LAS VEGAS — The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has put a laser focus on BP and their operations all over the planet. Turns out, the oil giant has left a trail of toxic waste in Nevada. But is there also a BP link to wild horse roundups?
For a long time, critics of the Department of the Interior have alleged that oil and gas companies, and other industries, are allowed to run roughshod over public lands, plundering what should be public resources. So, would it be a surprise if it happened here?
The BLM’s Calico Hills roundup last winter proved to be the bloodiest mustang operation in memory. The government captured 1,800 wild horses from half a million rugged and remote acres in northern Nevada. More than 100 horses died, some at the roundup site, most at the holding facility. In addition, dozens of pregnant mares aborted their young.
Wild horse advocates are used to seeing horses removed from the public range to make room for cattle, but they began to suspect another possible motive.
Kathrens was perplexed why BLM would proceed with a roundup, against the advice of a federal judge, in the dead of winter, and when the BLM’s own reports indicated there was little or no justification for the operation on the range itself. The horses and the land were in good shape.
She and others started focusing on plans for the Ruby Pipeline, a gigantic project to transport natural gas from Wyoming to Oregon while slicing through five separate herd areas. The 42 inch pipe would require a six foot trench nearly 700 miles long and a parallel, all-weather access road through land that has no roads.
The implications for horses and wildlife were obvious. The pipeline company, El Paso Corporation, left some hints in the paperwork it filed.
“In the documents they supplied to FERC, it talks about the removal of wild horses in the course of conducting their project. So why in the world would we not be suspicious,” said Kathrens.
In April, suspicions peaked when the project coordinator for the pipeline told a reporter that “All hell would break loose” once the plan was approved, and that the pristine land along the route would “look like Hiroshima.” Would that be a reason to thin out the horse herds? The BLM and El Paso both vigorously deny the Calico roundup was related in any way to the pipeline, but it is clear from documents that the mustangs were discussed by both at several points in the permitting process.
An alternative pipeline route was considered that would bypass the herd areas and go through land already disturbed, but it would have cost more. BLM approved the plan that would be cheaper for El Paso but more costly for the land.
“We are the Bureau of Land Management, not the Bureau of Wildlife, not the Bureau of Horses,” said BLM district manager Gene Seidlitz.
In BLM’s management of public lands, wild horses almost always lose out to economic interests, especially livestock interests. But BLM has also been good to the oil and gas industries, and the Ruby Pipeline will be a huge money maker, according to company projections, not only for El Paso but for the gas companies.
As the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis has demonstrated, the Department of Interior has previously bent over backwards to benefit BP and other oil producers. And even if it’s not the case here, it’s fair to ask questions.
“We have a perfect right to wonder about all this stuff,” said Kathrens.
“Folks, you won’t be cheated out of your ‘Feel Good Sunday’, today, as we focus on our resident, junior, equine advocate Declan Gregg who has now carried his quest for the safety and well being of American Equines all the way to the pages of National Geographic. Below we have included some of the text from the interview with Declan but we highly encourage you to visit the link to the National Geographic story where you can read the feature in it’s entirety and comment directly at Nat Geo. We are proud to have such a fine, young advocate standing amongst us. Declan, you GIVE us hope and empower us to strengthen our faith in the future. Be safe.” ~ R.T.
“I was the first ever recipient of the ASPCA’s Junior Equine Angel Award…”
Dr. Jordan Schaul interviews another young crusader. To date, Jordan has introduced our audiences to young wildlife crusaders determined to help Taiji’s dolphins and South Africa’s rhinos. Here at home, another young crusader with a compelling story is making a difference for our most majestic of companion animals—horses.
Declan Gregg ~ photo courtesy of Children 4 Horses
Bio (Submitted by mom, Stacie) Animals are an important part of eleven-year-old Declan Gregg’s life. He loves them all, but has a special place in his heart for horses. “They are amazing, beautiful, animals, who are not only our companions and friends, but also our healers,” says Declan. “I feel a special connection and bond with them that keeps my soul alive.”
In 2011, after hearing about the inhumane and cruel practice of horse slaughter, then nine-year-old Declan, decided that he needed to raise his voice. Declan created Children 4 Horses and started his own blog (www.children4horses.blogspot.com), and page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/children4horses), to spread the word as an advocate for horses. Declan worked closely and diligently with the Million Horse March campaign. He held a “Letter Writing Party” at his local shelter, the New Hampshire SPCA, to collect letters from children hoping to inspire lawmakers to end the slaughter of American horses. Declan collected over 225 letters that day from local New Hampshire children.
Jordan: Please tell us about your lobbying efforts on behalf of humane horse care?
Declan: My dedication to horse advocacy took me to the nation’s capital twice in 2012, where I represented over 1,000 children from the United States and abroad. I presented letters and drawings to legislators in Congress and the Senate. I held a press conference alongside Congressman Jim Moran (VA) and representatives from other national horse advocacy organizations, where I spoke out against the slaughter of America’s horses, both domestic and wild. During that visit, I personally visited several legislators in the House and Senate, including Congressman Frank Guinta of New Hampshire, where I shared my opposition to the inhumane treatment of horses and subsequently garnered the Congressman’s co-sponsorship of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R.2966/S.1176).
I also met with HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) President, Wayne Pacelle, to discuss ways I could continue my advocacy work with the organization.
Declan speaking in D.C. March 2012 with Congressman Jim Moran ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
In 2012, I joined forces with the “Horses on the Hill” campaign, returning to Washington DC, and spoke before celebrities, Congressmen and Senators to lobby against horse slaughter and advocate for the protection of horses under H.R.2966/S.1176. In addition to my two Washington visits that year, I testified at a hearing for a bill opposing horse slaughter at the New Hampshire State House in January, 2012.
n 2013, I travelled to Washington DC for a third time, to attend the “Horses on the Hill” event and met with Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire as well as other legislators, and spoke about current legislation which protects horses from inhumane treatment. I subsequently garnered the co-sponsorship of Congresswoman Shea-Porter of the SAFE Act (H.R.1094/S.541).
My efforts are not only focused at the federal level, but also back home in New Hampshire. I have been on several radio shows and created videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/sgsquared1), to lend my voice on behalf of horses and raise awareness for horse advocacy issues.
Declan in D.C. with Author/president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation R.T. Fitch (R.T.’s favorite photo) ~ by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
I have spoken to children’s groups like 4-H Clubs, Girl Scouts and after school programs at the NH SPCA, and will be making a presentation at my school, about horses, their humane care and horse advocacy issues. I love sharing my passion with other kids and educating them. I want to show them that their voice is important too and that they can stand up for animals just like adults do. I ran successful fundraising campaigns for both local and national charities that help horses, and far surpassed my goals with the help of people from all over the country.
I ran successful fundraising campaigns for both local and national charities that help horses, and far surpassed my goals with the help of people from all over the country. Every year, my younger brother and I give the animals a Christmas present, by sponsoring them through the New Hampshire SPCA’s “Adoption Angel” program. I am currently petitioning the Governor and NH State legislators in the House and Senate (http://tinyurl.com/m7luymd), in opposition of the state’s “Ag-gag” bill (HB110) and will be meeting Governor Hassan prior to the bill going to the floor.
Jordan: How do you feel about the attention you’ve drawn personally?
Declan: I am honored to have been awarded the 2012 ASPCA’s Humane Kid of the Year for his advocacy of horses and was excited to take my family to New York City with me to accept the award and deliver a speech to a packed room of over 500 people….(CONTINUED)
Please Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment directly at Nat Geo
IN THE HANDS OF KILL BUYERS! When horses are purchased at auction by buyers intending to kill them, they're hauled away in double- decker tractor trailers where they are beaten and often blinded with baseball bats to mollify them. After crossing the border into Mexico, the animals are stabbed on each side-an act to tenderize their meat-and immobilized. Workers, then saw the horses legs off, at the knee and hang them to bleed out-all while the horses are ALIVE! (This is an excerpt, from an article written by Missy Diaz, crediting Victoria Mc Cullough and Sen. Joe Abruzzo for bringing awareness of horse slaughter, to Florida. In 2010 Florida Legislation unanimously passed the Horse Protection Bill, making it a felony to slaughter horses for personal or commercial use.)