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Earlier this month, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director Neil Kornze told Congress that his agency was heading toward “spaying and neutering” wild horses on the range.
It sounds benign, but it’s not.
Using never-before-seen footage, AWHPC has just released a video that shows the type of risky, invasive and archaic sterilization procedures the BLM is proposing to conduct on wild mares.
It isn’t pretty, but it’s necessary to show the American public exactly what the BLM has in store for our iconic and federally-protected wild horses and burros.
We can’t let this happen. Here’s how you can fight back for wild horses and burros:
► Watch the video and become educated about the BLM’s barbaric plans.
► Share the video far and wide to spread the word.
► Sign the petition and share it with your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. These are ourwild horses, they live on our public lands, and the American public overwhelmingly does not want our national icons treated in this horrific manner!
Our wild horses and burros need your help, and they need it now.
The federal government is trying to hand off captured wild horses and burros to states and local governments, which will be able to do whatever they want with these national icons. That means one thing — slaughter!
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director Neil Kornze admitted in Congressional testimony this month that his agency’s 2017 budget proposal contains no protections from slaughter for the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of horses the BLM wants to turn over to other agencies, ostensibly for use as “work animals.”
Kornze also told Congress that “it looks like” BLM is heading toward wide-scale sterilization of wild horses on the range. The BLM wants to subject these animals to risky and invasive surgical procedures that will endanger their lives and destroy the very essence of what makes them wild — their natural behaviors!
As step one of its sterilization plan, the BLM is poised to conduct barbaric, invasive and dangerous sterilization experiments on over 200 captured wild mares — most of whom will be pregnant — at its Burns Corrals in Oregon. The experiments will cause many of the mares to suffer abortions and others to bleed to death or die from infection.
We’ve hired a lobbying team that includes a former Congressman. We’re mobilizing the grassroots through a powerful public education and social media campaign. And our top-notch legal team continues to wage the battle against sterilization and slaughter in federal court .
This is happening RIGHT NOW on Capitol Hill. Please click below to help us stop the sterilization and slaughter of America’s wild horses and burros. Thank you!
The following is an Action Alert from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Neil Kornze testified before Congress regarding his agency’s budget request, which includes language that opens the door to sterilization and slaughter of America’s wild herds. The BLM wants to turn over captured wild horses to local and state government agencies, many of whom lobby for the mass mustang removal and slaughter. In his testimony, Kornze confirmed that his agency’s budget proposal will not include protections from slaughter for these horses. Alarmingly, he also indicated that the BLM is poised to implement a broad-scale sterilization program on the range.
This is a grave threat to our remaining wild horse and burro herds, and we, the people are are quite literally the only line that stands between our wild horses and burros and doom. . . . Now is the time to demonstrate massive grassroots opposition to the BLM’s catastrophic plans. If you have already signed the petition to Congress – thank you, now please share it widely. If you have not yet signed, please add your signature today. The budget process is underway and there is not a moment to waste. If you want to save wild horses and burros, please take action now!
The following is an excerpt of an Op-Ed by Christopher Ketchan for the New York Times titled “The Bison Roundup the Government Wants to Hide”.
THE National Park Service is set to begin its annual roundup of wild bison in Yellowstone National Park today. A portion will be slaughtered to reduce the number of animals that migrate beyond the park’s borders.
This culling is done largely outside of public view. Journalists have been barred in the past from watching the roundup, though it takes place on public land. The reason, according to the park service, was “for the safety of the public and staff” and also for the bison’s welfare.
This year, in response to litigation, the park service will allow a glimpse of what goes on. But only a glimpse. Access for journalists will be severely limited.
Let’s be honest here. This isn’t about “safety and welfare.” The real reason the park service doesn’t want journalists to view the roundup in its entirety is that the brutality of the cull would be revealed.
The buffalo is perhaps the iconic American mammal. More than any other animal, it is emblematic of the American frontier.
It also symbolizes the savagery with which we have treated the natural world. Tens of millions were slaughtered in a few brief decades during the 1800s — for their hides and fur and, not least, to subjugate restive Plains Indians by eliminating their food supply.
By 1900, out of a population once estimated at as many as 60 million animals, as few as 700 bison remained in private herds, and only 23 at Yellowstone.
Under the protection of the park service for almost a century, the bison have multiplied to an estimated 4,600 animals in Yellowstone.
So why would the park service, whose mission includes preserving “native wildlife species and the processes that sustain them,” opt to help kill one of its most historically and ecologically important wildlife populations?
I’ve covered the controversies over bison management in Yellowstone for almost a decade. The explanation, I’ve concluded, has nothing to do with ecology and everything to do with politics.
In 1995, the state of Montana sued the park service to control bison that roam outside of Yellowstone’s boundary. Montana stockmen feared that bison could infect local cattle populations with the disease brucellosis, which can cause cows to abort their calves. For years, the Montana Department of Livestock had killed bison that left the park.
In 2000, a court- mediated settlement resulted in the Interagency Bison Management Plan, which remains in effect today. It basically requires the park service to do the bidding of Montana stockmen. The park service, in cooperation with the state livestock department, captures bison inside the park and ships them to slaughterhouses. This effort has cost an estimated $50 million since it began 15 years ago. Ninety-five percent of that funding has come from the federal government.
Animal epidemiologists have long noted that the risk to cows of brucellosis infection from wild bison is remote. Not a single instance of transmission has ever been documented.
When I reported on the brucellosis question for Vice magazine last year, even the park service acknowledged to me that “there is recognition by both disease regulators and wildlife managers that the risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle is minute.” A retired park service biologist, Mary Meagher, who studied bison for 37 years, told me then that “brucellosis is a smoke screen.” She added, “The real issue is that ranchers don’t want bison out there on the land.”
Federal bison policy, in other words, has been captured by the politically powerful livestock industry.
Last month, represented by lawyers at the University of Denver Law School and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, I filed a lawsuit with Stephany Seay, media coordinator of the nonprofit Buffalo Field Campaign, to compel the park service to allow journalists and the public to have reasonable, nondisruptive access to the capture and cull.
In response, the park service has agreed to allow us to observe the activities on four days of the service’s choosing. But this is wholly inadequate for a culling operation that takes place over several weeks. We’re skeptical about how much we’ll be allowed to see.
Bison should be managed like so many other populations of wild animals — with seasonal hunting. Let them roam beyond Yellowstone’s boundaries year-round in Montana. Scrap the Interagency Bison Management Plan. Repeal the authority of Montana’s livestock department to slaughter bison. Get cows out of the way and allow wild bison to restore themselves — through their ancient instinct to migrate — on their native landscape.
In December, Montana took a long-awaited step in that direction. Gov. Steve Bullock proposed allowing Yellowstone bison to roam in certain areas beyond the park’s boundaries throughout the year. This modest move must still be approved by various state and federal agencies. Hopefully, this will lead to broader changes in way the animal is managed.
Despite this progress, the annual cull will still take place. The sad irony here is that in order to allow Montana ranchers to graze their cattle, the park service is helping to slaughter a native animal so iconic that it is emblazoned on the park service’s own logo.
The following is an Action Alert from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
In a stunning reversal, the President’s Proposed 2017 Budget seeks to amend the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act to allow the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to turn over captured wild horses to state agencies and strip these animals of the legal status that currently protects them from slaughter. If approved by Congress, the amendment would allow the BLM to place unlimited numbers of wild horses directly into the hands of state and local governments that have vocally lobbied for mass removals and slaughter of these iconic animals. The proposed appropriations language also calls for sterilization of wild horses and burros in the wild. This is a grave threat to our remaining wild horse and burro herds. If ever there was a time to show united and strong opposition to the BLM’s anti-wild horse and burro policies, this is it! Please take action below and share widely.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign sent a notice regarding BLM meetings. If you are in the area and can attend, contact them for more information.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wyoming Resource Advisory Council (RAC) is meeting in Rock Springs, Wyoming on February 3-5, 2016. This citizen advisory board has within its jurisdiction all of Wyoming’s 16 wild horse Herd Management Areas.
The RAC advises and makes recommendations to the BLM on public land management. These meetings are open to the public and provide the public an opportunity to make comments to the citizen-based council. We encourage you to attend and provide comments if you can! AWHPC is submitting comments, asking for the RAC’s support for humane reform of the BLM wild horse program and fairer treatment for Wyoming’s last remaining mustangs.
While wild horses are not on the agenda, the topic will likely come up during the meeting and the public comment period on Friday, February 5 at 8 am provides an excellent opportunity to speak up for Wyoming’s mustangs and against BLM Wyoming’s policy of eradicating them from public lands.
WHAT: BLM Wyoming Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Meeting
WHEN: February 3-5, 2016
2/3: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
2/4: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2/5: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. *Public comment period will be held at 8 a.m.
WHERE: BLM Rock Springs Field Office, 280 Highway 191 North, Rock Springs, WY
The agenda for the meeting is available here.
This is an Action Alert from the The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
The Bureau of Land Management is planning barbaric, archaic and dangerous sterilization experiments on captured wild mares at its Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon. These experiments have never before been performed on wild horses or, in the case of two of the three proposed procedures, in horses anywhere at all! The agency is accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) and now is the time to voice our united and strong opposition to this outrageous proposal!
At least 100 mares — 75 of whom will be pregnant — will be subjected to “ovariectomy via colpotomy,” a dangerous procedure in which a veterinarian makes an incision in the mare’s vagina, inserts his arm into the vaginal cavity, manually locates the ovaries and rips them out using an “ecraseur,” a rod-like device with a chain on the end. The painful procedure will subject mares to the risk of infection, hemorrhage and evisceration (intestines coming through the incision) and cause mares in the early to mid-stages of pregnancy to abort their fetuses.
In domestic mares, this procedure is not common, but when performed, requires a post-surgical 4-7 days stall confinement, during which the first 48 hours are spent in crossties to prevent the mare from lying down. No such restraint is possible in wild mares, and the BLM intends to turn them out to corrals after the surgery with open incisions and no restrictions on movement. This fact lead the National Research Council (NRC) to conclude that the fatality rate for the BLM’s proposed experiment would be “higher than the one percent reported in the published literature,” which is based on surgery performed in domestic mares.The NRC a stated that less invasive techniques would be preferable to this procedure in wild mares.
Two less invasive experimental procedures are also proposed that would use endoscopes to achieve sterilization without removal of the ovaries. However, these procedures have never before been done in horses, domestic or wild, and appear to be infeasible for use in wild mares.
Please take a stand against these dangerous and costly BLM wild horse experiments today. The BLM deliberately avoided public opposition by skipping the scoping stage of this process, so let’s use the EA stage to show the agency just how many citizens and taxpayers oppose these dangerous and costly experiments on our wild mares. Take action below!
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) issued to correct legal violations in the way it conducted the massive 2014 Wyoming Checkerboard roundup, which permanently removed 1,263 federally-protected wild horses from the range. By using a request from ranchers to remove wild horses from private lands as an excuse to eradicate horses from public lands, the BLM has set a dangerous precedent that puts wild horses at the mercy of private landowners who want them gone. We continue to fight this legal travesty in the courts, and we must take a strong stand as well during this public comment period. Please take action for wild horses.
Ely, Nevada (October 14, 2015). . . The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) today blasted the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for ignoring scientific advice and environmental complaints in its decision to proceed with the use of an experimental fertility control vaccine on wild horses in the Antelope Herd Management Area (HMA) in eastern Nevada.
Last month, AWHPC filed a complaint with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) against the BLM to stop a precedent-setting plan to use the experimental drug, known as GonaCon, for the first time ever on federally protected wild horses. The long- term effects of the vaccine on wild horses are unknown, and the National Academy of Sciences recommended that more research was needed on GonaCon’s impacts on wild horse behavior before being used in wild horse populations.
In February of this year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Utah rounded up and removed 103 wild horses from the Sulphur Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah. Among those captured, was a 26-year-old grulla stallion whose plight captured the attention of the public. Over 24,000 Americans signed a petition calling on the BLM to release this proud stallion, who spent over two decades in the wild, back to the range to live out the only life he had ever known — one of freedom.
The BLM ignored the request, and proceeded with an Internet auction of this stallion and his herd on April 21, 2015. Wild horse advocate Jacquelyn Hieber reached out to Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary who agreed if she were able to win bids on a few Sulphur stallions including the senior now known as #3907, they could provide a forever sanctuary for these horses.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning a mega roundup of wild horses in the Beatys Butte Herd Management Area (HMA) in southern Oregon later this month. The roundup will shatter the lives of 1,500 wild horses and cost American taxpayers as much as $76 million for the helicopter stampede and lifetime warehousing of captured mustangs in government holding facilities!
This massive roundup is being conducted to appease ranchers in the Beatys Butte Grazing Association, who graze their livestock on our public lands at taxpayer-subsidized rates. This small group of ranchers has been pressuring the BLM to remove horses so they can graze more cattle in the same public lands area.
Please take a stand today! Your signatures will be hand delivered later this month to the Oregon BLM at a joint meeting of the agency’s citizen advisory boards that oversee most of the wild horse areas in the state.
RENO, NEVADA (September 28, 2015) … Pershing County and six public lands ranchers today dropped their lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands in the area. The ranchers and the BLM entered into a private settlement agreement that does not commit the government to any action. The agreement merely creates a drawn-out schedule over several years during which time the BLM is to consider the removal of wild horses from 16 wild horse habitat areas that overlap public lands utilized by the ranchers for grazing their privately-owned livestock. This dismissal comes three months after the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) and Pershing County property owner Debra Davenport were granted intervenor status in the case.
“This agreement is not court sanctioned and is little more than a face-saving way for the ranchers and local government to drop a lawsuit that had no legal merit and was bound to be dismissed by the court,” said Deniz Bolbol, AWHPC spokesperson. “The BLM should not reward ranchers for filing meritless lawsuits by prioritizing the removal of horses from the public lands at issue. Rather, the BLM should focus on humane on-the-range management and fulfilling its legal mandate to protect all wild horses and burros on our public lands in the West. Prioritizing removal of horses in these areas will simply encourage more baseless legal actions by ranchers and their local government allies.”
The lawsuit sought to force the BLM to immediately round up hundreds of wild horses from Congressionally designated wild horse habitat on public lands in Pershing County, Nevada.
The lawsuit was part of an attempt by ranchers, who view mustangs as competition for cheap taxpayer-subsidized grazing on public lands, to use the court system to compel the BLM to remove more wild horses from the range. To date, AWHPC has intervened in five of these cases. Earlier this year, Judge Du granted AWHPC’s motion to dismiss a similar case filed by the Nevada Association of Counties against the BLM, and the U.S. District Court in Wyoming granted AWHPC’s motion to dismiss the State of Wyoming’s lawsuit against the BLM seeking the removal of thousands of wild horses from the range.
Comment deadline: October 9, 2015
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting public comments on an environmental analysis (EA) of a massive helicopter roundup and removal of nearly 2,000 wild horses living in Wyoming’s Red Desert Complex, which includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek Herd Management Areas (HMAs). The action would leave behind just 480 horses on this 700,000-acre (more than 1,000-square-mile) public lands area!
The EA ignores over 6,000 public scoping comments submitted earlier this year calling for the humane management of Red Desert wild horses on the range with PZP fertility control, and for humane capture methods, instead of using helicopters to chase horses into holding pens. Alternative 2 — the Proposed Action in the EA — calls for removal of over 1,700 wild horses from the Complex — that’s 45% of the total estimated mustang population in the entire state — and includes the token application of PZP fertility control to just 23 mares. Alternative 1, a second alternative analyzed but not proposed in the EA, would more fully utilize fertility control and return more wild horses to the range, but would still permanently remove approximately 830 wild horses from the Complex. Both alternatives call for using traumatic helicopter capture methods.
It’s time to take a stand for Wyoming’s wild horses. We must insist that the BLM stop ignoring the public andstart humanely managing the Red Desert wild horses on the range, allowing the horses within the HMAs to remain where they are on our public lands! The BLM should raise the “Appropriate” Management Levels (AMLs) for the Red Desert Complex wild horse populations. The BLM must fairly allocate range resources to ensure that wildlife — including wild horses — have a fair share of the forage on our public lands, rather than giving exorbitant resources to the privately-owned cattle and sheep operations.
The BLM held its second, and final, Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting of 2015 on September 2nd and 3rd in Oklahoma City, OK. Of all the board meetings I have attended since 2009, this was by far the most ominous. Emboldened by years of BLM’s crisis-creating, the pro-slaughter majority on this board is now openly endorsing slaughter as a solution to the BLM’s budget woes. These members, who overwhelmingly represent livestock interests, are also aiming to reduce wild horse numbers below the already ridiculously low allowable population levels.
The BLM Wild Horse and Burro (WH&B) program, under the leadership of Dean Bolstad, a long-time BLM bureaucrat, seems only happy to comply. In fact, after the pro-slaughter board members spoke explicitly about the need to overturn Congressional ban that prevents the BLM from selling wild horses and burros for slaughter, Bolstad commented that, of the 49 board meetings he has attended since 2003, this was the best one yet.
In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences evaluated the BLM’s WH&B Program and concluded that “continuation of ‘business as usual’ practices will be expensive and unproductive for the BLM and the public it serves.” Undaunted by this warning, the BLM is continuing down the same destructive path, announcing at the meeting:
- Expansion of helicopter roundup contracts to include three companies, including Sun J Livestock, which was found previously to have engaged in “unprofessional” conduct, including the electro-shocking of wild horses.
- Scaling up removals under the guise of sage grouse protection.
- Spending over 70% of the budget to round up and warehouse horses, while continuing to spend less than 1% on humane fertility control to manage wild horse populations on the range.
- Spending millions on research, much of which is aimed at perfecting techniques to permanently sterilize wild horses on the range.
- Meeting with Congress to share its self-inflicted budget woes, with the goal of overturning the ban on selling captured wild horses and burros “without limitation” that would enable kill buyers to purchase large numbers of wild horses and burros for slaughter.
ZEROING OUT ENTIRE WILD HORSE HERD NOT VIEWED AS CONSTITUTING “IRREPARABLE HARM.”
Washington, DC (Sept. 15, 2015) – Today, Federal Judge Christopher R. Cooper denied a Preliminary Injunction to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from carrying out its decades old quest to remove the entire West Douglas wild horse herd. Tomorrow the BLM will begin a helicopter roundup and removal of wild horses in and around the herd area with the ultimate goal of zeroing out the herd (area).
The lawsuit was brought by The Cloud Foundation (TCF), Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF), The Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition (CWHBC), Dr. Don Moore and Toni Moore of Fruita, CO., and Barb Flores of Greeley, CO, to protect this herd and the neighboring Piceance East Douglas herd. “Sadly,” states Toni Moore, “the courts did not view the loss of an entire herd of wild horses as ‘irreparable harm.’ “
“Wiping out the West Douglas herd erases a whole distinct set of genetics, separate from nearby East Douglas horses,” states Linda Hanick, TCF Board member who testified in the Sept. 11 hearing on the case. “The roundup disregards the importance of the historic recorded documentation of these horses since Sept 1776. This roundup closes the door on an important piece of Colorado’s wild horse history.”
“We’re very disappointed of course,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of TCF. “Wild horse families that have shared a history with this rugged Colorado landscape for hundreds of years will be swept away, while the real public land destroyers, the thousands of head of welfare livestock remain. It is terribly unfair, but we continue to fight for those wild herds that remain!”
“Rangeland impact of livestock in West Douglas is greater than 10 times the impact of wild horses,” states Barb Flores, plaintiff in the case who also testified in the Sept. 11 hearing. “Both use the area year round. While cattle are moved from pasture to pasture, wild horses migrate throughout the herd area on their own.”
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) currently is accepting public comments on a plan to expand the Bald Mountain mining operation that will affect the wild horses living in the Triple B Herd Management Area (HMA) in White Pine County, Nevada. The proposed action will permanently remove 1,210 acres of already scarce vegetation available for wild horses, temporarily remove an additional 6,879 acres of currently available forage, reduce the amount of water available for wild horse use, increase the size of the area negatively impacted by human activity and noise, and pose a risk to wild horse safety and health by either physical injury or exposure to poisonous mercury and cyanide contamination, which is a byproduct of gold mining.
Comments must be received by September 28, 2015.
For the first time ever, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to convert a wild, free-roaming mustang population into a non-reproducing herd of sterilized horses. The BLM Idaho plan for the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) would destroy the wild horses’ wild, free-roaming behaviors and is a recipe for managing this beautiful wild horse herd to extinction. If implemented, it would set a dangerous precedent for destroying healthy, sustainable wild horse populations into sterilized groups of horses that will die off. AWHPC’s formal protest of this destructive and devastating plan is pending, but we need the public to weigh in to help Keep the Saylor Creek Wild Horses Wild! Take action and sign the petition.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Summer 2015 roundup season is underway. Newly captured wild horses and burros will be added to the nearly 50,000 currently stockpiled in holding facilities. Of note is the BLM removal numbers are significantly lower than those of previous years, which is largely the result of BLM’s inability to remove larger numbers of horses due to lack of holding space. This situation creates an opportunity, and should make it necessary, for the BLM to increase the use of humane fertility control as an alternative to removing massive numbers of wild horses and burros from the range. However, the agency continues to fight against making progress towards creating a humane and sustainable on-the-range management program.