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ACTION NEEDED: Tell your U.S. Rep to vote YES on the Carter-Fitzpatrick Amendment to the INVEST Act!

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

In the last week, there has been some important wild horse news that we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss! 


Urgent: Contact Your Rep to Stop Horse Slaughter

Right now, in the House of Representatives, we have an opportunity to stop horse slaughter through the INVEST Act. This Act is a large government infrastructure bill that may also give us an opportunity to stop the transport of horses and burros across the border to slaughter. It goes up for a vote next week! 

We need you to contact your Representative right now and tell them to vote YES on the Carter-Fitzpatrick Amendment!

TAKE ACTION

 

We’re Challenging the BLM’s Wild Burro Eradication Plan

Last week, AWHC attorneys filed a legal challenge to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) burro eradication plan, which calls for the roundup and removal of all of the burros in three California Herd Areas (HAs).

In it, we charge that the agency violated federal law by not considering the newly-published science that documented the key benefits of these very burros to their ecosystems, which includes well digging in the arid desert. The new science even went so far as to call wild burros “ecosystem engineers!”

LEARN MORE

 

Sierra Club Adopts Friendly Wild Horse Policy

The Sierra Club, the nation’s leading environmental organization, recently updated its wild horse and burro policy. This policy had not been changed in 40 years and it called for the elimination of wild horses and burros from key habitats.

Now, the new policy calls for scientific and humane in-the-wild management, including removal of livestock before horses, predator protection, and the use of fertility control! We are so excited to work with the organization to protect wild horses and burros on public lands in the future.

LEARN MORE

 

Lawmakers, Advocates Push to End BLM Wild Horse Adoption Incentives

Recently, AWHC’s Executive Director, Suzanne Roy, and wild horse champion, U.S. Representative Dina Titus were interviewed on a Las Vegas NPR affiliate, KNPR, about the BLM’s failed Adoption Incentive Program (AIP).

In this 25 minute segment, they cover what the AIP is, it’s disatorious effects, how lawmakers are calling for its end, and what a better solution is for our wild horses and burros! The riveting interview is not one you want to miss!

LISTEN NOW

Thank you for your support,

—The AWHC Team

ICYMI: Over 30 members of Congress have called on the BLM to suspend its’ AIP!

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We wanted to make sure you heard about this exciting update:

Over the last week, 30+ members of Congress have called on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to suspend an adoption program that’s sending wild horses and burros to slaughter. 

SIGN ON NOW TO DEMAND THE BLM HALT THE AIP >>


The recent groundbreaking New York Times report — prompted by an AWHC investigation of the BLM’s Adoption Incentive Program (AIP) — has led to national awareness about the plight of wild horses and burros, and has received significant attention from legislators on Capitol Hill.

Late last week, in a letter directed to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) called on the Interior Department to immediately suspend the BLM’s AIP and conduct a thorough investigation into the program that’s become a pipeline to slaughter for untold numbers of federally-protected wild horses and burros.

On Wednesday, U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Dina Titus, Steve Cohen, Jan Schakowsky, and Mike Quigley along with 25 of their House colleagues sent a similar letter to Secretary Haaland, asking that the AIP be suspended and calling for the passage of the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act to protect all American horses from slaughter.

Thanks to your support and the buzz surrounding the New York Times article, significant action is being taken to protect America’s wild horses and burros! But Erica, we can’t stop now. Can you sign our petition and join Congress in demanding that the BLM halt the Adoption Incentive Program that’s sending wild horses and burros to slaughter?

SIGN THE PETITION

 
In coordination with our rescue partners, Evanescent Mustang Rescue, Skydog Sanctuary, and Black Hills Sanctuary, AWHC spent significant time searching for and accumulating tangible evidence to document the connection between the BLM’s AIP and the uptick in cherished wild horses and burros in slaughter auctions across the country — all leading to the New York Times exposé. 
We’re working with Senator Feinstein, Reps. Titus and Cohen, and many other members of Congress to put a halt to the AIP, pass federal legislation to help keep wild horses in the wild, and we’re fighting back against a dangerous bill that would strip away federal protections for wild horses and burros by allowing the BLM to trade away their habitats to states.

Erica, we’re doing everything we can to preserve and protect wild horse and burro herds across the U.S. Can you join us in our efforts by signing our petition and demanding that the BLM put an end to its disastrous Adoption Incentive Program?

SIGN THE PETITION

 
Thank you,
AWHC Team

Your $30 gift today will help us save a wild mare

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Did you know the price of a single mare’s annual PZP vaccine is just $30?

We’re asking: today — on May 30th, will you make a $30 gift to fund our PZP program and help us manage wild horse populations using tried and true fertility control measures?

DONATE $30 NOW

In Nevada’s Virginia Range, AWHC operates the world’s largest humane management program for wild horses. We recently celebrated our two-year anniversary of the establishment of this historic initiative to prove to the world that THERE IS a humane way to manage wild horse populations that doesn’t require mass roundups, crowded holding corrals, dangerous sterilization surgeries, or slaughter.

We’re fighting back against the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) massive herd removals in court and on Capitol Hill — and the success of our PZP program in Nevada has been critical in our fight to protect wild horses.

In roughly a month, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is scheduled to resume helicopter roundups. And over the next 5 years, the BLM is planning to round up an estimated 90,000 wild horses and burros!

Will you make a donation today to help us continue our PZP program and help further research to prove that large horse populations can be managed humanely on public lands?

DONATE $30 NOW

What’s worse,  is that the BLM is accelerating roundups over the next five years, which is projected to cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion dollars. Now we don’t have to tell you that a $30 fertility control treatment is a MUCH MORE cost-effective option compared to these costly roundups!

Tens of thousands of wild horses and burros will lose their families and freedom because of these roundups, and because the BLM doesn’t have the capacity to store all of the horses they capture, it’s already leading to slaughter for too many of these cherished animals.

PZP is a much more sustainable and humane option to keep wild horses in the wild where they belong. On today, the 30th — will you help us to continue the successes of our PZP program with a $30 donation?

$30.00 >> HELPS 1 HORSE

$60.00 >> HELPS 2 HORSES

$150.00 >> HELPS 5 HORSES

$300.00 >> HELPS 10 HORSES

DONATE OTHER >>

Thank you for your support,
AWHC Team

🚨 BREAKING 🚨 : Biden just released the proposed budget for the Interior Dept.

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

The Biden Administration just released its proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget for the U.S. Department of the Interior. It contains an astounding increase of $36.8 million for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, and continues the Trump Administration’s accelerated, mass roundup plan and scapegoating of wild equids.

Remember what that plan includes: the removal of nearly 90,000 wild horses and burros from their homes on our public lands, the tripling of the number of wild horses and burros in holding facilities, and a cost to taxpayers of nearly $1 billion in the first five years! And, as the New York Times recently reported, this is already leading to the slaughter of these protected national icons.

It’s shocking that Interior Secretary Haaland has put her seal of approval on this plan. As a member of Congress, she opposed additional funding for wild horse and burro roundups, advocating instead for humane birth control. Clearly, at the helm of the Interior Department, she’s now prioritizing livestock industry interests over the protection of wild horses and burros.

But remember, this is only a budget request. It does not mean that Congress will fund it. 

So, it’s time to fight back … And it’s already happening!

  • Increasing numbers of environmental organizations are speaking up against the scapegoating of wild horses for damage caused by massive livestock grazing. In fact, the Sierra Club recently adopted a policy calling for the elimination of livestock grazing in wild horse and burro habitats!
  • Support for humane, in-the-wild horse and burro management is growing on Capitol Hill. Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Steve Cohen (D-TN) were recently joined by over 40 of their House colleagues in requesting Congress to fund humane fertility control and other on-range methods as a priority over removing wild horses and burros from their homes.
  • AWHC is working with key members of Congress to support a humane, environmentally-focused and scientific approach to wild horse management that would drastically reduce the removal of wild horses and burros from their habitats.
  • We really need you to take action too. Here’s what you can do:
    1. Protest this budget request on the Interior Department’s Facebook page by downloading the below graphic and uploading it to this post.

    2. Tweet at President Biden and Secretary Haaland using this automated Tweet.
    3. Email Secretary Haaland at exsec@ios.doi.gov. Suggested message:
      “I strongly oppose your cruel plan to remove tens of thousands of wild horses and burros from our public lands. I’m especially disappointed that you blame wild horses and burros for environmental damage and climate change while you continue to ignore livestock grazing, which is the real contributor to these issues. Humane on-range management alternatives — including birth control and removing livestock — are available, scientifically-recommended, and cost-effective. I’m very disappointed that you are prioritizing livestock interests over the interests of the 80 percent of Americans who want wild horses and burros protected, not rounded up, penned, and slaughtered.” 
    4. Ask Congress to fund humane wild horse management.

    Thank you,

    Suzanne Roy
    Executive Director
    American Wild Horse Campaign

Katherine Heigl joins the fight to save the Onaqui wild horses!

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

The Onaqui wild horses of the West Desert in Utah just gained a powerful voice in the battle to save the iconic herd from a brutal helicopter roundup planned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) this summer. What’s at stake: the fate of 300 of the 500 Onaqui wild horses targeted for removal by the BLM. 

Actress Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy), is using her platform to join AWHC in speaking out for this beloved herd, known for its striking colors, unique social dynamics, and acclimation to photographers and other visitors from all over the world. 

We’re grateful to Katherine for tweeting out a link to our website, saveonaqui.com, spreading the word about the plight of these cherished mustangs and ways to join the fight to save them!

A growing chorus of celebrities and activists is speaking out against the BLM’s inhumane mass roundup and removal of thousands of wild horses and burros every year from the public lands they call home. As was revealed by our investigation and confirmed by a New York Times exposé — far too many captured wild horses and burros are adopted then dumped at slaughter auctions across the country.

Katherine makes a great point: 
Why are we spending so much time and money to round up the Onaqui wild horses, separating their family groups, terrorizing or even killing them, when there is already a humane fertility control program in place to control the population? 

The Onaqui roundup is scheduled to start on July 12th. Please take action now to help us stop it: Visit saveonaqui.com to learn how you can protect the Onaqui wild horses today!

Here are a few ways you can help right now:

Thank you for joining us in speaking up for the Onaqui wild horses,

American Wild Horse Campaign

your support helps us save wild burros just like these ones

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We wanted to tell you about one of our recent wins for wild burros that was only possible because of the support of donors like you.

Make a donation to our Rescue Fund today to help us save more wild horses & burros!

On the eve of Burro Awareness Month, our rescue partner Evanescent Mustang Rescue and Sanctuary alerted us about 12 burros that were dumped in an Oklahoma kill pen. The burros were rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and were ready to ship to slaughter any day. 

These burros are likely victims of the BLM’s Adoption Incentive Program, which pays a $1,000 incentive for individuals to adopt wild and unhandled horses and burros. The program is resulting in many of these beautiful wild animals being “flipped” to kill pens.

We knew we had to help Evanescent rescue these innocent animals and get them to safety ASAP. 

AWHC’s Rescue Fund paid the bail for all 12 burros, and Evanescent rescued them and is providing a safe landing place where they can rest and heal until they are ready for adoption!

This victory wouldn’t be possible without the support of donors like you. The resources you help to provide the AWHC & our Rescue Fund are integral in helping our rescue partners save wild horses and burros.

Will you help us again today and make a donation so that we can continue to fuel our Rescue Fund and save more wild horses and burros in need?

DONATE

Thank you,

Suzanne Roy
Executive Director
American Wild Horse Campaign

Wild Horses in NV, WY, CO and CA need YOUR help!

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

This week there are four important Action Alert deadlines for comments on mass roundup plans targeting wild horses and burros in Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado and California!

So, please take a moment to weigh in for meaningful change for wild horses and burros by taking the actions below:

Lake Mead Burros
Comments due Friday, 4/30!

Burros are incredible animals and evolving science is documenting the important role they play in the desert ecosystem. But a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan for wild burros in the Lake Mead Complex outside Las Vegas would zero out wild burros from two of three habitat areas, and leave behind a minuscule number of burros in the third. For good measure, the BLM also wants to capture and remove every wild horse living in the area. Take action to oppose this by Friday.

TAKE ACTION

The Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses of Colorado
Comments due Saturday, 5/1!


Photo credit: Kimerlee Curyl Photography

The BLM is targeting the famed Sand Wash Basin wild horses in Colorado for mass roundup and removals. The HMA covers roughly 157,700 acres of public land and is currently home to an estimated 935 wild horses. The BLM’s proposed plan calls for the removal of 772 wild horses, leaving a mere 163 horses in this HMA!

The Sand Wash Advocate Team (SWAT) has worked tirelessly to implement a PZP program in this HMA, yet these horses are still targeted for mass removal. The BLM’s current plan calls for continued use of PZP, but would also allow for the use of unstudied IUDs as an alternative form of population control. Submit your comments by Saturday and oppose the BLM’s plan!

TAKE ACTION

Devil’s Garden Wild Horses
Comments due Friday, 4/30!

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) wants taxpayers to spend as much as $18 million to fund 6-8 years of wild horse helicopter roundups in the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in the northeast corner of California. The USFS wants to reduce the wild horse population to a fraction of its current size in order to maximize commercial livestock grazing on public lands where the horses live.

Worse, even though they’re asking you to pay for it, the Forest Service doesn’t want your comments on the plan! However, as one of a handful of designated “stakeholders,” AWHC is committed to making your voice heard in this process. Sign our petition by Friday.

TAKE ACTION

Wyoming Checkerboard Wild Horses
Comments due Friday, 4/30!


Photo by Living Images Carol Walker

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is again targeting the wild horses of the Wyoming Checkerboard for a massive helicopter roundup that will remove a shocking 3,500 wild horses — or 40% of the state’s wild horse population — from 3.5 million acres of habitat in the southern part of the state.

The plan calls for drastically reducing the population to just 1,550 wild horses roaming free. Under this proposal, the BLM plans to treat and release 290 mares with PZP and use unproven IUDs. The BLM is also considering an alternative plan that calls for the surgical sterilization of 100 mares, the castratation of 100 stallions, and would skew the sex ratio of the population to 60% stallions and 40% mares. Submit your comments by Friday to oppose the BLM’s plan!

TAKE ACTION

Thank you for your support,

—The AWHC Team

Happy April Foals Day!

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Happy April Foals Day! 🎉 

Here at the American Wild Horse Campaign, we run a Foal Rescue Fund to provide vet and critical care, safe transportation for baby foals in need of medical attention, and the creation of field kits to provide immediate treatment to foals while volunteers are on the range.

We have also provided funds to help build a critical foal care nursery, and to retrofit a retired ambulance to ensure that foals can be safely transported to get the care they need.

This is not an April Fools joke: we need your help to fully supply our Foal Rescue Fund — to ensure that no foal is left behind! The more money we raise, the more we can help foals in need. Will you please donate as much as you can to bolster our Foal Rescue Fund today?

On the Virginia Range, saving foals is a real community effort and we are proud to play a key role in it. On March 22, two AWHC fertility control volunteers came across a wild horse band with a tiny baby foal named Hazel. 

They quickly realized the foal wasn’t with her mother and instead was with a guardian mare who wasn’t able to feed her. The team tried but was unable to locate her family. That’s when the community coalition sprung into action. The range management team at Wild Horse Connection (WHC) was contacted. WHC secured permission to help the foal, then dispatched the Technical Large Animal Rescue Team (TLAR) to execute the rescue mission.

The filly went to LBL Equine Rescue to receive care while the local groups tried to locate her family. Hazel perked up with the loving care she received all night! Using their field knowledge and AWHC’s extensive wild horse identification database, the TLAR team tried to find Hazel’s mother the next morning — but a reunion was ultimately unsuccessful.

Foals are so delicate, and any seemingly healthy one can crash quickly. That was the case with Hazel. 

She had to be rushed to the vet clinic, where they put her on an IV and antibiotics after discovering she had intestinal inflammation and four different bacterial infections. Hazel also needed a plasma infusion to fight the infections, but she was quite the little fighter and the vets made sure she received the best care possible!

We’re happy to say, Hazel was released back to the rescue on March 30th!

Our Foal Rescue Fund is helping to cover Hazel’s mounting vet bills. This is why our Rescue Fund is so important — we’ve helped fund the local nursery where Hazel is being cared for, we’re purchasing kits that help provide immediate medical care in the field for quickly crashing foals, and we’ve provided resources to help retrofit a retired ambulance that is used by the TLAR rescue team to transport critical care foals to safety.

The more funds we raise for our Foal Rescue Fund, the more we can help tiny, vulnerable foals like Hazel and support the wonderful local volunteers and groups who work night and day to protect the Virginia Range horses in Nevada.

So today, on April Foals Day, will you make a donation to our Foal Rescue Fund?

DONATE

Thank you for supporting our work on behalf of wild horses and burros!

— American Wild Horse Campaign

We have a wild horse champion headed to the Interior

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

Here is your latest news on all things wild horses and burros!

Wild Horse Champion Haaland Heads to Interior Department

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a confirmation hearing to consider the nomination of New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland for secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Secretary-designate Haaland would be the first Native American to head this department that oversees more than 450 million acres of public land in the nation.

AWHC has had the pleasure of working with Secretary-designate Haaland in Congress. As chair of the Public Lands Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee, she has worked to reform the inhumane and expensive federal wild horse roundup program by supporting humane solutions, such as PZP fertility control, and has opposed the brutal surgical sterilization procedures the BLM continues to pursue.

Because Secretary-designate Haaland is a champion of protecting our public lands and the wild animals that inhabit them, her nomination faces stiff opposition from the oil/gas, mining, and livestock industries. So, today, we’re asking everyone who cares about wild horses and burros and our public lands to take just a moment to call your Senators in support of her confirmation.

Please call Senator Michael Bennet at (202) 224-5852 and Senator John Hickenlooper at (202) 224-5941

You can say,  “Hello, I am a constituent of Senator [Name] and I am calling to ask that they please support the confirmation of Deb Haaland* for Interior Secretary. Her leadership is necessary to protect our nation’s public lands and natural resources, including our federally-protected wild horses and burros. Thank you.” *pronounced like the country, Holland.

Then, follow up your call with a message! >> Take Action <<

New BLM Wild Horse and Burros Advisory Board Member Called Wild Horses a ‘Protein Source’

Speaking of a new Interior Department, former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and his illegally serving Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director William Perry Pendley will go down in history as the worst stewards of our nation’s public lands. The past four years have seen an unrelenting assault on the environment, wildlife, and America’s wild horses and burros.

Before they left town, Bernhardt and Pendley appointed Beaver County, Utah Commissioner Tammy Pearson to represent the “public interest” on the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Pearson is a flagrantly corrupt choice for this position. A 40-year public lands rancher whose allotments are in wild horse Herd Management Areas in Utah, Pearson has lobbied and testified for wild horse roundups and in favor of horse slaughter.

She discounts the strong opinion of the American public against the slaughter of wild and domestic horses as “romanticizing” an animal that the “whole rest of the world” considers a “protein source.” In her 2017 testimony before the Utah legislature, she blamed horses for all the damage in the areas where her cattle graze and claimed that wild horses there were suffering from overpopulation and starvation. You can listen to her testimony below.

AWHC opposes this unscrupulous appointment and believes it violates a conflict of interest provision under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, so we’re taking action. We’ll keep you posted and in the meantime, be sure to check out our Op-ed about her appointment, published yesterday in the Grand Junction Sentinel. >> Read More <<

We’re Fighting for Humane Management With Science

Instead of the unscientific approach of mass helicopter roundups, humanely managing wild horses requires a more sophisticated method that relies on fieldwork and on-the-ground knowledge of the horse or burro populations a particular BLM district is managing.

AWHC aims to harness science and technology to advance the goal of humane management of these iconic animals. AWHC already runs the largest humane wild horse fertility control program in the world. Now we’re excited to be partnering with WildMe, a non-profit that builds open software and artificial intelligence for the conservation community with the goal of protecting at-risk species.

Our goal is to develop an algorithm that will identify individual horses from photographs, something that will greatly enhance the efficiency of our fertility control efforts while providing a mechanism for accurate censusing and tracking of wild herds, using citizen science for the collection of data.

Currently, our Virginia Range fertility control program volunteers identify horses manually by photograph, based on our extensive database of more than 3,000 horses cataloged by color, markings, social affiliation, location and any other identifying features. It’s a method that works, as evidenced by our record of delivering over 3,000 fertility control treatments in less than two years. However, it is time-consuming. Having an algorithm that allows a volunteer to take a photo, run it through the software and come up with the data file on that specific horse will make the process of identifying mares in need of PZP treatment much faster – something our volunteers — who are often in the field under punishing weather conditions – will greatly appreciate!

The research should be complete by June and we should know at that time whether the algorithm (PIE) being tested will work for horses. We’ll keep you posted. >> Learn More <<

Donate 

URGENT: Save mares from surgical sterilization

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

We recently learned some truly shocking news, and we’re emailing you now so together we can take swift, collective action to protect Utah’s wild mares before it’s too late.

Against public and congressional opinion, common sense, science, and multiple lawsuits and federal injunctions, the BLM is planning to move ahead with implementing the barbaric surgical procedure, ovariectomy via colpotomy, on wild mares, this time targeting the federally-protected wild horse herds of Utah’s Confusion Herd Management Area (HMA), 90 miles northwest of Delta.

This marks the FOURTH time the agency has tried to get this cruel procedure off the ground, at the urging of the livestock industry. We’ve been fighting this tooth and nail from day one – with legal efforts, congressional pressure and modeling safer, more scientific alternatives for sterilization. We cannot give up now.

Will you join me in taking action TODAY to speak out against this unconscionable – and unpopular – move? Ask your Senators and Representative to stop the BLM from performing this brutal and dangerous procedure on wild mares.

It’s unacceptable for the BLM to once again attempt to proceed with this gruesome sterilization procedure that involves a veterinarian cutting into a mare’s vaginal wall, placing a hand and arm through the vagina in the abdominal cavity, manually (and blindly) locating the ovaries before severing and removing them with a rod-like chain tool called an ecraseur. It’s not only cruel and inhumane, it’s also an unnecessary waste of our taxpayer dollars, particularly when a more cost-effective and humane control alternative exists with the PZP birth control vaccine. In fact it’s ready RIGHT NOW to deploy on the range.

We already have champions in Congress speaking up against this abuse. Last summer, Senator Cory Booker spearheaded a sign-on letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, expressing concerns over the proposed surgical sterilization experiments planned by the agency. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) quickly followed suit in the House and sent a bipartisan letter to the Secretary signed by 30 members.

AWHC — backed by tens of thousands of supporters like you — worked with Congress and partners this year to win a historic legislative victory in the House of Representative with the passage of an amendment that would direct at least $11 million of its annual operating budget for its Wild Horse and Burro Program to implementation of the humane and proven PZP vaccine. We have momentum on our side and we know we can stop this — we’ve done it before — but it’s going to take all of us speaking up right now.

Will you join us?
Grace Kuhn
Communications Director
American Wild Horses Campaign

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I’m personally asking…

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

It’s been a week of soaring highs, and crushing lows.

Last Thursday, we secured a huge legislative win for wild horses in the House of Representatives with the passing of a wild horse protection amendment requiring the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to implement humane and safe fertility control vaccine, PZP.

At the very same time, our hearts were breaking as we received daily updates from our field representative at a BLM roundup in the Swasey Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah. He had the awful responsibility of observing and documenting the traumatic helicopter stampede, capture and removal of more than 600 of Utah’s federally-protected wild horses. There were many injuries, and two deaths.

I can honestly say that the abuses our observer witnessed at Swasey were some of the worst we’ve seen since AWHC began documenting roundups 10 years ago. And it’s far from over – more roundups are imminent in both Nevada and at Utah’s famed Sulphur HMA.

That’s why we’re working harder than ever: Deploying representatives to the field to observe and document the BLM’s abuses, harnessing the momentum around our legislative victory by taking that fight to the Senate, and continuing to demonstrate the success of our groundbreaking approach to birth control. There’s a lot at stake, that’s why I’m personally asking if you are in a position to give $15, $25 or $50 today. We’ll immediately put your donation to work to fuel these critical programs.

From July 15-July 24, BLM-hired helicopter contractors, Sampson Livestock, stampeded and captured approximately 603 Swasey wild horses, with the ultimate goal of reducing the 800-horse population to just 60 horses.

What we’ve witnessed in Utah is truly shocking:

  • A 5-year old mare crashing into a pen panel, breaking her neck and being dragged off in chains.
  • Terrified new foals being run-down by helicopters, falling behind and then being roped and dragged in.
  • Multiple stressed horses, exhausted from the exertion of a miles long helicopter stampede, one even collapsing before she could reach the trap.
  • Just-captured horses crashing into the panels of a dangerously small trap pen.

The BLM continued its daily assaults on the Swasey horses despite sweltering desert temperatures that exceeded 95 degrees — violating their own animal welfare guidelines — on more than one occasion.

Our wild horses need us now more than ever. Can you help?

Warning: Some of the below imagery and narrative is extremely upsetting. For a full report including video footage of the BLM’s reign of terror click here.

I know some of this email is difficult and upsetting to read. It was difficult to write. But it’s worse to imagine a future where the BLM is allowed to forge ahead with its deadly, costly, unscientific approach to the management of wild horses on our public lands. The next roundups in Nevada and Utah are just around the corner and it’s critical that we forge full steam ahead with our work on Capitol Hill to reign in the BLM’s inhumane roundups. Our work continues, with your help, and we could not be more grateful.

Donate

Tell House Lawmakers to Pass Recreation Package!

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

“Great American Outdoors Act” Gallops Toward the Finish Line!

As public lands begin to re-open, Congress has an opportunity to pass important trails legislation that will get Americans outside while promoting the health of recreational riders.  Thanks in large part to continued advocacy from the horse industry, the Senate voted June 17 to pass the “Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act of 2020” by a vote of 73 to 25.  Now that the Senate has passed this important lands’ bill, the House must take the next step and send it to the White House to be signed into law.

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We want to respect your time and personal bandwidth before covering recent developments

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We want to be very cognizant of the reality facing our country. For many, this is an incredibly stressful time, financially and emotionally, as well as very painful, difficult, and upsetting.

We also know that many of you are using your platforms, resources, and time to address injustices and support your communities in a time of need.

All of us at AWHC continue to be inspired and amazed that, despite these hardships, so many of you continue to stay involved, stay engaged, and support not only us but America’s wild horses and burros. This is so important because the Bureau of Land Management continues its assault on these iconic animals and is even stepping it up during this crisis, when the public’s attention is directed elsewhere.

That’s evident in the BLM’s newly unveiled roundup schedule for the Summer/Fall, which we discuss below. But for this newsletter, we don’t want to share only the bad news. There’s some uplifting news as well, and we’ve included a few photos and videos that might brighten your day.


BREAKING: Bureau of Land Management Outlines Largest Removal Of Wild Horses In a Decade


Last month, the Bureau of Land Management submitted a report to Congress that outlines a plan to conduct mass roundups over the next 18-20 years and slash wild horse and burro populations on public lands by 70%.

The agency is planning to launch Phase 1 of its assault next month, with the roundup and removal of 5,000 federally-protected wild horses and burros from BLM lands between July 1 and September 30.

This means that, for Fiscal Year 2020 (Oct. 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020), over 12,000 innocent wild horses and burros will lose their freedom. To put this in perspective, that’s the largest number in the last decade.

If the BLM has its way, that is only the beginning. In its new report, the BLM is proposing to use helicopters to capture and remove 18,000-20,000 wild horses and burros from public lands EACH YEAR for the foreseeable future.

The roundups that will begin next month will have an added component of brutality. Using helicopters to drive wild horses and burros for miles in punishing summer temperatures often results in fatalities. Summer roundups are particularly tough on the tiny foals that are on the range this time of year.

These vulnerable babies have been literally run to death in past roundups, collapsing and dying as their mothers look on helplessly. The BLM lists the cause of death as “capture myopathy,” defined as “muscle damage that results from extreme exertion, struggle or stress.”

According to the BLM’s new roundup schedule, Nevada and Utah will be the epicenter of the summer roundups, the largest of which include:

  • Shawave Mountains Herd Management Area, Nevada: 1,600 wild horses and 200 wild burros targeted for removal.
  • Diamond Complex, Nevada: 1,200 wild horses to be removed.
  • Sulphur Herd Management Area, Utah: 600 wild horses to be rounded up

AWHC will be onsite to document these roundups and we’re prepared to fight back if the BLM attempts to use the coronavirus pandemic to restrict public access. (Social distancing is not a problem out on the range.)


UPDATE: Wild Horse Champions in Congress Stand Up To The U.S. Forest Service 


During April and May, AWHC and our partners at the Animal Welfare Institute sounded the alarm about the lack of critical safeguards and transparency associated with the U.S. Forest Service’s selling of wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in California. (The horses were captured last fall in a helicopter roundup.)

The Forest Service has been selling these federally-protected wild horses for as little as $1 a piece, without meaningful limits on the number of horses a buyer can purchase at one time, and no adequate vetting procedures to ensure that buyers have the resources and facilities necessary to safely care for horses.

This lack of safeguards places the horses at higher risk of abuse or slaughter.

We brought our concerns to Congress and we’re pleased to announce that a bipartisan group of wild horse champions has taken action for the Devil’s Garden horses.

Representatives Ted Lieu, Brian Fitzpatrick, Steve Cohen, Joe Neguse, Jan Schakowsky, and Dina Titus sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, requesting that it adopt policies for its sales and adoption program to ensure oversight, transparency and protection, including measures to prevent federally-protected wild horses from ending up in the hands of kill buyers or others who might abuse and neglect them.

Additionally, these Congressmembers have called on the Forest Service to cease sales until these reforms are in place and pandemic restrictions are fully lifted.

We will continue to build on this important action to hold the Forest Service accountable for the welfare of the wild horses it is mandated under federal law to protect.


A Great Way To Stay Up To Date With Our Team In Nevada On The Virginia Range


AWHC is incredibly proud of the dedication and hard work of our staff and volunteers on the Virginia Range in Nevada.

We also know that many of you have reached out, asking if there is a better way to stay up to date with our team there: And there is!

Our team operates the Facebook group “Stay Wild! AWHC Nevada” where we post and share photos, videos, and updates on a near-daily basis to provide supporters with the opportunity to see and hear what they see in the field each and every day.

Check them out and join the group today!

A perfect example? One of our volunteers, from a safe distance, captured an incredible moment on video: The first steps of a wild foal with her mother.

Especially in these uncertain and difficult times, little videos like these can help lift our spirits and improve our mood. And they serve as a powerful reminder about why we do the work that we do.

If you would like to learn more about our program on the Virginia Range (the largest in the world!) you can read more here.

We are all in this together — thank you for being part of our herd!

American Wild Horse Campaign

Donate

 

AHC Latest News- May 22, 2020

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

May 22, 2020
Special COVID-19 Issue

Copyright © 2020 American Horse Council

The AHC News is provided to you as a benefit of your AHC membership, and we hope you find the articles informative and useful. While the AHC does grant permission for newsletter articles to be passed on, we hope you will encourage those you are sharing the articles and information with to join the AHC so they can stay informed and up-to-date!

Permission to pass on the AHC News articles to your members, readers, or others is granted on the condition that it is forwarded in its original form or directly linked with the AHC logo and a link to the AHC website.

Don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom of the newsletter as there’s some great stuff down there.

Survey COVID-19 Economic Impact on Equine Industry
___________________________________________

The American Horse Council is conducting a brief survey (14 questions which take less than 10 minutes) to determine the economic impacts of COVID-19 on the equine industry. We would very much appreciate your assistance with collecting this information. The only thing you need to have handy is your total horse related income and expenses for March 2019 and March 2020 so we have some comparison.

It’s important to note that for statistical reasons we are sending this survey to a predetermined 1,000 people. Please do NOT forward this or share this survey with others as statisticians will be scaling the responses and we must preserve the sample size .This survey will close May 30, 2020, and depending on the pandemic’s length we will reissue to get up to date numbers and data.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AHCCOVID19Impact
Thank you. Be well and Be Safe. #HorseStrong

Resources for Horse Owners
https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#horse-owners

Horse Industry, Outdoor Groups Endorse “Great American Outdoors Act of 2020”

On May 6, 2020, the American Horse Council, American Sportfishing Association, American Trails and more than 25 other members of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to pass the “Great American Outdoors Act” (S. 3422). The bill would not only promote outdoor activities as states begin to ease social distancing requirements, but it would also achieve key horse industry objectives such as fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  S. 3422 will fully fund LWCF by investing $900 million per year for public lands, parks and trails. Serving as a “recreational package” discussed by Senate staff with members of the horse industry earlier this year, the bill would also address the nation’s public lands maintenance backlog.  Reducing the backlog in trails maintenance projects is a goal industry has fought for within the context of the “Restore Our Parks Act” (ROPA), among other vehicles.  During the past year, members of the horse industry have submitted more than 200 letters to lawmakers urging passage of individual trails bills.  The bill will also help to bolster recreation-focused business, including riding barns, as Americans seek to spend time outdoors during the months ahead.

S. 3422 is timely and will help expedite a transition to more flexible social distancing practices, including the re-opening of access to the nation’s trails. The National Park Service (NPS) is adopting a phased approach to open trails in the nation’s 62 national parks, consistent with the “Opening Up America Again Guidelines” released by the Administration on April 16.  In a statement from the Department of Interior (DOI), Secretary Bernhardt affirmed the agency’s plan to work with governors and assess the circumstances of each state, thereby initiating a “park by park” approach to reopening access.  During the week of May 9, for example, DOI announced the reopening of 16 national parks, including the Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina, the Grand Canyon, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area of Colorado, to name a few.  To view a list of parks included in the recent, large-scale opening, please see the following link:  https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/case-you-missed-it-interior-continues-safely-restore-access-public-lands .  For an “A to Z” list of national parks that have re-opened, or are in the process of easing restrictions to access, please visit the following web site:  https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2020/05/reopening-national-park-system-whats-open.

Submitted by:  Bryan Brendle, Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs

Resources for Small Businesses
https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#equine-businesses

SBA, Congress Roll Out Paycheck Protection Tools, Proposed Changes

While Congress debates next steps related to stimulus bills, the Administration continues to release guidance and other tools to clarify the Paycheck Protection Program’s (PPP) implementation, especially its signature “loan forgiveness” provision.  On May 15, SBA released the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application, including instructions for its completion, a “Schedule A” and related worksheet.

According to SBA, the 11-page form includes “several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers.”  These include options for businesses “to calculate payroll costs using an alternative payroll covered period that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles” and “flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period,” among other measures.  Importantly, the new form addresses some of the feedback from members of the horse industry, including “step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness.”

Because the “covered period” for Paycheck Protection loans begins on the date that the bank actually disburses a loan to the borrower, it’s important to track various expenses during the window outlined by the CARES Act.  To view a copy of the 11-page application and instructions, please click here: https://www.sba.gov/document/sba-form–paycheck-protection-program-loan-forgiveness-application .
Despite a congressional impasse over so-called Phase Four legislation to address the coronavirus, House and Senate lawmakers are rolling out their own bipartisan flexibility measures focusing on narrow fixes to the PPP. The House will vote next week on the “Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act” (H.R. 6886), introduced by Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Chip Roy (R-TX) on May 11.  Highlights include the following provisions, which in part reflect feedback from members of the horse industry who are navigating the program:

  • Eliminating a provision requiring 75 percent of proceeds to cover payroll expenses as a pre-condition for loan forgiveness;
  • Allowing employers to participate in payroll tax deferment and the PPP;
  • Extending re-hire deadlines beyond June 30;
  • And extending the “cover period” beyond the current eight-week timeframe, more accurately reflecting the time expected for consumer demand to gain traction and drive revenue.

To view a copy of a statement related to H.R. 6886, please see the following:
https://roy.house.gov/media/press-releases/reps-chip-roy-and-dean-phillips-release-paycheck-protection-flexibility-act .  On the other side of the Capitol, Senators Rubio (R-FL), Cardin (D-MD), Collins (R-ME) and Shaheen (D-NH) have offered the “Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act.”  This narrow bill would also provide flexibility, including extension of the loan application filing deadline from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020 and extension of the cover period from eight to 16 weeks of expenses.

Submitted by: Bryan Brendle, Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs

Resources for Non-Profits
https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#equine-non-profits
Nonprofits in the Time of COVID-19

While every sector of our economy and our lives has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit sector has taken an especially hard hit. This includes the horse industry. From breed and discipline associations to rescues and equine-assisted therapy centers, income is down, while expenses are not.

In many respects, our national breed and discipline organizations are part of the foundation of the horse world. At their core, they maintain the purity of our breeds and set the rules and standards for competition. While you might never own a purebred horse, remember that breed standards typically include conformation, helping ensure that there’s a genetic pool of strong, athletic animals for future generations. The rules they establish for competition gives everyone guidelines to follow, right down to the local level. Sure, you might not agree with everything they do, but these organizations lay the foundation upon which we all build.

What can organizations in this sector do? Ask people to renew their memberships, even if they don’t “need” it this year because they don’t plan to compete. Remind them to register their foals, and transfer registrations for horses they’ve bought or sold. Many organizations have magazines that typically rely on competitions to generate advertising. Ask your advertisers to place an ad just to highlight their horses, even if they don’t have show wins to brag about. Many times people just need to be asked or reminded – and don’t be afraid to tell them why you need their support right now.

Rescues are more obviously feeling the pinch. While money is always needed, think of other ways people can help. Depending on your state’s regulations you might not be able to have a lot of volunteers on the property, leaving you to do more of the manual labor and less time to spend in the office. Consider looking for volunteers that can help with other aspects of your operation that allow them to stay socially distanced. For example, you might find someone to help with your record-keeping or scheduling appointments. You could look for one or more people that can assist with your local promotion, from social media posts to writing and distributing press releases. Lots of people with lots of different skills are unemployed or under-employed right now and would welcome an opportunity to keep their skills sharp while helping you.

Equine-assisted therapy centers are also under the gun. Many of your riders need more hands-on assistance than can be given under social distancing rules, so your lesson volume is down yet you still have to maintain your horses. Similar to rescues, think outside the box for ways people can help, such as record-keeping and promotion. There are options for fundraising as well – for example, there’s a company that lets you design and sell t-shirts and similar apparel with no upfront inventory requirement, and they do the fulfillment as well. This helps raise funds and helps promote your program as more and more people are out and about displaying your organization’s name and artwork. For this group, staying in touch with your lesson clients is also important. Try to find the time – or a volunteer with time – to do photos or videos of your lesson horses and post them on social media or email them directly to your customers. While the smile on the child’s face won’t be quite as big as in person, they’ll still be thrilled to connect with their favorite horses. These ideas work well for regular lesson programs too!

While the world looks very different today than it did just a few months ago, we’re all learning to adjust, and eventually we’ll be much closer to the world we knew than the one we’re living in now. In the meantime, help if you can, and ask for help if you need it.

Submitted by: Molly O’Brien – Program Manager for Time to Ride

 Resources for Equine Associations

Virtual Solutions for Association Events During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The April 2020 meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) was scheduled to take place in Washington DC. But when the coronavirus pandemic made a physical gathering impossible, the organizers decided to hold the entire event online and made registration free and open to everyone. With around 1,700 people typically attending the meeting, 7,267 registered this time. Nearly every sector of the equine community host in-person, large scale meetings and expos like this, and are faced with cancellations and rescheduling. Virtual events may be the best choice for our industry during this tumultuous time.

Online meetings might lack many of the benefits of an in-person conference: conversations over dinner; face-to-face networking; fresh perspectives that can come from simply leaving one’s home ground. Regardless, as more meetings move online — a trend likely to continue even after the pandemic fades — organizations may need to accept the new virtual reality of group gatherings.  The most successful virtual conferences and meetings can seamlessly integrate speakers, technology, content, networking, and sponsors in a way that creates real impact for attendees. The interest in listening or engaging in multiple talks without leaving home has proven to be enticing to new participants, increasing engagement.

Virtual conferences might lack the intimacy of a physical gathering, but it’s still possible for attendees to connect with each other. Virtual event platforms often have a chat function allowing for real-time feedback. Some students and younger professionals might even find digital communication with industry leaders to be less intimidating than a face-to-face encounter, in addition to being less time intensive. Additionally, with the rising costs of travel and a decreasing amount of travel funding had ended opportunities for  regular travel to far-off conferences. The COVID-19 pandemic may cause more conferences in the future to adopt a ‘hybrid’ approach, with both physical and virtual attendees.
Virtual meetings have some other advantages compared with a physical one. Live talks could be paused or rewound, a useful feature for those who missed details or wanted to spend more time pondering a crucial slide. Speakers can pre-record presentations in case of scheduling conflicts. Watching talks from home can ease a bit of the pressure of attending a large conference that would require dashing from one session to another across a vast convention halls. This allows for attendance to  a wider variety of sessions than normal, for both speakers and attendees, since switching between parallel sessions can be seamless.
The pandemic continues to present interesting challenges for the equine industry and as solutions to these challenges present themselves, the American Horse Council with share them. Please contact the AHC at info@horsecouncil.org with more questions or solutions you would like shared.

Submitted by: Cliff Williamson, Director of Health & Regulatory Affairs

Membership Spotlight

With the struggles of trying to find different ways to stay engaged and active during these uncertain time of COVID-19, one organization, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is keeping their youth active and engaged.  The AQHA, one of the oldest members of the American Horse Council (AHC), since 1970, has over 220,000+ members and over 18,000+ American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) members.  The AQHYA promotes leadership, competition, and other non-horse related activities for the horse loving youth and is the largest youth equine association.
AQHA will keep the AQHYA members engaged  with the help of the AHC on Monday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 9, 2020 approximately 20 youth members will join the AHC for virtual Hill visits having meetings with Reps. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) who championed the Preventing All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act.  AHC also reached out to Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to participate but has not confirmed.  Another topic which may be discussed is federal funding for equine assisted therapy for veterans.
We look forward to helping the #MyWhyChallenge through Leadership Development for the Power of YOUth.  These YOUth members are our leaders of tomorrow who are willing to learn today setting the stage for a lifetime of success.

Submitted by: Lynda Majerowicz, Membership Specialist

AHC Latest News- May 1, 2020

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

May 1, 2020
Special COVID-19 Issue

Copyright © 2020 American Horse Council

The AHC News is provided to you as a benefit of your AHC membership, and we hope you find the articles informative and useful. While the AHC does grant permission for newsletter articles to be passed on, we hope you will encourage those you are sharing the articles and information with to join the AHC so they can stay informed and up-to-date!

Permission to pass on the AHC News articles to your members, readers, or others is granted on the condition that it is forwarded in its original form or directly linked with the AHC logo and a link to the AHC website.

Don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom of the newsletter as there’s some great stuff down there.

Resources for Horse Owners

https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#horse-owners

How to reopen your barn following the COVID19 quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for a complete shift in the daily lifestyle of everyone in the United States, including our horses. Living under quarantine, curfews, and learning how to work from home has reiterated how important barn visits are to mental health. As states across the country relax stay-at-home requirements, we have some tips on how to keep your horses, horse people, and your barn as healthy as possible.

  • Limit gatherings to as few people as possible, and continue to maintain the recommended social distancing protocols that include six (6) feet of separation between individuals. Just because the quarantine is being lifted doesn’t mean the threat is over.  COVID-19 can be detected in the air for up to 3 hours after being transmitted. Some stables have created a schedule where clients can reserve time slots for their visits, reducing the amount of people in the barn by only allowing 3-4 people present at once. This may be the most appropriate step forward for those barns in states that were forced to close outright.
  • Encourage proper hand-washing and provide as many locations/opportunities for people to do so. Due to the structure of the virus, washing hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to prevent contamination. Hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective.
  • Make a daily or hourly cleaning chart to prevent virus transmission. Disinfect common contact areas regularly and avoid sharing equipment and supplies between people, COVID-19 can live on copper for up to four hours, cardboard for 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days.
    • Non-porous materials (leather bridles/saddles/halters, nylon halters/lead ropes, gate latches, door handles, spray nozzle) harbor the virus longer than porous materials (cotton lead ropes, saddle pads)
    • Clean communal leather tack daily with tack cleaner. Knowing how to properly disinfect tack is useful for any equestrian, be it for strangles or COVID-19. Aerosol sprays such as Lysol tend to strip leather of oils, so if you use an aerosol spray to disinfect your tack, be sure to let it dry completely and then recondition the leather to protect it. Soap and water is another effective way to break down the lining of bacteria and viruses and is often safe for most tack. Diluted bleach disinfects well, but leather may dry out and crack from repeated treatments.
    • Disinfect gate latches, spray nozzles, cross tie snaps, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, and other frequently used items regularly or after contact with personnel
    • Stall door latches, hose ends, light switches, faucets and feed scoops should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • There may be state requirements to wear gloves or face coverings to reduce the risk of spreading germs. Many businesses will be looking to taking the temperature of those present in and will not allow anybody to come if they register a temperature or feel sick and this may go a long way to helping clients feel comfortable.
  • Long story short, nobody spends 2 months on the couch unscathed, so take it easy getting back into training. Many riding stables are closed to tenants and all equine events have been canceled in an effort to reduce the virus’s spread. Due to these closures, many horses are not receiving regular workout schedules, or maybe no exercise at all. While daily lifestyles are difficult for all during this pandemic, adapting a horse’s schedule to a life after quarantine can be equally as challenging. Exercise related injuries would be a terrible way to end the quarantine.

Making boarders and clients safe and secure will be critical in getting the horse industry back on its feet, and each facility, whether private or public, should have written policies regarding COVID-19 and expect all clients and professionals to adhere to them. Keeping our horses healthy has always been a priority, but without their owners you can’t keep the lights on. All of these tips, and more, can be found on the AHC COVID-19 Resource Page, please visit it here as we continue to update it during this transition.

Details: Contact Cliff Williamson at cwilliamson@horsecouncil.org

Resources for Small Businesses
https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#equine-businesses

Congress, Administration Move Toward Next Steps for  “CARES Act 2.0” 

Since Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act on April 24, also known as “CARES Act 1.5,” lawmakers and small business groups continue to identify ways to refine and expand the scope of the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  For example, the horse industry is working with the Farm Bureau and others to secure eligibility of 501(C)5 groups for Paycheck Protection.  For background purposes, the tax code classifies 501(C)5 organizations as agriculture groups and labor unions.  If these ag-focused trade associations don’t receive emergency funds, then many agriculture operations could lose an important “go–to” source for economic data, best practices, and policy information.  The horse industry is also lobbying to include 501(c)6 groups – which include a broad swath of trade and professional associations – within the loan program.  Extending eligbility to more 501(C) groups could prove to be an uphill battle.  For example, many Republicans might oppose inclusion of 501(C)5’s on the grounds that they oppose labor unions.  And on the 501(C)6 front, many Democrats could raise objections, on the grounds that most Chambers of Commerce, a key pillar of the business lobby, classify as 501(C)6.  At the end of the day, lawmakers might agree to include “all of the above,” sealing a deal that has something for everybody.

Congress, SBA Must Make Paycheck Protection More “Ag Friendly
While Congress discusses CARES Act 2.0, the horse industry and its allies are also advocating for ways to expedite delivery of funds into the hands of agricultural borrowers.  AHC, the National Cattlemen Beef Association and the Farm Bureau, among others, are requesting more resources for rural lenders to distribute Paycheck Protection loans.  Specifically, the coalition is requesting that Congress include Farm Credit System lenders within future “set asides” for community banks.  The coalition is also encouraging Congress to continue to pressure SBA to process applications as quickly as possible so that funds can be delivered to rural America without further delay.  With respect to covered expenses related to rent, the horse industry and its allies are also asking that Congress include the rental of business-related equipment as an eligible expense under Paycheck Protection.  Also, a staff member of the Senate Agriculture Committee has stated that committee leadership supports publication of SBA guidance tailor-made for agriculture.

Lawmakers, Administration, Compile Wish Lists for CARES Act 2.0
Congress could face a prolonged stand-off in negotiations.  Not only will Democrats and Republicans in Congress have their differences, but the Administration will also have input.  For example, the Trump Administration has proposed a major infrastructure piece within a future package.  Many GOP leaders criticize this idea, mainly because of the hefty price tag.  Because the next package will begin to move in the House, many of the Democrats’ priorities will be embedded in the original bill, putting Senate Republicans on defense.  A House Democratic source identifies a $500 billion boost for state and local governments, more money for mass transit, and eliminating the cap on the State and Local Tax deduction, commonly referred to as the SALT deduction, included in recent tax reform legislation, as priorities in the next relief package.  GOP members, however, will advocate for civil liability protections related to COVID-19 exposure, an issue that will be a point of contention with Democrats.  While a path forward remains uncertain for items not directly related to COVID-19, lawmakers could face political pressure to move more quickly on narrow packages that directly address emergency relief measures, including SBA’s loan programs.

SBA Announces Record Processing of Paycheck Protection Loans
On May 3, one week following release of the second batch of funds totaling $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, SBA announced that it made more 2.2 million loans.  This figure surpasses the 1.6 million loans distributed pursuant to “round one,” which began on April 3 and dried up on April 16.  During the first week, SBA had distributed $175 billion of loans, more than half the allotment authorized under the “Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act,” also known as “CARES Act 1.5.”  According to SBA, the average size of the loans distributed totals $79,000, which is less than half the size of the loans disbursed during the first round.  To view a copy of the SBA statement related to loan statistics, please see the following link:  https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/joint-statement-administrator-jovita-carranza-and-secretary-steven-t-mnuchin-success-paycheck

Details:  Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org.

 

Resources for Non-Profits
https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#equine-non-profits

 Resources for Equine Associations

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a very significant on equine associations, as it has with all aspects of our lives. For national, regional and state breed and discipline organizations, the impact is both financial and a public relations dilemma. How do you promote memberships when the impetus for joining is often competition-related, and competitions are delayed or cancelled? What do you say to trainers whose livelihoods depend on competing and buying and selling horses? How do you respond to instructors who need lesson riders, but have had to close their doors to the public due to state regulations?

Many organizations have taken steps to provide guidance for their members as states start to gradually reopen. For example, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has developed a COVID-19 Action Plan for Returning Safely to Competition. The Joint Leadership Council (JLC), which consists of leaders from the American Hackney Horse Society, American Morgan Horse Association, American Road Horse & Pony Association, American Saddlebred Horse Association, Arabian Horse Association, United Professional Horsemen’s Association and the United States Equestrian Federation, has created guidelines for reopening barns. The American Paint Horse Association passed an emergency stimulus bill that included extending an extra year of eligibility for Novice Youth and Novice Amateurs, Youth in their last year of Walk-Trot, Youth 13 & Under and Youth 18 & Under, and Green classes, and modifying the requirements for Regional Club eligibility, due to limitations they might encounter due to event restrictions in 2020 due to COVID-19.

These are simply a handful of the ways organizations are working to help their members adapt to our current “normal”. True to its nature, the horse industry is working together to help everyone weather this storm.

Details: Contact Molly O’Brien at TTR@horsecouncil.org

Membership Spotlight

On Monday, April 27, 2020 we all took a break from the COVID-19 talk and learned about “Drones in the Equine Industry” from Allison Fultz, AHC member and Transportation Attorney in private practice in Washington, DC.  Allison gave a great practical overview of the rules governing drone flights in the US with issues relevant to the equine industry.  Allison gave an excellent presentation, including PowerPoint slides, current examples of drone interference with horses, and fielded questions from our viewers.  You can view the presentation here https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/vsl1F-H-_H9JW6-UtR_UcPdxMd24eaa80HRIrqcPz0zWac5yNwycySS9dtZ-xGIy

If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint presentation please contact info@horsecouncil.org.  If you have a topic relevant to the horse industry and would like to present please contact us at info@horsecouncil.org.

Our next topic is “From the Front Gate to the Back Fence: How to be Your own CEO”  by Scott Knudsen on Monday May 18, 2020 at 1pm EDT.  To register send an email to info@horsecouncil.org

Details: Contact Lynda Majerowicz at lmajerowicz@horsecouncil.org

AHC Latest News- April 17,2020

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

April 17, 2020 – Special Issue

White House Releases Guidelines to Re-Open the U.S. Economy

On Thursday, April 16, the White House released “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again,” a 20-page document outlining a tiered and regionally-based roadmap to get back to business.   The guidelines are voluntary and authorize governors to implement either state-wide, or “county by county” timetables for easing restrictions on personal and commercial mobility.  Importantly, the guidelines establish so-called “gating criteria,” enumerating health-based benchmarks that serve as a prerequisite for different classes of business establishments to re-open.

Mass gatherings including racing events and horse shows would fall under “Phase 3,” which Administration officials are identifying as a state of relative control over risks associated with COVID-19 exposure.  Talks between various private sector stakeholder advisory committees are underway to discuss tactics to comply with the spirit of the guidelines while limiting potential tort liability arising from new risks.  These advisory committees include horse industry partners in the agriculture and sports communities.  AHC will share details related to next steps as they unfold.  To view a copy of the guidelines, go to the following link:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Opening-Up-America-Again.pdf.

Details: Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org.

 

We’re all doing a lot of video conferences so here’s a novel idea .

INVITE A HORSE TO YOUR NEXT CORPORATE MEETING OR VIDEO CALL
Need a fresh face to brighten up your video conference meetings? Want a fun experience for an online Happy Hour? Looking for a virtual tour? The Pennsylvania Equine Rescue & Retirement Foundation
Ambassadors Penn & Penny are here for you.
CALL TODAY!!    724-777-4747 or   EMAIL!!    info@perrf.org
We’ve got a number of great options.

Check out our COVID-19 Resources for
Horse Owners, Non-Profits, Equine Businesses, and Industry Employees – PLUS state specific resources
at

COVID-19 RESOURCES

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Paycheck Protection Well Runs Dry, For Now

Since enactment of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, the Small Business Administration (SBA) on Thursday, April 16 depleted $350 billion of loan commitments under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), hitting the maximum amount authorized by the massive economic relief package.  Because Congress is officially out of session until Monday, May 4, lawmakers would have to pass legislation to authorize additional funds under rigid “pro forma” procedures prior to that date.  Last week, the Senate passed in pro forma session a narrow bill adding $250 billion to the PPP.  The House, however, rejected the proposal, and countered with a bill that would authorize $250 billion to fund municipal governments and hospital networks, in addition to Paycheck Protection aid.  The Senate subsequently rejected the House proposal, initiating behind-the-scenes talks to move past the stalemate.  With both chambers having reached an impasse on specific dollar amounts and the scope of additional economic aid, a near-term path forward remains uncertain.

Much of the confusion arising from Paycheck Protection stems from the two-tiered roll out for loan eligibility.  On April 3, the SBA began processing loans for small businesses and sole proprietors.  A week later, on April 10, the agency opened the program to independent contractors and the self-employed, thereby extending the program to large segments of the horse industry.  SBA had not previously operated large-scale loan programs for these two classes of borrowers, therefor creating an environment of uncertainty for borrowers and lenders.

Many members of the horse industry have reported long waiting times from their banks to learn details related to their applications.  To give perspective on the bottlenecks, the Administration reported earlier this week that it had processed approximately 1.4 million applications and disbursed slightly over $70 billion to banks. While policymakers intend the program to operate on a “first come, first served” basis, the depletion of funds should not necessarily dissuade potential borrowers from moving forward with an application.  Many banks, especially larger institutions including Wells Fargo, for example, have stated that they will continue to process Paycheck Protection loans, pending additional funds from Congress.   AHC will continue to keep members informed of guidance and developments related to small business loans and other economic relief measures.  For a detailed overview of Paycheck Protection, go to the following link:  https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP%20–%20Overview.pdf.

Details:  Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org.

 

Survey COVID-19 Economic Impact on Equine Industry
___________________________________________

The American Horse Council is conducting a brief survey (14 questions which take less than 10 minutes) to determine the economic impacts of COVID-19 on the equine industry. We would very much appreciate your assistance with collecting this information. The only thing you need to have handy is your total horse related income and expenses for March 2019 and March 2020 so we have some comparison.
It’s important to note that for statistical reasons we are sending this survey to a predetermined 1,000 people. Please do NOT forward this or share this survey with others as statisticians will be scaling the responses and we must preserve the sample size .This survey will close April 20, 2020, and depending on the pandemics length we will reissue each month to get up to date numbers and data.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AHCCOVID19Impact
Thank you. Be well and Be Safe. #HorseStrong
National resource database
available to help at-risk horses.

UHC has pushed up the release of its resource database questionnaire in the wake of COVID-19, in an effort to compile a listing of all known safety net programs available in the nation to help owners who are in need, as well as the rescues and sanctuaries that help them.  It is our hope, that by having one centrally located area to access these resources, we will help owners keep their horses from becoming at-risk during these trying times.

The brief questionnaire can be completed by going to our website here:  https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/resource-database/

The AHC News is provided to you as a benefit of your AHC membership, and we hope you find the articles informative and useful. While the AHC does grant permission for newsletter articles to be passed on, we hope you will encourage those you are sharing the articles and information with to join the AHC so they can stay informed and up-to-date!
Permission to pass on the AHC News articles to your members, readers, or others is granted on the condition that it is forwarded in its original form or directly linked with the AHC logo and a link to the AHC website.

Special News Release March 19, 2020

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

Special News Release  

AHC responds to pandemic by compiling resources to help equine industry

Human Health, Equine Health & Business Health

Click here for a link to our COVID-19 Resources

Federal Policymakers Outline Massive Stimulus Package to Assist Business, Individual Taxpayers

With the Senate having been recalled this week from a scheduled recess, lawmakers and Administration officials are discussing the outlines of an $850 billion stimulus package to address economic disruptions caused by COVID-19.   The package, which will need support from House Democrats, may include $50 billion in direct assistance to the airline industry, $500 billion in direct cash payments to individual taxpayers, and $250 billion in loans for small business.   Because a large percentage of equine businesses file tax returns as S-Corporations or “pass through” entities, the small business loans could be especially helpful for many members of the horse industry moving forward.  With respect to the half-trillion dollars in direct payments to individual taxpayers, the Administration states that it would seek to disburse the payments in two portions including a $250 billion installment that could be available as soon as early April.  Stay tuned for details related to stimulus, and possible benefits for large segments of the horse industry, as lawmakers turn their attention to legislation intended to blunt the impact of COVID-19.

Economic Impact of COVID-19 on

Equine Industry to be collected

Dozens of equine events have been cancelled or postponed around the world amid an outbreak of a new type of coronavirus. The pathogen’s effect has been felt across a range of industries. To be proactive, we’d like to suggest that the equine industry begin to think about quantifying our losses. Just like the airline industry, the hospitality industry, and other sporting industries we need to gather data that will help us convey our message.The American Horse Council will be conducting a survey to obtain qualitative and quantitative data to help us paint this picture – in the meantime we ask that you start collecting and noting the impacts this pandemic is having on your equine business. And please feel free to reach out to us at 202-296-4031 or email info@horsecouncil.org
Be safe & Be well.

 

The AHC News is provided to you as a benefit of your AHC membership. We hope you find the articles informative and useful.

While the AHC does grant permission for newsletter articles to be passed on, we hope you will encourage those you are sharing the articles and information with to join the AHC so they can stay informed and up-to-date!

Permission to pass on the AHC News articles to your members, readers, or others is granted on the condition that it is forwarded in its original form or directly linked with the AHC logo and a link to the AHC website.

About the American Horse Council

As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day. 

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen’s associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.

COPYRIGHT AHC 2020

Our work to defend America’s wild horses and burros continues

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and well during this difficult time.

Like you, we are doing our best to stay up to date on the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a number of developments about our continued work during this time as we take necessary precautions in advocating for our nation’s wild horses and burros.


A Victory For The Salt River Wild Horses In Arizona


This past weekend, we reached out to you about the legislation introduced by AZ Rep. Kelly Townsend. HR 2858 threatened to block lifesaving humane management of the famed Salt River wild horses and was widely opposed not just in Arizona, but also by tens of thousands of Americans all across the country.

Due to concerns over COVID-19, the public was discouraged from attending committee hearings or providing public testimony on legislation. Townsend had publicly stated that her legislation was on hold, only to schedule the unpopular and controversial bill at the last minute for a Monday hearing when the public couldn’t attend.

More than 8,000 of you messaged Townsend and members of the committee to cancel this hearing in a tremendous, last-minute show of force in defense of the Salt River wild horses.

And … good news! The state legislature will only be addressing essential legislation before adjourning at the end of the week, meaning that this dangerous and controversial bill is effectively dead (but we will be carefully monitoring this until the session is officially over to be certain).

Our Work In Congress and On Capitol Hill Continues


As the country faces both a financial and public health crisis, imaginably, this past week was one of the most consequential in Washington, DC in many years.

Most federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, have moved all but the most essential personnel to telework and Congress is doing the same.

This doesn’t, however, put a stop to the legislative work happening in Congress nor will it delay consideration for millions of dollars in additional funding to ramp up the roundup, removal, and potential sterilization of tens of thousands of wild horses in the West.

In fact, Congress’ biggest legislative vehicles, the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriation bills which fund federal agencies and their programs, are currently being drafted with the goal of concluding in the next four to five weeks. We’ve previously highlighted the President’s FY 2021 budget, which asks Congress to throw even more money at the BLM’s broken and inhumane wild horse and burro program (you can read more about it below).

Our fear is that the current appropriations bills will become “must-pass” legislation tied to addressing COVID-19 and the financial crisis, meaning that language and funding that threatens wild horses may slip through as the public focuses on other issues.

That’s why our team was on Capitol Hill last week meeting with Congressional staff in order to have early and influential input on this process in defense of wild horses and burros. Now that Congressional staff, as well as many of our own staff, are working remotely, we’re utilizing every technology available to stay in contact throughout the appropriations process.


The AWHC Legal Team Takes New Steps To Defend Wild Horses In Court


Just as our work in Congress continues, so too, does our work throughout the court system.

Last week, the government filed a motion in our lawsuit against the BLM to stop its proposed ovariectomy via colpotomy experiments on wild mares. Oral arguments are set for March 20th in Portland, Oregon, which has declared a state of emergency.

As a result we will be attending the hearing and providing oral arguments via telephone. This suit is critically important — We partnered with The Cloud Foundation and The Animal Welfare Institute on this suit which is responsible for the BLM decision to abandon its plans to conduct cruel sterilization experiments.

Five days later, on March 25th, our legal team was expected to appear in San Francisco for oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in our lawsuit challenging the BLM’s plan to castrate wild-free roaming stallions in Nevada’s Triple B Complex.

We recently got word that the Courts will be canceling oral arguments for that week meaning that we will either have our hearing rescheduled or the case will be decided on the written briefs submitted previously.

Late last week, AWHC Government Relations and Policy Counsel filed a lawsuit over the BLM’s failure to respond to multiple requests under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking information on various aspects of BLM wild horse and burro policy.

We are seeking records related to a number of secretive meetings between Interior secretaries and BLM officials with livestock special interest groups that may have influenced federal wild horse and burro policy. By failing to provide these records, the BLM and Interior Department have violated the law — So we’re taking action.

Hard At Work: Service Is Uninterrupted At The World’s Largest Wild Horse Fertility Control Program


The great outdoors is, fortunately, one of the safest places to be during this pandemic. That means that our team’s incredible work running the world’s largest wild horse fertility control program on the Virginia Range in Nevada continues on.

Last year, with far fewer resources and staff, our volunteer team of darters outperformed the BLM in providing the birth control vaccine PZP to wild mares — shattering expectations and proving the naysayers wrong.

Each day, we’re proving that there is a better, humane, and far more cost effective way to manage wild horse populations. And each vaccine costs just $30.

Our work continues and we’re so grateful to have your support along the way. Please stay healthy, stay strong, stay safe and stay tuned. We’re all in this together!

American Wild Horse Campaign

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Tell Your Senators to Co-Sponsor the PAST Act!

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

American Horse Council Action Alert

Tell Your Senators to Push PAST Act Over the Finish Line!

Overwhelming passage of the PAST Act in the House of Representatives last year gives the bill unprecedented momentum for action in the Senate. Please help us gain a “super-majority” of cosponsors for the senate version of the PAST Act (S. 1007), championed by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA). Write to your senators today and urge them to join the growing list of bi-partisan cosponsors of this important legislation.

Take Action

 

We need your help to save the famed Salt River wild horses

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

If you thought the famed Salt River wild horses were protected, think again. In 2017, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation that protects the Salt River wild horses in their historic habitat in the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix.

But now this cherished herd is threatened by new plans that could result in severe habitat loss and removals of these horses from their home along the lower Salt River.

The Issue: The U.S. Forest Service is beginning construction of a metal fence along the last four miles of the Lower Salt River, including across the river itself. The fence would trap horses on either side, blocking access to the river – a critical source of hydration — and to grazing grounds on both sides of the river.

At the same time, the Arizona Department of Agriculture is considering several proposed long-term management plans for the horses. Depending on which plan is chosen, the horses could face large-scale removals and a severe reduction in their habitat.

The Stakes: Working together with our coalition partner the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, we saved the Salt River wild horses from a mass roundup/eradication plan almost 5 years ago. Now the future of this iconic herd is again in jeopardy and their future is far from assured!

Five Things You Can Do Today:

The Salt River wild horses need your voice now! Click on the image for each step and you will be directed to a page that will guide you on how to help.

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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