Tag Archives: Cloud Foundation

Racing to Extinction: New Management Plan Will Devastate Our Wild Herds

For the past couple of weeks, we have been in contact with the ASPCA and HSUS, the main drivers behind a new management proposal for America’s wild horses and burros. We learned of their concerns for our wild herds in response to growing impatience on the part of lawmakers. We have also listened to the comments of other wild horse advocates and all of you wild horse lovers.

We share your deep concern, especially if this plan moves forward.

In its current form, this “management” plan lacks the safeguards and oversight that would keep our wild herds safe from inappropriate, unscientific, and cruel management practices. We have tried to work with the organizations supporting this plan, asking them to add language which mandates that funds be allocated for humane, reversible fertility control and provide for meaningful accountability on the part of BLM.

Sadly, we understand that the proposal will soon be put forward to Congress as-is. This does not end our efforts. We will continue to fight for the protection of America’s wild horses and burros. We are actively working on alternative solutions to this disastrous proposal and we will see the fight through.

We want to thank you all for your support of our mission and our work, and for loving our wild herds as much as we do. Transparency is at the core of meaningful communication and that is why we’d like to explain our concerns about this proposed plan, so you can decide for yourself whether or not it seems right to you.

Our wild horses will need your voice in the coming months, and being informed is the first step in taking effective action. I have learned in my 25 years of advocacy that one passionate voice can make a difference, but an army of informed, passionate voices can create lasting change.

Thank you for standing with us and with our wild ones.

We know that we can count on you to lend your voice, as needed, to champion our wild families, who cannot speak for themselves.

We encourage you to call your representatives and senators and urge them not to support this proposal as-is.

Click here to find your elected officials.

Ginger Kathrens
Founder and Executive Director
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Misguided Management Plan Threatens Beloved Wild Herds

Since the recent announcement of a new management proposal for America’s wild horses and burros, The Cloud Foundation has been working hard behind the scenes to craft a measured, science-based response. We know that you rely on us for accurate, actionable information rather than reactionary rhetoric, and thoughtful commentary takes time.

TCF supports the Unified Statement, which outlines a humane, cost-effective plan for on-the-range management and is signed by over 100 wild horse and animal advocacy groups. It is our opinion that the proposal supported by ASPCA, HSUS, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, et al. presents a danger to our wild herds in its current form. This proposal does not provide for any meaningful accountability on the part of the BLM to follow through on its responsibilities and we can find no scientific backing for its claims.

We agree that change is needed. Our western rangelands are suffering from the effects of climate change and overuse by multiple interests, including energy development and livestock grazing. We are at a tipping point and a new path forward needs to be blazed.

This is an opportunity to alter the course of a broken system and affect meaningful change for the betterment of all. We need to look at not just what is convenient for the BLM or the private interests, but also consider what is right for the land, for our wild horses and burros, and for the American people who love them.

Let’s not forget – these are not “the BLM’s wild horses.” These are America’s wild horses. They belong to each citizen of the United States, and they are beloved symbols of freedom. Americans do not want to see or pay for their wild mustangs to be rounded up by the tens of thousands and incarcerated for the rest of their natural lives.

Collaboration between groups of stakeholders is needed, and compromise will likely be required – but it should happen across the board. If everyone comes to the table willing to talk with an open mind we can come up with a solution and plan for the future that will truly serve our nation, its ecosystems, natural resources, and wildlife.

Sadly, no wild horse advocate groups with nothing to gain from this proposal were included in its formative stages. Our wild horses and burros deserve a seat at the table, and not one group with knowledge of the complexities of the on-range management issue was invited to speak for them as this plan was being drafted. That fact speaks for itself.

The Cloud Foundation always has been and will continue to be a thoughtful, passionate voice for safe, humane, cost-effective on-the-range management of our wild horses and burros. We are very willing to lend our 25 years of experience to a rational and open-minded discussion in order to build a logistically and fiscally sustainable strategy for management of these incredible animals.

We are fighting for the lives and future of our wild herds right now. There are some government and private interests that would wash their hands of them, given the chance. We know that we can count on you to lend your voice, as needed, to champion our wild families, who cannot speak for themselves.

Thank you for all you’ve done and will continue to do for these majestic animals.

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Our Wild Horses and Burros Need Your Voice

BLM is seeking to fill three open spots on the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. For the past three years, Ginger Kathrens, TCF Founder and Director, has served in the critical role of humane advisor to this board and is reapplying for a second term of service.

We don’t have to tell you the importance of having a voice for our wild ones within this body of advisors! With private interests being over represented, these magnificent animals need someone to speak for them.

Please take action NOW and support Ginger’s reinstatement as Humane Advisor.

How can you help?

Easy! Follow the simple instructions below:

1) Write a short letter of support for Ginger Kathrens’ renomination. (This is not a formal nomination but a letter of support in your own words).

Some points you can make:

  • 25 years spent documenting wild horses
  • Her award-winning series of Cloud films reintroduced America to their wild horses
  • Tireless advocate for the preservation of wild horses and our public lands
  • Thought leader in the wild horse advocacy community, her voice and opinion are widely respected
  • Committed to working with the BLM to find sustainable humane management solutions

2) Mail your letter to the address below before April 1, 2019

Division of Wild Horses and Burros, US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management
1849 C Street NW, Room 2134 LM
Attn: Dorothea Boothe, WO-260
Washington, DC 20240

Connect with your representatives

Do you frequently call or write your senator and US representative?  This is the time to ask them specifically to support Ginger with the letter. Or, even better, provide a letter using the points above which they can easily sign and send. Don’t forget the deadline of April 1, 2019!

ABOUT THE FORMAL NOMINATION PROCESS

The Cloud Foundation would not be here without your generous support. Our mission and to preserve and protect all of America’s wild horses and burros, and the land which was dedicated to them, would not be possible without your contributions.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Cloud Foundation Director Ginger Kathrens to Apply as Humane Advisor to BLM

For the past three years, TCF Founder and Executive Director, Ginger Kathrens, has served a critical role as humane advisor to the agency tasked with managing our wild horses and burros on our public lands. As her first term comes to a close, we are thrilled to announce that she will reapply for a second term of service.

The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is stocked with people from all sides of the “issue”, many who are not friendly to these magnificent animals. It’s crucial to the humane management of our wild herds to have an advocate with Ginger’s breadth of knowledge and compassion in the body of advisors.

We know that you care as much about the freedom and well-being of our wild horses as we do, and so we ask you to take action now and support Ginger’s reinstatement as Humane Advisor.

Read the full nomination details.

How can you help?

It doesn’t take much time at all. Here are the simple details:

1) Write a short letter in support of Ginger Kathrens’s renomination to the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Some points to make:

  • 25 years spent documenting wild horses
  • Her award-winning series of Cloud films reintroduced America to their wild horses
  • Tireless advocate for the preservation of wild horses and our public lands
  • Thought leader in the horse advocacy community, her voice and opinion are widely respected
  • Committed to working with the BLM to find humane management solutions

2) Mail your letter to the address below before April 1, 2019.

Division of Wild Horses and Burros, US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management
1849 C Street NW, Room 2134 LM
Attn: Dorothea Boothe, WO-260
Washington, DC 20240

The Cloud Foundation would not be here without your generous support. Our mission and to preserve and protect all of America’s wild horses and burros, and the land which was dedicated to them, would not be possible without your contributions.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Remembering War Bonnet

Photo: War Bonnet with Chance as a foal, 1998.

Trips to the Pryors with Ginger often surprise and delight. Just a few weeks ago, blanketed with snow, the rugged landscape looked like a winter wonderland and I found myself marveling at how many generations of wild horses have lived – and died – in this precious untamed wilderness.

During this most recent trip, however, Ginger and I faced a sad goodbye. One of the matriarchs of the mountain, War Bonnet, passed away during our stay. After 26 years of living wild and free, it appeared that she passed quietly, laying down at the foot of a juniper and simply saying “farewell”.

Join Ginger and her wild mustang Trace – War Bonnet’s son – as they remember this special Pryor Mountain mare.

Dana Zarrello
Deputy Director
The Cloud Foundation
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Help us keep War Bonnet’s descendants, and all the Pryor mustangs, wild and free in their mountain home. We can’t do this work without your generous support, and we are so appreciative of all that you do to help us preserve our wildlife and wild lands. Make a Donation.

Forest Service Adoption Event Poses Potential Health Hazard

Nearly 1,000 Devil’s Garden wild horses captured in October’s roundup are in danger of being sold for slaughter. Despite public opposition and California law, which makes it a felony to sell wild horses to slaughter, the Forest Service may get away with this heinous act.

To compound this tragedy, to date the Forest Service has destroyed 6 horses rounded up from Modoc National Forest after they showed signs of Pigeon Fever. While we know this is a curable illness that does not warrant death, the fact remains that it is a communicable disease – transmittable to adopters’ own livestock.

Despite deeming it serious enough to kill 6 animals, the Forest Service plans to move ahead with adoptions starting Nov 16. Action is needed urgently!

Due to a 3-4 week incubation period during which animals may appear asymptomatic – and lack of quarantine in the holding corrals, there is no way to know how many of the 962 horses rounded up may be affected or how many potential adopters’ animals will be at risk.

Your voice is needed to protect these vulnerable animals!

What you can do to help

Please speak out on behalf of the wild horses and domestic animals at risk if this adoption goes forward. Just a few minutes of your time will make a huge difference.

US Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Veterinary Services (VS)
Toll free: 1-877-741-3690

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health and Food Safety Services, Animal Health Branch
Email: ahbfeedback@cdfa.ca.gov

CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra
Email: xavier.becerra@doj.ca.gov

Sample message:
The Forest Service MUST halt the Nov 16th adoption of horses in the Double Devil Corrals in Alturas, California. It is public knowledge that 6 horses from this herd have been destroyed after showing signs of Pigeon Fever. This is a communicable disease that is easily transmitted to adopters’ animals. That the Forest Service would pursue this course of action after deeming the illness so grave as to warrant death is gross negligence and could result not only in public outrage but in potential lawsuits. Moving forward with this event would be inexcusable, as the Forest Service is knowingly putting the public and their livestock at risk of harm.

Act now to protect these animals

America’s wild horses are federally protected species, and yet they are in danger of being sold to slaughter by the truckload if the Forest Service is allowed to proceed.

We need your help to keep these American icons safe. We ask for just a few minutes of your time to speak on their behalf.

Visit www.thecloudfoundation.org for more information and ways to take action.

Lawsuit Filed to Stop “Barbaric” BLM Wild Horse Sterilization Experiments

Citing violations of the U.S. Constitution and three federal laws, an alliance of wild horse protection and animal welfare advocates filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Portland. The groups seek to enjoin the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from proceeding with controversial and dangerous surgical experiments to remove the ovaries of wild mares at BLM’s Wild Horse Corrals in Hines, Oregon.

The complaint was filed on behalf of The Cloud Foundation (TCF) and its executive director Ginger Kathrens, who is also the Humane Advocate on the BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board; the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC); the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI); and wildlife photographer Carol Walker, who is also a Director of Field Documentation for the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, by Nick Lawton of the public interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks LLP.

A key demand of the legal action is the right to meaningful public observation and video recording of the experiments to improve public awareness of how the BLM is treating these federally protected wild horses and help the public inform BLM that this inhumane form of sterilization is not socially acceptable.

“To date, the BLM has refused to allow a meaningful opportunity for media or the public to observe and record these procedures,” said Nick Lawton of Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks. “The BLM’s refusal to allow meaningful access to observe and record these experiments thwarts the important newsgathering objectives that Plaintiffs aim to achieve by observing and documenting the BLM’s treatment of wild horses, and thus violates Plaintiffs’ rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

The legal action also alleges that the experiments, which involve performing an outdated surgical procedure called ovariectomy via colpotomy (a blind surgery in which a veterinarian inserts his arm into a mares’ abdominal cavity through an incision in the vaginal wall, manually locates the ovaries, then twists, severs and removes them using a rod like tool with a chain on the end) are unscientific, inhumane, and dangerous, and will result in pain, suffering, and potentially life-threatening complications for wild mares.

Video of the procedure, which has been called “barbaric” by equine veterinarians, can be seen here.

This is the BLM’s second attempt to conduct research on the surgical removal of the ovaries of wild mares. In 2016, AWHC and TCF sued to uphold their First Amendment right to observe the experiments, a major objective of which was to determine the social acceptability of the procedure. The BLM cancelled the experiments, which it intended to conduct in partnership with Oregon State University — instead of providing public observation.

In its renewed attempt to conduct the research this year, the BLM dropped the objective of determining social acceptability in order to avoid providing meaningful observation. Instead, the BLM is offering limited observation through the doorway of a room adjacent to the surgical suite on a first-come, first-served basis with no independent veterinary observation provided.

When the agency re-released the sterilization research proposal, the BLM announced that it would be conducting the experiments in conjunction with Colorado State University (CSU). The University was to provide expertise in monitoring and assessing the welfare impacts of the surgeries on the wild mares. However, in August, CSU withdrew from the project. Instead of finding another academic institution with expertise in animal welfare monitoring and assessment, the BLM dropped CSU’s scientific observation of animal welfare from its study design.

Then, on September 13, 2018, the BLM announced that it was moving forward with the spay feasibility study despite opposition from the public and veterinarians, a warning from the National Academy of Sciences that the procedure was “inadvisable” due to health risks, and after two major research institutions – CSU and OSU – ended their affiliations with the project.

As soon as next month, the BLM plans to start rounding up 100 percent of the wild horses in the Warm Springs Herd Management Area in southeastern Oregon. An estimated 685 horses will be permanently removed and another 100 mares will be surgically sterilized. The experiments carry a high risk of mortality from bleeding, infection and evisceration (fatal protrusion of bowel through the surgical incision) and will subject pregnant mares to risk of miscarriage and associated complications. (More details on the BLM’s plan can be found here.)

“It is unconscionable to conduct invasive and dangerous surgeries on wild mares, ripping their ovaries out with a chain, destroying their fetus, then returning them out into a dirt corral with little to zero pain management before releasing them into the wild,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation and the Humane Advisor on the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. “This is a rare, last ditch operation in the world of domestic mares. I would hope we, as a society, are beyond this kind of cruelty, particularly when humane, safe, and scientific alternatives to control wild horse reproduction have existed for decades.”

Contact: Lisa Friday, Director of Communications
lisa@thecloudfoundation.org| 804-389-8218

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Council to Meet Oct. 9-11 in Salt Lake City

Photo: Ginger Kathrens – Humane Advocate on National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board.

Come Out and Show Your Support for Our Wild Horses and Burros

BLM has announced that the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will be meeting October 9-11 at the Courtyard Marriott in Salt Lake City Downtown. As a member of the board, TCF’s Executive Director Ginger Kathrens will be in attendance. Please consider attending this meeting if you can to show your support for our wild horses and burros as well as for Ginger as she does her best to stand up for them in her capacity as the Humane Advocate on the board.

Even if you can’t attend, BLM will be accepting written public comment until October 2nd. Written comments and statements must be mailed to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, National Wild Horse and Burro Program, Attention: Dorothea Boothe WO-260, 20 M Street SE, Room 2134LM, Washington, DC 20003, or emailed to: whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov by October 2, 2018, in order for the Board to consider them at the October meeting. Please include “Advisory Board Comment” in the subject line of the email.

A public comment period will be held on Thursday, October 11, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (MDT). There will also be a field tour from 7am to noon on Tuesday, October 9th of the Onaqui Horse Herd Management Area. (The field tour is open to limited public attendance with advanced sign-up on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees must provide for their own transportation (high-clearance vehicle recommended) and personal needs. Field tour attendees will depart from the Courtyard Marriott at 7:00 a.m. To sign up, contact Dorothea Boothe by email at dboothe@blm.gov by September 28, 2018.)

For more details on the meeting, please refer to the full BLM notice linked here.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

BLM Backs Down on Removing Horses from Pryor Mountain

Thank you from Rio (left) (Garay & Jacinta), Quahneah (right) (Baja & Washakie).

There will be no removal of young wild horses from the West’s most famous wild horse herd this year!  Like Cloud, we did not back down. He would have been proud of all of you who contributed to this victory. So, thank you from some of the horses whose freedom you protected.

Your donations made it possible for us to hire an outstanding law firm and to make a compelling case. (Read Ginger’s declaration.) And it didn’t hurt to have the expertise of those of you who read the documents and pointed out deficiencies in BLM’s Environmental Assessment and Record of Decision. Thanks to you all!

We hope that this victory for the Pryor Wild Horse Herd (read judge’s ruling) might help to protect other small herds in the West, many of whom are managed at disastrously low levels — below the genetic minimums of 150-200 animals.
Happy Trails!
Ginger

The Cloud Foundation is represented in the lawsuit by Katherine A. Meyer and Elizabeth Lewis of the Washington DC public interest firm Meyer, Glitzenstein, and Eubanks.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Cloud Foundation Wins Reprieve for Pryor Wild Horse Herd

Photo: Galaxy’s band and Knight’s band atop the Pryor Mountains, summer 2018.

Temporary Restraining Order Prevents September 2 Trapping and Removal

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Susan P. Watters, United States District Judge, has ruled in favor of Ginger Kathrens and the Cloud Foundation in their efforts to protect the small Pryor Mountain mustang herd from capture and removal, stating, “Plaintiffs’ application for TRO is GRANTED. Defendants are hereby ENJOINED from conducting the wild horse gather set for September 2, 2018, pending a hearing on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.”

“We won,” stated a jubilant Ginger Kathrens, who brought the herd to international prominence with her documentaries about Cloud, a charismatic palomino stallion she documented from the day he was born. “I hope that the TRO and what we believe will be a permanent decision later next month will ensure a lasting future for this unique Spanish herd.”

In her ruling, Judge Waters acknowledged that BLM fell short in managing for both rare genetics and the unusual colors.

The Pryor Mustangs are descended of Crow Indian horses (the range borders reservation lands) and before that, the horses of the Conquistadors. Genetic and color experts have concluded that this is a rare Spanish Colonial herd. Their range is located on the Montana/Wyoming border east of Yellowstone National Park. Kathrens, who began her journey with wild horses in 1994, was ridiculed in the Government’s brief for her repeated efforts to protect the Pryor Herd. “I hope this is a turning point for America’s beleaguered wild horse herds that have been so cruelly treated and that the BLM will finally adopt humane methods of management that take into account the essential need for family structures and the basic right to live in freedom as the Wild Horse and Burro Act intended,” Kathrens said.

In her decision to grant the TRO, Judge Watters states: “BLM argues that one removal action will not result in the permanent loss of genetic diversity of the Pryor Herd.… This conclusion is contrary to the evidence before the court. Extinction of a bloodline or phenotype is, by its nature, loss of genetic diversity. And extinction, meaning forever, is certainly a long duration. This court finds that Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of irreparable harm absent a TRO.”

“We could not have brought this suit without a high level of confidence in our donors.” Kathrens continued. “Cloud fans are loyal to wild horses and understand that maintaining the family structure and genetic strength are the essentials to living wild.”

2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the creation of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, the first nationally designated area established to provide a home for free-roaming horses. “What a grand way to celebrate!” Ginger Kathrens concludes.

The hearing in Billings, MT is set for September 28 at 9:30 am.

The Cloud Foundation is being represented in the lawsuit by Katherine A. Meyer and Elizabeth Lewis of the Washington DC public interest firm Meyer, Glitzenstein, and Eubanks.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org