Straight from the Horse's Heart
Friday, October 31, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Wild Horse Education
We have written so much about the Sheldon Mustangs (just type Sheldon in the search bar) trying to inform you of the issues present at the refuge. We talked about the plans made to remove all horses and burros that started to be created five years ago (Sheldon is NOT a drought removal or a “for the good of the horses,” but simply because they do not fit in with what Sheldon says in their mission). We have tried repeatedly to get folks to recognize that Sheldon is not BLM but is managed by USFWS… but still under the Department of Interior. The history of Sheldon horses as “war horses” is well documented and we shared that with you. We have shown you the horses and told you where you could get one. We talked about our litigation (and there is more info on that to share later as more of the “story” is told). We wrote about the lack of accountability and tracking of horses that come out of Sheldon. Even court documents show that Sheldon horses admittedly went to slaughter. But what we have tried to stay away from is how this “feels.”
note from Leigh:
From all that I have witnessed over the years and all the opportunities that were given to USFWS, Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, there is absolutely no respect in any way shape or form for a public that cares deeply and earnestly about our Mustangs and burros at Sheldon. This refuge is no “refuge.” It is managed with an attitude as if “any public that does not enter that refuge with a gun” is an intruder. I have watched this over and over again… in the very last moments… as the last of our war horses are sent most likely back into danger of slaughter and abuse… the “lines held firm.”
This is the last of the last. A first phase of the final removal was complete in August (note the Sheldon website gives you no daily stats or cumulative totals. At the trap you are also basically given no information). Sheldon is USFWS and there is no “adoption program” like the BLM has. The horses leave Sheldon unbranded (no visual identification, they are “microchipped”).
After litigation last year, Sheldon telling the Judge they changed their adoption contracts to “help protect the horses,” and all the rest of the hub bub we had hoped this year might be different.
During the first phase we were going to take the old mares and foals, to help those that should not travel an option of staying in Nevada, and try to give this a “positive” outcome. Do you know where they are? They are still in the pens at Sheldon. The adoption contractor was basically told not to adopt to us. The intention of us taking in horses was so they would NOT travel to Texas and back to Nevada. Instead Sheldon insists that the tiny babies and old moms need to be hauled twice (if they even go to us). Essentially I was told “to keep my mouth shut” during that phase of things… hmmmm? What would you call that?
Because I wrote about “what happened” at Sheldon articles were written about me by a “hater” and the roundup contractor that were erroneous.
Horses have shipped from the first phase. One contractor in Utah received two loads of horses and miraculously found “good homes” for all of them in two weeks (I went through adoption stats in Utah for last year for BLM wild horses and found 22). Sounds like we have another J&S on our hands. The problem is that the Utah contractor is expected to get more horses from this group. We have seen no plan by Sheldon that will ensure horses do not go to slaughter or in any way be accounted for. Do you think Sheldon officials will go read micro chips on any horses over the next year to see if Sheldon horses are still alive?
Just want to hit a few points of “observation day”…
- The day started with confirmation that Sheldon miscounted horses and I was right, there were only about 80 left.
- I had a feeling Mark Amodei (R, NV) might go to Sheldon… when I asked if he had come I was told “I do not recall,” (I’m sorry if my Congressman called I would remember). I was told that not a single other person even filed out a permit to come and see the horses.
- They were running at least two teams… one in the air and one roping from horseback.
- On the way out I was not allowed to stop and photograph an old stallion, but a group of people with hunting tags were not an issue… just the woman with tears on her face… who was made to move and held for 20 minutes. Then when I was allowed to go back was “escorted” by a ranger as the hunters just drove on their merry way. The stallion had already moved on. As I left the range I was also followed by the ranger… I stopped to photograph three other horses I saw, threw up in my pretzel container, as the ranger stayed behind me.
No other area I know has caused so much strife with the public, difficulties with the government agencies and so many wild horses repeatedly landing in danger… than Sheldon. No area I know of has had so little public action… just infighting, everywhere. Sheldon wild horses and burros are GONE… forever.
This is the last time for you to speak out for them. Sheldon Mustangs are being eradicated forever with tax payer money. “Adoption” contractors being paid with tax payer money. Will less than 30% of the horses removed in the last two years be accounted for? Did the American public pay for people to profit from the slaughter pipeline? Call your Congressmen today and tell them YOU want USFWS and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge held accountable for every wild horse and burro they removed from the range in the last two years.http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup Tell them your “vote depends on it.” Say something like: USFWS needs to account for every horse and burro taken from Sheldon. The American public should not be footing the bill for people to profit from slaughter. We want proof (not fictitious paperwork) that the horses are safe. TELL your Congressman to say that the last 86 horses from Sheldon CAN NOT SHIP until ALL the horses are accounted for… those 86 horses ARE THE LAST OF THE SHELDON’s.
This video is intentionally edited to NOT be like most of our videos. This video has info in it but mostly what it “felt like.” It is narrated in first person with emotional content. I have NEVER left a range in tears. I am usually focused on “what can I do” or actually working on real plans to make changes or crafting litigation in my head if issues get out of hand. Just three days before Sheldon I sat in a room that contained Steve Ellis from the BLM (although it was mostly political pandering, I can not wait until the elections are over) and Congressman Amodei. Just two days before Sheldon I was at a RAC meeting where we did not receive one negative vote to an alternative to help keep horses on the range. The day before Sheldon I was at Broken Arrow that had not been open to the public in two years as we begin to address access issues in a “civilized” fashion.
Then the last observation at Sheldon… and it all changed…
Goodbye old man… ~~~
Wild Horse Education is devoted to gaining protections from abuse, slaughter and extinction of our wild horses and burros.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
American Wild Horse Peservation
POSTED ON OCTOBER 20, 2014 AT 11:20 AM
Story By Terri Farley
Photos by Cat Kindsfather
Fallon, NV (October 17, 2014)….Following two years of locked gates and secrecy, the public was finally allowed to tour Bureau of Land Management’s Indian Lakes Road Short-Term Holding Facility in Fallon, Nevada. This facility is also sometimes referred to as "Broken Arrow," the name of the company of the contractor, Troy Adams, who operates the facility.
The two 2-hour tours were conducted on October 17 by John Neill who has returned as Operations Manager of Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Facility after two years in Nevada BLM’s Carson City office.
“We’ll have another tour in spring and at least two tours per year.” Neill added, “The public has a right to see these horses.”
Mustangs at Indian Lakes once lived throughout the West and their conformation and coloring reflect a variety of adaptations. Pintos, palominos, grullas, creams, buckskins, sorrels, bays and blacks are built like Quarter Horses, Arabs, Morgans and draft-crosses.
All of these horses are available for adoption or sale, and Neill agrees that public awareness of individual horses and their histories raises the number of adoptions. That’s one reason tours recommenced.
Adoptions aren’t handled at Indian Lakes. Wild horses or burros can be chosen there, but the animals are transferred to an adoption facility – like Palomino Valley – for processing and pickup.
Although Indian Lakes is considered a short-term facility, some of the horses who came there in 2010, or were born there, already wear hip numbers that indicate they will be transferred to long term pastures in the Midwest.
Indian Lakes is designed to hold 2,850 equines. Corrals contain 2,712 wild horses and 21 burros according to BLM’s September 30, 2014 tally. The count provided by BLM is approximate, however, because foals born in most BLM facilities are not officially counted until they are weaned and freeze-branded at about 6 months old.
The 320-acre facility has 36 holding pens each measuring 70,000 square feet, each designed to hold about 100 horses.
Seventy-five per cent of Indian Lakes horses are mares, but a recent transfer of 400 mustangs from the shuttered Gunnison Prison program included geldings as well.
Indian Lakes is an “overflow facility” for Palomino Valley Wild Horse Adoption Center. This means that wild horses living at Palomino are moved to Indian Lakes when horses from recent round-ups such as those just completed in Wyoming and Oregon are shipped to Palomino Valley to be dewormed, blood-tested, freeze-marked, gelded, and vaccinated.
The Past: Has Anything Changed?
Since the facility was closed to the public on May 28, 2010, visitors have only been allowed to view horses from seats on a truck-towed “wagon,” which made observation wild horse health difficult for visitors. It is most likely that the BLM locked the gates back then to stop the close-up documentation of wild horse injuries that resulted in public outrage.
Contractor Troy Adams’ Indian Lakes Road facility has improved since its hurried construction in last 2009. Built to contain thousands of mustangs captured during the disastrous 2010 Calico Range roundup, it was more suited to feedlot cattle than range wild horses. Consequently, the facility was the scene of hundreds of wild horse deaths that resulted from round-up injuries, accident, shock, neglect, spontaneous abortion and lack of dietary and veterinary care.
Today, feed troughs are more suited to horses and, Neill says, an automated bale feeder makes it easier to customize hay mixtures for different equine populations. Vet care is still handled by Dr. Rich Sanford, but sub-contractor Lahontan Valley Veterinary Clinic does weekly vet inspections and care at Palomino Valley. In addition, BLM staff, not contractors, does most hands-on work, such as hoof care, with wild horses.
Hoof care is done 1-2 days per week, every week, Neill said, and indicated it’s an unending job. Pointing to one corral, he added, “You’ll notice some of the Utah horses came here with long feet.”
When a visitor asked if young horses’ tails had been docked, Neill said no. He explained that youngsters chew each other’s tails – not tugging once or twice in play, but daily.
Even an “improved” prison is still prison.
Deprived of family and freedom, Indian Lakes’ inmates suffer the trauma and boredom of other prisoners. The difference from other prisons, of course, is that these horses were innocent by-standers to the range vandalization for which they were jailed.
Terri Farley is a well-known author of books for young adults, including the popular Phantom Stallion series, which has sold over two million copies worldwide, as well as many non-fiction magazine articles. She is also a northern Nevada resident and dedicated wild horse advocate who recently joined AWHPC in its successful efforts to intervene in a lawsuitfiled by ranchers seeking the removal of thousands of wild horses from public lands in Nevada and the sale for slaughter of the nearly 50,000 wild horses warehoused in BLM holding facilities.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
Straight from the Horse's Heart
Unedited Press Release from the BLM
Release Date: 10/16/14
BLM Ely District to Gather Wild Horses
Triple B Horses – BLM
ELY – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ely District is scheduled in early November 2014 to begin gathering and removing approximately 120 excess wild horses from in and around the Triple B and Silver King Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in eastern Nevada. Details will be posted on the district website athttp://on.doi.gov/1lGnDYC as they become available. The helicopter gathers are necessary to prevent further damage to private property and provide for public and animal safety.
The District will remove about 70 excess wild horses from the Triple B HMA, located about 30 miles northwest of Ely, that are damaging private property, and harassing and breeding domestic stock resulting in landowner complaints. Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Triple B HMA is 215-250 wild horses. The current population is 1,311 wild horses.
The District will remove up to 50 excess wild horses from in and around the Silver King HMA. The horses to be gathered are located about 120 miles south of Ely. They are a safety concern on U.S. Highway 93 and are damaging private property, resulting in property owner complaints. AML for the Silver King HMA is 60-128 wild horses. The current population is 452 wild horses.
BLM attempts to keep wild horses away from private property and the highway, including trapping and relocating animals to other portions of the HMAs, have been unsuccessful.
The BLM will utilize the services of gather contractor Cattoor Livestock Roundup, Inc., of Nephi, Utah, which uses a helicopter to locate and herd wild horses toward a set of corrals to be gathered. The pilot is assisted by a ground crew and a domesticated horse that is trained to guide the horses into the corral. The use of helicopters, which is authorized by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, has proven to be a safe, effective and practical means by which to gather excess wild horses with minimal anxiety or hardship on the animals.
Wild horses removed from the range will be transported to the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley (PVC), in Reno, Nev., where they will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals. Wild horses for which there is no adoption demand will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.
A Wild Horse Gather Information Line has been established at (775) 861-6700. A recorded message will provide information on daily gather activities and schedules. The BLM will also post daily gather information on its website at:http://on.doi.gov/1lGnDYC.
Public lands within the HMAs will be open to the public during gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions, and the BLM will make every effort to allow for public viewing opportunities. The BLM has established protocols for visitors to ensure the safety of the horses, the public, and BLM and contract staff. The protocols are available at: http://on.doi.gov/1lGnDYC under Observation Opportunities.
Gather activities in and outside the Triple B HMA were analyzed in the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine and Antelope Valley HMA Gather Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA), signed in May 2011 and available at http://on.doi.gov/1tgdHc6. Gather activities in and around the Silver King HMA were analyzed in the Ely District Public Safety and Nuisance Gather EA signed in August 2014 and available at http://on.doi.gov/1lx856K.
For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at (775) 289-1842 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silver King Highway Nuisance Wild Horse Gather
Triple B Nuisance Wild Horse Gather