Sunday, January 31, 2010

EWA Press Release | New Canadian Regulations will Curtail Slaughter of North American Horses

January 31, 2010
New Canadian Regulations will Curtail Slaughter of North American Horses
CHICAGO, (EWA) – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued the long awaited health requirements for all horses bound for slaughter in Canada. In 2009, 56% of the 93,812 horses slaughtered in Canada were U.S. exports.
The requirements posted on the CFIA website state, “Effective July 31, 2010, it will be mandatory for all CFIA inspected facilities in Canada engaged in the slaughter of equines for edible purposes to have complete records for all animals (domestic and imported) presented for slaughter.”
A January 21st article in the Western Producer indicated that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was cooperating with the CFIA. When contacted on January 28th to determine how the USDA was cooperating, Dr. Cordes, National Equine Coordinator, stated that compliance was Canada’s responsibility.
The European Union (EU), FDA and CFIA regulations have prohibited the slaughter of animals for human consumption that have ever received prohibited substances, but until now, there has been no serious attempt at enforcement.
Of particular concern is the common and widely used prohibited drug Phenylbutazone, also called PZB or Bute. “PBZ is a known carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia (bone marrow suppression) in humans”, states Equine Welfare Alliance’s (EWA) Food Safety Subject Matter Expert, Dr. Ann Marini, Ph.D./M.D. PBZ is used so prolifically in the racing industry that its administration before a race is noted on racing forms at many tracks.
Also listed is Clenbuterol, one of the most effective FDA approved drugs for treating COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder), a debilitating condition common in horses. Anabolic Steroids such as Winstrol, commonly used in racing and performance horses are also banned, as are drugs used by horse breeders to regulate estrus cycles.
Unlike the EU countries that electronically track veterinary records from birth, the US and Canada have no such system for horses, since they are not raised as food animals. Many slaughter bound horses have had multiple owners, and without a tracking system, it is impossible to guarantee that the horses have not been given prohibited substances. Also, most horse owners do not intend to send their horses to slaughter, as they unknowingly end up in the slaughter pipeline when sold to unscrupulous buyers or are taken to auctions where they are purchased by kill buyers.
The CFIA announcement states, “These new requirements are only the first step towards strengthening Canada's food safety and traceability system for equines.” The EU has indicated this was part of a three year plan to bring third countries into complete compliance with current EU standards. This would mean that horses presented for slaughter will eventually require documentation from birth, assuring they have never received banned substances.
During 2008, in response to the closure of the three US based slaughter plants the previous year, the export of US horses for slaughter in Canada and Mexico soared to over 77,073 and 56,731 respectively. However in 2009, as the world economy declined, exports dropped by 20%. “The only practical means to meet these requirements is quarantine”, explains EWA’s John Holland, “and we estimate that will double the cost of these horses, further reducing the demand.” The CHDC’s Sinikka Crosland added, “The welfare of the horses has not been considered, and horses in quarantine feedlots will be at huge risk of sickness and suffering”.
A Discussion Paper will be released by the EWA and CHDC in the coming days, detailing concerns with the newly announced regulations.
The EWA and CHDC have always warned that our equines are not safe for human consumption and implores Congress to step up to protect the health safety of foreign consumers by passing the legislation before it (HR 503 and S 727) that will stop the export of American horses.
CHDC and EWA urge all horse owners to end their horse’s life by humane euthanasia as we do for all non-food animals in America.

Read in Horse-talk here:

Great Q & A there.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pictures from the BLM Protest Today!

The Protest went well, with a turn-out of about 30 people. Several media were there, and the footage was on the CH 12 NBC local news. I will post that as I get it.

We all had fun, and rang our "cowbell" as motorists honked. Even the young people participated.





Above photos by Barbara Ellen Ries

Below photos by Gwen Cleary.



Two more protests are in the planning stage. I will keep you posted on those!

Special thanks to the Cloud Foundation, Tuesday's Horse,  and In Defense of Animals for all their help!

Coverage here.

More info HERE and HERE

Read in Bridle and Bit

Remembering Barbaro

Babaro's Legacy Lives On; Updated With Photo from Statue


Three years ago today was one of the saddest in recent memory for a lot of Thoroughbred racing fans. It was on that day, Jan. 29, 2007,that Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro lost his courageous battle for life.
Injured in the Preakness Stakes two weeks after winning the 2006 Derby, Barbaro underwent extensive surgery and recuperation to repair a shattered right hind leg. Both the injury and the exhaustive efforts to save the colt became headline news inside and outside racing circles, and Barbaro developed a following unprecedented by modern-day racing standards. He was well on his way to recovery from that injury when he developed a serious case of laminitis that led to the eventual painful decision by Dr. Dean Richardson to euthanize the colt at the University of Pennsylvania's new Bolton Center.
Although Barbaro died that day, his memory did not and his legacy continues to endure. He has been memorialized in a gleaming bronze statue that greets visitors to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum. Through the efforts of Barbaro's fans, mainly Fans of Barbaro, and his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, millions of dollars were raised for laminitis research.


Barbaro is honored with flowers on his statue at Churchill Downs.
Photo by John Asher

And Barbaro's family continues to thrive on the track. One of his full brothers, Nicanor, was well on his way up the racing ladder when he was sidelined due to an injury last summer. Nicanor is now back in training and should make another start soon and another full brother, Lentenor, recently broke his maiden in impressive fashion on turf and looks as if he has a promising career ahead.
So today, pause for a moment to remember the great horse and/or make a contribution to laminitis research. He would thank you.

[Permission Pending.]


Las Vegas Now

Mustang Deaths Up to 26 in Nevada Wild Horse Roundup

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Wild-horse advocates criticized federal land managers after the number of mustang deaths so far in a government roundup on the range north of Reno nearly tripled from a week ago, going from nine to 26.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Friday reported four more deaths stemming from its roundup in the Calico Mountain Complex. Agency spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said three horses have died at the roundup site and 23 have died at a Fallon holding facility where the horses have been taken since the two-month roundup began Dec. 28.
 Another 25 horses are recovering at the facility 60 miles east of Reno after being treated for various injuries and health issues, she said. Activists said the BLM's roundup methods are "brutal" and violate the intent of a 1971 law Congress enacted to protect the horses.
"America's wild horses are protected by federal law as important parts of our national heritage, but they are being brutalized and destroyed by the BLM's policy of massive roundups," said William Spriggs, an attorney who represents California-based In Defense of Animals in a lawsuit against the Interior Department over the roundup. Worley said the agency has 40 years of experience of conducting roundups and has learned the safest way to conduct them and minimize risk to horses. "I don't think it (26 fatalities) is high given the number of animals gathered and given the condition of some of the animals coming in," she said. "We're seeing quite a few mares in emaciated condition. We're either euthanizing them or they're showing up dead," she said.
According to a 2008 Government Accountability Office report, the BLM has not regularly reported to the public how many horses are killed in the course of roundups. BLM officials have said 0.5 percent of horses die in roundups, but Worley on Friday said that figure only counts deaths at actual gather sites and not holding facilities. Of the 1,447 horses gathered so far, about 0.2 percent have died at the roundup site and 1.8 percent have died in all.
Activists expressed concern over the nearly threefold increase in deaths over the last week and said they intend to continue monitoring the Fallon facility. "The numbers speak for themselves," said Eric Kleiman, research director for In Defense of Animals. "Time will tell, but it'll be very interesting to see what happens over the next week."
A contractor is using two helicopters under BLM supervision to drive horses in the Calico complex to corrals. Officials are then trucking them to Fallon before placing them for adoption or sending them to long-term holding corrals in the Midwest. BLM officials said the removal of about 2,500 horses is necessary because an over-population of the animals is harming the range and native wildlife, and threatening the horses with starvation.
The government says the number of wild horses and burros on public lands in the West stands at nearly 37,000, about half of them in Nevada. It believes the number that can be supported on the range is about 26,600.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Katie On Calico


American Herds.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Katie On Calico

With the slew of various agencies, big game organizations like the Safari Club and environmental organizations such as the recent addition of the National Wildlife Federation lining up with Letters of Support for the Bureau of Land Management's ill-conceived plan to remove wild horses from the Calico Complex in Northern Nevada for approximately two months during the dead of winter or cattleman Secretary Salazar's plan for the future of the American Mustang & Burro, Western Watershed Projects Biodiversity Director Katie Fite recently shared both her knowledge and views about the "elephant in the room" many of these organizations are failing to address.

Using the background and history of BLMs management of the Calico Complex as an example of what's at play behind the scenes, Katie lends her expertise to provide an indepth look at what "on-the-range-management" means to BLM, wildlife, wild horses and the American public.

Wild Horse Round Up: Black Rock Range West 2004
BLM File Photo- Courtesy of Katie Fite


Courtesy of Katie Fite
Reprinted with permission

The SettingThe Safari Club and some Wilderness advocates lose out in BLM grazing decisions and lax management all the time. Perhaps it is easier for them to generate an “enemy” such as wild horses to blindly blame all ecological damage on rather than confront the truth and seek honesty of Ken Salazar’s Interior Department and the BLM in its management of wildlife habitats and public lands.

To illustrate what is really happening behind the scenes, I’ll use the Paiute Meadows Allotment as an example of how grass, water and space are taken away from wildlife and wild horses on public lands by BLM and then given to a large cattle ranch for its profits.

The Paiute Meadows allotment is 117,096 acres, with 72,433 acres designated as Wilderness. The land area of Paiute Meadows allotment includes all of the Black Rock East wild horse Herd Management Area (HMA), which is the eastern part of the big Calico Complex wild horse round up. It is also where the Calico round up began, in the snow and on private land so BLM could limit public access and scrutiny.

The Black Rock Range is a spectacular place. Picture a big rugged irregular very steep-sided plateau cut by canyons. Part of the top, and the east side down to the valley floor is the ”official” Black Rock East HMA. The other side is the Black Rock West HMA, one of the three HMAs in the contiguous Soldier Meadows allotment (Black Rock West, Warm Springs, part of Calico HMA). The Range lies by the northern Black Rock Playa. From its top, in Wilderness, tremendous views of the Jackson Mountain skyline unfold - as Gary Snyder writes in Mountains and Rivers without End, “the tooth of a far peak called King Lear”.

There is no fence on the top of mountain range to separate the two grazing allotments that border one another here, Paiute Meadows and Soldier Meadows. The BLM artificially drew the wild horse HMA lines on the boundary between two cattle empires. The boundary has very little to do with wild horses – and everything to do with cows. There is only an artificial line on the maps in the Winnemucca BLM office that actually separates the wild horses areas and animals move freely back and forth.

This serves as an example of how BLM contrives to artificially chop up landscapes to maximize cattle numbers at the expense of all other values. Once BLM draws an imaginary horse area separation line, then they can try to incrementally sneak in fencing over time - on the basis of their fabrication of separation between two HMAs. The BLM range folks have long lusted to build a fence on top of the mountain range between the cattle allotments.

A fence on top of the range would be a disaster not only for horses, but for sage-grouse and big game too. I see sage-grouse nearly every time I go hiking in this Wilderness. Fences are a big problem for sage-grouse as they collide with fences and die. This area is critical for sage-grouse nesting and brood rearing.

The only reason BLM hadn’t built a fence already is the horses, as there has been pushback from their own wild horse specialists. However, if more pliant wild horse specialists get put in place, which could well happen after this Calico Complex debacle, one has to fear the worst.

Cattle trespass has long been rampant on the top of the Black Rock Range in Colman Creek and other headwater areas. Ranchers have not controlled their cattle as they are required to do, and Winnemucca BLM has allowed this to continue year after year. I have complained often in the past but Winnemucca BLM has given me the impression that the public pointing out cattle trespass is at times more of a problem than the trespass itself.

I hiked into this Wilderness area again in September 2009, and recent cow manure was everywhere; across the top and higher elevations in both Paiute Meadows and Soldier Meadows. There was no scheduled cattle grazing in that area of Soldier Meadows in 2009, as it was theoretically being “rested” from cattle but I witnessed springs, seeps and long lengths of Colman Creek headwaters that were chock full of fresh cattle manure.

This uncontrolled and routine trespass BLM allows to occur here year after year, including in areas that are being “rested”, directly takes grass out of the mouths of wildlife and wild horses. Who knows how many “AUMs” get consumed annually out here by unauthorized cattle grazing?

Background: BLM Sets Carrying Capacity and Wild Horse Numbers (AML) in 1994-1995 Decision for Paiute Meadows and Soldier Meadows Grazing Allotments
In 1995, BLM authorized a livestock grazing, wildlife and wild horse “Final Multiple Use Decision (FMUD) for Paiute Meadows that set the basic wild horse numbers (AML) that remain to this day. BLM has refused to use new info to update the AML. BLM calculated what it calls a carrying capacity based largely on “forage”, but the carrying capacity for this whole area that was calculated back then was recognized as flawed. Everyone from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) to Wild Horse Groups to the Sierra Club complained - but BLM just did what they wanted.

The BLM Winnemucca Field Office has long known that the carrying capacity for Paiute Meadows and Soldier Meadows is invalid. But BLM and/or ranchers seem to really like it because it lets them keep the cow numbers higher, bumps up the re-sale price of ranches, allows ranchers to get loans from banks based on a higher number of cattle and get more tax dollars as subsidies. Ranchers can get loans on public lands by using cattle AUMs as collateral, as well as Annual Operating Loans. They can also get “disaster” payments from tax dollars for drought based on head of cattle.

When reading these BLM Decisions, the Active or Authorized AUMs are what to focus on, as the Suspended AUMs are pie-in-the-sky “paper cows” and are often based on rancher claims with numbers drawn out of thin air in the distant past from adjudication processes that had no basis in reality. Ranchers today appear to use them largely to snooker hobby ranch buyers into paying more for a ranch with a public lands grazing permit than the permit is actually worth. To add fuel to the fire, BLM refuses to remove these AUMs from the books and thereby creates a constant tension with ranchers as they are always wanting to get “their” paper cows back as real cows out on the land.

Flawed 1994-1995 Decisions and methods used to determine carrying capacity in both Paiute Meadows and Soldier Meadows Allotments set the stage for carrying capacity conflicts right up to the present 2009 Calico Complex Round Up.

Bob Abbey, BLM Director in Nevada and the Paiute Meadows 2003 Final Multiple Use Decision (FMUD)Beginning in 2001, BLM started conducting a combined Soldier Meadows and Paiute Meadows Grazing Evaluation process. New decisions came down at slightly different times. Paiute Meadows came out first. The Soldier Meadows rancher at the time wanted quite an audacious and controversial cow proposal, which he ultimately got with Bob Abbey as Nevada State Director. Then later, in 2008, BLM issued yet another Decision where the current Soldier Meadows operation got an even sweeter deal.

To return to Paiute Meadows, in 2003, BLM then issued an updated grazing document called a “FMUD” Final Multiple Use Decision because it included cattle, wildlife and horses. There has not been a new grazing decision for the Paiute Meadows Allotment since 2003.

Wild Horses
Here’s what the Paiute Meadows FMUD did: It carried forward the old 1994-95 Black Rock Range East Wild Horse AML number. BLM stated “we are re-affirming our previous management action ... that established the AML for the Black Rock Range East HMA at 93 head [of horses]”. The horse numbers were set between a range of 56 horses (low) and 93 horses (high). The amount of AUMs (Animal Unit Months) BLM states is appropriate for wild horse use was set between 672 AUMs for all year (for the 53 horses), and 1,116 AUMs for all year (for the cap of 93 horses). So 93 wild horses is the maximum population BLM paperwork allows.

During the 2003 Paiute Meadows evaluation process, Winnemucca BLM stated: ”Based on monitoring data collected during the re-evaluation period, there have not been any significant problems associated with the wild horse use of the range”!!!

Now, based on other BLM documents that show wild horse populations during this time period (1994-2003), it is clear that horses were rarely, if ever at AML; they were always above AML! So what Winnemucca BLM really said here is, while wild horses were actually greatly over AML the whole time, they were not causing significant problems to the range!

In fact, when it issued its 1994 Decision in Soldier Meadows paralleling the Paiute Meadows process where it referred to the “Black Rock Range” horses, BLM stated: “Once AML is reached – which should take two gather cycles - in about six years, wild horse and burro population will be maintained within the following ranges in order to ensure that the carrying capacity is not exceeded. These ranges are based on gathering horses every three years. If gathering schedules change, these ranges may change".

The 2003 Paiute Meadows Decision also carried forward the old 1994-95 wildlife allocations. These were established as a combined total of 2,325 AUMs for mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep. This too was derived from the flawed BLM 1994-95 carrying capacity computations. In 2003, BLM stated that the wildlife weren’t causing any problems, so the wildlife got the same theoretical amount of forage as in 1995.

The only wildlife that gets anything allocated to it by BLM has antlers.

While BLM rubber stamped the same forage allocations for wild horses and wildlife in the 2003 Paiute Meadows FMUD, what was NOT the same was the cattle AUMs; those were increased from 3550 active AUMs to 4298 Active AUMs. BLM approved of the increase in cattle AUMs to allow for an additional “300 head within the South Paiute low elevation area in spring and winter”.

Astute readers of the 2003 Paiute Meadows Decision will find a math error in the text, where BLM appears to have been trying to minimize public perception of how much the cow increase really was. And a confusing chart that shows not all the added cattle AUMs in this new Decision were actually where BLM claimed they were. But since this whole forage and numbers game is largely flimflam anyway – EXCEPT when BLM wants to round up horses – what’s a few percentage points, or why bother actually keeping the cow increase all in the area where you claim it is?

The 2003 Paiute Meadows Decision also revealed that BLM had already been sneaking those 300 head of cattle in on a year-to-year basis by issuing something called a “TNR” permit (Temporary Non-Renewable grazing permit). BLM had been annually issuing these extra “temporary“ permits for 300 head of cows for several months in the winter in this low elevation area since 1998! Never mind how that conflicted with the “allocation” for wildlife or wild horses.

Then BLM justified this permanent increase in cattle AUMs by saying this area is outside their own artificially created wild horse HMA boundaries. Even if those 300 head of cattle are grazing outside the wild horse HMA boundary, which is in the east and south here, they are still in a spot where they will conflict with wildlife.

Thier extra cattle are reducing the available forage, water and space wildlife need, and if the ranchers check on the cows, they also add to further disturbances of wildlife in the area especially in winter. But BLM sure doesn’t seem to care much any more about disturbing wintering wildlife as is evident by the Calico Complex round up being conducted in the dead of winter.

It was Bob Abbey, then Nevada BLM Director who was overseeing the Winnemucca Field Office when this 2003 FMUD took grass, food, water, cover and space away from wildlife in the winter and gave it to the cattle industry. Abbey was very aware of what was transpiring in both Paiute Meadows and Soldier Meadows , which had long been areas of controversy.

Bob Abbey is now serving as Director of the BLM under Interior Secretary and rancher Ken Salazar. Abbey and the current Winnemucca BLM Manager, Gene Seidlitz, were both involved in the Paiute Meadows and Soldier Meadows processes. I participated in a Range Tour with Director Abbey and the ranchers in both allotments at the time in 2003.

However, wildlife wasn’t the only loser in this deal as BLM also took forage away from the wild horses too and justified this by other artificial lines they drew on the east side of the HMA, mapping the area part way up the slope of the range.

As a final note, during the prolonged 2003 and 2004 Paiute Meadows and Soldier Meadows allotment processes, Nevada Department of Wildlife as well as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are on record as telling Winnemucca BLM that information that was essential to base ANY new decision on was lacking. Yet BLM ignored USFWS and NDOW and took forage, water and space away from wildlife and gave it to a big rancher instead.

Calico Wild Horse Capture EA - 2009
So in the early winter of 2009, BLM issues the Calico Wild Horse EA with its justifications for the dead of winter round up. Suddenly, all wildlife scientific literature to the contrary, BLM finds its just fine to disturb wildlife, including sage-grouse, over two solid months on their winter range on over a million acres of public lands.

BLM continues to claim drought as an issue, despite this region having experienced an extraordinarily moist spring and summer, and lush grass growth in 2009. They also make much ado about how winter range is so limited, horses must be rounded up right now.

BLM also claims they have been suddenly struck by a lightning bolt of new information regarding wild horses moving all over the place and uses this as justification to cast its horse capture net very wide over many HMAs, including into areas outside their artificial boundaries as well as into the very area that BLM claimed in 2003 “was outside the HMA”.

But there are documents in BLMs files that show they have known this whole area was a complex, and horses were moving outside their artificial lines - all along! The wider the net is cast, the more horses can be cleared out of the way for projects such as the upcoming Ruby pipeline that is barreling down on the north of this area.

As BLM spreads as broad a net as possible across the region to capture and remove horses including those outside the hokey HMA boundaries and specific allotment boundaries, they kept making noise about how wild horses outnumber cows in the area. Yet, it appears BLM has not factored in the cows that graze in the allotments surrounding the Calico Complex where they extended their capture net, which includes areas they have known wild horses have been present in all along.

If one were to compare BLMs capture area maps from the Calico Complex EA against maps from the 2003 Paiute Meadows EA, it can be seen that BLM cast its capture net into the very site where BLM justified increasing cow numbers in winter in 2003 because it was “outside” the hokey HMA lines.

When BLM was authorizing increases for cow numbers in Paiute Meadows in 2003, BLM said the area was outside the HMA, so increasing cows made no difference to wild horses. But the truth is, those wild horses from the South Paiute Meadows low elevation area very, very likely did rely on that same winter range that BLM authorized increased grazing on in 2003 merely for the financial benefit of the large rancher.

Through the Calico EA, BLM has then gone on to make claims about the great lack of winter habitat for wild horses, wildlife and everything else in the area. But by BLM allowing dead of winter grazing at this lower elevation during critical winter months, it has increased the stresses on all animals in the neighborhood and ecosystems.

So this leads to the question, why is Ken Salazar’s Interior continuing to mislead the public about wild horses, the relative impacts of cattle and horses and continued harmful cattle actions in the Calico Complex? This only serves to fuel controversy and destroy any efforts at “balance” on the public lands.

If environmental groups and organizations like the Safari Club want to jump into the middle of something, perhaps they should consider stopping the high jacking of public resources (food, water, and space) for private cattle ranchers and corporate profits as grazing on public lands adversely affects public lands and wildlife habitat that belong to all Americans, not just a few.

And the neighboring Soldier Meadows is where the imbalance and forage theft gets really twisted …

~Additional Links~

Final Multiple Use Decision (FMUD)

Final Multiple Use Decision (FMUD)

Livestock Grazing/Preliminary EA

Livestock Grazing/Final Decision

Wild Horses on GMA

Wild Horses on Good Morning America


Thursday, January 28, 2010

BLM Will Start to Gather our Wild Horses in Arizona!

Please don't let the BLM kill what is left of our wild horses in Arizona. We now have less than 200 wild horses left here in the state of Arizona.

Scheduled round-ups start HERE in Arizona soon!

Some are right here in Maricopa County.



Yuma and Kingman

ON-GOING Lake Pleasant and Nuisance


BLM Office
One North Central Avenue

11 am to 1 pm


BLM Contractors Stick a Cattle Prod in the First Amendment

Straight from the Horse's Heart

January 28, 2010 R.T. Fitch 
Op-Ed by R.T. Fitch

22 Horses Now Killed at Calico Round-up



Sue Cattoor speaking to her "hurt feelings" on camera 9/9/09 - Photo by R.T. Fitch

While the world watched another living soul being pulled from the Haitian rubble, a bomb go off in Iraq and a U.S. President hit the reset button; the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse contractors, the Cattoors, were quietly shoving a cattle prod into your First Amendment rights and attempting a backdoor effort to quell the voice of Wild Horse advocates around the world.

Be it a Blog, Non-Profit, Publication or private citizen, letters from the Cattoor’s attorneys were being delivered in an effort to stifle the truth about what really goes on in one of their “humane” wild horse round-ups. Reading the truth is even more than they can bear.

American citizens should be appalled at the fact that a Federal contractor cannot stand up to being transparent and would turn and bite the very hand that feeds them simply because the truth “hurt” Sue Cattoor’s feelings. You have the right to be enraged as it is your money that made these people multi-millionaires. It’s your money that bought the very helicopters that rain trauma and even death down upon our wild horses and it is your money that you never approved to be spent in this manner yet the very recipients have the audacity to trample on the right of free press and subvert our very Constitution.

Some of the assailed have folded, others will fight back but overall it has sent a ripple of disdain across the free world that is bound to come back and sit squarely on heads of the Cattoor contractors and the rouge Federal agency, BLM, that hired them.

Perhaps the reason that this rankles me the most is that I had to, personally, put up with the shenanigans and idiosyncrasies of Sue Cattoor and company during the entire botched Pryor Mountain round-up. It’s one thing to be treated like a criminal by the BLM while on our federal land but add to that the continued inane mumbling and commentary of a contractor’s wife while watching the horror and emotionally depleting experience of a BLM round-up is more than most sane people could withstand.

But there we were, with Sue Cattoor buzzing rumors, misinformation and junk science in our ears as we attempted to document the event for what it was; a total, inhumane and unjustified act of animal cruelty.
On the last day of the round-up during the morning meeting, we were not allowed to ask any questions unless they were “operations” oriented. BLM field agent Jim Sparks would walk all over and discredit anyone who would ask a question regarding the horse’s welfare but not when it came to the babble, in my opinion, that fell from the lips of Sue Cattoor. That last day she launched off into a speech on how we handful of advocates had hurt her feelings on our blogs and websites by bringing up the past sins of her husband and that all wild horses should be cleared from the ranges and those that could not be adopted should be destroyed. No one commented, not even the BLM officials, as it was just too bizarre.

On that last day the BLM was to release the horses that they were not going to auction and the likes of Ginger Kathrens, Makendra Silverman, Ben Sussman, Carol Walker, Elyse Gardner, Pam and Tom Nicholes and Terry and myself set up on a bluff, overlooking the area where the horses would be released, and waited to celebrate a few moments of triumph that at least there were a few horses that would be returned to the wild. But do you think that Sue Cattoor could give us any peace? No.

This Federal contractor stood behind us and commented on every single word we said and rained on every good moment we were trying to experience. We were under “guard” by two BLM security individuals and when I begged one to intervene and stop the onslaught of verbal gunshots he turned walked away and when I approached “Chuck” the other agent he simply stared at me.
I asked if he was going to respond and render aide and after thinking about it for a while, he replied:
“I don’t want to trample on her right of free speech.”

Whose rights are being trampled on now?

Since when can a Federal contractor turn on the U.S. press and threaten suit simply because they print the truth? Where do they feel that they have the right to attempt to intimidate those who work with fact versus fiction? This transgression, alone, constitutes the need for a Congressional inquiry notwithstanding the fact that they have killed 22 horses, to date, during this contested and unnecessary round-up. Those 22 horses would be alive, today, if not for the dysfunctional BLM and their “humane” contractors, the Cattoors.
The Cattoors and their legal team need a remedial course in the true definition of the First Amendment and we as citizens need to ensure that the likes of the Cattoors do not acquire anymore of our hard earned tax dollars.

Enough is enough.


The Death of the Calico Colt

Straight from the Horse's Heart


Photo by Carol Walker
An Essay by Ginger Kathrens
From our very good friends at The Cloud Foundation

He was wild and free, roaming the vast expanses of the rugged Calico Mountains with his mother and father and the other members of his family. This would be his first winter, a time when life slowed down for all the wild ones—the elegant pronghorn he watched on the distant horizon, the tiny pygmy rabbits that foraged in the sage brush undergrowth and darted into their dens when he tried to touch them, the fat sage grouse that were some of his favorites.

When he was just days old, he heard their strange, booming sounds and saw the males strutting and displaying for a mate. When he wandered toward them, it was his father who gently guided him home. His mother softly nickered to him. She smelled of sweet sage and invited him to nurse.

Then, one day while his mother and father and the others in his family were quietly foraging, conserving their energy in the growing cold, he saw his father jerk his head up.  Ears forward, the stallion watched and listened and the colt did too, mimicking his father.  The colt could hear a rumbling drone. In the distance, he could see something flying  toward them. It was even bigger than the majestic golden eagles that soared over his home. It came closer and closer, dropping low over the sage. The drone grew into an ear shattering roar. His family began to run and he followed, galloping beside his mother where he would be safe. Mile after mile the menacing, giant bird chased them. His legs ached and he wanted to rest, but he could not leave his mother. He kept running, struggling to keep up. Fear gripped the Calico colt.

Then he saw a horse in front of his father and it too began to run. Safety must be ahead.  His family followed the stranger and suddenly they were trapped inside walls of steel.  His father tried to jump over the wall but it was too high. There were two legged animals running at them with long sticks and something white that fluttered madly. Suddenly, he was separated from his mother when a two-legged moved between them, striking out at him with the frightening stick and the fluttering bag. He was driven into another corral.  When he whinnied for his mother, she answered. He raced around the corral calling for her, but found his feet were too sore to run anymore and he stopped. He could hear his father calling and he knew the proud stallion had been separated too. The colt answered him. He could see his mother through the bars of his cage and this gave him strength and hope.

Days passed. It was cold and there was no place to get out of the wind. In his home, his mother would have led the band below a rocky outcrop that blocked the wind. The colt began to fear he would never again smell the sweet sage of her breath or taste the warm milk she offered to him. His feet, so sore, became worse. Shooting pains darted through his whole body when he tried to walk so he moved as little as possible, hobbling a few steps to eat the plants the two-leggeds had thrown on the ground for them. One frigid morning, the two leggeds came and drove him into a truck with others that were his age.  The pain was constant now and when the truck moved out, he stayed on his feet but the pain riveted him with every jolt and bump. He called for his mother, but there was no answer. Would he ever see his parents again?  Hours passed and the truck moved onto smoother ground and it turned into a place where he could hear the calls of his kind. He whinnied as loud as he could, but the answering voices were unfamiliar. The two-leggeds drove the colt from the truck into a bigger cage and he struggled to keep up with the other foals. Some of them were limping too. His eyes scanned the horizon, looking for something familiar but the flat horizon looked nothing like the land of his birth.

Days went by and he spent hours laying in the dirt, the pain growing. He could feel something happening to his feet. His once strong, dark hooves were beginning to separate from the bone designed to hold them fast. He laid flat and closed his eyes, imagining the home and family he feared he would never see again.  The two leggeds walked toward him. He wanted to jump up and dash away but he could not. Over the next few days he grew too tired to move at all. The wind howled and as it began to snow, he closed his eyes for the last time and dreamed of his family. Then two leggeds came again and killed the Calico Colt.

In death, the lively spirit of the Calico Colt was released to roam free once more. He has
returned home to his family and the land of his dreams. He is not just a statistic. Neither
he nor what he symbolizes will ever be forgotten.

(Ginger Kathrens is a filmmaker, author, and founder of The Cloud Foundation, dedicated to preserving our mustangs on public lands. The Foundation is calling for a stop to the roundups that are robbing public lands of our legendary, native wild equids—the very embodiment of freedom for many Americans. The Calico colt is only one of many who have died as a result of the ongoing roundups this year alone. Find out what you can do at
Photo: Living Images by Carol Walker

Death Toll at Calico now 22

BLM Website

Gather Activity Updates

Updates will be posted as we receive information.
Date/2010 Comments
Jan. 28
BLM will escort members of the public to the Fallon facility today.  
Jan. 27
The observation day scheduled for today is cancelled. There are no wild horses at the gather site temporary holding corrals and the helicopter will be used to take an aerial look to verify numbers and locations of wild horses in the HMA.
One filly and three mares were euthanized at the Fallon facility. Two were in poor condition and not adapting to change in diet, one spinal injury and one sole absess and pelvis injury.  One filly was found dead of unknown cause at the facility.
Totals: 1,326 gathered, 1,324 moved to Fallon, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA.
Fallon facility: 19
Jan. 26
No gathering will be conducted today.
The BLM is hosting an observation day at the Indian Lakes Road Holding Facility with guided tours offered from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  These hours are the most likely times that trucks will be delivering the wild horses from the gather site. The BLM continues to provided guided tours of the facility by appointment only.  Appointments are necessary to ensure BLM staff is available to conduct the tours and respond to questions, and for safety concerns for the animals, observers and employees at the facility. The Indian Lakes Road facility is privately-owned and operated.  The BLM coordinates closely with the owner when scheduling the guided tours to allow observers to view the animals, while not interferring with the day-to-day operations at the facility.
Windbreaks are installed in the hospital pens. Two 12-year-old mares in poor condition and not adapting to change in feed were euthanized.
Totals: 1,326 gathered, 1,324 moved to Fallon, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA.
Fallon facility: 15
Jan. 25
Weather-related conditions suspended gather operations today, fog created unsafe flying conditions.  No wild horses were gathered today.
27 horses were shipped to the Fallon facility (16 studs, 18 mares, 3 weanlings/foals).
The BLM accommmodated four observers to the temporary holding facility, at their request, although all the gathered horses had been moved to Fallon earlier in the day.  The observers were provided the opportunity to walk around, photograph and videotape the pens, and left shortly after that because the helicopter would not be flying.
One stallion was found dead in the corral, cause of death unknown.
Totals: 1,326 gathered, 1,324 moved to Fallon, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA.
Fallon facility: 13
Jan. 24
Contractor gathered 27 excess wild horses and 70 animals were shipped without incident to the Fallon facility.
Totals: 1,326 gathered, 1,297 moved to Fallon, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA.
Fallon facility: 12
Jan. 23
Operations continued at Calico HMA.  Seven members of the public participated in today's observation day.  Within an hour or so of the group arriving at the gather site the contractor brought in the first group of wild horses. Throughout the day, the observers watched as 66 horses were gathered without incident (21 studs, 30 mares, 15 weanlings/foals).  The horses were loaded on trucks at the gather site and moved to temporary holding corrals in the gather area where they were sorted by age and sex.  This is where the animals get their first introduction to domestically-grown grass hay.
Transported 34 horses to Fallon (10 studs, 13 mares, 11 weanlings/foals).  One mare at the facility ran into a gate and broke her neck. Two mares were euthanized due to poor body condition and not being able to transition to new diet. One mare found dead at corral.
Totals: 1,299 gathered, 1,227 moved to Fallon, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA.
Fallon facility: 12
Jan. 22
The gather site is set up in the Calico HMA and the contractor plans to gather today.  Contractor gathered 38 horses (10 studs, 17 mares, 11 weanlings/foals).
Saturday will be a public observation day.
Transported 119 horses to Fallon (49 studs, 48 mares, 22 weanlings/foals) on Thursday.
Next update will be on Monday, Jan. 25.
Totals: 1,233 gathered, 1,193 moved to Fallon, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA.
Fallon facility: 8 deaths
Jan. 21
Transported 118 horses to the Fallon facility on Wednesday.  Plan to ship the horses remaining at the gather corrals to Fallon today.  Continuing to dissemble the gather corrals and move to new location in the Calico HMA.
Mares coming into the Fallon facility are in poorer condition than stallions and weanlings/foals. About 30 mares from the Warm Springs HMA range in body condition from a 2.5 to 3.0.  One mare that was down on the transport truck arrived at the facility alive, but subsequently died.
One colt with multiple hoof sloughs from the capture was euthanized at the facility.  The colt was from the Black Rock East HMA and has been at the facility more than two weeks. When the colt arrived at the facility it was put in with the general population. A day or two later, the colt started showing acute lameness and was moved to a sick pen. The facility veterinarian noted the colt's two hind hoof soles were bruised, but there was no visible abscess or  infection. The colt was given antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medicine, was kept segregated and contined to be checked by the veterinarian. The colt's hind feet abscessed and the outer hoof wall did separate. The colt was euthanized by the facility veterinarian. Click here for the veterinarian report.
About 20 to 25 horses at the facility have received treatment for vaioius injuries or lameness and are recovering.  There are no indications of infectious respiratory disease.
The BLM has asked that wind breaks be installed at the Fallon facility, similar to ones that are at the Palomino Valley Center.  The contractor will begin constructing wind breaks in 12 of the smaller holding/sorting pens which are used for sick or lame animals.
Totals: 1,195 gathered, 1,074 moved to Fallon, 121 at gather corrals, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA.
Fallon facility: 8 deaths
Jan. 20
Moving gather site today.  Expect to move the 148 horses on site to the Fallon facility today.  The dirt road from the pavement to Soldier Meadows is being bladed.  Recent rain and the truck traffic is impacting the condition of the road.  Observation day planned today was cancelled after those signed up to attend decided to reschedule because the gather site is being moved.  Next observation day is Saturday.
Jan. 19
Contractor was able to gather 91 wild horses (27 studs, 42 mares, 22 weanlings/foals) today before weather conditions stopped gathering in the early afternoon.
Totals: 1,195 gathered, 956 moved to Fallon, 148 at gather corrals, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA.
Fallon facility: 6 deaths
Jan. 18
Today's public observation day was cancelled after four people dropped out because of weather and two didn't have 4-wheel-drive vehicle to get to the site.
Contractor gathered 124 wild horses today.  No horses were moved to Fallon.
A foal born on Thursday was euthanized on Friday after it became apparent that it could not thrive.
Totals: 1,104 gathered, 956 moved to Fallon, 148 at gather corrals, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA.
Fallon facility: 6 deaths
Jan. 17
 Weather conditions prevented gathering today.
One hundred and twenty-two wild horses were transported to the Fallon facility.
Totals: 980 gathered, 956 moved to Fallon.
Jan. 16
The contractor gathered 122 wild horses today (38 studs, 53 mares, 31 weanlings/foals).  Seventy-five horses were moved to the Fallon facility.
 Totals: 980 gathered, 834 moved to Fallon.
Jan. 15
 Today, Saturday and Monday are public observation days.
The next update will be posted on Tuesday, Jan. 18.  (BLM offices are closed in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr.  holiday, however gather operations will continue.)
Gathering continued on the Warm Springs HMA with the contractor bringing in 48 horses (21 studs, 18 mares, 9 weanlings/foals).
Eighty-two wild horses were shipped to the Fallon facility.
Totals: 858 gathered, 759 transported to Fallon
Jan. 14
The BLM is escorting a Good Morning America TV crew and Madeline Pickens and her group to the gather today.  The contractor gathered 51 horses (14 studs, 23 mares, 14 weanlings/foals) from the Black Rock West HMA.
Eighty-three animals were transported to the Fallon facility.  Observers going to the gather notified the BLM that a mare in one of the transport trucks was down.  The dirt road the trucks are traveling is bumpy and the drivers are stopping when they reach the pavement to make sure all the animals are standing up.  Two mares and one stallion were found dead at the facility, cause of death is attributed to failure to adjust to a change in feed.
Totals: 810 gathered, 677 transported to Fallon, 129 at gather corrals, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA
Fallon facility: 5 deaths
Jan. 13
The contractor gathered 113 horses today (31 studs, 54 mares, 28 weanlings/foals).  Seventy-five animals were transported to the Fallon facility.  One 12-year-old mare from the Black Rock West HMA died at Fallon. She arrived in weak and poor condition and had been at the facility for four days.
Totals: 759 gathered,  594 tranferred to Fallon, 161 at gather corrals, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA
Fallon facility: 2 deaths
Jan. 12
Begin gathering at the Warm Springs HMA. The contractor gathered 99 horses (43 studs, 35 mares, 21 weanlings/foals) today before windy conditions shut down operations in the early afternoon. No animals were shipped to Fallon today.
Totals: 646 gathered, 519 transferred to Fallon, 123 at gather corrals, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA
Fallon facility: 1 death
Jan. 11
The BLM is escorting public to the gather today.  At the Fallon facility, one mare from the Black Rock East HMA was found dead over the weekend.  The veterinarian diagnosis is the mare died as the result of dietary feed change.  Fog kept the helicopter grounded; no animals were gathered.
No horses were shipped today; 24 horses in holding corrals at the gather site.
Jan. 10
Weather conditions prevented gathering activities today.  Eighty-one horses were transported to the Fallon facility today.
Totals: 547 gathered, 519 shipped to Fallon, 24 at gather corrals, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA
Jan. 9
Weather conditions grounded the helicopter today.  No horses were gathered today.  No horses were shipped today, pending brand inspection.  Gathering and shipping is expected to resume on Sunday.
Jan. 8
Haven't received information about the gather activities by the close of business today.  Next update will be Monday, Jan. 11.  Update on Monday: Seventy animals were gathered (22 studs, 37 mares and 11 weanlings/foals).  Seventy-one animals were transported to the Fallon facility.
Totals: 547 gathered, 438 shipped to Fallon, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition, 1 back to HMA
Jan. 7
Weather conditions prevented the helicopter from flying so no gathering was conducted today.  Eighty-nine horses were shipped to the Fallon facility.  One 20-year plus mare in poor body condition that was unlikely to improve was put down as an act of mercy.
Totals: 477 gathered, 367 shipped to Fallon, 106 at gather corrals, 2 euthanized at gather site, 1 death pre-existing condition,  1 back to HMA 
Jan. 6
Drizzling rain and freezing temperatures are delaying gathering this morning.  If temperatures warm up, the contractor will gather.  Eight members of the public plan to attend today's observation day.  The weather impoved by mid-day and the contractor was able to gather 53 animals (19 studs, 23 mares and 11 weanlings/foals).   Thirty-six studs were transported to the Fallon facility.  They are in good flesh with no signs of upper respiratory infection.
Totals: 477 gathered, 278 transported to Fallon.
Jan. 5
Gather activities are continuing at the Black Rock West HMA with 125 horses gathered without incident (33 studs, 66 mares, 26 weanlings/foals).  Body conditions of the horses range from thin to moderately thin, but with no apparent or visible health or respiratory complications.  The animals will be examined by the veterinarian on Wednesday.
Eighty four excess wild horses were transported to the Fallon facility.
Totals: 424 gathered, 242 transported to Fallon.
Jan. 4
Gather operations resumed within the Black Rock West HMA, and 138 animals were gathered, without incident (45 studs, 63 mares, 30 weanlings/foals).  Most of the animals are thin to moderately thin, but overall in good health.  The condition of the mares is noted as slightly poorer condition than those gathered on the Black Rock East HMA.  Weanling condition is fine with two weanlings showing signs of lameness on their hind legs.  No cuts, wounds or upper respiratory infection is noted.  All the horses will be inspected by the holding facility veterinarian when they arrive there.
Jan. 3
The contractor relocated and set up the gather corrals in the Black Rock West HMA within the Complex.  Gather operations were not anticipated to start on Monday.  However, gather activities could resume on Monday if the contractor has completed set up and experiences favorable weather and flight conditions.
Jan. 2
The contractor collected 11 wild horses without incident (2 studs, 6 mares, 3 weanlings/foals).  Members of wild horse groups attended today’s observation day. The group was able to observe and participate in discussions about the horses gathered on Fridayand discuss the euthanized mare and the 6-month-old colt which died during capture operations yesterday.
The group watched the helicopter bring in 11 horses the gather corral.  The animals came in to the gather corral well with no problems, but once they horses were in the corrals, one stud horse caught his front leg over the top rail in the chute area, but worked himself free.  He was sorted into a separate pen and jumped over the holding pen panels and through a barbed-wire fence backto the rangeland.  Several members of the public observed and filmed the horse jumping over the pen rail and through the fence.
On the way back to Winnemucca we saw wild horses on the north end of the Jackson Mountains and stopped so everyone could take pictures.
The contractor revised the gather plan and plans to move the gather corrals on Sunday to the Black Rock West HMA.  He will set up near Soldier Meadows on Monday and plans to start gathering again on Tuesday.
Jan. 1
Gather operations continue within the Black Rock East HMA.  However, weather conditions limited today’s gather activities as clouds covered the mountain tops, which limited visibility and created unsafe flying conditions.  Ultimately 10 wild horses were gathered without incident (1 stud, 6 mares, 3 weanlings/foals).  One colt died as it was being brought in.  An after-death examination revealed a pre-existing pulmonary condition. No animals were shipped today. Click here for the veterinarian report.
Dec. 31, 2009
Four people representing wild horse groups attended the gather site today.  There is heavy snowfall at the gather site and the contractor is not flying today.  Snow is forecasted until mid-day Friday.
Today, 66 horses were transported to the Fallon facility (27 studs, 25 mares, 13 weanlings and one foal).  All of the horses are in normal condition for winter gathers, with a few noted in lesser condition.
No horses were shipped on Wednesday.  There are no plans to ship any animals on Friday.  Next update will be Monday, Jan. 4.
Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009Seventy-three of the 74 horses captured on Monday were transported to the Fallon facility on Tuesday.  Many of the horses are in good body condition.  One horse, a 20-plus year-old mare with a body condition index of 2 (poor) was euthanized at the gather site on the recommendation of the onsite veterinarian who determined it was unlikely her condition would improve with better care. Click here for photos of the mare.
 The BLM escorted media to the gather site today.
Dec. 29, 2009
Horses gathered on  Monday are being moved to the Indian Lakes Road short-term holding facility in Fallon today.  Snowy weather conditions slowed gather operations today, but the contractor was able to gather on lower elevations and brought in 22 animals to gather corrals set up closer to those animals.
Dec. 28, 2009
First day of gather on the Black Rock Range East Herd Management Area (HMA).  All activities at the gather went smoothly and without incident.  Seventy-four horses were gathered with no reported injuries to the animals or the crew.
Dec. 27, 2009
Contractor set up gather site corrals.

Calico Roundup Continues

The Cloud Foundation

Dear Supporters, to date at least 22 horses (mares, foals and stallions) have died in this massive wintertime roundup. The public has only been allowed to observe 3 days per week at most during this controversial and unnecessary roundup that leaves what was once a wild horse stronghold with only a small population of mustangs. Only a few of the over 1300 captured Calico Mustangs at the Fallon holding facility have windbreaks after repeated requests. BLM's daily roundup reports online here.

Last week a Calico colt was euthanized after his hooves were separating from the bone after being rounded up with his family, by helicopter and potentially traveling over 14 miles of volcanic rock, rough ground, ice and snow. Ginger has written an essay in honor of this Calico colt and the countless others who have died painful deaths due to these ongoing roundups. The essay is online here and may be reprinted in magazines and newsletters, simply contact us for permission. (photo above, Living Images: Carol Walker)
Calico Roundup PhotosElyse Gardner and TCF Board member/wildlife ecologist Craig Downer have been documenting this roundup and the captured horses at the Fallon, NV holding facility. More photos, videos & reports posted on Elyse's Humane Observer Blog. Thank you to all who are observing and reporting back to the public on this roundup of America's wild horses.



 below: Calico wild horses in October 2009 - Craig Downer, Photo


& hearings on the BLM

Protests on Saturday, Jan 30th!

plus please vote to stop the roundups, just click here
Phoenix, Arizona:

Where: BLM Office, One N. Central, Suite 800 
When: 11:00-1:00 pm, 1/30/10


Top photo of Tucson protest by Carol Grubb, photo above of Las Vegas Protest by Arlene Gawne.
 Cloud, fall 2008