Tag Archives: wild horses

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

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

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

Stop BLM Plan for Ovariectomy

Photo credit: Ginger Kathrens, Sandwash Basin.

Despite three successful lawsuits stopping this procedure, two universities pulling out, and enormous public outcry, BLM still plans on moving forward with its plans to rip the ovaries out of mares.

Please stand with us to tell BLM “NO!” Send the linked sign-on letter to your veterinarian. Most have an email address listed on their website. The more signatures we have, the more influence.

No caring person wants to see these mares go through this torturous procedure with little in the way of aftercare. Together, we can tell BLM that scores of licensed veterinarians do NOT endorse this cruel procedure.

CLICK HERE, copy the link into an email, and send to your veterinarian. We’ve provided sample text for your email below to make it as easy as possible for you.

We have 47 signatures already; our goal is to have 100 by Oct. 25th. We will then present it to the BLM Advisory Board in Washington, D.C. On October 30th.

Thank you for your efforts to save our wild horses and burros from human cruelty.

You can read more about “The Case against Ovariectomy” here.

For details of the latest on-going legal action, click here.

Sample Text:

Dear Dr. XX,

I’m a client of your practice; you might remember my pets (insert names here). I’m also an advocate for America’s wild horses and burros.

You might not be aware, but the Bureau of Land Management is preparing to perform a sterilization procedure on wild mares, with the intent of eventually taking it into the field. Many reputable equine veterinarians advise strongly against this procedure due to the non-sterile environment, risk of infection, colic, and even evisceration.

I’m asking you to please take a moment to read the letter linked HERE and add your name to the long list of veterinarians who opposed this procedure.  

Thank you for your time,
(Your Name)

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

The Journey Home

Thanks to many generous supporters, the Freedom Family is home at last. It was a huge undertaking from start to finish, but we made it. And all 11 of our rescues are now safely roaming their new pastures.

Now the next phase of the project begins. The Freedom Family needs some time to settle in. And we need some time to plan, create and implement what we hope will be an incredible new project. Keep your eyes open for more news on that in the coming months.

We could never have done this without the support of wild horse lovers everywhere, and we’re so grateful. If you’d like to see their journey in photos, please click here; we hope you enjoy.

Thank you for all that you do to support our wild horses and burros on and off the range.

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

US Senate Sells Out Wild Horses and Burros

Senate Committee Funds Cattlemen’s Mass Mustang Roundup & Incarceration to Tune of $35 Million

WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2019) — The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a Fiscal Year 2020 spending bill that includes a shocking $35 million in funding to implement a potentially catastrophic mass mustang roundup proposal promoted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the so-called “American Mustang Foundation,” and other agribusiness lobbying groups and, shockingly, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the ASPCA, and Return to Freedom, a sanctuary.

The proposal, misleadingly dubbed a “Path Forward for Wild Horse and Burro Management,” will accelerate the removal (by helicopter roundup) of wild mustangs from public lands and allow for inhumane management methods, such as cruel surgeries to sterilize wild mares by ripping out their ovaries. Although billed as a “non-lethal plan,” the proposal is a poorly disguised path to slaughter. It could increase the number of horses to 150,000 maintained in captivity at taxpayer expense with no guarantee of funding for their long-term care.

“We might as well call this what it is: ‘The Path Backward’ or ‘The Path to Extinction,’ since they’re reducing wild horses to the number that existed in 1971,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Director of The Cloud Foundation. “That extinction-level number is what caused Congress to unanimously pass the Wild Horse and Burro Act. This ‘plan’ will rip tens of thousands of horses and burros from their dedicated land and their families at catastrophic cost to the American taxpayer… billions of dollars spent to incarcerate them in cramped corrals for the rest of their lives, except for the few that are adopted. Why? So private livestock interests (subsidized by the BLM through your tax dollars) can run cattle on public lands. It’s time for the American people to stand up and say, ‘No more. Not with my tax dollars. There are better programs to spend these billions of dollars on than this.'”

“The misguided proposal is a road to destruction for America’s wild free-roaming horse and burro herds,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “It’s a sweeping betrayal of America’s wild herds by the nation’s largest animal welfare groups. This is a $35 million-dollar giveaway to the commercial livestock industry, which covets the public lands where wild horses roam. We’re shocked that the Senate has appropriated taxpayer funds to perpetuate a failed system of roundup wand removal when humane fiscally responsible solutions are available.”

“This scheme is the biggest threat to wild horses and burros in the West in decades, and the American taxpayer is going to finance the whole shebang,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action and a lifelong horseman. “If this ghastly plan is implemented, we’ll see massive round-ups, swelling captive wild horse populations, and jubilation from cattlemen’s associations that secured political cover from the Humane Society of the U.S., Humane Society Legislative Fund, and ASPCA for their long-time aspiration to secure a government-funded wild horse depopulation program.”

The BLM currently spends 73% of its budget to roundup and remove horses from the public lands and deal with them once removed; zero percent of the budget is spent to implement humane management of horses on the range with birth control. Nothing in the Senate bill would prevent the BLM from spending the entire $35 million to round up and warehouse wild horses and continue the “business as usual” practices that the National Academy of Science called “expensive and unproductive for the BLM and the public it serves.”  The BLM could also use the funds to implement gruesome sterilization surgeries on wild mares in which their ovaries are ripped out in an archaic procedure used in the livestock industry.

Key components of the “controversial and dangerous” cattlemen’s proposal include:

  • Unprecedented mass wild horse and burro roundups removals from public lands 130,000 wild horses and burros (more than exist today in the wild) targeted for removal over 10 years.
  • Reduction of wild herds to 27,000 animals — the number that existed in 1971 when Congress passed a law to protect the West’s iconic wild horses and burros because they were “fast disappearing from the American scene.”
  • Use of “fertility control” of 90% of the horses and burros who remain on the range. The language would allow for surgical sterilization of wild horses via invasive methods such as “ovariectomy via colpotomy” surgery on wild mares. The BLM is currently pursuing this method despite the National Academy of Sciences’ warning that the procedure is “inadvisable for field application” due to the risk of bleeding and infection.
  • Near tripling of the population of wild horses incarcerated at taxpayer expense, with no long-term guarantee of funding to ensure their safety.
  • Unprecedented manipulation of wild herds through sex ratio skewing to achieve populations comprised as 70% stallions and 30% mares, which will cause extreme social disruption and aggression on the range.

Humane solutions preferred by TCF, AWHC, and AWA include:

  • Adjusting the BLM’s current population limits (AMLs) to allow larger, more viable wild horse and burro herds and fairer resource allocation on designated public lands habitat.
  • Prioritizing PZP fertility control over roundups and not waiting until AML is reached before beginning fertility control programs.
  • Funding better management and stewardship of the range via projects like water restoration/development that allow horses to better utilize habitat and remain in the wild.
  • Livestock grazing buyouts/retirement in wild horse areas. (Just 17% of BLM land grazed by livestock is also occupied by wild horses and burros.)
  • Protecting predators like mountain lions, which can and do help naturally control wild horse and burro populations when they are not eliminated by hunting and the federal predator damage control program, which kills wildlife for the benefit of the agricultural industry.

Read TCF’s detailed assessment of this misguided “plan” HERE.

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

Just Days Left in Cloud Foundation’s Freedom Family Fundraising Campaign

There are just days left in our Freedom Family fundraising campaign and we are SO close to meeting our goal! Ginger and the TCF volunteer team are already in Montana getting the family ready for the long haul to Colorado.

Through supporter donations we’ve raised over $15,000 to support these beautiful rescued Pryor Mountain mustangs and bring them to their new home. Our goal of $20,000 should help us to cover all the basic costs of the move, from brand inspection, to health certificates, to the hauling itself.

Help us build a bright new future for these horses by donating today! You’ll receive a beautiful 5×7 photograph “Thank You” signed by Ginger Kathrens, founder of The Cloud Foundation.

More than that, you’ll be participating in the start of something new and magnificent, something we’ve never done before… creating the opportunity for people to experience a wild horse family, learn from them, and fall in love. Let’s do something great, together!

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