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UPDATE: A month of wild horse advocacy and activism

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

While February may be the shortest month of the year, we made the most of each and every day, organizing a handful of national efforts to protect America’s wild horses and burros.

The numbers speak for themselves:

A Show Of Force In Support Of Arizona’s Famed Salt River Horses


Five years ago, AWHC joined up with our local coalition partner the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group to prevent the mass roundup, removal, and slaughter of the famed Salt River wild horses in Arizona.

The year after, our groups worked successfully for the passage of a state law to protect these horses in their historic habitat. But now, the future of the Salt River wild horses is in jeopardy once more.

A new state bill, HB 2858, seeks to amend the Salt River horse protection bill. As currently written, the bill would block lifesaving interventions that are necessary to save horses and safeguard the herd.

The legislation is currently in the House Rules Committee after passing in the Land & Agriculture Committee. State legislators, such as the Land & Agriculture Committee chair Rep. Timothy Dunn, have acknowledged that the bill’s language must be updated to address our concerns before bringing it for a full vote. This week, the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Jay Lawrence, withdrew his support for HB 2858 after sponsor Rep. Kelly Townsend refused to amend it to ensure that humane management will continue to be allowed.

At the same time, momentum is building behind the petition launched by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and AWHC to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in support of a wildlife overpass, which would help ensure the safety and well-being of the Salt River horses: It’s already exceeded our goal of gathering 20,000 signatures!


Joining Forces To Prevent A Dangerous New Precedent In Utah


Photo by Rob Hammer.

This month, the BLM outlined a ten-year plan that would dramatically reduce the wild horse population in the Swasey HMA in Utah, down to as few as 60 horses.

The scary part is, the BLM is hoping to use this plan to establish a new precedent for wild horse population management for years and Administrations to come: One that relies on cruel roundups as well as dangerous surgical sterilization procedures.

Some of these procedures have not even been developed yet, let alone safety tested. Others — such as the cruel ovariectomy via colpotomy procedure that the BLM has been pushing for years — have been criticized by the National Academy of Sciences and veterinarians as too dangerous to perform in wild horses.

The BLM is not considering reductions to the number of privately-owned livestock in the area, further demonstrating that the BLM is more invested in defending the interests of the livestock industry than those of our wild horses and burros.

AWHC joined forces with the Animal Welfare Institute and The Cloud Foundation to submit 33-pages of public comments opposing this plan, including 13,800 of your signatures in a major show of force.


Nearly 70% Of Wild Horses Removed From Nevada’s Eagle Complex


Beginning in mid-January, the BLM began a massive roundup in Nevada’s 743,000-acre Eagle Complex.

When the roundup concluded in late February, 1,716 of the Complex’s 2,484 wild horses were forcibly removed; including 24 reported fatalities. Of those, over 1,600, or roughly 70% of the wild horses in the Eagle Complex, were permanently removed.

The BLM has set the Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Eagle Complex at 139-265 wild horses, a number not supported by science, as the BLM continues its practice of imposing absurdly low population limits for wild horses in order to continue to allocate the vast majority of forage in wild horse habitat to subsidized livestock.


Roundup Slashes Size of Reveille Wild Horse Herd In Half


Another roundup in Nevada concluded this month — The Reveille Roundup resulted in the removal of 113 wild horses from public lands, equating to more than half of the wild horse population in the Reveille HMA.

Often times, our field representatives are the only members of the public onsite to view the roundup operation and ensure the BLM is in compliance with federal law and abiding by animal welfare guidelines. Without them present, it would be incredibly difficult, if not downright impossible, to hold the BLM accountable and report wrongdoing.

As in other areas, the BLM is continually rounding up wild horses in the Reveille HMA so that the public lands there can be primarily used for commercial livestock grazing. In fact, the annual equivalent of 2,000 cow/calf pairs graze a 650,000-acre livestock allotment that overlaps a portion of this HMA, while horse numbers are held at just 82-138.

There is good news out of this HMA, however. The BLM Battle Mountain District has been utilizing fertility control periodically in this herd, and it appears to have reduced the population’s growth rate, which will, in turn, reduce the number of wild horses removed in the future.


Start The Weekend On A Positive Note


Operation Fish Springs Rescue is complete! Over 140,000 of you signed a petition to the BLM to bring Samson and his family home, after the agency trapped and removed them over Thanksgiving weekend last year. Subsequent to launching the petition, advocates learned that the BLM had taken three other bands of beloved Fish Springs horses – those belonging to the stallions Rusty and Rocky and one recently acquired by the famous blue roan stallion Shadow.

Unfortunately, the BLM would not return these horses to their home on our public lands in Nevada, but thanks to a team effort, all of these horses have found a safe landing where they will stay together in their bands.

AWHC was pleased to play a key role in the rescue by taking responsibility for Rocky’s band (Rocky, Copper, Elisa, Luna and Luna’s son Jimmy) and Rusty’s band (Amber, Cinnamon, Belle and Belle’s son Luke) and Shadow, whom BLM would only adopt to a sanctuary after he was deemed “dangerous” following a fight with Rocky in the holding pen.

We are so grateful to AWHC board member Alicia Goetz whose Freedom Reigns Equine Sanctuary is providing a lifetime home for these horses, and to our Board President Ellie Price, whose team at Montgomery Creek Ranch, her mustang refuge, purchased Rocky’s band in the BLM online auction. Ensuring that 11 horses were secured in the BLM’s auction was no easy feat, but working together we got the job done!

Thank you,

American Wild Horse Campaign

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A better way

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

This past December, Congress authorized a 25% budgetary increase for the Bureau of Land Management’s badly broken Wild Horse and Burro program. Now the Administration is asking Congress to approve an additional 15% budget increase for the program two months later, as the BLM prepares to massively accelerate the roundup and removal of tens of thousands of wild horses.

What’s At Stake

As many of you know, the Acting Director of the BLM referred to wild horses and burros as an “existential threat” to public lands and is planning to use the Bureau’s funds to round up wild horses and burros in unprecedented numbers, with as many as 20,000 at risk of being removed this year alone.

We cannot stress this enough: We are talking about the greatest threat to wild horses in decades.

It is critical to remember that the BLM is not considering reducing the number of privately owned livestock in these areas. This despite the fact that these animals vastly outnumber horses and burros on public land and cost taxpayers as much as $500 million in subsidies for the below market grazing fees that public lands ranchers pay.

For reference, there are anywhere from 700,000 to 1,000,000 cow/calf pairs on public lands compared to the 88,000 federally-protected wild horses and burros (who share this land with the livestock).

Make no mistake about it, this isn’t a coincidence either — It’s the result of intense lobbying on behalf of the livestock industry.

Bad Policy And A Broken Program

The BLM continues to impose extreme limits on wild horse population numbers on public lands throughout the West that have no basis in science and their method of calculating these limits is not transparent to the public nor wildlife researchers and experts.

Additionally, the BLM is also championing the use of inhumane and ineffective population growth suppression methods that focus on the castration of wild stallions and the risky, cruel, and invasive surgical practice known as ovariectomy, whereby a mare’s ovaries are manually severed and removed in an invasive and outdated surgical procedure.

The National Academy of Sciences warned against BLM’s use of ovariectomies on wild mares due to risk of hemorrhage and infection. Castrating stallions would cause loss of testosterone which drives the natural behaviors necessary to maintain social organization and survive in the wild.

BLM is not only charging ahead with surgical sterilization, but the budget indicates that the agency intends to use the appropriations process to amend the Wild Horse and Burro Act to explicitly authorize these surgeries.

It’s also critically important to remember that the vast majority of Americans, of all political backgrounds, are opposed to mass roundups and these surgical procedures.

Another Way to Dump Horses?

While the President’s budget does recognize that the slaughter of America’s wild horses and burros is unacceptable to Congress and the public, we have grave concerns about the request for legislative language to expand the transfer authority of wild horses and burros to tribal entities.

AWHC sees this as another way for the agency to take steps to reduce numbers of wild horses through policies that make it easier to move horses out of holding, strip them of their federal-protection and send them to destinations where their welfare will be impossible to ensure.

A Better Way

Here at AWHC, we’re proving that there is a humane and cost-effective way to keep wild horses and burros on public lands and end the roundup and warehousing of these wild animals in holding pens.

On the Virginia Range in Nevada, our team is operating the world’s largest humane management program of wild horses and burros.

By utilizing a very affordable vaccine, known as PZP, our team has treated more mares in 10 months than the BLM did last year. And each vaccine costs as little as $30 per year.

The President’s budget request is just that: a request. This means we have the chance to work with leaders in Congress to oversee the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, demand the BLM abandon the practices that are not supported by science or the American public, as well as promote effective and safe alternatives that our team has demonstrated work.

Over the last three years, working together, we’ve beat back multiple attempts to legalize the slaughter of wild horses and burros by convincing Congress that the American people will not stand for this lethal and brutally inhumane option. Together, we can meet this newest and most serious threat to the future of America’s wild herds.

Wild horses and burros don’t have a voice. When you donate to AWHC, you give these precious animals more than a voice — You give them a fighting chance. That’s why I’m asking if you will make your first donation of 2020.

Thank you,
Suzanne Roy
Executive Director
American Wild Horse Campaign

Donate

This is a long read but it’s about the alarming budget the President just released

0

The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

This past December, Congress authorized a 25% budgetary increase for the Bureau of Land Management’s badly broken Wild Horse and Burro program. Now the Administration is asking Congress to approve an additional 15% budget increase for the program two months later, as the BLM prepares to massively accelerate the roundup and removal of tens of thousands of wild horses.

What’s At Stake

As many of you know, the Acting Director of the BLM referred to wild horses and burros as an “existential threat” to public lands and is planning to use the Bureau’s funds to round up wild horses and burros in unprecedented numbers, with as many as 20,000 at risk of being removed this year alone.

We cannot stress this enough: We are talking about the greatest threat to wild horses in decades.

It is critical to remember that the BLM is not considering reducing the number of privately owned livestock in these areas. This despite the fact that these animals vastly outnumber horses and burros on public land and cost taxpayers as much as $500 million in subsidies for the below market grazing fees that public lands ranchers pay.

For reference, there are anywhere from 700,000 to 1,000,000 cow/calf pairs on public lands compared to the 88,000 federally-protected wild horses and burros (who share this land with the livestock).

Make no mistake about it, this isn’t a coincidence either — It’s the result of intense lobbying on behalf of the livestock industry.

Bad Policy And A Broken Program

The BLM continues to impose extreme limits on wild horse population numbers on public lands throughout the West that have no basis in science and their method of calculating these limits is not transparent to the public nor wildlife researchers and experts.

Additionally, the BLM is also championing the use of inhumane and ineffective population growth suppression methods that focus on the castration of wild stallions and the risky, cruel, and invasive surgical practice known as ovariectomy, whereby a mare’s ovaries are manually severed and removed in an invasive and outdated surgical procedure.

The National Academy of Sciences warned against BLM’s use of ovariectomies on wild mares due to risk of hemorrhage and infection. Castrating stallions would cause loss of testosterone which drives the natural behaviors necessary to maintain social organization and survive in the wild.

BLM is not only charging ahead with surgical sterilization, but the budget indicates that the agency intends to use the appropriations process to amend the Wild Horse and Burro Act to explicitly authorize these surgeries.

It’s also critically important to remember that the vast majority of Americans, of all political backgrounds, are opposed to mass roundups and these surgical procedures.

Another Way to Dump Horses?

While the President’s budget does recognize that the slaughter of America’s wild horses and burros is unacceptable to Congress and the public, we have grave concerns about the request for legislative language to expand the transfer authority of wild horses and burros to tribal entities.

AWHC sees this as another way for the agency to take steps to reduce numbers of wild horses through policies that make it easier to move horses out of holding, strip them of their federal-protection and send them to destinations where their welfare will be impossible to ensure.

A Better Way

Here at AWHC, we’re proving that there is a humane and cost-effective way to keep wild horses and burros on public lands and end the roundup and warehousing of these wild animals in holding pens.

On the Virginia Range in Nevada, our team is operating the world’s largest humane management program of wild horses and burros.

By utilizing a very affordable vaccine, known as PZP, our team has treated more mares in 10 months than the BLM did last year. And each vaccine costs as little as $30 per year.

The President’s budget request is just that: a request. This means we have the chance to work with leaders in Congress to oversee the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, demand the BLM abandon the practices that are not supported by science or the American public, as well as promote effective and safe alternatives that our team has demonstrated work.

Over the last three years, working together, we’ve beat back multiple attempts to legalize the slaughter of wild horses and burros by convincing Congress that the American people will not stand for this lethal and brutally inhumane option. Together, we can meet this newest and most serious threat to the future of America’s wild herds.

Wild horses and burros don’t have a voice. When you donate to AWHC, you give these precious animals more than a voice — You give them a fighting chance.

Photo by Nancy Florence.

Thank you,

Suzanne Roy
Executive Director
American Wild Horse Campaign

Donate

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