Saturday, April 16, 2016

Arizona Horse Imprisoned In Stall For Years Learns To Trust Man Who Set Him Free

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Source:  the dodo
The first step he took out of his stall was the hardest.
Monty, a horse locked away in a filthy stall for years, did not seem to understand what was going on. He was hesitant and frightened about coming out of his makeshift prison, where the only attention he received was when his owner threw in some hay, food and water. His only friends were the flies that circled and landed on his gaunt frame.
Monty locked in his stall  (Michelle Forster)
When his rescuer, Travis Underwood, first saw Monty, he didn’t know what to expect when he opened the gate.
(Travis Underwood)
Monty was one among many horses and dogs found on a 10-acre property in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the summer of 2014. Trisha Houlihan, founder and executive director of Saving Paws Rescue, AZ of Phoenix, had been alerted about neglected dogs on the property, Michelle Forster, a volunteer with the organization, told The Dodo.
(Photo: Michelle Forster)
The woman who owned the property, known only as Donna, had been left with animals after her husband died in the summer of 2014 after a long illness, and everything at the property went into disarray. “Her husband kept her isolated,” Forster said.
According to Forster, Donna’s husband had been breeding German shepherds and owned roughly 21 horses. The widow reached out because she needed homes for two of the dogs who had been severely neglected. When Forster did a courtesy call to check on the dogs and take photos, she had no idea she would find an animal hoarding situation in the process. However, the animals did have food, water and shelter, as required by Arizona law.
Due to the horrible conditions, Houlihan accompanied Forster on a subsequent visit to document the animals. She reached out to Underwood, a longtime volunteer with Saving Paws, for his assistance.
Travis gains Monty’s trust (Lisa Cramton)
Initially, Donna wanted to sell the horses, mainly Arabians and quarter horses. “But the market was saturated at the time,” Forster said. “Everyone was trying to get her to understand that the horses didn’t have the value that she originally thought.”
The horses had been badly bitten by flies, and they had not received any general care. They were not let out of their stalls, had not been exercised, and were denied hoof care, vet care and basic grooming. Although some of the horses were worth money on paper, most were not marketable because they had not been trained and were in bad condition.
Read the rest of this article HERE.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The elephant in the room at BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meetings

Straight from the Horse's Heart

The elephant in the room (photo: bassamsalem)
This is a public comment letter that K.R. Gregg, Environmental Researcher, sent to the BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board:
April 10, 2016
National Wild Horse and Wild Burro Program National Advisory Board Members
Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nevada, 89502-7147
I request that this letter be provided to all board members and also be included in the official minutes and the administrative record for the meeting.  Thank you.
Re:  National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Public Comment
Dear Sirs/Madams:
I have heard people talk about the “elephant in the room” during BLM meetings and then ignore the REAL elephant in the room, which is that there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their congressionally designated legal lands.
Do not allow the BLM and USFS and Farm Bureau, the extractive and mining giants, hunting lobbyists and the domestic livestock grazing associations to pull the wool over your eyes. There are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.
Per the 1971 Congressional Wild Horse and Burro Act, the land is to be devoted PRINCIPALLY, although not exclusively, to the wild horses and wild burros’ welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands. 

Definition of “principally”: First, highest, foremost in importance, rank, worth or degree, chief, mainly, largely, chiefly, especially, particularly, mostly, primarily, above all, predominantly, in the main, for the most part, first and foremost.
There is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures … because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.
In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros, but even after 22,200,000 acres were stolen from the American people by government agencies, the remaining 31,600,000 acres could support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today.
It is currently independently estimated that less than 20,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.

There is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Dr. Don Moore responds to spin of 2 National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Members

Straight from the Horse's Heart

(It doesn’t look like Dr. Leon Pielstick has put on the sterile sleeve yet in the photo above.)
Below we’ve posted:                                                                                                                                                                                                              1) the comment Don Moore, DVM to BLM on their barbaric plan to sterilize wild mares.   2) the response to this from two National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board members – Sue McDonnell (NOT a vet) and Julie Weikel, DVM.   3) Dr, Don Moore’s response to their response.
Here is a copy of Dr. Don Moore’s original comment to the BLM regarding wild mare sterilization experimentation:
Attention Project Lead:
BLM stated it was “investing in a diverse portfolio of research projects to develop new, modern technologies and methods for wild horse and burro management”.   BLM is looking to improve existing population growth suppression methods or develop new methods according to the environmental assessment.  However, BLM does not need to investigate the safety and efficacy of three separate methods of surgical sterilization of wild horse mares.  These three methods have been performed on domestic mares and discounted as a last and least preferred method to manage hormonal issues.
The three surgical procedures for permanent sterilization of mares described in the mare sterilization research project, ovariectomy via colopotomy, tubal ligation and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla all require certain pre-operative and post-operative considerations  for aseptic surgical protocol and pain management.  Pre-operative bloodwork and a thorough examination are always performed on the relatively few domestic mares which are spayed.  Other options other than surgery are always considered first due to the risk involved with any of these procedures.   Aseptic surgical protocol and pain management is the standard of care for each and every surgery or the performing veterinarian would undoubtedly be sued by the owner and reprimanded by the state veterinary board.
Wild mares will not have their surgeries performed in a sterile surgical suite.  Their surgery will be performed in a non-sterile chute or standing in stocks at the local BLM facility without benefit of routine standard of care.   Unlike domestic mares who are easily handled, the very handling of these wild mares presents additional pre-operative stressors, which cannot be mitigated.
BLM does not possess the statutory authority to treat America’s wild free roaming mares as research test subjects to perform  surgeries which are not the standard of care for domestic mares.
Case in point, is a photograph of Dr. Leon Pielstick as he was beginning to perform a surgery attired in bibs used predominately for working cattle and performing the surgery with a non-sterile plastic sleeve that is used to pregnancy check cattle.  This is not acceptable for a domestic mare, why wild mares?  To learn this procedures has been performed on some of the Sheldon wild mares, undoubtedly in a similar manner, is gross negligence and inhumane on the part of the Department of Interior and the veterinarians who performed the surgery in less than aseptic conditions.
This type of trial and error butchery is a violation of the least feasible management clause of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
In private practice, colopotomy is considered an inferior procedure with likelihood of post-surgical infections and complications (i.e., colic) especially during these unsterile conditions.  Post-operative care usually lasts several days to often weeks and mares are monitored and in most cases are monitored in box stalls or cross ties, which cannot be accomplished with wild mares. Post- operative bleeding is a situation which cannot be easily remedied even in domestic mares.
Standard of care for tubal ligation and/or ovariectomy is performed under aseptic conditions with a laparoscope and pain mitigation along with private confinement and treatment which can last days to weeks.  Complications can also be colic, infection and pain mitigation is required.
Hysteroscopically guided laser ablation is not a preferred method by board certified equine surgeons because it is considered experimental even under the best of conditions.  Field veterinarians and veterinary students are woefully inadequate to perform any of these surgeries, which in my opinion should only be done by board certified equine surgeons in appropriate surgical suites and with post- operative care performed by educated and expert staff in an equine veterinary hospital setting.
In recent conversations with Littleton Equine Medical Center veterinarians Scott Toppin, DVM, DABVP and Kelly Tisher DVM the following comments were made to me.
Dr. Toppin stated he had serious concerns about the dangerous and inhumane conditions under which these surgeries would be performed. He also stated concerns about the sterility of the procedure and pre and post-operative pain control.
Dr. Tisher shared that their practice equine surgeon,  Dustin V. Devine DVM, MS DACVS, performs  approximately six to twelve of these surgeries with a laparoscope annually.  Littleton Equine is the leading equine veterinary private practice in Colorado.
Mass experimental surgeries performed under these conditions outlined in the proposal, amounts to negligence and abuse.   I believe experiments such as this proposal are unethical, inhumane and unwarranted.   Any veterinarian(s) who would perform these experiments is in violation of the oath taken as a graduating veterinarian, “above all else, do no harm”.  If a veterinarian in private practice performed these procedures in the manner described in this document they would most certainly be reported to and disciplined by the regulatory board of that state.  Discipline would likely mean suspension of that veterinarian’s license to practice in that state.
All horses should be judged the same when it concerns care.  Elective, unethical treatment should not be performed on  either domestic horses or wild horses.   BLM gives the impression that all wild horse areas are overpopulated, when in fact, most wild horse areas do not have a genetically sustainable population without intervention.  This is due to over manipulation of herds to promote adoption, decreasing original herd use areas and allowing livestock to over graze our public lands.  Once again, BLM is exceeding the statutory authority granted by Congress in the management of our wild horses.
Since the inception of the WHBA, BLM has practiced a management for extinction policy. It is ever so clear in the “experimental research policy” BLM is now proposing.
Donald E. Moore, D.V.M
Comments by Sue McDonnell (who is NOT a vet) and Julie Weikel of BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board to an advocate who sent an email with link to an article by Debbie Coffey and Dr. Don Moore’s comment to the BLM:
Responses from Sue McDonnell and Dr. Weikel:
Apr 1 at 7:05 PM
Thank you for the link.  That is very helpful. I trust that you want the information you circulate to be accurate, so I will share what I know.
I work with people who do this procedure in a world class equine vet hospital where I work, the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center. I have had ovariectomy via colpotomy done on my own research and clinical mares, and i find it a relatively non invasive procedure for ovariectomy.  I should explain a couple things that you may understandably misunderstand about the procedure.
You mention the rectal palpation sleeve and implicate it as unsatisfactory because it is used also with cattle.  The photo shows what to me looks like a sterile glove over the palpation sleeve. That is how it is done for ovariectomy via colpotomy on a farm or in a clinic or at a vet school hospital for horses. Using the clean (or sterile, Probably can’t tell for sure by photo alone) sleeve and sterile glove, all surfaces (typically only the sterile glove) that contact  internal abdomen of the patient that should be kept free of “germs” are sterile. The sleeve is used as additional coverage that is very clean if not sterile as added protection. The bibs are not relevant, really, and they could be very clean, but it doesn’t matter much since they don’t touch the internal abdomen of the patient.
I will copy the veterinarians on the board, Dr. Cope and Dr. Weikel, to comment if they have time and can add to my comments. Believe it or not, out in the open air can in many cases can be a “cleaner” environment in terms of infection for colpotomy than inside a hospital, where germs and resistant strains tend to accumulate.  If the outdoor area is dusty there would be concerns.  Veterinarians are usually doing their best to protect the animal patient.  I am not a vet, but have worked professionally with veterinarians in a vet school for over 35 years, and have found very few veterinarians who don’t try their best in this regard. I hear Dr. Moore’s concerns, and have not worked with Dr. Pielstick myself, but trust he is doing his best, which looks from your photos to be as good as here at a world class vet hospital or at other fine vet clinics.
I hope this is helpful. Please let me know what you think.
Sue McDonnell
Julie Weikel 
Apr 1 at 8:30 PM
Thank you Dr. McDonnell for a very thorough coverage of (name redacted) concerns. I concur with all the points you make and add that dust management is routinely addressed during these procedures. I would also add that long term pain management and long term antibiotics are also routine for this procedure.
Certainly any handling of wild horses is stressful for them. However, the goal with these procedures is to achieve population stabilization so that further gathers are greatly reduced and bands can be left undisturbed, thus reducing total lifetime stressful events.
Julie Weikel DVM
And Dr. Don Moore’s response to these comments by Sue McDonnell and Julie Weikel :
The University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center is no doubt a fine surgery facility.  I am also certain that surgeons at the New Bolton Center operate in surgical suites that are properly vented and sterilized, and for Dr. McDonnell to suggest anything less is to insult the very facility she is works for.
It has been my experience at Colorado State University that surgeons as well as veterinary student observers in the suite, were routinely in sterile, long sleeved surgical gowns and gloves. They also wear surgical masks and caps.  This is the same protocol used by the excellent private practice facility I spoke with when researching these procedures. Standard of care dictates this diligent surgical preparation of the patient and surgical suite.
To suggest a “clean” sleeve is acceptable for abdominal surgery is ridiculous.   Aseptic conditions are the required standard of care for any abdominal surgery and the equine patient is more susceptible to peritonitis than any other species that veterinarians deal with.  To suggest an outdoor “facility” used by BLM could be a better choice than any properly equipped surgical suite is ludicrous.  Academia and research facilities are no longer exempt from good standard of care.
Again, for BLM and the Advisory Board to propose this type of mass experimental surgery under the conditions outlined in the proposal, amounts to negligence and abuse. 
To accept this mass butchery by BLM under the guise of research is inconceivable in a civilized society and to apologize for it suggests a complete misunderstanding of the ethics we as veterinarians pledge to adhere to.
 For BLM to promote that there is over population of wild horses on public lands is without merit.  Most wild horse areas are managed at levels below what is needed for self-sustaining, genetically viable numbers.  Many wild horse areas, such as the Little Bookcliffs (which has long utilized PZP), still need to have additional animals introduced to avoid inbreeding.  The Advisory Board would best focus research efforts to change the current BLM management practice of managing wild horses in significantly smaller subsets of original herd use areas that cannot physically allow for genetically viable, self-sustaining herds.   The next focus should be proper management of the domestic species that are causing range degradation.
Donald E. Moore, D.V.M.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

BLM Offers $10K Reward in Nevada Wild Horse Killing

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Source: Multiple
“Although pleased that the BLM is taking the lead in investigating why a wild horse was murdered while in their care, it begs the question; why are we hearing this five months after the fact?  Something does not add up.” ~ R.T.

Former wild horses imprisoned by the BLM photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Former wild horses imprisoned by the BLM photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
RENO, Nev. — The Bureau of Land Managementis offering a $10,000 reward in the investigation of the killing of a federally protected wild horse at a state prison camp near Carson City in early October.
BLM spokeswoman Jenny Lesieutre said Monday they need the public’s help to find the person or persons responsible for the shooting at Northern Nevada Correctional Center’s Stewart Camp Conservation Center.
The camp is home to about 1,500 BLM horses are kept as part of a training program used to gentle and train the animals before adoption.
The crime is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine.
Lesieutre she says few details are being released because it is an ongoing investigation in connection with state corrections officials.
Anyone with information should call BLM’s crime hotline at 1-800-521-6501.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bouvry Exports' Prime Feedlot, Alberta, Canada

Animals' Angels

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 09:15
Investigation Category:

Investigators returned to Bouvry’s largest feedlot, which holds approximately 10,000 horses at any given time, to check if conditions had improved since their 2014 visit. Investigators noticed right away that the work force was very active as feed trucks were continuously keeping the troughs filled. Other workers were constantly driving around the lot, an activity that could only be described as patrols checking the feedlot for potential intruders. All activities were conducted via vehicle; at no time were workers observed checking the condition of the animals in the pen area on foot.

The horses were kept in pens segregated by mares with foals and geldings. There were approximately 100-200 horses in each pen, all soaking wet from the rain. Most of the horses had a BCS of 7-8 and had been fattened for quite some time. Many had overgrown hooves and were coughing continuously.

The horses had 1-2 numbers branded onto their right shoulder; some horses also had a U-shaped brand on their right hindquarter. Some of the more recent brands, especially on the younger horses, appeared infected. In some cases the burn was quite severe and large, red wounds were clearly visible.

Regarding the pen area, no improvement was noted since our investigators’ last visit. There was still no shelter of any kind for any of the animals and several of the pens appeared very crowded and covered in manure.

Only limited quantities of water was visible, which appeared to be insufficient for the number of horses kept in the pens. The horses were observed licking rain water off of each other and off of the fencing.

One of the large pens held three mares and their foals. Some straw was visible, but it was soaked from the heavy rain. One of the foals was repeatedly coughing. A draft horse with an overgrown left front hoof was limping badly. Another lame horse was seen in the same pen.

Several of the younger draft horses had strong nasal discharge. Investigators observed a young foal, lying down by itself outside of the pen area. It had eye discharge and was very weak on its legs. When the foal moved, it did so only very slowly as if the action was quite painful.

Investigators noted that there were five horses that had escaped the pen area and were wandering along the fence line. One of them, a bay, was limping.

Shortly after spotting this group of horses, investigators saw another horse that was severely limping and moving his head up and down when walking. A Paint horse was also struggling due to a club foot and was barely able to put weight on his left hind leg.

Investigators found two rib sections outside the pen area, which appeared to be from a horse. Several coyotes were also spotted roaming the area by investigators.

This recent investigation shows that Bouvry has made no improvements to their feedlot -- the horses still have no access to shelter and multiple horses with health concerns were found. It appears that the only thing Bouvry has invested in is an increased work force, hired to patrol the premises.

Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor Bouvry’s operations and report all findings to the EU Commission.

Friday, February 26, 2016

BLM Considers Wild Burro Agreement

Straight from the Horse's Heart

By HALEY WALTERS Today’s News-Herald
“A little bit of Wild Burro propaganda, maybe?!” ~ R.T.

Wild burro captured by BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Wild burro captured by BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
The Bureau of Land Managementmay enter into an agreement withArizona Game and Fish Commission to team up on Arizona’s burro problem, following talks yesterday in Washington.
Senator John McCain, representatives from Game and Fish plus several county supervisors sat down to discuss the area’s relentless burro overpopulation and ways to combat it. Arizona Game and Fish submitted a proposal that is under consideration by the BLM.
“I look forward to BLM’s review of the proposal,” McCain said. “I also believe it’s time that Congress holds a hearing to examine the rapid growth of burro populations in Arizona. I look forward to continuing this conversation until a sustainable, long-term solution is agreed upon.”
The proposed solution would place more of the burro burden onto the Commission, alleviating the billion-dollar financial strain the management costs for burro management places on the BLM each year.
“The resolution includes burro capture, transports and an aggressive marketing campaign to adopt them out,” Mohave County Supervisor Steve Moss said. “It’s a very compassionate resolution if it works.”
McCain is expected to pursue an intergovernmental agreement that would validate this partnership and may pursue a possible special senate hearing to examine how federal law is impacting the situation. The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 only permits the BLM to manage burro herds.
““It’s clear to all parties that the current incarnation of the federal government’s Wild Horse and Burro program is no longer effective and must be re-evaluated,” Arizona Game and Fish Commission Chairman Kurt Davis said. “The impact this non-native, feral animal is having on our native wildlife, our communities and taxpayers is only escalating and no longer can be shoved aside by the BLM.”
Moss said BLM officials don’t expect the capture-adopt method to completely solve the problem, but he and other stakeholders said they are in complete support of the measure if it slows the growth of burro populations.
“We’ll find out over the next several months and years if it has had an impact,” Moss said.

Monday, February 8, 2016

4 major wild horse & burro advocacy groups come out against BLM’s cruel plans to do sterilization research on wild mares (Mon., Feb 8th)

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoSpecial action alert.  Join us on Monday, February 8th, 2016
6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the live show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.
This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.
Four major wild horse and burro advocacy groups and advocates are uniting to speak out against Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans for cruel sterilization experiments on wild mares (including pregnant mares).  The BLM extended the Environmental Assessment comment deadline until Feb. 10th, because American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) asked for and received additional documents that the BLM had not made available to the public.  AWHPC then requested additional time to review these documents.  (Information is given below so that after listening to this show, you can add YOUR comment to save the wild mares from these barbaric experiments.)
Our guests for this show include:
Suzanne Roy, Campaign Director, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC)
Paula Todd King, Communications Director, The Cloud Foundation (Ginger Kathrens is in the Pryors, but she’ll try to call in)
Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
BLM’s heinous plans are to STERILIZE wild  horses, including “studies” (experimentation trials) using several methods on 225 wild mares: ovariectomy via colpotomy, tubal ligation, and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla.  The BLM is going to do this experimentation at BLM’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon, but will eventually do sterilizations out in the FIELD.

Leon Pielstick, DVM, inserting a chain ecraseur (and his arm) viacolpotomy incision
 A link to the Environmental Assessment is HERE.
Please submit your comments by Feb. 10th, by fax or email to the BLM Burns Office, with the heading:
Attention: Mare Sterilization Research
Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead
email to:
or Fax: (541) 573-4411
BLM Burns District Office:
Attention: Mare Sterilization Research
28910 Highway 20 West, Hines, Oregon 97738
(You may only want to put your name and email address on your comment, since entire comments – including personal identifying information – may be published as part of the EA and Decision Record process.)
Be sure to listen to Jonathan Ratner of Western Watersheds Project,
  on Wild Horse & Burro Radio on Wed., Feb. 10th.
Tonight’s show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs forWild Horse Freedom Federation.
To contact us:, or call 320-281-0585
1/20/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horse and burros.  Listen HERE.
1/27/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs, on threats to shoot wild burros in Arizona.  Listen HERE.