Tag Archives: Equine Protection

Freedom for Sale: Wild Horses to Be Slaughtered

The wild horses and burros of the American West, symbols of American freedoms and values we share and hold dear, are under threat of losing the federal protections that keep them alive.

Protections defined by the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act are at tremendous risk since the Act was unanimously passed by Congress in 1971. The House Appropriations Committee has voted to allow the Bureau of Land Management, the federal body responsible for the care and stewardship of these animals, unlimited sales of captive wild horses and burros as part of the proposed 2018 budget. Now the Senate Appropriations Committee, followed by a joint House-Senate conference, will decide their fate. We have reason to believe that America’s mustangs are already being shipped for slaughter to Canada and Mexico – and as far afield as Japan where they are butchered and served as sushi.

It’s inexcusable. Unconscionable! And unless we press our lawmakers, the nightmare scenario of mass horse slaughter will become reality.

Taxpayer dollars would be used to fund and facilitate the roundup and sale of these animals from federal lands to a vicious and cruel slaughter. Federally funded horsemeat inspections and programs would pave the way for the return of barbarous horse slaughter to US soil.

If the proposed budget moves forward in its current form, as many as 96,000 captive and wild horses would be deemed “excess,” as if they were mere objects to get rid of. Mustangs and burros who are not already languishing in holding pens would potentially be gunned down on the very lands that were promised to sustain them decades ago.

To save America’s horses and burros from export and certain slaughter, we need your help and your donation of any amount to In Defense of Animals Wild Horse Campaign today.

In Defense of Animals has joined with the National Academy of Sciences and 40 other national organizations to propose humane, sustainable solutions for managing wild horses and burros on public lands. We are countering the ridiculous claims made by the Bureau of Land (mis)Management to smear the horses. Wild horses and burros have been made into scapegoats by the extractive and cattle industries which the BLM allows to exploit the very lands that were legally mandated to nurture our nation’s mustangs over 45 years ago – and all at taxpayer expense!

Your donation today will help In Defense of Animals fund and support practical solutions for the continued peaceful existence of our nation’s majestic mustangs.

Urgent action is needed! Our voices must be heard, and your donation today makes that happen.

Marilyn Kroplick, MD
President, In Defense of Animals

P.S. Our democratic process is being hijacked by wealthy special interests, and wild horses and burros are paying the price! More than 45 years ago, we promised as a nation to be stewards of these symbols of freedom. If we do not act soon, that promise will be broken and these living, feeling, majestic animals will be gone forever. Please fight for our nation’s horses and burros with your contribution to our Wild Horse Campaign now.

In Defense of Animals is involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to In Defense of Animals supports ALL of our worthy programs and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Thank you for your support and consideration.

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031
idainfo@idausa.org

Congress Targets Our Wild Horses and Burros

Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Special interests in the ranching, oil and gas and mining industries and the lawmakers who do their bidding have a nefarious but underreported agenda: to round up and destroy the wild horses and burros on America’s public lands.

This is not the first time they’ve tried, but this time, the stars are aligned in the worst way, and they just might succeed.

First, some quick history. Back in the 1950s, wild horses were at the brink of extinction. They had no federal protections. People known as Mustangers were chasing, rounding up and selling them for slaughter by the thousands. Anyone who has seen the classic 1961 Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe film The Misfits has a sense — albeit a sanitized, Hollywood sense — of this dirty work.

That changed when activist Velma Johnston, famously known as Wild Horse Annie, inspired the passage of the Wild Horse Annie Act in 1959, which provided some protection for these animals. That law was followed by even stronger legislation: the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. It expressly prohibited the hunting, capture, injury and disturbance of wild horses and burros.

Over the years, however, lawmakers have chipped away at this legislation, removing many of its vital protections. Tremendous damage was done by the 2004 Burns Amendment; it passed without so much as a hearing and permitted the sale of these animals for commercial purposes. Many ended up at slaughter.

The biggest threat to wild horses today is a group of ranchers — known as “welfare ranchers” — who use federal lands to graze their cattle. They have made it clear that they want the horses and burros gone. They believe they are entitled to the land and water rights for their livestock.

Though they style themselves as independent pioneers, these ranchers are given huge subsidies by the federal government, enabling them to lease our public lands for a pittance, while the wild horses and burros are rounded up and sent to holding facilities operated by the Bureau of Land Management, a division of the Interior Department.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, this program has cost the American taxpayer more than $1 billion over the past decade and is “ruinous to the public lands and the wildlife that inhabit it.”

There is no doubt that our wild horses and burros can be managed humanely, but that is not what is going on. Nearly 50,000 healthy animals are now being held captive in Bureau of Land Management holding facilities. Many suffer and die horrible deaths during the roundups, which are cruel and unnecessary.

Making matters worse, a five-year investigation released in July by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation accuses the bureau of deliberately trying to deceive American taxpayers and members of Congress about the costs and consequences of their actions.  READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Many thanks to Susan Wagner, Pres. of Equine Advocates, for writing this excellent OpEd for the New York Daily News.

Utah Wild Horses Need Your Help

As you may have heard, the BLM is proposing a roundup of over 325 horses from the Onaqui HMA in Utah. This potentially devastating proposal would deplete the 450-member herd to low AML, a 72% decrease in herd size. It will wreak havoc on the herd, which will no longer be genetically viable, and it would be a tragic loss for the public who carefully follows this popular herd.

This is where you come in. The public comment period is open until next Tuesday! We need you to submit your comments on this roundup by 10/31/2017. Some of our coalition partners have talked with BLM employees in Utah who say the plans are not yet set in stone, and they’re looking for public input. This is a huge advantage in our favor – we need to speak up for the Onaqui mustangs!

Here are some suggested topics you can use, and instructions for submitting your comments:

  • Do not permanently remove 325 horses (72%) as they might be killed in holding, per the most recent recommendation of the BLM National Advisory Board.
  • Removing these horses will render the herd genetically non-viable per equine geneticist, Dr. Gus Cothran. He advises at least 150-200 horses must remain in the herd to ensure genetic viability.
  • The BLM cites the preservation of sage grouse territory as a reason for removing these horses. Yet, there are only a few places where wild horses and sage grouse live together in the HMA. In those places fencing can mitigate the potential harm to sage grouse in lieu of permanent removal.
  • The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service released a study in 2012 that did not cite wild horses as one of the top five threats to sage grouse. Instead, it cites energy development, transmission right of ways, fire, invasive species, and commercial development as the top threats.
  • BLM must focus on fertility control. Their plan to treat 60 mares in FY2018 is not adequate to slow reproduction. Volunteers with the Wild Horses of America Foundation are ready and able to implement a larger population control program.
  • To send your comments:

o Put this in the subject line: “Population Control, Gather, and Research for the Onaqui Mountain Wild Horse Herd Management Area Project”

o Email: blm_ut_cedarmt_onaqui@blm.gov

o Mail: Bureau of Land Management

Salt Lake Field Office
2370 South Decker Lake Boulevard
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

As always, be respectful in your comments. This helps us maintain credibility as supporters of these beautiful animals, but be honest and speak your mind. You can read more about the proposal here:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-frontoffice/projects/nepa/90785/121933/148789/Public_Notice_Scoping_10-2-17.pdf

Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Thank you for your support of our wild horses and burros!

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation
719-633-3842
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Saylor Creek Wild Horses Legal Win May Protect Other Herds from Being Sterilized

Image: Chad and Lynn Hanson.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation and Return to Freedom with Virginia Hudson bring good news to wild horse lovers throughout the country.

What a difference a sound decision makes from Judge Lodge’s ruling in the Jarbidge case! The decision finds that the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in a variety of ways in deciding to sterilize the entire Saylor Creek herd. The court agreed that BLM violated NEPA by failing to consider the National Academy of Science (NAS) report, by failing to adequately respond to public comments, by failing to consider reasonable alternatives, and by failing to consider inconsistency between sterilization and the agency’s duties to maintain self-sustaining and free-roaming herds. This precedent-setting decision is a major win in that it could make it difficult to sterilize healthy herds elsewhere in the west.

This case challenged a controversial and precedent-setting plan by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) to permanently sterilize an entire herd of wild horses in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area (“HMA”) — an action that would have disrupted and destroyed the natural, wild, and free-roaming behavior of these horses, as well as the social organization and long-term viability of the herd to which they belong. The BLM authorized sterilizing this wild horse herd in its recently approved Jarbidge Resource Management Plan (“RMP”).

“The Department of Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated NEPA in many aspects,” states Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation. “They never considered direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that sterilizing the entire herd will have on the behavior and physiology of wild horses and herd dynamics.” The DOI and BLM violated NEPA by failing to consider a highly relevant technical report (the NAS Report) commissioned by the BLM itself from the National Research Council, a subsidiary of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lisa Friday (TCF’s Director of Communications), wild horse adopter and advocate, states: “We have known for years what the NAS Report concluded: that ‘absence of young horses itself would alter the age structure of the population and could thereby affect harem dynamics.’  It is simply unconscionable to tamper with the social dynamics that sterilization would cause.”

Judge Lodge’s decision states, “The BLM has not considered nor explained how the herd will maintain its wild horse instincts, behaviors, and social structure if it is entirely non-reproducing. Further, the BLM has not taken a hard look at how the introduction of horses from holding pens, where they may have become domesticated and reliant on humans, or from other herds that are unfamiliar with the area and terrain will impact the herd and its wild horse behaviors and survival instincts. In sum, the BLM has failed to consider, in the FEIS, any of these significant impacts on the Saylor Creek herd’s behaviors or on the HMAs environment itself. The Court therefore finds the BLM violated NEPA by failing to take the requisite “hard look” at these aspects of the decision.”

Most importantly, this precedent-setting decision will allow for future decisions in favor of wild horses that the BLM wishes to sterilize. “This decision recognizes that the BLM must carefully consider the harmful impacts of sterilization on wild horses’ behavior and herd dynamics,” said Nick Lawton, the attorney with the public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks, LLP who represented the plaintiffs. “This case underscores that wild horse advocates and courts will closely scrutinize the agency’s decisions.”

“I would like to personally thank Virginia and Jeff Hudson for their hard work documenting the beautiful Saylor Creek Wild Horse Herd,” states Ginger Kathrens. “We will continue to do everything we can to protect our wild horse families and their legal right to live in peace and freedom.”

Although this is a wonderful victory for our Wild Horses and Burros, the main fight for their existence continues in the Senate with the interior appropriations committee likely to be decided next week. So please continue to call the Senate.

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

Animal Emergency Preparedness for Those in the Path of Hurricane Harvey

Texans Should Prepare for Flooding, High Winds from Harvey

With the probability of extensive rain and high winds throughout much of the state from the resurgence of Hurricane Harvey, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts are asking Texans to take measures to prepare their houses, farms, and ranches for what could come.

“We’re expecting Harvey to bring a lot of rain and flooding over a large area of the state and as he intensifies, some strong winds as well,” said Andy Vestal, MEd, PhD, AgriLife Extension specialist in emergency management in College Station. “The storm system may also spur tornadic activity.” Vestal said people in both urban and rural areas of the state should take steps to prepare for what could come from this storm system to minimize damage and reduce the impact of its aftermath.

He said the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (Texas EDEN) at texashelp.tamu.edu has a variety of materials on disaster preparation and recovery.

Vestal said to avoid being trapped by a flood, it’s best to evacuate before flooding starts.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

BLM Plans to Destroy and Slaughter Three Herds of Wild Horses in the Wyoming Checkerboard

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com

It is a very familiar and unwelcome feeling that I have, writing about the BLM’s plans to round up and remove over 55% of the wild horses in the Wyoming Checkerboard. It seems like just yesterday I was writing about this plan that affects wild horses on 2.4 million acres in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin. The last roundup was in 2014 when 1263 wild horses were removed from their homes and lands. 14 died during the roundup and over 100 died in short term holding facilities in the four months following the roundup.

This time, however, the situation facing the wild horses in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Greek Divide Basin is much more dire. The consequences of being rounded up and removed from public lands could not be more serious because right now the BLM is asking Congress to lift the restrictions on killing and slaughtering wild horses, and every one of the 1560 wild horses that the BLM is planning to remove is facing imminent death. The BLM does not consider in its Environmental Assessments what will happen to the wild horses that are removed according to their Proposed Actions. They do not care about the suffering, illnesses and deaths of the horses and they do not care about you and me, the taxpayers, funding a lifetime of each horse being kept in pens, in captivity. It is a wasteful, cruel and insane policy that favors overwhelmingly corrupt livestock interests who get to graze and overgraze their private livestock on our lands, losing millions of dollars on this program each year.

In this Proposed Action, the BLM is pandering to the Rock Springs Grazing Association, which only has 24 members, and whose grazing rights on public land are a privilege, not a right – but they don’t see it that way. Land swaps could have easily solved the problem of the checkerboard of public and private lands, but it is not in their interests to cooperate. They want to control all the land. And they want the horses gone at any cost. But 70% of the land, of the 2.4 million acres in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin is public land. It should not be managed as if it was all private land, but it is. We stopped the 2016 Checkerboard Roundup because we won an appeal which said that the BLM cannot manage all these lands as if they were private.

This time, we need your help to speak up, write the BLM and demand that they select Alternative C – no roundup or removal.

The BLM should not be allowed to move forward with this roundup only on the basis of an Environmental Assessment.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

By Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Horses and Burros Need Your Voice TODAY

Photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

We must relentlessly call Congress until they ask for mercy and remove the two offending sections legalizing wild horse killings and enabling horse slaughter in Appropriation Bills.

Focus on all the member of the House and Senate appropriations committees but also contact your own Congressman and two Senators. This is because, in all likelihood, the two pro-slaughter sections (one removing the USDA slaughter inspections ban and other adding language to allow BLM to kill and sell for slaughter wild horses in holding) will be passed by the appropriations committees since western pro-slaughter folks have the majority and they have already discussed the matter and have allegedly agreed to pushing this to the full Congress to bring horse slaughter back. In my humble opinion, it is a done deal.

When contacting both your own legislators and the members of the committees, you must ask:

1. Committee members:

– Ask them to vote no on any language allowing the killing of wild horses in holding and/or their sale without limitation, that is, for slaughter or “processing into commercial products” as they like to call it.

– Ask them to oppose any changes to refund horse slaughter inspections by USDA. Ask them to reintroduce the defunding language by means of a private amendment if necessary.

2. Rest of congressmen:

– Ask them to oppose any language allowing the killing of wild horses in holding and/or their sale without limitation and, if necessary, to introduce or support an amendment striking down any language in the appropriations bill allowing the killing and sale without limitation.

– Ask them to support any amendment reintroducing the ban on the use of tax money to fund USDA horse slaughter inspections.

Contact information for all members of Congress, including the ones from a specific committee, can be found together in this site:

https://www.contactingcongress.org/

Just select the committee you want contact info from the drop down menu and you are ready to go.

In the case of the agriculture appropriations one, whose text is already made but wasn’t formally introduced, they are aiming at removing Section 767 from the former appropriations bill, which contains the USDA defunding language that prevents horse slaughter plants to open up:

https://www.obpa.usda.gov/34gpexnotes2018.pdf

Go to Page 18 where it reads:

«Section 767: Prohibits inspection of horses for slaughter.

[Sec. 767. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel — (1) to inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603);

(2) to inspect horses under section 903 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law 104–127); or (3) to implement or enforce section 352.19 of title 9, Code of Federal Regulations (or a successor regulation).]

This change deletes the entire section 767. This change is requested in order to permit the Executive Branch to carry out programs in the most efficient manner. » >>> They are deleting the ban entirely.

In the case of the Interior Appropriations Bill there is still no bill text (looks like these welfare ranching cowboys have problems putting two words together) but we have Trump’s budget request where HE VERY CLEARLY REQUESTS WILD HORSES IN HOLDING TO BE KILLED AND TO ALLOW SALES OF WILD HORSES FOR “ALL PURPOSES”, THAT IS, FOR SLAUGHTER:

https://www.doi.gov/…/u…/fy201 8_blm_budget_justification.pdf

Go to page 24 of the .pdf where it reads:

«Wild Horse & Burro Management Shift Management Strategies (-$10,000,000 / -29 FTE)

The WH/B budget is principally consumed by the cost to care for excess animals in off range facilities, […]. Animals for which there is no adoption demand are to be humanely euthanized while others that meet certain criteria are to be sold without limitation. Enacted appropriations bills from 1988 to 2004 and from 2010 to present have prohibited destruction of healthy animals and unlimited sale. […] The BLM must be able to use all of the tools included in the Act to manage this program in a more cost-effective manner, including the ability o conduct sales without limitation. The budget proposes to eliminate appropriations language restricting the BLM from using all of the management options authorized in the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. An estimated $4.0 million of the $10.0 reduction will be achieved through savings resulting from unrestricted sales. »

The markup session where both bills (agriculture and interior) text will be formally redacted and introduced is WEDNESDAY July 12th. Make sure you keep calling and writing until these two languages are killed for good.

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2017/06/30/speak-up-for-wild-horses-before-its-too-late/

https://www.contactingcongress.org/

Information supplied by Daniel Cordero Fernández.

Are Wild Horses and Burros Being Categorized for Slaughter?

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation at Palomino Valley.

Colorado Springs, CO – The Cloud Foundation received an anonymous tip that Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and/or top Bureau of Land Management officials have ordered all wild horses currently in short term holding facilities be categorized by weight and age in anticipation of the approval of the federal budget.  The current recommendation for this budget would allow for “sale without limitation” many or most of the wild horses currently in holding.  This, of course, can eventually lead to the barbaric slaughter of our iconic wild horses.  The tipster stated that this categorization was to ensure the BLM was ready to “ship out” horses older than five years of age. The only place to “ship out” these horses would be to slaughter.  The caller stated that the shipping would start with the smaller facilities so that wild horse advocates wouldn’t be able to impose an injunction before the plan was already started.  Although anonymous, the caller also told The Cloud Foundation that direction has been given to the one of the government’s top transportation officials to prepare for this shipping.

Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation, said, “Surely Secretary Zinke would not allow for this devious, clandestine and under the radar ploy to destroy wild horses when 80% of Americans are against slaughter.  If only Secretary Zinke and other DOI and BLM officials would have implemented tried and proven on-the-range-management ideas as we have asked for over a decade, we would not be where we are today.”

“There are currently in excess of 50,000 wild horses that have been rounded up, torn apart from their families, and corralled at the taxpayer expense because on-the-range-management has not been implemented as hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep graze at little or no cost,” says Lisa Friday, volunteer Vice President of The Cloud Foundation.  “Our indigenous American icons deserve better.”

Media Contact:
Lisa Anne Friday
The Cloud Foundation
1(804)389-8218
info@thecloudfoundation.org
Lisa_Friday@chs.net

Tell Secretary Zinke to Save Our Wild Horses

The persecution of our nation’s wild horses is at an all-time high, and it is disgusting to hear the Bureau of Land Management’s reasons for wanting to wipe out these American Icons. They have said on multiple occasions that they have no other options than to slaughter the horses that they round up – but there are many other alternatives that they refuse to entertain, because they just want this “problem” to go away so that they can appease the special interests in the swamp in Washington.

This is not a complicated issue, and it is absurd that our government insists on wasting time and taxpayer money when we stand ready to come in and fix this issue for them. We have the tools and resources to make this right, and we are ready and willing to work with the new administration to solve this issue once and for all. For years, Madeleine Pickens, Founder of Saving America’s Mustangs, has been working tirelessly, and investing millions of her own money into creating a sanctuary for America’s wild horses, Mustang Monument. Yet, despite her continued efforts, the BLM refuses to work with her, and instead have opted to implement copious roadblocks to keep her from operating her sanctuary, and sharing the wonder of these animals with the public.

Join us as we address Secretary Zinke directly, and tell him that we, the American people, are unwilling to allow this administration to slaughter tens of thousands of innocent horses, when we have real, sustainable alternatives available NOW. Our wild horses need a voice, and our government needs a solution – we ARE that voice, and we ARE that solution. Say NO to slaughter.

Sign our petition!

Madeleine Pickens
Saving America’s Mustangs

Wild Horses Killed for Their Meat?

If we don’t act now, thousands of America’s iconic wild horses may be culled — or sold off to meat slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada, where torture and painful death await.

For nearly 3 decades, wild horses have been protected by a ban on the slaughter of healthy animals or any sale that “results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.”  But Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would allow “humane euthanasia and unrestricted sale of certain excess animals.”

No horse’s life is “excess,” and these animals do not deserve to be rounded up, slaughtered, and sold for meat just to give more land to rich cattle ranchers, as many speculate will be the case.

Instead of brutally killing America’s horses, the government should enact cruelty free population control measures, such as reducing births. Better yet, they should protect the public land on which these majestic creatures roam free.

Sign the petition to tell Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that he must prohibit the slaughter and sale of America’s wild horses. Thousands of horses’ lives depend on it!

Sign the petition