Letter to BLM: Rogue roundups must stop

BLM Aug 2013 Spin-shop

To:

Neil Kornze, BLM Director
Joan Guilfoyle, Division Chief BLM Division of Wild Horses and Burros jguilfoy@blm.gov
Juan Palma, Utah State Director, BLM   jpalma@blm.gov
Jenna Whitlock, Utah Associate State Director, BLM   jwhitloc@blm.gov
Todd Christensen, Color Country Utah District Manager BLM utccmail@blm.gov
Salvatore R. Lauro Director, Office of Law Enforcement and Security BLM SLauro@blm.gov
BLM Utah State Office utsomail@blm.gov

Re: Rogue Roundups

Dear Sirs & Madams,

We officially request you put an immediate stop to rogue roundups and incidents of wild horses allegedly being trapped, harassed and sent to auction where kill buyers have been known to purchase horses or shot or poisoned on or nearby public land in Utah, Nevada and elsewhere. Not only is it wrong, cruel and against federal protections but it is also a global embarrassment

Chasing wild horses onto private property, luring them onto private property or any other method of getting unbranded wild horses on private land to shoot, kill, trap, load, abduct, take is in violation of the Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 and must be stopped immediately. Wild horse and burro harassment must stop. It appears to be a federal crime to “willfully remove or attempt to remove wild free-roaming horse or burros from public lands, without authority from the Secretary.”

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) appears to be violated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) granting–without public input–the removal of horses from public lands. It appears you are in violation of NEPA. This must cease immediately.

It appears the county commissioners are engaging in retaliatory acts, connected with lobbying groups, against federally protected free-roaming wild horses and burros because the BLM is reducing livestock grazing. This must stop now.

There is no emergency such as fire, disease, catastrophic incident to merit a roundup. It appears you are joining in an act of subterfuge.

As it is foaling season, according to your handbook, you must prohibit vigilante roundups to avoid the loss of lives and to prevent animal cruelty–chasing young foals for miles on their tiny hooves as well as chasing and harassing heavily pregnant mares, other wild horses and burros.

Loss of life from being harassed and chased by men is not a form of natural predation. This appears to be in violation of the 1971 Act.

You appear to be failing your job to protect America’s beloved free-roaming wild horses and burros in the West due to your conflict of interest. The current example in Utah merits Congressional investigation.

We hereby request to be copied on all communications regarding roundups or removals in Utah, all press releases, included in all conference calls and meetings pertaining to the issue, etc. You must become transparent.

Reports are coming in that Utah residents and officials have declared protected wild horses “feral”, are driving them onto private land, baiting them onto private land, trapping them, killing some, giving some away by the truckload to alleged kill buyers, and trucking many to auction where kill buyers allegedly purchase them for slaughter.

What proof do you have that any unbranded wild horses are anything but free-roaming wild horses? Kindly disclose all photos and videos on this matter with in 7 days of this letter.

We hold the BLM accountable and request immediate and full disclosure of all photographs and videos showing dead horses shot from land as well as those shot from the air and all horses who have been injured and were euthanized.

This is not the 90s. This is an era of social media, whistle blowers and widespread truth. Our supporters are watching. The whole world is watching. They want you to do the right thing.

Sincerely,
Anne Novak

Anne Novak
Executive Director
Protect Mustang

Read about native wild horses: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=562
www.ProtectMustangs.org
Protect Mustangs educates, protects and preserves native and wild horses. The nonprofit conservation group strives for a 10 year moratorium on roundups and science-based holistic land management to reduce global warming.

TMM/elected officials & VIP list
PS

Take action for wild horses & burros ~ Ask Congress to defund helicopter roundups

Act today and make your voice heard in Congress

Please CALL the Capitol switchboard today at (202) 224-3121. Ask to be connected to your state Representative’s office. Ask them to NOT fund helicopter roundups.

You can also find the direct contact information for your state representative here>> http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Thank you for taking action to help America’s wild horses and burros.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_dhnqCijOk

 

(Graphic made by Robin Warren, age 11, Protect Mustangs’ new Youth Campaign DIrector)

Speaking out about uncounted deaths from the roundup

Old Gold notice pelvis is probably injured. She can’t get up. Whip coming at her. Eyes freaked. Agony! (Photo © Cat Kindsfather, all rights reserved.)

“Dead horses are a result of this roundup fiasco,” states Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs.  “The BLM should have brought wild horses aid (water and feed) for several months to avoid an emergency ‘gather’ during foaling season. Who’s giving the orders to stampede frail wild horses and tiny foals?”

Here is the BLM’s report about the Jackson Mt. roundup: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_programs/wild_horses_and_burros/Jackson_Mountains_Gather/facreports.html

“Counting the dead from a roundup is basic math,” says Novak. “All the wild horses who died or were killed from lethal injection as a result of the BLM’s Jackson Mountain roundup should be counted as roundup-related deaths. Not counting the dead properly shows the BLM’s lack of transparency.”

“The federal agency wants to make Congress feel the roundups don’t cause many deaths so they skew the numbers to ensure their funding won’t be cut off,” explains Novak. “We request that Congress investigate their erroneous death count.”

We brought up this issue at last winter’s Calico roundup beginning with Old Gold‘s death. Read our position here: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=348

Below is what we said on November 26, 2011.

“So many wild horses die because of roundups yet the BLM does not count the deaths accurately,” explains Anne Novak, Executive Director of the California-based Protect Mustangs. “Congress hears that there is only a 1% death rate at ‘gathers’. We want transparency and accountability for all the deaths at roundups.”

“If a horse is chased by a helicopter for miles and miles, then while in a trap pen terrified with plastic tied on to whips, slammed into a metal panel, next shoved into a trailer and transported to another holding facility and is put down a day or two afterwards—it is related to the roundup,” says Novak.  “If Old Gold had not been rounded up, I bet she would be alive today.”

BLM has done nothing to improve transparency since then. The subterfuge continues . . .

Contact your elected officials and ask them to intervene to make this cruel roundup become transparent with correct death counts.

Thank you for doing what you can do to stop the roundups.

Links of interest:

June 9, 2012  Associated Press Congressman criticizes Nevada wild horse roundup  http://mynorthwest.com/174/690641/Congressman-criticizes-NV-wild-horse-roundup

11/30/11  Horse yard reports on Celebrities speak out against roundups and Old Gold’s death http://bit.ly/uqkVH6

11/29/12  Tuesdays Horse Michael Blake and The Barbi Twins speak out against wild horse roundups  http://bit.ly/sWpySD

11/28/11  Wild mustang killed by BLM . . . because she was old by The Desert Independent http://bit.ly/rCE39o

11/28/11  Questions over fate of “Old Gold” by International Horse News. http://bit.ly/vr1MX9

11/26/11 KPFA  Evening News, KFCF Fresno, KPFK Los Angeles, WBAI New York, KPFT Houston, WPFW Washington, DC interview to Stop Calico Roundup. Hear it  at 26:25 on http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/75490

BREAKING NEWS: Outrage over EPA calling iconic wild horses “pests”

PM Pesticides Sign  Colin Grey : Foter.com : CC BY-SA

For immediate release

Protect Mustangs opposes pesticides for indigenous horses and calls for change

WASHINGTON (May 11, 2012)—Protect Mustangs, a San Francisco Bay Area-based wild horse preservation group, opposes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorizing indigenous wild horses as “pests”. This classification would allow the EPA to approve the restricted-use pesticide, ZonaStat-H, for use on wild horses for birth control. Protect Mustangs maintains there is no scientific proof that wild horses and burros are overpopulated on the more than 26 million acres of public land and states that science proves wild equids heal the land—reversing damage and desertification. Today Protect Mustangs has asked the EPA to retract their wrongful categorization and halt the use of the drug. Besides the environmental hazards of using ZonaStat-H, the group is concerned the potentially dangerous pesticide could permanently sterilize and lead to the wild horse and burro’s eventual demise in the West.

After decades of research, ZonaStat-H, the EPA registered name for PZP-22 (porcine zona pellucida), has not been approved for human use. China has been testing PZP for years but research shows damage to the ovaries so the drug remains in the test phase. Protect Mustangs is concerned the pesticide will permanently sterilize America’s indigenous wild horses after multiple use or overdosing, and that the use of PZP-22, GonaCon, SpayVac and other immunocontraceptives are risky.

“Americans across the country love wild horses,” explains Anne Novak executive director of Protect Mustangs. “We are outraged that the EPA would call our national icons ‘pests’ to push through an experimental contraceptive under a pesticide program!”

Under provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the EPA can consider nonhuman animals to be pests if they harm human or environmental health.

“This is an example of the government ignoring good science that proves wild horses heal the environment and create biodiversity at virtually no cost to the taxpayer, when left out on the range,” says Novak. “Vermin don’t repair the environment and reduce global warming but wild horses can.”

Two Princeton studies prove wild herds repair the land as seen in Wildlife and cows can be partners, not enemies in search for food

The first study, “Facilitation Between Bovids and Equids on an African Savanna,” was published in Evolutionary Ecology Research in August 2011, and supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Keller Family Trust and Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

The second study, “African Wild Ungulates Compete With or Facilitate Cattle Depending on Season,” was published in Science on Sept. 23, 2011, and supported by grants from the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the International Foundation for Science.

The Savory Institute, a proponent of holistic management, states wild herds heal overgrazed grassland and uses livestock to mimic wild herds to bring the land back to life.

Public land grazing allotment holders might call free roaming wild horses a nuisance but they have an obvious conflict of interest—they want all the grazing and water rights for their livestock that outnumbers wild horses 50 to 1. It appears they would like to eliminate the rights of the free roaming wild horses and burros.

Protect Mustangs hopes the EPA will not buy into their game.

There is no scientific proof wild horses are overpopulating on the range. Despite years of requests from members of the public and equine advocacy groups, the government refuses to make an accurate head count on public land. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been accused of inflating estimates to justify costly wild horse roundups and removals—paid for by the American taxpayer.

Indigenous wild horses do not reproduce like rabbits—many die before the age of two. Life on the range can be hard and most wild horses never reach the age of 19. As a wildlife species, this is normal. Left alone, they will self-regulate as an integral piece of the ecosystem.

Recent scientific discoveries prove wild horses are native wildlife. The horse evolved here and must be respected as indigenous before they risk extinction at the hands of the American government.

Wild horses have natural predators such as mountain lions, bears and coyotes to name a few. BLM goes to great trouble to downplay the existence of predators to foster their overpopulation estimate-based myths.

Another frequent argument for the use of pesticides as birth control for wild horses and burros is that they would reduce the need for roundups. However, birth control would not end roundups because it would be difficult to dart wild horses in remote regions and lost darts become biohazards. Trapping in accessible herd management areas and roundups would continue in order to administer the drug.

In the early 1900s there were two million wild horses roaming freely in America. Today there are only about 40,000 captured mustangs living in feedlot settings—funded by tax dollars. Due to the government’s zealous roundups and removals, less than 19,000 wild horses remain free in all the western states combined. The BLM is caving into corporate pressure from the livestock, energy, water and mining industries who don’t want to share public land with America’s indigenous wild horses.

Novak says that, “we want the EPA to apologize for classifying American wild horses as ‘pests’, acknowledge the classification error and cancel approval of ZonaStat-H and any other pesticides for mustangs.”

“By classifying our wild horses as ‘pests’ the EPA is fostering the dangerous belief that wild horses are a nuisance, something destructive that needs to be wiped out,” says Vivian Grant, President of Int’l Fund for Horses. “We call on the EPA to correct this categorization of the American mustang now.”

# # #

Media Contacts:

Anne Novak, 415-531-8454 Anne@ProtectMustangs.org

Vivian Grant, 502-526-5940, Vivian@HorseFund.org

Kerry Becklund, 510-502-1913 Kerry@ProtectMustangs.org

Contact Protect Mustangs for interviews, photos or video

Protect Mustangs is a Bay Area-based preservation group whose mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.

Links of interest:

Protect Mustangs’ etter requesting EPA repair error classifying iconic American wild horses “pests”http://protectmustangs.org/?p=1191

EPA Pesticide Information for ZonaStat-H http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf

AVMA Reports: Vaccine could reduce wild horse overpopulation http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/apr12/120415k.asp

Wildlife fertility vaccine approved by EPA http://www.sccpzp.org/blog/locally-produced-wildlife-contraceptive-vaccine-approved-by-epa/

Oxford Journal on PZP for Humans and more http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/20/12/3271.long

PZP research for humans http://randc.ovinfo.com/e200501/yuanmm.pdf

Horse Contraceptive Vaccine: Is Human Immunocontraception Next? http://vactruth.com/2012/02/24/horse-contraceptive-vaccine

Wild horse predators: http://sg.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080302002619AADTWzh

Audubon: Sacred Cows http://archive.audubonmagazine.org/incite/incite0603.html

Princeton reports: Wildlife and cows can be partners, not enemies, in search for food.http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S32/93/41K10/index.xml?section=featured

Slaughter men explain how BLM wild horses go to slaughter

Captured wild horses Nevada. Jan 2012 (Photo © Anne Novak, all rights reserved.)

Despite Bureau of Land Management (BLM) spin claiming BLM wild horses don’t go to slaughter the truth is revealed.

“Individuals sell the horses. There are no BLM horses going to harvest facilities. That’s against the law. Individuals collect them at different sale locations around the country, gather them. They end up in places like Shelby Montana which is not far from the border . . . so they live through the 6 month withdraw period of time to match the EU specifications . So individuals sell them to people who buy them in the process and they ultimately sell them to the packing plants in Mexico and Canada.”—Trent Loos, rancher.

“What Trent said is exactly correct except that your Shelby Montana is an example. There are other places, stations, lots where horses are held ending their arrival. One of the things you stated is the horses change hands. They apparently cannot go directly from BLM to a plant. So the horses are purchased and when the purchaser of that horse gets control of that horse that’s his horse. He has the democratic right to deal with that horse they way he wishes. With the exception that there are other standards as a result of animal rights activists, etc. etc. that are confusing the situation and making it more difficult. So I think we gotta work through this progress and that’s what this summit is all about. And I hope that we come out of this with some plans that will help the flow of commerce–rightful and just commerce to take place. . .

With respect to the gentleman that said BLM horses cannot go to slaughter . . . The fact is when those (BLM) horses cross that parralell up there, north of here, they’re Canadian horses . . . My understanding is the law says they can’t go to slaughter. Not withstanding that law, if they are transported across the border, they’re Canadian horses. And, and we do see them in the plant.” —Bill deBarres from pro-slaughter group called Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada.

The roundup and removal is paid for by the American taxpayer—often costing a million dollars each time they round them up and “process” them. The work is done by the BLM and their contractors. Most American wild horses who are “sold” go into the slaughter pipeline and are cruelly killed at the slaughterhouse.

If you don’t like this then take action. Write your senators and representatives, meet with their aides, ask them to stop this cruelty for profit paid for with American tax dollars. Include this You Tube video in your email so they can watch the truth.

Thursday March 1st is National Wild Horse and Burro Protest Day. Take action.

Video by Deniz Bolbol taken for AWHPC.


Mr President

OBAMA poster © Lise Stampfli 2009

Thank you Lise Stampfli for creating the popular poster for the Stop the Roundups! launch of nationwide and international protests, conceived of and organized by Anne Novak, in San Francisco, December 2009, outside of Senator Feinstein’s office.

Wild horse supporters may use this poster at peaceful protests.

 

Helicopter chasing young wild horses

Young wild horses are getting injured or killed after being rounded up. Stop the Roundup$.

Share the video, write letters to your senators and representatives to ask for what you want and make a donation so we can save some Calico Complex wild horses.

Let’s end this tragedy and have a Happy 2012!

AP: BLM chief in NV wants more eyes on roundups

By SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press – 12/26/11

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Nevada is appealing to agency employees to step up and blow the whistle on any abuse of mustangs.

Amy Lueders said that’s the best way to stop horse protection advocates from undermining the agency’s roundup policies with video footage of the mistreatment of the animals and making it harder for federal land managers to win the public’s trust.

“Regardless of title, whether you are a contractor or law enforcement or public affairs, that’s everyone’s responsibility,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press.

In the past year, BLM has been taken to task by its own internal auditors, independent reviews, a U.S. district judge and camera-toting horse advocates.

A BLM task force that reviewed a roundup near the Nevada-Utah line in July found some mustangs were whipped in the face, kicked in the head, dragged by a rope around the neck and repeatedly shocked with electrical prods.

Twice this year, BLM has issued reports or statements pledging reforms to ensure humane treatment only to have videos of new incidents of mistreatment surface within days.

In the most recent case, this month, Ginger Kathrens was pointing her camera at the wranglers who appeared to be repeatedly shocking several burros with an electric prod.

The practice, called “hot-shotting,” is used to help move them into a pen or trailer and it was being employed the same day BLM chief Bob Abbey issued a report pledging more changes.

Among other things, the report said electrical prods should be used only as a last resort when human or animal safety is in jeopardy, and that they should never be used on a horse’s head or genitals.

“I thought it was ironic that while Bob Abbey was announcing the reforms I was filming the hot-shotting of the burros,” said Kathrens, an Emmy-award winning filmmaker who is the executive director of the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation, a nonprofit horse advocacy group.

Kathrens said she was about the length of two football fields away when, zooming in with her professional lenses, she captured the footage. The video showed the end points on the prods producing a shock when a wrangler lifted it into the air.

Most disturbing to Kathrens was that officials for the U.S. Agriculture Department and BLM were standing near the wranglers and witnessed the shocks but did nothing to interfere.

Kathrens said BLM officials told her privately they shared her concerns in that regard.

That’s where Lueders said agency workers have to do a better job.

Lueders delivered that message to several dozen employees in a video teleconference involving all of Nevada’s BLM offices last week, saying there’s no excuse for turning the other way if they get wind of any inhumane treatment of animals.

Lueders said, however, that it may be easier said than done when it comes to persuading workers to step up in what is often a controversial, and emotionally charged, situation.

But she said she believes her message got through.

“I made it very clear that is my expectation,” she said. “We have a lot of committed, passionate people here who care very much about the resource and the animals themselves. You can tell by that passion and professionalism that everyone takes it very seriously.”

Lisa Ross, a public affairs specialist for the BLM in Winnemucca, said Lueders’ words have been well received and will be taken seriously.

“It’s a very important message to hear,” Ross said. “It doesn’t mean that everything was wrong and now we are making it right. It’s just that it is important and everybody needs to be on the same page on this.”

About 33,000 wild horses freely roam 10 Western states — about half in Nevada. Another 41,000 are kept in government-funded facilities, including one in Herriman, Utah, that came under fire as a result of more video footage taken by horse protection advocates last spring.

A BLM task force asked to investigate issued a report in September confirming “unacceptable” conditions at the overcrowded facility where horses were forced to stand in a 4- to 8-inch deep mixture of mud and manure. BLM has since moved those animals elsewhere.

It was videotape of a helicopter either nudging or getting extremely close to a mustang in August during a roundup in northeast Nevada near the Utah line that prompted U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben to give BLM a stern lecture.

McKibben granted a temporary restraining order requiring helicopters to keep their distance from the galloping mustangs.

Lueders said it is important to remain open to criticism.

“I think we all learn more from each gather,” she said. “Each gather gives us another opportunity to improve what we do.”

Kathrens is among those who believe BLM officials are sincere and is optimistic real reform may soon follow on the range.

But Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs, based in Berkeley, Calif., isn’t so sure. She said there should be a moratorium on roundups until the agency proves they have mechanisms in place to guarantee safe and humane treatment of the horses.

“The BLM must take responsibility to train their contractors before turning wranglers loose with whips and cattle prods,” she said.