BREAKING NEWS: Protect Mustangs & Friends of Animals file lawsuit to stop Pine Nut Mountains roundup

 

Stop the Roundups!

 

For Immediate Release

Jenni Barnes, staff attorney, FoA’s Wildlife Law Program 720.949.7791; jenniferbarnes@friendsofanimals.org

Mike Harris, Director, Wildlife Law Program; 720.949.7791; michaelharris@friendsofanimals.org

Anne Novak, Executive Director, Protect Mustangs; 415.531.8454; anne@protectmustangs.org

Protect Mustangs & Friends of Animals file lawsuit to stop Pine Nut Mountains roundup

Advocates push for NEPA to be upheld when BLM snubs public comment

Reno, NV (Jan. 26, 2015)—Protect Mustangs and Friends of Animals (FoA) have filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to stop the round-up and permanent removal of 200 wild horses in the Pine Nut Herd Management Area (HMA) and the round-up of another 132 wild horses so that an estimated 66 mares would be forcibly drugged with the pesticide known as PZP for fertility control. In addition, the groups plan to file a temporary restraining order—asking the judge for an emergency ruling so that the BLM can’t round up any horses or administer PZP until the court has time to hear FoA’s and Protect Mustangs’ case. The roundup is expected to last for 10 days and is slated for late January/early February.

“The BLM abruptly made a decision in December of 2014 to round-up, permanently remove and forcibly administer fertility control drugs on our wild horses. This decision has long-lasting implications for wild horses,” said Jenni Barnes, attorney for FoA’s wildlife law program. “BLM violated the law by excluding the public from this decision and completely failing to consider its impacts. FoA and Protect Mustangs have filed this lawsuit to ensure that BLM does not destroy Nevada’s last remaining wild horses.”

“The American public is outraged elected officials aren’t doing anything to stop cruel roundups and sterilization experiments on our native wild horses,” said Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “It’s disgusting and shameful. Risky drugs like PZP and other forms of sterilization are a sham at this point because there aren’t any ‘excess’ wild horses on millions of acres of public land.”

“When wild horses don’t seem useful to the BLM, they’re resented. Rounded up. Sterilized. Killed or otherwise displaced,”said Priscilla Feral, FoA’s president. “In contrast, cows and sheep owned by large corporations and hobby ranchers are seen as having a dollar value, so ranchers are relieved from having to compete over water and grasslands with horses. Since horses are not hamburgers, Nevada and the BLM want them gone. People don’t want this madness anymore.”

The lawsuit states that the defendants did not prepare an Environmental Assessment for the proposed roundup and instead relied on the 2010 environmental assessment for the Clan Alpine, Pilot Mountain and Pine Nut HMA Gather Plan, which does not take into consideration science that shows the negative side effects associated with PZP. Furthermore, the BLM did not solicit public comments. In fact, FoA employees traveled to Nevada on Jan. 22 to participate in a BLM public meeting regarding the Carson City Resource Management Plan, which includes the Pine Nut HMA, but the BLM denied the public the ability to comment. When Edita Birnkrant, FoA’s campaigns director, got up and spoke at the microphone anyways, she was silenced—BLM shut off the microphone and ejected her from the meeting, just like BLM removes wild horses from public land.

“I was infuriated that the BLM dared to hold a ‘public’ meeting yet forbid the public from speaking,” said Edita Birnkrant, FoA’s campaign director. “BLM employees specifically said there would be no discussion of the Pine Nut roundup during the intro to the meeting. After the intro, I took over the microphone to call out the sham of a BLM public meeting that shut out the public. I said that FoA was there to oppose the BLM’s extinction plan for wild horses in Nevada.”

FoA and Protect Mustangs oppose all roundups of wild horses and the use of PZP, which destroy family structure within the herds, and believe the Appropriate Management Levels set for the Herd Management Areas in all states are too low, outdated and do not accurately reflect the number of wild horses that are needed to maintain genetic viability to prevent extinction and to create a thriving ecological balance.

The groups are adamant the BLM looks beyond data about PZP provided by the Humane Society of the United States, which has a vested interest in PZP as it is the registrant of the pesticide, and Jay Kirkpatrick, the director of the Science and Conservation Center, which produces the active ingredient in PZP. FoA believes the public needs to know there is a conflict of interest when it comes to PZP and it questions the motives of an animal charity pushing a harmful pesticide on wildlife rather than embracing holistic ways to manage public lands.

Novak pointed out that according to the National Academy of Sciences’ 2013 report, there is “no evidence” of overpopulation.

Ranchers scapegoat wild horses because they don’t want to share the public land they lease to graze their livestock. So they bully the Bureau of Land Management to remove wild horses. In Beaver and Iron County, Utah, where wild horses are scapegoated, data shows cows and sheep outnumber wild horses 10.6:1; in Oregon it’s 33:1. And prior to a massive roundup in Wyoming last summer, there were 356,222 cattle, 45,206 sheep, and only 1,912 wild horses. It seems that it’s easier for the BLM to accommodate ranchers and manage wild horses to extinction, than to consider holistic ways to manage our public lands.

“Wild horses need to be protected in Nevada,” said plaintiff Craig Downer, a wildlife ecologist who has studied the Pine Nut herd for decades and author of The Wild Horse Conspiracy. “They restore the ecosystem as a deeply rooted native in North America with a unique niche that helps the other species thrive.”

In his book, Downer, also the director of ecology and conservation for Protect Mustangs, advocates for reserve design , which involves utilizing natural and/or artificial barriers, natural predators, as well as community-involving buffer zones as a better way for BLM to manage public lands. Once available habitat is filled, wild horses, as climax species, would limit their own population as density-dependent controls are triggered.

“The bottom line is the BLM is ignoring the public’s right to be heard about a heinous roundup paid for with tax dollars on public land,” explains Novak. “And that’s just unAmerican.”

Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses. www.ProtectMustangs.org

 Links of interest:

Complaint filed in court January 26, 2015: PM Complaint_As Filed_Pine Nut

Wild-horse activists kicked out of federal meeting in Nevada, (Associated Press) went viral: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2015/01/24/3458044_wild-horse-activists-kicked-out.html?rh=1

Activists split on US agency”s plans to treat 250 mares with fertility-control drug in Nevada: http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/fd1cd3d9353349ddbffd22edbd1fa3d1/NV–Wild-Horses-Nevada

Wild Horse Conspiracy by Craig Downer: http://amzn.to/1wyxEcZ

EPA Pesticide Fact Sheet for PZP: http://1.usa.gov/1zKMiWy

Forum on PZP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ForumPZPWildHorsesBurros

Protect Mustangs on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectMustangs

ProtectMustangs on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ProtectMustangs

Anne Novak on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheAnneNovak

Read this press release online here: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=7806

PZP EPA Sterilisant

Pinenuts wild horses featured in French TV documentary ~ STOP the ROUNDUP

 

La chasse au mustangs (2010)

 

“I’m grateful to have worked on this film together with the French director and cinematographer and thankful we were able to get such revealing footage. Thank you to Barbara Clarke at DreamCatcher Sanctuary and Laura Leigh who stood in for Craig Downer who was unreachable and out in the field the day we shot this. All the scenes in the wild were shot in the Pinenut Herd Management Area (HMA) near Carson City and close to Reno/Tahoe. These horrible roundups must be stopped. Contact your senators and representative and request they stop this tragedy paid for with tax dollars.” –Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs  (Video ©2010 TF1)

Now the BLM and the PZP Advocates want to roundup the Pine Nut Herd and give them the EPA restricted-use pesticide known as PZP-22 which sterilizes after multiple us. Protect Mustangs is against PZP and roundups. America’s wild horses deserve to be forever wild and free.

BLM Press Release Date: 01/20/15
Contacts: 775-885-6107
News Release No. 2015-15

BLM to Host Tour of Pine Nut Herd Management Area Gather

Carson City, Nev. – The Carson City District, Sierra Front Field Office is holding a public pre-gather tour on Friday, January 23, 2015. The public will meet at the Dayton Valley Dog Park (located at Old Como and Dayton Valley Road) in Dayton, Nevada, at 10:00 a.m. The tour is expected to last approximately three hours. Because of road conditions a four wheel-drive high clearance vehicle is required. Visitors must RSVP by calling the Gather Information Hotline at 775-861-6700, option 2 and leave a message, or call Lisa Ross, Public Affairs Specialist, at 775-885-6107, email lross@blm.gov.

“This pre-gather tour is being offered to provide an opportunity for the interested public to obtain information about the Pine Nut Gather, by interacting with BLM staff as they provide an overview of gather operations,” said Sierra Front Field Manager Leon Thomas.

The BLM will gather approximately 332 wild horses and remove approximately 200 excess wild horses within and outside the Pine Nut Herd Management Area (HMA). As many as 132 wild horses will be released back to the range following the gather. The gather area is located south of Dayton and east of Carson City and Gardnerville, Nevada within Lyon, Douglas, and Carson City Counties. The gather is scheduled to begin late January 2015.

A population inventory completed in August 2014 documented 332 wild horses. The Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the HMA is 119-179 wild horses. Based on the inventory, and monitoring data showing impacts from an over-population of the HMA, BLM has determined that removal of the excess wild horses is necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance.
Protect Mustangs is against the BLM’s false comment here: Excessive grazing from wild horses has not only degraded the sage-grouse habitat, but has also reduced the availability of native forage grasses within the HMA, thereby decreasing the number of wild horses that can be supported by current range conditions. Wild horses are not the source of habitat degradation but off road vehicles are. It’s time for the BLM to tell the truth.
Of the approximately 132 wild horses released back to the range, an estimated 66 mares will receive a 22-month Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22) immunocontraceptive vaccine treatment prior to release. This vaccine will extend the time between gathers, and reduce the number of excess wild horses that would need to be removed in the future. The sex ratio of the released animals will be dependent on the sex ratio of the gathered wild horses. [PZP is an EPA approved restricted-use pesticide as seen here: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf  For more information, facts and public discussion about PZP visit the PZP Forum on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ForumPZPWildHorsesBurros]
For more information contact Lisa Ross at 775-885-6107.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
–BLM–
Carson City District 5665 Morgan Mill Road Carson City, NV 89703 http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/january/blm_to_host_tour_of.html

 

Take Action: Save 6 wild horse herds BLM wants to wipe out!

PM Craig Downer by Rona Aguilar

Wild horse expert sounds alarm

As the new Director of Ecology and Conservation at Protect Mustangs and a concerned Carson Valley resident, I attended the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “Carson City District Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) / Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)” meeting at the Spark’s Nugget hotel casino on Tuesday, January 13, from 5 to 7 pm.

I spoke with several BLM officials including John Axtell, the Wild Horse and Burro Specialist for this district, and Leon Thomas, Field Manager for the Sierra Front Field Office. I voiced my concerns that stakeholders who previously gave much input for increased numbers and resources in regard to wild horses were being ignored in the Draft Resource Management Plan.

I heard the overview explanation of the document by Colleen Sievers, RMP Project Lead, and instructions for reviewing it. I had given earlier input during the 2012 Scoping meetings in Carson City, along with many other pro-wild horse stakeholders.

It’s important to note there are two new wilderness designations that have just been passed by Congress for this area: Pine Forest and Wovoka Wilderness Areas.

Wild horses need you more than ever to stand up for them and here’s why:

There are five alternatives presented in the RMP document, one of which is No Action, or status quo, that will include improvements for Sage Grouse survival, but little else. Another is for maximizing resource exploitation that would be disaster for many natural values upon which the long term survival of life depends. Another (Alternative C) is for maximizing conservation of nature, and another is for bringing a so-called balance of these (Alternative E). This is the preferred alternative although it does not allocate enough land, water and forage for native wild horses who are needed to reduce wildfires, restore balance to the ecosystem, and reverse desertification on public land.

The Conservation Alternative would greatly reduce livestock grazing and expand wilderness designations but pro-wild horse stakeholders and native wild horses themselves appear to have been ignored. Wild horses should be regarded as native restorers of these natural ecosystems, but in the BLM’s Draft RMP there are serious errors which imply that they are non-native invasive pests with no value to the ecosystem. This, of course, is false.

In my preliminary view, and pending a more thorough analysis of this document, it’s  outrageous to see that federal officials appear to have completely neglected the wishes of stakeholders favoring wild horses. They unfairly sided with wild horse enemies to zero out herd management areas (HMAs). The BLM’s preferred alternative are plans to zero out six wild horse “herd management areas,” (HMA’s) rendering them “herd areas.” This is a twisting of language by which the original designation of a “herd area” as an area for wild populations of wild horses/burros in perpetuity, now according to BLM means an area where the wild horses/burros have been eliminated, or “zeroed out.”

John Axtell told me that there was not enough forage or water in these areas and that their numbers were too low. However, he conveniently failed to mention how cattle and sheep have been given the great majority of forage allocations in these same areas, or how the BLM has intentionally failed to exercise the wild horses and burros’ Implied Federal Water Rights that come with any major federal act of Congress in order to secure their basic survival requirements.

The areas that the BLM appears to be planning to zero out in the preferred alternative includes some HMA’s north of Reno such as Granite Peak and Flannigan that have been assigned truly ridiculous, low appropriate management levels (AML)—plus or minus 20 or so horses.

The minimum number for a genetically viable herd is 2,500 wild horses, according to the IUCN Species Survival Commission Equid Specialist Group and these levels are even a far cry from the suspect 150 individuals that BLM documents often cite as being genetically viable for a population.

BLM also wants to eliminate the historic Wassuk wild horse herd in the Wassuk HMA just north of Mt. Grant–where Axtell told me about 125 wild horses still survive.

Axtell claimed there was not enough forage for the horses here. I can’t believe this. I have repeatedly visited this wonderful spirited herd of Spanish-type mustangs and over many decades.

Nevadan biologist and teacher Steven Pelligrini studied the Wassuk herd for his Master’s Degree in biology at the University of Nevada-Reno. His thesis was presented to the public and to the Congress in support of the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, when he went to testify together with Wild Horse Annie and his professor Dr. John Pontrelli of UNR.

The Carson City BLM’s RMP is targeting our wild horses for removal yet it is mandated to protect them. There exists large-scale public support for them both among the local public, nationally and internationally.

We must stand up and fight for the Wassuk wild horses and for the other venerable wild horse herds that are being dishonestly used as scapegoats for abuses attributable to uncaring people.

I noticed that at the meeting leaders of the Toiyabe Sierra Club and long time wild horse enemies, were present, and engaged with the BLM wild horse specialists and other officials. It appears they have been working to undermine the wild horse presence on public lands for many years, and I am very disturbed about this.

In the “Toiyabe Trails” publication that goes out to many thousands as a free quarterly publication, their President, Tina Nappe seems to be given carte blanche to badmouth wild horses, while those who used to be afforded the opportunity to reply, such as myself, no longer are given this basic right, even in the form of a short letter to the editor.

In spite of the horrible news in the RMP, I was urged to make a strong statement concerning my reasons against the proposed “zeroings out”. These would include how the wild horses are not getting fair grazing allocations compared to livestock in their legal areas, failure to develop or fend for watering sources for the animals and illegal fencing prohibiting their “free-roaming” lifestyle, an inherent part of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Protect Mustangs is calling all wild horse supporters to speak out strongly in an informed and intelligent manner, for the wild horses and burros of the Carson City BLM District. This RMP/EIS revision will govern land use policy for the next 15-20 years and we must not allow it to be a death sentence for the wild horses and burros, which it largely appears to be.

This is the public’s chance to improve the treatment of the wild horses and burros, and we cannot allow another act of subterfuge.

The proposal can be viewed online at http://on.doi.gov/1uYBNGT and more information can be found here: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field.html

Here are some talking points:

1.) Both horse and burro evolution originate and have immense multi-million year duration in North America.

2.) As post-gastric digesters, different from ruminant digesters, the equids truly restore balance to the North American ecosystem. There is a lopsided preponderance of ruminants today, encouraged by established rancher, hunter, and other linked interests.

3.) Natural predators must not continue to be persecuted and eliminated, such as puma and wolf, natural predators of the wild equids.

4.) PZP and other tamperings with basic biology and social structure of wild horses and burros is contrary to the “minimum feasible” management tenet of the WFHBA as stated in Section 3 a. See my 19 points of law on pages xi to xiii of The Wild Horse Conspiracy. See sections on PZP  in the Index as well

5.) Also look up “Pine Nut wild horse herd area” in the Index of my book for more specific information http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Horse-Conspiracy-Craig-Downer/dp/1461068983

To be most effective, please make your own personal analysis of the pertinent sections of this document about which you are knowledgeable and/or concerned, especially the wild horses and burros. You can submit your comments electronically by email to:  BLM_NV_CCDO_RMP@blm.gov  or by US mail to: BLM Carson City District, Attn: CCD RMP, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, NV 89701.

Send a copy of your comments to your two senators and your representative asking them to intervene.

The deadline for these comments is March 27th, 2015. Questions can be addressed to Colleen Sievers, Carson City District RMP Project Lead. Tel. 775-885-6000

Examples of what BLM consider to be substantive and nonsubstantive comments can be found at  http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/planning/nepa/webguide/document_pages/6_9_2_1__examples.html 

Thank you for standing up for the wild ones!

Craig
Craig C. Downer
Wildlife Ecologist
Director of Ecology and Conservation at Protect Mustangs
Author of The Wild Horse Conspiracy http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Horse-Conspiracy-Craig-Downer/dp/1461068983
and The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America (American Journal of Life Science) http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo.aspx?journalid=118&doi=10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12

Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses. Join us at www.ProtectMustangs.org

 

BREAKING NEWS: Court grants Protect Mustangs and Friends of Animals the right to intervene in Wyoming’s anti-wild horse lawsuit

PM Photo WY © Stephaie Thomson

Coalition united against using birth control on underpopulated native species and fights for wild horse freedom

Cheyenne, WY (January 7, 2015)–On Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming granted Protect Mustangs‘ and Friends of Animals (FoA) motion to intervene in the State of Wyoming’s lawsuit against the U.S Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remove the last remaining wild horses from the state. Wyoming alleges that the BLM has failed to take action on the state’s request to remove “excess” wild horses from the range in Wyoming and seeks the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands, where fewer than 2,500 wild horses remain.

“It is critical that FoA and Protect Mustangs are involved in this case,” said Jenni Barnes, attorney for FoA’s Wildlife Law Program, which will represent both organizations in the case. “Both the state and federal government have indicated that they have no interest in preserving wild horses. Now that the court has granted Friends of Animals and Protect Mustangs the right to intervene in the present case, the two advocacy groups can defend the right of wild horses to live freely on our public lands.”

Unlike other wild horse advocacy organizations involved in this case, FoA and Protect Mustangs support the ability of wild horses to live freely, and oppose the use of PZP, the EPA pesticide, and other forms of birth control that are costly and risky to wild horse populations.

FoA and Protect Mustangs, both non-profit animal advocacy organizations, and their members, have long-standing involvement in conserving wild horses in the western United States generally, and have specific conservation, academic, educational and recreational interests in wild horses in Wyoming.

“I’m grateful we have the opportunity to champion federally protected wild horses in court,” says Anne Novak executive director of Protect Mustangs. “We will fight to protect America’s wild horses and defend their rights to freedom. Rounding them up or forcing an EPA approved “restricted-use pesticide” on wild mares is an assault on their freedom. It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars because they are underpopulated.”

“We think both Wyoming officials and the BLM treat wild horses like snow removal, so we’re gratified that the court has granted us intervenor status to make the best case for protecting wild horses from the tragedies of roundups, PZP use, and disposal,” states Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals.

FoA and Protect Mustangs oppose all removals of wild horses and believe the appropriate management levels (AMLs) set for the Herd Management Areas in Wyoming are too low, outdated and do not accurately reflect the number of wild horses that are needed to maintain genetic viability to prevent extinction and to create a thriving ecological balance in the state.

Novak pointed out that according to the National Academy of Sciences’ 2013 report, there is “no evidence” of overpopulation.

“The truth is wild horses are underpopulated and the BLM’s management level (AML) is ridiculously biased to favor commercial livestock grazing and industry on public land. It’s shameful the State of Wyoming and the BLM are trying to blow away the 1971 Protection Act, which states that wild horses and burros should receive principal, but not exclusive use, of the designated areas for the herds,” Novak said. “Let’s get real. There are more than 400,000 mule deer in Wyoming and less than 2,500 wild horses. Pushing PZP and any other kind of fertility control on wild horses or removing them is dumb. Tourists want to see wild horses and there aren’t enough left in Wyoming.”

“Native wild horses can help prevent wildfires and restore the ecosystem on the Wyoming range,” added Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist, author and the new director of ecology and conservation at Protect Mustangs. “They are an asset that’s being thrown away and that’s gotta stop.”

Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses. www.ProtectMustangs.org

###

Links of interest™:

Motion to Intervene http://protectmustangs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/PM-WY-Motion-to-Intervene_WY-wild-horses_vfinal.pdf

Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals, free-living and domestic around the world. www.friendsofanimals.org

Wyoming sues feds claiming too many horses (AP) http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Wyoming-sues-feds-claiming-too-many-wild-horses-5943755.php

Appropriate Management Level (National Academy of Sciences) http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13511&page=195

Feds’ cruel roundups https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF49csCB9qM

Friends of Animals’ Petition to List Wild Horses as a Native Species: http://friendsofanimals.org/sites/default/files/kcfinder/images/wild%20horses%20final.pdf

Livestock grazing (Center for Biological Diversity) http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/public_lands/grazing/

Genetic viability (Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_viability

The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America (Craig Downer) http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo.aspx?journalid=118&doi=10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12
The Friends of Animals and Protect Mustangs motion to intervene has been granted in Case 2:14-cv-00248-ABJ State of Wyoming v. United States Department of the Interior et al Order. See below.
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Ecologist sounds alarm–wild horses and burros are disappearing in the West

PM Photo Craig Downer

Concern for Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Territory (Inyo National Forest, CA) and Marietta Wild Burro Range (Bureau of Land Management, Carson City District Office, NV) and for Wild Horses and Burros Everywhere

By Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist

December 31st, 2014

During the 28th and 29th of December of present eventful 2014 (just reported by ABC News to have been the warmest year for planet Earth in human recorded history), I made my way south from where I live near Minden, Nevada, to one of the most spectacular and dramatic spots on Earth. This lies just east of the mighty Sierra Nevada mountains and Mammoth Lakes, just south of the surreal, vast, salty Mono Lake, and just to the west and north of the august White Mountains, home to some of the oldest living trees on Earth: the Bristlecone Pines, whose ancient presence can be palpably felt.

Since I was a boy, I have been coming to this intriguing place … to soak in its profuse and invigorating mineral waters, to thrill in beholding and even climbing its hoary, dramatically rising mountain tops, etc., etc., over and over again throughout the years, that now seem to spin by so rapidly. And it is unnerving to realize that these magnificent landscapes are underlain by a vast and deep pool of molten magma that reaches very near the surface here, causing many tremors and ground swells. Indeed, the Mono Craters I pass by coming south between Lee Vining, CA, and Benton Hot Springs, CA, were recently active, geologically speaking, and could again erupt at any time. California State Route 120 assumes a roller-coaster effect about midway between US Highway 395 on the west and US Highway 6 on the east due to the unpredictable surgings and subsidings of this vast, molten pool close under the Earth, as my nephew Dr. Chris Sanders discovered during his Ph.D. work at Cal Tech University. At 13,141 feet elevation a.s.l., Boundary Peak in the White Mountains is the tallest in Nevada. The ecosystem here is in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada to the west, one of whose peaks: Mount Whitney at 14,414 feet is the highest in the lower 48 states. So It is little wonder that the prevailing storms coming off the Pacific Ocean to the west dump most of their rain in California while what remains of the clouds lightly pass over Nevada and the rest of the Great Basin on their way to the Rocky Mountains. This makes for an austere desert with low precipitation of ca. 8 inches on average per year, higher in the mountains and lower in the valleys; and there is a gradation, or ecological transition, from mountain alpine meadow, to forest to semi forest-bush slopes to dry, sparsely bush-and grass-covered valleys in this “ecotonal” transition zone.

It is an exciting place to be for anyone consciously attuned to the vast dramas Nature plays out here and a perfect habitat for the returned North American native horse and burro species, certain individuals of which have reverted to their wild, naturally living way of life on their not-too-distant ancestors’ home stomping grounds of countless generations. Indeed, they are like the very reincarnations of these – and who is to say they may not be in truth be just such returning presences?

These are not ruminant digesters, but post-gastric, or caecal, digesters, and their feces contribute greatly to the ecosystem both by adding more vital humus and more intact, germinable seeds of a greater variety of plant species when compared to that/those contributed by the ruminant grazers here of the bovid (cattle, sheep) and cervid (deer, elk) mammal families.

Horse and burro fossils including petrified tracks in this area are found in great abundance and date from recent times to a few or even many millions of years Before Present. Indeed, I have discovered a petroglyph of a horse without rider that I judge to be between one and three thousand years old, based on the patina of weathering on the hard rock surface and similarly dated petroglyphs of spirals, bighorn sheep, snakes, etc., found nearby. I took care to document it again with my digital camera. It is Figure 1 in the 2014 edition of my book: The Wild Horse Conspiracy (www.amazon.com/dp/1461068983).

In February, 2010, I also trekked in to observe the ancient fossilized horse hoof prints in Death Valley National Park just to the south of here. Dating between 2-million and 3-million years, these occur alongside the tracks of such dramatic characters as the Dire Wolf, Sabre-Toothed Tiger/Cat, Thunder Bird, and Woolly Mammoth.

It is exasperating that neither Death Valley N.P. nor Inyo N.F, nor Carson City BLM give much emphasis to the wonderful significance of the returned native “equids” who are now reestablishing themselves. Indeed, the museum at the Furnace Creek Death Valley park visitors’ center makes no mention of the horse, burro, or zebra ancestors who lived here for millions of years and up until relatively recent times; and the policy of this and other national parks is to eliminate all wild horses and burros who “stray” into their jurisdictional lands. I expose this gross injustice in my book and go so far as to name the names of individual officials who are responsible. The greater truth concerning these wonderful presences who share planet Earth as home cannot continue to be mocked with impunity!

In December 2013, I visited both the Montgomery Pass wild horse herd and the Marietta wild burro herd and observed many more wild horses (ca. 60) in the Montgomery Pass Inyo USFS Territory than I did just recently. I also observed more wild horses here during my recent visit in mid-November 2014 in route to southern California. On December 28, 2014, I searched all along California Route 120 and all along US Highway 6 north of Benton, CA, and then again on the 29th of December I searched into Nevada clear to Montgomery Pass along Nevada State Highway 360. During both days, I encountered only one band of 8 wild horses just to the southwest of Montgomery Pass. They were above the valley floor and at the foot of the Pinyon-Juniper forest that lies below Boundary Peak, huddled together taking shelter from the cold, biting wind from the north. I was able to get a telescopic photo of them from across the valley (see photo). The only other wild horse I saw in this my most recent trip was a muscular, bright chestnut stallion with a broad white blaze on his face (see photo). He was alone and though I searched far and wide with my binoculars, I could not see any other horses near him. A year prior, I saw six times this number of wild horses! I hope these mustangs have relocated to another part of their year-round habitat and that they have not been illegally captured or killed.

The Montgomery Pass wild horse herd is documented to be naturally self-stabilizing and has not been “gathered,” or rounded up, by government-sponsored contractors – one of the few that claim this distinction. One contributory factor operating here is the high density of mountain lions, or puma, a predatory species that preys upon the wild horses and burros, particularly the very young, infirm, or the aged ones nearing the end of their individual life cycles. They act according to the age-old laws of natural selection, and, so, help to make these equid populations actually more fit for survival in the natural world when compared with the unnatural “take-all” ages and conditions of horses/burros that helicopter or water/bait trapping removals by both BLM and USFS perpetrate against these wonderful animals — all the while wasting many millions of dollars of tax-payer money each year. It would be better by far to employ the sane and well-founded principles of Reserve Design that I have described in Ch. IV of my book as well as in my scientific article of January 2014 (see www.thewildhorseconspiracy.org under Resources).

I am concerned that illegal takings of the Montgomery Pass wild horses may be occurring and recommend a closer monitoring of this herd. The public lands permitted livestock ranchers here receive the hog’s share of the grazing resources and this does not accord to the pure intent of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 where it clearly states that land where the wild horses and burros lived in 1971, meaning year-round occupied habitat, would be “devoted principally” to their welfare and benefit, not that of the ranchers, nor the big game hunters, nor the open-pit miners, energy developers, frackers, Off Road Vehicle racers, nor any other sort of disrupters of ecological harmony! Whether for short- or long-term profits, short- or long-term subsidies, or for maintaining a resource-squandering, consumerist lifestyle that is dis-attuned to the age-old cycles of Nature at any cost, it is simply not right to subvert the unanimously passed Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. This is its 43rd anniversary and it is high time that it be obeyed. To do so is in the wholesome interest of the General Public, and there are intrinsic natural values and ecological services at stake, including the great natural beauty of the wild ones themselves that must not be taken for granted. For what is life worth without such beauty?! These are values, my friend, that do in fact preserve the whole of life as one amazingly inter-communicating and inter-dependent community far into the Future.

As concerns the exquisite desert valley and western bounding, colorful Excelsior Mountains known as the Marietta Wild Burro Range (BLM), my two companions and I were able to observe a fair number of wild burros here and to obtain some fine photos (which see). However, the wild horse band I nearly always saw on the northern boundary north of the main entry road off Nevada Highway 360 was not observed nor were the band’s customary abundance of spoor (tracks and feces). The magnificent paint stallion was a real exemplar of equine aliveness and self-realization, with his handsome mares and offspring and all of their keen alertness, spontaneity, and cohesiveness to meet the challenge to survive, to carry on over the generations in this resource-sparse yet awesome desert environment. It is my New Year’s hope and prayer that these special mustangs, as well as those of the Montgomery Pass territory, are still alive and thriving, keeping out of harm’s way in a world that is being increasingly over-populated and overexploited – but not by them! They are very under-populated in relation to their vacant ecological niche here, yet these wild equids are the true restorers and healers of this life home. Needless to say, the over-population and the over-exploitation is by our own kind: humanity!

During the late afternoon of December 29th, while out by the Teel Marsh in the Marietta burro range, my two companions and I were observing a few of the remaining wild burros, when suddenly we were all – humans and burros alike – jolted by a series of 15 massive explosions. These came from an area just to the west of the Excelsior Mountains and to our west. Each detonation produced a series of deep, rumbling shock waves that penetrated not only our ears but our internal organs as well, causing them to vibrated violently and palpably, even with a little pain. And I seemed to hear the whole Earth groaning here. About every half-minute to minute, another such detonation would occur. As two large passenger jets simultaneously to the blasts passed overhead, we began to wonder whether this was the start of WWIII and the beginning of the end for life as we know it on Earth – the prophesized holocaust of the “latter days”. A large and wind-diffused cloud of dusty and debris rose 1,000’s of feet into the air, but fortunately no mushroom cloud appeared. We thought these violent explosions were caused by open-pit miners. This is an interest to which the BLM and USFS have given pretty much carte-blanche to do what they please on the public lands, except in wilderness areas, where, however, cattle and sheep hordes continue to be “grandfathered in” contrary to the true purpose of The Wilderness Act. And these domestic animals, though no fault of their own, are thus make to damage rare and threatened species and their habitats as well as the vital headwaters for all species concerned, including we people!

PM Photo Criag Downer Burro

I shall never forget the look of shock and worry on the faces of the wise, old burros whom we were observing when the terrible explosions went off; and I thought of all the intricately connected subterranean water flows and sources: seeps, streams, and springs that would be violently disrupted by these explosions, and of all the myriad micro-organisms, fungi, plants, and animals whose lives and interrelations would likewise be dealt a very harmful blow by these shameless violations and trespasses against the living world of Nature. And all in order to maintain an extravagant and wasteful modern life style by people who seem oblivious to all that they are destroying, who seem only bent on materialistic conquering and control of a living world they only superficially appreciate or have any respect for.

So, as the New Year 2015 is about to begin and as the Chinese Year of the Horse is now closing in around a month, my prayer and my resolution is to bring enlightened change to all life on Earth where it is most urgently needed: in the minds and hearts and wills of us people. For, while we are most clearly the cause of most problems in the world today, by the same token we are the solution to these same pressing and life-threatening problems. And we can start by increasing the allowed population of wild burros in the Marietta Range, for the arbitrarily set, so-called Appropriate Management Level of ca. 125 individuals is in no way a genetically viable population level (IUCN SSC Equine Specialist Group recommends 2,500 individuals for an equid population to be viable in nature), nor does such a population level begin to fill the natural niche of the burro in this vast desert area. By the way, the wild burro should be classified as an endangered species restoring itself in the land of its origin (see Ch. I of my book).

And much the same can be said of the Montgomery Pass wild horses on their legal Inyo USFS Territory. The ranchers here have to learn to share more of the resource and to release their stranglehold and monopoly on the public lands! So do the giant open-pit mining corporations. So do the big-game hunters. Both the ranchers and the hunters war against the natural predators and the U.S. as well as state and local governments spend millions of dollars each year, e.g. through U.S. Animal Control Service, to cater to pipe dreams for worldly power, control, and wealth. So many endangered Gray Wolves were killed last year in the U.S. after being delisted from Endangered status due to overweening human arrogance and ignorance, yet these interests will arrogantly proclaim that the wild horses or wild burros have no natural predators. How utterly hypocritical and how utterly false!

But let us not end on this note. To begin the New Year and in fulfillment of the Year of the Horse, let us stress what both can and should happen in the way of change. We humans can – in fact we must – transform our relation to “the Rest of Life”. We can learn to share the land and freedom with such magnificent animals as the horses and burros. They have done so much for us and truly we would not be living so high on the hog today were it not for their cooperation. We have what is called a “mutual symbiosis” (a mutually beneficial living together) with them that dates back thousands – I would daresay even millions – of years; and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. So what better way to repay this debit than by simply allowing them to be themselves, to carry on their age-old trajectory, to fill their niche and role in the world of Nature and life community in which they are true restorers and healers.

By the lofty grace of God, may this enlightened and beneficent transformation on the part of Man become a living reality right here and right now, in this life and in this world where the Fates have decreed we all live and unfold together. This is our shared home. This is our challenge … and this is my prayer.

Craig Downer, Wildlife Ecologist, President: Andean Tapir Fund (also dedicated to helping wild horses and burros), P.O. Box 456, Minden, NV 89423. www.andeantapirfund.com, www.thewildhorseconspiracy.org ccdowner@aol.com, Director of Ecology and Conservation at Protect Mustangs.org

 

Craig Downer speaks out against proposed roundup and PZP drugging

PM Craig Downer by Rona Aguilar

Statement by Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist and author of The Wild Horse Conspiracy (2014) concerning the BLM plans for the Pine Nut Herd Management Area (HMA) wild horse population recently announced by the Carson City BLM District Office.

December 24, 2014

Yesterday I received the Carson City BLM’s BLM Nevada News announcement of Dec. 19, 2014, from Lisa Ross, the Public Relations official. In this, the Sierra Front Field Office announced its Decision to round up 332 wild horses and permanently remove 200 of these, while releasing 132 back into the range but only after injecting the mares, estimated at 66, with 22-month Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22), an immunocontraceptive vaccine whose long-term effects on the well-being of the wild horses is highly questionable.

The claim by these BLM officials is that there is an “overpopulation” of wild horses in the Pine Nuts, in other words, “excess” wild horses and that these animals are damaging the ecosystem, degrading sage-grouse habitat and reducing native grass plants. No mention, however is made of the fact that cattle and sheep grazing pressure on the grasses and other forage species is several times that of the wild horses here. Nor is any mention made of the many positive contributions the wild horses make to bolster the ecosystem as non-ruminant, post gastric digesters who complement the ruminant grazers.

I visit the Pine Nut Range frequently and am not at all convinced of the terse and perfunctory claims made in the BLM’s recent announcement. What I have observed in the Pine Nut Range is actually an under-population of wild horses who are in the process of filling their ecological niche, but are no where near filling their niche.

The arguments for the wild horse “gather” presented by the BLM are contrived and based on their desire to justify the continuing monopolization by livestock grazing permittees, mainly, but also the hunters and the Nevada Department of Wildlife, as well as other exploiters of this beautiful mountain range and its ecosystem. The claim that the wild horses are affecting the Sage-Grouse leks are highly suspect, as I have seen wonderful harmony between the wild horses and the Sage-Grouse. This issue, I feel, is being used conveniently to avoid reducing livestock. How easy to simply blame the deterioration on the wild horses, but how dishonest!

The so called Appropriate Management Level that the BLM has set for this vast range (at least 30 miles long and in places 15 miles wide) of 119 to 179 individuals is a gross injustice to the wild horses and to the many public citizens of Nevada and elsewhere. We greatly appreciate this historic herd and wish to observe a full and exuberant population of mustangs here, not an overly reduced, mere token number that is not even at a genetically viable level, and that is not permitted to adapt naturally and harmoniously to this rich ecosystem.

From observations I have gathered, the PZP vaccine will disrupt normal social interactions and cause much frustration and dysfunction among the members of this herd. There is much cover up concerning this drug and the problems for the wild horses are not being fully revealed by those promoting it, including wild horse supporters who are being manipulated into supporting PZP but relinquishing their protest of the unfair AML and the monopolization of the grazing resource by livestock interests. In doing so, they are abandoning the true intent of the WFHBA and the long-term well being of this mustang herd in the wild by going along with their semi-domestication!

To me what is happening in the Pine Nuts and with its wild horses is another “quick drug fix” the likes of which so much of modern, technologically oriented society is wont to adopt when confronted with “problems”. In other words, rather than making the needed sacrifices to share the land and freedom with the beautiful wild horses, thus allowing them to realize a truly long-term viable population in this range, true to the pure intent of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (WFHBA that was unanimously passed and remains very popular among the General Public), our officials have chosen to shirk their legal duty and “do a number” on these animals and their public supporters.

The figure of 2,500 is the number of individual horses recommended for the viability of a wild population by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Equid Specialist Group. So why is this being ignored and such cripplingly low AMLs being adopted? It is clear to me that the wild horse enemies are getting their way almost 100% and that like overly spoiled juveniles these ranchers, hunters, etc., throw a tantrum every time they are asked to share.

The Pine Nut herd is being over managed, or reduced, to a dysfunctional level and the sound tenets of Reserve Design for a thousand or more wild horses that would allow for naturally self-stabilizing and ecologically harmonious populations is being ignored by the authorities (though I have presented it to them on numerous occasions including to their RAC and National Advisory boards. Though their heart seems not to be attuned to the true and pure intent of the WFHBA, the good news is that this deplorable situation can change with the reawakening of a noble resolve to curb livestock and other overweening monopolies and to restore the Pine Nut mustangs to a much fairer and more viable population level.

I call upon BLM authorities to discontinue their insidious disinformation campaign that ignores the positive contributions that wild horses, as returned North American natives, make to the ecosystem (soils building, seed dispersal, fire prevention, etc.). From the Secretary of Interior, to the BLM and US Forest Service heads, to the Wild Horse and Burro program directors on down, there is an urgent need to “come clean,” to “own up,” and to rectify and “make up” for all the past injustices that have been committed with the aim of either crippling or eliminating America’s last wild horses. These animals are deeply rooted in America, far more deeply than most people seem to realize. They are an ancient and long-standing presence dating back millions of years, and they are true healers of the land and the life that dwells thereon. I have come to realize this so fully after a lifetime of wild horse observation and meditation. The challenge of restoring the herds and of learning to share the land and freedom with the horses, likewise their cousins the burros, is a critically important one, one linked to all of the other critical challenges facing our human kind today. To ignore or make light of this challenge is not right. IN the spirit of Christmas, the Festival of Lights, or whatever traditions one celebrates during these Holy Days of renewal and recommitment, I call upon everyone to honor the place of the wild horse upon the land that is their ancient home, knowing we will be blessed for so doing and even in ways we at present can scarce imagine.

For a complete revelation concerning the above, please go to my website and consult the new edition of my book. Here are the links: www.thewildhorseconspiracy.org (see my 2014 article under Resources section) and for my well-rounded book order as eBook or printed book (illustrated & well referenced/ indexed book at special reduced price on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1461068983 . Also go to protectmustangs.org for a thorough-going defense of these magnificent American heritage animals.

Protect Mustangs & Friends of Animals take action in court to stop roundups

 

PM WY WIld Horses Running

For Immediate Release

Jenni Barnes, staff attorney, FoA’s Wildlife Law Program 720.949.7791; jenniferbarnes@friendsofanimals.org
Mike Harris, Director, Wildlife Law Program; 720.949.7791; michaelharris@friendsofanimals.org
Anne Novak, Executive Director, Protect Mustangs; 415.531.8454; anne@protectmustangs.org

Protect Mustangs & Friends of Animals intervene after Wyoming sues feds to reduce number of wild horses

Underpopulated national treasures at risk of being wiped out.

Cheyenne, WY (December 17, 2014)—Protect Mustangs based in California and Friends of Animals (FoA) based in Connecticut have filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming against the United States Department of Interior and the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to get even more wild horses removed from the state. The State of Wyoming alleges that the federal respondents have failed to take action on the state’s request to remove “excess” wild horses from the range in Wyoming.

“We feel compelled to intervene because the BLM isn’t protecting America’s wild horses and burros the way they should,” says Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “BLM’s new wipe-out plan is to complain their hands are tied and then invite states and other land-grabbers to sue them to roundup wild horses—under false claims of overpopulation. This subterfuge must be stopped.”

“In September, BLM proceeded to remove 1,263 wild horses from the Wyoming range, which reduced populations in the affected areas to below their Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs),” said Jenni Barnes, staff attorney for FoA’s Wildlife Law Program. “I am appalled at Wyoming’s attempt to remove even more wild horses from our public lands. We all have a right to be involved in decisions about our public lands, yet it appears that Wyoming is trying to bypass this process and make a side deal with BLM to eradicate wild horses. Friends of Animals will not just stand by while this happens and we are intervening to protect the freedom of the last remaining wild horses in the state.”

FoA and Protect Mustangs, both non-profit animal advocacy organizations, and their members, have long-standing involvement in conserving wild horses in the western United States generally, and have specific conservation, academic, educational and recreational interests in wild horses in Wyoming.

The organizations are concerned that the BLM has shown a willingness to settle actions seeking to force the removal of wild horses in Wyoming. For instance, this past summer, when Rock Springs Grazing Association filed a lawsuit against the BLM to force it to remove all wild horses from the Checkerboard area, a mix of federal and private land that runs along an old railroad route across southern Wyoming, BLM did not advocate for wild horse conservation. Instead BLM entered a consent decree with the plaintiffs in which BLM agreed to remove all wild horses from the Checkerboard area.

“BLM’s ridiculously biased ‘appropriate management level’ always favors commercial livestock grazing and the extractive industry over wild horses and burros on public land,” explains Novak. “The State of Wyoming and the BLM are trying to blow away the 1971 Protection Act wherein wild horses and burros should receive primary but not exclusive use of designated areas on public land. Just follow the money to understand why they don’t like wild horses.”

Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals states, “When wild horses don’t seem useful to the BLM, they’re resented. Rounded up. Sterilized. Killed or otherwise displaced. In contrast, cows and sheep owned by large corporations and hobby ranchers are seen as having a dollar value, so ranchers are relieved from having to compete over water and grasslands with horses. Since horses are not hamburgers, Wyoming and the BLM want them gone. People don’t want this madness anymore.”

FoA and Protect Mustangs oppose all removals of wild horses and believe the AMLs set for the Herd Management Areas in Wyoming are too low, outdated and do not accurately reflect the number of wild horses that are needed to maintain genetic viability to prevent extinction and to create a thriving natural ecological balance in the state.

“The American public is outraged because elected officials aren’t doing anything to stop cruel roundups and sterilization experiments on our native wild horses,” says Novak. “It’s disgusting and shameful. Risky drugs like PZP and other forms of sterilization are a sham at this point because there aren’t enough wild horses left on millions of acres of public land.”

Novak pointed out that according to the National Academy of Sciences’ 2013 report, there is “no evidence” of overpopulation.

“Wild horses must be protected in Wyoming,” states Craig Downer, wildlife biologist based in Nevada, author and member of Protect Mustangs. “They restore the ecosystem as a deeply rooted native in North America with a unique niche that helps other species thrive.”

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Links of interest™:

Friends of Animals & Protect Mustangs’ Motion to Intervene http://protectmustangs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/PM-WY-Motion-to-Intervene_WY-wild-horses_vfinal.pdf

Wyoming sues feds claiming too many horses (AP) http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Wyoming-sues-feds-claiming-too-many-wild-horses-5943755.php

Appropriate Management Level (National Academy of Sciences) http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13511&page=195

Feds’ cruel roundups https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF49csCB9qM

Livestock grazing (Center for Biological Diversity) http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/public_lands/grazing/

Genetic viability (Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_viability

The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America (Craig Downer) http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo.aspx?journalid=118&doi=10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12

Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals, free-living and domestic around the world. www.friendsofanimals.org

Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses. www.ProtectMustangs.org

PZP advocates put wild horses at risk of sterilization after roundup

Stop the Roundups!

Protect Mustangs calls for a freeze on roundups for scientific reevaluation

Tonopah, NV (October 31, 2014)–The Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office is rounding up about 120 wild horses from within the Reveille Allotment and Herd Management Area (HMA) located approximately 50 miles east of Tonopah, NV to remove alleged excess wild horses on 600,000 acres of public land.

“The BLM is wiping out America’s wild horses and taxpayers are paying for the abuse,” states Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “We need to stop the roundups and protect our native wild horses.”

The roundup will stampede native wild horse families by helicopter over a fragile ecosystem and possible sage grouse habitat in the Great Basin Desert. Often wild horses are injured and die in roundups. The treacherous roundup is paid for with tax dollars, and began October 30, 2014. Most herds need to be rounded up before given PZP.

After the roundup, approximately 70 wild horses will be permanently removed, 60 wild horses will be sent to holding facilities in Ridgecrest, California and about 10 horses will be offered for adoption after the roundup in Tonopah, NV on November 8. The remaining 50 wild horses will be released back into the HMA for a post roundup population of 98 wild horses, putting the survivors at risk. The minimum number for genetic variability is 150 wild horses.

Often the BLM returns wild horses with conformation defects to the range, instead of placing them in adoptive homes or long-term holding where they will not breed. Apparently the agency doesn’t realize that by returning wild horses with defects they will ruin the breeding pool. The BLM claims mares selected to maintain herd characteristics will be released back to the HMA. The public must watchdog the agency to ensure wild horses with defects are pulled from the breeding pool and rehomed. Euthanizing them is not an option supported by the American public.

The informed public is outraged over an EPA approved restricted use pesticide called PZP, made from pigs ovaries, to be used on native wild horses. PZP advocates campaign rigorously to treat mares with the Porcine Zona Pellucidae (PZP-22) in order to temporarily sterilize mares. PZP advocates hail the use of PZP in spite of the fact that wild horses are underpopulated on millions of acres of public land.

Experimental research on ovary damage in mares given the immunocontraceptive PZP is used to hone the drug for eventual human use. This could be where the “follow the money” piece fits in. Wild horse advocates are furious America’s herds are being used as lab rats. Science has proven the drug sterilizes wild horses after multiple use. PZP advocates are pushing for BLM to manage wild horses “in the wild” using these risky drugs.

The devastation of wild horses in the Reveille Allotment appears to be subject to a 1987 District Court Order and two orders issued by the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) in 2001 and 2002, requiring BLM conduct an annual inventory of wild horses in the Reveille Allotment and initiate a roundup to remove alleged excess native horses from the Allotment when the inventory shows that population numbers exceed the out of date Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 138 horses.

Current AML does not represent healthy herd populations and lacks scientific merit. AML must be updated to ensure healthy herds remain on public land. The herd census must never fall below 150 wild horses to maintain genetic variability.

The current estimated population, based on previous inventory flights is 168 wild horses, according to BLM. This is the low end of the genetic viability scale. The orders need to be challenged based on scientific reevaluation of wild horses benefiting the ecosystem as a native species, livestock causing range damage and the minimum number of wild horses needed for genetic variability.

“We must ensure native wild horses can survive upcoming environmental changes,” states Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “The minimum population for a genetically variable herd is 150. Why are PZP advocates and the BLM allowing wild horse herds to fall below safe numbers?”

According to a press release from National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released June 5, 2013, “The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) current practice of removing free-ranging horses from public lands promotes a high population growth rate, and maintaining them in long-term holding facilities is both economically unsustainable and incongruent with public expectations,” says a new report by the National Research Council.

The NAS report states there is “no evidence” of overpopulation. Only tobacco science and spin backs up BLM’s population claim to justify roundups and fertility control/sterilizations. PZP advocates lobbied NAS to have fertility control recommended even though the herds are underpopulated.

Roundup activities within the Reveille HMA were analyzed in the 2010 Reveille HMA Wild Horse Gather Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) and the 2014 Reveille Wild Horse Gather Determination of NEPA Adequacy (DNA). The EA, DNA, and Decision Record can be accessed on the Reveille Wild Horse Gather website: http://on.doi.gov/10qLBlh.

Members of the public are encouraged to witness the helicopter stampede and document America’s icons losing their freedom to spread awareness that cruel roundups must stop. Observation protocols and visitor information are available at http://on.doi.gov/1xAMeTp. The BLM will post updates, photos and other information about the roundup on the Reveille website and on the hotline at 775-861-6700 throughout the course of the roundup.

The BLM is wiping out wild horses for the extractive industry and New Energy Frontier in the West. The agency manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM focuses on their mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.

BLM’s roundups disturb the thriving natural ecological balance by disturbing habitat dynamics. This crime against nature causes abnormally high birthrate and puts native wild horses at risk of inbreeding.

“We are calling for an immediate freeze on roundups and removals for scientific reevaluation,” states Novak. “Right now native wild horses are at risk of being ruined by bad policy.”

Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of native and wild horses. The group is against using PZP in the wild. Today most wild herds are threatened with low numbers and a lack of genetic variability. Using PZP in a sanctuary setting where acreage is limited is a different situation. Wild horses must not be managed in the wild as if they were a zoo exhibit.

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Links of interest™:

Info on PZP sterilizing mares: The Effects of Porcine Zona Pellucida Immunocontraception on Health and Behavior of Feral Horses (Equus caballus), Princeton http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/handle/88435/dsp01vt150j42p

Princeton study on the pros and cons of adoption and immunocontraception: http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/IEC.Rubenstein.pdf Not sure about EWA’s position on PZP now they might have embraced it like some others have.

Jamie Jackson’s piece on PZP: http://protectmustangs.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/PM-Jamie-Jackson-Using_Science_to_Improve_the_BLM_Wild_Horse_and_Burro_Program.pdf

Management of Wild Horses with Porcinezona Pellucida Pellucide: History, Consequences and Future Strategies, Cassandra M.V. Nuñez, Princeton: http://bit.ly/1rJywKl

Restricted use pesticide info: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-de info: Jan-12.pdf

Injection-Site Reactions in Wild Horses (Equus caballus) Receiving an Immunocontraceptive Vaccine, By James E. Roelle and Jason I. Ransom, http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2009/5038/

Pilot project to treat wild horses in Fish Springs communityhttp://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/april/blm_approves_pilot.html

and http://www.wildhorsepreservation.org/media/pzp-pilot-project-treat-wild-horses-fish-springs-community

BLM Nevada Advisory Council Endorses Fertility Control Plan (Oct. 20, 2014) http://www.returntofreedom.org/blm-nevada-advisory-council-endorses-fertility-control-plan-october20-2014/

BLM partners with The Cloud Foundation in the Pryorshttp://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/mt/main_story.Par.31432.File.dat/TopStoryHorse.pdf

Why end natural selection in the Pryors? http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4941

Are wild horses at risk of being sterilized due to an advocacy campaign? http://protectmustangs.org/?p=6356

Ecologist Craig Downer speaks out against using PZP in the Pryorshttp://protectmustangs.org/?p=4178

Horse contraceptive study raises concerns  Horsetalk, NZ: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/2010/10/220.shtml#ixzz3Hti8ioCv

Appeal to stop the wild horse wipe outhttp://protectmustangs.org/?p=6527

The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America by Craig Downer PhD candidate: http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo.aspx?journalid=118&doi=10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12

Wild Horse Conspiracy by Craig Downer:  www.amazon.com/dp/1461068983

Conformation defectshttp://www.thehorse.com/articles/10115/conformation-in-horses

Genetic viabilityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_viability

Genetic variabilityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_variability

J. Kirkpatrick team get $100K for wild horse fertility control drug PZPhttp://tuesdayshorse.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/jay-kirkpatrick-team-get-100k-for-wild-horse-fertility-control-drug-pzp/

Making PZP at The Science and Conservation Centerhttp://www.sccpzp.org

Native wild horseshttp://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=562

Petition for shelter and shade for captive wild horses and burroshttp://www.change.org/p/bring-emergency-shelter-and-shade-to-captive-wild-horses-and-burros

Petition for 10 year moratorium on wild horse roundups for recovery and studieshttps://www.change.org/p/sally-jewell-urgent-grant-a-10-year-moratorium-on-wild-horse-roundups-for-recovery-and-studies

Petition to defund and stop the wild horse roundupshttp://www.change.org/p/defund-and-stop-the-wild-horse-burro-roundups

Join the Walking Billboard Campaign to STOP THE ROUNDUPS in Nevadahttps://www.booster.com/protect-mustangs-nevada

Sample of viral news clippings: https://newsle.com/AnneNovak

Anne Novak on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheAnneNovak

Protect Mustangs on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ProtectMustangs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectMustangs

www.ProtectMustangs.org

Controversy over PZP

nt B:W

 

Know this

Ken Salazar’s Wild Horse Plan Fuels Accusations That He’s In The Pocket Of Ranchers, Associated Press, 2010: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/17/ken-salazars-wild-horse-p_n_324799.html

Wildlife ecologist Craig Downer of Nevada accused Salazar, a former rancher, of acting on behalf of those who view mustangs as taking scarce forage away from their cattle herds. Downer contends cattle are more destructive to the range because they concentrate in high numbers around water sources instead of grazing over a wider area as wild horses do.

“Both the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have the right to remove livestock to ensure viable, healthy populations of wild horses. But they refuse to exercise that,” Downer said. “Their master is primarily these traditional ranching interests.”

Opposition grows to Salazar’s plan to move wild horses to Midwest preserves, Associated Press 2009http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/12/opposition_grows_to_salazars_p.html

Horse defenders have stepped up their efforts in recent weeks, suing to block a proposed roundup of 2,700 horses in northern Nevada and lining up the support of celebrities such as Sheryl Crow, Lily Tomlin, Bill Maher and Ed Harris.

Crow took her concerns directly to Salazar in a telephone call this past week.

One of the first things he said was something must be done because the horses are starving. We (advocates) don’t believe it,” Crow said in an interview with The Associated Press.”

7 Preserves Envisioned to Manage Wild Horses, New York Times, 2009http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/us/08horses.html?_r=0

“HELENA, Mont. — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday that he was proposing to create seven new wild-horse preserves, including one in the East and one in the Midwest, to address the problem of a growing population crowding the Western range.

The program, which also applies to wild burros, would expand the use of contraceptives and would geld more herds on public lands in the West, Mr. Salazar said.”

. . . ”

Yet the proposal quickly drew criticism from wild-horse advocates. Ginger Kathrens of Colorado Springs, a maker of documentary films who has chronicled the lives of a wild-horse herd in Montana, said that blocking reproduction could alter the animals’ behavior.

“It takes the wild out of wild-horse herds,” she said. “They’re families in sophisticated societies. Creating gelding herds and preventing them from reproducing is managing them toward extinction.”

But ranchers, who see wild horses as competing with cattle for grasses and water, welcomed the proposal. Jeff Eisenberg, executive director for the Public Lands Council, a group that works on public lands issues for ranchers, said Mr. Salazar’s proposal was a big step toward a solution.”

Sheryl Crow Slams Salazar’s Wild Horse Plan, Huffington Post 2010http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/22/sheryl-crow-slams-salazar_n_366809.html

With one voice we are insisting that our government stop managing these beautiful and important animals to extinction,” Crow said in a statement released by the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based horse advocacy group”. . .

It’s time for all of us to speak up for our wild horses and burros so we do not lose these living legends and inspiring symbols of our freedom in America,” she said.

Madeleine Pickens praises Salazar wild horse plan, Horsetalk, 2009http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/2009/10/077.shtml#axzz3HKN0uSuY

“Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced wide-ranging proposals this week in which horses taken from the Western rangelands would be relocated to new preservation areas further east, utilising better quality grassland.

His plan includes the aggressive use of reproduction controls to manage numbers. Salazar hoped the new herd areas would provide tourism opportunities for nearby communities” . . .

Pickens said she would support Secretary Salazar’s efforts, and would gladly compete to offer the wild horse sanctuary that she has planned to the bureau as one of the facilities proposed by Secretary Salazar.”

 

MANAGEMENT OF WILD HORSES WITH PORCINEZONA PELLUCIDA: HISTORY, CONSEQUENCES, AND FUTURE STRATEGIES, Cassandra M.V. Nuñez, Princeton: http://bit.ly/1rJywKl

“However, recent research in other populations has revealed behavioral and physiological side effects of long-term PZP use.”

 

Injection-Site Reactions in Wild Horses (Equus caballus) Receiving an Immunocontraceptive Vaccine, By James E. Roelle and Jason I. Ransom, http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2009/5038/

“Abnormal dart trauma included cases where the dart hit bone or the needle broke off. We found strong evidence (odds ratio = 5.023, P = 0.001) for a higher probability of occurrence of swelling when darts were delivered by blowgun. We found some evidence (odds ratio = 8.729, P = 0.07) that abnormal dart trauma led to a higher frequency of nodule formation. Nodules were the most common reactions observed and often persisted for a year or more, but in our observations they did not appear to change any animal’s range of movement or locomotor patterns and in most cases did not appear to differ in magnitude from naturally occurring injuries or scars. We were unable to perform histological examinations of these nodules, but they may be similar to granulomas reported by other investigators following administration of Freund’s adjuvant.”

Ecologist Craig Downer speaks out against using PZP in the Pryors http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4178

Why end natural selection in the Pryors? Should humans run a wild horse breeding program or does nature know best? http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4941

The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America, Craig Downer  http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo.aspx?journalid=118&doi=10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12 2014