Yellow journalism in Wall Street Journal pushing pesticide as “birth control” on wild horses?

Pm PZP Darts

Made with slaughterhouse pig ovaries PZP is dangerous to herd health

To:  Jacob Bunge, Wall Street Journal

Dear Mr. Bunge:  Regarding your article — They Shoot Horses (With Birth-Control Darts), Don’t They? — here are facts to correct the lies and disinformation you have been told.

Sting of the dart:  If it were only a sting!  Fact: Many wild horses develop an abscess at the dart-injection site.

Bogus ballooning population:  Wild horses are a slow-growth species when it comes to reproduction.  The gestation period lasts 11 months, and a mare produces just 1 foal.  While an independent study of BLM’s records confirmed an almost 20% birth rate, that study also found that 50% of foals perish before their first birthday.  Thus, the effective increase in population from new foals is just 10%.  But adult mustangs also die.  They succumb to illness, injury, and predation at a rate of at least 5% a year.  So, what is a normal herd-growth rate?  About 5%, probably less.

Fraudulent figures:  The Big Lie of “overpopulation” is the pretext for BLM’s war against the wild horses, and the wild horses are prisoners of that war.  It’s BLM’s version of the “Shock Doctrine,” wherein BLM concocted a phony crisis to push through policies antithetical to the Wild Horse Act against the will of The People.  There is no overpopulation except on BLM’s falsified spreadsheets.  Reviews of BLM’s population-estimates reveal biologically-impossible herd-growth rates.  For instance, in Utah, BLM claimed that the Conger herd grew from 156 horses to 285 horses in one year, an 82.7% increase, to which BLM tacked on another 20% by counting the unborn foals — the fetuses.  In Wyoming, BLM declared that the Salt Wells Creek herd grew from 29 horses to 616 horses in 6 months (yes, months), a 2,024% increase.  BLM’s “data” is chock-full of such preposterous growth-estimates.  So, when you hear talk of how the wild horses are reproducing “exponentially,” that’s a sure sign that BLM has falsified the data.

Wild horses are underpopulated:  Per the guidelines of BLM’s own geneticist, 83% of the herds suffer from arbitrary management levels (AMLs) set below minimum-viable population (MVP).  Low AMLs enable BLM to claim an “excess” in herds whose numbers, even if they were over AML, would still not reach MVP.  So being “over AML” is meaningless as well as misleading.  But the low AMLs, combined with falsified, biologically-impossible herd-growth estimates, give BLM an excuse to scapegoat those few wild horses for the range-damage done by the millions of livestock that overgraze the public lands.

Whose grass?  In fact, it is the livestock who are eating the wild horses’ grass.  Some background — the dedicated wild-horse habitats cover only 11% of BLM land.  Cattle are allowed to graze about 5 times that much, including within all but 4 of the wild-horse herd areas.  Yet in those official wild-horse habitats where livestock are given allotments, the mustangs are restricted to 18% of the forage while the cattle get 82%.

Bogus billion:  The wild horses being held in captivity are the “legacy” of former Secretary Salazar’s equid cleansing era, during which he had thousands of wild horses removed from the range.  However, the mortality rate of captive wild horses is about 8% a year.  So, obviously, since they are not reproducing, their numbers will steadily drop, showing that BLM’s billion-dollar figure for their care is just another Lie.  The Wild Horse and Burro program, if run per the minimum-feasible management-model specified by Law, would not cost much at all.  BLM does not lack for resources.  There are 22 million acres of legally-designated wild-horse herd areas — which BLM previously took away for expediency — that can be reopened as habitat.  The horses now held captive can be released to those areas, where the cost of their upkeep will be $0.

Adoptions:  Have not declined.  It’s just that BLM used to count sales-for-slaughter as “adoptions.”  Now, only “forever-family” placements qualify.  However, wild horses are not homeless horses.  They have a home — where they belong — on the range.

Persecuted predators:  Contrary to BLM’s disinformation campaign, wild horses do have natural predators — mountain lions, bears, wolves, and coyotes.  But those predators are persecuted mercilessly.  The government exterminates what the hunters don’t shoot.  However, the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros — Wild Horse Annie’s foundation — notes that even without predators, wild-horse herds self-regulate their numbers, with population-growth in the single digits.

Science and Conservation Center:  Is the manufacturer and distributor of PZP / ZonaStat-H.  Thus, its information is not impartial.  PZP is a registered pesticide that was approved by the EPA for use on wild horses and burros “where they have become a nuisance.”   However, PZP was registered without the standard testing requirements.  There is currently a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the registration, especially in light of studies that have disclosed PZP’s many adverse side-effects.

Shooting wild horses:  PZP is a potent weapon in BLM’s arsenal — for its biological warfare against the wild horses.  But birth control for wild horses is unnecessary because there is no overpopulation.  Why would we contracept herds whose population is inadequate for genetic viability?  Why would we contracept herds based on falsified figures?  Logically we wouldn’t and ethically we shouldn’t.  Further, if PZP were going to stop the roundups, it would have done so long ago for the Pryor Mountain herd, which has been darted with PZP for nearly two decades.  Yet roundups have been scheduled there like clockwork every 3 years and, in spite of intensifying the PZP treatments recently, BLM tried to implement yearly roundups until stopped by a Friends of Animals lawsuit.

PZP — the anti-vaccine:  PZP causes auto-immune disease.  PZP “works” by tricking the immune system into producing antibodies that target and attack the ovaries.  The antibodies cause ovarian dystrophy, oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries), ovarian cysts, destruction of oocytes in growing follicles, and depletion of resting follicles.  The mare’s estrogen-levels drop markedly as PZP destroys her ovaries.  Ultimately, PZP sterilizes her.  Because PZP stimulates the immune system, it ironically works “best” — sterilizes faster — in mares that have strong immune-function.  Such mares respond to the anti-vaccine and produce quantities of PZP antibodies that destroy their ovaries.  But, conversely, PZP may not work at all in mares whose immune-function is weak or depressed.  Those mares fail to respond to PZP.  They keep getting pregnant and producing foals who, like their dams, suffer from weak immune-function.  So, the PZP pesticide works against the very horses that Nature has best equipped for survival-against-disease while favoring and selecting for the immuno-compromised.  Worse yet, radioimmunoassay tests indicated that PZP antibodies are transferred from mother to female offspring via the placenta and milk.

Health-risks to volunteers:  As for the well-meaning volunteers who dart wild horses, EPA’s Pesticide Fact Sheet for PZP advises that Personal Protective Equipment requirements include long sleeved shirt and long pants, gloves and shoes plus socks to mitigate occupational exposure.  EPA specifically warns that pregnant women must not be involved in handling or injecting ZonaStat-H, and that all women should be aware that accidental self-injection may cause infertility.  Unfortunately, PZP’s manufacturer has misrepresented PZP as “so safe it is boring.”   But research shows that PZP is a powerful hormone disruptor.  Further, consider the magnitude of the risk — the PZP-in-question is a horse-size dose.  If volunteers think PZP is safe, they will be less likely to protect themselves from this dangerous pesticide.  Indeed, please note that in the photo accompanying your article, Ms. Bolbol is not in compliance with EPA’s safety-precautions.  She is not wearing the required protective gear.

Mengelian experiments:  Now, BLM wants to perform diabolical sterilization experiments on these equine POWs to develop a Final Solution to the “problem”.  BLM is handing out $11 million for sterilization-studies.  The grant money is surely intended to buy loyalty and silence potential criticism from academia.  Plus, BLM, a corrupt agency, gets to cloak itself in respectability by affiliating with prestigious universities.

The ugly side of PZP is humane-washed by feel-good features that describe it with humor, sweetness and light.  However, the true story of PZP is one of scandal, whose deceit and danger — to both horses and humans — must be exposed.  That is the story that needs to be reported.

Sincerely,

Marybeth Devlin

 Marybeth Devlin is a member of the Protect Mustangs Advisory Board and a member of the Alliance for Wild Horses and Burros
This mare waits in the alley before being led into the chute where her age and body condition will be checked. After being treated with the PZP fertility control agent, this mare will be released back to the Owyhee HMA.

This mare waits in the alley before being led into the chute where her age and body condition will be checked. After being treated with the PZP fertility control agent, this mare will be released back to the Owyhee HMA.

Protect Mustangs is a 501c3 nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.




Outrage over groups asking BLM for alleged “humane fertility control” on underpopulated wild horses and burros

PM Hazard Foter Public domain Marked Sterilize
Below is a press release from the American Wild Horse PZP Campaign (AWHPC) claiming 10 million people want “humane fertility control”.
 
Questions:
 
1.) Why aren’t these alleged 10 million people disputing the BLM’s overpopulation myth?
 
2.) Why aren’t these alleged 10 million people standing up and fighting to give American wild horses & burros back the land that was already taken away from them? Yes land that was designated for them in 1971.
 
3.) How will BLM respond to their call for “humane fertility control“?
 
4.) Will BLM continue their proposed experiments in search of “humane fertility control”?
 
5.) Why push Pesticide PZP when it wrongfully designates Americas’s native wild horses and burros as “PESTS“?
 
6.) How will these 36+ groups deal with the effect of calling native wild horses and burros “PESTS” when the feds want to wipe out “invasive species“?
 
7.) Have the alleged 10 million people read the 2012 EPA Pesticide PZP application with all those sketchy exemptions: https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf
 
8.) How do these groups and their members justify forcing America’s last wild mares to live without their freedom to live as nature intended? Isn’t this against the 1971 Law?
 
9.) Do these groups and their so called “members” understand that it’s cruel and unnatural for wild mares to be humped by studs every month they are in heat? Mares are sterile while on Pesticide PZP yet they still come into heat so the stallions try to breed them over and over.
 
10.) Do the groups and their members understand that “humane fertility control” has been experimented on federally protected wild horses now for decades? (PZP, GonaCon, SpayVac, Sterilization Surgeries, etc.)
 
11.) Why are they ignoring all the dangers related to Pesticide PZP that they call a vaccine for population control?
 
12.) Why are they telling their “members” that the Pesticide PZP (native, 22 or whatever) is without harm? Some are even telling people the Restricted Use Pesticide is “safe to drink”.
13.) Why are they ignoring the dangers listed in the Fact Sheet: The Truth about PZP (http://protectmustangs.org/?p=8749 )
 
14.) Have these 36 + groups revealed to the public and their “members” the real amount of miscarriages/spontaneous abortions and dead foals that are occurring in wild mares that have been forcibly drugged with Pesticide PZP?
 
15.) Which of these groups have received money from donations or grants from the pharmaceutical industry, the BLM, the registrant of PZP, etc?
 
16.) Why isn’t there any evidence of alleged overpopulation? After all the National Academy of Sciences stated in 2013 that there was “no evidence” of overpopulation, period.
 
17.) Have these groups pushing the BLM for “humane fertility control” now–without any proof of overpopulation–read the Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971?
 
18.) Why aren’t these groups and their 10 Million members standing up to protect America’s wild horses and burros from being the scapegoat for range damage, wrongfully rounded up and removed from their legal place on public land? What ever happened to fighting for their freedom?
 
Bigger doesn’t mean better. The Coalition for Wild Horses and Burros will respond to this outrageous push for  alleged “humane fertility control” and Pesticide PZP on America’s underpopulated herds of wild horses and burros.
 
 
PM PZP Auto-immune disease
 
Press Release from AWHPC:
36+ wild horse advocacy groups press BLM for increased use of humane fertility control as alternative to costly roundups
 
PZP vaccine is best way to stave off BLM’s pending “billion-dollar” fiscal crisis
 
Washington DC (June 1, 2016) …Today, more than three dozen wild horse advocacy, rescue and humane organizations, representing more than 10 million citizens, stand united in calling on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to make greater use of the humane fertility control vaccine PZP as a way to stave off its “billion-dollar” fiscal crisis caused by wild horse roundups in the American West.
 
The organizations contend that the PZP vaccine is a cost-effective alternative to costly roundups and removals of wild horses from the range.
 
The call for greater use of PZP comes on the heels of a recent admission by BLM Director Neil Kornze that the current system of roundups is failing. In fact, according to Kornze, the BLM’s policy of rounding up and removing, and stockpiling wild horses in holding facilities is leading up to a $1 billion crisis – the amount U.S. taxpayers will ultimately pay to warehouse thousands of wild horses for decades after the BLM has removed them from the range.
 
Already, 70 percent of the BLM’s $80 million Wild Horse and Burro Program budget is spent on roundups and removals, while less than 1 percent of that amount is spent on long available, humane and effective fertility control.
Pm PZP Darts
 
Groups supportive of the use of the PZP vaccine for humane wild horse management include the:
 
Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates
 
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
 
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
 
Animal Legal Defense Fund
 
Animals Voice
 
Animal Welfare Institute
 
Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
 
Center for Animal Protection and Education
 
Citizens Against Equine Slaughter
 
The Cloud Foundation
 
Corolla Wild Horse Fund
 
Friends of a Legacy
 
Front Range Equine Rescue
 
Habitat for Horses
 
Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund
 
Horses for Life Foundation
 
Humane Society of the United States
 
Jicarilla Mustang Heritage Alliance
 
Least Resistance Training Concepts
 
Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue
 
Montgomery Creek Ranch
 
National Mustang Association, Colorado Chapter
 
Oregon Wild Horse & Burro Association
 
Photographers for the Preservation of Wild Horses and Burros
 
Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates
 
Respect 4 Horses
 
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary and Preservation
 
Salt River Wild Horse Management Group
 
Serengeti Foundation
 
Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary
 
Steadfast Steeds
 
Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association
 
Wild Equid League (Colorado)
 
Wild Horses of America Foundation
 
Wild Horse Connection
 
Wild Horse Education
 
Wild Horse Observers Association
 
Wild Horse Preservation League
 
In the last seven years alone, BLM has removed more than 40,000 wild horses from public lands. The agency now stockpiles as many wild horses in captivity as remain free on the range.
 
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommended the use of PZP in its 2013 study “Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program,” stating it is “a more affordable option than continuing to remove horses to long-term holding facilities.”
 
The NAS study also noted that roundups and removals of wild horses are actually responsible for “facilitating high rates of population growth on the range.”
 
The NAS added that “removals are likely to keep the population at a size that maximizes population growth rates, which in turn maximizes the number of animals that must be removed through holding facilities.”
 
PZP is an immunocontraceptive vaccine. It works with a mare’s immune system to produce antibodies that block sperm receptor sites on the zona pellucida, a thin membrane surrounding the ovum.
 
Because it is non-hormonal, PZP does not:
 
· Affect the endocrine system or natural behavior of horses.
 
· Create negative health side effects.
 
· Enter the food chain or harm other wildlife.
 
The vaccine is reversible and is administered with a simple dart.
 
PZP has been used for more than 25 years in the wild horses on the Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland. In that time, the herd has been brought to more sustainable numbers and the overall health of horses as a result has improved substantially. In 1990, few horses on Assateague lived past 15 years.Now, many are living 30 years or more. And, because PZP is not permanent, the National Park Service managers can closely control the herd’s population, allowing for increased births as appropriate.
 
Management programs with PZP also have helped curtail and even end roundups in wild horse management areas in the West, such as the Pryor Mountains on the Montana/Wyoming border, McCullough Peaks in Wyoming and Spring Creek Basin and Little Book Cliffs in Colorado.
 
In Colorado’s Spring Creek Basin, no mustangs have been removed since 2011, thanks to a BLM-facilitated public/private partnership for humane management of this herd utilizing the PZP vaccine.
 
In addition, the BLM has committed to bait trapping if, in the future, the removal of some mustangs is necessary to maintain range health. Bait trapping is a far less traumatic capture method than helicopter roundups.
 
A PZP project on the McCullough Peaks range in Wyoming, meanwhile, helped the wild horse population there achieve zero population growth within three years.
 
Increased use of PZP and a reduction in roundups and removals would also be a boon to U.S. taxpayers, helping to curtail the $1 billion crisis created by the BLM.
 
The public now spends about $49,000 for each mustang that is removed from the range and not adopted. PZP, meanwhile, costs about $27 per darted horse per year.
 
One economic model published in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine (Deseve, Boyles Griffin, 2011) demonstrated that BLM could save $8 million over 12 years by using PZP in one herd management area alone. Multiply that by 179 HMAs and the cost-savings reach the hundreds of millions.
 
Resources:
 
· Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program
 
· Q&A on PZP Fertility Control
 
· The Science and Conservation Center
 
· Myths and Facts: Native Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP)
 
· Information: Animal Fertility Control Vaccine
PZP = Slow Extinction
 

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




Stop experiments, sterilization and risky birth control on America’s wild horses in Wyoming

 

Take Back the Power (© Protect Mustangs with Photo © Cynthia Smalley)

Take Back the Power (© Protect Mustangs with Photo © Cynthia Smalley)

URGENT: Comments against experimentation, sterilization and birth control on a nonviable herd are due by 5 pm January 14

SUBJECT: “White Mountain & Little Colorado EA Comments”

EMAIL TO: blm_wy_whitemtn_littleco_hma@blm.gov
FAX: (307) 352-0329.

BLM Rock Springs Field Office
WMLC Scoping Comment
280 Highway 191 North
Rock Springs, WY 82901

In your own words tell the BLM the following:

1.)  I object to using my tax dollars to experiment on, forcibly drug with PZP and / or sterilize America’s wild horses.

2.)  I do not want federally protected wild horses to be used for a research experiment using radio collars, devices in tails and spaying America’s federally protected wild mares. Sterilization is a form of harassing wild horses and against the law.

3.)  The wild horses found in the White Mountain and Little Colorado HMA’s are not excess according to the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. There is only 1 wild horse per 6,000 acres in White Mountain. The BLM fraudulently inflates population growth (http://protectmustangs.org/?p=8551) and never performs a real headcount.

4.)  I support natural selection and I am against fertility control of any kind because wild horses deserve to live on public land set aside principally but not exclusively for their use. Allowing more than 50 to 1 units of livestock to wild horses is unfair and goes against the 1971 wild horse protection act.

5.)  Fertility control, such as with PZP and spaying, will destroy the herd’s genetic viability, wreck havoc on their behavior and social structure so therefore I am against it.

6.)  I want to be able to come to Wyoming to see and photograph the White Mountain and Little Colorado wild horse bands with foals exhibiting natural behaviors–without radio collars and other devices–and definitely not sterilized.

7.) PZP sterilizes after multiple use and I do not want these wild horses sterilized.

Signed,

 

_________________________________________________

 

Date _________________________





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

2010 Owyhee roundup ~ Cloud Foundation denied access to observe

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Photo © Anne Evans for The Cloud Foundation

 

The Cloud Foundation
Media Contacts:

Anne Novak
Anne@TheCloudFoundation.org
Tel: 415-531-8454

Makendra Silverman
Makendra@TheCloudFoundation.org
Tel: 719-351-8187

For Immediate Release:

BLM Above the Law?

Salazar’s Agency Ignores Federal Court Order Honoring First Amendment, Denies Observers Access to Wild Horse Roundup

Reno, NV (July 19, 2010)—Laura Leigh, Herd Watch Project Coordinator for The Cloud Foundation, has been denied access to observe the Owyhee roundup, the first leg of the Tuscarora roundup near Elko, Nevada. On July 16th, Federal Judge Larry Hicks’ ruled Leigh’s First Amendment rights be upheld and therefore allow her and others to view the roundup. Leigh contends that the BLM has gone against the Judge’s orders for three days. Today Leigh filed a motion to uphold the court order for her First Amendment rights.

BLM officials refused to tell her where the trap site was located. They had strategically placed it on private land within the public herd management area (HMA) even though the range contains more than 450,000 acres of public land. The private landowner would not grant Leigh and others access. BLM used this method before to hide the Calico roundup from the public and journalists except for rare staged “media days”.

The helicopter stampede resumed as soon as the Judge lifted the injunction last Friday. Since then BLM has captured 620 mustangs and their young foals in the sweltering heat. More than 17 wild horses have been killed during the roundup. At least 2 foals were shot (euthanized) because of leg deformities resulting in lameness after being run over many miles of volcanic rock. Advocates question the accuracy of the diagnosis—pointing to evidence that lameness previously was caused by running the hoofs off the baby horses during last winter’s Calico roundup in Nevada also run by Cattoor Livestock, the private contractor who will be paid close to one million dollars for this roundup.

The BLM has created an alleged wild horses dehydration emergency by fencing mustangs off from water and running them scared by helicopter into traps. Advocates feel it is inhumane that the BLM is not treating the wild horses in the wild for dehydration but instead the BLM continues to chase them, round them up and ship the wild horses crammed in huge trucks for more than 5 hours to a temporary holding facility—all in the desert heat.

“These are wild animals. If this alleged emergency was happening to deer or big horn sheep the BLM would not be terrifying them by helicopter chase and then trucking them for half a day in the sweltering heat to be cared for at a distant location. Traditionally you care for distressed wild animals in the wild,” states Makendra Silverman, Associate Director of The Cloud Foundation. “And isn’t it curious that other wildlife or cattle isn’t suffering extreme dehydration out on the same range?”

Leigh had filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop this roundup and defend the public’s first amendment rights to observe the operation. BLM testified in federal court that no cattle remained on the range and that the horses had no water—even though a river is only 10 miles away, a short distance to travel for wild horses who under normal circumstances may travel twice that distance in daily treks to get a drink.

4,000 privately-owned cattle are permitted to graze (and drink) on the Tuscarora Complex where BLM permits only 400 mustangs.  Made up by three separate HMAs: Owyhee, Little Humboldt and Rock Creek, the area is to be managed by BLM principally (though not exclusively) for the federally protected wild horses.

The foundation wants to know what is stopping the horses from accessing the Owyhee River and other perennial water sources? Are gates locked and vast areas fenced for livestock in the HMA?

“BLM’s emergency roundups are classified as such before the action begins. The three Tuscarora roundups were never described as emergencies. Suddenly, with the BLM challenged in court and 12 dead horses from the first day’s roundup their operation has suddenly morphed into an ‘emergency rescue’ roundup,” states Cloud Foundation Director, Ginger Kathrens, who has 16 years experience documenting wild horses in the West. “There is really no way to accurately assess the real, on-the-ground situation because the public is still being denied access. Is BLM resorting to any means just to carry out an agenda to rid the western ranges of wild horses?”

The three Tuscarora roundups (Owyhee, Little Humbolt and Rock Creek) were scheduled months ago as a standard BLM operation. The wild horses were found to be healthy. The primary reason for the roundups was because the wild horses were allegedly damaging livestock fencing. The public, mustang advocates, animal welfare groups and equine experts warned against summer helicopter roundups in the desert heat. The BLM ignored the comments.

The Cloud Foundation calls for immediate access to be given to all members of the interested public and for the addition of at least two knowledgeable wild horse advocates to BLM’s assembled team of insiders to determine what went wrong in the Owyhee disaster.

“Right now BLM plans to zero out the entire West Douglas herd in Colorado against a Federal Judge’s specific ruling to leave the herd intact. For the past three days, BLM ignored Judge Hicks’ ruling for the First Amendment,” states Kathrens. “Who will stop Salazar’s rogue bureau before they ruin the West?”

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Links of interest:
Washington Post reports on NV Roundup Resuming http://bit.ly/cRwhSc
NBC Reno reports BLM Still Restricting Public Access to Roundup http://bit.ly/bE2wiJ
Leigh vs Salazar Documents filed 7/19 that relate to Leigh’s attempt to observe the Owyhee roundup and uphold her First Amendment rights:
Motion for Contempt http://bit.ly/bSAZax
Declaration for Motion http://bit.ly/9AY4x5
Exhibit A DOI Letter http://bit.ly/aL8w95

‘Herd-Watch: Public Eyes for Public Horses’ http://bit.ly/9Wvh58
Court Order Granting Injunction http://bit.ly/doc10LeighvSalazar
Grass Roots Horse http://www.grassrootshorse.com/
BLM daily reports on Tuscarora roundup http://bit.ly/TuscaroraReports
Roundup Schedule- updated July 12, 2010  http://bit.ly/roundupschedule
The Mustang Conspiracy: Sex, Drugs, Corruption, and BP – investigative report http://www.abovetopsecret.com/mustangconspiracy/
Wild Horse and Burro Act http://bit.ly/a7hOeS
Tuscarora/Owyhee Complex Roundup Information from BLM http://bit.ly/Tuscarora

Disappointment Valley… A Modern Day Western Trailer- excellent sample of interviews regarding the issues http://bit.ly/awFbwm
PR Firm Hired for the Destruction of America’s Wild Horse and Burro Herds http://bit.ly/czf3HB
Fact Sheet on Wild Herds & The Salazar Plan http://bit.ly/bfdX1y

Massive roundup at Owyhee

Federal Court Forces Interior Department to Consider Scientific Evidence Regarding Wild Horse Management

cross-posted from The Cloud Foundation

Judge Rejects Gov’t Attempt to Ignore Expert Declarations on Negative Impacts of Plan to Castrate Wild Nevada Stallions 

Washington, DC – May 10, 2012 – The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has rejected an attempt by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to withhold and ignore critical scientific evidence in its decision-making process for the implementation of a precedent-setting plan to castrate wild stallions. At issue were expert declarations submitted to the BLM from leading experts in wild horse behavior and biology outlining the devastating impacts of castration on the health and natural behaviors of wild free-roaming stallions and wild horse herds.

The ruling is part of litigation filed in December 2011 by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC),Western Watersheds Project and The Cloud Foundation challenging the BLM’s  illegal plan to castrate hundreds of wild stallions in eastern Nevada’s Pancake Complex, as well as to eliminate wild horses from the Jake’s Wash Herd Management Area, which lies within the Complex. The ruling on this case will have widespread implication for thousands of the remaining wild horses living free and wild on public lands.

The Honorable U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell stated in her 23-page opinion that the agency “may not simply remainstudiously ignorant of material scientific evidence well known to the agency and brought directly to its attention in timely-filed comments.” She decisively rejected the BLM’s attempt to exclude the expert declarations from the agency’s decision-making process and affirmed that the Court would consider the “material scientific evidence” contained in the declarations as in future rulings in the case.

“The BLM went to great lengths to avoid considering scientific information provided by leading wild horse experts,” said Suzanne Roy, director of AWHPC. “The agency is not interested in science, it’s only interest is clearing our public lands of wild horses to make room for livestock grazing and other commercial interests.”

“This is yet another example of the agency’s epidemic refusal to incorporate science in its management of wild horse and burros herds,” said Ginger Kathrens, executive director of The Cloud Foundation. “We commend Judge Howell for seeing through the BLM’s thinly veiled excuses and standing up for science and the right of the public to have input into government management decisions.”

The scientific evidence submitted by Plaintiffs that the BLM attempted to ignore included a declaration from Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, the Director of Science and Conservation Biology at Zoo Montana and a foremost authority on wildlife reproductive biology. He stated:

“The very essence of the wild horse, that is, what makes it a wild horse, is the social organization and social behaviors. Geldings (castrated male horses) no longer exhibit the natural behaviors of non-castrated stallions. We know this to be true from hundreds of years experience with gelded domestic horses. Furthermore, gelded stallions will not keep their bands together, which is an integral part of a viable herd. These social dynamics were molded by millions of years of evolution, and will be destroyed if the BLM returns castrated horses to the HMAs. . . . Castrating horses will effectively remove the biological and physiological controls that prompt these stallions to behave like wild horses. This will negatively impact the place of the horse in the social order of the band and the herd.

The other declarations, submitted by Dr. Allen Rutberg of the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Anne Perkins of Carroll College in Montana;  and Dr. Bruce Nock, a faculty member at Washington University School of Medicine provided further scientific information about the impacts of castration on wild stallions and wild horse herds.

Other plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit challenging aspects of the Pancake roundup include wildlife ecologist Craig Downer and photographer Arla Ruggles, who enjoy wild horse viewing in the HMAs and whose professional and aesthetic interests will be harmed if the BLM moves forward with its plan. The plaintiffs are being represented by the Washington D.C. public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal. A previous lawsuit filed in July 2011 by the firm prompted the BLM to withdraw a similar plan to release hundreds of castrated wild stallions in two HMAs in Wyoming.

The complaint alleges that the BLM’s plan for the Pancake Complex violates the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act. The complaint can be read here.

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About the Plaintiffs

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 45 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.

Western Watersheds Project is a non-profit conservation group dedicated to protecting and restoring western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives and litigation. The group works to influence and improve public lands management in 8 western states with a primary focus on the negative impacts of livestock grazing on 250,000,000 acres of western public lands.

The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.

Media Contacts:

Lauryn Wachs

617-894-6939

lauryn@thecloudfoundation.org

Deniz Bolbol

650-248-4489

deniz@wildhorsepreservation.org

Lisa Friday followup report exposes more mustang neglect

Inhumane wild horse management plagues BLM Utah facilities

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) received a report from wild horse advocate, Lisa Friday, regarding the conditions of two Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse holding facilities in Utah. Friday was following up on the wild horses she found living in squalor at the Herriman holding facility outside Salt Lake, who were relocated to other facilities in the state. Despite finding the horses living in clean pens with plenty of hay, Friday’s report contains stills and video which reveal more inhumane treatment of wild horses.

Photo © Lisa Friday and The Cloud Foundation

“I saw captive wild horses in Utah with severely long, curled hooves,” explains Friday. “Dozens of mustangs were very lame with shocking sled-runner feet. When I asked why their feet were not trimmed I was told they did not have the funding to hire a professional farrier and were just beginning to ‘train’ a fellow to trim hooves. I would like to see the two facilities (Delta & Gunnison) allocate funding to have the mustangs’ feet cared for by a professional. The facilities have a paid public relations specialist on staff but no professional farrier to care for the horses. Their priorities are mixed up.”

In March of this year, Friday revealed wild horses living in knee-deep mud, manure and urine with no dry place to lie down at the Herriman facility. As a result of her video, released by TCF, and subsequent BLM reviews, the facility is closed for the winter with plans to close  permanently within the next two years.

Friday was not permitted to take pictures or video when she visited the Gunnison Correctional Facility on October 27th, however she reports seeing the same long, uncared for hooves and lameness. She even saw an inmate riding a lame mustang with severely long toes.

“This is definitely gross neglect,” states Dr. Lisa Jacobson, an equine veterinarian in Clyde Park, Montana who examined Friday’s photographs. “There is no excuse for allowing hooves to be in this crippling state.”

Friday took pictures of 20 or more captive wild horses in the Delta Facility with severely curled hooves and reported that the Gunnison facility had the same problems. Horses in the care of private citizens are often trimmed every 6-8 weeks. Hoof health is essential for horse health.

“I have never seen wild horses in the BLM Canon City, Colorado holding and training facility with hoof problems like those in Lisa’s pictures,” explains Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation, who has been visiting the Colorado facility for the past 13 years. “BLM schedules all horses for regular hoof care every two months or so in Canon City. If Utah cannot do the same, they should not have horses warehoused there.”

Friday also discovered a bay mare (Neck tag #7081) in the Delta facility with a very severe-looking eye condition. The veterinarian for the facility did not know what had caused the problem. Eye problems in horses can cause blindness. Two weeks later, the condition has yet to be diagnosed or treated.

“I visited a holding facility and adoption center this year in Mississippi,” says Friday.  “All the horses seemed very well taken care of—quite a contrast with the Utah facilities.”

Friday attended the Winter Ridge roundup near Vernal, Utah two months ago. She wanted to check in on those horses now in holding who were shipped to the Delta facility. She was shocked to see a lot of the wild horses were not freeze branded and did not have ID tags.

“Why weren’t the Winter Ridge horses branded and wearing their ID tags? asks Lisa Friday. “Without indentification, captured wild horses are at risk of slipping into the slaughter pipeline. What’s going on here?”

In August, a trailer was busted at a port of entry outside of Helper, Utah under suspicious circumstances and 64 BLM mustangs bound for slaughter in Mexico were impounded.

Links of Interest:
Lisa Friday’s Fall Report: http://bit.ly/spHCeh
Video followup report from Utah (Fall 2011): http://bit.ly/vXRxzv
Video report from Herriman Facility (April 2011): http://bit.ly/tevV3H
Slaughter Bust–Mustang Killer Buyer Indictment: http://bit.ly/px8pvg