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Breeding Letter from George Washington
A letter from George Washington, written in 1786, was recently put up for auction by bookseller William Reese. The letter is in regards to a donkey sent to Washington’s Mount Vernon ranch for the purpose of breeding. Washington is well-known for his agricultural brilliance and for breeding the first American mule. The correspondence was written a during a breif period of retirement and a few years before Washington became president.
Washington writes: “Dear Sir, When your favor of the first inst., accompanying the she ass, came to this place, I was from home – both however arrived safe; but Doct. Bowie informs me that the bitch puppy was not brought to his house. Nor have I heard any thing more of the asses at Marlbro’, nor of the grass seeds committed to the care of Mr. Digges. I feel myself obliged by your polite offer of the first fruit of your jenny. Though in appearance quite unequal to the match, yet, like a true female, she was not to be terrified at the disproportional size of her paramour; and having renewed the conflict twice or thrice it is to be hoped the issue will be favourable. My best respects attend [Mrs. Sprigg] & the rest of your family. With great esteem & regard, I am Dr. Sir Yr. most ob. serv. Go. Washington.”
AWHP: Urge BLM to Drop Wyoming Wild Mare Radio Collar Study!
The following is an update and call to action from the American Wild Horse Preservation.
Your comments are needed today to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from conducting an expensive and traumatic helicopter roundup of wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area (HMA) for the sole purpose of putting radio collars on 30 mares. The study is designed to lay the groundwork for zeroing out the HMA by showing that Adobe Town wild horses migrate into the Checkerboard sections of the HMA following removal of horses from that area. The entire premise of the study is now invalid, because the BLM has cancelled the 2016 Checkerboard roundup in response to our recet legal victory at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Tell BLM NO to wasting our tax dollars on another unnecessary and traumatic wild horse helicopter roundup and study by clicking here.
Your comments are needed today to tell the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to drop plans to conduct an unnecessary and dangerous radio collar tracking study of wild mares in Wyoming.
The agency wants to conduct an expensive and traumatic helicopter roundup for the sole purpose of placing radio tracking collars on 30 mares living in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area (HMA). The collars are part of a proposed 5-year study conducted in conjunction with the University of Wyoming to study the movement and habitat selection of the horses.
It is clear from the documents that the study is intended to lay the groundwork for the “zeroing out” of the Adobe Town wild horses, because it aims to prove that wild horses from the non-checkerboard portions of the HMA migrate into the checkerboard sections. The BLM is in the process of eliminating wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard to appease the Rock Springs Grazing Association, and wants to prove that wild horses must be eradicated from the entire area in order to keep the checkerboard clear of wild horses.
Ironically, the whole premise for the study is now void since the BLM has cancelled the 2016 Checkerboard roundup, thanks to our legal victory at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Not only is this study unnecessary, but also it presents a danger to wild horses, both from the helicopter roundup that will injure and kill horses and shatter their families, and from the radio collars that are not breakaway, but rather must be released via “remote detonation” if a horse get in trouble.
Finally, the underlying bias of the study is revealed by the University of Wyoming’s research proposal, which “predicts” that the study will show that horses can’t be kept off checkerboard lands, “disproportionately” use riparian resources, “displace” ungulate species and complicate management of other wildlife species and livestock.
Photo courtesy of Pam Nickoles Photography
Big Girl Update & Picking Up More Horses!
The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang Rescue.
I met a beautiful little princess yesterday. She has the face of an angel. She lit up my world with the most beautiful smile, all the while I was choking back the tears. (The minute the trailer pulled in the tears started, as I knew Big Girl was leaving. After that, the tears were simply from the joy she was bringing this little girl and the difference she will make in her life.)
Lee is one of the most courageous, wonderful, amazing little girls I have ever met, and her family is just as amazing. She suffered severe burns over her body in a devastating accident, but this little girl is kicking butt, and I absolutely love her. It was an honor and a gift to meet her.
Big Girl came in with no feet, in so much pain she would not even move to her feed, and with the info that if we hit her with a crop when we rode her we might be able to make her trot.
Today she has solid wonderful hoofers. They need a little trim and some shaping, but are good hard supportive feet. She is off her pain meds completely and moves around with ease. Thank You so much for all the love, support and prayers y’all sent. YOU made this happen :)
She now will be Lee’s Therapy Horse. Both of them are loving this and the future looks bright. Lee has to do extremely painful exercises and doing them with and on Big Girl will lessen that pain and it gives her a distraction while healing.
That was our day yesterday, and one of the reasons all this work is worth it…
Today, we spent just shy of $1000 ($970.00) just to get the last 5 horses we brought in laid down by the vet to get their poor lil hoofers done and health certs etc. Happily, all went well and they look like different horses.
Matt and I will be taking 7 horses to their new homes tomorrow and we are so grateful for the wonderful folks we are working with and that these equine are on their way to wonderful lives.
Unfortunately, (or maybe I should say fortunately) tomorrow is also the day we leave to drive back to South Dakota. It is wonderful that we will be able to pick up some more horses, but it is an extremely costly endeavor, especially with the vetting and the hoof work that will no doubt follow. But with colder weather coming we need to get as many as we can while we can. I know it doesn’t seem like we are saving many considering the large numbers, but last year we found homes for 100, a few at a time. So it does help in the long run.
All this is possible because of wonderful people working and networking together. No one could do this alone.
As of now, Karen still has control of the horses and the final verdict will come November 11. If the State takes control (if Karen cannot get the funding she needs to meet the court’s requirements) there could be over 800 horses that need placed before November 30th. This is a serious situation and anyone who might be interested in adopting or helping, please contact Karen at ISPMB to adopt.
We appreciate your love, prayers and any help you can give us. It takes about 20 hours each way and this one will be about 6 or 7 hours longer as we are delivering horses on the way. But while we have the opportunity to get horses safely home before the bad weather sets in, we need to do so immediately. If the weather hits it could mean many horses at risk of “auction” and we all know what that means.
As always, we appreciate the love and support and Thank You for being part of Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang, Equine Rescue & More!
If you want to help You can go to You Caring – to help us keep saving lives and to give Shadow the life she deserves.
You can go to Paypal – Palominodancer@yahoo.com or go to our website
if you would like to help these horses.
You can donate via check at Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang, 34694 Sidebottom Rd., Shingletown, CA 96088 or mail a check to Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang, P.O. Box 190 Golconda, NV 89414
You can also donate via credit card by calling Palomino at 530-339-1458.
God Bless & Rescue On!
AHC Submits Comments on Proposed Horse Protection Act Regulations
The following is an update from the American Horse Council in Washington.
The American Horse Council (AHC) has submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regarding proposed changes to the regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The AHC supports taking action to strengthen HPA regulations, but in its comments requested USDA make several important improvements to proposed rule.
The HPA was enacted in 1970 to prohibit the showing, exhibiting, transporting or sale at auction of a horse that has been sored. Soring is an abusive practice used by some horse trainers in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry. It usually involves the use of action devices, chemicals, stacks or other practices to cause pain in a horse’s forelegs and produce an accentuated show gait for competition. Despite the existence of a federal ban on soring for over forty years, this cruel practice continues in some segments of the walking horse industry. Soring is not a problem in other segments of the horse industry.
The USDA proposed rule would make several major changes to current HPA regulations with the goal of ending soring, including a new licensing program for HPA inspectors and a ban on action devices, pads, weighted shoes and foreign substances at walking horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions.
In its comments the AHC expressed its opposition to soring and its belief that action is needed to stop the soring of “big lick” Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses. However, the AHC also voiced concerns that certain provisions of the proposed rule are too broadly written, not sufficiently defined, and could cause confusion for the horse show industry.
The AHC’s comments strongly urge USDA to explicitly limit all new provisions to Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses, mirroring the widely supported Prevent All Soring Tactics Act or PAST Act. The AHC believes making this change will address most concerns the horse industry has with the proposed rule and will still achieve the goal of ending soring.
Additionally, the AHC supported USDA’s decision to eliminate the current Designated Qualified Person (DQP) program and remove Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs) from having a role in enforcement of the HPA. The AHC believes the new Horse Protection Inspector (HPI) program proposed in the rule will be able to more effectively enforce the HPA.
The AHC also asked USDA to take into consideration the costs the proposed rule could impose on smaller “flat shod” walking horse shows that make a good faith effort to comply with the HPA, and make accommodations for such shows. The AHC proposed several changes to the rule that it believes would help control costs for these types of walking horse shows.
The AHC is unequivocal that many of the proposed changes to the HPA regulations are needed, but that it is equally important that any new regulations be narrowly focused on the problem of soring and do not inadvertently impact or unnecessarily burden other segments of the horse show industry that have no history of soring horses. This position is supported by over 180 Members of Congress who, led by Congressmen Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR), have signed a letter to USDA that supports the proposed rule, but also calls on USDA to explicitly limit all new provisions to Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses. This letter can be viewed here.
The AHC hopes USDA will included these needed changes in any final rule that is enacted.
The AHC’s full comments can be viewed here.
Another Augie and Spuds Adventure: Because It’s There
“It’s a beautiful Fall day, Augie! Where do you think we are we going this time?”
“Maybe I shouldn’t have asked!”
“It wasn’t really THAT bad, was it, Spuds?!”
“Hey, Spuds, come look in here! It’s pretty cool!”
“Has she finally lost her mind, Augie?! We can’t fit in there!”
“It’s okay Fellas! We aren’t really going to try to climb in there! I was just kidding!”
“Guess the joke was on us this time, eh Augie?…Hmmmm…what’s this?”
“THIS is a big ditch full of water with a floating culvert, Spuds!”
“Oh fun!…Another mountain! I’m get to go first this time, Augie!”
“Boy, are these guys BIG, Augie! They are all really nice though!”
“Oh good, we get to see even more of our BIG friends, Spuds!”
“Where are we headed now, Augie!”
“It looks like we have some gate-training going on here, Spuds!”
“Remember to stand quietly while she shuts the gate, Augie!”
“She’s really proud of this new bathroom they are building, Spuds, so be sure to seem interested so you don’t hurt her feelings!”
“Okay, I’m in Augie, but I am also ready to exit stage right!”
“Wait a second, You Guys, I have a rock in my shoe!”
“Wait, Spuds, Mom has a rock in her shoe!”
“Isn’t this a cool statue, Spuds?”
“Yeah, that one was cool, but this one is my favorite, Augie!”
“Hey, Spuds! This one is just our size!!!”
“More gate training and we’re home again! What a great time we had on such a gorgeous Fall day!
To learn more about Meredith Hodges and her comprehensive all-breed equine training program, visit LuckyThreeRanch.com or call 1-800-816-7566. Check out her children’s website at JasperTheMule.com.Also, find Meredith on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
© 2016, 2017, 2021 Lucky Three Ranch, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Update on ISPMB from Chilly Pepper-Miracle Mustang Rescue
The following is an update and support request from Chilly Pepper-Miracle Mustang Rescue.
Last week Matt and I went to ISPMB and brought home a 3 year old and 2 yearlings. The situation is pretty complicated at this point and Karen is trying to adopt out approximately 100 horses.
Four State Vets went out and one horse was scheduled to be euthanized, and approximately 30 need to be sorted for special care.. The count was 810 horses on site, and as of now the Sheriff’s office and Counties are feeding the horses. The horses have been gaining weight steadily with all the good food.
Karen is providing a detailed plan to care for, feed and provide necessary care for the horses. Per the Court order she has until the 21st of October to provide her plan and until I believe the 11th of November to follow through. IF the county does not accept her plan, the horses could be seized and if not adopted out by December 1st they would go to “auction”, and we all know what that means. Karen feels confident that she will retain her horses but does want to make sure she downsizes.
At this time there are many horses available for adoption. Matt and I were asked to return next week to pick up more horses to be adopted out. We are working with Karen to get some good homes for some of these beautiful horses.
It is definitely not an inexpensive endeavor, but circumstances dictate helping to move as many horses as we possibly can before the bad weather hits.
Below are pictures of the horses we brought home. They also need hoof care badly.
Silent Auction to Benefit the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign’s Wild Night Gala is getting underway with their Silent Auction.
Visit the Online Auction Page to find your treasure and submit your bid.
Even if you can’t make it Wednesday, you can still join in the fun! We’ve created the opportunity for everyone to take part in our Silent Auction. Get a jumpstart on bidding on some fabulous items — including art by leading wild horse painters and photographers!
Bidding is super easy and can be done anywhere via text from your smartphone. You’ll even know via text if you’ve been outbid, so you can be sure to “win” whatever treasures you have your eyes on. We’ll be happy to ship your items to you for just the charge of shipping.
Every item purchased helps us continue the fight to ensure that our national treasures – wild horses and burros — remain free and secure on our public lands.
AWHP Update: Feds Broke Law In Wild Horse Roundup
LATE BREAKING UPDATE:
This is an update from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
We have been fighting for five long years to stop the BLM’s wipeout of Wyoming’s wild horses. Today, for the second time this week, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has handed wild horses a major legal victory! The court ruled that the BLM broke two federal laws when it rounded up 1,262 wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard in 2014.
This is huge! It means that the BLM’s proposed 2016 Checkerboard roundup is also illegal! The BLM just notified the court that it was pulling the plug on this latest roundup of 500 wild horses, which was scheduled to start on October 18! Not only that, the decision permanently prevents BLM from treating the public lands as private and allowing ranchers to dictate whether or not wild horses will be allowed to live on our public lands.
This is our third major victory for wild horses in just over a month! On Monday, the Tenth Circuit ruled that BLM is not required to remove horses from public lands just because the population exceeds arbitrarily-established population limits. And on September 9, the BLM dropped plans to conduct dangerous surgical sterilization experiments on wild horses in Oregon, citing the lawsuit filed by AWHPC and The Cloud Foundation as the reason for its decision.
Read more about the Tenth Circuit’s precedent-setting decision and savor this latest victory for wild horses and burros.
We are proud to tell you that we succeeded in stopping anti-mustang ranchers and their political allies once again!
Yesterday, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out a lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) demanding the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands in that state.
This is our second major victory for wild horses in just over a month! On September 9, the BLM announced that it was dropping its plan to conduct cruel and risky surgical sterilization experiments on wild mares, citing the lawsuit we filed with our coalition partner The Cloud Foundation as the reason for its decision.
Unfortunately, there is no time to pause for celebration. We’re actively defending wild horses in Utah, Idaho, Nevada and California and we need your help to score more legal victories for wild horses and burros!
It’s hard to overstate the importance of yesterday’s decision. This precedent-setting ruling should put a stop to several frivolous lawsuits that have been filed by pro-ranching interests across the West. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has now soundly rejected the ranchers’ spurious claim that the BLM is required to remove wild horses from the range once their populations exceed the arbitrarily-established “appropriate” management levels (AMLs).
AWHPC is pleased to have funded and led this legal fight, in which we were joined by The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom and photographers Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl.
You can help keep the wins coming for wild horses and burros! Please donate as generously as you can to our litigation fund today.
Thanks to your support, our wild horses and burros have a powerful legal team to defend them against anti-mustang assaults!
Suzanne Roy, Executive Director
What’s New with Roll? Progress Update
Roll continues to improve after a bout with White Line Disease that began in January 2016. The White Line Disease in his left hind foot is almost completely grown out now!
He is maintaining conditioning pretty much on his own with turnout since I did not want to add any stress to his routine while the hoof was still badly compromised. I was pleased to see that all the lessons that Roll has had for the past six years are firmly engrained in his brain.
Over the past ten months, I have watched him doing his straight forward walking exercises in good equine posture and he continued to square up every time he stopped to rest.
It truly has become his natural way of moving and kept the weight evenly distributed over all four feet during his recovery with the help of shoes on the other three feet to keep the hooves on the healthy feet from wearing unevenly from added weight-bearing.
After the initial onset that lasted about four months, we did use product on the hoof (betadine solution, hoof supplement, etc.) as it was growing out, but once we got past the “critical” stages, we just kept it clean and trimmed properly to promote even growth.
Everything looks great now, Roll is happy and he should be able to begin his lessons again soon!
The Great African Donkey Rush
This is excerpted from an article by Simon Allison for The Daily Maverick.
Forget gold, diamonds or rhino horn. The hottest commodity in Africa right now – the most prized ass-et, if you will – is the humble donkey, thanks to a critical donkey shortage in China. But even this hardy beast of burden is struggling to carry the weight of an insatiable demand.
Humanity owes a lot to the donkey. Domesticated for over five millennia, donkeys have been used for farming, transport, food and warfare. Hardy, reliable and uncomplaining, they are the ultimate beast of burden, not to mention the preferred ride of a certain Jesus Christ.
But as the world has industrialised, so donkeys are losing their place in it. Machines farm better, cars are faster, and donkey meat is an acquired taste. Only the very poorest communities still rear and rely on donkeys for their day-to-day needs.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in China. After two decades of high economic growth, the country’s donkey population has nearly halved: from 11-million in the late 1990s to just six million today.
The precipitous decline in donkey numbers has had an unintended consequence for a lucrative local industry: Chinese traditional medicine. When boiled, donkey skin produces a rubbery, gelatine-like substance, known as ejiao, which is believed to cure coughs, relieve insomnia and revitalise blood. It is a key ingredient in many popular Chinese tonics and medicines.
But these days, there simply aren’t enough Chinese donkeys to make enough ejiao, so manufacturers are looking further afield. Specifically, there are looking to Africa, where donkey populations remain in rude health.
Emergency Situation for Donkeys After Industrialization in Brazil
This is an excerpt from an article at plus55.com.
The story of the Brazilian Northeastern region is intricately linked to the donkey. For centuries, the resilient animal assisted people in their struggle for survival in the poorest and most arid parts of the country. In recent years, though, the situation has changed and the animal appears more as a nuisance than a cultural symbol.
Estimates suggest that over the last decade, thousands of animals have been abandoned, often substituted for mechanic labor including tractors, for farming, or motorcycles for transport. The latter saw an expansion from 1.2 million to 6.9 million vehicles between 2003 and 2016 (an increase of 600 percent). Left to themselves, the donkeys have multiplied and are now causing trouble in many states.
One of the few statistics on the subject hints at the size of the problem. Between 2010 and 2013 in just the western part of Rio Grande do Norte state, donkeys caused at least 100 road accidents — and 60 percent were lethal. The Federal Road Police states that the majority of the over 8,000 road accidents involving animals in the northeast over the last four years are related to donkeys.
Many towns are trying to come up with a solution to the overpopulation of donkeys. In July, the state of Bahia approved a bill to regulate the killing of the donkeys; their meat is now sent to feed zoos, and the skin sold to international markets including China. The first 300 animals – the majority of which are captured on state roads – have been sacrificed.
In 2014, state representatives of Rio Grande do Norte contemplated the use of donkey meat to feed inmates and students of the public school system, although the idea was rejected. Other mayors from the Northeast area supported human consumption of the meat, but major obstacles remain with the cultural barrier. People simply don’t want to eat it.
ISPBM Horses and Burros
A heartbreaking series of photos were posted of the starving horses at the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros property. These horses and burros need your help in ways more than sending money. Contact the Dewey County Sheriff’s department for ways you can help.
This is a repost of an article by Ashley Parker at ratemyhorsepro.com
Claims of more than 30 wild horses dying horrific starvation deaths fall upon a South Dakota charity tasked with preservation.
“It’s heartbreaking and devastating. There aren’t words when you’re here,” says Colleen Burns, the former senior project manager for the International Society for the Protection of Mustang and Burros (ISPMB).
Burns was fired Thursday after going public regarding the horses’ plight in Lantry. The 501(c)3 organization is home to approximately 650 horses.
Video shows horses suffering from what Burns says are various forms of neglect including untrimmed hooves so bad they can barely walk. The horses are not supplied with the necessary farrier care. Others are unable to rise due to their weakened state from a lack of nutrition as the land is barren. Their bones protrude from their slight bodies. A stallion’s penis is unable to retract after injury and is left without care along with a mare’s visibly broken ankle.
ISPMB’s website states its goal is to prevent the elimination of unique wild herds with a model management program for wild horses. “I think its a miracle [ISPMB] lasted this long,” Burns says, adding the organization needed to start a horse management program 10-years ago because the group is in deep.
The charity’s lack of financial resources led some local hay suppliers to halt hay deliveries to ISPMB after debts went unpaid.
Burns says horses began dying in mid-June. She took her concerns to the non-profit’s long-time president, Karen Sussman, who is responsible for the management decisions surrounding the care of the four herds.
“[Sussman] knew full well what was going on,” Burns tells Rate My Horse PRO. “She acted shocked. It was like there was a disconnect between her and her understanding of what was happening.”
Sussman witnessed the horses’ deaths or gave instructions for euthanasia by gunshot, Burns says. “[Sussman] wouldn’t allow anyone to make decisions regarding the horses, but herself.”
Those decisions didn’t allow for veterinary intervention.
By late August, Burns reports the once sporadic hay deliveries stopped. She took her concerns to ISPMB Board Member Cheryl Rowe of Rapid City. Rowe came to the property two days later and documented the neglect.
Rowe resigned at an emergency board meeting on September 4, 2016 after her attempts to discuss the horses’ dire needs were reportedly seen as an attack on Sussman.
Burns says a tongue-lashing is what she got from Sussman and ISPMB Treasurer/Secretary, Bobbie Meyzen, of Redding, CT. “I tried to affect change by taking it to the board and instead I was scolded by [Mezyen] like a school child.”
Meyzen allegedly admitted to Burns she knew about the horses dying from starvation.
Jill Irvin, of Chandler, AZ serves as ISPMB’s Director.
The state veterinarian and Dewey County Sheriff department came to the ranch mid-September. Officials are monitoring the property daily to ensure the horses are now receiving hay.
Dewey County Sheriff Leslie Mayer says the criminal investigation into the horses’ alleged neglect is ongoing.
Burns says she hopes the organization and horses survive, but admits the current regime needs a change.
Sussman is facing a charge of felony grand theft in Perkins County for allegedly writing a bad check of almost $9,400 for hay. If convicted she faces up to 10-years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
“I was gravely concerned and I took steps,” Burns says. “I love these horses.”
We did not receive a response from Sussman prior to publishing.
Note: If you would like to donate hay to the horses, local officials have established a fund.
Please send to
DEWEY COUNTY AUDITOR
PO BOX 277
TIMBER LAKE, SD 57656-0277
PLEASE MAKE PAYABLE TO DEWEY COUNTY AND MARK FOR THE ISPMB HORSE FUND.
Action Alert: Starving Horses In South Dakota!
This post is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang Rescue
Horses dying of starvation, in pain and in critical condition. I spoke with the Sheriff this morning and he said the horses will be seized from ISPMB and a walk through made by the vet, and the horses that need to be humanely euthanized to end their suffering will be taken care of. As we can provide CRITICAL CARE, he said we need to be there on Thursday.
We have no idea who we will be bringing home, but we desperately need funds to accomplish this rescue. If no one can provide the critical care, the horses will have to be euthanized. So right now we are getting ready for the long drive out there.
Please help us give them a chance. They deserve so much more than they have been given.
The Sheriff agreed that the solution is to find safe loving homes for these horses. But for the ones who need critical care, we have to be thereThursday.
It feels like such a lost cause, because there are so many, but God is telling me to help the ones we can. BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP to HELP THEM! Please share this far and wide and donate if you can. We were hoping for a breather, but cannot in good conscience not try to step up and help.
AHC Statement on Proposed Horse Protection Act Regulations
This is an AHC Washington Update courtesy of the American Horse Council.
Many individuals in the horse industry are aware that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has published proposed changes to the regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The proposed rule would make several major changes to current HPA regulations with the goal of ending soring, including a new licensing program for HPA inspectors and a ban on action devices, pads, weighted shoes and foreign substances at walking horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions.
The American Horse Council (AHC) strongly opposes soring and believes action must be taken to stop the soring of “big lick” Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses. However, the AHC is concerned that certain provisions of the proposed rule are too broadly written, not sufficiently defined, and could cause confusion for the horse show industry. Like all industries, the horse show industry requires clarity in any regulatory regime that impacts its operation. Soring is a problem that is well defined and limited to a very specific segment of the walking horse industry and any new regulations should reflect this fact.
The AHC’s formal comments to USDA will strongly urge USDA to explicitly limit all new provisions to Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses, mirroring the PAST Act. Making this change will address most concerns the horse industry has with the proposed rule and will fulfill the purpose and intent of the HPA.
The AHC wants to be clear, many of the proposed changes to the HPA regulations are needed, such as replacing the ineffective Designated Qualified Person (DQP) program with a new independent inspection program. Additionally, because of a long history of utilizing action devices, stacks, weighted shoes, and foreign substances to sore horses, a ban of these items on Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses is justified and needed.
However, the AHC believes it is equally important that any new regulations be narrowly focused on the problem of soring and do not inadvertently impact or unnecessarily burden other segments of the horse show industry that have no history of soring horses.
The AHC will be submitting detailed written comments to USDA in the coming weeks.
All Turnouts Must End
The Lucky Three mules willingly come off the grass pasture at any time of the day that they are beckoned. This is the result of routine management, humane training practices and an ample reward system. Not one equine here is herd-bound as we have become as good friends with them as their equine buddies!
Public Sentiment Triumphs for Wild Horse Again
This update is from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
A year ago, public outrage saved the Salt River wild horses from roundup and eradication from the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix, Arizona. Now, community action saved a band of beloved wild horses after they were captured and removed from their home range in Alton, New Mexico. The horses faced sale at a slaughter auction before the neighborhood mobilized to save the horses and the Wild Horse Observers Association filed a lawsuit. Now the New Mexico Department of Agriculture has officially returned the horses to their home and the residents of Alto are celebrating!
House of Representatives Passes National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act
This is an AHC Washington Update courtesy of the American Horse Council.
The House of Representatives passed the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015 (H.R.845). The bill, introduced by Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN), would direct the Forest Service to take several actions to help address the current trail maintenance backlog that is adversely impacting all trail users on many national forests, including equestrians. The American Horse Council, Backcountry Horsemen of America, and the Wilderness Society were significantly involved in the creation of this bill.
The AHC strongly supports the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015 and is pleased the House has approved this important legislation.
A June 2013, study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Forest Service has deferred trail maintenance needs that exceed half-billion dollars, and only one-quarter of the agency’s 158,000 miles of trails meets agency standards for maintenance. This maintenance backlog is causing access and safety issues for equestrians and all trail users on national forests.
The National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act would direct the Forest Service to develop a strategy to more effectively utilize volunteers and partners to assist in maintaining national forest trails. It will also provide outfitters and guides the ability to perform trail maintenance activities in lieu of permit fees. Additionally, the bill would address a liability issue that has discouraged some national forests from utilizing volunteers and partner organizations to help perform trail maintenance and would direct the Forest Service to identify and prioritize specific areas with the greatest need for trail maintenance in the national forest system.
In the current fiscal environment it is unlikely Congress will appropriate additional funds to directly address the trail maintenance backlog. This bill will help improve trail maintenance without the need for additional funding.
The bill must now be considered by the Senate.
Action Alert: Urge Common Sense Solution to BLM for Wild Horses
This Action Alert comes from The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
COMMENTS DUE BY OCTOBER 6, 2016
The BLM Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council (RAC) is meeting in Ely, Nevada on October 6 & 7, 2016. This citizen advisory board has within its jurisdiction several of Nevada’s wild horse Herd Management Areas. Recently, this RAC sent a letter to the BLM supporting the removal of 4,000 wild horses from public lands in eastern Nevada and promoting surgical sterilization of wild herds. We must urge the RAC to recommend humane, socially acceptable solutions for wild horse management in Nevada, instead of promoting controversial, divisive and cruel management techniques that are not supported by the American people.
If you live in northeastern Nevada, please consider attending the meeting (see details below). For those who can’t attend, you can still make your voice heard by sending an email to the RAC to deliver a strong message that citizens across America want our wild horses protected on our public lands. Just personalize and send the letter at this link.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Carson City District Office in Nevada is accepting public comments on a “Landscape Project” that will directly impact the management of wild horses living in the Clan Alpine Herd Management Area (HMA), which overlaps with three livestock grazing allotments. The BLM is proposing to increase livestock grazing on the allotments while keeping the decade-old “Appropriate” Management Level (AML) the same. Worse yet, the BLM is proposing to geld stallions and skew sex ratios which will destroy natural wild horse behaviors and social organization of the Clan Alpine herd.
Bait and water trapping, which is less tramatic than the use of helicopters, is the preferred method to remove horses if necessary and to administer PZP birth control (if remote darting is not possible). However, the proposed removal of 20-30 horses annually to achieve AML is fiscally unsustainable costing $1 million to $1.5 million based on the BLM estimate to care for the removed horses in government holding facilities. The plan is a double whammy for U.S. taxpayers. First we pay for the removal and warehousing of wild horses so that ranchers can turn out more livestock on the public lands. They we pay to subsidize the below-market fees the ranchers pay to graze livestock on the public lands.
Aside from the unsustainable financial aspect of removing horses from the range, it is forever traumatic for each horse who will be robbed of his/her freedom and family. There is a better way … and we must demand that the BLM take it.