemen LLC., a staunch horse slaughter supporter and opponent of wild equine preservation.
Many western ranchers are licensed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to graze cattle on public lands for token fees well below the government’s administrative costs, leading opponents of the practice to refer to them as “welfare ranchers”. Since welfare ranchers on public lands are one of the driving forces behind the removals of America’s wild horses and burros, it came as no surprise that such a magazine would distort the truth to further their agenda for more removals.
Such is the widespread sense of entitlement in this community that they exhibit outright anger at having to share public lands they feel should be solely for the use of their privately owned livestock that currently outnumber mustangs by at least 50 to 1.
The article quotes long-time equine advocate, Willis Lamm, in an attempt to discredit all information from equine advocates. In response, Lamm commented, “It’s ironic that Sue Wallis, who along with her group that I have long considered to be included among those Hysteria Corps, laptop experts and self-promoters, would be so careless as to publish my criticisms of their very actions in her press release.”
Dear Friends of our Wild Horses and Burros;
I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful 4th of July! In the spirit of freedom for our wild horses, the Cloud Foundation filed a lawsuit against the BLM in Nevada to prevent the removal and warehousing of over 1,700 wild horses from their vast 1.7 million acre home in northeastern Nevada (Maverick-Medicine, Triple B, Cherry Creek and Antelope Valley West Herd Management Areas).
Taxpayer dollars paid to the infamous Sun J helicopter roundup crew alone will total approximately $600,000 and that’s just the beginning of the expenditures. The costs in short-term holding, where all the horses will go at least temporarily, will be $8,000 per day based on the target number of horses to be removed. Incarceration for life will add millions to the price tag — all funded by American taxpayers.
The cost to the horses is the permanent loss of family and freedom… what wild horses live for. Some horses will pay the ultimate price — losing their lives either during or as a result of this planned operation.
The Cloud Foundation is represented by attorneys Rachel Fazio and Julie Cavanaugh-Bill. We are the primary Plaintiffs in the case and are joined by plaintiffs Craig Downer and Lorna Moffat. In order for the judge to rule on our plea, the BLM has delayed the start of the roundup (originally scheduled to begin on July 7th) until the 16th of July, The hearing will be held at the Nevada District Court, 400 South Virginia Street in downtown Reno at 10 am on July 14th. Please come if you can to show your support of Nevada’s wild horses!
The Animal Welfare Institute’s updated report on the state of America’s wild horses is now available. If you would like a copy you can click on the link below or if you would like to order a large number of the booklets please email directly with your request.
Managing for Extinction: Shortcomings of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Program
An overview of the BLM’s failure to properly manage these symbols of the American West, 2011, 30 pages.
A government program biased against the very animals it is designed to protect threatens today’s wild horses and burros. Our national Wild Horse and Burro Program and related federal lands management policies are so flawed that the long-term survival of these animals is in serious jeopardy, as is the health of public lands on which they reside. The federal agencies assigned management authority for the program, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the US Department of the Interior and the US Forest Service (USFS) in the US Department of Agriculture, have lost sight of their legal mandate to “protect” wild horses and burros. Instead, agency officials have focused almost exclusively on accommodating livestock and other commercial uses – at the expense of the welfare of wild horses and burros. This report will demonstrate that:
Court Allows Wild Horse Group’s Challenge to BLM’s Zero Out Policy
June 28, 2011 – A federal court rejected the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) request to dismiss or limit a suit brought by a consortium of wild horse advocacy groups and concerned citizens to save the West Douglas wild horse herd. Although the BLM withdrew their 2010 plans to decimate this northwest Colorado wild horse herd early in 2011, the advocacy groups have remained vigilant in their stance to have the Court decide whether BLM has the legal authority to zero out a herd. By her ruling, Judge Rosemary Collyer agreed that Plaintiffs could proceed with this claim and stated, “The Bureau of Land Management’s 2005 West Douglas Herd Amendment to the White River Resource Management Plan violates the Wild Horses Act because it restates the decision by the BLM to eradicate the ‘West Douglas herd’ of wild horses. The 2005 Amendment directed the BLM to eliminate the herd ‘at the earliest practicable date’ and BLM’s recent withdrawal of its decision to gather the herd in 2011 does not affect any change to the allegedly improper decision to eliminate the herd as soon as practicable.”
The battle over the West Douglas herd is nearly two decades old, and only through the efforts of concerned citizens and organizations have the horses been saved from the BLM’s desire to remove them all from their homelands. In 2009, concerned citizens and organizations won the first case in the United States against BLM’s practices of eliminating wild horse herds when Judge Collyer set aside BLM’s 2008 roundup plans. In 2010 advocates again sued the BLM and the BLM withdrew its plans to decimate the herd.
“The court agreed that we have the right to challenge the decision to zero out the herd, originally made in the 2005 Amendment, despite the fact that the BLM has decided not to perform a round up and removal in 2010,” explained Bruce Wagman of Schiff Hardin LLP, legal lead for the groups. “BLM has been trying to avoid the issue with self-serving tactics, but the court found the BLM’s decision to hold off on this year’s gather ‘does not affect any change to the allegedly improper decision to eliminate the herd as soon as practicable.’ This is of course exactly what we argued.”
Dear Fellow Wild Horse and Burro Supporters;
Wild horses in Wyoming currently need your immediate help! With Congress fully funding the BLM, the summer roundups are slated to take off starting in July. Thousands more horses are slated to lose what they value most… their freedom and their families.
The BLM has issued an Environmental Assessment (EA) that attempts to justify the roundup of two herds in that area: White Mountain and Little Colorado. The area comprises over 1 million acres. With a roundup, these two herds will be decimated to a mere 274 horses! Meanwhile, nearly 6,000 head of cattle or 30,000 sheep are allowed on these same herd management areas (HMAs).
The EA contains inaccurate data and faulty science. For example, two completely different numbers are given for the acreage of the HMAs within the same document, and the BLM website provides yet another entirely different number.
The EA itself also provides impossible and conflicting rates of reproduction (including 100% reproduction!) and census data which does not match within the EA or with the BLM website.
Please help these wild horse herds by taking easy action and submitting your own comments! You can view The Cloud Foundation’s comments here.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can read the BLM’s full EA here.
For a sample of what you can write, click here.
Remember: Comments are due by 4:30 PM (Mountain Time) Friday, May 6th. Always be polite in your comments and present the facts.
Comments can be submitted via email to WhiteMountain_LittleColorado_HMA_WY@blm.gov with “White Mountain/Little Colorado EA Comments” in the subject line.
Thanks so much and Happy Trails! Ginger
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905