July 15, 2010 – TUCSON, Ariz. – Conservation groups sent a letter to the Obama administration today detailing how the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service can meet the president’s June 8 directive to cut 5 percent from agency budgets: reform or eliminate the money-losing, habitat-destroying public lands livestock grazing program.
“Instead of trimming the budget, the agencies should start by cutting their losses,” said Greta Anderson, Arizona director of Western Watersheds Project. “The fee has failed to keep pace with inflation, failed to cover even the administrative costs of operating the grazing program, and incentivizes destructive grazing practices on public land. In a time of budget crisis, it makes good economic sense to address these issues.”
The two agencies charge a paltry $1.35 monthly fee for each cow and calf that the livestock industry grazes on public land in the West. That’s far below private market rates and far short of providing enough revenue to correct the ecological damage caused by grazing.
Dear Animal Advocates,
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior that administers America’s public lands, including the animals who call these lands home. As part of its wild horse management program, the BLM periodically rounds up large numbers of wild horses and moves them into long-term holding facilities.
Over the weekend, the BLM began its latest roundup of more than 1,200 federally protected wild horses on public lands in Nevada. The use of helicopters to run the terrified horses over miles of scorching desert resulted in serious injuries and several horse deaths, which led to temporary suspension of the roundup.
This occurred in spite of the fact that the BLM, under intense public criticism, established an open comment period on its plans for wild horses that is not over until August. Instead of waiting to hear what the American public has to say, BLM officials decided to go forward with these cruel and brutal roundups in the blistering heat of summer (several more are scheduled for the coming weeks). This, of course, is funded by your tax dollars.
What You Can Do
Call the White House Comment Line today at (202) 456-1111. The Obama Administration needs to be told — politely! — that the BLM’s actions are underhanded and inappropriate, and that the current roundup and others scheduled this summer must be cancelled immediately.
Please visit the ASPCA Online Advocacy Center at www.aspca.org/BLM to learn more about this issue and to see some tips on what to say when you call.
First major wild horse roundup of summer proves deadly; critics claim Department of Interior’s public access restrictions censor truth about government wild horse program
(July 13, 2010) – Philanthropist and businesswoman Madeleine Pickens was joined today by the million-member ASPCA, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, and many other organizations expressing their outrage over the deaths of at least seven mustangs in a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundup conducted Saturday in the Owyhee Complex in northeastern Nevada. The wild horses died of dehydration-related causes — including brain swelling, colic and acute water intoxication – as a result of being stampeded by helicopters for up to eight miles in 90+ degree desert heat.
In a sign on letter addressed to President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Mrs. Pickens and the groups also harshly criticized the agency for cracking down on public access to observe and videotape roundup operations. The advocates released footage of a BLM representative stating publicly that public video of a prior roundup caused the agency to have “a really hard time trying to explain what’s happening.”
Dear Friends of America’s Wild Horses,
These are remarkably trying times, considering the recent deaths of our wild horses in the West. Despite a public outcry against the massive and dangerous roundups of these treasured animals, the Bureau of Land Management is pressing forward, leaving the broken bodies of our mustangs in their wake. When we have unpreventable disaster like earthquakes and hurricanes, it is indeed frustrating to watch a man-made disaster unfolding on our public lands in the West against innocent wild animals who only want to live in peace with their families.
Despite our anger at being ignored by the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, we must not let our emotions get the best of us. Any thoughts of violent actions or illegal behavior of any kind need to be put out of our heads. Instead, we must focus on legal methods to make a difference. Here is what you can do right now, today, and for the weeks and months that follow.
According to a recent report, one out of every ten work-eligible Kentuckians is unemployed. In response to the significant increase in jobless horse owners, the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) has modified eligibility requirements for their Equine Safety Net program.
Started in April 2007, Equine Safety Net provides feed for horses owned by individuals who have recently lost a job or suffered an injury which prevents them from working.
Through the Equine Safety Net program, KHC provides hay and grain for up to two horses for thirty days for approved applicants. Historically Equine Safety Net supported the care of horses whose owners suffered a job loss or injury within 90 days of application.
Because of recent eligibility changes, now the program is available to those with a verifiable change in work status within six months and recipients may, for the first time, apply for a 30 day extension of Safety Net support.
8 July 2010 – The FEI has undertaken a review of the Protocol for Thermography and Clinical Examination (Hypersensitivity of Legs) and, in an effort to further strengthen the Protocol, has issued the following mandatory guidelines to be applied by the Veterinary Commissions appointed for FEI Events.
The new guidelines state:
(i) all Horses that are tested pursuant to the Protocol for Thermography and Clinical Examination will continue to undergo a thermography examination as one part of the evaluation process for hypersensitivity;
(ii) no horse may be retroactively eliminated from a Competition pursuant to the Protocol for Thermography and Clinical Examination;
(iii) the Person Responsible, or his or her designee, will be presented with a written form if his or her horse is disqualified for hypersensitivity that expressly describes the examination process and the rights of the Person Responsible under the circumstances;
(iv) if any Horse is disqualified pursuant to the Protocol more than twelve (12) hours prior to a Competition, the Person Responsible, or his or her designee, will be advised that a written request to the Ground Jury may be submitted within 30 minutes of being notified that the horse is disqualified, for the Horse to be re-examined pursuant to the Protocol. Such request must be granted and the Horse will be re-examined prior to the next Competition at a time determined by the Ground Jury on the day of the Competition. If upon re-examination it is not clear and obvious that the horse is unfit to compete due to signs of hypersensitivity, the horse shall be allowed to compete in that next Competition. However, the horse remains eligible for examination under the Protocol throughout the entire Event. This specific written request opportunity may only be exercised one (1) time during any Event for the same horse.
July 7, 2010 – CHICAGO (EWA) – On June 23, 2010, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District office buried on its website a notice that approximately 175 “abandoned, domestic, estray” horses located within Pilot Valley, NV, were scheduled for impoundment beginning June 25. The round up was expected to take 3 – 4 days with corrals set up on nearby private land owned by Simplot Land and Livestock until the horses could be transported and placed under the jurisdiction of the State of Nevada.
According to Nevada laws, an estray is a horse that is found running loose on public lands but shows signs of domestication and the owner is unknown. A horse is considered “feral” under Nevada law if the animal was domesticated or is the offspring of domesticated horses and has become wild with no physical signs of domestication. The state of Nevada owns estray and feral horses. Wild horses and free-roaming Mustangs are protected by the BLM under the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
Nevada authorities plan to sell the horses rounded up by the BLM at auction on July 10. The horses will be available to all buyers and are therefore at risk of ending up at slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada.
July 5, 2010 – CHICAGO (EWA) – The recent appointment of Dr. Douglas Corey to the top spot of the Washington lobby group, The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC), has made their loudly proclaimed stance of being neutral on the contentious issue of horse slaughter difficult to swallow.
Corey follows Dr. Tom Lenz, former head of American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). Both Lenz and Corey pull no punches on their enthusiastic support of horse slaughter. The two veterinarians with close ties to animal agriculture refer to horse slaughter as an end-of-life option that is needed. Regrettably, with the UHC parent group, The American Horse Council, this front for unscrupulous breeders and the meat industry, often has the ear of Congress and is considered a respected and respectable humanitarian organization.
The daring hypocrisy of both organizations is stunning and Corey’s own words prove it. Few equine rescue organizations are members of the UHC, shunning the prohibitive cost of membership to join. Rescue groups, dependent upon donations, would prefer to spend their funds on feed and hay.
Lexington, KY – One of the Horse Radio Network’s newest shows, The Western Radio Show, takes a look at the controversial mustang situation in a way that anyone can understand. With the help of Dr. Don Hoglund, author of Nobody’s Horses, The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sand, hosts Alan Moorhead and Jymmy Kay Cox guide you through the history, the controversy and the possible solutions to this topic.
There are over 34,000 formally free roaming mustangs currently in holding pens across America. The disposition of these horses has been the subject of heated debate and emotions recently. This two part series on the Western Radio Show at www.westernradioshow.com offers a better understanding of the mustangs’ displacement and disposition alongside the options currently available.
We just returned from a wonderful week with the wild horses of the Pryor Mountains.
Abundant rain has turned the range emerald green. All the horses are fat, and most are sleek, except for a few yearlings who still have remnants of their scraggly winter coats. There were twenty-some babies atop the mountain, including a charming trio of foals sired by Cloud’s son, Bolder. I can’t help but remember another trio of foals 15 years ago, sired by the magnificent black stallion, Raven. His son, Cloud, was a leggy white foal who loved to pester his two sisters, Smokey and Mahogany, and make wild runs around the clusters of fir trees after sunset.