Wild horse overpopulation is fake news

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32,000 Adopted Horses, Burros Are Missing in Action at BLM (AP: Reprint 1997)


PM Sick Filly PVC March 25 2014

Government: People who want the formerly wild animals are supposed to wait a year to get title before they can be sold. But enforcement is lax and many end up slaughtered.

Cross-posted from the LA Times for educational purposes

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A federal program to protect wild horses and burros has lost track of more than 32,000 animals placed in adoption, allowing people to neglect, abuse and even slaughter some of them for profit.

In addition, officials of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management may have falsified records to cover up the problem and ignored warnings that thousands of adopters have not been checked and have not received titles to their animals, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.

“Records are systematically falsified and no one wants to know about it,” said Reed Smith, a former BLM administrator who retired from the New Mexico office in 1995.

In 1971, Congress enacted a law to protect wild horses and burros and place excess animals for adoption. In 1978, to better prevent their slaughter or sale, it created a system of legal titles: The adopter would keep each animal for one year, comply with a health check, then get title.

Until the title is issued, the animal would remain government property.

Using the BLM’s computerized records maintained in Denver and obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the AP found that 32,774 of all adopted animals–or 20%–remain untitled. Legally, those horses and burros are still federal property.

The adopted horses were given to more than 18,000 different people.

Last month, the AP reported that the $16-million-a-year program has allowed thousands of titled wild horses and burros to be slaughtered. The investigation found that BLM employees are among those profiting from the slaughter.

In response to the first report, Wild Horse and Burro Program chief Thomas Pogacnik wrote: “Once title is issued, the animal is private property.”

Under the 1971 law, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is mandated by Congress to protect wild horses and burros on public lands. Babbitt refused to comment for this story.

BLM officials say they rely on spot checks to trace horses that remain untitled. But Larry Woodard, the former state director of New Mexico’s BLM office, called spot checks inadequate.

“One out of every five animals adopted by the bureau never being titled would indicate that the titling aspect of the adoption program has not been a subject of intense concern,” Woodard wrote in a 1993 memo.

A U.S. Justice Department memo from April 1996 indicated that the BLM is not carefully screening adopters because the agency does not want to know what happens to the animals.

“The Adopt-a-Horse program is seriously flawed. . . . BLM has an unstated policy of not looking too closely at proposed adoptions,” wrote Charles Brooks, a Justice Department attorney who had been assisting the U.S. attorney’s office in Texas with an investigation of the program. “The agency’s approach to this was its version of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ ”

A March 27, 1995, internal memo from that investigation quotes BLM law enforcement agent John Brenna as saying that Lili Thomas, a BLM official, made “a tacit admission of backdating documents used in the Wild Horse and Burro Program.”

“Her additional comments were that she did not know if this was illegal or not,” Brenna wrote.

Thomas did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment. Brenna refused to comment.

In the 25 years since the law’s passage, the BLM has gathered 165,635 animals in 10 Western states deemed “excess” and given most of them to adopters for $125 each. About 40,000 horses and burros remain in the wild.

Thomas Sharp, a 43-year-old wheat and alfalfa farmer, sits in a West Texas penitentiary, the only person in the country in federal prison for selling untitled horses.

He says he couldn’t afford to feed the animals and didn’t bother to send in a form requesting title. “They got me on a signature, but they got me, that’s for sure,” he said.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Hank Hockeimer of Oklahoma said he hoped Sharp’s four-month sentence would set an example.

“Our purpose for prosecuting this case was to send a message that under this program you can’t ostensibly adopt these horses and then sell them before you have title,” he said.

The AP contacted 20 adopters of untitled horses last week, but only two still had their animals. One said his horse died, another gave his away and the rest said they had sold their untitled horses, mostly at livestock auctions.

Wild horses sold at auction almost all eventually end up slaughtered, according to the operators of North American horse slaughterhouses.

George Varner Sr., who spent 20 years as a “killer buyer” for slaughterhouses, said one or two wild mustangs show up at auction barns each month in central Mississippi alone.

He said the only people willing to bid on the horses are the slaughterhouse buyers. “These horses aren’t good for anything else,” he said.

The AP’s Fred Bayles, Chris Sullivan and Drew Sullivan contributed to this report.

Protect Mustangs is an organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.

Lies, subterfuge and PZP

PM PZP Dr liu

Forcibly drugging wild mares with PZP at the Carson Prison


Carl Mrozek

Unfortunately, the secret mandate to turn our public lands into vast oil, gas and coal fields–interspersed with millions of cattle under Bush–Cheney has continued unabated under Obama with geothermal fields, plus solar and wind farms being added to the mix of revenue generating initiatives, many on lands reserved by law for primary use by wild horses and burros.

Even as their herds diminish under constant assault by all of these special interests on public lands, wild horses continue to be scapegoats for degradation of public lands due to overpopulation, by the BLM which over-counts then by at least 200% while greatly exaggerating their rate of population  increase–based on optimal conditions and zero mortality.

BLM’s solution to this fabricated overpopulation explosion of wild horses and burros has been massive roundups which are now being replaced by large-scale birth control with PZP (porcine zone pellucida) which results in sterilization after multiple applications. While their tactics have grown more sophisticated, BLM’s overall management program is much the same: Management for Extinction–only slower and less visible than before. Many herds have achieved balanced population levels with little or no management but today all the $$ is on fertility control, short-term and sterilization, long-term–not on natural population control, because this won’t eradicate the herds as ordained by the power brokers in DV. Alas if we don’t wake up, expose and oppose the lies and subterfuge re: the widespread use of PZP soon, our iconic native wild horses may join blue and bowhead whales in the waiting line for extinction–sooner than later.


PM Burros Wild © Carl Mrozek

Carl Mrozek

Carl Mrozek’s nature clips are seen often on CBS Sunday Morning News. He is currently making a documentary on Wild Burros.

Palomino Mustangs on CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/nature-wild-palomino-horses/

Pine Nut Wild Horses on CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/nature-wild-horses/ (BLM tried to roundup and decimate this herd but Protect Mustangs stopped the roundup in court)

Red Rock Wild Horses on CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/wild-horses-of-nevada-50087668/ (BLM removed them)

Cold Creek Wild Horses on CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/wild-horses-of-nevada/ (BLM rounded them up and took them away)


BREAKING NEWS: Wild Horses and burros are protected from slaughter!

PM BLM Wild Horses Running

Wild horses & Burros under federal jurisdiction are safe for now

“We are very grateful wild horses and burros, under federal jurisdiction, will receive protections from slaughter in 2016. They are underpopulated on public land after all the taxpayer funded roundups. But the battle isn’t over. We want our national icons of freedom to be protected from forced drugging with pesticides such as PZP for fertility control or other forms of sterilization. Wild horses and burros are an essential part of the thriving natural ecological balance in the West. We must save them for future generations.” — Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs

“Appropriations herein made shall not be available for the destruction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros in the care of the Bureau or its contractors or for the sale of wild horses and burros that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.” Page: 714-715 of the Omnibus. http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20151214/CPRT-114-HPRT-RU00-SAHR2029-AMNT1final.pdf

We are grateful to Senator Tom Udall, Victoria McCullough for bringing this to the appropriations bill and so thankful to the White House for their approval. A big thank you to the and the thousands of advocates who have made this happen by all your hard work. Bless you!

Links of interest:

NV Judge Stops BLM Roundup Of Famous Mustang Herd ‘The Misfits’

Washington Post: U.S. looking for ideas to help manage wild-horse overpopulation

Associated Press (viral): Wild-horse advocates clash over contraceptives for mustangs

PZP Pesticide Fact Sheet: http://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf




AP reports: Feds to gather nuisance mustangs in Nevada

Well it is Mercury Retrograde which can cause some communication glitches so it’s no surprise it happened to me today in the Associated Press article, Feds to Gather Nuisance Mustangs in Nevada. It seems an important word is missing from what I said. The word ‘nuisance’ was edited out and not by the reporter. Here is how the article reads:

Anne Novak, executive director of the California-based horse advocacy group Protect Mustangs, acknowledged the  roundups are legal under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. But she said the ranchers are “grabbing at straws to remove native wild horses.”

“If people are going to live outside the city and don’t want wild horses and other wild animals eating their grass, then they need to pay for fencing with their own money, not expect another government handout,” Novak said.

This is what I said specifically about the nuisance roundup:

The nuisance roundup is allowed in the 1971 Act. It seems like the ranchers who want wild horses removed are jumping on the bandwagon. I’d like to see ranchers work with wild horse advocates to find the win-win. After all “wildlife and cows can be partners, not enemies in search for food” according to Princeton University’s Dan Rubinstein. http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S32/93/41K10/index.xml?section=featured It’s time to stop the fighting and focus on improving range-land health. Old grazing practices can be improved with holistic land management incorporating America’s wild herds.

You can read the corrected version in the Washington Post: http://wapo.st/1DKtvc5

A big thank you to the Associated Press for reporting on America’s wild horses!

Anne Novak

AP reports: BLM plans to use birth control on Utah wild horses

Photo © Cynthia Smalley


by the Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Bureau of Land Management officials in Utah plan to inject 130 wild horses with contraceptives next winter as part of effort to control the population.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the plan’s environmental assessment still needs approval before it becomes official. It would be the second time officials have used birth control on this herd, which lives in a valley southwest of Salt Lake City.

Gus Warr of the BLM in Utah says the estimated 4,300 wild horses in the state is more than double the appropriate number.

The group Protect Mustangs, which disputes the BLM’s assertion that there are too many wild horses, denounced the plan to use contraceptives and instead advocated that the herds be left alone to self-stabilize their numbers.


As seen in the San Francisco Chronicle and in media across the country: http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/BLM-plans-to-use-birth-control-on-Utah-wild-horses-5555799.php
Posted for educational purposes only

Nevada farm bureau, counties sue over wild horses

Cross-posted from the viral Associated Press article published in the San Francisco Chronicle for educational purposes: http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Nevada-farm-bureau-counties-sue-over-wild-horses-5136697.php

Photo James Marvin Phelps / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Photo James Marvin Phelps / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Two Nevada organizations have sued the federal government, alleging mismanagement of wild horses led to excessive damage to rangelands and the animals themselves.

The Nevada Farm Bureau Federation and the Nevada Association of Counties named Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the Interior Department and the Bureau of Land Management as defendants in their lawsuit filed Dec. 30 in U.S. District Court in Nevada.

BLM spokeswoman Celia Boddington declined to comment on Sunday. “It’s under review,” she said.

The groups accuse the government of failing to comply with the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which requires the BLM to protect the “natural ecological balance of all wildlife species” on public lands and to remove “excess” horses and burros from the range.

They argue the BLM should “destroy” horses that are deemed unadoptable, the Elko Daily Free Press reported (http://bit.ly/1eNObmf ). The BLM has opposed the sale of horses for slaughter.

The agency has removed nearly 100,000 horses from the Western range over the last decade, citing the requirements of the 1971 federal law. Horses passed over for adoption are sent to long-term facilities in the Midwest.

But the number of horses gathered last year declined as the BLM deals with budget constraints and a lack of capacity at short- and long-term holding facilities.

In addition to damaging public land and threatening private water rights, the government’s wild horse program is “first and foremost” detrimental to horses, according to the lawsuit.

“Free-roaming horse and burro herds in Nevada are frequently observed to be in malnourished condition, with the ribs and skeletal features of individual animals woefully on view and other signs of ill-health readily observable,” the complaint states.

Anne Novak, executive director of the horse advocacy group Protect Mustangs, said most wild herds are “healthy and fit,” and the groups’ claim that they are in poor condition appears to be a “skewed effort” to justify killing them because they don’t want to share water.

Some 1.75 million head of livestock grazing on public land outnumber wild horses by more than 50-to-1 and cause most of the range damage, she added.

“The plaintiffs have an arrogant sense of entitlement,” Novak told The Associated Press. “I’m grateful the American public will see how the plaintiffs allegedly intend on denying native wild horses the right to water and are requesting BLM destroy the majority of the roundup survivors. Their lawsuit will rally more voters to fight for wild horses to remain wild and free for future generations.”

Representatives of the two groups did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment Sunday.


Information from: Elko Daily Free Press, http://www.elkodaily.com

Please comment at the San Francisco Chronicle article here


Two different Fort McDermitt lawsuits for two different issues


The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Laura Leigh et al sued over the Fort McDermitt roundup. Protect Mustangs and Citizens Against Equine Slaughter sued over the agreement that called for years of similar roundups. Though the USFS didn’t participate in the Fort McDermitt roundup, the USFS-McDermitt agreement was left on the table. Protect Mustangs and Citizens Against Equine Slaughter got the illegal agreement scrubbed out on Sept. 3, 2013, after the roundup cases had been lost/dismissed in mid-August.

Links of interest™:

September 30,2013 Horsetalk, New Zealand Roundup agreement canned following legal challenge http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/09/30/roundup-agreement-canned-following-legal-challenge/#axzz2gPxqlhX1

September 28, 2013 CBS San Francisco Wild Horse Advocates’ Legal Victory Halts Roundups in NorCal Forest http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/09/28/wild-horse-advocates-legal-victory-halts-roundups-in-norcal-forest/#.UkhzyrcAdyU.twitter

Press Release: Legal win creates public transparency and halts 2-year roundup contract (September 26, 2013): http://protectmustangs.org/?p=5185

PM Protect Mustangs & Citizens Against Equine Slaughter Win Transparency for Public for Forest Service Roundups with Tribes (September 17, 2013)

Termination of roundup agreement (September 3, 2013): http://protectmustangs.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/PM-Protect-Mustangs-CAES-McDermitt-Participating-Agreement-Termination-September-3-2013.pdf

August 24, 2013 Horseback Magazine Dances with Wolves author Michael Blake joins lawsuit to stop ongoing wild horse roundups: http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/24124

Breaking News: Michael Blake joins lawsuit to stop ongoing wild horse roundups (August 24, 2013): http://protectmustangs.org/?p=5060

Citizens Against Equine Slaughter and Protect Mustangs file preliminary injunction (August 24, 2013): PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT

Horses saved and horses lost at Native American horse auction (August 17, 2013): http://protectmustangs.org/?p=5023

Information about Fallon Livestock Auction (August 17, 2013): http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4999

Temporary Restraining Order Granted (August 16, 2013): http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4990

Viral article: August 16, 2013 The Associated Press US judge refuses to block NV tribe’s mustang sale http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/08/15/2708155/us-judge-in-nv-asked-to-block.html

Press Release: Lawsuit filed to save wild horses from alleged slaughter (August 16, 2013):  http://protectmustangs.org/?p=5001

Official request to terminate roundup agreement, request DNA testing, separate unbranded wild horses, etc. (August 15, 2013): http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4969

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