Tag Archives: Equine Protection

Weakening of NEPA Could Threaten Existence of Wild Horses and Burros

Many of you may have seen the President’s press conference January 9th and wondered what impact, if any, watering down the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) may have on the future of our wild horses and burros. It’s a valid question, and the answer is troubling.

Weakening protections for our public lands makes the land and the many species of wildlife that make their homes there more vulnerable, most especially our wild horses and burros. These American icons are the only species to be defined by the land upon which they live. If the land is less protected, so are our beloved wild herds.

Ironically (and appropriately), NEPA itself requires a public comment period on these proposed changes. We will be calling upon you soon to lend your voice in support of our wild lands and wildlife!

Click here to read our Press Release and one TCF Board Member’s take on what the proposed NEPA changes could potentially mean.

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

Ride Along with Ginger and Flint as They Take a Look Back at 2019 and What’s to Come in 2020

Much has transpired for our wild horses and burros in 2019. They faced new and varied attacks, some coming from organizations we thought were friends of these magnificent animals. Through it all, you’ve stuck with us and supported our work to keep our wild mustangs and burros in the wild where they belong. No matter how many times we say it, it bears repeating: we couldn’t do that essential work without you.

But there were many bright spots in 2019 too!

We invite you to ride along with Ginger and Flint as she discusses all of it.

As ever, we thank you for all that you do to keep our wild ones wild and free.

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

Cloud Foundation Political Update: BLM Seeks Single-Dose Sterilization Shot

The Cloud Foundation recently responded to a BLM Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) which proposes an experiment on formerly wild mares in order to test the efficacy and longevity of a new injectable fertility control vaccine, called the Oocyte Growth Factor (OGF) vaccine.

BLM’s stated goal is to develop an injectable that would provide permanent infertility (sterility) with a single dose.

While The Cloud Foundation does not object to a fertility control vaccine with longer-term efficacy (several years with a single dose) we do have strong and valid concerns about BLM plans to sterilize wild mares and jennies. With regards to the OGF vaccine, we see the following problems:

  1. The way this vaccine renders a mare infertile is that it affects the ovaries, disrupting ovulation and therefore hormone production.
  2. Disrupted hormones affect natural social behaviors – behaviors that make up the fabric of wild horse society. Most wild horse advocacy organizations oppose gelding for the same reason – it destroys natural hormone production and thus negatively impacts natural wild equid behaviors.
  3. The potential use or overuse of a permanent sterility vaccine in the hands of BLM without sufficient oversight.
  4. The fact that the majority of our western wild herds are already managed at “Appropriate Management Levels” (AML) that are below the minimum threshold for genetic viability. Sterilizing individuals and further reducing genetic variation could lead to irreversible harm.

You can read our full comments and explanation for the above concerns, as well as our suggestions regarding this proposed study, by clicking here.

Thank you for your support and interest. We appreciate the fact that you care about the health of our herds and how BLM manages them.

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

Update to AQHA Racing Awards and Publicity Policy

The American Quarter Horse Association is committed to the welfare of horses, as well as the integrity of American Quarter Horse racing.

In an effort to recognize only those whose standards help to maintain the integrity of our sport, the Association created the Racing Awards and Publicity Policy in 2018. This policy prohibits any horse or trainer of record with racing violations from being considered for AQHA awards or publicity.

Effective January 1, 2020, any horse associated with a trainer who is added to the violations list during the year will be required to pass a hair test, in addition to meeting the other requirements, before it will be removed from the AQHA Awards and Publicity list.

This recommendation originated from the AQHA Racing Committee, and was then approved by the AQHA Racing Council, followed by the AQHA Executive Committee.

Violations include positive tests for Class 1 or Class 2 substances, clenbuterol, any prohibited substances in the presiding jurisdiction, or any medications other than those defined by ARCI as being a controlled therapeutic medication, and also include as a violation the failure to report for out-of-competition testing.

The full AQHA Policy Concerning Awards and Publicity of Horses and/or Trainers with Racing Medication Positives, as well as a list of trainers and horses with violations, is available on the AQHA website. Information will also be posted about the standard procedure for the collection and testing of hair.

For more news and information, visit www.aqharacing.com.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Cloud Foundation Political Update: FY 2020 Budget Passes Senate, President Expected to Sign

The US Senate has finished the House business by voting on the Fiscal Year 2020 spending bill, sending it to the President for his signature.

What does this mean for our wild herds?

While we held onto a strand of hope that the spending bill wouldn’t pass, our sources indicated that it would, and now we know it has. This bill included the additional $21 million allocated to BLM for the Wild Horse and Burro Program.

The Cloud Foundation’s concern is that all or most of the funds will be spent on perpetuating the broken system of violent helicopter roundups that destroy wild horse families; traumatize, injure, and sometimes kill horses; and sentence them to life in a pen unless adopted.

Tens of thousands of our wild horses and burros could be removed over the next 10 years. But we’re not giving up, and we will need you in this fight with us.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The additional $21 million is not available to BLM right away, and not without strings attached.
  • BLM needs to submit a “comprehensive and detailed plan for an aggressive and non-lethal population control strategy.”
  • Congress emphasized that BLM must adhere strictly to the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program.
  • The BLM plan must be focused on treatment and retreatment of animals on the range, and on minimizing future removals.

While Congress seems to be willing to provide some amount of oversight for BLM, it will be up to advocates everywhere to hold the agency accountable. In 2020, we will be calling you to action – our horses and burros need your help, your action, and your voice, now more than ever.

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

Chairman Grijalva of Arizona Leads the Charge to Defend America’s Wild Horses and Burros

Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, Representative Raul Grijalva, is leading the charge along with a group of bipartisan legislators to stop Congress from funding the insidious “Path Forward,” a plan for mass removals of wild horses and burros from our public lands.

Chairman Grijalva’s campaign calls upon Congress to:

  1. Limit new fiscal appropriations to the $6 million appropriated by the House
  2. Add language that mandates the $6 million be spent on humane, reversible fertility control
  3. Add a prohibition against surgical sterilization

Chairman Grijalva rightly states that “Fundamental changes to existing law should not be done in spending bills without hearings, testimony, evidence, and due consideration by the authorizing committee tasked with these responsibilities.” With this statement he strikes back against the lobbyists and private interest groups trying to push this disastrous plan through Congress without going through the appropriate channels.

So what does this mean? It means your hard work, your action, your lending your voice to this cause is working. Chairman Grijalva and 11 other bipartisan members of Congress are standing up and calling BLM to task. We do have champions willing to stand up for our American icons in Congress, and your voices have led the charge for them to do so.

I’m reminded of a favorite quote from Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Don’t ever forget that your efforts helped to spur theirs. If we the people don’t care enough to act, our representatives don’t have any incentive to do so either. Thank YOU for all you’ve done this past year and especially these past few months to stop this hideous plan from moving forward. The battle is not won yet, but we are on the field fighting, and we will never give up.

The Cloud Foundation, along with Animal Wellness Action and the American Wild Horse Campaign, are proud to stand with Chairman Grijalva on this initiative.

“We thank Chair Grijalva for his leadership on this important issue,” said Ginger Kathrens, Founder of The Cloud Foundation. “The appropriation of additional funds to this program, especially as BLM has failed to present any kind of plan to Congress, would be a grave mistake. If Congress chooses to appropriate additional funds, we strongly support Chair Grijalva. There are intelligent, cost-effective ways to manage healthy herds on healthy rangelands, but this plan is not one.”

“We applaud Chairman Grijalva’s tremendous leadership and tireless work to prevent the devastating roundup and incarceration of our iconic American wild horses, whose very backs this country was built upon,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a lifelong horseman. “We must continue to do everything within our power to defend these symbols of our nation from their strategically planned eradication negotiated by the Humane Society, ASPCA, and pro-slaughter crowd.”

“We commend House Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva for leading a bipartisan group of lawmakers in requesting restrictions on funding appropriated in the FY 2020 spending bill that would impact America’s federally protected wild horse and burro populations,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “We are deeply grateful to Rep. Grijalva for continuing his longstanding work as a great champion for wild horses.”

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

Our Worst Nightmare…

We have all witnessed some of the most devastating and emotional news coverage of disasters in modern history – impacting not only people but also our horses. Heartbreaking images of horses frantic from the dense smoke of massive raging wildfires filled our screens. As horse lovers and horse protectors, this is our worst nightmare – horses that are terrified, confused, and unable to find their way home.

“With limited funds available, many of our EQUUS Foundation Guardian charities must choose critical essentials like food, farrier care, and vet care over microchipping,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. “With your help, we can make sure that these horses will find their way home after disaster strikes and help alleviate the fear felt by the organizations entrusted with their care.”

The EQUUS Foundation is raising $50,000 to microchip 1,000 horses. Just $50* covers the cost of the purchase of one chip and the implantation by a veterinarian. Microchipping is regarded as a humane, ethical, and reliable form of identification. While the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) now requires all competition horses to be microchipped, less than 20% of the horses at equine charities across the United States are microchipped.

Your donation, in any amount, will support our microchipping effort and protect these majestic animals from harm. The gift horses share with us is immeasurable. Please help keep them safe!

Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday
November 28 – December 3
https://www.equusfoundation.org/microchip

All gifts of $2,500 or more are recognized in our Winner’s Circle.

*The price of a chip, plus the veterinary fees, can range from $40-$120, depending on the veterinarian and the cost of the original chip. Inserting a microchip is not an invasive process, and it is very unlikely that a horse will have a reaction.

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

California Fire Season Prompts Grant from EAF’s Disaster Relief Fund

Photo by Matt Howard.

Wellington, Fla. – Nov. 25, 2019 – The Equestrian Aid Foundation provided a grant to the Fleet of Angels’ Emergency Horse Hay Bank program this week to support the organization’s ongoing work of providing horse owners with essential forage in the aftermath of natural disaster. The donation was prompted by recent wildfires in California.

“While we have been told the California equestrian community has fared slightly better than expected, the grave accounts we’ve heard from horsemen who evacuated compelled us to take action,” said EAF board member R. Scot Evans. “Given the increasing frequency and severity of these fires and natural disasters, our donation to the Hay Bank will ensure immediate funds for whatever the equestrian community faces next.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2019 is the fifth consecutive year in which 10 or more billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events have impacted the United States(1). Elaine Nash, founder of Fleet of Angels and director of its Emergency Horse Hay Bank program, sees firsthand the toll these disasters have taken on equestrian communities. “For well over a year, we’ve had continual natural disaster work to do,” she said. “As horse owners and first responders are learning all too frequently these days, providing evacuation and post-disaster services for large animals like horses is a great and costly challenge.”

The Equestrian Aid Foundation established its Disaster Relief Fund in early 2019 to assist equestrian communities devastated by natural disaster. True to EAF’s motto of “horsemen helping horsemen,” the fund was met with enthusiastic community support, thus enabling outreach such as this week’s donation to the Fleet of Angels’ Emergency Horse Hay Bank. EAF thanks its donors and supporters who made this assistance possible.

For more information about Equestrian Aid Foundation, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

The Fate of America’s Horses

The photo by Kristin Gray of a Mustang displaying the BLM freeze brand was taken at the Hampton Classic/EQUUS Foundation Equine Adoption Day 2019.

It’s not just the fate of America’s Wild Horses in jeopardy.

Today, horses serve the public as athletes, teachers, companions, and healers. The bond with horses exists with children, adolescents, adults, and seniors because horses make us feel everything from excitement to joy to tranquility.

However, today, America’s horses are also confronted with a disturbing reality and their future may be in jeopardy. Tens of thousands of young healthy horses are being transported across our borders to be slaughtered. Instead, they could be sharing their magic and power with people.

Your gift to the EQUUS Foundation will help end the inhumane and unnecessary abuse of these majestic animals by increasing opportunities for horses to partner with people in new, innovative ways.

We need your help to ensure a safe and sustainable environment for horses now and in the future. As one of the most American of holidays approaches, let’s give thanks to our American treasures and protect our icons of freedom.

For the Love of Horses!
www.equusfoundation.org/love

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

We’re In; Are You?

It was difficult to keep my mouth shut as a first-time attendee at last week’s BLM Advisory Board meeting in Washington, D.C. Thankfully, Ginger was there to hold me in my seat during the usual ‘party line’ rhetoric.

We heard that our “wild horses are overpopulated and starving,” that “PZP doesn’t work,” and perhaps the crowning jewel of ignorance and anti-democratic sentiment came from Acting BLM Director Pendley, as he referred to the required NEPA process as a “terrible burden” (a process which allows the public to have a voice in governmental actions, and requires that environmental impacts be assessed). Sadly, I believe he was sincere when he made that statement.

With this comment, Pendley displayed his gross disregard for the democratic process and the preservation of America’s cultural and natural resources. After observing the new Advisory Board in D.C., it was painfully obvious they’re toeing the party line.

It is clear the Department of the Interior is stacking the deck, and in such an overt way that it could come back to bite them in the long run.

They sent a clear message with their highly unusual move not to reappoint Ginger Kathrens, a board member more than willing to serve a second term. Their message was: we do not entertain opposition, and the “humane advocate” role is only a nominal title.

We have only to look at Ginger’s replacement on the Advisory Board to see the truth of this. She has some domestic equestrian experience, but has no evident experience with wild horses and burros at all, according to her own BLM bio. Compared with Ginger’s more than 25 years of observing and documenting these animals in their natural environment, we can draw no other conclusion than that they don’t want real advocates with real experience voicing real facts about what’s happening on the range.

As you know, The Cloud Foundation has always prided itself as being a voice of reason, not reaction. And yet, we must concede the writing is on the wall this time.

Our wild herds face an unprecedented attack and a smear campaign that was highly organized by people spouting livestock lobby rhetoric – from the old “non-native” nonsense to the claim that wild horses are overrunning our western rangelands (laughable when they only exist on 12% of BLM lands to begin with).

Make no mistake, this is a marketing campaign with one objective: to sell Congress and the persuadable public a story, one that vilifies our horses and romanticizes the tiny percentage of mom-and-pop livestock permittees, while deliberately obscuring the damage to public lands from livestock grazing and energy development.

Sadly, two of the nation’s largest domestic animal welfare groups – ASPCA and HSUS – along with a once-respected wild horse sanctuary – Return to Freedom – have fallen prey to this anti-wild horse PR campaign. They have joined with a coalition of private livestock interests to launch a “plan” whereby 130,000 wild horses and burros could be removed from our public lands in the next 10 years and warehoused at taxpayer expense – a cost of “5 billion dollars over 15 years,” according to Acting BLM Director Pendley.

Is there a more sinister objective lurking behind the scenes? Our wild horses and burros are the only wildlife species that is defined by the land on which they live. The 1971 Act protected them “where presently found” – remove them from the land, and the land could be vulnerable. In a political climate where the Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management doesn’t even believe federal public lands should exist – well, the danger is clear, and it is present.

Now is the time to act. Now is the time to speak up.

While in D.C., Ginger and I, along with other advocates, spent days meeting with Congressional and Senatorial staff members – the real people on the ground who wanted to know what the real issues are.

What we heard time and again was encouraging:

1) Your letters, your emails, and most of all, your calls DO matter! So many times, we heard that “whenever wild horse issues come up our phones are ringing off the hook” – they said THIS more than anything made them sit up and pay attention. So NEVER feel that your efforts are in vain. Your voices are heard. You ARE making a difference.

2) “They don’t have a plan.” The staffers we spoke with are understanding the message – they’ve been given bogus information. They no longer trust BLM or the lobbyists from ASPCA and HSUS pushing the misguided idea for massive removals. They are seeing through the fake news that wild horses are overpopulated. One conservative congressman’s aid threw up his hands and exclaimed, “They’re asking for millions of dollars and they don’t even have a plan!”

Things often look darkest before the dawn, so this is not the time to give up. This is the time to raise our flags, mount our metaphorical steeds, and charge.

The Cloud Foundation will be hard at work with other advocates and organizations in the days ahead. We’re educating the people who matter and we’re offering alternative solutions.

We need your help! No matter who you are or where you live, your voice can make a difference. Call the offices of your legislators today. Find their phone numbers here: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials.

  • Let them know you want America’s – YOUR – wild horses protected from mass roundups and surgical sterilization.
  • Tell them it’s unacceptable to commit billions of YOUR tax dollars to a failed system that does not work.

We always urge you to call, as this action makes the biggest impact.

But here’s another option, an amazing organization that gets your voice heard: they’re called the Herd on the Hill (we have to smile at the ‘herd’ pun!). They will hand-deliver your letters or other materials to your representatives, help you schedule calls with relevant staff, or even set up in-person meetings if you’re in the D.C. area.

Whatever you choose to do, we urge you NOT to remain silent. We need every voice in this fight to combat the misinformation out there. We need to let government know we care. We need to take back the power of our representative republic. This government of the people, by the people, for the people needs to serve the people once again.

And the people – 80% of them – want America’s wild horses protected, living wild and free as symbols of the spirit of this nation.

Find your senators here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.

Find your member of congress here: https://www.house.gov/representatives.

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