The Bureau of Land Management is moving fast with devastating fall roundups. Just recently, they finished a roundup in the Challis Herd Management Area (HMA) located in central Idaho. The herd size consisted of only 429 horses.
The roundup of 295 wild horses occurred during November 5-11. Next, the BLM is expected to complete a census flight to determine how many wild horses will be returned to the 169,000-acre area. As of now, two horses died as a result of this forcible removal.
The BLM also announced their intention to move forward with a plan to cut the size of the wild horse and burro population in the Twin Peaks HMA located in northeast California by 80% over the next 10 years.
The vast majority of wild horses removed from taxpayer-funded public lands will never be returned to the wild. Many will be confined to living in the BLM’s holding facilities for life. Even more troubling the horses face being killed or sold for slaughter if Congress refuses to provide funding for their long-term care.
Roundups will greatly increase if the Senate approves a $5 billion plan, pushed by the livestock industry and BLM’s Acting Director, to reduce wild horse populations in the West dangerously close to extinction levels.
The BLM has released a management plan for the wild horses and burros of California’s Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA) which includes future helicopter roundups and fertility control over the next ten years.
The Sierra Sun Times reported that the BLM’s plan “calls for several approaches, including using helicopter drive trapping, bait-and-water trapping, and fertility control to reduce the herd … over ten years.”
While the use of safe, proven and humane fertility control keeps more horses living free, a majority of wild horse advocates do not support the drastic reduction of herd sizes for wild horses and burros in this HMA (or others).
Close to 90% of the current wild burro population is slated for removal over ten years, leaving only 72 burros on the range which completely destroys the genetic health of this herd.
The plan’s goal for the Twin Peaks wild horses aims to gut the herd by 80% and release castrated stallions (geldings) onto the range. Not only does this negatively impact the herd’s genetic viability and survival, but the wild horses’ natural behaviors will be destroyed. There is a chance legal action currently in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals might delay/stop the proposed permanent sterilization of the stallions.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently announced their decision to round up and permanently remove ALL wild horses from Nevada’s Caliente Herd Area (HA) complex.
Continuing to use horses as scapegoats for land issues, the BLM did not bother to consider any reduction to domestic livestock in the same area. The intention to destroy this group of mustangs is shameful but not a surprise since the BLM’s Acting Director repeatedly sides with private livestock owners over the legal rights of America’s wild horses.
This decision is not about a single roundup. It is intended to eradicate mustangs in eight of the nine Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in the Caliente Complex.
There are numerous reasons this is absolutely wrong, including the fact that more than 500% of BLM land is authorized for livestock than for wild horses and burros in the West. Many private livestock owners benefit from as much as half a billion dollars annually via taxpayer subsidies. Claims of wild horse “overpopulation” by the BLM and others are lies, further evidenced by the factual reality that wild horses are not found on 88% of BLM lands.
Stand strong on behalf of wild horses and burros by contacting your elected officials to ensure their protections on taxpayer-funded public lands remain. Reach Senators through www.senate.gov and House Representatives via www.house.gov.
On September 19, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee included a provision in the FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill which would maintain a ban on slaughtering horses in the U.S. This effort was led by Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Susan Collins (R-ME). The bill’s language disallows the use of taxpayer dollars for horse slaughter inspections, which prevents horse slaughter plants from operating.
Similar language was included in the House FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill in June. Right now, it is expected the defund will be included in any final spending bill passed by Congress.
Horse slaughter is animal cruelty, unnecessary, and taxpayer dollars should not pay for it. America’s horses are not food animals and are not regulated as such. There are over 115 banned substances for use in food animals which appear in a variety of products and medications used on horses.
America’s horses are unfit for human consumption.
Previously, U.S. horse slaughter plants operated until 2007 and were shipping the meat overseas for human consumption. Some horses were shipped into Mexico and Canada for slaughter as well. When U.S. plants closed, all horses were sent to Mexican and Canadian plants (along with several hundred annually into Japan).
Slaughter is a frightening and torturous ordeal for horses who are victims of this predatory industry. Many horses are severely injured during transport from auctions or kill lots to horse slaughter plants. Some horses regain consciousness after initial stunning or misfired gunshot (2 methods used in the kill box) and are fully aware while being killed.
The language to defund horse slaughter has been maintained via yearly spending bills; however, it is not a permanent solution. At this time only federal legislation which specifically outlaws U.S. horses from being slaughtered on American soil and across our borders will end this vile trade.
Just after the July 4 (Independence Day) holiday, helicopters took to the skies to stampede terrified wild horse herds across public lands in the brutal summer heat. Foals were cruelly separated from their mothers, many dropping to the ground from sheer exhaustion. The overcrowded capture pens teamed with masses of wild horses, trapped with no means to return to freedom.
Results from Nevada’s Triple B wild horse roundup which ended last week showed 802 wild horses captured with fourteen horses dead.
Behind unnecessary annual roundups lurks greed and cruelty where private ranchers and profit-driven corporate special interests dictate what happens to America’s wild horses left on taxpayer-funded public lands.
The BLM’s 10-year plan for the Triple B and Antelope complexes includes the removal of thousands of wild horses from their lawful home on our public lands with castration of 50% of the stallions still in the wild, thereby destroying their natural behaviors. In other words, a 10-year plan of mass destruction.
Until roundups end, these wild horses and thousands more across the West await an uncertain and inhumane future.
Contact your elected officials to protest unnecessary roundups and dangerous surgical procedures causing permanent sterilization. Locate your two Senators at www.senate.gov; your House Rep at www.house.gov.
Progress was made this past week as H.R. 693, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives with 333 votes! This is a tremendous victory for equine advocates in a lengthy battle to end this cruel practice.
In short, this H.R. 693 addresses the practice of soring horses. Soring includes various actions taken on a horse’s legs to produce higher gaits. These “actions” are known to cause pain, distress, inflammation and/or lameness.
Specifically, the bill expands regulation and enforcement of soring practices at horse shows, exhibitions, sales and auctions, including establishing a new system for inspecting horses for signs of soring. The bill also increases penalties for violations.
Click here to read more about this great victory in the U.S. House toward ending a cruel and horrific practice inflicted for decades, particularly in gaited horse shows.
At the end of June, the U.S. House of Representatives approved language for the FY2020 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations budget bill regarding wild horse and burro management.
The House decision appropriates $6 million to implement a plan to remove large numbers of wild horses over several years. This plan has been promoted by special interest lobbying groups and been met with opposition by many wild horse advocates.
Pressure is expected to be put on the U.S. Senate to maintain wild horse protections in their version of the budget bill regarding wild horses and to not allow the proposed plan to move ahead.
Due to the imminent threat of slaughter for wild horses rounded up last year from the Modoc National Forest in California, the House did include appropriations language to stop the U.S. Forest Service from selling wild horses and burros for slaughter. There is also existing law which disallows the BLM from selling wild horses and burros for slaughter.
Chairman of the House Natural Resources, Raul Grijalva, and Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus championed the important provision to stop the Forest Service from selling wild horses for slaughter.
It is believed that the Senate will take up its version of FY2020 spending legislation late summer or early fall. Constituents are urged to contact their U.S. representatives to ensure America’s wild horses and burros receive full protection under the 1971 law.
You can locate and contact your elected officials thru www.house.gov and www.senate.gov to let them know that humane on-the-range management options should be a priority along with safe, proven population control methods such as PZP. They should not vote for plans which promote dangerous, permanent sterilization procedures.
The educational camp “Hanging With Horses” is offered to those who complete “The Care & Keeping of Horses” camp. This year’s Hanging with Horses was full of enthusiastic campers who learned even more about basic horse care and handling through arts/crafts, story telling, videos, books and additional hands-on experiences with a full-sized horse (Splash) and two of FRER’s rescue horses (a pony named Cricket and a miniature horse named Tilly).
Campers also learn information on horse abuse issues (in an age appropriate curriculum), how to report potential abuse, and the basics of emergency/disaster evacuation for horses.
They also had a chance to put together horse-related skits using information learned from the camp curriculum.
Here is a brief summary from Day One of the annual “Care & Keeping of Horses” Camp:
Thank you for sending your awesome children to Horse Camp! We started by going on a horse hunt, finding horses everywhere! We learned about different breeds, and how horses move. We were visited by Farrier Dave and learned the parts of the hoof. We played a horse/trainer game, learning how to safely lead a 1,000 pound animal as well as how to correctly use a halter and lead rope. We watched a short DVD about Front Range Equine Rescue. Each camper should have come home with a calendar. We appreciate your family understanding our hope to educate the younger generation to help us stop the abuse and neglect of horses. We groomed all three horses and we mucked the field. We played a prey/predator game to learn about the trials and hardships of wild horses. We ended our time together hearing the story about “Molly” the horse who got a prosthetic leg after hurricane Katrina. Campers are encouraged to read their horse books and hopefully share something they learned from their book with others in the morning.
Yours in Horses,
Marion and Gianna
(Note: Marion is FRER’s Executive Director and in charge of education/events/volunteer activities based in Colorado; her daughter Gianna is her #1 assistant at the summer educational camps).
On other camp days, participants learned about basic veterinary care, general horse anatomy, watched demonstrations from different types of riders and trainers, put together horse related collages and more.
The following is an excerpt from a media release by Animal Wellness Action:
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to coddle and tolerate serious violations of the Horse Protection Act (HPA), meting out token and virtually meaningless penalties for people who’ve repeatedly harmed Tennessee Walking Horses in order to win ribbons at horse shows.
Using a legal mechanism called a consent decree, the supposed targets of the USDA essentially maintain their claim they did nothing wrong, and then promise never to do it again. The agreements would allow scofflaw trainers to continue to compete in events during the 2019 show season, with several “penalties” not even barring the alleged violators from participation in events that drew scrutiny, until after the 2020 season.
“The ‘penalties’ imposed by USDA on chronic abusers of horses are so weak as to be meaningless,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. “To allow admitted abusers to compete uninterrupted until the end of 2020 and 2022 is despicable and is an invitation to other horse abusers that they may continue soring horses and they won’t have to pay a cent or miss a horse show for years.”
Soring is a practice that results from intentional infliction of pain to Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses’ front limbs to achieve an artificial, manufactured exaggeration of their gait, known as the “big lick,” that’s exhibited throughout the Southeastern U.S. Trainers apply caustic chemicals, such as diesel fuel, kerosene, and mustard oil, to the legs and insert sharp objects in the hooves to achieve this grotesque appearance that’s rewarded at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
“Now more than two years into the Administration, we see a distinctive pattern from the new leadership at USDA: they either won’t investigate or won’t mete out meaningful penalties when it comes to people who hurt animals,” said Joshua Marquis, director of legal affairs and enforcement at Animal Wellness Action, and former Oregon District Attorney for 25 years. “We ask USDA to show us even a single case when they sent a clear signal to animal abusers that their conduct won’t be tolerated. Simply allowing them to say, ‘we didn’t do anything wrong, and we won’t do that again for an upcoming two-year period is barely enforcement.”
USDA has recently posted numerous “consent decisions” related to walking horse trainers who have long records of violating the federal law. Suspensions for the trainers Herbert Derickson, Dick Peebles, Larry Edwards, and Gary Edwards don’t begin until after the 2019 show season that will be kicked off at the Walking Horse Trainers’ Show in Shelbyville, Tennessee on March 21st. Both Derickson’s and Gary Edward’s suspensions don’t begin until December 2020, and September 2022 respectively, allowing those trainers to continue to compete for the next 2-3 years before receiving any punishment. Each of these individuals are “World Grand Champion” trainers who have served previous years’ long federal suspensions for violating the HPA.
The Horse Protection Act of 1970 bars exhibiting horses in shows if they had been subjected to soring. Veterinarian U.S. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Ted Yoho (R-FL), have introduced the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings’ Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693 to update and upgrade the 50-year-old statute, and Animal Wellness Action continues to lead the charge on Capitol Hill to pass this critical measure. The PAST Act would eliminate the use of large stacked shoes and ankle chains integral to the soring process, replacing the industry’s failed self-policing program with licensed USDA inspectors at no cost to the taxpayer, and increasing penalties for violators. The measure currently has 174 cosponsors in the House and garnered 290 in the previous Congress. A Senate companion should be introduced soon by U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA).
Thanks to the great people at FLOAT we are raising funds to help keep our rescue horses fed!
From March 4 thru March 11 our limited edition “Protect America’s Horses” tees are available for purchase here. For every shirt sold, FLOAT will donate $8 to the rescue. Our goal is to raise $1,000 which will help buy feed for our Colorado and Florida rescue horses.
This unique offer is only available for one week!
Join us in speaking up for America’s horses and ending their abuse. Wearing one of these special tees shows others you care about horses and their welfare. We cannot buy better advertising than having “human billboards” educating others about the plight of neglected horses.
We’ve committed to several new horses in need to arrive at our Colorado location between mid-March and the first week of April.
Equine Facilitated Therapy (EFT) is a fast-growing, highly effective therapeutic mental health treatment being used across the nation. EFT is used for everything from trauma and addiction recovery to therapeutic riding for special needs, including autism. The therapy may involve learning horse care, riding or to simply be around and learn to trust the horses. These types of programs involve a mental health counselor and equine specialist.
“Horses have the special ability to make you be totally in the moment, making talking about the trauma I went through so much easier and less painful,” says Dugard, now 38. “The work Dr. Bailey was doing really resonated with me. The way she incorporated horses into our sessions was so much more impactful than just regular talk therapy.”
Click here to read “The Healing Power of Horses: How Equine Therapy Benefits Veterans, Victims of Abuse & More”
The U.S. Senate appears to be on the verge of passing a bill called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT Act), that would establish malicious animal cruelty as a federal felony. The PACT Act was introduced in the house by Democrat Rep. Ted Deutch and Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan.
“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Buchanan said. “Protecting animals from cruelty is a top priority for me and I look forward to working with Congressman Deutch on this important issue” (KRDO News Coverage).
If the bill is signed into law, malicious cruelty would be considered a federal offense and it could send violators to prison for up to seven years.
At the end of 2017 we received a desperate email plea for help from an animal sanctuary in severe financial trouble.
They have over 500 domestic and wild animals including close to 85 equines (horses, ponies, donkeys).
The disturbing message indicated there was no money available for purchasing quality hay; the grass was dead and veterinary care could not be provided if needed.
We’ve been rescuing the most urgent needs horses first but there are dozens more which require help now before this situation becomes a tragedy.
It’s a very challenging situation for many reasons. The majority of these horses must place with equine sanctuaries. A few will be released to private homes as companion only horses. A handful of the horses might be suitable for responsible owners looking to adopt a horse.
Conditions found in horses removed to date include lameness, lack of professional farrier care, thrush, dermatitis, conjunctivitis, heaves, malnutrition, cancer, arthritis, Cushings disease, neuropathy and training issues.
Donations are needed to ensure proper feed and medical care can be provided for horses removed.
It’s been a very challenging year with rescuing horses from abusive situations, continuing legal actions to protect wild horse herds, managing preparations for and the aftermath of Hurricane Irma along with the huge battle against the 2018 federal budget bill allowing funding for horse meat inspections as well as allowing the unlimited sale, mass killing and slaughter of wild horses and burros.
We are so proud of and thankful for all of our supporters around the country who speak up and stand with us on behalf of America’s beloved horses. You are all true Horse Warriors!
Donors have helped to ensure at-risk horses are rescued, rehabilitated, undergo training evaluation and either successfully adopted to qualified homes or safely retired. Our supporters have signed thousands of petitions against horse slaughter and to protect wild horses which we forwarded to elected officials. And hundreds of phone calls to Congress in support of keeping wild horse protections and stopping the return of horse slaughter on American soil have flooded Congressional offices.
The federal budget bill has yet to be finalized.
This battle continues into early 2018. We need everyone to remain committed to speaking up for innocent horses. It’s truly a life and death situation.
In the meantime, we are at the beginning of an emergency situation here in Florida. We are at the early stages of working to remove horses from a failing animal sanctuary. More details to come shortly.
Please take a moment to view our 2017 slide show with photographs of our work in Colorado and Florida. We wish you and your family the very best for the coming New Year.
Great news for a wild horse herd in Idaho thanks to legal efforts by The American Wild Horse Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, and Return To Freedom with Virginia Hudson.
Here is an excerpt from their press release:
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”).
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.
Senate Appropriations Committee Takes Up Interior Department Budget Bill
Wild Horse and Burro Lives Are On the Line!
The federal government’s fiscal year runs October 1 to September 30. Each year an omnibus budget bill is developed, reviewed, edited, and voted on to fund the government. A new approved budget is often delayed meaning the prior year’s bill often carries over into a new fiscal year.
Government agencies submit their appropriations budget bills to make up the omnibus package.
The 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) budget is currently in the reconciliation phase with final voting expected in early December.
Horses and the Budget:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture appropriations bill determines whether funding for horsemeat inspections (i.e., horse slaughter) is allowed or not.
The Interior Department’s budget bill is where funding is allocated for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to manage programs like the Wild Horse and Burro Program.
The House of Representatives Appropriations failed America’s horses not once, but twice, when (1) failing to vote “NO” on funding for horsemeat inspections by USDA and (2) by not including an amendment to stop the killing and sale to slaughter of America’s wild horses and burros.
Note: The House Rules committee also refused to allow the introduction of amendments to the House Appropriations bills which would protect wild horses and burros from killing and slaughter (Titus-King-Polis amendment) and to prevent funding for horsemeat inspections (Buchanan-Roybal/Allard amendment).
Fortunately, the Senate Appropriations Committee had already voted “YES” on the Udall-Graham amendment to prevent tax dollars from being used for horsemeat inspections (no horse slaughter).
At this time it is critical that the Senate Appropriations Committee allows an amendment to include language in the budget bill to protect wild horses and burros from unlimited sale, killing and slaughter because the House version has stripped away these protections.
It is also critical that the Senate’s version of the Agriculture Appropriations bill which includes language not to allow funds for horsemeat inspections remains in the final budget bill.
The reconciliation process involves keeping the House and Senate versions of budget bills which are in agreement, but it must reconcile the differences. Right now, the fate of America’s horses depends on the U.S. Senate as the budget heads into its final version.
What You Need To Do To Save Horses Now:
Call, write and/or email your U.S. Senators. If your elected official is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, he or she needs to hear from you asap.
With all of the crises in this country and desperate need to use taxpayer dollars wisely, the idea of butchering America’s horses is not only cruel and appalling but clearly a fraudulent waste of tax money.
The 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act allocated 242 million acres for use by wild horse (and burro) herds. Over the years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has reduced their land use to 27 million acres. The BLM has catered to special interests like the livestock industry which has depleted and overgrazed public lands with a million cattle and tens of thousands of sheep. For decades they’ve lied and used wild horses as scapegoats for issues of range degradation and over grazing.
In a nutshell, the current administration intends to allow the mass killing of wild horses so that the BLM can balance its budget. There are numerous humane solutions to managing the Wild Horse and Burro Program and bringing fiscal responsibility to the budget. To date, “cut and kill” remains their primary solution.
Taxpayers should be outraged at this horrific use of tax dollars. We stand by America’s flag and don’t burn it. We stand by our wild horses and burros — living symbols of our history — we don’t murder them!
Your help is urgently needed to protect horses against the cruel fate of horse slaughter in our country.
If your U.S. Representative sits on the House Appropriations Committee (check here ), please call her/him immediately and urge a YES vote on the Dent/Roybal-Allard Amendment to keep horse slaughter plants out of our country.
Horse slaughter plants are rearing their ugly heads to re-open, and they most certainly will if this amendment fails in committee where it will be voted on as soon as next week.
Take two minutes today to place a quick call to your member of Congress if he/she serves on this committee to ensure that no U.S. tax dollars are wasted on propping up this horrific and foreign-owned industry.
America’s horses are not raised for food! Population control, retraining, and re-homing are just a few practical alternatives to slaughter.
We thank the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition for working hard to expose and stop the horror of horse slaughter in Canada.
Tens of thousands of American horses are shipped to Canada each year.
However, their suffering begins long before reaching the border as we (and many others) can testify to. There are four horse slaughterhouses in Canada, and horse slaughter is legal. Some of the meat is shipped to Japan, which we’ve covered before.
There is NO excuse for horse slaughter. Not now, not ever!