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.
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On July 25, Front Range Equine Rescue filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) proposed sterilization experiments on 225 wild mares in Oregon (many in various stages of pregnancy). The BLM admits these experiments are dangerous and potentially fatal. Expected outcomes include infection, hemorrhaging, aborted foals, colic signs, and death.
Soon after the filing, FRER was informed by the BLM that the start date for the experiments has been postponed until mid-November.
We thank all of our supporters for contributing to this critical legal effort on behalf of these innocent wild mares. We also thank the AWHPC for its tireless work on this issue and their support of FRER’s effort:
BREAKING GOOD NEWS:
The BLM has agreed to delay the mare sterilization experiments in response to a lawsuit filed by Front Range Equine Rescue. The agency has pushed back the start date from October 1 to November 16 to allow time for a court hearing on the case. Everyone send good luck and energy to Front Range for success in shutting down these cruel BLM experiments! – AWHPC
Over 100 years ago it was estimated that two million wild horses roamed freely. Tens of thousands ended up slaughtered for dog and cat food, captured and treated most cruelly. A wild horse advocacy movement began and gained massive public support. By 1971 the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act (of 1971) was unanimously passed in Congress.
However, opponents have relentlessly poisoned politicians to amend the Act in favor of special interests such as livestock grazing, oil and gas
exploration, and even big game hunting. Lands designated by law for wild horse and burro use have been drastically reduced. The mustangs and burros have been kept from water sources by livestock grazers who fence off areas for cattle grazing. Wild horses and burros have been shot and killed or left to die. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has rounded up wild horses until most herds are well below genetic viability. More mustangs are crammed into government holding facilities than remain in the wild. Wild horses and burros are injured and even die due to yearly removals.
And our taxpayer dollars fund all of this to the tune of millions of dollars!
I need you to help us continue to fight against the BLM’s mismanagement of the Wild Horse and Burro Program and the powerful, wealthy special interests whose lobbyists spread lies about over population, over-grazing, and promote a “management to extinction” policy.
Just last week, dirty politics were in full force at a hearing by the House Natural Resources Committee’s Public Lands Subcommittee. Here are a few of the comments made by wild horse opponents:
A Nevada rancher and livestock vet (J.J. Goicoechea) put forth his ‘solutions’ for managing wild horses and burros (1) round up 100% of the herds; (2) remove 40,000 animals to get down to the low Appropriate Management Level; (3) use mass euthanasia and/or sale for slaughter to dispose of the 40,000 horses and burros captured, and for the 44,000 already in government holding; and (4) surgically sterilize all horses and burros who remain on the range.
Rep. Cynthia Loomis (R-WY) promoted “lovely and peaceful euthanasia” of wild horses “whose wild lives are over.”
Committee Chairman Tom McClintock claimed that animal rights groups are responsible for “mass starvation” of wild horses on the range. He went on to state that wild horses should be managed like livestock and “harvested” when their numbers increase.
Democrats were not present as they were holding a sit-in regarding gun control. One lone advocate, Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation, stood steadfast for the wild horses and was treated with disdain and extreme rudeness.
Save the Mares
Now at least 200 wild mares held captive in Oregon are facing cruel, unnecessary and barbaric experiments in attempts to “just see” if sterilization procedures might work. It is well known that some of these procedures are not even performed on domestic mares… and certainly none have been done on wild ones.
The BLM has ignored the thousands of public comments opposing these appalling procedures which you can read about more here (click here for BLM’s decision record on the dangerous to deadly sterilization experiments).
The BLM’s document clearly points out the lack of a sterile environment for the procedures where attempts will be made to ‘make the best of it’. It indicates that major complications leading to death or necessary euthanasia of a mare are anticipated to be less than two percent. They note that if any gestational group in any of the three procedures meets a major complication rate of greater than twenty percent, then the procedure will be stopped.
The mares are to be monitored for post-operative complications which can include pain (such as colic, anorexia) as well as bleeding, infection or signs of abortion.
Pregnant mares and fillies as young as 8 months of age are slated to be part of this appalling research. Not long after the surgeries, surviving mares will be exposed to stallions.
What We Know:
There are more humane and cost effective alternatives for wild horse and burro population control that are being under-funded and under-utilized. The fertility vaccine (PZP) is a primary example of population control available for over 20 years which keeps horses managed on the range. Sterilized herds will ensure wild horses are forever removed from our taxpayer funded lands – public lands allocated to them by law.
Wild horses value freedom and family just as we do. Their beauty, independence and strong family bonds are qualities we admire. Escalation of removals, macabre sterilization experiments and slaughter are NOT viable options.
Will you help us demand an end to the BLM catering to special interests?
Will you speak up for America’s dwindling wild horse herds before it’s too late?
Contact the BLM to voice your opposition to their cruel sterilization research, email@example.com
Contact your Congressional representatives and inform them of these unnecessary experiments and the need for humane, common sense alternatives to be implemented. Locate your reps at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.
Front Range Equine Rescue continues to fight and advocate for America’s fast disappearing wild horse herds. We’ve rescued mustangs from auctions and kill buyers and waged legal battles on their behalf. Please join us in continuing to spare them from more cruelty at the hands of powerful special interests and uncaring politicians.
The sterilization procedures proposed on wild mares are nothing short of barbaric, cruel and simply put – outrageous. These procedures are rarely performed on domestic horses because of the complications under the best of circumstances. The fact that the procedures will be carried out in the field versus under sterile surgical conditions alone will result in complete failure and the death of many if not all of the mares. The fact that the procedures are proposed to be done on wild mares is negligent and unethical – it is impossible to monitor these mares and provide needed antibiotics and pain control. The risks far outweigh the benefits. I would urge the BLM to continue to expand on the use of range management of wild horse populations through the use of PZP – a safe and effective fertility vaccine. This system has been proven to work without jeopardizing the lives of the horses that are part of our heritage. – – Laureen Bartfield, DVM cVSMT Director, SNAP-NC
SANTA FE, NM, February 5, 2016 – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), a national nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education, in collaboration with the Attorney General of New Mexico, has obtained a court order that permanently ends any possibility of horse slaughter for the purpose of human consumption at Valley Meat slaughterhouse in Roswell, New Mexico.
The court’s order, issued by Judge Francis J. Mathew in Santa Fe yesterday, is the culmination of three years of legal efforts by FRER, local residents, and the state to prevent horse slaughter in New Mexico.
The order permanently banning Valley Meat and any associated company or individual from slaughtering horses originated in a 2013 lawsuit initiated by the Attorney General’s Office, joined by FRER and four residents of Roswell whose health, safety, and enjoyment were threatened by Valley Meat’s operations.
This suit successfully obtained an injunction against Valley Meat’s horse slaughter operations. FRER was the first group to discover that Valley Meat was applying to slaughter American horses, and FRER’s investigations exposed the company’s decades-long record of violating environmental and animal welfare requirements. Over the course of two decades, Valley Meat has accumulated more than 5000 violations of state laws protecting the environment, groundwater, rivers, and other waterways.
Among the most egregious of its misconduct, Valley Meat operated a cow slaughterhouse for nearly three years without any state approval to discharge water at all, thereby avoiding any oversight that might have helped monitor any damage being done. For years, Valley Meat illegally dumped and buried cow carcasses and pieces of dead animals, despite repeated requests from state regulators to cease and desist and clean up its mess.